View Full Version : Backing up the trailer

08-07-2003, 04:06 PM
I have the problem that when I am backing up the trailer the surge brakes kick in and don't allow me to continue. Am I doing something wrong, do I have a problem with my trailer or is this just something I need to deal with. This only happens when I am trying to go up over the bump in my driveway or up slight inclines.


08-07-2003, 09:26 PM
I have a 99 trailer. When I got my trailer from the original owner he neglected to give me the locking tab for the surge brakes. This is a little D shaped tab that fits nicely between the sliding 'through bolt' on the hitch and the trailer channel.
This bolt is what holds the hitch in the trailer channel. The surge brakes are activated when the trailer channel slides forward around the hitch. This D tab prevents the trailer from sliding forward toward the bolt.
I built a littlle tether for mine out of a couple of electrical tie-wraps.

I got mine from Boatmates. See Owen at

If you have electric brakes he can probably help also.

08-08-2003, 06:39 AM
Does your trailer use the 5 pin flat plug or the 4 pin flat plug. I'm assuming it uses the 5 pin. If so, you need to make sure that the blue wire on the plug is getting power to the trailer. This wire is tied in to the reverse lights and and should read somewhere close to 12 volts when your vehicle is in reverse. There is a solenoid in the tongue of the trailer that disengages the trailer brakes when you put the vehicle in reverse. Have someone put the parking break on on the vehicle and then shift in and out of reverse. Hold your ear to trailer by the tongue and you should be able to hear the solenoid clicking if it is working properly.

If you're using a truck as a tow vehicle and the reverse wire hasn't been connected properly, you can do a quick fix by pulling out one of your tail lights. Cut the wire to the reverse light and splice in a section of wire that you run down to your harness and then connect it to the appropriate terminal.

08-09-2003, 06:37 AM
Some of these trailers seem to be set-up to have 5 pin connectors, but the blue wire deadheads in the tongue becuase the optional brake deactivation actuator is not installed. Our 99 with drum brakes is that way.

Apparently the disc brake set-ups always have the acutator, but for the drum set-ups it was a little known option...

According to the ufpnet.com website, the circuit can be retrofitted.

08-09-2003, 08:50 AM
I didn't know that but it makes since. I imagine that the way the disc brakes grab, it could cause damage to the brakes or the trailer if they didn't have the automatic lockout. I can't imagine that adding it to the trailer would cost that much or be too difficult. It would be well worth the money in my opinion, especially since the tab they give you to do it manually is designed to fall out every time you release the pressure from the trailer.

08-09-2003, 09:58 AM
Thats what the manufacturer says, disc requires it for the reason you stated. I agree with you. It would be a real good addition.

These drum brakes are not self-adjusting, by the way, so when they wear they need to be re-adjusted. Mine are not helping stop the boat at all.

Adding to it, one seal has failed yet again, so the drum and shoes on one side are completely loaded with grease.

I'm almost ready to convert to disc. REALLY wish I had bought disc to begin with.

08-09-2003, 12:42 PM
On my trailer a 2002 model (Outback) If you have the 4 pin plug just flip it over and leave the opposite end of the plug sticking out, then pull foward and turn on the parking lights..this will lock out the surge brake and allow you to back up just remember to turn the plug back to the normal position and turn your lights off so you wont have a dead battery when you get back to the dock!

08-10-2003, 08:21 AM
That's clever.