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Boat Trailer With Recently Serviced Brakes Will Not Back Up Without Brakes Applying

Question:

The trailer belongs to my Dad. He had the wheels and brakes serviced this winter and had the brakes checked the other day when the wheels locked when he tried backing up his trailer. His trailer is a Shorelander R1928. The trailer has an Atwood Hydraulic Surge Brake System MPD 85778

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Expert Reply:

Usually, when you try to back a trailer with a hydraulic surge actuator uphill, the coupler will compress and apply the brakes unless you 'lock out' the coupler by moving the lever on the side of the coupler to the 'Backing Position' as shown in the photo I provided.

If your Dad has never had to use the lock out on the coupler before, I'm thinking that maybe the trailer used to have what're called free-backing brakes before they were recently serviced. Did the shop who serviced the brakes replace the brake assemblies, by chance? When you back a trailer with free-backing brakes, they will put up some initial resistance, but they they'll release allowing you to back the trailer. If the brake assemblies were replaced with standard ones, It would explain why the trailer isn't wanting to back up all of a sudden.

Have him check this out with the shop that serviced the brakes. If this isn't what happened, get back with me.

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expert reply by:
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Mike L

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