Load Balanced Disc Brakes: The only caravan in Australia that has a proven electronically activated system for greater confidence with less experienced drivers!
When did you last drive a car with drum brakes?
Unless you have a vintage car, it would be more than 10 years ago. In fact, Louis Renault first invented the drum brake in 1902.
Electric drum brakes are still predominant on caravans for one simple reason: they are much cheaper!
However, they aren’t nearly as effective as disc brakes. Moisture can cause them to grab, or slip, depending on how damp they get. Braking action fades due to heat generated during regular braking which results in reduced braking, especially under hard stops. Because drums can’t dissipate heat effectively, this effect rapidly increases with time, which the driver feels as a loss of braking power, or fade. This can happen in a fraction of a second under hard stopping conditions.
A USA facility tested the 2 types of brakes in a tandem configuration with a trailer on a Road Simulator. The RS can test brake force, axle weight, rolling resistance, weight balance and steer axle fittings. Interestingly, the maximum brake force from the hydraulic disc brakes had almost twice as much braking force as the electric drum brakes. The hydraulic disc brakes put out 1856 kgs of brake force on two axles. The electric drum brakes put out 966 kgs of brake force from both axles. Click here for a full description of the test!
The Kimberley Kruiser (all Models) has, as standard, 6 components of a complete braking system:
- 4 Hydraulic Disc Brakes with double thick disc rotors for heat dissipation and avoiding gibber penetration
- Electronic Disc controller that takes the brake signal from the vehicle and pumps up the hydraulic pressure
- Load balancing system that distributes the hydraulic pressure evenly
- Single push button for parking brake
- Locking valve for extended parking
- Break away switch for compliance to Australian standards
These are Australian designed PBR Disc Brakes with Australian Disc Pads that are easily changeable. You can buy replacement pads, inexpensively, at thousands of locations around Australia.
Balanced Braking for safer towing
You will read that a vehicle has a published towing capacity. One reason for this limit is the braking capacity of the vehicle and its Gross Vehicle Weight. As a Guide, we recommend that unless your off road caravan or camper has electronic Disc brakes, keep the towable ATM to less than 75% of the vehicles GVW (when loaded). Otherwise, on braking there is a greater risk that the RV’s braking will be inferior to the vehicle and the RV will “push” the vehicle in an emergency.
The in-vehicle brake controller feeds a signal to the integrated electronic/hydraulic actuator for the Kruiser Disc Brakes. Because the electronic controller in the Kimberley Kruiser is “smart”, only a basic in vehicle controller is needed. This lowers your cost.
Kimberley then has a unique way of getting exactly the same pressure to each wheel disc. This gives an even balance and in our agressive tests for comparison with Australian standards there is no crabbing or swaying or uneven wear.
The Kruiser Disc Brake Control can be set quite aggressively for high-speed on-road use. You can then adjust in your vehicle for softer off-road use. Either way, if you “stand” on your brakes, you want to Kruiser to act like a safety parachute and not a pushing mass. You will have better control if there is Balanced Load Control at all Disc Brakes.
One touch Parking control for safer maneuvering
The problem with electric drum brakes is that you have to apply good pressure on a rachet lever to lock in the parking. The manual “mechanical wire” parking brake does not match the stopping power of the electric magnets. If the lever, or your hand, slips while you are activating then you will feel vulnerable.
The author got stuck entering a dry river bed with the first test Kimberley Karavan which was fitted with electric drum brakes. The vehicle had to be separated from the Karavan and driven to the rear of the Karavan to retrieve it with a winch from the creek bed. The difficulty was in holding the Karavan safely on an incline. The electric drums were miserable and several hours were lost in securing the unit. After this incident, there was a global search for the best parking brake system so a potentially unsafe situation would “never occur again”.
In 2006, Kimberley released the first version of their Electronic Disc system. This included the extended parking valve system, which had to be invented by Kimberley, based on the dry creek bed scenario, as there was nothing compliant in the world. Since then the system has been perfected.
The Kimberley Kruiser has a “one touch” parking brake system that operates from the on-board batteries when the vehicle is disconnected. When connected to the vehicle, it operates from the vehicle’s power. There is a locking valve for extended parking that meets the Australian standard.
When activated, the disc brakes “lock up” with the hydraulic pressure. The unit cant be moved.
In some states, an additional locking pin is added to comply with state regulations.
Once you have used this parking brake, there is no going back to a “wire and lever”!
Higher Confidence in handling with Balanced Braking by less experienced drivers
In the 7 years and after shipping over 3000 RV’s with electronic Disc brakes, the single biggest feedback we get from novice and less experienced drivers is the confidence they have with this braking system. More importantly, the more experienced driver rests easily in the passenger seat!
This is after all, why we call this model the “Kimberley Kruiser”. You just want to go “Kruisin” and don’t want to worry about all the braking hassles others may have!