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SeaRay16

Trailer Brakes locking up in reverse

We just bought a 2001 Sunsetter VLX. Love the boat! But trailer has been giving us trouble (Sports Boat Trailer, double axle, with brakes.) Every other time we try to back it up, the brakes lock up and won't let us go any further. Happened at the launch, then while backing into our garage. Has anyone else had this problem? Does it have something to do with wiring between truck and trailer? Boat is currently stuck in our driveway so hoping to get this solved quickly.

Thanks!

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What is your tow vehicle? Some Fords in particular are wired in such a way that the brake on the trailer will engage. You can put a piece into the trailer to lock out the brake as a temporary fix.

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We just bought a 2001 Sunsetter VLX. Love the boat! But trailer has been giving us trouble (Sports Boat Trailer, double axle, with brakes.) Every other time we try to back it up, the brakes lock up and won't let us go any further. Happened at the launch, then while backing into our garage. Has anyone else had this problem? Does it have something to do with wiring between truck and trailer? Boat is currently stuck in our driveway so hoping to get this solved quickly.

Thanks!

I bet you are using a 4 pin plug adapter and should be using a 5 pin adapter on your trailer pig tail...get one @ West Marine 6.99

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Near the front trailer tongue you should see a cut-out slot with a pin that slides back and forth when moving the trailer. As your backing the trailer the pin slides back engaging the trailer brakes. You should have a clip (of sorts) to put in the slot gap to prevent the brakes from engaging when backing. Usually its hanging by a small chain or wire. If its missing you should be able to pick one up at most any boat shop. If I remember I’ll take a pic at attach it tomorrow.

And congrats on the new boat and welcome to the crew. :werule:

Edited by WakingMeHappy

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I have had this problem on more than one occasion and found that if I unpluged it from the truck and then plugged it back in it released the brakes and it all worked fine. I don't know if it is coincidence or if it actually reset anything. Other wise follow wakeingmehappy's advise.

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The 5 flat is the way to go. Then you never have to get out of your truck to go in reverse. There are adapters available at most any auto parts store. My Chevy Avalanche has the 7 round plug stock. And I use a 7 round - 5 flat adapter.

Plus, heres a couple of tricks that will get you by in a pinch.

You can pull your flat connector, and plug it in so the last positive pin on the trailer side is connected to one of the first positive holes on the truck side. This last pin needs power to it to release the brakes.

5pin.jpg

And like WakeingMeHappy explains, the slot in the side of the trailer's tongue, you should have a trailer "key" for it.

But you can stick anything in there to keep it from sliding back. A nickle, a 1/2" nut, even a piece of gravel will do the job.

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Near the front trailer tongue you should see a cut-out slot with a pin that slides back and forth when moving the trailer. As your backing the trailer the pin slides back engaging the trailer brakes. You should have a clip (of sorts) to put in the slot gap to prevent the brakes from engaging when backing. Usually it’s hanging by a small chain or wire. If it’s missing you should be able to pick one up at most any boat shop. If I remember I’ll take a pic at attach it tomorrow.

And congrats on the new boat and welcome to the crew. :werule:

I had this also on my last BU although the pin was attached and couldn't be removed. Im quite confident this could be the problem. I never heard of the plug having something to do with the brakes but sounds interesting.

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Near the front trailer tongue you should see a cut-out slot with a pin that slides back and forth when moving the trailer. As your backing the trailer the pin slides back engaging the trailer brakes. You should have a clip (of sorts) to put in the slot gap to prevent the brakes from engaging when backing. Usually it’s hanging by a small chain or wire. If it’s missing you should be able to pick one up at most any boat shop. If I remember I’ll take a pic at attach it tomorrow.

And congrats on the new boat and welcome to the crew. :werule:

That's right, not the rear trailer tongue, that's a completely different set up :biggrin:

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By the way, the '01 SS VLX is a sweet boat. We had one and there are still things I miss about that boat.

Enjoy.

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If your trailer has a 4 pin plug, just get the key and put it in the slot as described above. If it has the flat 5 pin, there's a solenoid that locks out the brakes when you put the vehicle in reverse. Try to find a 5 pin adapter for your tow vehicle.

