Electric to Disc Brake Conversion

It has taken the trailer industry a while to catch up to the automotive industry, but we woke up! Disc brake conversion can bring any trailer into the current century.

When a Disc brake conversion is completed, the owner eliminates the inherent deficiencies of electric drum brakes. Drum brakes are difficult to control and are not accurate as they are prone to brake fading. Stopping a heavy trailer can be a challenge. By converting to Disc brakes, stopping time is improved by 50%.


2015 Ford F-150

For those of you considering the purchase of a 2015 Ford F-150, please be advised that the new beds are aluminum. While this does lighten the truck by 700 pounds, creating better gas mileage, the aluminum beds have posed a problem in the towing industry for those folks using Goosenecks and 5th Wheels. All towing products are steel and when used on an aluminum bed it can, in time, cause a reaction called galvanic corrosion.

The e-coating on the bed itself as well as the towing product will help avoid rapid deterioration. Portsmouth Trailer Supply has gone a step further by adding a polypropylene tape which will help create an extra barrier between the hitch rails and the bed of the truck.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 757-487-2934, email us at cs@ptrailerusa.com, or stop by and see us at 3227 South Military Highway, Chesapeake, Virginia 23323


How to Select a Brake Control

The brake control is one of the most important inventions to come to the towing industry. It allows the driver to safely traverse the countryside, towing a large trailer load, without having to worry about being pushed down the side of a mountain by the weight of his or her trailer.

Inertia- and Time-Based Brake Controls

There are many different brake controls available on the market, but all can be classified into two activation types: inertia-based activation and time-based activation. CURT offer two of each type. Th Triflex and Reflex are inertia-activated controls, while the Discovery and the Venturer are time-activated controls. Knowing the difference between inertia-based and time-based brake controls is key for best meeting your customer's needs.

Inertia-based activation

Inertia-activated brake controls use accelerometers to measure the change in velocity of the tow vehicle when braking on multiple grades. An accelerometer is basically a highly accurate digital version of a pendulum that can measure inertia on more than one axis. The advantage of inertia-based activation is that once calibrated, the control can output the perfect amount of power needed to come to a smooth stop in any towing situation.

Time-based activation

Time-activated brake controls measure the amount of time the driver's foot is on the brake pedal and apply brake pressure to the trailer brakes accordingly. The longer the brake pedal is pressed, the stronger the signal will be that is sent to the trailer brakes. The advantage of time-based activation is that there is little calibration needed during the initial setup of the control.


Bearing Protectors vs. Posi-Lube Caps vs. Standard Dust Caps

There are 3 types of “caps” for your hubs; bearing protectors, posi-lube caps, and standard dust caps. Here are the features of each to help you choose what is best for your situation.

Bearing Protectors

Even with a newly or “perfectly” lubricated hub, friction causes the hubs to become hot. With all trailers, this can cause major issues. For boat trailers, the rapid change in temperature from hot to cool during launching and loading of your boat causes a suction that draws water and debris into the hub where it will corrode your bearings and potentially cause irreparable damage to the entire hub. There is a similar issue with other types of trailers, but mainly with the ones that are rarely used. When a trailer sits unused, moisture that has built up during the “cool down” period, sits inside the hubs causing rust and pitting.

When grease is pumped into the bearing protector using a grease gun, the spring-loaded piston will move outward to indicate when to stop filling. Due to the constant pressure provided by this piston feature, there is nowhere for water and debris to go when the hubs are submerged, ensuring a longer bearing life.

Before using bearing protectors for the first time, we suggest that you do a complete inspection of your hubs and all of its components. You will want to remove the hubs and check both bearings, races, and seals. You will want to look for pitting, rust, or anything that look suspicious. Check the seals for dry-rot. If you are unsure, it is best to simply replace the seals. Clean the hubs and all components of all the old grease.
Bearing Protector

When purchasing bearing protectors, it is suggested that you also purchase a cover. The cover slips over the protector and keeps any grease that is expelled from the protector during from getting all over your tires, wheels, or trailer.

