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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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Old 31 August 2016, 12:36   #11
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For the cable problem; I removed them from the outers and use them as bare cables............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 would doubt if this would still be conformant with the trailer's "Whole vehicle" compliance.

I think a strip, clean and re-lube a couple of times a year and probably a new set of bearings once a year is enough to keep you out of bother. Give it all a good hose down when you get home or, if you can, better still before your trip home.
The brakes are more likely to give you bother if you don't use them regulary.

The initial problems you had were probably the result of years of neglect.
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Old 31 August 2016, 13:11   #12
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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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Never said i couldnt be asked to do it, just asking for peoples advice and seeing if they had any tips to prolong the life of the brakes, only just bought the boat 2 weeks ago and the coupling had not been greased for a long time, im all up for keeping stuff mantained but theres no point in making things harder for yourself if theres an easier way of doing something if you see what i mean
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Old 31 August 2016, 13:24   #13
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Try launching without dipping the wheels in.
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Old 01 September 2016, 04:28   #14
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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.
Gonna give the greasing everything a try, are these bearing savers everyone talks about worth getting? How do they work?
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Old 01 September 2016, 04:52   #15
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Yes, I use bearing savers, I wouldn't be without them. My trailer has 6 wheels so keeping the brakes and bearings good is a priority.

They are essentially a spring loaded piston which is forced back when you grease the hubs using a grease gun. They shouldn't be filled to the brim. When you travel, the hubs warm up and the grease expands considerably then when you put the trailer into the water the hubs will cool and the grease contracts. Without bearing savers this contraction will draw in water past the seals and/or the hub nut covers. The bearing savers sprung piston will move inwards under these conditions and maintain a positive outward pressure on the hub grease. They also have blead off holes so excess grease can escape should they be over greased or the grease expansion is too great.
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Old 01 September 2016, 15:34   #16
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Bearing savers are great but don't work on sealed bearings so what sort of beaarings on OP's trailers
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Old 02 September 2016, 05:24   #17
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Yes, I use bearing savers, I wouldn't be without them. My trailer has 6 wheels so keeping the brakes and bearings good is a priority.

They are essentially a spring loaded piston which is forced back when you grease the hubs using a grease gun. They shouldn't be filled to the brim. When you travel, the hubs warm up and the grease expands considerably then when you put the trailer into the water the hubs will cool and the grease contracts. Without bearing savers this contraction will draw in water past the seals and/or the hub nut covers. The bearing savers sprung piston will move inwards under these conditions and maintain a positive outward pressure on the hub grease. They also have blead off holes so excess grease can escape should they be over greased or the grease expansion is too great.
So they just go in place of the hub caps? Do i just measure the diameter of the hub caps so i know what bearing savers to get?
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Old 02 September 2016, 10:51   #18
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So they just go in place of the hub caps? Do i just measure the diameter of the hub caps so i know what bearing savers to get?
Well yes and no, I'm not sure but I think they may only come in one diameter. I got indespension ones and they were a tad too big for my hubs - but I have a lathe so that was easily remedied.
Taking a hub cap along with you when purchasing or measuring it accurately and checking the savers for size would be wise.
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Old 02 September 2016, 13:56   #19
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I'm not sure but I think they may only come in one diameter.
Several different diameters.
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Old 02 September 2016, 14:49   #20
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Indispention bearing savers 50.25 MM dia reducer from 65 MM to 50.25.
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