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For this to work, you usually need to turn the lights on, if they aren't already.

/Steve

The 5 flat is the way to go. Then you never have to get out of your truck to go in reverse. There are adapters available at most any auto parts store. My Chevy Avalanche has the 7 round plug stock. And I use a 7 round - 5 flat adapter.

Plus, heres a couple of tricks that will get you by in a pinch.

You can pull your flat connector, and plug it in so the last positive pin on the trailer side is connected to one of the first positive holes on the truck side. This last pin needs power to it to release the brakes.

5pin.jpg

And like WakeingMeHappy explains, the slot in the side of the trailer's tongue, you should have a trailer "key" for it.

But you can stick anything in there to keep it from sliding back. A nickle, a 1/2" nut, even a piece of gravel will do the job.

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I had this also on my last BU although the pin was attached and couldn't be removed. Im quite confident this could be the problem. I never heard of the plug having something to do with the brakes but sounds interesting.

I hope you mean that it was on a bungie or zip tie on the trailer, as opposed to being in that slot all the time...... which would mean you have no trailer brakes while driving down the road. I've done this a couple times & it can be a BIG surprise when you realize what is happening....... as the trailer pushes you out into an intersection!

I eventually pulled mine off & threw it in the truck. The first one I had got stolen at the ramp..... apparently they wanted the spare tire too but didn't get it all the way off before someone stopped them.

Quick story..... Last fall a neighbor of mine bought a Vride at an auction. It's an 08 with like 32 hrs on it. Boat itself is in good shape, but it had a couple of issues, ie; racks & stereo were gone, prop was mangled, heater was leaking, and that key/pin was missing. I happened to be driving by & saw him trying to back the boat up the hill into his own driveway. Of course it wasn't working. I stopped & asked if he needed a hand. We looked at the trailer, which had the 5 flat connector but his Suburban did not. I pulled a nickle out of my pocket & stuck it in that slot. Then he tried it again...... went right up the hill without a problem. He couldn't believe it. :rofl:

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I hope you mean that it was on a bungie or zip tie on the trailer, as opposed to being in that slot all the time...... which would mean you have no trailer brakes while driving down the road. I've done this a couple times & it can be a BIG surprise when you realize what is happening....... as the trailer pushes you out into an intersection!

I eventually pulled mine off & threw it in the truck. The first one I had got stolen at the ramp..... apparently they wanted the spare tire too but didn't get it all the way off before someone stopped them.

Quick story..... Last fall a neighbor of mine bought a Vride at an auction. It's an 08 with like 32 hrs on it. Boat itself is in good shape, but it had a couple of issues, ie; racks & stereo were gone, prop was mangled, heater was leaking, and that key/pin was missing. I happened to be driving by & saw him trying to back the boat up the hill into his own driveway. Of course it wasn't working. I stopped & asked if he needed a hand. We looked at the trailer, which had the 5 flat connector but his Suburban did not. I pulled a nickle out of my pocket & stuck it in that slot. Then he tried it again...... went right up the hill without a problem. He couldn't believe it. :rofl:

No it wasn't a removable pin. It was more like a locking device with a handle/pin that if put in the lower locking position it would lock out the brakes when reversing. But during normal forward operations the pin would be pulled out of the locking position by the forward motion of the trailer.

[email protected] story.... :Frustrated: I'm sure thats how he felt...lol

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No it wasn't a removable pin. It was more like a locking device with a handle/pin that if put in the lower locking position it would lock out the brakes when reversing. But during normal forward operations the pin would be pulled out of the locking position by the forward motion of the trailer.

I have seen that kind of surge brakes on older fishing/pleasure boats. But never that style installed on trailers made by the likes of Extreme, Boatmate or Mastercraft's trailers. :unsure:

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Thanks everyone...the 5 pin solution outlined above is correct. The 5th pin activates the trailer brakes. Without the 5th pin, the trailers are designed so have their brakes lock if they sense the trailer rolling back. Note we also have a newer Ford Explorer that only has a 4 pin output, so required a little bit of wiring, but now works great.

