Three-quarters of trailers equipped with hydraulic brakes fail tests by dealers and a quarter have no stopping power at all.
Sometimes viewed as the solution to our brake issues air-activated anchors are an equally poor performance – the majority of it due to poor maintenance and adjustments.
A few easy steps can be performed to determine the issue and adjust trailer brakes so that they get in the right direction.
We sought advice on the subject from Dave White, service manager at Lincolnshire trailer hire and sales expert Ireland’s Farm Machinery.
He discusses the best way check your brakes and how to do it, upgrade components and the cost.
According to Mr. White’s experience, the brakes of many brands fail to conform with safety standards.
He states: “When we started out using the brake-testing kit from Bagma, we discovered that the majority of trailers that were running on standard ag-spec eight-stud axles failed to attain the minimum of 25% brake efficiency.
“And when you have air brakes, it’s typically worse because they require to achieve the efficiency of 45. As with many farm trailers our fleet of rental vehicles is still throughout the year , so drums are prone to rust because of lack of usage.
“We have to be certain that the trailers are ready before they leave, and therefore, we have a simple process we follow to make sure they’re ready to go out on the road.”
Preparation for testing
Before anything is put through Bagma test at Ireland’s The brakes are checked for adjustment, and slack-adjusters are turned up or splined levers are wound around and re-positioned to their shafts.
Before you try it, turn the slack-adjusters tight, and then lower them one quarter turn or more if you feel the brakes aren’t yet binding.
Bagma and Turnkey have come up with an electronic brake tester that does not require any special equipment to operate , other than the basic BrakeSafe box, which is situated on the floor of the tractor’s cabin.
It is actually a decelerometer that analyzes the forces that come to play when anchors are pressed.
By connecting the brake line through the spool valve, it’s possible to determine the efficiency of the brakes on the trailer, independently of the tractor.
The oil that flows through the spool valve is usually with a higher pressure than that which flows through the brake lines , therefore restrictor valves and a pressure gauge is employed to offer the most realistic brake force.
After having plugged the brake line into a spool valve, it’s now possible to gauge the efficiency of the brakes on the trailer.
After having the brakes pumped into the tester box inside your cab just a matter of setting off at a steady speed (target speed of around 30 kph) and using the throttle on the hand to ensure that the engine’s revs remain at a constant 1,800rpm, thereby ensuring an even pressure in the oil.
When the tractor is up and running Once the tractor is running, the driver dips his clutch, and then pulls on the lever for the spool, which brings the entire rig to a halt. It’s noticeable slower than normal without the help by the tractor’s brakes.
In the footwell, with the form of whirrrs and beeps, the BrakeSafe box calculates its calculations and finally determines a number for the efficiency of braking and pours an image of a grocery receipt to show that it.
In order to get an accurate estimate of the trailer’s stopping power , a bit of calculations are required to consider to consideration. In this way, even if the trailer’s not loaded to its maximum, it’s still possible to get a precise figure of the speed at which it could stop if it were.
Then a percentage for the efficiency of braking is calculated trailers equipped with anchors that are activated by oil must be at or above 25%, whereas air-braked trailers should be able to reach 45percent.
Anchors with uprated ratings
Farmers Weekly trialled various ways to upgrade trailer brakes hydraulically and examined the impact they had on the efficiency of braking.
Apart from replacing whole axles with larger brakes the biggest change came from the increased size of rams.
In the case of converting an ram with a diameter of 20mm to a 30mm diameter ram the stopping power was has increased by more than 100 percent. Moving from quarter-inch to half inch hoses made the difference by another 30 percent.
This is why Farm Machinery of Ireland Farm Machinery now regularly upgrades trailer brakes for its customers to larger rams, and also changes the hoses connecting the five-way manifold , to the rams.
In this regard, the three-eighth inch hose has proven to be sufficient for enhancing brake power but also improving the return oil flow after brakes are released.
Five ways to increase your stopping power
As the Bagma data suggests, the majority fail and require more than a gentle adjustments. This is how the team at Ireland’s boost stop power.
1. Hubs off
Unbolts the bolts holding the hub cab. Remove the hub cab. Remove the hub’s main nut to safely remove the wheel bearing.
With a little gentle pressure and an under-floor trolley jack the drum, it will be easy to take the drum out to expose the brake shoes and the associated equipment.
2. Shoes off
From now on, it’s mostly a matter of cleaning and de-rusting the moving parts as well as friction surfaces.
With a pry-bar set to help absorb tension of the spring, slowly pull away the pins around which the shafts of the actuators rotate around, pressing their clips for retaining them, releasing the pins.
The other side of the brake shoe, once more lift the spring and then try tapping the hinge pins.
Each component that comprise the assembly of brakes must be examined for excessive wear.
If they aren’t moving then pull the shoes from one side, and take them off.
Use some force to convince them to join you for free.
3. Clean up
Equipped with elbow grease, and emery cloth go around each drum in order to get rid of any rust and give it the drums with a shiny metallic look. In the event of any sharp ridges the drums need to be put in the trash bin.
With your shoes, rub the surface until it is the surface clean and smooth. Remove any glare.
The pins should be given a good buzz using the wire wheel. Then remove any places that are subject to movement around the shafts, cams and pins.
Assemble everything back like it fell apart Apply ample copper grease to the cams and pins.
After putting the hinge pins in position and the spring that holds the two shoes then slide them back onto the cam. Be mindful to ensure that their retaining clips are in the correct position.
Take the trailer for it again to pass the BrakeSafe test. Most of the time, Ireland’s team has found that brakes usually succeed after a thorough cleaning. If it’s near the threshold, hydraulic brakes are usually given an upgrade.
Get in touch with our experts if you need help with Alko brake cable.