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how do you check if surge brakes are working

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  • how do you check if surge brakes are working

    how do you check if surge brakes are working? I'm getting a boat with a trailer and I want to know how to check the brakes without driving it


  • #2
    Re: how do you check if surge brakes are working

    If it has disc brakes, the easiest way would be to hook it up to your truck, but don't connect the wiring (in case it has a reverse solenoid). Then, try backing up in reverse. The pressure from backing up should actuate the brakes and the trailer should be very difficult (or near impossible) to back up.
    2007 Caravelle 237LS
    Mercruiser 350 MAG & Bravo 1 drive

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    • #3
      Re: how do you check if surge brakes are working

      Above it correct, but it makes no difference if its disc or drum.
      2011 Triton 190 Escape SE 150 Mercury Pro XS

      I never learned much from winning, but always learn from failure.
      Semper Fi

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      • #4
        Re: how do you check if surge brakes are working

        Originally posted by bifflefan View Post
        Above it correct, but it makes no difference if its disc or drum.
        MANY drums won't engage in reverse or with very little holding power. Part of the design, which is why many don't even need a reverse lockout.

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        • #5
          Re: how do you check if surge brakes are working

          tow it and stop, then get out and put your fingers on the drum or rotor. If it's boiling hot, then they are working.

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          • #6
            Re: how do you check if surge brakes are working

            Originally posted by OldNBold51 View Post
            tow it and stop, then get out and put your fingers on the drum or rotor. If it's boiling hot, then they are working.
            OK but you first ,I'm a cadet not an idiot lol

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            • #7
              Re: how do you check if surge brakes are working

              Thanks everyone

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              • #8
                Re: how do you check if surge brakes are working

                Originally posted by youmansjason View Post
                If it has disc brakes, the easiest way would be to hook it up to your truck, but don't connect the wiring (in case it has a reverse solenoid). Then, try backing up in reverse. The pressure from backing up should actuate the brakes and the trailer should be very difficult (or near impossible) to back up.
                So they dont need power to actuate the solenoid?

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                • #9
                  Re: how do you check if surge brakes are working

                  Check for fluid in the master cylinder. No fluid = no brakes.

                  If the trailer has disk brakes, take the ball mount out of the reciever and put the ball in the trailer toungue as if you were going to tow. Push down on the hitch (the tounge is like a lever which actuates the brakes) and have a helper see if the brake caliper closes.

                  If the trailer has drums, jack up one side of the trailer, remove the wheel and drum and do the same as above.

                  If the trailer has been sitting a while it's always a good idea to check the fluid and maybe even bleed the brakes.

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                  • #10
                    Re: how do you check if surge brakes are working

                    Jack up each wheel and spin it while having someone operate the breakaway lever. Depending on the coupler, it usually helps to remove some of the clips around the breakaway lever that holds it in the engaged position.
                    1998 Wellcraft Eclipse 24 Cuddy
                    Volvo Penta Duo-Prop 7.4L "LK"

                    2006 Sun Tracker Party Barge 21
                    Mercury 90 4-Stroke FI
                    "Common sense is not very common"
                    "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." -- John Wooden

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                    • #11
                      Re: how do you check if surge brakes are working

                      I prefer the drive it and slow down quickly approach. Only I use an IR temp gun and not my finger.

                      Without vehicle I hook up the cable from the winch on to the actuator and crank it in. Then I check to see if the trailer rolls.

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                      • #12
                        Re: how do you check if surge brakes are working

                        Originally posted by poni302 View Post
                        So they dont need power to actuate the solenoid?
                        The reverse solenoid is there to eliminate braking when in reverse. It is energized by the back-up light circuit. So the only way to confirm the brakes work in reverse is to unplug the harness for test. Driving in reverse is kind of like stopping while going forward, the master cylinder is "surged" upon . . .

                        Unplugging allows actuation of the brakes by not actuating the solenoid. What a mess. See if somebody else can explain it better . . .
                        In God we trust. All others show us your data.

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                        • #13
                          Re: how do you check if surge brakes are working

                          Surge brakes have no solenoid, they do not use 12v power from plug harness, they operate by forward momentum actuating the master cylinder via pushrod linked through coupler.
                          Check the fluid in the resovior, if it's dry and full of rust they don't work.
                          '90 Chaparral 2000SL
                          5.8 Cobra
                          '67 MFG Westfield Regal
                          80hp V-4
                          (No private messages)

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                          • #14
                            Re: how do you check if surge brakes are working

                            ^^^^^ Dude . . . Five wire systems have a solenoid to block braking in reverse
                            In God we trust. All others show us your data.

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                            • #15
                              Re: how do you check if surge brakes are working

                              My surge brakes have no wires what so ever, at least I thought they were refered to as surge brakes, all it is a master cylinder, two wheel cylinders a drum an shoes, I guess it's that mine has a manual lockout lever instead of a solenoid.
                              '90 Chaparral 2000SL
                              5.8 Cobra
                              '67 MFG Westfield Regal
                              80hp V-4
                              (No private messages)

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