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Discussion Starter #1
I'm posting this mainly as a cautionary tale for those that tow with a surge brake system.

I got a pontoon boat a couple years ago. The previous owner was a mechanic and the boat was in excellent shape for being 20 years old. Rather than acting like my usual self, I took the guy's word that the boat and trailer were in top notch condition. I had driven 400 miles to get thing so I wasn't in the mood to start taking stuff apart in his driveway.

Last week, I decided to check the brake fluid in the surge master cylinder. It turns out the plastic threaded cap had welded itself to the steel (rust) and nothing was getting it off without destroying the cap. I ended up completely disassembling the entire hitch unit, and removed the bolted on cover to the MC. It was full of something resembling yellow slime, but no brake fluid - none.

Oh s#$%. I felt like the thing hadn't been working right, but I'm always able to stop OK with the RL's big rear brakes. I'm thinking I better check the wheel cylinders (drum brakes). Pull the right side. Rusted solid inside. The outside looked perfect. Same for the left side. So the trailer had ZERO brakes. Probably been like that for years.

I now have about $250 bucks worth of brake parts on order.

Moral? Don't assume people tell you the truth. Trust but verify. Check your master cylinder for fluid. Test the brakes on occasion in the driveway with your eyes, not going 70mph in your truck.
 

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My 3000# boat and trailer combo, has surge brakes.

From day 1 the brakes shuddered. When coming to a stop at around 15 mph I'd get this feeling like the brakes were pulsing, like an aggressive ABS system.

Checked Google and discovered "Chucking" fit the symptoms.

My new trailer had come from the factory with air in the brake lines.

Lines bled, problem solved.

FYI
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks for the hints.

I have now installed a new surge brake hitch on the trailer and rebuilt the drum brakes on the trailer. Bled the entire system. Tested per the manufacturer recommended procedure which requires pushing the trailer by hand on a flat surface in reverse.(???)

All seems to be operational. No chucking, at least not yet. Have a long pull (600 miles) on Friday so it will get a good test.
 

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I know my surge brakes work on my boat trailer because I always forget to lock them off at first when going to back up.
 
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