Posi-lube cap

Spindle with
Zerk Fitting
A posi-lube caps are the option directly between bearing protectors and standard dust caps because they have slight features of each. A posi-lube cap is used when the spindle on your axle has a zerk fitting. This fitting connects to a channel that runs from the front of the hub to the grease seal in the back. When grease is pumped into the fitting, it flows all the way from front to back ensuring the best coverage and protection. This type of spindle is the recommended option and is the only option we offer in all of our on-site custom made axles.
Posi-lube Cap
and Plug

The posi-lube cap has a removable rubber plug that when “popped”
out allows for access to the zerk fitting without having to remove
the cap each time.

Dust Cap

Standard Dust Caps

These dust caps offer basic protection, but can become quite frustrating after having to remove them each time to perform maintenance on your hubs. During removal you run the risk of denting or damaging the dust cap and having to replace them each time.

Installation and Removal

Before installation, make sure that your hub is not damaged or “welled out”. To install any of the options above, hold the cap in place by a small block of wood placed flat against the cap. Gently tap around the block of wood with a hammer in a circular motion evenly along the circumference of the cap. If you notice any issues during this process stop immediately as to not cause damage. Removal is a similar process. Take your block of wood and place it against the side of your cap or protector and gently tap the block with a hammer. Continue this process switching sides of the cap, creating a “walking” action, until the cap can be easily removed.


Maintaining Your Hubs

From our friends over at Dexter Axle, here are a few tips for maintaining your hubs and bearings.

Hub Removal - Standard Bearings

Whenever the hub equipment on your axle must be removed for inspection or maintenance the following procedure should be utilized.
  1. Elevate and support the trailer unit per manufacturers’ instructions.
  2. Remove the wheel.
  3. Remove the grease cap by carefully prying progressively around the flange of the cap. If the hub is an oil lube type, then the cap can be removed by unscrewing it counterclockwise while holding the hub stationary.
  4. Remove the cotter pin from the spindle nut or, bend the locking tang to the free position. Gently pry off retainer from the nut and set aside.
  5. Unscrew the spindle nut (counterclockwise) and remove the spindle washer.
  6. Remove the hub from the spindle, being careful not to allow the outer bearing cone to fall out. The inner bearing cone will be retained by the seal.
  7. For 7,200 lb. and 8,000 lb. axles, a hub puller should be used to assist in drum removal.

Bearing Lubrication - Grease

Along with bearing adjustment, proper lubrication is essential to the proper function and reliability of your trailer axle. Bearings should be lubricated every 12 months or 12,000 miles. The method to repack bearing cones is as follows:
  1. Place a quantity of grease into the palm of your hand.
  2. Press a section of the widest end of the bearing into the outer edge of the grease pile closest to the thumb forcing grease into the interior of the bearing.
  3. Repeat this while rotating the bearing from roller to roller.
  4. Continue this process until you have the entire bearing completely filled with grease.
  5. Before reinstalling, apply a light coat of grease on the bearing cup.

Bearing Lubrication - Oil

If your axles are equipped with oil lubricated hubs, periodically check and refill the hub as necessary with a high quality hypoid gear oil to the level indicated on the clear plastic oil cap. The oil can be filled from either the oil fill hole, if present, in the hub or through the rubber plug hole in the cap itself.

Bearing Adjustment and Hub Replacement

If the hub has been removed or bearing adjustment is required, the following adjustment procedure must be followed:
  1. After placing the hub, bearings, washers, and spindle nut back on the axle spindle in reverse order as detailed in the previous section on hub removal, rotate the hub assembly slowly while tightening the spindle nut to approximately 50 lbs.-ft (12" wrench or pliers with full hand force).
  2. Then loosen the spindle nut to remove the torque. Do not rotate the hub.
  3. Finger tighten the spindle nut until just snug.
  4. Back the spindle nut out slightly until the first castellation lines up with the cotter key hole and insert the cotter pin (or locking tang).
  5. Bend over the cotter pin legs to secure the nut (or locking tang).
  6. Nut should be free to move with only restraint being the cotter pin (or locking tang).
For axles using the new nut retainer:
  1. Finger tighten the nut until just snug, align the retainer to the machined flat on the spindle and press the retainer onto the nut. The retainer should snap into place. Once in place, the retainer/nut assembly should be free to move slightly.
  2. If the nut is too tight, remove the retainer and back the nut off approximately one twelfth of a turn and reinstall the retainer. The nut should now be free to move slightly.
  3. Reinstall grease cap.

