Archived Trailer Guys Questions
The Boat Trailering Guys
I bought a dual axle trailer with what I think is called a surge brake. How do I know the brakes are working and how do they work? What maintenance needs to be done?
M. Hepker, Sandusky, OH
Answered on: 6/2005
MIKE: There are many different manufacturers of surge brakes. I would suggest contacting the manufacturer for their recommendations on their specific system. If you need assistance in finding out how to get in touch with the manufacturer, contact me and I will be glad to help. Some basic maintenance tips for surge brakes are: 1. Change the brake fluid per manufacturer's specifications. It is usually DOT 3 automotive fluid. 2. Bleed brake lines to remove any trapped air. 3. Replace a worn fluid reservoir cap to prevent water/air intrusion. 4. Check the brake lines for corrosion and leaks. They are more exposed on a trailer than on a vehicle. 5. Adjust the brake shoes per manufacturer's specifications. This should be done annually. A good time to do this is when you replace your wheel bearings. 6. Lubricate the actuator. GEORGE: As Mike suggested, talk to an expert about maintenance. In fact, take the trailer to a dealer you respect and let that person do the maintenance. Almost every state now requires brakes on all axles so make sure you are compliant with Ohio's laws. Drum brakes have more moving parts than disc brakes but both are found in surge brake systems. Drum brakes should have a flush kit installed so that you can clean the sand and salt water out of them when you pull the trailer out of the water. Disc brakes need only be hosed down on the caliper and rotor and then I'd suggest from time to time, spraying a "moisture displacer" on the caliper.
The Boat Trailering Guys: Mike and George