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Old 01-15-2004, 05:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Need quick tips for finding brake short

I recently started having an intermittent brake short on my trailer (brakes cut out and red light on controller comes on).

The truck to controller harness has been checked and is okay, and I can't imagine the truck wiring having any issues ('03 Chevy with factory tow package and harness plug-in under the dash).

I have never messed with electric trailer brakes before. I know the basics for trouble-shooting electrical issues, but any tips on what to do/look for first would be appreciated.
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Old 01-15-2004, 07:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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When mine had this prblem it was in the trailer plug. The wires were stripped a little too long and were shorting against other posts. Check there and also check the length of the trailer wiring for it rubbing through the insulation
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Old 01-15-2004, 07:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I've had the magnet wires inside the drums contact the drum, wear through the insulation and short out. It's an intermittent short.... as I hit bumbs that shake things, the short comes and goes. Had to pull the drums, tape up the bare spot and route the wires better to take care of the short.
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Old 01-15-2004, 06:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I had one that wore the wires where it went into the axle from side to side.

I would say like suggested, look for a bare wire or a magnet.

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Old 01-16-2004, 05:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Think I found the problem.

First of all I was a little disappointed after closely inspecting the wiring on this trailer....Kauffman from N. Carolina. ALL of the wire connections are done with scotch-lock connectors (the type that just smashes through the insulation). None of them are sealed and there are tons of loose wire ends hanging all over the place, and all of them already have the green corrosion starting in them and the trailer is only about 4 months old. I'm going to call the company and complain.

At least it made it a little easier to diagnose the problem since I could just unhook the wires going into each wheel until the short went away. The right rear brake was shorting out and after removal of the hub/drum assembly the wire was rubbing on the inner edge of the hub.

One thing I noted was that it would not short out in reverse but hadn't noticed this before because I usually always turn the brakes down when backing up. This is a good indication that a wire is rubbing on another rotating part.
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Old 01-16-2004, 06:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Old 01-16-2004, 07:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Scotch-locks are the work of the devil himself...

I've never heard anything bad about Kaufman trailers... bummer, that's a big let down that they do their wiring that way.

At least they weld them strong!
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Old 01-16-2004, 10:08 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Yep, other than the wiring it's a pretty nice trailer. I'm going to check out my buddy's Kaufmann that's a couple of years old and see how it's set up.

I sent them a rather lengthy e-mail earlier today, so I'll see if I get any response. Chances are I'll just have to bite the bullet and do the wiring myself (solder and heat-shrink). If I catch it early than I should just be able to cut out the scotch-locks and solder the wires together.
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Old 01-16-2004, 12:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Very rarely will you find a trailer that isn't wired with Scotch Locks. It is too costly and labor intensive to solder and heat shrink every connection when you build trailers on an assembly line.

Even the $100,000 horse trailers on our lot have Scotch Locks in the wiring.
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Old 01-16-2004, 01:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I wouldn't mind a few Scotch locks but this thing has almost 20 of them between 2 side markers, 2 taillights, 4 wheel breaks and breakaway kit.

Also it wouldn't be as bad if they made sure the ends of the wire terminated inside the connector instead of having exposed wires 2" long hanging out of them.

Is this normal, or am I just be too picky I come from a background of working in the OEM automotive industry where scotch-locks are a definite no-no except for temporary installations.
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Old 01-16-2004, 01:30 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yeah... That's alot of Scotch Locks. I've also seen a couple of wiring systems burn up because of the 2" of wire making contact with a ground.
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