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Dexter Left and Right Electric Trailer Brake Kit Installation

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How to Install the Dexter Left and Right Electric Trailer Brake Kit

Today we're going to be taking a look at the Dexter Electric Trailer Brake Kit, designed for use with 12 inch brake assemblies and it includes the left and right hand side. Now these brake assemblies are designed to give us excellent stopping power. All it's going to require from our truck is a brake controller. I like electric brakes over hydraulic brakes in utility applications because you don't have to worry about leaks and different stuff like that.These assemblies are going to replace the entire brake kit, so you're not going to have to worry about hardware, your springs being worn out, your magnet being worn out, or not properly connected. By getting a full assembly like this, you can replace absolutely everything, every piece of hardware, you don't have to worry about premature failure. Now in the kit, you'll get a left hand assembly, says it right here, "Left hand," and a right hand assembly.The left hand goes on the driver's side, right hand's going to go on the passenger side, just to give you a heads up.

Also, unlike a lot of other brake assemblies, you're going to have the new hardware to attach the assembly to your axle. I really like that feature. Then of course we'll just have the two wires to connect on the backside, one goes to power, one goes to ground, that energizes our magnet.Now as our hub is spinning around our assembly, once this magnet is energized, it's going to pull. You can see as it pulls on that hub, that's where our expansion comes from, it's going to force our shoes out making contact with the drum, giving us the braking force that we need. Now the magnet, you can see it's going to be a floating magnet, so while it is going to press up against the hub, we're not going to have to worry about it pressing too hard and doing any additional wear that's not normal.Now you can see the brake adjuster right here, this is designed so we can fine tune the braking application.

With any brake tool or screwdriver, you can go in the backside, there's a cutout there, you can see my tool coming in right here, that's going to allow us to adjust whether we need to adjust that for a little more tension. Maybe we got it too tight and we need to relieve a little tension. You can see how that tool's going to work in there.On the left side if we go up like this, that's going to cause our brakes to expand. If we go down, it's going to cause them to contract. Now just to fill you in on the more detailed specifications, the overall diameter of the assembly's going to qualify as a 12 inch brake assembly by two, meaning the pads are two inches wide or the shoes are two inches wide.

This is going to be designed to work with your 14 and a half, 15, and 16 inch rims.Now to begin our replacement process, we're going to need to gather a few simple tools. Basically, we want a dead blow hammer, a pair of channel locks, and needle-nosed pliers. These are really all we're going to need to get this replacement done. The first thing we need to do is get rid of our grease cap here on the end. Generally, we're going to tap outward, you can see that gap starting to increase then it'll pop off.Once that's out of the way, we've got a cotter pin located right here.

