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WakeWorld Discussion Board » >> Boats, Accessories & Tow Vehicles Archive » Archive through November 17, 2003 » Trailer Brakes again..... AHHHHHH! « Previous Next »
By Jeff Reese (jeffr) on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 1:01 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I replaced the backing plates on my trailer in June. They were leaking and not working well. Yes I had the CLUNK… and the surge of the boat weight pushing my Tahoe around when stopping. Brake shopped described it as common when trailers sit for too long to have leaks in the braking mechanism once you use it again. Brakes worked great for a few months.

Now they are acting up again…. So I drop off the boat and got a new master cylinder put in last week. I figured everything else had been replaced. They “adjusted” everything and said it was set. When I was driving it home from the shop… I still get the rear tires to bounce when braking…. It does not help that my daughter laughs with joy about “running over the road turtles” from the back seat… and tells me to do it again! Ok so I would think it was funny if it was not my boat.

I am trying to get a friend to run by the shop and tow the boat around the block to see if it is fixed.

If I still get a clunk when slowing down and the rear brakes bounce under hard braking… does it sounds like they are adjusted wrong or do I have a possible leak in one of the lines. The shop does not have a tow rig to take it out for a road test. WTF??
Help me save the road turtles? Any ideas??

Note the shop does a lot of brake work and many of the local boat shops refer brake work to them.

By Matt Legge (leggester) on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 2:21 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Can't tell. When you say they bounce around, do you mean like they're locked up and are skipping?

If so, could just be bad pads.

Also, under normal safe braking, do they do anything funny?

By Jeff Reese (jeffr) on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 2:41 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
The problem is under normal use… even stopping at a light. It just seems to be worse if I am stopping faster or using the brakes when going down hill. I have not had any emergency lock em up stops. If I pump the brakes a couple time the noise and bouncing stops and the trailer stops like normal… till I hit the next light. The clunk sound of the brake actuator hitting seems to be back too.

I thought they were locking up… but they don’t leave a skid mark. Yes they do 'skip'. When looking in the rear view mirror or hanging out the window and looking back the tires are bouncing up and down and making some serious “Kak Kak Kak” noise when I am braking… Scarred a few people in the lane next to me. I have tried using a different tow vehicle and it did the same thing.

I had the drums resurfaced today… pads are almost brand new… when I got new backing plates this summer it was the whole assembly. I am reluctant to pull all the brake lines out because they are inside the trailer frame. Just trying to trouble shoot the issue. Misadjusted or something else?

By Matt Legge (leggester) on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 2:50 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Boy! Really sounds bad. Have you bled the lines? Perhaps an air bubble is whacking the brakes.

Also, there's an adjustment knob inside the drum. I would definitely loosen it a couple clicks. You can usually reach it via a slot in the outside drum cover and use a screw driver to loosen. They could be just too tight I guess.

By Bob (bob) on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 9:52 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Jeff after hearing your problems im sure glad i just swapped out my drums for disks when i did. Im sure bubbles wouldnt cause a bounce, just low brake pressure. Are the brakes extra hot when you stop, they will be hot but shouldnt be smoking hot. It almost sounds like the shoes are locking up the drum as soon as they start to contact the drum. Ive done some work with drums but dont remember if its possible to install the shoes backwards somehow?? If you cant work on it yourself try to find another shop to look at it or a car repair shop should be able to figure out the surge coupler (they would already understand the drum brakes)? If they find them jacked up take the bill back to the first shop.
By Geforce (grantmi1) on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 7:27 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Yes this is why I made sure I had disk brakes on my trailer. I would get them swithched out for disk brakes you will save a lot of time and money. It sounds like you could have already paid for them.
By Rod McInnis (rodmcinnis) on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 1:52 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post

It sounds to me like you may have a design flaw in the trailer itself, rather than a problem with the brakes.

You said that the rear wheels are skipping. I assume you have a dual axel trailer. Which axel has the brakes on it? Front, rear or both?

I would guess that the "skipping" is the result of an interaction between the torque on the axel from the brakes, the springs, and the weight distribution on the trailer.

