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RDP Trailer Fellowship - Trailer Brake troubleshooting

LargeOrangeFont

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I have a problem with the brakes on my boat trailer, and I have not done any troubleshooting yet. The brakes on the trailer are hydraulic disks, one per side, and I have a UHP A 60 actuator.

I have one wheel that drags the brakes. If I leave my house and drive 3 miles downhill to Windsor, it is already hot enough to sizzle when the hub hits the water, or puke a little grease. The other wheel seems fine. Going back uphill to my house, it does not seem to get as hot, but I have never temped it to determine for sure. The wheel does seem to release by itself when the actuator returns to the extended position. If I lock out the brakes on the trailer, nothing heats up at all, and that is what I've done for awhile around town.

I can push the actuator by hand with the trailer wheels chocked, about 15% of its travel - is this normal? If my brakes are being applied at 15% or more going downhill just from the weight of the trailer, I can certainly see why they are getting hot, but why just one side?

Thoughts on if I have a bad actuator and a bad caliper on the cold side, and the hot side is just doing its job, or if just have a bad caliper on the hot side?

Any suggestions are appreciated.

My initial thought is jack up each wheel and push the actuator by hand while spinning the tire and see if that applies any brake force to either side. From there actuate the actuator with a pry bar and see how further braking force is applied to each wheel.
 
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LargeOrangeFont

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Air in the line on one side??
I have thought that about the cold side, but it still should not be dragging like that on the hot side.

As I've thought about this more earlier in the week, I may have 2 problems, which is why I wanted to ask the consortium here.
 

Ziggy

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I have thought that about the cold side, but it still should not be dragging like that on the hot side.

As I've thought about this more earlier in the week, I may have 2 problems, which is why I wanted to ask the consortium here.
I've thought about it often while heading down. I always blip my throttle to make sure trailer is extended.
Do you have one line that T's at the axle?
Does the cold side caliper function at all?
Not much to those systems so troubleshooting shouldn't be terribly hard.
 

Flying_Lavey

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Sounds like its time for some basic brake maintenance. Pull both calipers off and at minimum clean and grease the slides and guides. Then after reassembled, bleed both side of the brakes. Brake fluid is hydroscopic so there is a chance the fluid could be bad due to have absorbing water which can cause all kinds of issues, including rusting up the inside of a caliper piston and cylinder.
 

Riverfamlee

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Had the same issue. I pulled the hot caliper and cleaned it. Worked better for a while. Ended up just putting a new one on. No problems since. I would just save yourself the headache of screwing with it and just swap it.
 

LargeOrangeFont

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The piston if stuck. This happened to me last year. I took apart and tried to free up. Ended up replacing.

With a "newer half ton truck" you do not need trailer brakes, just remove all together and you'll be just fine.
I’ve actually had them locked out for quite awhile. A friend was going to launch my boat with his 30 year old 1 ton truck and I figured I should fix them so we don’t die. :)

I will buy a caliper or a pair of them. They are cheap.
 
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LargeOrangeFont

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Had the same issue. I pulled the hot caliper and cleaned it. Worked better for a while. Ended up just putting a new one on. No problems since. I would just save yourself the headache of screwing with it and just swap it.
This is what I am leaning towards. The calipers are cheap, flush the fluid, throw in new pads and go. If I still have an issue I will swap the actuator.
 

Wayn-o

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If you have old rubber lines, they will swell inside over time and can block flow.
 

rivermobster

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I have a problem with the brakes on my boat trailer, and I have not done any troubleshooting yet. The brakes on the trailer are hydraulic disks, one per side, and I have a UHP A 60 actuator.

I have one wheel that drags the brakes. If I leave my house and drive 3 miles downhill to Windsor, it is already hot enough to sizzle when the hub hits the water, or puke a little grease. The other wheel seems fine. Going back uphill to my house, it does not seem to get as hot, but I have never temped it to determine for sure. The wheel does seem to release by itself when the actuator returns to the extended position. If I lock out the brakes on the trailer, nothing heats up at all, and that is what I've done for awhile around town.

I can push the actuator by hand with the trailer wheels chocked, about 15% of its travel - is this normal? If my brakes are being applied at 15% or more going downhill just from the weight of the trailer, I can certainly see why they are getting hot, but why just one side?

Thoughts on if I have a bad actuator and a bad caliper on the cold side, and the hot side is just doing its job, or if just have a bad caliper on the hot side?

Any suggestions are appreciated.

My initial thought is jack up each wheel and push the actuator by hand while spinning the tire and see if that applies any brake force to either side. From there actuate the actuator with a pry bar and see how further braking force is applied to each wheel.
When was the last time you flushed the brake fluid completely?

Your initial thought process is the correct way to start, so you can determine if the actuator is working at all, and, if either caliper is working at all.

If you DO have one side working as designed, flush the system completely. Use synthetic fluid, it does Not absorb moisture as conventional brake fluid does.

After the flush, go back to step one and see what still isn't working.

Report back with your findings. The flush its self may reveal the problem...
 

