Trailer: How do I test surge breaks?

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Old 10-28-08, 12:14 PM
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Trailer: How do I test surge breaks?

Hi,

The trailer I have is about 25 ft or so in length. Not 100% sure but its meant to pull a 19.5ft boat.

Anyways the trailer has surge breaks. The previous owner told me he never used them so I should check them if I intend to use them.

Well I am not sure what he meant by that as I understood that surge breaks worked on their own based on force.

Regardless, since I do not know the history of the trailer, I would like to test the breaks and make sure the breaks are working. The trailer is from 1990.

How can I test to make sure the breaks are working properly?

As the trailer is from 1990, the hydraulic lines have quite a bit of rust all over them, so how am I to know if there is a leak in the lines? I suppose the answer to the first question would answer this one?
 
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Old 10-28-08, 08:30 PM
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Hook a cable hoist to trlr tongue and p/u bumper and apply enough pull to apply brakes and try to pull it w/ the p/u. Also check fluid level in master cyl. If it is empty,you'll have to bleed them w/ a vacuum type bleeder.

Mike
 
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Old 11-01-08, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Capslock View Post
Hi,
Anyways the trailer has surge breaks. The previous owner told me he never used them so I should check them if I intend to use them.
How can I test to make sure the breaks are working properly?
I would not be too concerned about the lines leaking. I'd be more inclined to wonder if the master cylinder and wheel cylinders are gunked up or froze up or that the brakes are rusted into place. You will know very quick when you hook it up to your vehicle and try to pull it. Tap the brakes and the trailer should react or try to back up into the trailer. It should lock the wheels up. If they haven't been used for that long I'd assume they need entirely taken apart and cleaned or rebuilt.
 
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Old 11-01-08, 09:17 PM
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A lot of it depends on what was used in the braking system of your trailer. There are a number of hydraulic surge couplers that have break-away designs which activate the brakes should the trailer become disconnected from the towing vehicle. Such devices are required by some State DOT laws. You see a similar feature in electric brakes, but set up a little differently.

With a system that has a functional breakaway, it's a simple matter to active the lever on the coupler that provides that type of emergency brake.

Doing so will tell you a lot about the functionally of the brake. However, the majority of that type of E brake works by directly forcing the master to pressurize the hydraulic system.

To give actual surge brake performance, though, the coupler itself has to be able to collapse from the ball coupler toward the casing which mounts to the trailer. That freedom of movement would have to be checked.

There are a couple of brake manufacturers that produced a collapsing rear shoe on the the 10 1/4" and the 12 x 2". That type of brake design will allow backing the trailer without locking the brake. It has to do with the actuating shoe in a suspended brake design.
 
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