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Old 24 January 2007, 14:17   #1
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Sticking Trailer Brakes

Hi all,

Does anyone have any tips for avoiding annoying sticking drum brakes on trailers? I've had a few boats now and every single braked trailer has suffered with the drum brakes rusting and sticking! I'm expecting delivery of a new RIB at the end of Feb so I have a few weeks to plan what I can potentially do to the trailer whilst it's new to try and stave off the dreaded salt water!

As most of my launching is done in salt water I've tried the obvious flushing with fresh water after use but once the trailer is a couple of years old the brakes invariably stick on regardless.

I am really surprised they don't seem to make stainless steel drums, but there we go.... business idea perhaps!

Any suggestions?
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Old 24 January 2007, 14:31   #2
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No easy answers I'm afraid.

Don't put the trailer in the water. Admittedly it's not very convenient for launching (!) and even then I wouldn't guarantee that the brakes won't stick on.

Use a flushing fitting so you can connect the hose to the inside of the drums. It's better than washing from the outside.

Don't leave the handbrake on when the trailer is parked up.

Just be prepared to jack the wheel up and give the drum a knock or two with a hammer to free it off if you need to. Doesn't take long if you've got everything to hand.

John
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Old 25 January 2007, 10:07   #3
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i have this problem with my trailer all the time. to losen them the best you can do is to hit them with a hammer (but not to hard dont use a sledge). the tractor usualy has to give my trailer a jolt 4ward to break the sealing but it can be a big problem when theree isnt a boat on the trailer and so the wheels just drag. this season if im keeping the trailer in one place for a long time im guna take the brakes off and keep them to one side and put them on for traveling.
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Old 25 January 2007, 10:44   #4
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It might be worth finding out if the brake lining material is sintered metal. In previous experience with (bike brakes) sintered metal disc brake pads and cast iron discs the two stick together rather well.

At a guess the same will apply to cast trailer drums.
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Old 25 January 2007, 13:57   #5
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If you back your trailer into position with your car, reverse another metre back (if you can), then slowly pull forward with the wheels stopping on something like a brick. This way, the brakes will have released properly from being semi-on whilst in the reverse mode.

I haven't had to use the hammer on my brakes yet.... normally a good shove backwards with the van releases them instantly if they have got stuck on.

-Alex
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Old 25 January 2007, 14:38   #6
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Cheers guys!

Any idea why they don't make stainless drums? It seems to me that would solve the problem as it seems to be the shoes/pads sticking to the rust on the inside of the drums that causes the problem!
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Old 25 January 2007, 19:26   #7
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Stikin drums are only part of the problem. I hate friggin brakd trailers.
The Cable Sticks too, in fact on one of our trailers. I had to disengage the entire braking system to get it home. We never put it back into service,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,at least not the brake part, it got a few belts of lump hammer and so forth.
Up the anti with the car, tow it with a tractor.
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Old 26 January 2007, 07:14   #8
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I've had a suggestion from someone which seems quite a good idea and that is to pull the brake on a click or so for the first mile after bringing the trailer out the water. The heat helps to dry the brakes out and the additional friction wears away any rust build-up.

Obviously the trick is not to pull it too far on or you'll end up with smoke billowing out, but just enough to build up a bit of heat in the brakes!
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Old 26 January 2007, 08:12   #9
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You'll need to be very careful, cos that's what buggers the bearings - brakes stick on - brake drum gets hot, bearings get hot, greece melts, dry bearings - buggered
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Old 26 January 2007, 16:43   #10
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on my new trailer, i took the drums off and coated it all in that Quicksilver corrosion Guard, 4 light coats, it has a drum flushing kit on aswell, on the return journey, i try and get the trailer brakes to drag a bit, to get some heat going through them as well, old brake shoes tend to stick more that new ones and the reason being is that they are perfectly worn to the drum,
new shoes are not .and cover less of a surface area, so less chance of sticking, if i were in your position, i would strip it all down, and replace where poss with new!
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