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lets do a trailer brake question

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  • lets do a trailer brake question

    help me out guys, I have a new surge break system. Well new before it went in the shop a YEAR ago. Anyways, I just picked up the boat last week and noticed that the breaks are not working. Looked in the reservor and it's bone dry. Added fluid but still nothing. Do I need to bleed the break-lines in order for them to start working again? What are your thoughts and suggestions. I know some will say scrap and go with electronic, I will eventually but not right now, I'm already broke from rebuilding the boat so I need these things to work for another year or so. Next year will be a motor upgrade and new trailor (I hope).
    Steven[br]1978 Powercat 232[br]One flat broke, the other almost ready to float!!![br]Atlanta, GA

  • #2
    Anytime you lose the fluid in a car sytem, you need to bleed the system. I am sure it is the same for your trailer. You need to find the leak after you bleed them.
    Paul[br]Plantation, Fl [br]1988 Mako 236 Inboard


    • #3
      Some good advice from tuskanraider as to needing to bleed the brakes when these is a loss of fluid. He is also correct about finding AND correcting the leak before you bleed the brakes. And remember to blead the wheel cylinder that is the farthest from the resavior first, then the other side. I always go back and redue a couple more pumps for both sides just to double check that the fluid is clear of air bubbles. Now, you must remember if your not using a power bleeder that you want to fill the res, then open the wheel cylinder, pump the res cylinder all the way to the end AND THEN WITHOUT LETTING IT RETURN - CLOSE THE bleeder on the wheel cylinder. Only then, let the res cyl return and then repeat the process until the brake fluid is clear of air bubbles. It will take the coordinatin of 2 people and cannot be done by one person unless you are the stretchy one of the Fantactic 4. Hope this helps -

      1973 22 CC Milford, CT USA[br]


      • #4
        Yep the only way to do it with one person is with a power bleeder or a vacuum pump.


        • #5
          man, I need to find some friends.

          thanks guys for the tips.


          back for more questions. What's the best way to open the res cylinder? Big arse screw driver?

          also, is it possible that the fluid just "evaporated" from a year of neglect? I also noticed that the gasket at the fill hole was messed up so it probably didn't have a good seal at the res. Also, I don't know if this is a factor but, I know that the guy at the boat yard had to move it many many times and I'm willing to bet that the brakes were not dis-engaged before backing it up.
          Steven[br]1978 Powercat 232[br]One flat broke, the other almost ready to float!!![br]Atlanta, GA


          • #6
            Brake fluid really doesnt evaporate, if left in the open it will absorb moisture from the air and become contaminated. In brake systems when the fluid decreases, it is one of two things. There was a leak somewhere, or the cap was loose/seal bad and it leaked out, or the brake linings have worn down causing the pads, or drums to travel further requiring more fluid from the master, more common in disc brake setups then drum. just my 2C worth []


            • #7
              A few FYI's on brake stuff.

              Here is a Mighty vac brake bleeding kit at a reasonable price.


              Don't let DOT 3 or 4 fluid enter the vac pump.

              Mighty Vac actually recommends silcone brake fluid to lube the seal's in it's pump's.

              Brake fluid

              The starndard DOT 3 & 4 brake fluid is hydroscopic. That mean's it will atract moisture.

              DOT 5 fluid or Silcone Brake fluid is non hydroscopic. It is usually purple in color and is more expensive. DOT 5 will not eat paint up like DOT 3 or 4 fluid.

              If you decide to go with DOT 5 fluid, all of the old DOT 3 or4 MUST be removed from the system. Never add DOT 3 or 4 to a system that has DOT 5 in it. You will end up with a bowl of jello.

              DOT 5 is prefered for brake system's that sit a lot. This is because they are non hydroscopic. It's also prefered around item's like street rod's where the suspension is painted and fear of a splash of fluid will take the paint off.

              DOT 5 is used in all Postal vehicle's.


              • #8
                Ditto for info from the other replies. Find the leak and fix it first...

                On the topic of brake bleeding; Once you have fixed the problem, selected the fluid you want to use, and filled the m/cyl... What I do is get the trailer tongue as high as possible and let it sit overnight or ??

                IE: what I do is block the trailer axles SNUGGLY, so it won't move at all, then stack a couple of wooden blocks about the size of concrete blocks under the trailer tongue jack (using a floor jack to get them under the tongue jack), then run the tongue jack ALL the way up in the air). then simply wait it out overnight, and let gravity (and air bubbles) do thier natural thing thing.

                I DO NOT recommend this as THE final bleed, but in my experience it's usually enough to get you close enough to be able to move the trailer & re-check for operation, leaks, etc. before doing any final bleeds & road tests... (Once I even had this work well enough to allow a road-side repair, and have better than NO brakes for the trip home...)

                Good Luck, OB1
                Working for a livin\' is HIGHLY Over-Rated...[][br]