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Glad you got it worked out, but just so you know, the trailers are not designed to sense when they are rolling backwards and then apply the trailer brakes, they are designed to apply the trailer brakes if your boat is getting closer to your truck...i.e. applying the brakes in your truck when cruising down the highway. You get the same effect if you are backing your rig (truck is pushing into the trailer) hence the need for the reverse lockout.

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We just bought a 2001 Sunsetter VLX. Love the boat! But trailer has been giving us trouble (Sports Boat Trailer, double axle, with brakes.) Every other time we try to back it up, the brakes lock up and won't let us go any further. Happened at the launch, then while backing into our garage. Has anyone else had this problem? Does it have something to do with wiring between truck and trailer? Boat is currently stuck in our driveway so hoping to get this solved quickly.

Thanks!

What year is the trailer. As far as I know boat that old of a boat would not have a reverse lock up. There should be a reverse lock out lever or over ride lever on the tongue.

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What year is the trailer. As far as I know boat that old of a boat would not have a reverse lock up. There should be a reverse lock out lever or over ride lever on the tongue.

My 2000 Extreme trailer has disc brakes which require a reverse lock out solenoid activated by the reverse lights.

Terry

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Funny you mention this I had the exact same thing happen to me last night. I was moving my boat around with my tractor and when I tried to back it into my garage it would not move it. I have only had the boat since June and this is the first time I tried the tractor. So I thought the tractor would not push it back up the hill so I hooked it to my truck. Well the same thing happened with the truck. I guess the trailer brakes work pretty good b/c it would not move. I thought the emergency cord was pulled but nothing. After trying to troubleshoot for a awhile I got on the net and found out that I had to hook up my trailer lights in order for the brakes to release. Glad to find out the solution was that simple.

2005 VRide

Boatmate Trailer

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I have a Sport Boat Trailer from 2002 with Surge Brakes. It is a great trailer. The tongue has a telescoping system to activate the brakes when the tow vehicle brakes are applied. Before backing up this system needs to be defeated by putting a pin inside of tongue. If your boat didn't come with it a thick screwdriver could work temporarily.

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Just wanted to share an experience with my trailer. Here's a photo of the trailer rear...notice the white lamps on either side. I was told by our local Malibu dealer (Central Texas Water Sports) that these were not reverse lights, but rather some kind of docking lights. Turns out they ARE reverse lamps, running off a 5-pin flat plug. My truck (Ford F-150) had a 7-pin and 4-pin connectors on the hitch, so I added a 7-pin to 5-pin adapter. However, the adapter didn't work at first because my truck was missing the all-important trailer tow backup lamp relay. If you never got your reverse lights to work on your Malibu trailer, or if you're having the "can't reverse" problem, this may be the explanation...especially if you have a Ford.



http://www.flickr.co...N08/9423489630/



This is a photo of the engine compartment box where the relay way missing. Amazing that the truck was bought with the full towing package, but this relay was left out. Frustrating, but an easy fix. Tracking down the problem was the hard part.



http://www.flickr.co...N08/9423613074/

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Another problem could be a short on the trailer. There might be a cut along the wires of trailer and it popped the fuse in the car, which will cause the trailer to surge while your backing up. If you can find the cut on the trailer just use electrical tape to cover the wire that's exposed for a simple fix. The same thing happened to me. I found the cut wire where the trailer tounge folds back where the wires are exposed. Hope this helps.

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Instead of using the clip on my 99 SBTrailer, I drilled a hole where the coupler slides into the tongue and I kept a 1/4" pin on a short cable attached close.

I used to use a front of truck hitch with no power.

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Sounds like you have the problem figured out but also keep in mind in case this happens and you have a Chevy truck. Mines a 2008 and it has a fuse under the hood for the trailer reverse lamps. If you blow that fuse, you will get the same result. I found that out at the boat ramp. I had a 7 pin round to a 5 pin flat convertor. The fuse got blown under the hood and it wouldn't go anywhere backwards. I think Ford has a similar fuse but not sure what they call it.

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Thanks WakesetterNE. I did check the fuse along the way in this case, and will keep that in mind in the future. Actually, I was expecting/hoping it would be a fuse...the relay was an unwelcome surprise. Nice choice in boat, btw. :thumbup:

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