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Old 13 January 2014, 09:05   #1
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Winter: Trailer overhaul

Hi all,

One of the main winter jobs I have is to overhaul my trailer. We have about 1000 miles of towing to do in April/May so I want to make sure I've covered all the bases.

One of the things I want to do is get the brakes working properly; i replaced the shoes last year but I'm not convinced that everything is adjusted up properly because I'm still nervous about them seizing because the cables don't run smoothly. So I want to replace all the cables from the coupling back.

There is a piece of flexible braided cable which runs from the coupling back to a sort of bridle to which the two separate brake cables which run to the hubs are attached. This flexible cable was rigged up by the previous owner and is obviously not an 'official' part. I can't find a likely looking equivalent on the Indespension parts site so can anyone advise what I ought to be using for this?

I also want to replace the individual brake lines (pretty sure they are these, I just need to confirm the length) and the bridle which attaches the single front cable to the seperate brake lines and provides the adjustment in the system. CAn anyone help me with this part (TrailerGuy?)

The other thing I've noticed is that the extendable arms at the rear of the trailer for mounting the lightboard are missing. Can one buy these new?
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Old 13 January 2014, 09:35   #2
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Ah, as I suspected from the title of your thread, my conscience has been pricked. Time to start on mine
I cannot offer you detailed advice on your particular trailer, but I do have some comments.
Every year I replace virtually all the brake items, shoes, cables etc and make sure that those items that are not replaced are in good fettle. Ensures reliable brakes etc. for the season.
The bearings are taken out, cleaned and checked over. if OK, as they have been for the last four years, they are re-greased and replaced. The bearing buddies (actually just large grease reservoirs) are cleaned out and re-filled. My single fore and aft flexible cable is a galvanised item with small 'U' clips fore and aft. The cable I buy from a local trailer shop.
Don't forget to check all the moving parts of your coupling, a seized joint can stop your shoes retracting off the drum properly - unless of course you like warming your hands on hot metal
Finally, I am not sure whether it applies to all flavours of brake Bowden cables, but the black jacketed ones for my brake set up are conventional steel cables, blue jacketed cables are stainless steel cables. I don't think they are a particularly high grade stainless, but last a lot better in my experience than blackies
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Old 13 January 2014, 10:41   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clamchowder View Post
Hi all,

One of the main winter jobs I have is to overhaul my trailer. We have about 1000 miles of towing to do in April/May so I want to make sure I've covered all the bases.

One of the things I want to do is get the brakes working properly; i replaced the shoes last year but I'm not convinced that everything is adjusted up properly because I'm still nervous about them seizing because the cables don't run smoothly. So I want to replace all the cables from the coupling back.

There is a piece of flexible braided cable which runs from the coupling back to a sort of bridle to which the two separate brake cables which run to the hubs are attached. This flexible cable was rigged up by the previous owner and is obviously not an 'official' part. I can't find a likely looking equivalent on the Indespension parts site so can anyone advise what I ought to be using for this?

I also want to replace the individual brake lines (pretty sure they are these, I just need to confirm the length) and the bridle which attaches the single front cable to the seperate brake lines and provides the adjustment in the system. CAn anyone help me with this part (TrailerGuy?)

The other thing I've noticed is that the extendable arms at the rear of the trailer for mounting the lightboard are missing. Can one buy these new?
most brake bits are available from any good trailer part supplier, including cables, brake shoes, bearings etc. depending on trailer make, you may need to go back to a dealer or manufacturer for the extending arms. SBS trailers have a good stock of spares
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Old 13 January 2014, 11:18   #4
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Quote:
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Every year I replace virtually all the brake items, shoes, cables etc and make sure that those items that are not replaced are in good fettle. Ensures reliable brakes etc. for the season.
The bearings are taken out, cleaned and checked over. if OK, as they have been for the last four years, they are re-greased and replaced. The bearing buddies (actually just large grease reservoirs) are cleaned out and re-filled. My single fore and aft flexible cable is a galvanised item with small 'U' clips fore and aft. The cable I buy from a local trailer shop.
Don't forget to check all the moving parts of your coupling, a seized joint can stop your shoes retracting off the drum properly - unless of course you like warming your hands on hot metal
Feeling very smug. All overhauled in December
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Old 13 January 2014, 11:29   #5
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Feeling very smug. All overhauled in December
smartarse
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Old 13 January 2014, 11:37   #6
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The individual brake lines themselves normally have the lengths marked/stamped on them (or at least ALKO lines do!), so should be easy to find exact replacements.

The flexible braided cable to the compensator is often just wire/galv cable cut to the appropriate length and secured with 3 or 4 u-clamps each end. All should be available from any decent trailer supplier.

Extendable arms - probably back to the manufacturer!
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Old 13 January 2014, 12:10   #7
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I really need to get mine sorted, on my last trip out I put the hand brake on and it decided that it wanted to set off - So I know my brakes need some TLC. As Ben (TrailerGuy) lives so far away looks like I am going to have to take this on myself.
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Old 13 January 2014, 13:16   #8
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I really need to get mine sorted, on my last trip out I put the hand brake on and it decided that it wanted to set off - So I know my brakes need some TLC. As Ben (TrailerGuy) lives so far away looks like I am going to have to take this on myself.
I carry a pair of wheel chocks when towing the rib, even when the brakes are setup you never know how good they are after a good dunking in the salty stuff, trying to hold onto a trailer full of Revenger didn't do my back any good
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Old 13 January 2014, 13:28   #9
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Steve - you'll find that trailer brakes aren't exactly complex things, and if nothing is compeltely seized, aren't a hard job to check/replace.