Zerk Fitting Lubrication

The procedure is as follows:
Spindle with Zerk Fitting
  1. Remove the rubber plug from the end of the grease cap.
  2. Place a standard grease gun onto the grease fitting located in the end of the spindle. Make sure the grease gun nozzle is fully engaged on the fitting.
  3. Pump grease into the fitting. The old displaced grease will begin to flow back out the cap around the grease gun nozzle.
  4. When the new clean grease is observed, remove the grease gun, wipe off any excess, and replace the rubber plug in the cap.
  5. Rotate hub or drum while adding grease.


Measuring for Replacement Doors

If you live in a mobile home, you know how frustrating it is to find information on replacing your doors. There are many ways to measure for a replacement door, but Elixir recommends that you measure your rough opening and select the replacement size which is closest. All mobile home door sizes are based on their rough opening size. If you were to remove your existing door, the opening in the wall is the rough opening (see photo to the right). That is the measurement you need.

Taking your measurements for a Combination House Type Door

In most cases you will have to take measurements prior to removing the door to avoid exposing your home to the elements. In that case, we suggest that you pull back your trim inside the home to expose the door jamb. Measure from outside of the jamb to the outside of the other jamb both in width and height. This will give you the correct rough opening. You will also need the width of your jamb, ie: 4" or 6".

Taking your measurements for a Single, Outswing Type Door

The most common mistake when measuring a mobile home door is to measure the door itself - this will result in an incorrect size. The correct way to measure a rear door if you don't know the rough opening is to measure the lid of the door (see photo at right). The lid is larger than the pan and is the side of the door that faces the outside of the home. The pan is inside the home. If you measure the lid, it will match the rough opening of the door.

Taking your measurements for a Storm Door

Storm doors use the same rough opening measurement of the combo door it will be installed upon. Do not measure the storm door but instead measure the jamb as if you were measuring a complete combo door.

Is my door left hand or right hand?

Go outside into the yard, turn around and face the door, whichever side the hinge is on, determines left hand or right hand. This is the same for rear doors, combo doors, and storm doors.

A Reminder on How to Winterize your RV

We posted this a few months back, but since it's getting colder we wanted to repost this as a reminder.

Draining the Water and Drying the Water Lines

  1. Allow all water to drain from the fresh water holding tank. To drain the water from your RV, you'll need to open what's called the "petcock."[1] Do not be tempted to drain the water heater yet -- that has to be done after you add antifreeze.[1]
  2. Drain the black and gray holding tanks. You should also flush both tanks at this time.
    • If your RV does not come equipped with a built-in system, you should clean the tanks out with a wand or a product designed to clean both of the tanks.
    • Take all the tanks' contents to your local dump station.
  3. Open any cold and hot water faucets in the RV. That includes those for the sinks, toilet and shower. If you don't, air can't come out the other end!
    • Flush your toilets a few times to make sure all the water's gone!
  4. Attach a compressed air adapter to the RV’s water lines. This is commonly known as a "blowout plug." It can be purchased at our store.
    • Technically, it's attached to the "Water Intake Fitting."
  5. Use a standard air compressor, such as one used to inflate tires, to blow air through the water lines. The air from the compressor will force any remaining water out of the lines. This isn't 100% necessary, but it helps to keep your antifreeze from becoming diluted.
    • Pressure should be 30 pounds per square inch (maximum of 50 psi).[2]
  6. Replace caps on all the drains, and close all the cold and hot water faucets. Re-close your petcock, too.
  7. Detach the compressed air adapter from the RV. And the compressor along with it! 

