Brakes still not working right...

rasburyrasbury Sanford, FLMember Posts: 6,728 ✭✭✭✭✭
Trailer for my 270 was a turd in a punch bowl to begin with and have tried really hard to get it working correctly....surge brake twin axle. When I bought it four years ago, put a new master cylinder and rebuild kits for the calipers. Just re placed the master cylinder, not sure 100% what went wrong with it but I guess they take a heck of a beating and it wan engaged and stuck. On top of, I think I had a seal bad or the MS getting stuck caused at least one brake to lock, over heated, ruining the hub blah blah blah. So, One new hub, new seal on that caliper and new master cylinder. I bled them thoroughly but they just don't seem to be working well and/or not all wheels. I really need to get the boat off so I can more easily jack it up, pull offending calipers off and see what's going on but my real concern is the lines. I've heard varying option of if these should be all rubber or metal lines with the rubbers ends like a car is done. The issue that really comes to mind is I have no idea what year trailer this is and how old these lines are. I question if these lines get old, will they start to baloon when you hit the breaks taking the pressure away from the brakes? Or likewise, as they age do they get old and constrict and perhaps the right amount of pressure/fluid is not getting to the caliper? There are a couple of spots in the run of the hose where it is coiled like a rope or hose and tied off to the trailer. The lines going across the axle are taped with duct tape like someone kind of through this thing together albeit some time ago. The calipers are all nice and clean, I rebuilt them with new pistons, seals, dust boots and slide pins so I don't think anything would be binding on the brakes them selves and it is a pretty easy system, just hard to measure where the failure is.....would the lines themselves be the next likely thing I should just replace? Can I buy hose and fittings and do this myself?


  • Handymans342Handymans342 Ft Myers FloridaMember Posts: 9,224 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Better get it fixed as Florida just changed the trailer brake rules
  • GMSLITHOGMSLITHO Greenwood Lake NY Member Posts: 1,071 ✭✭✭
    edited June 2019
    e trailer has a good customer service and parts, but I think your right get the boat off and start there .Its a lot easier to work on Also trailer has a lot of video how to's
  • rasburyrasbury Sanford, FLMember Posts: 6,728 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • 212rowboat212rowboat Member Posts: 2,542 ✭✭✭✭✭
    dang, man... that trailer of yours is a PITA, huh?

    re: brakelines

    metal to the point of anchor adjacent frame above wheel, then reinforced rubber w/machine crimped to the caliper.. the caliper is better served with a short formed metal line coming up to greet the rubber connection as it serves as a heat dissipation connection.  

    brake fluid is bad stuff- it's super corrosive. it'll take paint off car fenders and make a mess of your boats gel coat, for that reason alone it's better to remove the boat.  

    you know what happens inside those lines?  it corrodes too- flakes off and clogs.  if there is even a little bit of air in there the fluid will dust and that dust coupled with corroded flakes makes barriers the pressure can't penetrate.  if the lines are in that condition, it's better to just replace them.  brakes aren't something you want to play around with- make sure they're right. 

    while making sure they're 'right', one of the best things to do is LOSE that surge brake altogether.  electric over hydraulic is far better- electric alone are better than surge. 

    it's not too hard a job... you can even carry the lines with you to a auto parts store (most western auto places have everything you need) and get them custom bent and cut. 

    if the lines are contaminated, so is the caliper at this point.  make sure and clean them thoroughly before reusing, else you'll just contaminate the new lines and master cylinder too- and same with master cylinder. 

    when it comes time to bleed them, pick up a 'mighty vac'.  they make plastic ones good for several uses, but the metal (substantial) one is better.  open the master cylinder, top it off, leave it open and go to the furthest caliper... draw a vacuum, open the bleeder, and watch it drain... the little reservoir on the mighty vac is somewhat transparent, and you can observe for contaminants... repeat process until there are zero bubbles in the line. make sure and keep the master cylinder topped off.  once done, move to next furthest caliper and repeat.  it's crucial you get ALL the air out- not only for pressure but to ensure long life of the lines and fluid. 

    the rubber reinforced lines act as a sacrificial line, too... they will bulge and/or rupture long before the (healthy) metal lines will.  they will also crack akin to a serpentine belt and give you notice it's time to address them again.  you want ZERO cracks in the rubber- NONE.     
  • rasburyrasbury Sanford, FLMember Posts: 6,728 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2019
    thanks 212...I will see what I can do with this list....! It all certainly makes sense. So I probably do not have the money right now to convert them but a question about how the surge operates....I suppose the amount of pressure applied to the brakes through the surge is equal to the amount of brakes from the truck causing the serge to happen....if you lock up the truck will it exert enough force to lock up the trailer?
  • zaverin1zaverin1 Harrison TWP ,MIMember Posts: 1,672 ✭✭✭
    are you ever going to use the boat 
    I say someone sold you a big lemon 4 years ago.

    i feel
    bad for you 
    put your boat in a marina and use it 
  • 212rowboat212rowboat Member Posts: 2,542 ✭✭✭✭✭
    i don't think someone sold the man a lemon... I think Ras is a bit OCD, which is a good thing to have in a skipper.  I also think buying a boat used that wasn't owned by someone equally OCD is a recipe for a great amount of stress and proving the acronym BOAT accurate. 

