Archived Trailer Guys Questions
I am having problems backing up my trailer (it has surge brakes) and I?m wondering if there is anything I can do. I've been getting out and hitting the lever on the top of the ball but this isn't a good way to go because I've forgotten about the lever position too many times and tried to pull the trailer in forward. I'm at the point of thinking about getting rid of surge brakes altogether. Joe. L Dayton, Ohio
The cap on my surge brake reservoir is loose and I never really paid attention to it until just now. And I've had my trailer in the water all summer which means it may have been under water for a period while launching and retrieving. Should I be worried? The brakes work fine. A Bovino, Denver CO.
It's a pleasure reading your articles on Readers Ask... in BoatUS Trailering. The question I have for you is: I want to replace my drum brakes with disc brakes because I just had an estimate to replace all (4 wheels) drums/brakes/labor on my 2001 alum. Quickload (10,500lbs. tri axel) with new drums/brakes/labor for about $650. I realize 5 bolt disc brakes sets by Tie Down Engineering, are (replacements) for 5 bolt, 3500 capacity the same as my drums. If I purchase an open solenoid valve ($42) for backup purposes, two complete sets (hub included) of disc brakes for $199 per pair, the total cost for disc brakes is about $450 and I do the labor. It sounds like a deal. My question to you is, What do you think about going from drums to disc and the disc manufacturer? Any problems you think I might run into? Also, the trailer is used in salt water.
I always enjoy reading your Q&A. Your recent column raised three questions: (1) The adjusting nut on my surge brake unit is used to adjust the amount of brake force. It sounds like that is the same nut you reference as also needing to be set all the way out to ensure the brakes don't drag. Mine don't (disc) but I have turned in the nut a little to get more braking force. Is that correct? (2) What is a moisture displacer? (3) Exactly what points should be lubricated on the surge brake actuator? There seem to be only a few? Thanks!
I have a galvanized trailer and I'm going to replace my brake lines (I launch only in salt water). Friends say I should use plastic brake lines but I'm worried about the possibility of plastic holding up. Others say use stainless steel brake lines. What would you use?
I remember seeing an article about disc brake conversions several months ago. I am interested in doing that for my triple axle boat trailer. As I use the trailer to launch and retrieve our boat from salt water, I want to make sure whatever disc brake conversion set I purchase is as resistant to salt water corrosion as possible. Two manufacturers were mentioned in the Q and A section of you magazine. One seemed to be recommended over the other because it was all or mostly stainless steel and parts were available for the caliper from GM dealers. Is that a better conversion for salt-water application over the non-GM brakes? Can you tell me the brand names of the conversion sets and where they are available? Lawrence Hirtzel, Port Angeles, WA
I have a trailer with surge drum brakes. When I accelerate after a stop, I always hear a noise from around the coupler..sort of like a "clunk" and I'm wondering if this is normal. I ask only because I usually tow the boat alone but I took a friend with me last week and he kept saying "that doesn't sound right." Neither of us are by any means trailer experts. T. Corcoran, Indianapolis, IN
I am replacing wheel cylinders on my ez loader boat trailer and question the last guy to own the trailer to installed the shoes, plates, springs correctly.. Is there any info, pictures, diagrams, etc on surge brakes (free backing type) on the internet that I can look at to be sure I am installing everything correctly. Example: does the tear-drop small plate at the top go behind the two shoe plates or in front of them? Thanks,
I am considering switching from drum to disc brakes on my 1999 LONG tandem axel boat trailer. It has brakes only on the front axel. I plan on replacing all the brake lines as well. I know I have to replace the master cylinder with a different style one if I switch to disc brakes. My question is-what is the wire that comes out of the disc brake master cylin-der? It goes to the wiring harness on the truck. What does it do?? Also, what kind of wiring changes do I have to make to my vehicle for this wire? Chris Rudy, Philadelphia, PA
My boat is a Trophy Pro 2359 on an Escort trailer. I am pulling it with a 2005 Ford F350 Super Duty Diesel. The trailer has 10" hydraulic brakes on both axles and a Dico surge brake actuator. As the truck has a built in brake controller, I am interested in going to electric brakes on the trailer. What are your thoughts on electric brakes for marine use? I launch in both salt and fresh water. How about using a trailer mounted brake actuator? As a minimum I will change to disc brakes. Thanks for your column in Boat U.S. Trailering magazine. L.Taylor, Goleta, CA
Boat Trailer Guys, I am changing my boat trailer brakes from drum to disc brakes and I'm told I will need to drill and tap the hole in the rear of the drum brake actuator larger to allow for the volume of brake fluid needed for disc brakes. Then I read that it is not recommended to drill a drum brake actuator but instead purchase an actuator designed for disc brakes. My questions....(1) If I go with a new actuator will I need to increase the size of the brake line tubing suppling the fluid to the brakes? (2)Is there a large difference between the two actuators since a new one for my trailer(a 2 5/16" ball) will cost over $300.00 dollars? Thank you in advance. Capt. Barry Aleander
