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Thread: Trailer Tech: Adding brakes

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    Trailer Tech: Adding brakes

    As they say, safety is number one, and nothing on your bike, atv, Jeep, truck, or trailer is as important as your brakes. My trailer came with one braked axle, which was adequate but not great. Adding a second set of brakes is easy work, just a bit time consuming to do right. Heres a little overview of whats involved.

    This is my non braked axle, hence this is an idler hub, pretty simple. The rubber cap is for ez lube axles, as you'll see below.




    Heres the complete brake setup. Drum on left, brake kit on right. Electric brakes are very simple. The magnet gets energized and pushs the arm, that in turn pushes the shoes against the drum. Make note of the direction of the arm (the one hiding the green wires). That arm has to point towards the front of the trailer for your brakes to work. Most brake kits will be labeled left or right, but its pretty easy to tell.



    Heres the axle shaft with the hub removed. Thats the grease nipple for lubing the axles, its a very nice feature to have. Notice that flange with 4 holes in it. Thats where the brakes attach to. If you have that, you're half way there. I didn't, so I had to weld it on. The picture is a bit misleading, you have to make sure it on straight, as you want the magnet straight. Very easy to weld on, you just have to make sure its level.


    Attach the brake kit to the flange, using 4 locking nuts. Put a little bit of grease on the shaft, don't get any on the brakes.


    Put the bearings into the drums, now is the time to replace them if they're bad. Carefully put the drum onto the shoes, make sure you don't get any grease inside. Re-tighten the axle bolt properly, and spin and inspect for play.




    Now you just have to supply power to the magnet. There are two wires that come out the brake kit, and it doesn't matter what wire is what, the magnet couldn't care less. Just make sure you use the correct gage wire, and insulate them from water and road crap. I spliced into my front axle, which had brakes already.





    Put the tire back on, give it a spin, and supply a 12v source to the trailer (ground, and brake). Once you supply the 12 volts, the tire should lock up in a hurry if you did everything right.




    Thats it, go have a beer, you just added 100% more braking to your trailer. But while you're at it, adjust your brakes properly. You're gonna have to readjust your brake controller, and after a few KMs, don't forget to reinspect everything, and re-tighten the lug nuts.

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    Hey, great write-up. I'm about to do the same thing. After towing a trailer with brakes on both axles then getting a bigger one with single brakes you really notice a difference.

    The point about using the right guage wire is very important. It can make up for very poor braking. Not just the wire on the trailer but all the wiring for the brake controller in the truck too.

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    What did you do for the mounting plate on the former idler axle?
    Did you purchase it somewhere or just fab your own?
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuieZ View Post
    Hey, great write-up. I'm about to do the same thing. After towing a trailer with brakes on both axles then getting a bigger one with single brakes you really notice a difference.

    The point about using the right guage wire is very important. It can make up for very poor braking. Not just the wire on the trailer but all the wiring for the brake controller in the truck too.

    Do it, you won't regret it. For the price, and ease of installation, its well worth it. Its safer, and will make your truck's brakes last longer.

    I highly suggest you have the bearings and seals with you before you tear the old hub off. I ended up driving to a couple of trailer places until I found the right seal because I forget to get them. Canadian Tire and Napa were useless for that. Just return what you don't use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by }{avoc View Post
    What did you do for the mounting plate on the former idler axle?
    Did you purchase it somewhere or just fab your own?

    The old idler hub didn't have a mounting plate, or backing plate. If I'm understanding your question correctly. The hub slid all the way back. The shaft has two different spots. The farthest one back is where I welded the flange with the 4 holes, and one in front of that is where the old hub rested against. Maybe this picture can help explain better. The shiny parts are all inside the hub, and get grease.


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    Sorry, I meant the backing plate.

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    What kind of price are we talking about? This is something I have considered for my trailer
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    Quote Originally Posted by }{avoc View Post
    Sorry, I meant the backing plate.
    No worries, hopefully the picture helped.

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    Quote Originally Posted by H8TO WRK View Post
    What kind of price are we talking about? This is something I have considered for my trailer

    Its gonna depend on your axle size. Mine was a little under $300.

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    Pic kinda helped, but still didn't answer my question :P

    Did you purchase it, or just fab it up from steel you had?

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    Oh do you mean that flange with the 4 holes in it? I didn't make them, much easier, cheaper, and better to buy. You're just gonna have to hunt for them a little, most trailer places won't stock, few do. I got mine from a trailer place in Caledon, JC something. They were just $5 each. You can also order them online.

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