This trailer is going to be converted from drum brakes to disc brakes. Sound difficult? No
Before your race team can even think about stepping foot on pit lane you first must arrive at pit lane safely. Sounds easy enough, but the problem is those darn tow vehicles and trailers.
This season, our team went to 12 races and four tests. Of those trips, eight were more than 6 hours of driving time. We don't have a stacker-style trailer, just a typical gooseneck, which admittedly is more than most short trackers around the country. Nevertheless, out of the 16 total trips we had one blown trailer tire, one fuel pump failure, a Jake-brake quit, and one radiator sensor malfunction. The point is, those failures made this season dramatic before we even got to the racetrack. The ongoing joke was, Well, what happened this time? Towing doesn't have to be this way. You can perform some basic maintenance to your tow vehicle to help avoid these types of issues. You can also upgrade your trailer rather inexpensively and not experience a lot of issues.
Here's everything we're going to need to convert this trailer into a state-of-the-art tow
EGRBrakes.com recently designed a brake conversion kit for your trailer that will take your drum-style brakes and convert them to disc brakes. There are many advantages to disc brakes, the biggest being the added control they give you when you need to slow down the vehicle. Being able to tow at 70 or 80 mph is great, but if you can't stop the trailer then it serves no purpose.
Drum brakes are fine in principle. The problem occurs when the brake pedal is used under high- or hard-braking conditions, when the drum brakes tend to fail, and produce a soft pedal. On a trailer, you'll experience this while going down a steep grade. It's never a good combination to be gaining speed and not be able to stop.
This is the rotor that will replace the old drum-style brakes. Notice how EGRBrakes.com ha
Disc brakes are also better because a drum will produce heat buildup inside itself. A disc-brake setup allows the rotor to be exposed to air to help cool it during those extreme braking conditions.
When I first heard about this conversion kit, I was a little skeptical. I had a list of questions that had to be answered, so Glenn Maurer of EGRBrakes.com invited me to take part in converting a trailer to disc brakes as well as performing a few other upgrades. (Ed Note: Looks like Glenn did all the work.)
Along with converting the trailer to disc brakes we're also going to give it a facelift by providing better lighting inside and out. We are also going to supply it with new rubber and rims. The goal is to upgrade this trailer and make it look brand-new. Let's get to it.
The first thing we have to do is run the brake lines underneath the trailer. We will run a total of six brake lines, one for each wheel.
Ok, we have the wheel off and now it's time to get started. First, we must remove the dust cover to expose the spindle nut so we can remove the rotor.
Now that we have the dust cover off, we'll have to remove the safety mechanism that keeps the nut from backing off. We had to be careful to not break the tabs on the pin because we will be reusing it.
We replaced the light in the trailer with a Piranah LED Light from PM Manufacturing. It provides us with more light and looks a lot better than the original.
The final product. Look how sleek the trailer turned out. We replaced the lights on the side and the back of the trailer with LED lighting. As good as the trailer looks, the most important thing is it's much safer then when we first started.
Now we have to mount the hydraulic accuator and wire it. We do so by hooking up a ground wire, power wire, and stop wire to the main trailer plug harness at the front of the trailer.
Once we have removed the nut and pulled the front bearing out, the only other thing we have to do is disconnect the magnet wire for the drum brakes. We do so by crawling underneath the trailer and unplugging it.
Here is the basic drum setup. It's easy to see why the disc brakes are going to be so much better. Note the uneven wear pattern.
Now we need to undo the six nuts that are holding on the drum brake kit.
The drum brakes are officially off the vehicle now. The studs that held on the drum brake kit will also have to be removed because the bolts are not long enough to compensate for the disc brakes brackets.
We remove them by simply using a little force. Once off, we cleaned the spindle thoroughly.
Here are the new studs we'll be using to attach the brake caliper brackets. We have used a little Loctite on the bolts to ensure that they hold up under the intense conditions they will face.
Here, we attach the brake-caliper bracket with the new studs.
Here's the end result before we attach the disc rotor and the caliper.
Now we slide the rotor onto the spindle and place the front bearing in the rotor after a healthy application of grease. We then reattach the nut and the safety key.
The next step is to attach the brake calipers. Before we do so, we need to be certain that the bolts will not seize up over the course of a season, so we're using a little 2,800-degree paste lube to prevent a failure.
Glenn Maurer, President of EGRBrakes.com, attaches the brake caliper to the bracket using two allen bolts.
Now all we have left to do is attach our brake line from earlier. The brake pressure will come from a hydraulic actuator that will allow you to continue to use your normal brake controller in your vehicle.
Attach the dust cap, and now you're ready to put the wheel back on.
We upgraded the rims to HWT series 06, and put a new set of Goodyear rubber on the trailer.
Look at the difference in how much better the trailer tire looks compared to the other wheel. But it will also be more efficient in stopping.