Hey guys,How do I make sure that my surge brakes are working properly? I have an 99 Escort single axel. Pulling it with a 97 Dakota, 2wd, V-6, 5 speed, with towing package. Has a 99 19' Trophy CC sitting on it.Thanks in advance,DavePS Taking her out for the first time today. Hope I don't end up being "that guy" at the ramp!
Hello Riggerdave,With my surge brakes properly adjusted, (lines bleed and shoes adjusted), I can "feel" my boat trailer drag my vehicle to a stop when light vehicle brakes are applied. On at least two occasions the trailer wheels have locked up during a hard stop. During maintenance I have raised one wheel and then applied torque to the coupler to actuate the trailer brakes while a helper rotated the wheels. Check out http://www.championtrailers.com/tech...hnical_support for more information.
To see if the are working I tow to an empty parking lot or one with very little traffic.Put a pin in the surge slider to stop the tralier from sliding forward into the surge actuator.(The same pin you would use for backing up a hill if the trailer did not have a reverse solenoid) Accelerate to about 25 mph and then apply medium brake pressure. Note the distance to stop.Pull the lock out pin out and repeat the test.You should see a difference in a much shorter stop with even less brake pedal pressure.To see if they are working 100% requires pulling the brake drum (assuming you have drum brake drums) and inspecting the shoes. There is no short cut for a proper visual inspection.Follow the tech guide from previous post if you go this route. It seemed like a big job, but I took it step by step and replaced 4 bearings and 4 races and axle seals and the trailer is a dream to tow and stop again.
There is a device made to do this with but you can build your own. All it amounts to is a bar or piece of angle iron about 3 feet long. A tow ball which is the correct size of your hitch needs to be mounted at the end of the bar. Put the ball in your hitch and press down on it. Jack one braked wheel up at a time and have someone try to turn it while holding pressure on the bar to see if the brakes are working. Use the same device to bleed the brakes with when needed.
Thanks for the info!!! I plan on taking apart the wheels and brakes this weekend. If for no other reason than just to see how everything works. Lots to learn! Still feel a little intimidated with this sometimes.
RiggerDave, I can save you a little trouble if you like. The brakes work just like standard drum or disc brakes on your truck or car. The master cylinder is in the hitch. When you apply the brakes in your truck the hitch of the trailer pushes against the towing ball causing the cylinder on the master cylinder to compress which applies pressure to the wheel cylinders or calipers depending on whether you have drum or disc brakes. The harder you break in your truck the more pressure is applied to your trailer brakes.Good luck
And the quicker you will stop in a straight line if everything is clean and adjusted properly.Unfortunately only one way to to know if the shoes are clean or have grease on them is to look. If you put pressure on the surge actuator in the driveway, it will stop a wheel from turning, clean or dirty. However, with a boat the on trailer going down a road with greasy brake shoes, the stopping ability needed changes if the shoes are contaminated and warm compared to stoping a wheel from turning in the air on the driveway.