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Trailer Brake Fluid - How often do you check it?


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37 replies to this topic

Poll: Trailer Brake Fluid Checks (129 member(s) have cast votes)

How often do you check it?

  1. Never / haven't checked it yet (45 votes [34.35%])

    Percentage of vote: 34.35%

  2. Once a year (32 votes [24.43%])

    Percentage of vote: 24.43%

  3. A couple of times a season (25 votes [19.08%])

    Percentage of vote: 19.08%

  4. Monthly (during season) (20 votes [15.27%])

    Percentage of vote: 15.27%

  5. Weekly (during season) (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  6. Every time I tow the boat (9 votes [6.87%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.87%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#1
smedman

smedman
  • Spotter Extraordinaire
  • 426 posts
  • Joined February 15, 2006
  • Location: Austin TX
  • Boat: V-Ride 06
My trailer hitch is etched with instructions saying to check the brake fluid before towing. I'm curious if people do this and how often?

Edited by smedman, June 05, 2007 - 07:08 AM.


#2
vlx wakesetter

vlx wakesetter
  • A Decent Third
  • 336 posts
  • Joined November 15, 2006
  • Location: Camarillo, CA
  • Boat: VLX wakesetter
Even though I go out every weekend I know it only takes two seconds to pop off the master cylinder cover and look to see where the fluid is. This is part of my checklist that I will always perform therefor it's one less thing I have to worry about.

#3
Malibudude

Malibudude
  • Administrator
  • 14,150 posts
  • Joined March 21, 2005
  • Location: Norcal
  • Boat: Silver Edition VLX
We (I) check it once a month but it really depends how much your boat is trailered a few miles or few hundred miles. Iíve only had to add fluid once in 7 years.

#4
Rod S

Rod S
  • Crew Regular
  • 177 posts
  • Joined April 20, 2005
  • Location: American Lake, WA
  • Boat: 99 RLX Wakesurf Pro
I check it once a year in the spring. I don't trailer much. I do change out the fluid every few years as it aborbs water and you can tell when it starts looking a little brown.

#5
dlb

dlb
  • Crew Devotee
  • 1,057 posts
  • Joined April 13, 2005
  • Location: The Triangle
  • Boat: 2002 Wakesetter LSV
I check it every time now. I checked it after winter layup one spring and it was dry. Posted Image Worth the peace of mind.

Edited by dlb, June 05, 2007 - 03:21 PM.


#6
scfdfireman

scfdfireman
  • Crew Regular
  • 176 posts
  • Joined June 06, 2006
  • Location: Sunny CA, Santa Clara
  • Boat: 2006 V-Ride
I check the brake fluid at the beginning of each season, and flush it with new fluid (before storing the bu) at the end of the season... Brake fluid is hygroscopic (it adsorbs moisture) and causes corrosion in the master cylinder, tubing and wheel cylinders or calipers if it's flushed regularly. Just the nature of boating encourages moisture adsorption by the fluid...

#7
wienrdog

wienrdog
  • Crew Devotee
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  • Location: Maineville, OH
  • Boat: '01 SSLXi
Think you missed a 'not' in there....

causes corrosion in the master cylinder, tubing and wheel cylinders or calipers if it's NOT flushed regularly.



#8
Pistol Pete

Pistol Pete
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  • Joined April 06, 2005
  • Location: The Santa Cruz mountains, CA
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All you guys should really be using DOT 5 fluid. It's synthetic and does not absorb water like DOT 1-4 will and it has a much higher boiling point. You can get it at Winchester Auto parts. It is pricey but, my superb D.H.M. trailer came with it standard. I know Extreme only uses cheap-o Dot 3.

#9
Arkid

Arkid
  • Deck Hand
  • 218 posts
  • Joined June 04, 2006
  • Location: Valencia, CA
  • Boat: 2000 Escape LSV

I check the brake fluid at the beginning of each season, and flush it with new fluid (before storing the bu) at the end of the season... Brake fluid is hygroscopic (it adsorbs moisture) and causes corrosion in the master cylinder, tubing and wheel cylinders or calipers if it's flushed regularly. Just the nature of boating encourages moisture adsorption by the fluid...


So for us dummies.... How do we flush? :blush:

#10
wienrdog

wienrdog
  • Crew Devotee
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  • Location: Maineville, OH
  • Boat: '01 SSLXi
Depends on the actuator & what type of brakes you have....

For most of the 'bu trailers, they use a UFP actuator & here's the bleeding instructions from their site.

UFP Brake Bleed

#11
scfdfireman

scfdfireman
  • Crew Regular
  • 176 posts
  • Joined June 06, 2006
  • Location: Sunny CA, Santa Clara
  • Boat: 2006 V-Ride
Sorry about the typo on the previous message ... Flushing the fluid can be done several ways, either pushing fresh fluid or pulling fresh fluid. I have a pressure bleeder so after sucking out the old fluid with a bulb suction device, I put an adapter on the master cylinder and open the wheel cylinders (starting at the farthest first) and flush until clear fluid appears. If you don't have a pressure bleeder, you can pull the old fluid out with a small hand held vacuum pump with a plastic canister (available at auto parts stores for $25.00). Do each wheel cylinder at a time (starting at the farthest first) and the fresh fluid will be sucked into the pump. Just remember to keep the master cylinder full during the process or air will enter the system. The type 5 fluid is great for brake systems with stainless steel components, but I believe the type 3 or 4 fluid actually helps to keep the moisture away from the vulnerable steel parts of non-stainless systems.

