Need advice if I'm being 'had' by my repair shop

Discussion in 'RV Dealers & Repair Shops' started by JennG, Aug 21, 2020.

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  1. bronsta

    bronsta Member

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    I've been camping in a pop-up for 30+ years and have NEVER HAD BRAKES.
     
  2. Nikwho

    Nikwho New Member

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    Bronson, me too! But, I have had many trailers with surge brakes. If they're there, I'd use them! Though, I would spend tons of money to add them to a little trailer. My boat trailer has four wheel disc brakes with a surge coupler, and I LOVE them! I can hammer the brakes, and they're self proportioning, the harder I stop, the harder the boat pushes into the tongue and the harder my 4 trailer brakes apply! I have never felt more secure stopping while towing, than with 8 disc brakes. Stopping my 8 tires!

    Anyway, I went back to the OP's initial post. The trailer already has a brand new coupler! So, if the brakes were bled, they're likely functioning! Thats great! OP, firstly, to directly answer your question, I am sure that the shop is transparent about their diagnostic fee. If you want to know for sure, call them, without identifying yourself, and ask them how much it costs to diagnose a brake issue, if you were not to have them make the repair! They'll probably tell you the same price as they're asking. If you have the shop diagnose your issue, and don't have them make the repair, its only fair to pay them for their time. And, after the work is done is not the time to discuss what their hourly or diagnostic rate is. Before anything is done would have been appropriate.

    So, it sounds like you already have the entirely new coupler. if the previous owner of the camper was going to add an electric reverse lock out solenoid, thats easy. Installation will require bleeding the entire brake system again, after install. Or, as the coupler sits, that they already installed, it will likely accept the key that I linked earlier! That could be a $5 solution to your problem! The electric reverse lock out solenoids are optional!

    Post a picture of your coupler! Both of my boats had UFP A-60 tongues, like this:
    https://www.pacifictrailers.com/pro...IJRQvtOfsEWUK1VipgHG8bW94VtRVAy8aAqIxEALw_wcB

    The key that I posted before will work in these.

    If you have a Demco unit, such as this, they do not have a "lock out feature, and the manufacture says this: "Note: Because this actuator does not include a reverse lockout, it is recommended that you equip your trailer with free-backing brakes so that you can drive in reverse without the actuator triggering your trailer's brakes."

    https://www.etrailer.com/Brake-Actu...iXMgvvjxomZ4vOf90w6mydyOvVB3yadsaAmHXEALw_wcB

    So, if this is the case, you have a few options. Add a reverse lockout solenoid between this system and the brakes, swap to "free backing brakes" per the manufactures note, OR, anytime you need to back up, stick a bolt in the hole that the red arrow points to in the picture that I attached! That should mechanically prevent the coupler from applying pressure against the brake cylinder, so that it can't apply hydraulic pressure to the brakes!
     

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  3. Nikwho

    Nikwho New Member

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    Now, if it were ME, I would not just stick a bolt in there. I would find a safe place to drill a hole, between both the station rear portion of the coupler and the front piece, that moves fore and aft (ensuring that you won't drill into internal pieces), such as where i marked a red dot in this first photo. I would find a spring wire safety pin (second photo) that would span the width of the entire coupler, then match the diameter of the hole that I drilled to the safety pin. I would drill matching holes on both sides, so that when I wanted to back up, I would slide the pin through the holes, snap it into place, and be able to back up freely, with my brake system completely locked out. This would prevent the brake system from applying any pressure to the brakes, with the pin in. These surge brake couplers are very simple. Big piece bolts to trailer, small piece slides fore/aft, the brake cylinder mounts stationary to the big piece that bolts to the trailer, and a rod connects the sliding piece to the end of the brake cylinder, which applies force that creates hydraulic pressure. Very simple, and very effective systems. You can literally lock any of them out with a $2 pin!

    However, if you're using a flat 4 prong light plug, even if you added the electrical lock out solenoid, you aren't going to be able to tap into your tow vehicles reverse light signal wire! So, that would likely be another expensive trip to another shop, to add a 7 prong round plug to your car, AND rewire your trailer to utilize a 7 prong round plug. So, mechanical lockout, by way of a pin, key or bolt is favorable, and essentially free!
     

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  4. Alan

    Alan Active Member

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    Do you have an owners manual for your trailer? Photos and as much info as you can provide would certainly help your cause.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2020
  5. Alan

    Alan Active Member

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    Are they supposed to inform you of this before hand?
     
  6. eoleson1

    eoleson1 Well-Known Member

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    In some states, it's required. Where it's not required, it's a good business practice, if not a moral obligation.
     
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  7. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Un-Supported Member

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    I have surge brakes on the boat trailer, and do not have a reverse solenoid. I back it all over the place. Some times there's a little resistance, but the truck pushes through it and we're good.
     
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  8. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Often it's pre-printed on the estimate form you sign when you bring the vehicle/trailer in.
     
  9. lostboy

    lostboy Active Member

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    Yes I signed a form, was told about it and it was on the wall with other basic repair fees like packing bearings.

    I actually ended up not paying it due to the repair person not following instructions on one of my three issues.
     
  10. Scott Woodbury

    Scott Woodbury New Member

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    My only experience with surge brakes is on my first pup - an old tandem axle Jayco. There was no electric bypass option for backing the trailer. Instead, there was a manual lever (or rather a knurled knob) on the side of the unit. I don't know, but do the newer electric units have a backup manual option like that? If so, would this be an adequate work-around??

    The brakes on my old trailer were pretty much identical to automotive brakes (if you disregard ABS). Hydraulics are hydraulics...Do you know an old car guy (or gal) who could help you?
     

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