Adding brakes to a brake-less trailer

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March
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Adding brakes to a brake-less trailer

Post by March » Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:21 pm

The time has come.

My 1998 26X original trailer is in bad need of upgrading. I have considered adding a second axle, and acquired some of the pieces (two drums with pads) over time – my marine budget is always on the point of sinking into oblivion. But with every passing year, trailering the Mac has become an ever-increasing, white-knuckled experience. The tongue of the trailer has definitely seen better days, one of the fenders has been badly bent, and the two posts are beginning to rust at the base, despite yearly anti-rust treatment. I have changed the wooden bunks that were beginning to rot, but sooner or later, some major surgery will be required. I have found a local dealer in Nebraska who is able to provide the trailer of my dreams (two axles, aluminum, front ladder) but the price has been going up with every passing year:

a) A brand new aluminum trailer manufactured in Florida will cost $ 4200 plus transportation to the Mid-West (quoted as an additional $ 1000) I don’t have that kind of money.
b) It is possible to drive all the way down to Florida, pick up the trailer, and bring it back myself. It is a two-day trip (one way) and what with the gas and lodging, the cost of transportation would be cut into half. It’s still outside my zone of financial comfort.
c) The dealer may provide a trailer without brakes in Florida for $3200. That is more like it.

Now here are my questions: is it possible to add the drum brakes myself (hub-wheels and pads, plus a new trailer tongue head with actuator, plus the break lines to the wheels)? I was even considering “cannibalizing” my original trailer and switching the original wheels (will change the bearings, too). The brake pads were changed three years ago and they still look good. That means, I would have to get one set of wheel drums, for the pads I already have, but no new wheels.

I will get a new actuator (looks like they go for around $100-150) and install the brake lines myself (I’ve done it before). Do I have to get a special wheel drum with nipples for attaching/ airing the lines? Or is that standard?

The brake lines should fork out, for two pair of wheels, shouldn’t they? Or should I consider having brakes on only one set of wheels?

Your advice and expertise will be highly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

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Sea Wind
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Re: Adding brakes to a brake-less trailer

Post by Sea Wind » Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:14 pm

karavan trailers is in Wisconsin and I see that there are 12 dealers in Iowa.
http://www.karavantrailers.com/dealer-l ... country=US
$4200 sounds very high. I think that you can get a better deal much closer to your home.
BTW, adding brakes by a mechanic on both axles is a lot more than $1000.
If you are going to add new brakes to the existing trailer, why not switch to disc brakes since you new a new actuator anyways?
good luck,
Sea Wind

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Tomfoolery
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Re: Adding brakes to a brake-less trailer

Post by Tomfoolery » Tue Mar 29, 2016 3:56 pm

It may be easily doable, as long as there are flanges on the axle(s), and as long as you can replace the coupler yourself (and they're commonly welded on). I have disc brakes on the rear axle only, though the PO had that axle added, and moved the original forward, so the tongue weight remained the same. Both had drum brakes. I now only have disc on the rear, and none on the front, and that seems to be fine. It was originally a single axle trailer, so the braking hasn't changed, as long as it doesn't lock up and skid (which it hasn't yet).

This is the kit I put on mine, but I had to grind the coupler welds off and drill for bolts, as I wanted to be able to remove it again easily.

http://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Brakes/ ... 43100.html

And do check the integrity of the pole tongue, if you're keeping the original trailer. They have a tendency to rust out where the 3" square tube meets the channels. Bang around, especially the bottom, with a ball peen hammer and listen for a solid 'ring'. A dull 'thud' generally means it's rusted badly.

Here's another thread on trailer brakes, with photos of mine and others which may help you.

http://www.macgregorsailors.com/forum/v ... 2&p=237559

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March
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Re: Adding brakes to a brake-less trailer

Post by March » Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:24 pm

Thanks, Tomfoolery.

Is there any reason why you preferred disk brakes over drum brakes? Sea Wind suggested them, too.
Sea Wind wrote:
BTW, adding brakes by a mechanic on both axles is a lot more than $1000.
If you are going to add new brakes to the existing trailer, why not switch to disc brakes since you new a new actuator anyways?
I wouldn't ask a mechanic do do them. That is the point. I would like to do them myself. The local trailer shop quoted me $2300 for merely adding a second axle to the old trailer, moving the existing one forward, and adding a pair of spring leafs. I would much rather pay $1000 more for an aluminum trailer, since the old one is on its last leg. I don't think it's worth squeezing a couple of years out of it anyways

So a brakes on only one set of wheels would be enough?

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Re: Adding brakes to a brake-less trailer

Post by Tomfoolery » Wed Mar 30, 2016 5:19 pm

It looks like Iowa has very restrictive brake laws. And they require a load equalizing hitch with sway control. Hard to research on a phone, but here's a link.

http://coolice.legis.iowa.gov/cool-ice/ ... ut=321.430

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Re: Adding brakes to a brake-less trailer

Post by mrron_tx » Wed Mar 30, 2016 5:57 pm

In My Humble opinion...... A trailer cannot have enough braking ability as long as it has enough control. When I added My second axle , there was not even a second thought about getting one with brakes :!: Also.... I will add My two cents worth on the overall trailer condition. When I was in the HVACR and Appliance business....We would tell Customers that when a repair gets to about half of a new one , really think about a new one. It just makes more sense in the long run. Ron. :macm: Dauntless.

