When your trailer brakes have reached the end of their life cycle and it’s time to replace your axle brake shoes, you need to know how. It’s not an easy job and can be a little frustrating if you don’t understand why it’s taking so long, but if you take your time, replace each component in the correct order and follow our steps below we're confident you'll get there in the end. Trailer axles operate at high speeds and under extreme load conditions. They also experience repeated jolts and sudden stops. These challenges put great stress on brake systems - even on brand new trailers. When they reach the end of their life cycle, axles require replacement as well as reconditioning to ensure reliable operation for many years to come.
The brake shoes are the most important part of the trailer axle braking system. They’re responsible for applying friction to help slow and stop the trailer as well as protecting the axle in case of a runaway. The brake shoes wear down over time, which ultimately leads to a loss of braking performance. So, when it’s time to replace them, you need to replace them all at once - not just one or two that are worn out. And there’s no easy way around this job! That might sound daunting but there is a lot that goes into replacing these components and we'll show you how through our step-by-step instructions below.
3500 lb axle brake shoes are typically steel with a zinc-plated finish. They are long, narrow and have a large contact surface. These axles are used in trailers with engines up to 3000 lbs. The brakes on these axles may need replacing when the hubs terminate at a point just ahead of the shoe (see Figure 1). Figure 1
The first thing you'll need to do is figure out what the brake shoes size is. If the old ones have a number stamped on them, that's usually the size. Next, you'll need to determine if they're an open or closed design. Open designs are not as strong and will more easily wear down. Closed designs are more efficient at stopping and last longer. If your axle has a closed design, you'll also need to replace the shims as well If your axle has an open design, you don't need to replace anything other than the brake shoes themselves and can skip right ahead to step two.
You can replace your axle brake shoes in less than 2 hours. Here’s how: • Remove the wheel from your trailer and set it aside. • Unscrew the cap on the wheel bearing that's nearest to the brake shoe being replaced. • For each axle of your trailer, remove the wheel nut and wheel washer under the hubcap. • Using a 3/8-inch ratchet and a 7/8-inch socket, remove any existing brake shoes and remove their backing plate by turning them counterclockwise (as seen from above) until they're completely loosened up. • Using a slotted screwdriver or needle nose pliers, loosen each of the three bolts located at each end of the brake shoe.
If using a screwdriver, make sure you have one with a slot in it if you don't use this method then you will need to use needle nose pliers to get into each of these three slots on both sides of the brake shoe where there are bolts inside securing it. • Once all three bolts are loose, slide out your old brake shoe and replace it with a new one in its place - make sure that its facing down towards your open hubcap so you can tighten it up with ease later. • Place one hand on top of each of the three bolts that come out from inside the brake shoe and turn them clockwise (as seen from above) until they're tightened back up into their original position
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