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Hydraulic Brake Coupler Warnings



Break Away Cables on Hydraulic Surge Brake Couplers.

The US Dept of Transportation mandates that all Trailers that travel on US highways that are equipped with brakes , shall have a method of activating the trailer brakes if the trailer should become detached from the tow vehicle .

Trailers equipped with hydraulic SURGE BRAKE COUPLERS have cables or chains that are designed to be attached to the tow vehicle by the tow vehicle operator , so that if the trailer becomes detached from the tow vehicle the connecting cables or chains will pull the break away mechanism , and activate the trailer brakes .

The length of the break away cable or chain is set by the brake coupler manufacturer , and it is 
the responsibility of the tow vehicle operator to set the attachment point of the break away cable or chain on the tow vehicle , so that the trailer brakes do not activate during normal towing .

If the tow vehicle operator connects the break away cable or chain too tightly for the tow vehicle , and trailer to be able to negotiate the turn radius that may be encountered during normal highway travel , or backing up , the trailer hydraulic surge brake coupler may have the break away mechanism activated .

If this occurs , partial or full hydraulic activation of the trailer brakes will occur .

Many times this parasitic trailer braking load is not noticed by the tow vehicle operator.

The results of this can be catastrophic , and will result in damage to the trailer brakes , and possibly the loss of tire and hub as bearings are destroyed due to overheating .

This is not the fault of the brake coupler manufacturer , nor the trailer manufacturer .

The tow vehicle operator is completely responsible for monitoring the condition of trailer components as it may relate to the safe highway transit of his vehicle .

 BE SURE to provide adequate length to the break away cable or chain components , as attached to the tow vehicle , so that accidental activation of the break away mechanism does not occur .

 NOTICE : Damage to brakes or other trailer components that are affected by this condition is NOT A WARRANTY CONDITION !!



Brake Coupler Trailer Parking Warning !!

When parking a trailer EQUIPPED with HYDRAULIC SURGE BRAKES it is important to be sure that the BRAKE COUPLER  is pulled back forward to the fully telescoped  [ TOWING ] position prior to final disconnecting of the trailer from the tow vehicle.

[ 1 ] Any HYDRAULIC BRAKE COUPLER that has a cast iron master cylinder, and is left with the brake coupler partially, or fully compressed [ as it would be when backing up ], will have part of the interior of the cast iron master cylinder wall exposed to the atmosphere.

Many times this will result in corrosion of the exposed cast iron cylinder wall, and will result in the fact that the piston in the master cylinder will not extend back to it's normal towing position the next time the trailer is towed.

This will result in hydraulic pressure being maintained on the trailer brakes, while towing, and will probably result in damage to the trailer braking system. This could result in a catastrophic accident !!

This phenomenon does not normally occur in brake couplers with COMPOSITE or ALUMINUM master cylinders, however it is a good policy to be sure that the brake coupler is fully extended to the towing position prior to disconnecting the trailer from the tow vehicle.

[ 2 ] A second reason to be sure that the brake coupler is fully extended to the towing position is that if hydraulic pressure is left on the trailer brakes while parked, the brakes shoes of a drum brake system, or the brake pads of a disc brake system will be maintained in FULL contact with the brake drum, or rotor. Many times this will result in the bonding [ sticking ] of the shoes or pads to the co-ordinate braking surface.

This will often result in a trailer that has the brakes locked up when the tow vehicle is attached. Sometimes jerking the trailer forwards, and backwards is enough to break the corrosion bond that has developed however sometimes the brakes must be disassembled to relieve the problem.






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All articles and all technical and specification information contained at this Champion Trailers site is copyrighted. It may be downloaded for your personal use. However, it may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

DISCLAIMER: All technical information and specifications contained at this site are intended to conform with industry standard engineering principals and technical information sources. CHAMPION TRAILERS® cannot control the users application of the information contained herein and is not responsible for users application of such information. It is the responsibility of the user to determine the applicability of all parts and information as it relates to their system. Champion Trailers knowledgeable sales staff may assist you in attempting to determine the correct part items for your repair project, however the customer is fully responsible for the final determination of applicable part numbers ordered. If incorrect part items are ordered, and need to be returned, the customer is responsible for all return shipping costs. If returned items are damaged they will not be allowed for credit.


Last Revision: 05/24/2002


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