I was reading the thread about the tie down disc brakes and was wondering if they are the same as my surge brakes? I have a 96' Ranger trail, 2 axel, with surge brakes on one axel. My questions my sound dumb but here it goes. I want to inspect my brake pads and was wondering if this system contains some type of master cylinder? Does this system operate on brake fluid just like car brakes? Do they need to be bled after the calipers are removed? What would be your guys recomendation as to inspecting my brakes? I bought the boat last year and all I know is that the brakes work and are not grinding into the disc. What steps should I take to ensure all is good? Thanks for any assistance.
Howdy, 495v.On a surge-equipped trailer, the hitch is free to move fore and aft a short distance with light springs holding it fore. When you apply the tow vehicle brakes the weight of the trailer forces the hitch aft, which operates a master cylinder in the hitch to apply the trailer brakes. There is usually a solenoid operated by your back-up light circuit that locks the hitch and prevents it from applying the brakes as you back up.On many hitches, you can adjust the springs to adjust how much trailer braking you get. This is very helpful if you have ABS. If the springs are too light you can get chattering in the trailer brakes on a hard stop.Except for the hitch actuator/master cylinder it works exactly like an auto system, so you will need to bleed the system if you open the hydraulic circuit.Red sky at night. . .JB
Thanks for the reply, I should be able to manage on the inspection. I breifly peaked at the pads through the rims and they still look beefy. I plan on removing the tires for further inspection, but if the pads are still beefy and the brakes work fine with no noises or grinding, should I still remove the calipers to inspect the piston or do you think I am safe?
Sounds good J.B. One more question. Is there somewhere to check the fluid level in the actuator or master cylinder? I don't remember seeing anything like this on my trailer but I'm going to go home tonight and check it out. Also plan on reading through my manual covering the trailer and seeing what else I can find out.
The actuator is the receiver assembly. There are two basic styles. On one (common up to 6000 gross) the coupler rotates down and back when you stop. This has a large pin that the coupler rotates around. The other style the coupler pushes straight back into the receiver (generally over 6000 gross). There is a fill on top of the receiver assembly. That is where you check level and fill.Disc brakes are surge brakes as well. They use the same style actuator. All surge brakes work on the same idea. The tow vehicle stops and the trailer pushes against the tow vehicle and activates the brakes.Tiedown disc brake pads when new are only 1/4 inch (or very slightly more). You can run them down fairly far, but change if in doubt, they are cheap.
Well I was reading up on the Rangertrail manual I have and it was helpful. I found the resevoir for the actuator/master cylinder and it was low on fluid. The manual says to use either DOT 3 or DOT 5 fluid but do not mix them. I boat the boat used so I do not know which fluid was used. Is there any way to tell? I would hate to have to bleed the system completely if it is not needed. Everythiing else looks good except for the low fluid. I just need to know which type. Also, is it common to lose a little fluid over the course of a year or so? I have no leaks and the fluid is not terrible low. Any suggestions?
So this is normal. From a quick inspection, the pads still look good. When I lube my bearings I will inspect further, but if they are fine and I just add some fluid, will I be okay or is losing fluid a sign of bad pads?
495,As the pads wear, the pistons remain "out" farther in there bores. The fluid level drops because the fluid is filling the voids left behind the pistons. No different than an automobile.There's no way, I know of, to tell the difference, by looking, from DOT 3 and 5. I would call Ranger. They might know what the vactory fill was.
I got lucky with the type. I had a number to the Ranger dealer that used to handle the service for it before I bought it and they keep a log on their boats. He was able to tell me that DOT 3 was used in all of the servicing's, so that's what I'll go with. Thanks for the info.