View Full Version : Brakes engage when pushing boat in and out of garage

08-18-2013, 11:39 PM
So, I'm hoping there is an easy fix/solution to this issue. My trailer seems to work great when I'm towing, both forward and backward. I don't feel the brakes engaging when I don't want them to and can back up without an issue. I do feel them when I'm towing down a hill, as I would expect.

However, over the past month, the brakes have been on whenever I have the boat unhooked and am pushing it into or out of the garage. (With my garage, the only way the collapsed tower will fit under the door is if I push it in with the tongue all the way down after unhooking.) In the past, I could back the boat into the garage until the tower was about to hit the frame of the garage, then get out, block the wheels, unhook the boat, lower the tongue all the way and push the boat the rest of the way in.

It is a bit of a hassle, to be sure, but boat slips are very spendy here and my neighborhood doesn't allow boats or RV's to be stored in the driveway or street. In the past, though, the boat has been easy enough to roll in and out of the driveway.

However, the boat barely moves now and I can hear humming/rubbing from both sides of the trailer. It takes two people and lots of grunting to get the boat in and out of the garage.

I've hooked up the boat to the tow vehicle and had my wife drive slowly to make sure the brakes aren't engaged when towing - - - they don't seem to be. Plus, I don't feel them surging or engaging and there is no smell or abnormal heat when I've been towing. I think this is only when the tongue is down.

Again, this didn't happen for a long time - - - it has only started as of a month ago.

Are there any easy fixes?

08-19-2013, 01:11 AM
Sounds like the coupler is still pushed in, after you backed up the trailer. Have you tried pulling the coupler back out after you unhook the trailer. That should disengage pressure on the brakes.

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08-19-2013, 01:38 PM
Sounds like the coupler is still pushed in, after you backed up the trailer. Have you tried pulling the coupler back out after you unhook the trailer. That should disengage pressure on the brakes.

I haven't done anything except take the trailer tongue off the ball, fold the tongue back, then lower the tongue all the way down before pushing the trailer back in.

How do I go about "pulling the coupler back out?"

Sorry if this is a silly question . . .

08-19-2013, 01:59 PM
I chock the boat wheels and let the truck idle forward to get the coupler back out.

08-19-2013, 02:00 PM
If you have the trailer tongue like we have, the actuator slides back into the main part of the trailer causing the brakes to activate.

There is a pin type insert that must be put into a slot on the tongue to prevent the brakes from engaging.

Here is an example of what it would look like pushed all the way in:

Table Rocker
08-19-2013, 02:21 PM
It looks like this:
http://imageserv11.team-logic.com/store-logic/products/159/48547/34557_1.jpg (http://www.pacifictrailers.com/UFP-A-60-Side-Lockout-Bracket-34557-for-Brake-Actuator-backing/)

08-19-2013, 02:36 PM
My 2003 trailer does not require a pin like that. There is a 5th wire on the harness that locks out the brakes in reverse. The actuator still slides back, but the brakes do not engage.

Table Rocker
08-19-2013, 03:02 PM
My 2003 trailer does not require a pin like that. There is a 5th wire on the harness that locks out the brakes in reverse. The actuator still slides back, but the brakes do not engage.
I believe the OP is talking about when the trailer is unhooked from the tow vehicle.

08-19-2013, 03:07 PM
Also run into this problem and handle it how JRW160 does; idle the truck forward or "bump" it quickly and it seems to disengage.

08-19-2013, 03:10 PM
I believe the OP is talking about when the trailer is unhooked from the tow vehicle.
Right, I am assuming he does not push it using the coupler.

08-19-2013, 03:32 PM
I had similar problem. Mine was actually something wrong with brakes. It was a long time ago so don't remember exact problem. My brakes got to where they eventually heated up. Lift tires off ground with jack and see if tires spin freely. It could be on one side or both. Air in lines can cause brakes to engage also.

08-19-2013, 03:38 PM
Right, I am assuming he does not push it using the coupler.

You're correct. I push it into the garage by pushing on the bow of the boat.

My tongue doesn't look like the one in Rockman's pic, FWIW. Mine is a fold-away with a chrome coupler.

I've done some more research in the forum and see there is a tab which needs to be pushed back on my style of tongue. I'm wondering if that is the problem. If that is the case, do I need something to hold that tab in place?

Another question I have relates to the fact that I leave the tongue latch "open" once I disconnect the trailer from the tow vehicle. Does this affect the brakes at all? I think I've always left that open when pushing the boat, but I'm curious if the brakes are set if the latch is open.

08-19-2013, 05:11 PM
The picture of the tongue I posted and the breakawy have no affect...same actuator in either scenario...sorry, just grabbed the first pic I found.

No, having the latch up or down (which goes over the ball on the hitch) has no effect on releasing the brakes.

Post a pic so we can nail this one down for you...

