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  • Trailer brakes guestions / opinions please

    Hi all, first off please forgive my ignorance on this already well discussed subject. From the searching I have done it is becoming a little confusing to me on what my options may be for what I have, maybe I am overthinking it. So, to the point, I have a 2004 MC tandem trailer that the brakes are completely inoperable at this point. (purchased that way in June) From what I can tell all of the equipment is factory spec. I have tried vacuum and pressure bleeding to no sucess. A couple of notes here, I am going to have a local trailer shop go through it this winter to get it all working so I am trying to source as much info as possible. Also, it is an XStar that I tow with a 2WD 1/2 ton but I typically do not tow more than 5 to 10 miles on relatively flat ground. I am not sure if my acuator is a Reliable or UFP? I will get a specific photo posted as soon as I can. It looks like retrofit parts are available for this actuator but if I am staring down replacing the tongue and calipers or more, I start to wonder if it is worth the cost to go ahead and completely overhaul the entire thing or upgrade to electric over hydraulic for a 17+ year old trailer. Anyone who has done this I would like some thoughts on what you did and why, also what your costs were for a total overhaul vs an upgrade of some sort. It is 4 wheel disc BTW.
    Thanks for any input.

  • #2
    2004 tandem is the "reliable" stuff, so service wise the first step is removing and tossing everything brake fluid touches.
    the good news as you saw, is this is all bolt-on now as there are update kits for the actuator and the caliper mounting is standard.

    my thread on an '04 tandem service with part numbers and prices for everything you need to replace
    https://teamtalk.mastercraft.com/sho...d.php?t=106445
    just order everything in that list, grab some brake fluid from your local parts store, and block out a few hours where you can crank on it.

    maybe do some LED lighting while youre in there?
    https://teamtalk.mastercraft.com/sho...d.php?t=107815


    for what its worth -- i did that hydraulic service at our storage spot, 20 minutes from my shop so i had to guess which tools i needed to bring, two months after our daughter was born (sleepy, distracted, etc) and it really wasnt too bad.
    if youve got the space to work on the boat its a really easy DIY.


    i think youll be pleased enough with how it all works once its actually working to not need to do anything fancier like the electric over hydraulic.

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    • #3
      PERFECT! That easy huh? Thank you very much, if it is as easy as bolt-off, bolt-on I can handle that! was expecting much more complicated retro fits. Can't believe I didnt run across that thread. Thanks again!

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      • #4
        FWIW, that new actuator in your thread is not the same as the one currently on here. That is the same one my '99 single axle had but on this one only the ball reciever slides not the entire square tube piece. If that makes sense or a difference.

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        • #5
          here is the one i used on my 07 trailer. as you know you also have to order the inner.

          https://www.easternmarine.com/ufp-4-...craft-trailers


          Customer service and shipping were quick.

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          • #6
            As said by others, replace the actuator up front and also check the calipers because they may have seized pistons. After this you should have good brakes. Check the pads while checking the calipers.

            This is pretty easy work and not super expensive if you pay someone else to do it. You do not need to upgrade to electric over hydraulic. Especially since you tow only a pretty short distance.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by LakeLuv View Post
              FWIW, that new actuator in your thread is not the same as the one currently on here.
              yeah the UFP unit will look a bit different than the Reliable one thats already on there, if i follow what youre saying...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ValveCoverGasket View Post
                yeah the UFP unit will look a bit different than the Reliable one thats already on there, if i follow what youre saying...
                You are. And my apologies, trying to work, and read this stuff at the same time on a Friday.... I just scrolled through your install photos and your old actuator is the same as mine now. Sincere thanks, this eases up on my stress button alot, does not seem as near as complicated as I was expecting.

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                • #9
                  Slightly tangential thoughts: Don’t even think about drum brakes, they’re a PITA. Get disks. IMO brakes on one axle are adequate, unless you’re hauling 5000+ lbs. If your trailer has leaf springs the brakes should be on the rear axle. YMMV

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                  • #10
                    I agree with Miss Rita, if you have the budget go disc. I have refurbished my drum brakes 2x in 11 years... surge is adequate for hauling these beasts.

                    When adjusted properly pulling drums is such a PIA... when you just want to inspect.


                    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
                    sigpic...A bad day water skiing still beats a good day at work...1995 Pro Star 205....

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                    • #11
                      I just did a full brake system on my 2003 Reliable single axle trailer. My actuator was doa and the calipers were frozen. I bought the Kodiak kit did not use the parts that the calipers bolt to as removing the hubs looked like far too much work. I have oil bath hubs. I only tow 160 miles a year ( 2 trips) Not hard to do. Me & the wife bled the brakes together.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks to all for the info, I am feeling better that this will not ba as big of an ordeal as I was making up in my head. The trailer currently has torsion axles and 4 discs. If the calipers are seized, at least they are open and do not appear to be dragging on any wheel. Simply due to time and working space I will most likely have a local trailer shop do the work and along with actuator, calipers and pads I will probably have the hard lines replaced as well to make sure it is trouble free for a while.

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                        • #13
                          That sounds like a solid plan you have there. You'll be happy with the results.

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