RiverDave

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I have seen about 100 of these 1/2 ton truck jokes now.. Can someone point me to this thread so I can read it for myself? LOL

RD
 

LargeOrangeFont

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When was the last time you flushed the brake fluid completely?

Your initial thought process is the correct way to start, so you can determine if the actuator is working at all, and, if either caliper is working at all.

If you DO have one side working as designed, flush the system completely. Use synthetic fluid, it does Not absorb moisture as conventional brake fluid does.

After the flush, go back to step one and see what still isn't working.

Report back with your findings. The flush its self may reveal the problem...
Good info. The fluid absolutely does need to be flushed. I am anal about that on all my motorized vehicles and flush brake fluid like every other year, but have left the trailer untouched for quite awhile.
 

RiverDave

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On a side note, I would flush the brake fluid like Joe Said, and I would also take the caliper off and see if I could figure out what's going on with it. If it's hot when it hits the water though, you likely fucked all the bearings in there already.. When the hubs are hot and they hit the water the bearing buddies will actually inhale water into them and push the grease out like you mentioned.

RD
 

CobraDave

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I’m sure once you get it a part you will see. One trailer I had, the oil bath blew out and when it was taken apart there was a huge crack all the way across and through the rotor. Shit happens.

Amazon and online trailer parts are your friend. In town trailer repair shops are not.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

rivermobster

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On a side note, I would flush the brake fluid like Joe Said, and I would also take the caliper off and see if I could figure out what's going on with it. If it's hot when it hits the water though, you likely fucked all the bearings in there already.. When the hubs are hot and they hit the water the bearing buddies will actually inhale water into them and push the grease out like you mentioned.

RD
Yep. But let's get the brakes diagnosed first. Servicing the hubs will be next for sure.
 

LargeOrangeFont

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I have seen about 100 of these 1/2 ton truck jokes now.. Can someone point me to this thread so I can read it for myself? LOL

RD
All the guys with 15-30 year old 3/4 ton or 1 ton trucks think it is impossible for a new 1/2 ton to tow around 10000 lbs when they are rated to tow it from the factory.

It cant stop they say... The 1/2 ton has bigger brakes than the old truck.
The chassis is crap they say... The old truck has a C channel wet noodle chassis half the size of a new 1/2 ton full boxed hydroformed chassis.
It is unsafe they say.... The new 1/2 ton has every piece of mechanical wizardry to stop yaw, stop trailer sway, maintain traction, etc, not to mention airbags everywhere in the cabin and better crash safety ratings.

So the battle rages on.
 

LargeOrangeFont

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Yep. But let's get the brakes diagnosed first. Servicing the hubs will be next for sure.
I am going to service the hubs while I'm in there. Its another 15 mins once I remove the caliper. It has bearing buddies and I am pretty good about greasing them. With the brakes locked out, the trailer rolls perfectly.
 

RiverDave

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All the guys with 15-30 year old 3/4 ton or 1 ton trucks think it is impossible for a new 1/2 ton to tow around 10000 lbs when they are rated to tow it from the factory.

It cant stop they say... The 1/2 ton has bigger brakes than the old truck.
The chassis is crap they say... The old truck has a C channel wet noodle chassis half the size of a new 1/2 ton full boxed hydroformed chassis.
It is unsafe they say.... The new 1/2 ton has every piece of mechanical wizardry to stop yaw, stop trailer sway, maintain traction, etc, not to mention airbags everywhere in the cabin and better crash safety ratings.

So the battle rages on.
I towed and launch that Hallett 340 with my 13 F150.. It brought that truck to it's knees, but it did it, and I would do it again around town.. LOL. That boat had to be upwards of 13K maybe more?

RD
 

LargeOrangeFont

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On a side note, I would flush the brake fluid like Joe Said, and I would also take the caliper off and see if I could figure out what's going on with it. If it's hot when it hits the water though, you likely fucked all the bearings in there already.. When the hubs are hot and they hit the water the bearing buddies will actually inhale water into them and push the grease out like you mentioned.

RD
Yes that was the impetus for this post. I had the bunk guy redo my bunks this weekend. For whatever reason he took the brake lockout key out (I had a magnetic one in there) and I didn't notice. So the next day we go to launch at Windsor and I forgot the kids life vests, so we ran back to the house, and then back to the ramp.. Grease explosion on the hot wheel, at which point I noticed the lockout key was gone. So I figured it is time to fix the issue.

I am going to get a set of bearings as a precaution, but all the grease that puked out was clean and green, so I am fairly sure that bearing and hub is still healthy, since it only went 3 miles home after that, and all uphill.
 

LargeOrangeFont

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I towed and launch that Hallett 340 with my 13 F150.. It brought that truck to it's knees, but it did it, and I would do it again around town.. LOL. That boat had to be upwards of 13K maybe more?

RD
Exactly.. We are talking towing within the rated limits of the truck here.

My '18 F150 is rated to tow 13K, but if I did that I would only do it around town as well. If I needed to do that often or down the highway, I would get a bigger truck.

The old truck guy will jump in here and say he's towed 20K lbs for years and has 700K miles in his 95 F350 and its like its not even back there. To which I respond, what does that have to do with someone towing 10K lbs with a new half ton?
 

