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Old 11-23-2017, 06:46 PM   #1
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Question Lack of brakes on new 2018 3901WB

Just picked up our new unit the other day and driving from Cinci OH to Atlanta was a thrill as it doesn't appear I have any brakes on the unit. The unit has the MoRyde IS set up We are pulling it with a 2012 Ram 3500 Dually. Controller set all the way up to 10 on Heavy trailer setting. Didn't have issues with our old 2012 Bighorn with drum brakes.

Any help will be greatly appreciated as we will be leaving Atlanta heading to Dallas in a few days.

Does the tow/haul need to be switched on to for the brakes to work?

I have felt the Hydrastar brake actuator and the box felt warm not sure if that should be. Any thoughts? When I pull the release pin box safety break away cable the trailer brakes lock up the trailer. That's when I get a crazy noise at the axles and the box get's super hot. Rolling at a low speed I don't seem to get any trailer braking at all. Could it be a problem with the Hydrastar?

What else could be wrong or should I be doing something more?

Looking forward to learning more from you experienced Redwood Awesome Owners!!!! Make it an Outstanding Day!!!
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Old 11-23-2017, 07:44 PM   #2
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I don't have a Ram, hopefully some who do will chime in. But the question on the tow/haul I can answer, no it has nothing to do with the trailer brakes but I would highly recommend using it anytime you're towing, it adjust shift points & works in conjunction with the exhaust brake if your truck is equipped with one.
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Old 11-23-2017, 11:07 PM   #3
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I did not have any brakes when I picked in my 39mb in 2016. got it home and removed the tires and hub and found that they were not adjusted correctly. after I did the adjustment brakes worked great and have ever since. You don't need to remove the tires like I did. take a flash lite under your rig and find the rubber grommet on the dust cove @ 6 o'clock. When you adjust the brakes look in the little hole @ 9 & 3 o'clock with the flash lite and you will be able to see if your turning the adjuster in the right direction . I used a pint can opener that I got @ home depot it worked better than the screw driver. Hope this helps you.
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Old 11-24-2017, 12:19 AM   #4
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I did not have any brakes when I picked in my 39mb in 2016. got it home and removed the tires and hub and found that they were not adjusted correctly. after I did the adjustment brakes worked great and have ever since. You don't need to remove the tires like I did. take a flash lite under your rig and find the rubber grommet on the dust cove @ 6 o'clock. When you adjust the brakes look in the little hole @ 9 & 3 o'clock with the flash lite and you will be able to see if your turning the adjuster in the right direction . I used a pint can opener that I got @ home depot it worked better than the screw driver. Hope this helps you.
It sounds like he has disc brakes. To the OP, good luck dealing with Colerain on any mechanical problems.

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Old 11-24-2017, 12:26 AM   #5
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Don't know about Rams, but with GMs (2011 to 2015 or 16)they require the CAM Module installed to fake out the built in controller into thinking it's dealing with standard electric brakes. RWs with factory Disc brakes don't come with the CAM module. I was lucky when we picked up our 39MB that I was carrying a spare CAM which I installed before leaving the Dealer.
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Old 11-24-2017, 01:31 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Piercebld View Post
Just picked up our new unit the other day and driving from Cinci OH to Atlanta was a thrill as it doesn't appear I have any brakes on the unit. The unit has the MoRyde IS set up We are pulling it with a 2012 Ram 3500 Dually. Controller set all the way up to 10 on Heavy trailer setting. Didn't have issues with our old 2012 Bighorn with drum brakes.

Any help will be greatly appreciated as we will be leaving Atlanta heading to Dallas in a few days.

Does the tow/haul need to be switched on to for the brakes to work?

I have felt the Hydrastar brake actuator and the box felt warm not sure if that should be. Any thoughts? When I pull the release pin box safety break away cable the trailer brakes lock up the trailer. That's when I get a crazy noise at the axles and the box get's super hot. Rolling at a low speed I don't seem to get any trailer braking at all. Could it be a problem with the Hydrastar?

What else could be wrong or should I be doing something more?

Looking forward to learning more from you experienced Redwood Awesome Owners!!!! Make it an Outstanding Day!!!
I have 2013 Ram 3500 dually. My built-in brake controller works well stopping my 2015 38RL with factory discs. But I had some significant brake issues....
1. No, you do not need to have the tow/haul button set for the brakes to work.
2. Does the truck "see" the trailer? Ie., does it says it is connected when you look at the brake controller screen?
3. Have someone step on the brake and listen to the actuator in the battery compartment. Does it make a noise? For how long? It should pump up the hydraulics and stop.