#12
woody

woody
  • Crew Devotee
  • 1,130 posts
  • Joined May 01, 2005
  • Location: NORCAL, Plumas Lake
  • Boat: 05 VLX

All you guys should really be using DOT 5 fluid. It's synthetic and does not absorb water like DOT 1-4 will and it has a much higher boiling point. You can get it at Winchester Auto parts. It is pricey but, my superb D.H.M. trailer came with it standard. I know Extreme only uses cheap-o Dot 3.



Pete... Will you buy me some DOT 5 fluid for my extreme trailer? Posted Image


Oh... I look the entire trailer over monthly, including the fluid.

#13
D-GOOSE

D-GOOSE
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  • Joined April 19, 2005
  • Location: Antelope CA.
  • Boat: 2003 wakesetter VLX
  • Boat House View Boat House

Sorry about the typo on the previous message ... Flushing the fluid can be done several ways, either pushing fresh fluid or pulling fresh fluid. I have a pressure bleeder so after sucking out the old fluid with a bulb suction device, I put an adapter on the master cylinder and open the wheel cylinders (starting at the farthest first) and flush until clear fluid appears. If you don't have a pressure bleeder, you can pull the old fluid out with a small hand held vacuum pump with a plastic canister (available at auto parts stores for $25.00). Do each wheel cylinder at a time (starting at the farthest first) and the fresh fluid will be sucked into the pump. Just remember to keep the master cylinder full during the process or air will enter the system. The type 5 fluid is great for brake systems with stainless steel components, but I believe the type 3 or 4 fluid actually helps to keep the moisture away from the vulnerable steel parts of non-stainless systems.



Posted Image Just flushed my system last week with and used about 3 quarts. I know it was a over kill but had the time and fluid.

Pete put me down on the list with woody. Posted Image

#14
99response

99response
  • Seeking A Life
  • 2,736 posts
  • Joined April 26, 2005
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Boat: boatless!
I check/fill it everytime I buy another boat pretty much...

#15
NorCaliBu

NorCaliBu
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  • Boat: Small and Fast
  • Boat House View Boat House

I check/fill it everytime I buy another boat pretty much...

So that's what???...2-3 times a year. :lol:

#16
Pistol Pete

Pistol Pete
  • Waaaaay Too Many
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  • Joined April 06, 2005
  • Location: The Santa Cruz mountains, CA
  • Boat: No need w/the friends I have.

All you guys should really be using DOT 5 fluid. It's synthetic and does not absorb water like DOT 1-4 will and it has a much higher boiling point. You can get it at Winchester Auto parts. It is pricey but, my superb D.H.M. trailer came with it standard. I know Extreme only uses cheap-o Dot 3.



Pete... Will you buy me some DOT 5 fluid for my extreme trailer? Posted Image


Oh... I look the entire trailer over monthly, including the fluid.

Hey guys,
It's no joke Posted Image
Both of you guys should know how caustic brake fluid is. I've had two separate leaks around my surge brake unit that would have caused major paint and hull damage to the tow vehicle and boat if it were not for the synthetic fluid. (leaks thanks to UPF, not D.H.M. trailers you know)

I have about 3 cans on hand at all times at the house (back ups for the back ups). They're about $15 a can for about a half a pint. I don't even run this stuff in my motorcycles, only the trailer.

#17
Pistol Pete

Pistol Pete
  • Waaaaay Too Many
  • 7,991 posts
  • Joined April 06, 2005
  • Location: The Santa Cruz mountains, CA
  • Boat: No need w/the friends I have.

Posted Image Just flushed my system last week with and used about 3 quarts. I know it was a over kill but had the time and fluid.

Pete put me down on the list with woody. Posted Image

If you did it right, it would have only taken one qt. Posted Image
And, don't get me started about how much free time you have... Posted Image

#18
woody

woody
  • Crew Devotee
  • 1,130 posts
  • Joined May 01, 2005
  • Location: NORCAL, Plumas Lake
  • Boat: 05 VLX

All you guys should really be using DOT 5 fluid. It's synthetic and does not absorb water like DOT 1-4 will and it has a much higher boiling point. You can get it at Winchester Auto parts. It is pricey but, my superb D.H.M. trailer came with it standard. I know Extreme only uses cheap-o Dot 3.



Pete... Will you buy me some DOT 5 fluid for my extreme trailer? Posted Image


Oh... I look the entire trailer over monthly, including the fluid.

Hey guys,
It's no joke Posted Image
Both of you guys should know how caustic brake fluid is. I've had two separate leaks around my surge brake unit that would have caused major paint and hull damage to the tow vehicle and boat if it were not for the synthetic fluid. (leaks thanks to UPF, not D.H.M. trailers you know)

I have about 3 cans on hand at all times at the house (back ups for the back ups). They're about $15 a can for about a half a pint. I don't even run this stuff in my motorcycles, only the trailer.



Your exactly right... Brake fluid is so caustic. It will eat the paint off anything.

#19
electricjohn

electricjohn
  • Crew Devotee
  • 1,959 posts
  • Joined November 26, 2005
  • Location: Woods Tavern, NJ & Adirondack, NY
  • Boat: 03 Rlxi, 70 Winner

All you guys should really be using DOT 5 fluid. It's synthetic and does not absorb water like DOT 1-4 will and it has a much higher boiling point. You can get it at Winchester Auto parts. It is pricey but, my superb D.H.M. trailer came with it standard. I know Extreme only uses cheap-o Dot 3.

Is there any compatability problems with seals, hoses, or metals if someone was to convert to DOT-5.

#20
Pistol Pete

Pistol Pete
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  • Location: The Santa Cruz mountains, CA
  • Boat: No need w/the friends I have.
No,
But, you can only go up in the DOT range, not down. Meaning if you go to DOT 5, you gotta stay with it not, convert back down.




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