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Disc Trailer brake problem


High Bidder

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I just installed disc brakes on a buddy's trailer and I can't seem to get enough pressure to activate the calipers. I installed a new disc brake type actuator with a reversing solenoid. It is a Tie Down model and Kodiak brakes. There are no leaks anywhere and the reversing solenoid is functioning properly (no bypass when not activated)and it has me baffled. Is there a special procedure to bleed the actuator and system? Or could it be just a defective actuator?

High Bidder

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There should be a bleeder valve on each brake set. Start at the furthest tire down the brake line. have some one hold a cup under the valve, loosen it. Have yourself pump the brake actuator untill you have a cup or two of oil in the cup. Go to the next tire up the line and repeat the process. Continue till all the tires are done.

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I am guessing you have maybe a 7000 series tie down surge brake coupler. There is a slot on top of the actuator for a screw driver or brake spoon to go in and manually pump the piston in the master cylinder. Use a one man brake bleeder on the bleed screws of the calipers. Do one at a time. Catch the fluid in a clean can and you can return it to the master cylinder when it gets low . Make sure you keep the cylinder full when bleeding.

Once bled, unhook the electrical plug from the tow vehicle and try reversing. If you can't back it it is working. If it rolls back then the actuator is not bled completely or malfunctioning.

Also try to pull it with the plug hooked up and the emergency break away cable pulled. It should not be able to turn the wheels when tugged by the tow vehicle.

Mark

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Did the same to my rig last fall. Took us an hour to bleed all the air, keep bleeding till you can't push the actuator in, use a 2by 4 to leverage the coupler nose.

Roughrider IV

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A come-along tied to the trailer frame on one side, and run across the nose of the coupler and tied back to the frame on the other side of the boat works well to compress and hold the actuator in and allows you to do it all as a 1 man job.

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Nitro, I used the comealong method and it worked great. The first time I bled the calipers I started at the fartherest. The next few times I started at the closest. It took a lot of fluid to finally get the brakes to work. Kodiak calipers have bleeders on both sides of the unit so you can always open the top one. I'll bleed them one more time after I take it for a trip around the block.

Thanks

High Bidder

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I guess from changing the lines at the actuator I got air in at the beginning of the line. It's all bled now and the brakes work great. There was constant problems with the drum brakes it had on it before and they were only two years old. I'm hoping the disc brakes don't freeze up during the winter storage like the wheel cylinders sometimes did. I also discovered that not all trailer wiring on trucks have a backup light wire to them to activate the reverse solenoid on the actuator. My brother-in-law's 97 Ford truck has the reverse wire but my 99 Ford does not. I guess if I want to use his boat now I'll have to rewire my truck.

Thanks for the imput on fixing this issue.

High Bidder

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  • 2 weeks later...
I guess if I want to use his boat now I'll have to rewire my truck

There is a hole for a pin to go in behind the actuator to keep it from moving back and when backing. It is a pain to get out and put the pin in but at some point you will be out to unstrap at the launch. Still if ya gotta backup in other places it is not very convenient though. Just in case ;)

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