I have a 10,000 lb. capacity 2005 tandem axle aluminum trailer with four wheel disc surge brakes. I thought I understood the brakes do not work when reversing, but they often are holding when backing up. I've tried to stop, pull forward to release actuator, then back up, but this is often ineffective. What can I do? Also, I saw recommendation to unplug trailer electric before launching. What effect will this have on the surge brake sysstem? Thanks
I have 1980's Shore tandom trailer for my 1980 Chrysler 22 sailboat. I've just had the boat and trailer at the marina since I got the boat in 2001 so it has not been used except at the beginning and end of the season. I had all the bearings replaced in 2001. I recently tried to take the boat home to do some work and after a couple of miles I checked the hubs. They seemed fine but the brake drums were very hot(the adjacent hubs were hot too) so I just took it back to the marina. The master cylinder was empty, wet and rusty. The mechanic at the marina said that there was no access hole in the back of the wheel to back off the brake shoes. I would like to get this trailer on the road so I can be more mobile. How do I procede? Thanks. Hunter
In this issue of Trailering, the third question was in regards to surge brakes holding when backing up. Your answers called for a "lock out solenoid". Is this something new ? or is it a typo ? This is the first time I am hearing about an electrical solenoid on surge brakes. Rich Wahoski Clinton Township, MI
Hi Mike & George, My question is fairly simple. I own a 91 Karavan trailer which has been setting up for a couple of years. While looking around it reciently, I noticed that there was a bunch of gunk in the brake fluid resivoir. The stuff resembles applebutter. At this point I don't know what to make of it and I'm not too mechanically versatile. What should I do to correct the problem? Moreover,is there anything I can do on my own or should I take it to a trailer guy? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Fred, Without a clue in Baltimore.
I have a tandem axle 5-starr trailer with single axle surge drum brakes. Converting to Kodiak disc brakes. Existing drum hub has a dust cap with a grease fitting. Spindal has a passage through it so grease can fill bearing area and relieve out of the hole in the center of the back of the dropped spindal. Kodaik cap does not have a graese fitting and is labeled 'SAE90 Oil', even though installation instructions call for packing the bearings with grease. Also, the seal on the backside of the rotor is labeled 'oil seal'. Should the new rotor / bearing assebmly be operated filled with graese using a Bearing Buddy or should they be filled with SAE90 oil? Thank you, Scott.
I have a duel axle trailer and have not move it for a few months this winter. I was in this process of taking my boat and trailer to a service center when the left forward wheel had locked up and will not rotate. It is acting as if something has triggered a locking mechanism. I have a 18.5 Robolo center console on a fairly good trailer that is spending it's first winter outside after being meticulously garaged for the last 6 years. The trailer and boat has been regularly serviced. Do you have any suggestions as to what to look for as the cause or where to look first. Bill Pollock Orcas Island, WA
I am thinking about changing my 8300 lb boats trailer to new brakes I know you have said that disk brakes is the way to go. Now can the new disk brakes have electric brakes instead of the surged brakes and is electric brakes better. I use it in fresh and salt water both and does salt bother electric brakes more than surge brakes. I do have electric brakes on the truck now so I wouldn't have to put them on there..Let me know which is better and what I should do. Arthur Gilford, N.H.
Dear Boat Trailering Guys I have looked all over the internet and can find no good info on the new 2008 electric break systems. Is the rational still the same to go for electric over hydrolic? Disc ve pad?
How hot do bearings (drum brakes) get? Info: Tandem axle American trailor w/drum surge brakes. Repack bearings every year also have bering buddies. Clean and grease brakes at same time. This year one was hung up and the hub was super hot. Backed brakes off all the way. Took a trip today (25mi)an hot again but I never felt the hubs on any of my trailors before so I have no reference point. Took temp today 90 deg. on rear axle. 190 deg. on brake axle (ouch!!) Please help. Never had to worry about this before. Ease my mind or point me somewhere. Thanks
I just bought a new boat with a magic tilt trailer. I asked them to "add" brakes to the trailer as I was concerned about towing the boat in hilly areas around Austin, TX. I have changed my trailer wires from a 4 to a 5 and run the 5th wire to my reverse lights so the brakes don't lock up in reverse, but I don't think the brakes actually work when I use the car brakes when driving. Do I need some type of actuator to make the trailer brakes actually work at the same time I use the car brakes? If yes, shouldn't the dealer have put one of these on the trailer for me? Otherwise, it seems like all I have are emergency brakes on the trailer that just work after the trailer and car have separated. Too late then!! Also, the trailer has brakes on only one axle. Are brakes required on both axles? (I'm in Texas) The boat weighs 2660 lbs. Thanks.