Get our cotter pin out of there. Now with our channel locks, we need to get ahold of this large nut here and get it removed. Now as we take this apart, we want to salvage this washer right here, this is our thrust bearing there and that's the only thing that doesn't come with our new drum assembly. We've got new lug nuts, we've got a new cap, new bearings, new seals, this is that one component we want to be sure to hang on to when we put it back together.Now we're just going to start working our hub assembly off. You can see that old bearing, we're going to get rid of that. The brakes are hanging up a little bit, we're going to be replacing those too, so I'm not too worried about, so I'm just using a pry bar just to get them worked off of here. And we'll slide it off. Now as you can see, we've got all the grease off that spindle, got rid of all the old stuff, and this is our time to inspect it.We need to ensure basically that three main areas are in good shape. You got this area here, this is where the inner bearing rides. Nice and smooth, no issue there. Same thing out here where our outer bearing goes. Then right in here on this wider area, you can see where it's real shiny there, that's where our seal is going to ride as it goes around. So we're just going to rub our finger around there and make sure there's no nicks or dents or scratches or anything like that.What happens if we have that here as we fill this with grease, it's going to expand into our brakes and that's not what we want. This one looks really good. If you have any discolored areas where it looks like it got hot, if you have any cracks that are running down through here, or if it looks like it's been turned where the bearings have come apart in there and caused some issues, might be a candidate for replacement rather than just putting on hubs and drums.Now of course to remove our brake assembly, we need to remove the hub that's on the outside of it, the drum assembly. Once we get back into this area, there's going to be two wires that come from our trailer and they run to our brake assembly. We want to get those cut, then we're going to have five nuts to take off. One here, here, here, and here, you can see this one's missing. We're going to try to do a replacement for that, but it has a torsion axle, so we might not be able to, but we do want to get these removed.Once we get those bolts out of there, you can see that's just going to come right off our flange. Now we're going to clean the spindle up a little bit back here. There are going to be centering tabs or centering buttons that come out, you can see there's one right there. Right there on that flat spot, we're using that to center our brake assembly. You can see there's another one right here. I'm going to make sure that this surface is nice and clean and that those tabs are present that way as we put that on there, it'll center it up for us.Then inspect all of my spindles, get everything off and ready to go. Now when we go back on, we always recommend replacing both brake assemblies on an axle. If you have tandem axles, it's a good idea to replace all of your assemblies, but that's not required. You do want them to be at least equal for the axle though. Now with the assemblies, we've got our provided hardware, that's something we don't usually see with some of the competitors. Most of the time you've got to either reuse your old hardware or just pick up some new stuff.Now we want to be sure, remember that line we saw on the other one, we want to be sure our hub's centered on that and we'll use our nine-sixteenths inch socket. We want to snug down our hardware and we can tighten them to specification. Now we've got our assembly torqued, we've got it in place, but now it's time to strip back our wires here coming from the trailer. Now, to add our butt connectors, we just want it stripped back. Butt connectors are going to go in until they stop and we'll crimp those on like that. Same thing on the other side.Now we'll take the wires from our new assemblies . I like to twist these up really well. That's going to go on the other side, doesn't really matter which one goes to which, we're just looking to complete that path. Then we'll pull, make sure they're connected properly. Then to shrink them down we're going to use a heat source. We can use a lighter like we're doing here, we can use a heat gun. You can see they start to turn clear, you can see them shrink down there.Now at this point, you're ready to get your drum put back on. Remember to repack your bearings properly, good idea to replace the seal to make sure you don't have any leakage, and definitely inspect that drum. Make sure you don't have any cracking or any heat spots on it, that can really degrade your braking performance or just ruin it entirely.Now to properly adjust our brakes, we'll want to get our tire rotating, use a brake adjuster tool, we can go in the access port here. See when we're done, we've got a plug, we can plug that up to prevent dirt and stuff from getting in. Now basically when we rotate our tire, we want to hear our brakes making slight contact all the way around. You can see we don't have . or here, we don't have . That sounded good.Go one more click. You can see while our tire still turns freely, we can hear it making contact as it goes around. All right, hearing that contact all the way around is what we're looking for, so we put our cap in here, and we'll get our other ones adjusted.That's going to complete our look at the Dexter Electric Trailer Brake Kit.



Hello, is there anyway to take the electric components and install them in a different drum?I have a older trailer with a custom setup using car hubs and brakes, 9 inch drum and I would like to convert to electric instead of surge

Etrailer Expert

Chris R.


I'm not quite sure how you would do that, but it would take a lot of modification and piecing things together to make it work (if it's possible). Unfortunately I don't have any personal experience with this so can't offer any guidance. I honestly think your best option would be to replace your hub drums with trailer specific units.

Charles R.


I would like to but my trailer has nice vw wheels that are from 1966 so wide 5 bolt pattern
Etrailer Expert

Chris R.


I understand. I wish I could offer some specifics on how to convert those brakes (without actually replacing them), but this is a pretty custom job. You might talk with some local mechanics to see if they have any experience in something like this.

Info for this part was:

Employee Jeff D
Installed by:
Jeff D
Employee Randy B
Installed by:
Randy B
Employee Jacob T
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Jacob T
Employee Zach D
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Zach D

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