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  1. #1
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    Talking Disc Brake Conversion: Initial Thoughts

    Well I pulled my drums a month or so ago to repack the wheel bearings, inspect brakes, etc. for the season.
    Brakes were shot, one pad in each of the drums on the passenger side was to the metal, digging into the drum. Several pieces of brake liner fell out as well. Both on the passenger side.
    Drivers side was great, pad life was good, all looked OK.

    Rather than replace the drums and disc brake assemblies, I decided to upgrade to disc brakes.

    Initially ordered my kit from etrailer, who stated they had it in stock. After 2 weeks of a pushed ship date, I cancelled my order and Ordered my kit from Bill at StopYourTrailer dot com. Very nice fella, lots of knowledge. FYI, I ended up with a better quality brake actuator, 9/16" studs, full set of lug nuts cheaper than the base kit from etrailer.

    I know there are industry shortages that have caused issues, but he was able to put together the kit for my Dexter 7k axles and ship about a week after my order.
    As mentioned, I went with 9/16 studs/lug nuts and the Brakerite actuator. FYI, with our wheels, I needed a thinner wall socket, my standard impact socket would not fit.

    Installation went fairly well, a few issues here and there.
    Biggest issue was the poor cast quality of the caliper brackets and required some grinding to correct. A few hours and some words I'm not proud of, but I got it done.

    All in all, took roughly 20 hours of wrenching to complete.

    Took it around the block after a quick test and set-up in the driveway.

    I'm absolutely shocked at the difference. This isn't a subtle difference, with the brakes being a "bit better". This difference is night and day.
    I will never own a trailer any where near this weight with drum brakes again. No way, no how !!!


    I look forward to seeing how it performs on a longer journey later this month.

    If you're trying to decide whether to do this conversion, I can tell you that I would do it all over again; Even if it took twice the time to complete!

    If you have questions, fire away!
    2018 Solitude 344gk
    2021 Ram 3500 SRW

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by bfs673 View Post
    Well I pulled my drums a month or so ago to repack the wheel bearings, inspect brakes, etc. for the season.
    Brakes were shot, one pad in each of the drums on the passenger side was to the metal, digging into the drum. Several pieces of brake liner fell out as well. Both on the passenger side.
    Drivers side was great, pad life was good, all looked OK.

    Rather than replace the drums and disc brake assemblies, I decided to upgrade to disc brakes.

    Initially ordered my kit from etrailer, who stated they had it in stock. After 2 weeks of a pushed ship date, I cancelled my order and Ordered my kit from Bill at StopYourTrailer dot com. Very nice fella, lots of knowledge. FYI, I ended up with a better quality brake actuator, 9/16" studs, full set of lug nuts cheaper than the base kit from etrailer.

    I know there are industry shortages that have caused issues, but he was able to put together the kit for my Dexter 7k axles and ship about a week after my order.
    As mentioned, I went with 9/16 studs/lug nuts and the Brakerite actuator. FYI, with our wheels, I needed a thinner wall socket, my standard impact socket would not fit.

    Installation went fairly well, a few issues here and there.
    Biggest issue was the poor cast quality of the caliper brackets and required some grinding to correct. A few hours and some words I'm not proud of, but I got it done.

    All in all, took roughly 20 hours of wrenching to complete.

    Took it around the block after a quick test and set-up in the driveway.

    I'm absolutely shocked at the difference. This isn't a subtle difference, with the brakes being a "bit better". This difference is night and day.
    I will never own a trailer any where near this weight with drum brakes again. No way, no how !!!


    I look forward to seeing how it performs on a longer journey later this month.

    If you're trying to decide whether to do this conversion, I can tell you that I would do it all over again; Even if it took twice the time to complete!

    If you have questions, fire away!
    Welcome to the disc brake believers club! I've tried many different kinds of trailers. I agree, for smaller trailers (utility, box, etc) drum brakes are just fine, but when moving up a few tons in weight, I'll have disc brakes on my trailers. We had our 320MKS converted from drum to disc when we got back from picking it up, best investment inn this coach yet.

