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Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/30/24 8:47 p.m.

I'm in the process of catching up on maintenance and trying to head off problems with a recently purchased Trailex car hauler.

I've replaced six tires, and had the bearings repacked on one axle. I couldn't get the Goodyear tires, they don't make a 13 inch size. I got load range D Carlisle tires with an 81 MPH speed rating. I hope they're okay with the lightweight trailer and a 65-70 cruise. 
 

I have new hub assemblies, with drums and new brake assemblies for the other axle. I'm replacing the brake actuator and lines, so the entire brake assembly will be new. I'm also rewiring the lights, replacing everything with LED lights. 
 

The brake fluid appears to have been missing in action for many years. 

Not much left to work with at the business end either.

 

I hope this spindle is okay. Do I need to buy an axle?

 

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
3/30/24 9:45 p.m.

I have one spindle on my Trailex that is worse than that one.

Suggestion: use Bearing Buddies to keep plenty of grease on hand and also to keep moisture out.

Also..retorque the whole trailer.  It's fully bolt-together, but designed to flex.  Which means some bolts get loose over time.

Also use the absolute best quality bearings you can get.  Not the usual cheap chineseium.

Also, check the leaf springs.  The shackles are wear items, as are the bushings inside the springs eyes.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/30/24 10:15 p.m.

In reply to Andy Hollis :

Thanks Andy, lots of great advice!

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) Dork
3/31/24 8:26 a.m.

With the Trailex I had years ago, the brakes were in such disrepair after being neglected for so many years, it wasn't cost effective to repair the original system. I ended up installing all new electric brakes. 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/31/24 9:11 a.m.

In reply to lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) :

I considered swapping to electric brakes.  My Expedition, despite having the tow package, doesn't have the brake controller and would require installation of the OEM switch, and activation. The Ford dealer service department never responded to me about this.

Hopefully, a full replacement of the surge brakes will be satisfactory. The trailer with Miata will be at or below 3000 pounds. 
 


 

 

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) MegaDork
3/31/24 10:05 a.m.

In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

I have a typical open deck, steel trailer with surge brakes. With a Miata on it I would think it's over 4000 lb, and it works fine behind mt GMC Canyon. I towed it for 20 years with a Chev Astro. Properly adjusted surge brakes are fine.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/31/24 10:41 a.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

I considered swapping to electric brakes.  My Expedition, despite having the tow package, doesn't have the brake controller and would require installation of the OEM switch, and activation. The Ford dealer service department never responded to me about this.

An aftermarket Tekonsha brake controller would solve this problem and likely at a price much lower than getting the parts from the dealer.

While they do work, personally I'm not a fan of surge brakes due to the issues with backing up and descending hills.  IMHO electric brakes are a much better choice for anything that isn't getting dunked in water at the boat ramp.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
3/31/24 12:17 p.m.

In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

If you have the 7 pin connector, there is a small adapter harness to plug in a brake controller. Should be easy to do. We have to do more work to put one on our Escape. 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/31/24 12:41 p.m.

Thanks for the replies. Comments and advice are always welcome. It's one of the best things about being on this forum.

None of my boat trailers, up to 4000+ pounds (2500 pound 19 foot hull, 800 pound outboard, steel trailer and 80 gallons of gas), ever had brakes. I was able to panic stop that trailer with a first generation Tacoma (once at least).

I gave a lot of thought to converting to electric brakes. I don't doubt that they would be superior in use.
 

  As for now, I've already got all of the parts except for the brake lines (arriving Thursday) to do a complete replacement of the surge brakes. They're free backing, so they won't drag in reverse, and I don't anticipate issues on hills since I'm in Florida. 
 

I primarily chose to keep the surge brakes for cost and simplicity, so I can get the trailer into service sooner. I'll run it like this for a while, and if I don't like the surge brakes, I'll convert it to electric.

I plan on keeping this trailer until I'm done with motorsports. Hopefully that's many years in the future.

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
4/1/24 11:33 a.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

I plan on keeping this trailer until I'm done with motorsports. Hopefully that's many years in the future.

And you'll likely get all your purchase price back out of it.  Trailex holds value like no other.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/1/24 2:15 p.m.

Update: what's a project without time consuming, relatively pointless aspects?

 I wanted taillights that would fit inside the aluminum bracket. It's about six inches wide, most taillights are wider. I found these at hammer store. 

Got them home, took one out of the package. No provision for a flush mount. Not going to work. 

Next was to order a pair from Trailex, figuring that they would fit the bracket. Nope, remember that this trailer is 31 years old. 

I don't want the plastic totally exposed. As for fabrication skills, I'm at the other end of the spectrum from the guys building an LS head for a 300 Ford, etc.

Behind the garage, I have a ladder I salvaged from a dumpster. 

Trying to figure out how to cut it, my hacksaw blades are really worn. I started looking at power tool options, found a 3" cutoff tool I had been given and never used. 