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Re: Adding brakes to a brake-less trailer

Post by millcity » Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:52 am

I installed these:

http://www.amazon.com/Kodiak-Trailer-Co ... detailpage

They work well. Did not have to weld on my 2001 trailer. I had to use a cutoff to remove stock brake drums.

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Re: Adding brakes to a brake-less trailer

Post by March » Thu Mar 31, 2016 2:56 pm

Thanks, guys!
Are there any advantages to disk brakes over drum brakes? I already have a set of drum brakes, but wouldn't mind changing everything once I'm at it--if disk brakes make more sense
And the actuator: how do the brake lines go to two pairs of wheels? Do you have four lines? Or two main lines from the actuator that fork out before they are attached to the wheels?
Thank you, again

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Re: Adding brakes to a brake-less trailer

Post by DaveB » Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:42 pm

March, I have twin axels very good condition for the MacX . these axels are for 8.5 ft trailer, with Stainless steel disk brake on one axel.
I want them out of my garage $100.
Dave

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Re: Adding brakes to a brake-less trailer

Post by DaveB » Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:53 pm

Never use drum brakes in fresh or salt water, use disk brakes and for salt water use stainless steel disk.
Always wash them with fresh water after haulout.
Dave
March wrote:Thanks, guys!
Are there any advantages to disk brakes over drum brakes? I already have a set of drum brakes, but wouldn't mind changing everything once I'm at it--if disk brakes make more sense
And the actuator: how do the brake lines go to two pairs of wheels? Do you have four lines? Or two main lines from the actuator that fork out before they are attached to the wheels?
Thank you, again

Mark
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Re: Adding brakes to a brake-less trailer

Post by Mark » Thu Mar 31, 2016 9:05 pm

My suggestion before considering spending any money anywhere is to hit up all of the local boat dealers and see if someone has a trailer that can be adapted to work. The bad news is that to get a really nice $1000 trailer you might have to drag it away with a rotting hulk of a boat on the top of it and figure out what to do with that. Especially if you live close to the Mississippi river. I'd call around and see if anything close is available. One thing you could do is look on craigslist for "boats by dealer" to get a list of dealers local to you. Then call them up and let them know what you are looking for. Personally, I would let them know that I'd be willing to take the trailer with ANY boat they wanted to get rid of on top of it. Where I live (in Illinois about 150 miles South of Iowa on the Mississippi River) the boatyards might be happy to sell you an extra trailer but they'd be overjoyed to be able to get rid of an unsellable white elephant of a boat.

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Re: Adding brakes to a brake-less trailer

Post by March » Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:48 am

Thank you, DaveB! I may take you up on that.

The plan would be, drive to Florida in May and pick up the aluminum trailer with no brakes: since there will be no boat on the trailer, driving it home without brakes shouldn't be a problem. Then add disk brakes and an actuator myself. Since I will be in Florida, I may swing by and rid you of the two axles.

The karavan trailer Sea Wind suggested is not specifically designed for a Mac, even though it may probably be adjusted. Doesn't have a front ladder either, though I imagine that might be added, too.

Has anyone done that?

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Re: Adding brakes to a brake-less trailer

Post by Tomfoolery » Sat Apr 02, 2016 1:19 pm

Single brake line from the actuator to a tee, and a short line to the next axle. Each axle also has a tee.

Also, be advised that drum actuators are different than disc actuators.

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Re: Adding brakes to a brake-less trailer

Post by Sea Wind » Sat Apr 02, 2016 5:52 pm

We would tell Customers that when a repair gets to about half of a new one , really think about a new one
I just did that and is why I mentioned the Karavan trailer. My older Continental tandem trailer needed new brakes, all new springs, new bearing and a lot of the hardware needed replacement, not to mention the treacherous lights. The total cost was going to be almost 3/4 of a new one. Instead, I traded in the old one with almost 20,000 miles and bought a new Karavan 5800 with torsion axles. Adjustment was needed on the bunks and axle to match the :macx: hull and make sure the weight is distributed correctly. I am not sure how you could do this part on your own.
Ladders can be added if you want, I have always just climbed on the front spare tire or used a step ladder in the back.
None of the Load rite, Venture, Karavan, Continental or most brands are specifically designed for a Mac, they are universal trailers that can be customized for specific hulls.

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Re: Adding brakes to a brake-less trailer

Post by mrron_tx » Sat Apr 02, 2016 5:59 pm

Sea Wind wrote:
We would tell Customers that when a repair gets to about half of a new one , really think about a new one
I just did that and is why I mentioned the Karavan trailer. My older Continental tandem trailer needed new brakes, all new springs, new bearing and a lot of the hardware needed replacement, not to mention the treacherous lights. The total cost was going to be almost 3/4 of a new one. Instead, I traded in the old one with almost 20,000 miles and bought a new Karavan 5800 with torsion axles. Adjustment was needed on the bunks and axle to match the :macx: hull and make sure the weight is distributed correctly. I am not sure how you could do this part on your own.
Ladders can be added if you want, I have always just climbed on the front spare tire or used a step ladder in the back.
None of the Load rite, Venture, Karavan, Continental or most brands are specifically designed for a Mac, they are universal trailers that can be customized for specific hulls.
:wink: Wise move.... and it looks like You made a good upgrade :) Ron.

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