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Old 07 November 2005, 16:37   #11
Country: UK - Scotland
Make: HumberOceanOffshore
Length: 8m +
Engine: Volvo KAD300/DPX
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 5,040
roycruse, since your trailer is new, I'll presume the damper withing the tow hitch is not faulty. You need to adjust the link to the compensator (the balance bar where the cables to the hub connect). There should be a small amount of play, enough to ensure the brakes don't bind, but that is all. After that the brakes need to be adjusted by jacking up one side of the trailer at a time. Spin the wheel by hand and there should be no rubbing or binding. If this is the case, locate the adjusting bolt head on the rear of the backplate and turn it clockwise (Looking from the inside of the trailer. You are screwing it in.) using a spanner until, when turning the wheel, you can detect a slight binding of the brakes. Now, turn the adjuster back (anticlockwise) half a turn. This will give you a slightly larger clearance than the optimum but it will help to prevent the shoes rusting to the brake drum.

I agree with you that good trailer brakes are essential to safety.

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Old 07 November 2005, 17:19   #12
Country: UK - England
Town: Coventry
Make: Ribeye
Length: 5m +
Engine: Yamaha 115 4stroke
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 117
Originally Posted by roycruse

My question is - how much slack should there be in the brake cable that runs from the tow hitch to the splitter where it pulls on the brake cables.

The reason I ask is that when I brake suddenly (or even when braking not so suddenly) there is a fair amount of travel before the cable goes tight and applies the brakes - I therefore get a thump up the backside from the boat.
I had exactly the same problem when i bought my boat earlier this year.Previous owner had moved the axle and not adjusted brakes properly as well as leaving slack in the main cable.I contacted De Graff and Bradley,the hitch manufacturer,as i thought the overrun may be faulty as it was a brand new trailer. Both were very helpfuland this is what Bradley said-

'The main reason dampers fail is due to the lack of proper brake maintenance, the damper is only there to make the braking smooth and progressive and therefore if the brakes are allowed to get out of adjustment then the full force of the braking action is applied to the damper and it will fail,hence the thump/bang , this does not mean it is faulty.

It is possible to do a basic check:

Tie down the brakelever.
Disconnect the brake rod.
Try and compress the damper by hand by pushing the coupling head in ( I am assuming the gross weight of the trailer is less than 2700kg, it is not possible to this with a trailer over that weight)

The damper should compress with an even force over its whole length, it should then extend with an even force, anything other than that and the damper has failed.

Basically, once we had adjusted the brakes correctly and taken the slack out of the cable the problem was solved.Hopefully it will be the same in your case.
Rob C

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Old 07 November 2005, 19:11   #13
Country: UK - England
Town: Newquay, Cornwall.
Boat name: None :(
Make: None :(
Length: 5m +
Engine: None :(
MMSI: None :(
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,280
Thanks JW & RobC

Very usfull info

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