Easy 5th Wheeler handbrake

Discussion in 'Fifth Wheelers' started by PaulJaq, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. PaulJaq

    PaulJaq Read Only Funster

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    Hi All,

    We are totally new to 5 Wheelers as of a few weeks ago and now have a Keystone cougar 2006 276 EFS.

    After trawling through the forums it is time to ask questions.

    I've seen the recent posts on handbrakes and it seems the expanding chocks even with a steel wire fixing them to the chassis will not keep vosa happy.

    I have also seen the full conversion inc. new back plates and levers / handles. Which I'd rather not go to.

    I run an engineering fabrication company and have built all sorts of race and rally and kit cars also modified microlight aircraft etc etc, hence have the facilities and skills - with a little advice to build mu own handbrake system.

    I've seen a post that maybe niche add a hanbrake system - levers / handles / cables will be straight forward, there is a note that they drill a hole in the leading brake shoe and connect the cable end to it to operate as a handbrake.

    Has anyone more details on this and I'll have a look at doing this, or I'll take the wheels and drums off and have to figure it out for myself.

    I know there is the 18% hill rule for handbrakes - but something that looks the business and does apply some braking force should do.

    I may engineer something up that is a simple extension of the expanding chocks - take them or some thing similar, mount it on a frame fixed to the chassis so it sits there during towing clear of the tyres, with the operating lever connected or modified to a cable / lever system to a single front handle. Pull the handle - operates both expanding chocks - job done, it's mechanical, it is fixed to the 5th wheeler, it is operated by a single handle at the front, it should hold on 18% hill.

    I'd rather just do the cables and drilling the leading brake shoe though. Any info. on this - photos of it would be great!!:Wink:

    Cheers Paul
     
  2. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    hi.if you do have conventional brake shoes .have a word with peak trailers in bidford on avon . they may be able to sell you back plates with all the fixings .
    or you maybe able to fabricate your own .
    mine uses peak axles with cable operated brakes . could or was originally rod operated . i changed my axles and decided to go to cables as i found i soon damaged the rods when off roading with the trailer .(dont ask).
    i think some of the electric brakes may have trouble with their systems .
    certainly the peak system as been around along time . mine is an 87 trailer . they built them years before that.
    mine also uses air to operate the cables . some use a linear actuator (solenoid ).to operate a cable system . worked off the brake electric system .
    in 2009 2x solid beam axles including every thing right out to the wheel nuts were only 491quid plus vat. that included the cables as well. i also changed the leaf springs .2pr of 5 leaf springs were only 164 quid plus vat .so all things can be sorted .
    not the cheapest thing to play with . i must not drive through rivers etc .
    oh well ,wonder what i will break next time ?
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
  3. chatter

    chatter Read Only Funster

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    My unit is supplied by Niche and yes it is fitted with a handbrake + cables but i have not looked at how it is fitted.
    They have always fitted handbrakes to their units even the first unit i had which was a 1999 model had a handbrake.They use an engineering/fabrication company round the corner from themselves and the same company also fits the hitches for them.
     
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  4. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    I see a flaw with expanding chocks........a flat tyre/slow puncture while parked.

    OK, it may only swing to one side if on a slope as the other side will still be applied but this may be why VOSA wont approve them.
     
  5. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    chocks are chocks .
    why not fit a proper handbrake cost is almost zilch at the factory.
     
  6. matamoros

    matamoros Funster

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    Would agree with you fully on the last point, I have looked on the Dexter axle website and the difference between a backplate fitted with a parking brake mechanism and one without is aprox $30 so $60 on a new unit is negligible and no hassle over here.I can't really understand why new units ordered with internal specifications set by the importers are not fitted with the parkbrake mechanism then the ratchet & cable could be very simply fitted over here.
     
  7. matamoros

    matamoros Funster

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    I see flaws with ratchet & cable mechanisms: cables fray & break
    Ratchets are easily knocked off(malicously?)
    My non compliant? mechanism can be locked in place with a padlock.:BigGrin:
     
  8. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    i would say lots of artics use cable operated handbrakes . is there really a problem .regular servicing and 6 week checks should find any frayed cables .ideally you dont un hitch on a slope . if you do its eu law to use chocks etc if over 3,500kg anyway on a slope . as in proper chocks and a handbrake.
    i must admit the handbrake isnt really a problem ,bet most never use them anyway .
    we must have them because the rules say so. unfortunately in america they dont have the same rules .
    we are here not there. i understand the theory of the adgustable chocks but i cant accept that its a handbrake . perhaps someone will put in writting they are . but untill then i dont think they can be classed as a handbrake . only my interpretation . not meant to discredit anyone . rules in uk can be interpreted many ways . they may be all different yet all correct .
    ratchet and cables system could be fitted in the factory at almost zilch as well.
    i was amazed when i contacted peak trailers . they supplied my original axles to lynton trailers . i up rated mine from 1500kg axles with 45mmsquare solid steel axles to 50mm and 1800kg axles .at the time the 1500kg axles were only 186quid .thats axle back plates shoes bearings drum even new wheel nuts .incredible value .
    any one thats interested in building restoring trailers should have a look at peak trailers .possibly the biggest trailer parts suppliers in the uk .
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
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  9. matamoros

    matamoros Funster

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    :reel::BigGrin:

