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Old 29 August 2016, 16:04   #1
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Trailer brakes

Just wondering how everybody else gets on with their trailer brakes as on boat trailers they just seem to be a bloody nightmare, just stripped down and rebuilt the coupling as it was completely seized due to lack of greasing and fitted a new gas strut and cleaned up the piston that moves forward when you brake. Trailered the boat to my local slipway only to find that now the brakes pull on but they do not seem to release very well in fact in a couple of the drums not at all so had some sticking brake shoes and very hot drums, not sure weather to sort all the shoes out so they pull on release as they should or just do a way with brakes all together. Just wondering what everybody else does really!?
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Old 29 August 2016, 16:23   #2
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...or just do a way with brakes all together...
I can assure you when you break hard and the trailer tries to overtake the car you'll think servicing them was a better idea than removing them.
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Old 30 August 2016, 01:21   #3
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Fit some new cables
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Old 30 August 2016, 03:58   #4
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lack of maintenance! your coupling wasn't working as it should so your brake cables, actuators wont have either everything needs stripping and replacing as necessary.6 m boat without brakes wont be legal to tow without brakes 750 kg max unbraked.
all wheels need to be working too or you risk tipping the lot over especially if you have to brake hard in an emergency.
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Old 30 August 2016, 14:15   #5
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You do need to do some maintenance from time to time.
Sounds like your inner cables are seized/sticking inside the outer sheaths.
I treat the cables annually the same as I do bike cables - even the rears that are stainless as they usually finish up in the sea. Remove, hang up, pour small amount of clean oil into the little cup on the end of the cable & allow to run through.
The wheels that are immersed have the drums removed soon as possible after & the bearings (taper roller) checked for water ingress. Takes me around half an hour to do all four.
When not in use chock the wheels & leave the handbrake off . Prevents the shoe linings rusting onto the drums - seen a lot of that with caravans - & then it's real fun freeing it off!
Whilst it's tempting just to do away with them if your trailer legally requires brakes & you were unfortunate enough to be pulled for a routine check by DVSA/Police vehicle examiner & your brakes are found to be not working or missing then you are likely to have an immediate Prohibition Notice issued which means you'll need a full lift to move the trailer from where it is. An accident could leave you in serious bother.
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Old 31 August 2016, 10:56   #6
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You do need to do some maintenance from time to time.
Sounds like your inner cables are seized/sticking inside the outer sheaths.
I treat the cables annually the same as I do bike cables - even the rears that are stainless as they usually finish up in the sea. Remove, hang up, pour small amount of clean oil into the little cup on the end of the cable & allow to run through.
The wheels that are immersed have the drums removed soon as possible after & the bearings (taper roller) checked for water ingress. Takes me around half an hour to do all four.
When not in use chock the wheels & leave the handbrake off . Prevents the shoe linings rusting onto the drums - seen a lot of that with caravans - & then it's real fun freeing it off!
Whilst it's tempting just to do away with them if your trailer legally requires brakes & you were unfortunate enough to be pulled for a routine check by DVSA/Police vehicle examiner & your brakes are found to be not working or missing then you are likely to have an immediate Prohibition Notice issued which means you'll need a full lift to move the trailer from where it is. An accident could leave you in serious bother.
Problem is i launch the boat everytime i use it pretty much every weekend
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Old 31 August 2016, 11:27   #7
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Problem is i launch the boat everytime i use it pretty much every weekend

So do many of us on here, I wouldn't set out without working brakes. If you stuff yourself into a wall/ditch/tree, that's fine (as long as I'm not caught up in the mayhem) however if you run into the car in front, fail to stop at a junction, hit another vehicle, then it's a different story. You stand the chance of spoiling someone else's day, just because you can't be arsed to do routine maintenance. That is a necessary evil of boat trailer ownership. Get a grip.


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Old 31 August 2016, 11:33   #8
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That's no excuse for not being road worthy James it's a few hours a year to keep on top of it.
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Old 31 August 2016, 11:45   #9
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I find that a 6 monthly strip down and clean up normally keeps things working. I always grease up as much as I can with Triple guard (avoiding the pads) this helps buy a bit more time.

If you tie the brake cables up so that they don't hang down this can also help prevent water accumulating in side the sleeves and rotting the cables out.
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Old 31 August 2016, 11:52   #10
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Problem is i launch the boat every time i use it .....
Me too. Here's what I do and I've been doing it for many years and I'm still using the original shoes after 11 years though they are now at the end of their life.
I grease everything, the back plate, the shoes, inside the reverse shoe mechanism the cable attachment - the lot. I use a grease designed for external usage on heavy stuff, steel hawsers, steel sliders, slow moving bearings etc. There are various greases for this type of use and all the major lubricant suppliers have a version. I use a Fuchs product, one of the Renolit series of greases. It's very heavy in consistency and a kind of dry skin forms on its surface so it's not drippy or runny. I did try it for wheel bearings but it's not designed for that use and it wasn't as good as a general purpose water resistant grease for that application.

I've had no problem with the grease melting and seriously contaminating the shoes and the small amount that occasionally gets to them appears to burn off very quickly with no noticeable effect on the braking.

For the cable problem; I removed them from the outers and use them as bare cables. In my case I use rods for most of the brake system and only terminate the rods with cables but it would be easy enough to run the inners around pulleys to guide them. The cables are greased up in the same way as the brakes and this is the first year I've needed to replace them because of corrosion. I've replaced them with stainless steel so, hopefully, that's a final solution.
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