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  • Leaking Brake Fluid

    I've got an '07 Eagle trailer with Tie Down Engineering surge brakes. It's dripping a small amount of brake fluid--it looks like from the front of the master cylinder. Is there anything I can check/fix myself (I'm fairly handy but have zero experience with trailer brakes), or is it likely that I'll need to have it replaced?

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  • #2
    Check to see if the fluid is coming out the top of reservoir - that's the only place it could come without a leak of some kind.

    I would generally inspect the entire system if you are not sure as to it's overall condition.

    1. Fluid level / OK or not? Top off if low but be aware you may already have introduced air into the system. Check the fluid type carefully, some systems use DOT 5 which is not compatible with DOT 3 or 4.

    2. Wipe the local areas clean, monitor for leaks and fluid loss.

    3. Does the coupler "bang" when you accel/decel - if yes, it's either you have air in the brake system or a bad master cylinder

    4. Determine if the brakes are actually working. If you have disk brakes, not too hard - every rotor on both sides should be evenly shiny. When the boat is off, try a couple hard stops. If the trailer brakes are working, the wheels with either skid or trailer sort of hop back and forth as the surge system engages/disengages.

    5. Somewhat tangential but can effect braking - look on the inside of each wheel by the hub for grease globs. Any excess grease likely means that you have leak wheel seals and it's probably getting grease on the rotor ruining a lot of your braking.

    Once you have an idea if you have any leaks and the brakes are or are not working, you can then decide your next step.

    I've rebuilt both drum and disk brake trailer systems...trailer hubs as well. Best to figure out where to start before you start throwing parts at it.
    2004 206 Air Nautique Limited - Black with Vapor Blue (family style)
    1997 Masters Edition Nautique - Zephyr Green - gone (amazing ski wake)
    1982 Mastercraft Powerslot - gone (a primitive but wonderful beast)
    Bellevue WA

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    • #3
      Thanks for the ideas. I bought it last year, so I am unsure as to how the PO maintained the brake system. Fluid isn't coming out of the top/ fill hole.

      1) Fluid level is ok (DOT 3). What I'm losing is a small amount--a drip or two a day.
      2) Dripping from the front of the master cylinder. Not sure if that's where is leaking from, but it is dripping from there.
      3) No, it doesn't make excessive noise or jerk excessively on acceleration or deceleration.
      4) They're discs and appear to be functioning.
      5) I replaced the seals, bearings, and races last fall.

      I'll probably try to get it in for service. I don't really want to tackle it myself.

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      • #4
        Sounds like it's mostly in good order.

        Here's a UFP brand trailer master cylinder....yours is likely similar if not this one. The top reservoir seal can leak, you can also have a leak at around the pushrod assembly or even the reverse lockout solenoid.. I'd look around the pushrod assembly seal.

        https://www.amazon.com/UFP-Brake-Mas..._t1_B006UH5V2Y
        Last edited by SilentSeven; 1 week ago.
        2004 206 Air Nautique Limited - Black with Vapor Blue (family style)
        1997 Masters Edition Nautique - Zephyr Green - gone (amazing ski wake)
        1982 Mastercraft Powerslot - gone (a primitive but wonderful beast)
        Bellevue WA

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        • #5
          First ting I would do would be to identify what actuator you have. If you're lucky it's a UFP and if so most likely an A60. For a trailer that's 14 years old I honestly wouldn't screw around with trying to fix the actuator, I'd just replace the whole thing and be done with it. For $220 you can replace the entire inner member and let god sort out what was wrong with it. If the trailer's been taken care of you'll remove the brake line off the back of the unit, knock out the slide pins and pull out the inner member. Reverse to install the new one and bleed the brakes. Done. Now you have a complete new actuator.

          I won't tell you that this is super simple as it can be a bit fiddly but if you did your own wheel bearing you can do this too with a little effort and a couple YouTube videos. Believe me if you take this to a shop you'll have more than $220 into it and they'll either patch up the old actuator or recommend replacing it. If the latter you'll now have over $500 into it. If the first you'll have a patched up 14 year old actuator.

          I'm on a mission to not buy from Amazon and support small/local businesses so here's a link to Pacific Trailer for an A60. Make sure you get the right one as they're different for single and tandem axles. If you have questions they're also real good about answering questions.....

          https://www.pacifictrailers.com/prod...c-brakes-34044
          Last edited by bturner; 1 week ago.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by MN Ryan View Post

            I'll probably try to get it in for service. I don't really want to tackle it myself.

            Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk

            Crystal Welding is in Dayton and have been a great trailer maker and service resource.
            1998 SN GT40
            84 2001 Ski Nautique (sold)
            Monticello MN.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mpost View Post

              Crystal Welding is in Dayton and have been a great trailer maker and service resource.
              Thanks. I'm only a few miles from them, and that's who I planned on calling.

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              • #8


                Originally posted by bturner View Post
                I won't tell you that this is super simple as it can be a bit fiddly but if you did your own wheel bearing you can do this too with a little effort and a couple YouTube videos.
                I appreciate the advice, but with as short as our summers are and youth sports in full swing, I don't really want to tackle it myself right now.



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                • #9


                  Originally posted by mpost View Post

                  Crystal Welding is in Dayton...
                  Sheesh, they're booked till mid-August!



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                  • #10
                    You mean to tell me with all the clueless people that have bought travel trailers and boats (with trailers) that don't know how to work on a single thing shops are backed up? I'm shocked and stunned.....

                    Between this latest generation of "manscaping" men that can't change their own oil and Covid policies that are paying more in unemployment out than what shops can pay entry level apprentice type employees is anyone really surprised you can't get anything worked on these days? I've been in pretty big demand lately helping friends, neighbors and relatives out with everything from basic car/boat maintenance to basic home repair. Talk about inflation, I was able to raise my rates from Miller Lite to Crown Royal.

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                    • #11
                      I get what you're saying, but I hope that wasn't a jab at me. I'm capable, change my own oil, and perform other maintenance (i.e. wheel bearings), but this is a project that I don't want to tackle myself. I have a young family, and time is fleeting.

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                      • #12
                        Not at all, sorry you took it that way.

                        You said you did the bearings right? Not sure why you would think I was taking a jab at you when you clearly have the skills needed to do the job then. I get the time thing. Have kids of my own. Best of luck..... (no slight or hidden meaning intended with the best of luck comment, just wishing you good luck with your project)

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                        • #13
                          No offense taken. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't lumped in with the clueless folks. I'm new to inboards, and I want to learn as much as I can.

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                          • #14
                            Do you have a picture of the tounge assembly? Wondering if it is a UFP or ???? Make the appointment and just keep an eye on the brake fluid level. Hopefully they wont need to keep it for 2 weeks in August to fix it!
                            1998 SN GT40
                            84 2001 Ski Nautique (sold)
                            Monticello MN.

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                            • #15


                              Originally posted by mpost View Post
                              Make the appointment and just keep an eye on the brake fluid level. Hopefully they wont need to keep it for 2 weeks in August to fix it!
                              That's my plan. The guy I talked to was very nice. Since I keep the boat on the trailer and regularly trailer it, he didn't want me to bring it in till they could get to it quickly.



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