    No six weekly checks on 5ers though !!:Wink:
     
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  10. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    if you were to take yours where i go its daily checks . ha ha .
    in fact that pic on my avatar is just after i got pulled in the river .
    bent the back axle a treat .had to tie it to a strong tree run chains etc back through under the truck and keep reversing till the wheels looked straight .
    got home from morocco with it . two years before i snapped a couple of leaf springs . bodged in maroc had new made in spain .but it was nice to have new when i changed the axles . and half the price i had to pay in spain . even with me fitting them .
    i really dont know how my trailer sticks it but it does .
     
  11. Landy lover

    Landy lover Funster

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    We have a Niche trailer and I can assure you they do not drill holes in the backplates and leading shoe - they have the correct backplate fitted in manufacture and infact my trailer has the correct back plates fitted to BOTH axles. They do not fit a handbrake at the USA factory but as soon as they are in the UK they are fitted with a cable operated handbrake to the rear axle only and yes they do work efficently - pull the handbrake on and you are going no where. If you are disconnecting on anything but flat and level ground then I personally would always chock the wheels as an added safety precaution - nothing is 100% so better safety than problems.
     
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  12. matamoros

    matamoros Funster

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    I agree with you totally on complying with EU and UK legislation regarding parking brakes and the acceptability of my type of parking brake may or may not comply I do not want to discuss that again.

    However you seem to be saying that a chock is safer than the parking brake, in most of the EU lgv's have to carry chocks, like you if I parked on a slope I would use additional chocks around the wheel

    I realise that we have to comply with UK legislation and they have different rules in the USA but as far as I am aware there are no widespread reports of accidents caused by the non fitment of parking brakes, presumably everyone uses chocks.

    If I thought for one moment that my arrangement posed a safety issue to anyone I would have had the backplates and ratchet etc fitted immediately.
     
  13. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    many countries in the eu have a directive that any vehicle over 3,500kg gvw must put chocks wedges to stop any rolling away on sloped parking places .. you cant rely on tyres against kerbs etc . new vehicles and trailers come with chocks as a standard equipment in many cases .
    must say i used to see them on the artic trailers and think thats usefull took me a while to realise they werer compulsory equipment .
     
  14. Landy lover

    Landy lover Funster

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    No what I am saying is that having spent £30k plus all my kit inside it for the sake of a couple of quid on some good plastic chocks I am not going to take the million to 1 risk that there might be a problem - to me just a belt and braces when on a slope.

    As far as whether or not you have the handbrake fitted is very much your choice - I know that if I am pulled by VOSA they have no axe to grind - if one is pulled with no handbrake then you will more than likely get a prohibition order placed on the rig until a handbrake is fitted - IMHO far better to address the issue in your own time before that happens rather than having a fixed time to sort it ( if they are kind about 10 days and then to a test centre to get the prohibition removed ) - there is of course a fair chance that you will never get stopped.
     
  15. Dodgy

    Dodgy Read Only Funster

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    Easy 5th Wheel Handbrake

    I was following this with interest, I also have a Cougar without a regulation

    handbrake I am wondering if Paul managed to arrive at a solution

    ie DIY or found a company that is able fit a required handbrake

    Any advice would be appreciated

    Thanks Phil
     
  16. Sundowners

    Sundowners Funster Life Member

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    It's not a major job to fit a handbrake----Paul at Cross Country fits them as a routine to all the 5ers they import-------give them a ring to see what they would charge to do the whole job :thumb::thumb:
    Nigel & Pamala
     
  17. slobadoberbob

    slobadoberbob Read Only Funster

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    I even carry commercial chocks

    I carry two commercial truck chocks in my RV... the hand brake is OK, but would not rely on it.. yes the parking part of the automatic will hold it, but I still have two substantial chocks to make sure it does not go anywhere. As said by Bill belt and braces. ... better to be over the top rather than run any risk.

    Bob
     
  18. chatter

    chatter Read Only Funster

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    Interesting to note that Niche,Cross Country, the fithwheel.co. all fit manual handbrakes to their units.
     
  19. aba

    aba

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    i have followed with an interest in this and i have to ask the question about new cars that are fitted with an electronic parking brake is this not something similar?????

    ok so a new car most likely uses the electronic bit to hold the brake off whilst driving so what happens if this fails at 70mph on a motorway and the parking brake comes on???????
    and where is the mechanical part to this that satisfies VOSA????????
    or have they just not got around to it yet??
    theres still too many overweight motorhomes and vans to deal with i suppose.
     
  20. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    there are lots of issues involving trailers caravans motor homes etc . vosa arent the evil beings folk make them out to be . they just every now and again have purges . i still say motorhomes with garages are going to be checked soon . it will happen as they arent m,homes but living vans and many are moted incorrectly for the use they are getting .
    but wait and hear the squeals when it starts .
     
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