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Dexter Self-Adjusting Brakes 23-468-469 Seem Weak

Question:

I recently purchased the Dexter Nev-R-Adjust Electric Trailer Brake Kit - 10inch - Left and Right Hand Assemblies - 3.5K, Item # 23-468-469 and Trailer Hub and Drum Assembly - 3,500-lb Axles - 10inch Diameter - 5 on 5 - Pre-Greased, item #AKHD-550-35-K for my tandem axle car trailer. I have followed the break in procedure per Dexter instructions. The brakes are installed correctly but they are not adjusting properly. Additionally, the trailer was towed on a 400 mile round trip behind a diesel with an exhaust brake and the brakes have still not adjusted. I would attempt to manually adjust them but to my surprise, there is no star wheel or splines on the adjuster that allow me to dial in a manual adjustment. There is a very slight engagement of brakes but the self adjusters are just not doing their job. My normal tow rig is an ‘85 GMC K2500 gasser with no exhaust brake. Not having trailer brakes is going to be a major problem for me with a loaded car trailer. What is the solution?

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Expert Reply:

So there could be a number of different issues behind why your Dexter Nev-R-Adjust Electric Trailer Brake Kit # 23-468-469 feel weak. First, let's start with the more obvious, which is the wiring, specifically, a ground that is loose or weak from the brakes. If your ground is good, check the voltage with a multimeter like # PT89ZR to ensure that the power wire to the magnets is getting the full 12 volts.

Also, since you mentioned an exhaust brake, and I'm wondering if this was used when you initially adjusted the brakes? I ask because if so, an exhaust brake generally won't activate the brake lights, so if you weren't using the brake controller's manual override when initially doing the self-adjusting procedure, your brake controller won't have activated the trailer brakes, so they wouldn't have fully adjusted.

It is also possible to manually adjust the Dexter Nev-R-Adjust Electric Trailer Brake Kit # 23-468-469. If you take a look at the photo I have added you can see the adjustment wheel. You'll need to use something like a flathead screwdriver to poke through the hole in the backing plate; you can pull the metal tab that's just behind the adjuster towards you. As you're holding the tab away they should be able to be adjusted.

Dexter Nev-R-Adjust Electric Brakes Adjustment Wheel
Dexter Nev-R-Adjust Electric Brakes Adjustment Wheel
(click to enlarge)
expert reply by:
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Kyle S

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