View Full Version : trailer brakes

08-12-2004, 11:20 PM
Hello all,

I've been going through my new boat trailers brakes. It has surge brakes and the master cylinder was all rusted out. In trying to find a replacement I was given all the usual advice that I should replace the whole thing at a cost of $200 to $300. I finally found a master cylinder at Napa for $83 but I still found that high. I kept pestering him for a better price but he held firm. Then I said "how many makers make this part?" he started looking and there were almost a dozen. In no time he had exactly the same part for $42. If I'd have pressed him further I think I'd have him down to $20 where it used to be.

So my surge brakes will be working but my truck has a module for electric brakes too.

Is there an electro-hydraulic pump that I could install and have the best of both worlds? And better yet, is there one that is common that I might salvage?

[This message has been edited by SJorgensen (edited 08-12-2004).]

08-13-2004, 12:31 AM
Hey, if you had pushed real hard he may have even paid you to take it off his hands http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

Ken NZ

08-13-2004, 01:01 AM
I think you are right. In one perspective the part that I want is rare and hard to find. In another perspective the part that I want is obsolete and there is VERY little demand for the part. It has been on the shelf TOO long. As a buyer you can be treated one way or the other. I'm patient, I'm smart, and I can research the alternatives. I hate being fed a line of Bullsh## when someone wants to sell more than I need. If all else fails I'll make the part myself. These are not complex pieces of metal.

08-13-2004, 01:07 AM
When I see a visible layer of dust on the box I switch into haggle mode. Right away. It usually works. Doesn't work with wine though.

08-13-2004, 01:37 AM
I've found if you can get a glass or two of wine into them it brings the price down considerably.

08-13-2004, 01:58 AM
You`re right about the value of that old stock, I called in to a friends brake shop on wednesday and he had dumped a sh*t load of stock that had been sitting idle for far too long. He keeps a lot of old stuff as he values old vehicles but the decades sometimes stretch out too far.

Ken NZ

08-13-2004, 08:02 AM
Ya,but on brake parts I have found that the same cylinder will fit 20-30 at least different applications.
Wagner is the one with the most interchangeability.
I went to put a rubber kit in one of the seven masters on our old crane at work,found out the same kit fits 15 different pieces of machinery,price depended on application thou.

But to answer your question I have never seen an electro/hydraulic system,just vacuum/hydraulic and air over hydraulic.

If you have drum surge brakes you can convert then to disc,haven't tried them on my trailers yet,but I hear that it is the way to go.

Milacron of PM
08-13-2004, 08:26 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Is there an electro-hydraulic pump that I could install and have the best of both worlds? And better yet, is there one that is common that I might salvage?


Yup, but way out of your price range


08-13-2004, 02:34 PM
Yep that is too much for me. The prior owner of this boat didn't even worry about the brakes. His truck was fine towing it. I figure if it has brakes I want them to work. That electric thing would be nice but it is just an option.
Thanks for that link.

Mark Jones
08-13-2004, 02:48 PM
hydrualic brakes on a boat trailer...what happens when the whole lot is submerged in salt water.......
in order for the brakes to work doesnt the master cylinder need a breather...what happens to this breather when submerged.
sounds like a recipe for desastor ....i would change to good old rod linkage brakes.
also i would have bought maybe three of those cheap master cylinders ,so that you can routinely replace them every other year.
all the best ...mark

08-13-2004, 06:27 PM
Buick Grand Nationals had electric master cylinders, if I am not mistaken. With all the stuff they stuffed under the hood, there was no room, nor enough vacumn (turbo engine) to run it correctly. Since they might be pricy due to the limit years of manufacture, it might not be the best way to go.
David from jax

08-13-2004, 06:43 PM
Who exactly has paid storage on "old stock" someone has paid the utility bill and the building payments not to mention the inventory and the taxes. I used to get these forms from Georgia to pay on all my inventory.

I have been figuring out what things actually cost. Selling items to close friends at cost, but what is cost? I move it, store it, clean it, repair it.

One local guy in particular says I am a too money hungry cause I like to make at least $10 a hour for handling something that weighs 500 pounds.

I agree thou mark-up on most parts is too much. Sometimes 5-700 percent. If you want a look into economics look at motorcycle parts. They got them, you want them, you pay what they want for them.

A honda seat for a friends bike, same brand I buy and sell costs as much as 3 of the same exact model seat for a harley.. They got you.. I know tooling up for a model bike that changes yearly cost them money, as does stocking, as does the labor that builds them.. but 3 times more?

geeze Louise..... I am glad I got a cheap harley... I shopped for him, first I had promised him quoting the "harley" price, then did I learn a lesson..

[This message has been edited by ibewgypsie (edited 11-11-2005).]

08-13-2004, 06:47 PM
Tennessee, my northern neighbor state, they require break away kits on all trailers..

Now that adds to the cost.. and upkee

[This message has been edited by ibewgypsie (edited 11-11-2005).]

