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  1. #1
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    226

    Default Saltwater boat trailer brakes eaten alive

    Have had the trailer for 4 years. New when I got it. Magic Tilt aluminum tandem axle with front axle brakes.

    I take good care of my stuff. Really good care. I usually cary 2 five gallon buckets of fresh water to the ramp with me so I can at least spaash some fresh water on the brakes so they don't sit in salt for 8-10 hours while I'm out fishing. I always and I do mean always stop at a local car wash about 1/2 mile from the ramp and wash the boat, trailer and truck on the way home. It's only $5 for as long as I want to use the stall. The brakes are the first thing I hit with warm high pressure soapy water. Then they get two more good rinsings before we leave for home. As soon as I pull into the back yard and back the boat down hill I rinse the brakes again while everyone is getting their rods and stuff out of the boat. Flush the motor and rinse the brakes again. I let the boat sit out in the dew over night and then pressure wash it one more time and hit the brakes again.

    Last Thursday I caught a glimpse of sparks coming of my left brake while traveling. No brakes applied. Touched the brakes and it did it again and worse. It was dark and I couldn't find anything loose or even warm, much less falling off or hot.

    Long story short, the brakes are totally eaten up. Caliper flange is about to break away from the axle, rotors are severly pitted.

    I'm trying to figure out how to fix this mess and after looking at the caliper flanges I'm not exactly what I need to do....short of replacing the complete axle assembly and new aluminum/SS/galvanized parts.

    Anyone have any suggestions where to start? I'll probably go ahead and replace both pairs of leaf springs while I'm at it too.

    thanks in advance for any suggestions,
    CB

  2. #2
    Super Star Member Diamondpilot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    14,633
    Location
    Daleville, IN
    Tractor
    Jinma 254/284 Ford 861 Powermaster at work

    Default

    Were the brakes galvanized or stainless to start with? I deal with tons of boat stuff and what little salt water stuff I have been around a common item is rust, no matter how good you rinse and such. Your bearings and races will probably be just as bad. Sorry, just life in the salt.

    Chris

  3. #3
    Elite Member Kyle_in_Tex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    4,699
    Location
    Giddings, Texas
    Tractor
    JD 4310,JD5420

    Default Re: Saltwater boat trailer brakes eaten alive

    there are 2 kinds of oats. Oats in front of a horse, and oats behind the horse.

  4. #4
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    385
    Location
    Louisville, KY burbs

    Default Re: Saltwater boat trailer brakes eaten alive

    I personally would not wash trailer brakes while they are warm from driving. It's almost as bad as not having to wait in line at the boat ramp and dumping your brakes right in the cool water after getting off the highway. Rotors don't form pits from routine wear, they form from heat fatigue in the metal.

  5. #5
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    4,144
    Location
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Tractor
    Kubota L5030 HSTC, MF 5455

    Default Re: Saltwater boat trailer brakes eaten alive

    Rotors also pit from salt as anyone in salt country knows. Its worse on highway driven cars as the rotors don't get heated up and dried out. The rears on cars/trucks are worse for the same reason.

  6. #6
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: Saltwater boat trailer brakes eaten alive

    We just had to replace all 4 calipers on our boat's trailer after 6 years - we were able to save the rotors. We were not as careful as you with rinsing, but we only dunked the trailer twice a year (in salt water). The backing on the brake pads seemed to be the biggest problem - it swelled right up and locked the wheels.

    I think your experience is pretty normal - remember the trailer manufacturer is going to put the cheapest brake possible on there (meaning not stainless). In your situation, dealing with only one axle, you may want to try stainless brakes, including stainless rotors. For us, doing that to both axles would have been $1400 in parts alone, so we went with the non-stainless and we'll try to rinse better.

    Tim

  7. #7
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    314
    Location
    SE Louisiana

    Default Re: Saltwater boat trailer brakes eaten alive

    Chain Bender,
    The rinsing may help, but you will never get all the salt out of all che cracks and crevices. I would just put the brakes on the routine maintenance list and change them out avery few years. We constantly fight rust at out here at work. Even the stainless stuff rusts after a while. All you can do is change everything out then do it again in a few years.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    1,885
    Location
    Monrovia, California
    Tractor
    Kubota BX25

    Default Re: Saltwater boat trailer brakes eaten alive

    One must remember a boat is a giant hole in the water and money must be poured into it to keep it afloat...

    Signed, a Duckworth River Sled Owner, 21' Mag...

  9. #9
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    188
    Location
    SW MO
    Tractor
    1966 John Deere 1020/37 Loader

    Default Re: Saltwater boat trailer brakes eaten alive

    BOAT.....Bust Out Another Thousand. Sorry, couldn't resist. Mark
    Briar Hill Brittanys....."Finest in the Field" www.briarhillbrittanys.com

  10. #10
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    501

    Default

    I have a magic tilt 24 footer from 04. The drums are awful on my trailer

    I am changing to kodiak stainless disc brakes when I have some money.

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