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Brakes on a grain hauling trailer
In Vol. 15, No. 5, a reader wrote a letter about a way to put brakes on a grain-hauling trailer built out of a converted truck (with the cab and engine cut off). I have converted and built many trailers, both gooseneck and tag-along, from old trucks and have come up with a cheap and easy process for activating brakes.
I use the same hydraulic brake system already on the truck, by merely bolting the existing vacuum booster back onto the frame above the axle or axles, eliminating the actuating mechanism in the booster slave cylinder unit. Then I run heavy vacuum hoses from the trailer up to a vacuum control valve mounted on the dash, steering column or floor of the towing vehicle and from there to the intake manifold on the engine. This method alone works but can be a bit slow reacting and tricky to operate. But by adding a reserve vacuum tank with a check valve to the manifold side, the system has enough volume to handle the brakes normally and becomes much more effective. A tank with several gallons of volume should be used.
To convert the booster (now mounted on the trailer) from foot pedal operation to remote vacuum control requires different methods, depending on the equipment. For instance, some trucks only require you to remove the actuating rod and add a couple 0-rings. Others require jamming the control box itself onto the booster.
Vacuum control valves are available from many truck and trailer suppliers. Diesel-powered towing equipment also requires a vacuum pump. (A. Beaudoin, Christopher Lake, Sask. SOJ ONO Canada)


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1992 - Volume #16, Issue #1