    Ras, if we were a lot closer, we tackle that thing and iron it out in less than a month.  but that takes a pretty decent bankroll atop of all the effort.  one of the most accurate signs i've ever read is at a buddies garage (and a lot of other places) and reads: 

    1. Fast
    2. Reliable
    3. Cheap
    choose two, you can't have all three. 

    you may want to scour some marina's or boat garages to see about trailers.  if they don't have them they usually know where to find them. 

    a friend of mine scooped in under me and bought a trailer for $1200 dollars.  I hesitated as it was/is massive- his 23' Celebrity dual console sits way back on it and there is still three feet of bunk behind the stern.  it has at least eight inch aluminum rails.  it has straight braces and axles, where i'd want v'd braces/axles, and it has leaves where i'd want torsion.  I bought an aluminum trailer right after he did for $1100 and dropped $600 or so in it to make it mine.  tandem 2200# axles where i'd rather have #3500 (don't need them; want them) and leaves instead of torsion... eh... you get the idea... you may not find what you want unless you are prepared to pay for it- but you can get what you need.  

    one parting shot- the surge brake should never lock up on a loaded trailer, but that's the way most of them are set up.  they should ASSIST the stopping- meaning: the brakes should be capable of stopping the boat/trailer NOT the entire towing vehicle and boat/trailer.  the entire point is for them to operate independently of the towing vehicle.  Surge brakes are a crutch for vehicles NOT set up to manage electric, air, or electric over hydraulic brakes.  personally, I hate them.  

    if you have electric, air, or electric over hydraulic and a decent controller- the process to set them up is to find a straight flat stretch of road you can have to yourself, and adjust them as when you grab the OS button (emergency lever on the controller) the brakes DO NOT lock up and the trailer can stop the tow rig in a matter of 50' or so from 20mph when you don't touch the tow vehicles brakes.. this means the trailer is capable of stopping itself and the truck should obviously be capable of same.  then after setting it up properly doing the same thing this time as it would be while driving- 20mph and standing on the brake... if you're set up right you should be able to stop within 10~15 feet WITHOUT feeling the trailer push or pull you at all.  I defy you to attempt the same result with a surge brake.  either the trailer locks up and you feel it pulling the truck, or, you feel the truck being pushed by the trailer as it does the work.  both are bad... you want them independent of each other except for the common brake pedal.  you ain't gonna get that with surge brakes.  at least i've never seen it set up right.  atop that, unless you chock the wheels, those surge brakes ain't gonna help you on the ramp either- else you're relying on the tow vehicles emergency/parking brake solely (or parking sprag in transmission if it's automatic, and that has dangers of it's own). 
  • Dude_HimselfDude_Himself Charleston, SCMember Posts: 567 ✭✭✭
    Also, is almost always 15% cheaper than etrailer - I use them for everything I can. I'm converting to EoH - 90% done - will be nice to keep the boat from dragging me down the ramp.
  • rasburyrasbury Sanford, FLMember Posts: 6,728 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thanks for all the input...I will figure this out- like everything else. And when someone gives you a know 
  • rasburyrasbury Sanford, FLMember Posts: 6,728 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Ok, so looking on far as the kit length...measured from the actuator to the tee fitting...what are we talking about here...this does not look like to bad of a job... 
  • 212rowboat212rowboat Member Posts: 2,542 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Its not hard at all, Sir.  Converting to electric is easy, too.  Effort, yeah, a few bucks, yeah, but not hard... Dont forget bone yards for parts... Look for a heavy equipment repair shop and they likely have all you need laying around.... They move heavy equipment and outfit their trailers often. Mobile home movers, same... RV bone yards may have electric or electic over hydraulic in piles.  Shoot, in your neck of woods (like mine) park model RV parks, the kind of RVs folks intend to place and never move again, are equipped with electric or electric over hydraulic and they're used one time .. Talk to a dealer and/or mover to collect a set.  You may even talk to an owner and offer him a few dollars for the setup and take it off yourself.  
  • Dude_HimselfDude_Himself Charleston, SCMember Posts: 567 ✭✭✭
    edited June 2019
    Converting to EoH is basically:
    1. wire the tow vehicle with a brake controller compatible with the EoH actuator
    2. install the EoH actuator, backup battery, and wiring. You'll reuse the existing plumbing and brakes
    3. test following the controller instructions
    4. either replace the coupler with a straight coupler, or drill a hole through the whole shebang and pin it with a 1/2" Grade 8 bolt. I plan to leave my master cylinder intact, but with clean fluid and capped, so if I'm ever stuck somewhere I can remove the bolt and move the line and drag it home.
    When the whole setup is $1k I'd pay that vs. harvesting a used/abused/rusted unit. My deductibles, once I add the boat, car, healthcare, towing, etc. Are over $1k. I'm saving money in the long run.
  • rasburyrasbury Sanford, FLMember Posts: 6,728 ✭✭✭✭✭
    At this point I'm going to try and get what I have working as best it can- bearings have all been redone, calipers also- can't see replacing the trailer vs 150 for new lines that might well get it working. New master cylinder also. I don't highway drive and usually max speed of 45. I'll keep at it and will get back to it the following weekend....
  • rasburyrasbury Sanford, FLMember Posts: 6,728 ✭✭✭✭✭
    So I'm looking on both etrailer and the other site listed above and see kits for the lines...if you look at their diagrams for installation it shows the main feed going right down the middle to the first axle and then on to 2nd axle splitting off to each caliper. Issue I have is that length of tubing is not supported by anything and if something flies up off the road it would take out the line...what am I missing? 
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