Bpracing1127

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Good info here. I have no brakes on my trailer. When coming to a stop the trailer slams into actuator slide on the tounge. When I accelerate is slams back. It’s rather annoying. Not sure if it’s just a bleed and go or what?
 

C08H18

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i had
Good info here. I have no brakes on my trailer. When coming to a stop the trailer slams into actuator slide on the tounge. When I accelerate is slams back. It’s rather annoying. Not sure if it’s just a bleed and go or what?
similar issue. Was low on fluid and air in the lines. I used a vacumn pump on all 4 calipers, filled the reservoir and it's now slamming anymore.
 

SKIDMARC

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This thread got me thinking, I have had my boat for 10 years, the boat and trailer are 14 years old, it has surge brakes. I have never checked to see if they need to be replaced. :oops:

I guess I will put it on the to do list for next season. LOL
 

76 Hondo

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Here is the answer your looking for, call Frank’s Trailers in Havasu be done with it!
 

monkeyswrench

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If you flush the system, it may show some info. I did brake lines on a three axle under a Magic deck last year. The brakes would kinda work, but would hang. Flushed the lines to find corrosion debris. Outside of the lines looked great. Apparently moisture had gotten into the fluid, and destroyed the insides. This was also a 15+ year old boat.

...of course, this was after being told the actuator was bad. He showed up with one in hand. It probably wasn't good, but it also wasn't the problem.
 

rivermobster

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If you flush the system, it may show some info. I did brake lines on a three axle under a Magic deck last year. The brakes would kinda work, but would hang. Flushed the lines to find corrosion debris. Outside of the lines looked great. Apparently moisture had gotten into the fluid, and destroyed the insides. This was also a 15+ year old boat.

...of course, this was after being told the actuator was bad. He showed up with one in hand. It probably wasn't good, but it also wasn't the problem.
When I tried to flush my toon trailer (right after I bought it), nuthin happened. Lines were plugged solid. I had to replace every brake component on that trailer.
 

02HoWaRd26

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Pull the pins, remove the master cylinder, replace the shock, check for rust replace. Then bleed the system, way easier with help but can be done alone, just need to mount a strap to hold a screwdriver pulled to the in. But I’d bet it’s the shock that’s gone bad.
 

RadMan

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This is the manual, a very detailed manual.
See page 7&8, if anyone ever pulled your emergency cable hard enough you may need to release it, just making sure you didn’t overlook this step. The shock absorber takes out the hard hits upon stopping and starting. I rebuilt one of these fully, used a ratchet strap around the tongue to fully compress And release the actuator over and over when bleeding brakes by myself.
 

shan

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You need to look at the caliper on the hot side. If the piston is not retracting because it has rust and whatever on the back side, that's a problem. Didn't read through all the replies, but clean, dry, meaning no moisture because brake fluid is hygroscopic, brake fluid is a must. A bleed/flush yearly is probably a good idea since we dunk our trailers in water, and the seals are actually designed to keep the fluid in and not the water, which has pressure whenever you're at any depth, out.
 

LargeOrangeFont

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You need to look at the caliper on the hot side. If the piston is not retracting because it has rust and whatever on the back side, that's a problem. Didn't read through all the replies, but clean, dry, meaning no moisture because brake fluid is hygroscopic, brake fluid is a must. A bleed/flush yearly is probably a good idea since we dunk our trailers in water, and the seals are actually designed to keep the fluid in and not the water, which has pressure whenever you're at any depth, out.
I have not looked at it yet but lots of great advice here.

I tend to think that the hot side caliper is fine, because when I lock out the brakes it works perfect and does not drag. I think the actuator shock is going bad like @02HoWaRd26 mentioned, and perhaps the cold side caliper is the one frozen.

Who knows until I pull it apart though.
 

LargeOrangeFont

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Pull the pins, remove the master cylinder, replace the shock, check for rust replace. Then bleed the system, way easier with help but can be done alone, just need to mount a strap to hold a screwdriver pulled to the in. But I’d bet it’s the shock that’s gone bad.
If I bleed myself I’m just going to use my mityvac. But I’ll test the actuation of the master cylinder with a big screwdriver.
 

wzuber

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If you have old rubber lines, they will swell inside over time and can block flow.
This^^^is a real possibility. This cured my c-20 work truck issue ...after...
I replaced everything else trying to "fix" the probkem. It's always the last thing checked that fixes a problem.
 

4Waters

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I think @TPC had an issue similar to this a few years back, maybe he could chime in.
 

ToMorrow44

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As everyone said, service the system. I’d replace both calipers, pads, and flush the fluid. If it were the actuator that was sticking, all the brakes would be hot. I had a sticking actuator and I could feel it with the truck, felt like I was towing 30k all of the sudden.

Once you do that, go test drive it and work the brakes. Use a temp gun and check the temp of the rotors on both the truck and the trailer. Usually the brakes on the truck will be a little hotter, but not by a ton. Look to make sure the rotors on the trailer are within 5-10 degrees of eachother, then you know they’re both working evenly.
 
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