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.

Propane Safety

One of the concerns that we had with our new camper was any type of propane leaks. Our 265RB was equipped with a propane detector, but we wanted to insure that we got ahead of any potential leaks. As these units bounce down the road the connections can loosen and develop leaks.

Propane/CO detector

For under $30 I picked up a mobile propane leak detector. I tested the unit out and adjusted its sensitivity using the propane stone on the camper. Turning on a little gas I was able to set the unit to pick up the slightest amount.

Y201 Portable Propane Methane Natural Gas Leak Detector

I took the detector once it was calibrated and went over every propane connection on the trailer. In order to get to some of the devices like the furnace and the water heater I had to unscrew a few covers. Very easy to do and takes about 20 minutes to go over the whole trailer.

Atwood RV Furnace
Dual tank propane connections at the nose of the trailer
Main tank connection to trailer plumbing
Propane connection at the rear for the outdoor kitchen

As I mentioned before you can find these on Amazon for $30. They will work on other gases besides propane so they do have multiple uses around the house. I didn’t find an active leaks on the camper but left the unit in the camper so I can check it on a regular basis.