Adding Antifreeze to the Plumbing System

  1. Choose your method of adding antifreeze. There are three ways to do this:
    • From the inside using a water pump conversion kit.
    • From the outside with a hand pump.
    • With or without a bypass.
        • We'll be addressing the water pump with a bypass method. The science behind the pumps is the same. However, without a bypass, you just have to add much, much more antifreeze. Regardless of whether or not you have a bypass, do not drain your water heater before adding the antifreeze.
    • Disconnect the water line that connects the fresh water tank to the fresh water pump. Attach the pump upstream of the water tank. That is, the antifreeze will go in before the tank.
    • If possible, bypass your water heater. This will save you gallons and gallons of antifreeze. You don't have to do it, but it makes everything much simpler. A few RVs have them built in, but most do not. To bypass your water heater:[1] 
      • Turn off the water heater.
      • Disconnect the water supply (the above step).
      • If installing for the first time, disconnect the hot and cold lines going in and out of the water heater.
      • Connect the bypass, following the instructions on the package.
      • Close off the same hot and cold lines and open the bypass.
    • Place the disconnected end of the water line in a jug of RV antifreeze. That's the pink kind, not the green kind. The pink kind is RV antifreeze, which is GRAS -- generally regarded as safe.[1] The green kind is toxic. Not that you'd be swallowing any, but, you know, just in case.
      • Approximately 2 to 3 gallons (7.6 to 11.4 liters) of antifreeze should be enough to fill the RV’s entire plumbing system, provided a bypass is installed. If you don't have one, you need as much antifreeze as the water heater can hold, usually 6 to 10 gallons.[2] 
    • Turn on the fresh water pump, and allow it to run as it pulls the antifreeze into the plumbing system of the RV. Alternatively, as discussed, use a hand pump connected to the city water hookup.
    • Start from the highest and work to the lowest point in the fresh water system. You'll probably start at the kitchen sink -- turn on the hot faucet and run it until it turns pink -- that is, filled with antifreeze. All the water has been flushed from the system! Then, run the cold faucet until it's pink, too.
      • The general order is kitchen sink, bathroom sink, shower, toilet, and outdoor shower. Run each of these until you see a strong shade of pink in each.
        • You may need to flush the toilet several times until the RV antifreeze comes out at a steady rate. 
    • Pour about 3 cups (.72 liters) of antifreeze into the toilet and in each drain. This includes the washing machine, ice maker, and outside shower! Don't forget about those. The specifics of your RV will need to be taken into account here. Refer to your manual for more specific guidelines.
    • Take the water line out of the antifreeze jug, and reconnect it to the fresh water tank.
    • Locate the water heater, remove the plug and drain it. This is always done last.[1][3] 

     Completing the Final Details

    1. Remove all food, laundry, and valuable items. Kind of a big duh, huh? The last thing you want is an exploded two-liter of orange soda all over your fridge. Not to mention mice and ants.
      • And as for valuable items, why would you leave them in an RV for six months? And the laundry, well, it's just best to leave everything clean so when you come back in the spring, there's a lot less work to do.
    2. Fix anything that's broken. Your RV is going to be sitting and stewing for a while -- not good for any machine (or human for that matter). To make sure it makes it through, fix everything now. You'll be glad you did.
    3. Cover all vents and holes. Hopefully you already have some type of mesh guard for your exhaust pipe and whatnot to protect against mice, but make sure all the vents and holes are covered now. You don't want birds (think of the roof), rodents (pipes), or bugs (seams) making your RV home.
      • Check the entire RV for places that bugs or animals may be able to get into. Just because you're not using it doesn't mean they should get to!
    4. Take the weight off the tires. If you leave that much weight on the one side of the tires, they could grow weak over time. So leave your RV on blocks, taking the pressure off the tires.
    5. Cover it with a breathable material. While you don't want snow and rodents getting into your RV, you also don't want mold and mildew to start growing underneath your tarp. So if you do cover it, cover it with a material that breathes.
      • You may want to put rags on top of the sharp corners of your RV so that breathable material doesn't rip. For good measure!


    • Be sure to open the pressure relief valve when draining the water heater. Allowing the water to drain while it is under pressure, or hot, can lead to injuries.
    • Never use automotive antifreeze in the lines of an RV, as this can cause damage to the plumbing system.

    Things You'll Need

    • Pump (water or hand)
    • Bypass kit (optional)
    • Antifreeze (minimum 3 gallons)
    • Tank-cleaning wand
    • Tarp of breathable material
    • Air compressor
    • Adapter ("blowout plug")

    Sources and Citations
    ↑ 2.02.1http://www.kinstler.com/how_to/winterize_an_rv/how_to_winterize_rv.html
    ↑ http://winterize.adventurerv.net/