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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Other than checking on pad thickness and disc grooves or gouges, is there any way to know when disc brakes need replaced? Are there any other checks that tell you they are about to fail before they actually do?

Replaced the entire system including lines and actuator after six years. The way I knew there was a problem is that the rivets rusted and failed on one of the pads and it came apart. The rotors were gouged on that wheel, so I replace them all. Since then I replaced pads one time.

Total replacement was five years ago. Because of often fishing with buds who have their boats in a mid bay marina, I have not put near the miles on the trailer that I did in the beginning.

I am going to inspect them before I go to the Outer Banks in the fall. Just wondered if there are any visual cues that indicate they should be replaced.
 

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Aside from all you've already mentioned, just like car brakes, the fluid level going down in the actuator, if not from a leak, can indicate pads wearing down. To me, maintenance of boat trailer brakes is one of those things that's either overlooked, or you need to be anal about. Of course, like any other part, failure is often the notice we get that something needs to be fixed.
If it were me going to the Outer Banks, and my trailer disc brakes were five years old, I'd probably upgrade before going. At the very least, even after a visual, if my trailer had been sitting for longer periods without use, I'd check that the pistons are free and not sticking, and that the slider bolts are lubricated and operating correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Aside from all you've already mentioned, just like car brakes, the fluid level going down in the actuator, if not from a leak, can indicate pads wearing down. To me, maintenance of boat trailer brakes is one of those things that's either overlooked, or you need to be anal about. Of course, like any other part, failure is often the notice we get that something needs to be fixed.
If it were me going to the Outer Banks, and my trailer disc brakes were five years old, I'd probably upgrade before going. At the very least, even after a visual, if my trailer had been sitting for longer periods without use, I'd check that the pistons are free and not sticking, and that the slider bolts are lubricated and operating correctly.
Thanks for the advice. A guy in a local trailer shop said most of the trailers that come in have faulty brakes, but that is not what I want. Definitely going to pull the wheels, inspect pads and rotors and look for any leaks. The amount of rust may also tell me something about condition. If my rig is sitting for even a week, I take a small flashlight and look at the rotors after I have been running it a little while to see that they are shiny and the rust is wearing off. I figure that is an indicator the the calipers are at least working.

If I do not like what I see upon inspection, I will replace the brakes.
 

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I got a new trailer three years ago - it has disc brakes. IMHO - way better than drums.

I did find out the glide pin needs to be lubed - had one brake sticking.

As far as pads - likely you'll need to replace do to them rusting apart - rather then wearing out. Disc brake pads should last about 30,000 +/- , that is a lot of trailering.

Sorta like trailer tires - rare the tread wears down , often dry rot causes replacement.
 

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As Skip said, glide pins sticking can cause dragging brakes, premature pad and rotor wear. Your rotors will rust, as they do one a car also, unless you go with SS rotors. But SS doesn't dissipate heat as well as cast iron. Probably a good idea to hose off brakes with fresh water after each dunk in the brine, but rust on rotors will be scrubbed off the braking surfaces after a few stops. A bit of rust and mild pitting on the rotor surface should not have any appreciable negative effect on performance. If you're concerned that you may have dragging pads either jack up each axle and spin the wheel to make sure it spins freely or hit the rotors with one of those infrared thermometers after a few miles of trailering. A dragging pad will result in a much hotter rotor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Skip and FC for the info. Brakes work great at the moment. Will check everything I can see and go from there. I guess I was wondering if there was any way to know if functioning calipers were likely to fail in near future. Probably need a crystal ball to determine that. I thought there may be some signs that they were at the end of their life, but maybe not.
 

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Lubing the pin catches grit and debris, results in calipers hanging up. Calipers should always be free floating.

It would seem logical to lubricate pins - but not so. I no longer have issues once I stopped applying lube.

Listen to Kodiak, the manufacturers of brake systems or listen to "internet experts".
 

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Lubing the pin catches grit and debris, results in calipers hanging up. Calipers should always be free floating.

It would seem logical to lubricate pins - but not so. I no longer have issues once I stopped applying lube.

Listen to Kodiak, the manufacturers of brake systems or listen to "internet experts".
Looking back on my post, perhaps I should have been more clear by saying the slider bolt assembly needs to be properly lubed. In the design noted by Kodiak, that would mean the outside of the sleeve, and with a lubricant that won't affect the seals, etc.
In the case of "internet experts", or input from any number of other sources, it goes without saying that one should read the instructions specific to any and all applications. And if still not sure, call the manufacturer.

For instance - how would one expect to compare the mistake of NOT lubing the pins on floating calipers, as stated in the link below, to what Eastern Marine is relaying from Kodiak?

http://safebraking.com/top-ten-brake-job-mistakes-pads-rotors-calipers/
 

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BigWill - My post was not directed at you nor anyone in particular, just rhetorically speaking. My apologies if you were offended.

This caliper pin issue comes up every few months.
 

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BigWill - My post was not directed at you nor anyone in particular, just rhetorically speaking. My apologies if you were offended.

This caliper pin issue comes up every few months.
No prob Cap'n. Thanks. Not at all offended. Sorry if I came across that I might have been.
 
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