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Dexter Electric Over Hydraulic Trailer Brake Actuator Will Not Work

Question:

The Dexter E/H actuator on my trailer has stopped working. I have done all the troubleshooting tests I can find and everything is hooked up and working properly, except the actuator does not run when the brake pedal or controller are used. When the brake pedal or controller are used, there is power all the way to the unit and the ground is good. I notice a click sound in the actuator when the trailer wires are first plugged into the truck. Is this normal or is there a problem here? Any suggestions?

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Expert Reply:

The click you are hearing is likely not an indication of a problem. With electric over hydraulic actuators you have to use a brake controller that is compatible with and EOH system such as the P2, # 90885 or the P3, # 90195. Otherwise the actuator will not work.

Just in case, here are the troubleshooting tips from Dexter:

Unit will not run or brakes are slow to respond. To determine if the unit is functioning properly, perform the checks outlined below.

1. Verify that the trailer and tow vehicle are wired according to the electrical schematic shown in “Electrical Requirements”.
2. Re-bleed the trailer brakes. Any air in the trailer brake system causes brake delay
3. if the trailer is equipped with drum brakes, re-adjust the drum brakes to the trailer manufacturer's recommended running clearance.
4. Trailer wiring that is too small can cause slow response
5. Slow response can be caused by brake line restrictions. The trailer brake lines must be at least 3/16” in diameter. Steel tubing is preferred over flexible hoses.
6. Check to see if the white ground wire runs directly to the tow vehicle ground. IT MUST NOT BE GROUNDED TO THE TRAILER ONLY. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THIS GROUND WIRE RUNS DIRECTLY TO THE TOW VEHICLE'S BATTERY GROUND. NO EXCEPTIONS.
7. Detach all wires from the Dexter Axle E/H unit leaving only the blue, black, white and yellow wires. It is important that the unit is disconnected from any other wires going to the towing vehicle or breakaway switch and breakaway battery. Failure to do so may result in a faulty test.
8. Using a 12 volt battery, connect the white wire to the negative (-) terminal of the battery.
9. Connect the black wire to the positive (+) terminal of the battery. The motor should not run. If the motor runs, the unit may be defective.
10. Leave the white wire connected to the negative (-) terminal of the battery.
11. Connect the blue and black wires together to the positive (+) terminal of the battery.
12. The motor should run and the unit should pressurize
13. If this does not occur, the unit may be defective.
14. Leave the white wire connected to the negative (-) terminal of the battery.
15. Connect only the yellow wire to the positive (+) terminal of the battery.
16. The motor should run and the unit should pressurize.
17. If this does not occur, the unit may be defective.
18. If the unit checks OK, reconnect the wires leading to the trailer plug and repeat steps 9 through 14 at the trailer plug. If you do not get the same results as before, the problem is in the trailer wiring or the electronic brake controller.

Using the breakaway system to troubleshoot a unit that is not operating correctly.

1. With a fully charged breakaway battery and trailer plug disconnected, pull the breakaway switch on the trailer.
1. If the unit runs and builds pressure, the breakaway system is functioning properly.
2. If the unit runs and builds pressure when the breakaway switch is pulled but will not function under normal operating conditions, the problem mot likely is a defective in-cab controller or defective wiring between the tow vehicle and Dexter E/H actuator.
3. If the unit runs but will not build pressure when breakaway switch is pulled, the Dexter E/H unit may be defective.
4. If the unit does not run, measure the DC voltage between the white wire and the yellow wire. If the voltage is less than 12 volts, either the breakaway switch or the breakaway wiring is defective.
2. After completing the above steps, reset the breakaway switch and reconnect the trailer plug.

Trailer brakes not aggressive enough

1. Increase the gain setting on the in-cab electronic brake controller.
2. Check brake adjustment.

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