First time death wheel user. 

Cut two sections, found that the lights were a perfect fit. 
 

Passenger side done. I'm waiting for delivery of a plate holder for the other side. 


 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/1/24 2:31 p.m.

That looks better 

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
4/1/24 3:53 p.m.

Plate holder?  Use a hinge.

I went through two regular semi-rigid ones, losing plates with them.  Never had a problem with the hinge.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/1/24 4:38 p.m.
Andy Hollis said:

Plate holder?  Use a hinge.

I went through two regular semi-rigid ones, losing plates with them.  Never had a problem with the hinge.

I'll remember that one. I have a fabric reinforced rubber one ordered, may send it back. I know how easily they get torn off.

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
4/1/24 6:17 p.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:
Andy Hollis said:

Plate holder?  Use a hinge.

I went through two regular semi-rigid ones, losing plates with them.  Never had a problem with the hinge.

I'll remember that one. I have a fabric reinforced rubber one ordered, may send it back. I know how easily they get torn off.

I did metal, then rubber.  Both failed.  Decided to stop fighting physics.

Bonus: toll booth plate readers don't always read a plate laying flat at speed....

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/1/24 9:04 p.m.

In reply to Andy Hollis :

I'm convinced, thanks.

NY Nick
NY Nick GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
4/1/24 10:27 p.m.

Good call on the PPE cut off wheels can hurt you. I thought you weren't supposed to cut aluminum with a grinding wheel? Maybe I'm wrong on that and it's stone wheels?

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
4/2/24 8:07 a.m.
NY Nick said:

I thought you weren't supposed to cut aluminum with a grinding wheel? Maybe I'm wrong on that and it's stone wheels?

Correct.

Best to treat it like wood, but there are carbide-tipped cutoff wheels specially designed for non-ferrous metals.

A quick Google found this explanation:

Using a regular grinding wheel for aluminum is not recommended. Aluminum has a softer composition compared to other metals, and using the wrong type of grinding wheel can lead to clogging or loading. It is crucial to use a specialized grinding wheel designed for aluminum to ensure optimal results and prevent damage to the aluminum and the grinding wheel.

That said, I've personally made a lot of small aluminum cuts with a normal cut-off wheel.  It's not ideal, but it does work.

Also for the plate, in FL you can request the motorcycle size one for a trailer.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/2/24 4:14 p.m.

In reply to Andy Hollis :

Thanks for the information on the grinding wheel materials. 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/2/24 4:15 p.m.
glueguy (Forum Supporter) said:

Also for the plate, in FL you can request the motorcycle size one for a trailer.

That's a good point. I have the smaller one. 

Indy - Guy
Indy - Guy UltimaDork
4/2/24 4:59 p.m.
Andy Hollis said:
..

.....

That said, I've personally made a lot of small aluminum cuts with a normal cut-off wheel.  It's not ideal, but it does work.

Sssshhhhh.  Don't tell anyone, but I regularly grind a little with cut off wheels and cut things with grinding wheels. 

 

It'll be our little secret.

NermalSnert (Forum Supporter)
NermalSnert (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
4/2/24 5:17 p.m.

I always use a skill saw with a carbide tip blade for stuff like that.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/4/24 12:41 p.m.

Working on lights still. It's nice when something is easy. I wouldn't expect HF marker lights to just bolt on. 

Moved on to the license plate. Since it's almost impossible to keep one on the trailer when it's hanging a few inches above the road (although the hinge is a brilliant idea), I decided to go in another direction. 
 

This shouldn't come off without taking the fender with it. 
 


 

I worked the aluminum sheet over with steel wool; don't want to blind the following drivers. 

 

My brake hoses were delivered, and I've still got to run the new wiring, but it's getting closer. 
 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/16/24 1:14 a.m.

I have the new hubs and brakes installed, plus the new brake actuator and all new brake hoses. 
 

I needed to bleed all of the air from the hoses, but the actuator doesn't provide access to the piston. I can push the actuator back by wrapping the safety chains around a 2x4, but then I have to lever it forward from underneath with a small pry bar. 
 

I needed to do some sort of power bleed. I started with the vacuum bleeder I already had, the cheapest Harbor Freight one. 
No go, it's been dying for a while and had almost no suction. 



I ordered a better quality suction bleeder. 

Then I saw all of the recommendations for the Motive bleeder, so I ordered one of those, planning to return the unopened suction bleeder. 
 

Unfortunately, the Motive adapter doesn't work, not enough room between the bolts. 

I pulled the cap off the old actuator and tried to modify it to pressurize the brake cylinder. The screws are plugging the air vents and seemed to hold, but the threads on the cap weren't sealing. 

I hadn't returned the suction bleeder, so I used it and got the brakes bled. I don't know if the lines are clear of bubbles, but I'm ready to run new wires for the lights and test it out. 
 


 

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