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Disc or drum?

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  • Disc or drum?

    I am looking at new trailers for my pontoon. Mid America trailers seem to be the most well built that i can find. So if i go with one from joes marine in Indiana i can get one with disc brakes on all 4 wheels with the proper actuator, plastic bunk covers and a bigger winch and a spare tire with mount for 3,800 if i buy local i can get the trailer with std carpet bunks a smaller winch and only drum brakes on the rear axle and no spare for the same price. Indiana is 550 miles one way. The trailer weighs 1000 lbs and the toon is 1800 lbs. Drums are more maintenance i know that. Can you have too much brakes? It seems a light load for 4 wheel disc, Will they work properly? I have no experience with trailer brakes. These are both surge brakes with electric reverse lockouts. Also it will only be used in fresh water.

  • #2
    I have never worked disc brakes on a trailer before, but I have drum brakes. All I can say is both types wet are never going to work at their best. But maintenance on drum brakes is a must. JMHO
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    • #3
      Four brakes on that load seems like expensive overkill. Brakes on the front axle should be plenty. See if the dealers will reduce your cost if you go with brakes only on one axle.

      I added electric drum brakes to my trailer shortly after I started using it. I love them. I can dial in the braking gain, no need to lockout in reverse, and I can dial the brakes back to zero when I'm moving empty.

      I've got different thoughts on the maintenance trade offs with hyd vs elec. My pal's Heritage trailer's master cylinder failed. I helped him change it out. Bleeding two wheel cylinders was more work than bleeding four on a car.

      I'm seriously looking at a new boat + trailer. I'll spec a Shorland'r double bunk with electric brakes, or none, and I'll install my own.
      '96 Larson 174 SEI BR. 4.3LX 4 bbl Weber s/n 0F786604. Alpha One Gen II s/n 0F709315

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      • #4
        I have electric drum on tandem horse trailer. Switched from surge drum for surge disc on the boat.

        Of the three, I like the surge disc the best followed by the electrics.
        I would never put drums on a boat. Left me on the side of Rt. 95 twice in three years.

        The disc don't require adjustment. I get 3 years out of a set of ceramic pads.

        The electrics work well they work, but they require a breakaway battery which that doesn’t last more that a season. They also need adjustment and periodic wiring maintenance. For whatever reason, mice like to chew on them.
        ....

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        • #5
          Originally posted by harringtondav View Post
          Four brakes on that load seems like expensive overkill. Brakes on the front axle should be plenty. See if the dealers will reduce your cost if you go with brakes only on one axle.
          Some areas require brakes on all Axles on any weight requiring brakes

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          • #6
            Four brakes on that load seems like expensive overkill. Brakes on the front axle should be plenty. See if the dealers will reduce your cost if you go with brakes only on one axle. Sorry i dont know how to do the grey original poster quote thing.


            Its the same price. Drums on rear axle local or disc on both axles in Indiana. I dont know why they put the single brake on the rear? It doesn't make sense to me it should be on the front.

            Electric brakes are not an option for this trailer from any dealer i can find. Also i dont have a brake controller in my car so that would be another couple hundred bucks plus time for wiring.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Cat nip View Post
              I dont know why they put the single brake on the rear? It doesn't make sense to me it should be on the front
              • When only one brake axle is being installed on a tandem axle trailer, the brakes should be on the rear axle for maximum system performance. Rotational torque applied to axles during braking shifts the equalizer and applies more weight to rear axle. If brakes are installed on the front axle, the wheel may skid during braking. Brakes on rear axle are more effective as the equalizers shifts and the rear tires dig in to the pavement.
              https://www.championtrailers.com/hyd...-installation/
              ....

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              • #8
                Ok that makes sense . So how long do drums last before rotting out?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cat nip View Post
                  Ok that makes sense . So how long do drums last before rotting out?
                  The problem isn’t rotting, the components, adjuster in particular, seize up.

                  Brakes shoes wear, wheel cylinder extends to point it can go no further or rusts up and can’t retract.

                  Tear at it apart in the Spring. Grease everything up well and start the process over again.

                  Got old....especially standing on the side of a busy Interstate at 10:30 pm waiting for the glowing red brake drum to cool enough to remove it to continue the journey home
                  ....

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                  • #10
                    Sign up today
                    all brakes need maintenance

                    for fresh water - drums are dirt cheap and easy - loaded backing plate (with backing plate, slave cylinder, shoes and hardware) is only $100 and you only need to change about once every 10 years

                    you do need to adjust the brakes about once per season. you know, when you pull the bearings and re-pack them
                    Cheesehead boating the Gulf Coast of FLA 27.51° N, 82.53° W

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