    Sent from my phone using Tapatalk
    Mark & Mary. Currently hailing from New Mexico. Hopefully full timing in late 2022.
    Current camper: Purchased a 2021 DG Reflection 320MKS!
    Current Rig: 2019 Ford F350 SD Crew Cab, w/8' box, Lariat, SRW, 6.7l Diesel

  3. #3
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    To be fair, only half your drum brakes were working. Makes me wonder how many upgrade TV because of misadjusted brakes. I jacked up the trailer at the dealer and checked to make sure they were adjusted properly before driving off the lot. Guess I should check again before this next trip.
    2021 Imagine 2600RB + 2017 MBZ GLS450

  4. #4
    Big Traveler geotex1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbphillips View Post
    To be fair, only half your drum brakes were working. Makes me wonder how many upgrade TV because of misadjusted brakes. I jacked up the trailer at the dealer and checked to make sure they were adjusted properly before driving off the lot. Guess I should check again before this next trip.
    Personally, not here. I'm religious about maintenance, and it is no comparison IMO between adjusted drums and discs. Can drums do the job? Certainly. Do they do it well? No. There are so many arguments pro and con, which really all boil down to the cost being a tough pill. I bet there would be no debate if the industry just made them standard. When you sit back and read the anecdotal justifications because the points attempting to be made are from folks who argue how drums are used on "x" with no understanding how their application on that "x" is nothing like their camper other than both use shoes and a drum... When you appreciate the difference is when you've towed the same rig, both ways. The panic stop Nikki and I had to make last year on I95 after the Bethpage Rally was worth every dollar and hour of my time spent on the conversion. However, where they shine, for me, is different:

    1) simple visual inspection of brake condition every move;
    2) upsized for the much more robust outer bearing;
    3) can literally buy the pads at any auto parts store; and,
    4) dissipation of heat is faster/more efficient.

    All in all, they're an option. A personal choice. Maybe zero need for the 2-hour one-way tow, weekend camper, but those towing thousands and 10s of thousands of miles each year have different demands and concerns.
    Last edited by geotex1; 05-12-2021 at 10:34 AM.
    Rob & Nikki + Cloverfield
    2020 Grand Design Solitude S-Class 3350RL
    2015 RAM 3500 Longhorn Laramie Crew Cab, Long Bed, 4x4 Dually Cummins/AISIN

    Mountains of Pennsylvania

  5. #5
    Site Team D2Reid's Avatar
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    Brake fade is what initially sold me on disk brakes. I drive a lot in the mountains and wanted the brake system that was least susceptible to overheating causing the brakes to fade. Then like @bfs673 I was impressed by the stopping power of the disks brakes.

    With drum brakes I was having to replace my truck brakes every so often. That ended when I went to disk brakes.

    Needless to say I am in the pro-disk brake club and will never go back to drum brakes on a trailer.
    Dallas
    2017 Momentum 376TH, 2019 Ford F450, Dual Rear Wheel, 4x4, diesel.
    2015 Harley-Davidson Street, XG750

  6. #6
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    Would the upgrade done by GD at the factory be worth the money ? Are the factory upgrades not good quality ?
    2013 Ford Eco Boost CC ( previous)
    2016 Chevy Silverado 2500HD
    2019 Reflection 297 RSTS

  7. #7
    Big Traveler geotex1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by papermakermd View Post
    Would the upgrade done by GD at the factory be worth the money ? Are the factory upgrades not good quality ?
    Nothing wrong with what they are using at the factory, and they've got warranty coverage. The two big shortcomings of the factory discs are that they use pads you can only get from the axle manufacturer and the rotors are not coated or treated for corrosion resistance.
    Rob & Nikki + Cloverfield
    2020 Grand Design Solitude S-Class 3350RL
    2015 RAM 3500 Longhorn Laramie Crew Cab, Long Bed, 4x4 Dually Cummins/AISIN

    Mountains of Pennsylvania

  8. #8
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    Thanks geotex1 good info to know !
    2013 Ford Eco Boost CC ( previous)
    2016 Chevy Silverado 2500HD
    2019 Reflection 297 RSTS

  9. #9
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    I converted my Momentum 398m immediately after purchase, took about 6 hours. Replaced the entire axle to 8k with the disc's already installed. I would never go back. I tow with a 350 dually and have been thru the mountains 8-10 times. About 45k on the trailer and I replaced my truck brakes for the first time at 125k. I would never tow a multi ton trailer with electric brakes after experiencing hydraulics for the last 6 years.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbphillips View Post
    To be fair, only half your drum brakes were working. Makes me wonder how many upgrade TV because of misadjusted brakes. I jacked up the trailer at the dealer and checked to make sure they were adjusted properly before driving off the lot. Guess I should check again before this next trip.
    I agree a miss-adjustment likely caused the uneven wear. I've inspected each season (only 3), and this is the first year a difference was noted; to the point two units completely destroyed and the other side with no issues.
    So much for "Nev-R-Adjust". Appears to have worked just as well as their ez lube axles (Had my issues with that as well).

    I've had other trailers where I've adjusted the drum brakes, and even properly adjusted, good working hardware, they are still inadequate in my personal opinion. They work, but not nearly to the level of the discs.
    Others opinion may vary.
    2018 Solitude 344gk
    2021 Ram 3500 SRW

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