When the brakes are applied, the brakes apply a torque to the axel. This will make the trailer pitch forward, pushing the tongue down, just like your car dips forward on a stop. This pitch forward can transfer weight to the front axel and unload the rear axel.

If your brakes are only the rear axel, when the rear axel gets unloaded the wheel will tend to lose traction. The loss of traction removes the torque, and the trailer weight transfers back, only to load the axel with the brakes on it, which causes the torque, which causes the weight transfer, which.......

The result would be "skipping".

If the problem is in the the trailer design, you can adjust the brakes forever and never get them right.

My suggestion would be to move the brakes to the front axel.

By Jeff Reese (jeffr) on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 3:09 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I will try to pick up the trailer tonight and see if the “adjustments” fixed the issue.

Yes, I thought about getting them switched to disks this summer… I would be out $700-800 more if I had gone that route. Because I anticipate getting a new boat anyways…. I figured it was a waste of money for the upgrade to disks.

Rod, The brakes are drums… and on all four of the wheels. I have the stock tandem trailer from MC that came with the boat. The skipping also occurred when I towed with just the trailer. I guess you could take that same weighting principle and get the skipping if the brakes were not adjusted properly.

My suggestion is to get a place on the lake and let the trailer sit.

I called Copes and got some good info from the service shop… sounds like it’s a common issue for the drums to get out of round… I probably did not notice it before because the pads were worn. If even one of the four drums was oval it would cause the wheels to skip when braking.

They are all resurfaced now… We will see. If they don’t work… I will leave it at Les Schawb on the way home for another look-see. Yes I will get my money back from the first shop if they don’t work… no worries there.

Hope I don’t kill any road turtles on the way home.

By Bob (bob) on Thursday, October 23, 2003 - 2:14 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Rod ,my understanding (and is that the brakes ,if only on one axle and the suspension pivots in the middle, should be on the rear axle so when pressure is applied it actually forces the rear axle downward increasing grip on that axle (the one with the brakes). If they were on the front the axle would tend to wrap up and give less traction to the front tires. Jeff ,i spent approx $300 for two disk assy (including mounts, pads, calipers, and bolts), two extension hoses for the calipers, backing soleniod, 5 wire harness, and upgrading the master cyclinder/coupler for the disks. Yes i did the work myself and you see why i do my own work $700/$800 versus about $300 and a day of my time, now if you make $500 a day maybe it is worth it for you to have someone else do the work (but you did that already and that is realy why i like to fix my own crap ??)
By Geforce (grantmi1) on Thursday, October 23, 2003 - 6:41 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I agree Bob
By Jeff Reese (jeffr) on Thursday, October 23, 2003 - 8:20 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Yeah I know… I have pulled a few trailers recently with disks… much nicer! Had I known the difference with disks at the time… I would have gone for the upgrade to begin with. I think they priced out the upgrade for disks at around $1100 on my trailer… can’t recall the exact number and I think it was disks on all 4 vs. just the back.

When I had the work done initially I was partially making my decision assuming I would be getting a new boat with in a year… and yes financially it is worth it to me to pay to have stuff like brakes done…. Both based on income and the value I place on my free time. If the cost of the parts is close to the same as I would be paying on line… which it was for the backing plates and master cylinder, the only issue is…is my time more valuable than the shop labor rate. Yep. Now for stuff like regular maintenance, ballast system and stereo install stuff that I enjoy doing… that’s a different story.

Suffice it to say that my next boat (new) will have disk brakes.

If the headache factor continues… I too will probably start fixing more of my own crap.

By Shawn (csquared) on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 9:02 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Speaking from experience, the Tie Down Engineering disk brakes that are sold by Champion Trailers are pretty good, but not great. 3500 lbs is a limit for them or you'll be replacing the pads every 1000 miles or so. If you have a tandem axel trailer, put them on all four wheels for best performance.

Putting them on all 4 wheels is about $650 in parts ($399 for the complete two axel kit and $250 for the other axel). Any competent shop should be able to do the work in 2-3 hours.

By Jeff Reese (jeffr) on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 9:36 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Brakes are fixed! As it turns out… one of the bolts on the backing plates that serves as a pivot point for the front brake shoe was not tight enough…when the brake were applied the front shoe would chatter and thus the skipping wheels.
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