When I bought the Ribtec the trailer had no braking components at all, other than the drums - all the innards had been removed by previous owners to prevent them from rusting/sticking... I decided I'd rather have proper brakes as I will be towing on public roads, so fitted all the braking components from scatch, which maybe took half a day once I'd worked out what a hub should look like. Once you've seen what the hub looks like on the inside, adjusting the brakes through the small hole in backplate suddenly makes sense!

I had the bearings professionaly replaced (which is when I learnt there were no brakes!), but everything else I have happily done myself, and I'm no mechanic.
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Old 13 January 2014, 13:43   #10
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All good advice above!

Guessing you have an Indespension Roller Coaster, as you went to their website?

Cables are easy to sort and inexpensive. Circa £15 each, depending on length. If yours are black, they'll be Knott. If they're red they're Alko (generally!).

Indespension swapped their running gear (braking system) supplier a little while ago (from Knott to Alko), but it'd be worth confirming what you've got, before sourcing parts.

If you've any doubt, feel free to post a pic up and I'll be able to confirm for you.

One pita, on changing cables, can be undoing the retaining nut, on the axle brake plate. You sometimes have to cut them off.

Remember to adjust your brakes on the shoes/drums, not at the cables!

The extending lighting board arms should be around £25 for a pair. You'll probably need the knurled knobs and retaining pads too.

Also, M10 brake rod is a better replacement for the central cable, as it doesn't stretch, over time, and certainly won't fray and snap. You can buy 3 metre lengths for not huge money, you'll need two.

All the best, Ben
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Old 13 January 2014, 14:49   #11
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Thanks Ben

Quote:
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All good advice above!
Cables are easy to sort and inexpensive. Circa £15 each, depending on length. If yours are black, they'll be Knott. If they're red they're Alko (generally!).
Yup definitely Knott. The Shoe kit i got last year was knot and the cable ends look right. You looked at some pics of my old shoes and confirmed Knott befor I bought 'em!

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Remember to adjust your brakes on the shoes/drums, not at the cables!
You mean use the spreader round the back of the plate to adjust the shoes out until just at the point where they aren't quite touching the drum. Then use the cable adjustment to take up the slack in the cable?

Quote:
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Also, M10 brake rod is a better replacement for the central cable, as it doesn't stretch, over time, and certainly won't fray and snap. You can buy 3 metre lengths for not huge money, you'll need two.
How does this work? Why do I need two when it's replacing a single cable? Is brake rod just like threaded bar?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trailer Guy View Post
The extending lighting board arms should be around £25 for a pair. You'll probably need the knurled knobs and retaining pads too.
This is probably the biggest worry. The knurled knobs are present but turn freely and wobble around which I suspect means the bolt is rusted into the hole and the handles have been bust. Will have to try and drill them out. I have attached to light board to the A-frame for the last year which is almost at the rear of the boat, the only thing behind it is the engine. Before you all shout, I know it's not the right thing to do which is why I'm trying to sort it.

Having said that it's daft that it's not legal. You see livestock trailers with number plate at roof height rather than at the bottom. And it couldn't really be any more visible than on the A-frame.
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Old 20 January 2014, 16:38   #12
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So I got all the stuff off it at the weekend. The brake cables seem in not bad nick actually, though I provably replace them anyway. But I think I need to replace the compensator.

I'd still like someone (trailer guy?) To explain replacing the flexible cable with a threaded bar.

Am also after opinions on flushing kits. I'm toying with the idea of retro fitting one. Any opinions?
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Old 22 January 2014, 06:40   #13
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picture paints a thousand words and all that...

please excuse the rough sketches attached. Replace the cable with rod, as it won't fray, snap, rust through etc.

If it is an Indespension trailer, you can fit an Alko flushing kit (they do as OE).

If it's a newer trailer the backplates will be pre-drilled and covered with a black blanking plug (not the green one - this is for brake shoe inspection).

If not, you'll need to drill and tap to fit. 1/4" BSP x 19 tap required.

All the best.
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File Type: pdf 0023_001.pdf (26.1 KB, 97 views)
File Type: pdf 0031_001.pdf (44.4 KB, 85 views)
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Old 22 January 2014, 06:42   #14
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sorry, meant to say - one of the sketches shows how your knurled knobs work. So if they wind / unwind, and are loose, that's a good thing. It's just a threaded pad inside. Slide the new arms in and do them up.
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Old 22 January 2014, 06:45   #15
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sorry, meant to say - one of the sketches shows how your knurled knob works. It's just a threaded pad inside. So if the wind / unwind and are loose, that's a good thing. Slide the new arms in and do them up.
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Old 22 January 2014, 06:51   #16
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Still looking for a third axle for that big trailer Ben someone must have some old axles laying around
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Old 22 January 2014, 06:56   #17
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Thanks TG

Very clear and not-at-all-rough drawings. My only supplimentary question is: how do you attach the end to the coupling/energy store?
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Old 22 January 2014, 06:56   #18
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great explanation Ben, trailer brakes are witch craft to me
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Old 22 January 2014, 07:29   #19
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Still looking for a third axle for that big trailer Ben someone must have some old axles laying around
righto Biff - should have some news for this weekend
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Old 22 January 2014, 07:31   #20
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Very clear and not-at-all-rough drawings. My only supplimentary question is: how do you attach the end to the coupling/energy store?
another rough sketch for you. hope it makes sense.
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