Life En Route

EoH disc and breakaway switch incident

We have Titan EoH disc brakes on our trailer. The other day I hooked up at our RV storage lot to bring the RV to the house, and instead of climbing into the truck bed to attach the breakaway switch to the normal spot, I tossed it over a connection I could readily access (and used a couple times in the past without incident, as the older attached picture indicates) and checked that it had a good amount of slack in it. It looked fine, so we left on our way home.

The attachment point in the photo is the one I used this time, where I’ve normally been using a 3/8″ spring link looped around the safety chain puck.

About three blocks from the house, I took a 90° turn and heard a squeal and then the entire rig stopped dead in its tracks. To get out of the way I applied a lot of throttle and moved over into the shoulder, with the truck very hesitant to move. At the shoulder, I got out and looked around the rig, expecting a flat or maybe some sort of driveline malfunction with the truck.

After a few seconds I began to recognize the faint whining of the brake controller, and checked the breakaway cable. It had bound up on something and pulled out through the turn, locking up the four disc brakes on the trailer at full power. There were skid marks for the 90′ or so from the intersection to the shoulder, where I had dragged the trailer with the brakes completely locked up to the side of the road. I popped the breakaway cable back in and moved it to the proper attachment point, then continued home. Once home, I glanced over the tires but didn’t see anything and quickly forgot about the incident.

While setting up camp at a state park we’re visiting, I took another look. It looks like I’ll need at least two new tires, but I’ll probably replace all four. They’re four years old with around 10K miles on them but other than this, look new. They’ve been great tires – Provider ST235/85r16 G rated – and I’ll be replacing them with the same.

The tread is obliterated where the tires locked up and remained locked over the duration of the pull to the side of the road. The wear is down past the indicators in these areas…

This was potentially a very expensive mistake at close to $1K for replacement tires, but also a testament to the power of these brakes, and the power of these new trucks. I’m both upset about the mistake/costs incurred, and impressed with the capabilities mentioned.

I’ve had a couple emergency stops over the years where these brakes have worked wonders. I wouldn’t own a trailer this big without them. I’ve never pondered if I could drag the trailer with the brakes fully locked up or what would happen, but I’m fairly certain that the factory drum brakes would be overpowered by the same action where these apparently held solid.

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