My 38RL's disc brakes were delivered with one of the brake lines cut too long. It made a loop near the right rear tire and rubbed against it. Eventually, it opened up a hole in the line and I lost all brakes between Knoxville and Asheville. I had no idea what the problem was.
Fortunately, my Ram had big discs and they were able to get us through the trip back home to Pinehurst. Stopped twice at Camping Worlds but neither wanted to look at it.
Ended up taking it to a Camping World in Garner, NC 90 min. from home once I found the problem. They told me it needed special brake lines that had to be ordered from Crossroads. After a couple months of them blaming the factory, I called directly and found you did not need anything special and any auto parts store could supply the line required. I finally got my rig back, but driving home I noticed there was no braking that I could feel. I took it to a truck repair guy, who crawled under the rig, disconnected the new lines and found them dry. Needed a quart of brake fluid to charge the lines again. Now it all works fine!!!!!!
So, check your brake fluid and make sure the lines have been bled. I believe you should hear something at the wheels when the actuator is pumping. Also, check to make sure the wiring from the 7 pin connector to the RV is correct.
Best of luck!
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Old 11-24-2017, 01:50 AM   #7
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Thanks for the insights.

I know when we unplugged the safety breakaway we had noise at the actuator and the rear brakes. And I couldn't move the trailer at all.

Sounds like I need to look at the compatibility of the truck controller and grounding.

mhs4771 What is a CAM Module and were does it go and what how does it get connected?

Just read on the Hydrastar website though not to hold the brake pedal down for long period as in stopped traffic as it could overheat and ruin the actuator -- good luck traveling this week without hitting traffic, lol. Maybe I overheating it sitting for a wreck to clear. Wish I was told this by the dealer.

Tomorrow could prove interesting trying to get it fixed on a holiday weekend.
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Old 11-24-2017, 02:48 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by mhs4771 View Post
RWs with factory Disc brakes don't come with the CAM module.
Mine did....
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Old 11-24-2017, 02:56 AM   #9
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I second what Cal said about checking the wiring at the pin box. That is where my issue was and the truck could not see the trailer was connected. I hate to admit it but I drove mine for a year without the emergency brake working when you pull the pin.

When I changed trucks, my truck (GM) could not see the trailer. I spent hours and hours trying to find a problem with the internal controller in the truck. My Redwood left the factory with the wiring wrong. I found the problem in the junction box at the pin when tracing each wire.

I don’t know how RAM does theirs but GM trucks say “Trailer Connected” in the Driver information center. Until you see that, NO BRAKES. I connected to another trailer that had drum brakes and all was well with the truck.
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Old 11-24-2017, 03:16 AM   #10
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I had a very similar experience. I picked up my ‘18 3901WB in June. I have a ‘17 Ram 3500. The problem was little to no brake fluid in the Hydrostar actuator,
resulting in air in the brake lines. Flushing (and bleeding) the brakes fixed the issue.

My RW has factory disc brakes an a Cam module was installed at the factory. The Ram doesn’t need the Cam, it will activate the brakes with or without it.

Like RW Cal said: Check your brake fluid level!

Also make sure your brake controller is set on “ heavy electric over hydraulic”

If you do have air in the brake lines and you want to bleed them yourself be careful. The brake fluid reservoir barely holds enough fluid to bleed one wheel at a time. You must refill after every bleed operation, especially if you get a lot of air.
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Old 11-24-2017, 04:11 AM   #11
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Since the brakes lock up when I pull the safety breakaway cable wouldn't that require the brake fluid to be correct and no air in the lines??

Thanks again for the insights as I'm lost on this one.
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Old 11-24-2017, 04:22 AM   #12
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Since the brakes lock up when I pull the safety breakaway cable wouldn't that require the brake fluid to be correct and no air in the lines??
That makes total sense to me. That said, it is very easy to check the fluid level.
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Old 11-24-2017, 04:23 AM   #13
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Well “maybe”. If there is absolutely no fluid then I would say the brakes wouldn’t work when you pulled the breakaway cable. But if the fluid level was low, like mine was, then the brakes would eventually activate. To be more specific, in my case when I pressed the brake pedal it took several seconds for the trailer brakes to activate. Now, since I blead the brakes, the trailer brakes activate immediately when I press the pedal.

