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Replacement Dexter 3,500 lb Trailer Brake Assemblies

Question:

I have a 12foot single axle enclosed trailer with a 3500 Dexter torsion axle, with brakes. I used it to move a lot of furniture when it was new, and I got used to the braking behavior. Then, I towed it under light loads for 5 years without a brake controller. Now, I want to once again use the trailer for its rated capacity. The brakes both work, but I do not seem to get the stopping power I once did. I can feel the braking power when I turn the voltage way up on the brake controller, but they never lock up when the trailer is empty, not even on a dirt surface. I have removed the drums and inspected the brakes. There is very light uniform rust on the braking surface of the drums. The magnet surfaces seem to look okay. The shoes do not appear to be worn they are about 1/8inch thick. The short shoes are on the front. The magnet arm moves freely in both directions, engaging the appropriate shoe. I have adjusted them as directed, and they both heat up after multiple stops. I can hear the click after I stop and release the brakes. Do the pads need to be replaced? Do the drums need to be turned? How do I know if the magnet arm is mechanically working to standards? Will they settle in after a while, since they have not been used for so long and the drums have light surface rust?

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Expert Reply:

Due to the amount of rust on your trailer brake assemblies it's a good idea to replace them since it sounds like they aren't working well and are rusting to the point that they might fail altogether soon.

For a set of self-adjusting brake assemblies for your Dexter 3,500 lb axles the Dexter Nev-R-Adjust kit part # 23-468-469 would be your best option. Once installed they might feel a little weak at first but once you apply the brakes a few times they'll tension themselves to the proper tension and your brakes will feel strong again.

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expert reply by:
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Jameson C

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