Adjusting Trailer Brakes

Electric trailer brakes on the Retro campers are electrically actuated drum brakes and they do need periodic adjustment. The factory recommends that you adjust them at 200 miles and then annually after that. You don’t need much in tools but you do need to get the wheel off the ground so that you can spin it.

Once you have the wheel up in the air locate the adustment holes on the back side of the wheel. Sometimes they will have a rubber plug that covers them up. On my Dexter axles this is what they looked like

I used a regular flat bladed screwdriver to move the adjustment wheel located just behind those openings.

The adjuster is located right above the red spring

Looking at the above picture the adjuster ( the tube with the notches on it) lengthens by being turned clockwise, so with a screwdriver or adjustment took from the back you want to spin the adjuster upwards. I took the drum off for illustrative purposes, you don’t need to when adjusting the brakes.

What you want to do is tighten things up the adjusters just until the wheel doesn’t turn, then back it off till there is just a slight drag. This needs to be done on all the wheels at the same time. By doing this you will make sure that the brake shoes are as tight to the drum as possible without actuating, which in turn give you the most braking power.

For those that have the easy grease axles ( identified by grease fitting sticking out of the axle) this is a good time to re-grease the axles, as that process requires the axles be elevated. Here is a video from Dexter on the process for lubing the axles

As always anytime you have to use a jack to lift an object take the proper precautions. I lifted my trailer by the axles close to the hub, and only high enough that I could spin the tire. Just make sure that if the trailer were to slip off you are not going to be in the path of anything coming down. Given that you are not removing the wheels – this is a pretty safe operation.

The biggest tip is to make sure you have the orientation of the adjusters figured out so that you don’t end up loosening the brakes. Even from the factory on a relatively new trailer it took quite a few turns to tighten up the brakes. When complete you are probably going to have to re calibrate the brake controller.