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Old 13 October 2021, 08:25   #1
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New disc braked trailer axle

It's been a while since I've posted round here but thought I'd offer the benefit of my recent experience renewing my trailer axle in cse it helps anyone else.

Conscious of how things can go wrong when towing a tonne or so of boat, and not wanting to risk the strong arm of the law should any failure be the result of a defect I could have done something about I decided to renew the rather ageing and recalcitrant drum braked axle. It was about 13 years old and although not heavily used had succumbed to the salty air and occasional dunking even though I always washed everything down as best I could. Every year I would find the shoes bound to the drums even though I never used the handbrake and last season the brake cable attachment parted company from the hub due to rust.

Rather than replace like for like I decided to pursue the disc braked axles that are an option on Vanclaes trailers. These looked quite well designed and being open should be much easier to clean, maintain and monitor for corrosion. They also have rather nifty oil filled bearing hubs with clear covers so you can see what's going on inside and get an eartly warning of any emulsification. Although not easy, I eventually managed to place an order with Marcar Engineering who are the UK agents for these German made WAP axles

The photos below give an idea of the kit. It was a challenge to swap axles using just ingenuity, a couple of hydraulic jacks and some axle stands, but I got there in the end. The original mudguards are slightly undersized for the newer, larger wheels but first use retrieving the boat went well last week and I'm very pleased with the smooth braking action and easy washing. I will grab a few close up photos later if anyone is interested.
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Old 13 October 2021, 08:41   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin View Post
It's been a while since I've posted round here but thought I'd offer the benefit of my recent experience renewing my trailer axle in cse it helps anyone else.

Conscious of how things can go wrong when towing a tonne or so of boat, and not wanting to risk the strong arm of the law should any failure be the result of a defect I could have done something about I decided to renew the rather ageing and recalcitrant drum braked axle. It was about 13 years old and although not heavily used had succumbed to the salty air and occasional dunking even though I always washed everything down as best I could. Every year I would find the shoes bound to the drums even though I never used the handbrake and last season the brake cable attachment parted company from the hub due to rust.

Rather than replace like for like I decided to pursue the disc braked axles that are an option on Vanclaes trailers. These looked quite well designed and being open should be much easier to clean, maintain and monitor for corrosion. They also have rather nifty oil filled bearing hubs with clear covers so you can see what's going on inside and get an eartly warning of any emulsification. Although not easy, I eventually managed to place an order with Marcar Engineering who are the UK agents for these German made WAP axles

The photos below give an idea of the kit. It was a challenge to swap axles using just ingenuity, a couple of hydraulic jacks and some axle stands, but I got there in the end. The original mudguards are slightly undersized for the newer, larger wheels but first use retrieving the boat went well last week and I'm very pleased with the smooth braking action and easy washing. I will grab a few close up photos later if anyone is interested.


I have a VanClaes trailer with the same axles/hubs/brakes, they are a revelation, youíll never go back.
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Old 13 October 2021, 09:26   #3
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I will grab a few close up photos later if anyone is interested.
Yes please, I'm very interested.
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Old 13 October 2021, 10:37   #4
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Yes please. I detest drum brakes on everything. My boat trailer brakes are currently good - they lock up solid when asked - but have always liked the idea of discs instead.
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Old 13 October 2021, 10:47   #5
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New disc braked trailer axle

Hereís a few shots.Click image for larger version

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Old 13 October 2021, 11:07   #6
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I blathered my mechanisms in Metect from the get go, they get pressure washed after each trip. All Iíve had to do in the 6 years Iíve owned the trailer is take up the brakes, which is a doddle in itself. No brake shoes or necessary bearings. I changed one set of bearings in the second year as it seemed the right thing to do, the old ones that came off were pristine, so I didnít bother with the rest.
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Old 13 October 2021, 11:15   #7
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Good idea, disc brakes on trailers, but its a pity the lever assembly doesnt come off the top of the caliper and the brake cables look destined to get hung up on something, they are very low down. Am I making a mountain from a molehill?
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Old 13 October 2021, 11:31   #8
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I blathered my mechanisms in Metect from the get go.

Iíve coated the rims and other bits with something similar, Kent Waxcoat.
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Old 13 October 2021, 11:33   #9
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New disc braked trailer axle

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Originally Posted by Oldman2 View Post
its a pity the lever assembly doesnt come off the top of the caliper and the brake cables look destined to get hung up on something, they are very low down. Am I making a mountain from a molehill?

It is a bit lower than ideal but for my use I donít expect a problem.
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Old 13 October 2021, 12:11   #10
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Disc brakes certainly sound like logical progress , but is there not a theoretical problem with the automatic reverse brake mechanism as far as the UK is concerned . Possibly not a problem in the Channel Isles ( and I could be talking crap anyway ) ?

Genuinely interested to hear if this is no longer the case
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Old 13 October 2021, 12:15   #11
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Good question.

Certainly on my UK axles, if I forget to drop the reversing catch on the hitch, it locks all 4 up anyway! I'm tempted to have a catch to hold it down when I want to - but don't want to forget to remove it after!
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Old 13 October 2021, 12:17   #12
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I wasnít aware of any reverse brake issue but would be interested to hear more. It certainly functions in the same manner as my old drum brakes in that respect. I believe WAP are the only manufacturer of a mechanically operated disc brake with reversing mechanism.
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Old 13 October 2021, 12:46   #13
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I'm with a few on here - hate drum brakes with a passion! I also like that the trailing arms appear to be hot-dip galvanised unlike indespension ones.
My trailer is coming up for needing a new axle (it's 2nd) and I'd seriously consider this. Would you mind posting what the axle cost (roughly would do). Also I see a new coupling assembly in the photo...was this necessary to make the change to disks?
Re the low ground clearance on the operating levers - would it be possible to swap the calipers over left and right - it looks from the photos like it would work and would position the levers above rather than below the hubs?
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Old 13 October 2021, 12:53   #14
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New disc braked trailer axle

Iím happy to tell you the costs. I had to buy a new hitch as I was advised it needed to be compatible. Overall it cost £1,100 ex vat and carriage of which the hitch was about £200 of that. Most of it looks either galvanised or stainless but obviously some bits will be steel.

It looks like it might be possible to swap callipers but I didnít try.
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Old 13 October 2021, 12:57   #15
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The WAP disc brakes are auto reversing.
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Old 13 October 2021, 13:55   #16
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OK cheers PD.
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Old 13 October 2021, 14:58   #17
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Yup, certainly looks like a great setup.
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Old 13 October 2021, 15:00   #18
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Thanks Erin
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