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Old 03-30-2015, 12:28 PM   #1
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Surge Brake System Help

We picked up a 1997 Jayco Eagle pop-up last summer. The trailer is in good condition and after some new tires she became road worthy. I'm pretty new to trailers, although my family always had a pop-up while growing up.

The trailer has sat for over 10 years. I looked in the brake reservoir and the fluid is all dried out.

Any thoughts on how I can clean this out. Are the brake lines most likely dried out as well?

Anyone have any experience in dealing with this that may be able to give me some guidance/tips?
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Old 03-30-2015, 12:54 PM   #2
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Is it rusty? That's the brake system's biggest enemy, rust. If it's clean then you might luck out and simply put new fluid in it and it'll work. Worst case scenario is that you replace the master cylinder. These are very easy to work on. I rebuilt one on a 1972 pop-up and on my '93 after it was about 6 or 7 years old and got water in the system because of a bad cap.

Once you have the actuator working you'll probably have to take apart the wheels and make sure the brake parts aren't rusted.

Replacement Master Cylinder for Atwood Trailer Brake Actuators - Drum Atwood Accessories and Parts 85841

Brake Actuator Parts Accessories and Parts | etrailer.com

When all is said and done surge brakes are better than nothing, but aren't really all that effective. If you can, swap them for electric brakes, but I think you have to change the axles for them.
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Old 03-30-2015, 01:55 PM   #3
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Great. I guess what I referred to as the reservoir is actually the master cylinder. Is there any chance that the brake line itself is also messed up (solidified, etc)?

For now I'll work on the master cylinder then take a look at the brakes.

Also, how do I figure out what model trailer I have so that I get the right master cylinder and other parts?

Sorry if these questions seem basic, but Im not extremely mechanically inclined but have the desire to learn and do.
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Old 03-30-2015, 01:57 PM   #4
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It's probably a long shot, but do you have any of the books and papers that originally came with the trailer? There would be one that is strictly for the brake system.

Also, you'll want to replace the plastic cap with a metal one (should be able to find one at a hardware store), and cover the master cylinder with a plastic bag in the winter.
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Old 03-30-2015, 03:03 PM   #5
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If the master cylinder is dry after you clean it out and refill with fresh brake fluid you will have to bleed the brakes at the wheels until you have nice clean fluid coming out. This will flush any old contaminated fluid as well as ensure there is no air trapped in the lines(which will give you poor spongy brakes). The biggest issue will be getting bleeders open at the wheels to allow this especially if it was towed in and road salt conditions. As was said above you should pull the brake drums to make sure that all parts inside are moving freely and are in good condition.
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Old 03-31-2015, 05:14 PM   #6
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I have a '92 Jayco Cardinal that hasn't moved since 1998. The brake reservoir is rusty and nasty like yours. Here is what I came up with to rebuild it all...

Atwood 85841 Master Cylinder Replacement Kit $50
Atwood 87478 Replacement Master Cylinder Cap and Gasket $6.16
Atwood #85849 Breakaway Stop Spring Replacement Kit $18.80
Atwood 85830 Shock Absorber Kit $37.10
Atwood 85852 Actuator Push Rod Assembly $38.99
Total $151.05

In addition to this, the wheel cylinders need to be checked and possibly rebuilt or just replaced. They are about $20 a pop.


That being said, I am weighing the option of doing away with it all and replacing with electric.

Going electric will involve new brake assemblies on all 4 wheels and still trying to determine if I would need to replace the drums or not.

Also have to figure out a way to lock the couple on the actuator in place or if the couple would need to be replaced.
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