How to Add Hydraulic Drum or Disc Brakes to a Pontoon Boat Trailer

Question:

Under Maryland Law, if a trailer can carry over 3,000 lbs., the trailer must have brakes. I have a 2000 28 foot Majik Tilt Tandem axle bunk style pontoon boat trailer with 10 inch wheels. I need to install hydraulic? brakes on one of the axles. I imagine that hydraulic brakes versus electric are my only option since I will be backing the wheels into the water. What components must I purchase and what specifications do you need to match the correct parts for my boat trailer?

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Helpful Expert Reply:

You can equip your pontoon boat trailer with either hydraulic drum or hydraulic disc brakes. You are correct that electric brakes are not a good option since water and electricity don't get along well together.

You can get a start by reviewing the two linked articles concerning how to add hydraulic brakes to a trailer. There is an article for the drum brake application and one for disc brakes. Each of these gives you a full picture of the things to confirm and the parts required. Disc brakes cost more to install but have fewer parts than can wear and they provide superior stopping power. Drum brakes are much less costly but the brake assemblies are more complex and have more parts that can require maintenance.

If you trailer has torsion axles you will need to install the brakes on the front axle if you're only installing them on one. If you have a spring axle you'll need to install the brakes on the rear axle. Of course, you have the option to install brakes on both axles in either circumstance.

Your key is to check the axles for their weight rating and to confirm what type of axle they are, torsion or standard spring. The MagicTilt website currently lists at least two 24-foot tandem axle pontoon trailers and since these have different wheel sizes you'll need to confirm that too to ensure you choose compatible brakes. They offer trailer with both types of axle. If you contact them with your trailer's VIN number they should be able to tell you what equipment is on the trailer.

The items that you'll need to add or have already on the trailer are a hydraulic drum or disc surge coupler, brakes lines such as # DM5425, brake mounting flanges like # 4-44-1 and brake assemblies such as # K2HR35D. The article address each of these items. You need to choose hub/rotor or hub/drum assemblies that use the same bearings as your existing hubs to ensure they will work on your axle.

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Adam R

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Question:

I will be towing the trailer/pontoon boat short distances and on generally flat or minimally hilly terrain. So, I would like to proceed with drum brakes and a bolt on actuator for one of the axles on my tandem axle trailer. The current axle is rated for 2,100 lbs. and has no brake flanges I guess that I will need someone to weld them on for me. At the moment, I do not know the spindle measurements or stamped bearing and seal numbers. I can get them. The wheel bolt pattern is 5-bolt on a 10 inch wheel. The axle is a spring axle. Besides the spindle measurements, what else do you need to help me assemble/order a brake system for my trailer? Or do you offer a complete axle + drum brake system that I could purchase?

asked by: Marc W

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Helpful Expert Reply:

Since your 2100-lb rated axle does not have brake flanges, you will need to have a certified welder install them. Or you can install a new axle with flanges already in place like Dexter 3500-lb axle # T3584F-EZ-8974.

You'll need the bearing numbers in order to select hub/drum assemblies that will fit your spindles and that have the correct bolt pattern for your wheels. Then you can select hydraulic drum brakes to fit those hubs. You'll need a surge coupler with the correct weight capacity for your trailer and that fits your hitch ball size. Please see the link provided. You'll also need a brake line kit such as # 18SI-BLKIT.

helpful expert reply by: Adam R
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Adam R

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