Trailer brakes

Submitted: Thursday, Sep 27, 2001 at 00:00
ThreadID: 438 Views:3362 Replies:5 FollowUps:3
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What is the best braking system to have on an off road trailer. On my Kimberley we have over run hydraulic disc brakes, and we haven't had any problems with them. But most other manufacturers seem to use electric brakes, but I have heard of problems with electric brakes. Hydraulic seems to me to be the simplest way to go. What problems can I expect with mine. What do you think? Simon
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Reply By: Joe - Thursday, Sep 27, 2001 at 00:00

Thursday, Sep 27, 2001 at 00:00
The biggest difference between the two is in how the braking systems react on downhill descents.

Imagine that you are on a downslope on dirt (or worse, on clay) and maybe very slightly angled across the slope. You will be in low gear (maybe low range) using engine braking to ease you down the slope. With electric brakes the trailer brakes are not on and the trailer follows the 4WD. With override brakes (whether hydraulic or not) the brakes on the trailer would be applied as you descend the slope. The possibility exists for the trailer wheels to lock and slide sideways on the clay surface, dragging the back of your 4WD with it. This is not exactly something to look forward to.

If you are never likely to get into that situation then the override brakes will be fine and less fussy to maintain. However, most people would opt for the electric brakes even at the cost of the extra maintenance.

Hope this helps.

AnswerID: 1133

Follow Up By: Nigel - Saturday, Sep 29, 2001 at 00:00

Saturday, Sep 29, 2001 at 00:00
In this situation couldn't you use the reversing catch (or whatever it is called) to prevent the overrun brakes from being applied?
FollowupID: 331

Reply By: Geoff - Saturday, Sep 29, 2001 at 00:00

Saturday, Sep 29, 2001 at 00:00
Three years ago I was in Alice Springs and camped next to a bloke and his wife who'd been there for a week, waiting for parts for the electric brakes on their name brand off-road camper trailer.

As a rule, electrical things don't like to be exposed to severe dust, vibration, submersion, or heat.

Hydraulic brakes are fairly simple, but require maintenance to keep the wheel cylinders and hydraulic lines in good condition.

Cable override brake seem to be the simplest, cheapest and easiest to maintain in adverse conditions (check out any boat ramp).
However, they're not very pretty and don't have the same "Gee Whizz" factor as other systems, so they won't impress your mates.

AnswerID: 1138

Reply By: Joe - Saturday, Sep 29, 2001 at 00:00

Saturday, Sep 29, 2001 at 00:00
Simon - You could use the reversing lock out for the brakes, but you don't always have the time or inclination. Imagine a bleep wet day and then you come down a bit of a slope on a dirt road. Not many people would jump out to lock out the trailer brakes - and then jump out later to lock them back in!
AnswerID: 1142

Reply By: Joe - Wednesday, Oct 03, 2001 at 00:00

Wednesday, Oct 03, 2001 at 00:00

I neglected to mention the sophisticated adjustability of electric brakes providing control beyond the capability of over-ride brakes (whether hydraulic or cable) that is worth having.

There is also the fact that the electric brake controller allows the application of the trailer brakes on their own. This might sound odd, but if you have ever been overtaking a road train when your trailer suddenly decides to become the wagging tail on your 4WD the ability to pull it back into line by applying the trailer brakes without backing off on the power is a great safety feature.

I agree that there is more to go wrong with electric brakes, but it is my belief that when it comes to braking systems you should have the best, even if it does mean a litte more maintenance.

AnswerID: 1165

Reply By: Mick - Friday, Oct 19, 2001 at 00:00

Friday, Oct 19, 2001 at 00:00
Having had electric brakes on a camper for 6 years, then buying a Kimberley K with hydraulic disc brakes only to have them fall apart within 10,000ks and completly stuff the braking system, then drive another 7,000ks on rough roads without any brakes till they could be fixed properly, our next camper [ordered Ultimate] will have Electric brakes. Having to fold the flap over on the override everytime you want to reverse up an incline was a PITA. Braking that is only working on an inertia stop start system, give me electric any time.
AnswerID: 1245

Follow Up By: Simon - Monday, Oct 22, 2001 at 00:00

Monday, Oct 22, 2001 at 00:00
What exactly went wrong with the Kimberley's brakes, and is there anything that with hindsight you could have done to prevent it happening.
FollowupID: 372

Follow Up By: Mick - Monday, Oct 22, 2001 at 00:00

Monday, Oct 22, 2001 at 00:00
Simon, To this day no one knows, KK to there credit did air freight up 2 new calipers and pads, also I had the wheel bearings replaced, all was done in Kununnurra, but by the time we had got to Bungles they had locked on again, so it was no brakes again till we got home, KK replaced the handbrake control lever which was of a differnt shape and the adjusting bolt was drilled off center. Dont know if it fixed the problem, as we sold it straight after. I have heard of other failures since then, but have no real info.
FollowupID: 373

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