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Old 07 November 2005, 15:33   #1
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Trailer Brakes

Now that Ive got a bigger and heavier boat I now have my first braked trailer.

Im very pleased with the trailer but due to lack of experience with them I don't know if its set up 100% correct.

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.

Its not causing me any problems so far but was wondering if it would be better with all or most of the slack adjusted out - or is there a reason for it being there ???
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Old 07 November 2005, 16:15   #2
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I had the same thing, trip to the indespension dealer and 90 (inc vat) and they did a full service - included adjusting the damper (which was the thing that caused the thump - I think), checked the bearings, which were like new apparently! they were originals, four years old - fitted with bearing buddies if that helps. It's all perfect now - no thump!

Hope that helps
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Old 07 November 2005, 16:34   #3
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Not wishing to sound like the profit of doom Roy, but unless you meticulously wash and lube those brakes after every dunking they'll be knackered in a few months anyway. So just use a hefty tow vehicle. A mate of mine bought a new Chapparal hardboat a few years ago, he merrily towed it from Truro to Falmouth all summer. When after 8 months a wheel fell off, he was horrified!! No thought of what that salt water was doing in there everytime he launched.
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Old 07 November 2005, 16:36   #4
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I get this from a kayak trailer I have. I assumed it was normal. Odviosly not! Does anyone know how to adjust a dampened hitch. Mine is a Bradley hydra-hitch mk3 (if i recall)
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Old 07 November 2005, 16:45   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuart M
I had the same thing, trip to the indespension dealer and 90 (inc vat) and they did a full service - included adjusting the damper (which was the thing that caused the thump - I think), checked the bearings, which were like new apparently! they were originals, four years old - fitted with bearing buddies if that helps. It's all perfect now - no thump!

Hope that helps
my trailer is brand new so i dont fancy paying anyone 90 it should be set up - i presume its ribcrafts responsibility to have set it up - i might give them a call.
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Old 07 November 2005, 16:48   #6
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Bearing buddies are a must. A pump of grease every now and again and you can forget the bearings. Apart from when the brakes bind and the whole issue gets so hot that the grease melts and runs out! As happened to me when taking her for a service in Sept.
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Old 07 November 2005, 16:52   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mollulnan
Not wishing to sound like the profit of doom Roy, but unless you meticulously wash and lube those brakes after every dunking they'll be knackered in a few months anyway. So just use a hefty tow vehicle. A mate of mine bought a new Chapparal hardboat a few years ago, he merrily towed it from Truro to Falmouth all summer. When after 8 months a wheel fell off, he was horrified!! No thought of what that salt water was doing in there everytime he launched.
i have no choice but to keep these brakes working - i do not have a 4x4 neither am i going to get one - boat has skint me out.

i have to do 40,000 miles a year for work so i have a standard 2 litre diesel car.

she tows the boat fine and have had no problems launching or recovering but i have been glad of the brakes on a few steep descents.

i do wash the hubs and wheels down after recovering lets hope that that + a yearly service will be enough.
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Old 07 November 2005, 16:56   #8
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I hate braked trailers and wonder why we don't go for Discs like our American Brethren
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Old 07 November 2005, 17:08   #9
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Originally Posted by Rogue Wave
I hate braked trailers and wonder why we don't go for Discs like our American Brethren
Some British trailer makers do offer discs but apparently they cause problems as well.
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Old 07 November 2005, 17:19   #10
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Maybe but I cant imagine as many probs
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Old 07 November 2005, 17:37   #11
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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, 18:19   #12
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Quote:
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.
Hi,
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, 20:11   #13
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Thanks JW & RobC

Very usfull info
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