08-13-2004, 06:58 PM
Yeah, I asked Darren why not give to enthusiast club? http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//confused.gif "who is enthusiastic about Toyota Delica etc? and besides most of the stock was stuff that can be rebuilt from original with better quality materials" Darren has been doing brakes and clutches since birth and knows his stuff ; besides that most Kiwis know how to re-use/re-cycle stuff and sites such as this add to that knowledge; although I`ve got my concerns about some of the new generations http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//rolleyes.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif

Ken NZ

[This message has been edited by speedy (edited 08-13-2004).]

08-13-2004, 07:10 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Mark Jones:
[B]hydrualic brakes on a boat trailer...what happens when the whole lot is submerged in salt water.......
in order for the brakes to work doesnt the master cylinder need a breather...what happens to this breather when submerged.
Hi Mark,
The master cylinder is attached to the hitch and activates when the you slow down and the trailer starts pushing on the tow vehicle. The hitch on mine never gets wet or at least not fully submerged.

I bought my boat new in 96 and about 98 the brakes were shot from salt water. The trailer is galvanized bu the brake parts are not. When I took it apart everything was rusted up. I bought some new backing plates coated with something guaranteed not to rust they cost me $200 brakes worked for another year and now don't work again. I wish I would have known about the disc type when I rebuilt mine. My boat is not real heavy so I have not fixed them again. When I fix it next time it will be with new stainless lines and possibly disc brakes. My surge unit also has rust in it could be where the problem lies. Heck I don't have enough time to fish let alone work on the trailer.

08-13-2004, 07:27 PM
Try this for old inventory, a 6GH8 tube at a local repair shop, made by Sylvania.

Not long ago, a friend who had a early 60s T-Bird was having transmission problems. I think it was the modulator plate, but it is type that is still used in todays cars.

I find parts that Manufactors brand or Name Brand, store brand, they look a lot a like. Price seems to be the only difference.


08-13-2004, 07:30 PM
No Kidding, price a corvette water pump, then a nova.. same pump.. higher price.

[This message has been edited by ibewgypsie (edited 11-11-2005).]

08-13-2004, 07:39 PM
The salt water thing ain't that big of a deal,after all the master is up by the truck and you had better not be getting the truck wet,if you are then lengthen the tung.

Besides most good boat trailer shops sell stainless rotors and drums along with calipers and wheel cylinders.

[This message has been edited by wierdscience (edited 08-13-2004).]

08-14-2004, 03:56 AM
Spoke to Darren today, those electric-hydraulic units are premium!, real good but also expensive. Expect to pay something in the order of $1500-$1700 NZ$ for the set up.(that is a long time negotiating down to your price Mr Jorgenson http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif) Luckily they are only mandatory for weights over 2200kg I believe. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

Ken NZ

[This message has been edited by speedy (edited 08-14-2004).]

08-14-2004, 10:56 PM
I sure could mock up something cheaper than that with a motor driven screw into a master cylinder. Well I have too many boat items to work on. The first thing is a rubbing compound to buff up the gell coat. From ugly duckling to gorgeous in only 20 hours of work.

08-15-2004, 08:36 AM
I worked in our family owned NAPA store for 6 years. One of the things that was so upsetting about the business was the people who felt they could bend your ear for a half hour about every aspect of a part pumping you for every bit of information and service and then they would go buy the part for a few dollars less at the competition where they had people who didn't know a thing about what they were selling. Thank God I'm not in the parts business any more. My own feeling about this kind of thing is that if I'm shopping for price on something I don't expect the person behind the counter to know anything about the product. If I go into a store expecting to ask a lot of questions about how to install, maintain... then I will buy from the person I asked all the questions of.IMHO that person's knowledge of the product is worth paying for. It's also worth going back and bitching if he was wrong.

I also want to mention it also pays to be nice. I recently bought a very expensive front entry door to my house.(I shopped around for a good price)I bought the door at a locally owned lumber yard that has very knowledgeble staff and is still competitive with the Lowes and Home Depot stores. The door was supose to be delivered on a Wednesday. Called the lumber company, not there. Oh great, when will it be delivered? I had people scheduled to come help me. Friday. Door came in on Friday picked it up and paid the bill (no deposit either) Salesman knocked another $200 off the door because I was so understanding. He said you know if you had been building a new house and waiting for a morgage closing or a CO because of the door we would have been in deep trouble. The door supplier didn't bother calling them after they gave them the delivery date. Great customer service, knowledgable staff, good prices, Yes, I know they like the color of my money but I'll be back for more because of their customer service.

08-18-2004, 12:06 AM
Yes there might have been a time when I asked a salesman about a product. More often than not I was fed a line of crap. I can only say that it has been many years since one of these off the street Partsmen have any real knowledge to pass on. Now-a-days they have these ecat systems so that partsmen don't need to know anything!

Believe me that I am not saying this, to disregard Partsmen. One of my best friends is a Kenworth Truck partsman. I've worked with him and tested him. He pretty much knows all the parts numbers for every part ever put on a Kenworth, Peterbuilt or even Freightliner, and the history of each. Two of my brothers are also Kenworth salesman and partsmen.

It is a respectable service, but the trend is not to put a knowledgable person behind the counter. Corporate America has found that a living wage is too much to spend.

Next time you talk to a partsman he might have a foreign accent.