08-20-2013, 10:30 PM
Thanks for the help. I had a few minutes to look closely at the tongue and see what people mean by the "coupler being pushed into the tongue." This, indeed, seems to be the issue, as the coupler is retracted into the tongue.

I'm not sure why this has just started to be a problem.

I think that the reverse light signal is working properly, as I'm able to back up the trailer with the Xterra attached. I'm wondering if I need to do as JRW suggested - - - chock the wheels and roll forward slightly before detaching the boat to pull the coupler out.

I still wonder why the coupler is getting hung up, if that is indeed the case. It never did this before 1 month ago.

08-20-2013, 10:31 PM
I'll try to snap a few photos tomorrow to show what I'm seeing.

08-20-2013, 11:37 PM
When I put our x2 in the garage I have to back up our driveway which has a slight slope. After I unhook the trailer coupler from the truck, I grab the coupler and pull it all the way out. That releases the pressure in the brake lines. Chalking the wheels then pulling forward with the toe vehicle will also work as suggested above.

The tab o the bottom I have used to flush the brake fluid or air out of the lines at each wheel disc brake bleed valve. Search for the UFP A60 coupler/actuator manual, this has a nice write up on the components and what they do.

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Mark rsa2au
08-21-2013, 05:48 AM
Check the shock absorber inside the tounge. This is supposed to push the actuator back out and create pressure outward while the weight of the boat overrides it to activate the brakes. When you use the car the reverse signal activates the solenoid that cuts pressure to the brakes which might be why it is ok when reversing but not when pushing by hand.

08-21-2013, 10:53 PM
I had a chance to check the tongue and coupler more carefully this evening. It does seem that the coupler is all the way out. The shock absorber seems to be fully extended - - - it can only compress as the coupler is pressed back inside the tongue (thereby activating the brakes.)

Interestingly, I was just checking everything over when I noticed that the plastic cap for the brake fluid reservoir on the tongue was very loose - - - in fact, it came off easily with just my fingers. I made sure there was still brake fluid in the reservoir then carefully tightened it down a little bit with a wrench. I doubt this would cause the brakes to rub as I backed in by hand, but I thought it was curious.

Next, I went to each side of the trailer and tried to rock the trailer back and forth. On the port side, there was no apparent resistance. On the starboard side, however, there was a definite rubbing sound and resistance. Now, I'm wondering if there is something else that I need to do.

Any ideas? I've worked on many vehicles in my lifetime and have done a variety of tasks, but I've never done anything with brakes. Do I need to bleed the lines? Is there an adjustment I can do?

For the record, this trailer is from 2004, but the boat was kept on the lake and in storage, so it looks like it has only a few hundred miles in it. The trailer has likely sat for awhile.

08-22-2013, 01:41 AM
I'm guessing the reverse lockout activated by the blue wire is not relieving the pressure or is stuck on thereby holding the pressure at the time it was tripped on such as coming to a stop to then back up. Moisture in the fluid may have caused the valve to stick. Just a thought.

08-22-2013, 08:17 AM
If your trailer has Reliable manufactured components there is a strong possibility that your calipers may be hanging. This was a known problem with the calipers supplied by Reliable and where part of a warranty replacement program.

I had this issue with my 03 MC trailer and was able to get a replacement set of Kodiak calipers from Reliable before they went out of business. Most everything Reliable sold was junk in one way or another. I still have their actuator on my 07 trailer and am doing what I can to keep it alive as long as possible. There are several threads about replacing the actuator with a UFP retrofit kit. Sooner or later I fear I too will be looking at this replacement and expense.

08-22-2013, 08:19 PM
Thanks to everyone for their input on this. I'm pretty sure this trailer has original parts from 2004, due to the fact it was rarely used. So, it may be that it is a caliper problem, especially since I am having difficulty on one side only.

How big of a job is it to replace calipers? I haven't done brakes yet, but have done lots of other things on my vehicles including replaced multiple starters, adjusted valve lifters, etc. It seems that the job should be pretty straightforward but I don't want to assume . . .

08-22-2013, 08:48 PM
jack up each tire and spin the wheel if there is a lot of drag the caliper is hung up.And time to replace.very easy to do..I recommend Kodiak 225 calipers they will bolt on no mods.

08-22-2013, 09:33 PM
Calipers are easy just like on a car. 2 bolts to remove the caliper then remove the brake line from the caliper. Reverse the procedure to reinstall. The harder or messier part is bleeding the brakes. Do a couple searches on this site there should be several good posts on doing this.

08-24-2013, 09:47 AM
Thanks to all the great responses. I've made the decision to do the caliper replacement myself, as it is clear that the starboard side wheel is not turning freely. Thanks, also, bturner, for the recommendation.

I see a couple of different options for the Kodiak 225 caliper, most are around $85 each, depending on finish:



However, there is this assembly which sounds identical but costs much more ($175):


Do I need two of the $85 version or the $175 version? Also, is this a good vendor or would anyone have other recommendations?