Is there a possibility that several seconds have passed between the time you pull the breakaway cable then “test” the trailer brakes?

Either way it would be a wise thing to check the fluid level. After all mine came from the factory with almost no fluid.
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Old 11-24-2017, 12:54 PM   #14
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When MorRyde installed my Disc Brakes, I had a 2012 GMC 3500 and they installed a CAM Module (Which is actually a resistor to create electrical load for the brake controller) so the GMC Brake Controller would sense the brakes were connected and work correctly.
Recently I replaced my GMC with a 2018 RAM. The Ram has 4 brake settings on it, Light Electric Brakes, Heavy Electric Brakes, Light Electric over Hydraulic Brakes, Heavy Electric over Hydraulic Brakes.
I set mine to Heavy (over 10,000 lb. trailer) Electric over Hydraulic Brakes and the disc brakes work great. Set mine to a gain setting of 6.5 and the trailer stops very smooth and quickly.
Like other said, the truck must show "Trailer Connected", if I press the manual trailer brake lever on the dash and the trailer is not connected, a message comes up and says "Trailer not Connected"
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Old 11-24-2017, 02:05 PM   #15
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Thanks for the insight. Where does the CAM Module go and were can you buy them? Is it something a none techie can install?

I'm going to check the fluid levels first and bleed but it sounds like this would be the second items to look into if the fluid level is OK.
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Old 11-24-2017, 02:37 PM   #16
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The CAM Module is a small unit with two wires on it, it connects on the signal wires to the brakes controller to create more resistance on the circuit so the truck sees the brake load of a typical electric brakes system with magnets.
It is a simple install and is a easy DIY project.
They are available from most trailer supply companies or brake controller suppliers.
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Old 11-24-2017, 02:41 PM   #17
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Fluid is about 3/8"-1/2" below the top of the reservoir. I changed the setting on the controller to EOH so once the trucks warms up we'll give that a try.

Does the fluid level sound OK or does it need to be filled all the way up? I don't see a fill elevation marked on it.
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Old 11-24-2017, 02:49 PM   #18
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Piercebid - give me a call, I can probably help. Ron 405-885-7009


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Old 11-24-2017, 05:55 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by xtasee View Post
Mine did....
X2 ours did as well.

Ours didn't work when we picked it up either, way back in 2013. They replaced CAM module, the actuator, and eventually found the wiring was wrong in the pin box. That was a week long adventure and a flight home because we couldn't take delivery.
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Old 11-24-2017, 06:03 PM   #20
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The CAM Module is a small unit with two wires on it, it connects on the signal wires to the brakes controller to create more resistance on the circuit so the truck sees the brake load of a typical electric brakes system with magnets.
It is a simple install and is a easy DIY project.
They are available from most trailer supply companies or brake controller suppliers.
I have attached a pic from my 2015 38RL showing the CAM module, which is the small metal box above the actuator. It came installed with my factory disc brakes. The info on the CAM can be found in the attached pdf for Hydrastar.
Also, see https://www.truckspring.com/trailer-...n-diagram.aspx for the 7 pin wiring diagram.
Crossroads sent me a couple elex diagrams that may be helpful someday.
Unfortunately, Ram dealers know very little about brake controllers and RV service guys don't know much about actuators.
Another thing I found out about the 2013 RAM brake controller is that it does not put out a pure DC voltage to the 7 pin connector's blue wire. It puts out a 12V pulse-width modulated signal. To really diagnose a brake controller you'd need an oscilloscope, rather than a DC voltmeter, but you can get a go/no go decision if you put a solid +12V on the blue wire (pin #2) with the -12V on the pin#1 ground. If the actuator makes a loud sound, the wiring is correct from the connector to the RV's brake actuator and the problem may be in the RAM somewhere.
Good luck!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_0825.jpg (184.5 KB, 11 views)
Attached Files
File Type: pdf elex diag with disc brakes.pdf (355.4 KB, 7 views)
File Type: pdf elex drawing.pdf (229.6 KB, 8 views)
File Type: pdf Hydrastar® Trailer Brake Actuators| Cargo Towing Solutions.pdf (284.5 KB, 8 views)
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