Trailer brakes have changed over the years, but we are are constantly keeping up with the trends.
Land Based Trailers
On most land based trailers you are looking at electric drum brakes. They work by an electric power signal being sent to the brakes from the tow vehicle. This is done by an electric brake controller either built in to the tow vehicle or being installed aftermarket. LTR is familiar with both. When the driver steps on the brake pedal an automatic signal is sent through the trailer wiring to the trailer electric brakes thus activating them. When the brake pedal in the tow vehicle is released the signal dies and the brakes turn off.
Pretty simple right? Wrong. There are lots of things that can go wrong with an electric brake system. You can have wiring issues preventing a strong current to the brakes causing them to fail. The electric magnets inside the brakes can wear down with age or short out causing the brakes to fail. The brakes shoes can wear out or crack and break from over use and overheating causing them to fail. And there are many other potential problems. LTR can look at all of these potential problems and get your brakes in top working order.
Most boat trailers have hydraulic brakes, either drum or disc. These brakes are designed to be put in and out of water with no electric components involved.
There are two basic systems. Hydraulic Surge brakes which work independent of any wiring. It is a self-sufficient system that works by the weight of the boat and trailer surging forward when the tow vehicle starts to stop. This action compresses a hydraulic master cylinder thus sending brake fluid through lines back to activate the brakes. When the tow vehicle starts to pull forward again the master cylinder is released and so are the brakes.
Electric Over Hydraulic brakes are the same exact brake on the axles but are controlled by an electric signal from the tow vehicles brake controller, sending power back to an electric master cylinder that creates and sends the brakes fluid pressure back to the brakes.
Both are good systems and work well when they are maintained. The problem is that many people don’t even know when they are working or not. But the one time you need them to stop you from barreling through a busy intersection; you better hope they are working properly.
Drum Brakes for Boat Trailers
Drum brakes for boat trailers have all but become obsolete. Of course they are still available and LTR works on them all the time. They are a less expensive brake system and are legal in the state of Maryland. It seems that the trend of manufactures and retailers getting things from overseas and at the lowest possible price has made its way to boat trailer brakes also.
Most drum brakes are made overseas and just don’t hold up like they used to. When they are new they work great but over time seem to develop issues. They tend to develop leaks in the brake fluid, broken brake lines, broken shoes, springs and more. They also tend to rust up pretty bad. And when they do they can cause complete failure.
Disc Brakes for Boat Trailers
Disc brakes are the new "sliced bread" for boat trailer brakes. They are stronger, work harder and faster, have less moving parts and hold up longer.
At LTR we recommend to the serious boater to have their brakes converted to disc brakes for an all-around better performing and safer trailer brake system. Now with this new technology comes an added cost. Disc brake conversions are more expensive than drum brake systems but offer you the customer with a superior braking system.
Over the years LTR has converted hundreds of boat trailer drum brake systems over to disc.
We recommend using a Kodiak Disc Brake system. We have worked on and installed many other systems but have come to rely on and trust the Kodiak brand the most. Not to mention that it is the same brand we have installed on our own personal boat trailers.
Give us a call today to discuss the system that is best for your trailer and your budget.