Archived Trailer Guys Questions
The Boat Trailering Guys
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.
J. Duchnowski, Tierra Verde, FL
Answered on: 6/2005
GEORGE: The caliper of a disc brake has one moving part as compared to 6-12 moving parts for electric or hydraulic drum brakes. If its used regularly, the performance and the reliabilty of a disc brake is superior. Tiedown makes a terrific torsion axle system but I prefer the disc brakes made by Kodiac (we use this on all our trailers). I like these because the rotors are ventilated and, as a result, will cook quicker and because they are less susceptible to brake fading and warping. Also, the Kodiac calipers are used in GM trucks so if you need a set, you can get them at any GM dealership. Finally, using a trailer in salt water is all the more reason to have a disc brake system. MIKE: Disc brakes have certainly have become popular among the trailer boaters. They use fewer moving parts (less to replace) are easily serviced and are less likely to be affected by rust inhibition, dirt or water. The rotors are made of stainless steel, the calipers are aluminum and the hub is galvanized. They hold up well in salt water, although I would still recommend rinsing them with fresh water after subjecting them to the salt water elements. I have not encountered any problems with the manufacturer. They have a reputation for good customer service and support and have been leading innovators in the area of trailering products.
The Boat Trailering Guys: Mike and George