Moderated Discussion Areas
  ContinuousWave: Post-Classic Whalers
  170 Montauk Trailer

Post New Topic  Post Reply
search | FAQ | profile | register | author help

Author Topic:   170 Montauk Trailer
Inabanus posted 03-12-2007 06:55 PM ET (US)   Profile for Inabanus   Send Email to Inabanus  
I recently ordered a new 170 Montauk which as you all know comes with a Karavan Trailer. I ordered the disc brake option and was told by the dealer that there is a "key" device that must be inserted prior to driving in reverse.

Does anyone have experience with this? It seems to me that you should not have to get out of your car in order to insert this "key" each time you want to enter reverse. Perhaps I am understanding him incorrectly so I thought I would ask the experts here on this site.

My car is wired currently with a standard factory wiring harness (a flat wiring harness with three male and one female adapter).

Any help is appreciated!



Richard Quinlivan posted 03-12-2007 07:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Richard Quinlivan  Send Email to Richard Quinlivan     

Surge brakes tend to be activated when you back up because you push on the tongue. This the same effect as when you brke when moving and the trailer presses against the hitch. The "key" device locks out the surge brake. The trailer may have a 5 wire hookup which uses a 5 wire flat plug. The additional wire would get the same signal as your backup light. That signal would operate a lockout solinoid on the trailer which would do the same job as the key. I have no idea whether your trailer is so equipped or whether the key is your only option.


Bulldog posted 03-12-2007 10:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bulldog  Send Email to Bulldog     
Dick is right on with the solenoid, they should wire your trailer with a reverse light connection which will disable the brakes by locking them out when backing up. Drum brakes also activate when backing but due to the design they don't have as much power in reverse and can be overpowered by the tow vehicle..................Jack
Chuck Tribolet posted 03-12-2007 10:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Bulldog, you tell that to the drum brakes on the concrete
trailer I once rented. It would not BUDGE in reverse. I was
stuck with a trailer full of concrete 300' from where it needed to be poured.

Fortunately, I was able to figure out where to stick a
screwdriver to disable the brakes and back it up (my first
experience backing up a trailer). It got to the pour before
it got hard. BTW, the rental agreement said something about
not disabling the brakes. Yah, right.


Chuck Tribolet posted 03-12-2007 11:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
And if the trailer isn't equipped with an electric lockout
for the brakes, it can probably be retrofitted:


gbcbu posted 03-14-2007 07:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for gbcbu  Send Email to gbcbu     
I have no experience with this option but for towing the light weight 170 Montauk my reaction is the same as my dear departed father...just one more thing that can break.

Seriously though is this really needed with the 2500 lbs +/- of the Montauk.

jimh posted 03-14-2007 08:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The key is a mechanical lockout for the surge brake actuator. Most trailers that have drum brakes have a special configuration which is called free-backing brakes, that is, the drum brakes don't have much grip when backing due to some feature of their design. On the other hand, disc brakes DO tend to have a good grip when backing, so you have to de-activate them in some why in order to back the trailer. This is particularly true if trying to back uphill.

On some brake systems there is an electrically operated valve built into the brake hydraulic system which will spoil the braking action when actuated. This solenoid is wired to the tow vehicle's reverse or back-up lighting circuit, so when the tow vehicle is put into reverse gear, the brake action on the trailer is spoiled, allowing the trailer to be backed. Such an arrangement takes care of the backing problem automatically.

In the case of backing a trailer downhill, as on a launching ramp, you most likely will not need to use the reverse lockout key.

Inabanus posted 03-14-2007 07:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Inabanus  Send Email to Inabanus     
Thanks to everyone so far for their input and replies.

I am awaiting a return call from the dealer at this time. I will say that these are NOT surge brakes, but the DISC brake option for the 170 Montauk trailer. I too am one to try to keep things simple, but my tow vehicle is a Volvo Cross Country Wagon that requires a trailer with brakes for anything being towed over 1,650 pounds. And of course I do not want to beat up the car's brakes or transmission.

Once I get the final answer from the dealer I will post that information.

Thanks again everyone.


Feejer posted 03-15-2007 04:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Feejer  Send Email to Feejer     
SURGE brakes come in two forms. Disc or Drum. It does what it says. When the trailer tounge gets a Surge (pressure) against the piston the brakes go on. Electric brakes (disc or drum) work off an electrical impulse. Anyway, I have long thought a trailer with brakes is a GOOD thing. I had my last boat and trailer for 5 years. I had Disc Surge brakes and never had a problem. If you dunk the trailer in salt water just try to rinse them off. They really are a no brainer. I'm currently looking for a Dauntless 16. Boat, motor, fuel and trailer will come in around 2700lbs. Do I need brakes. Nope, my Tundra does a fine job at stopping. Do I want brakes? You bet your azz. If anyone has ever cut you off or pulled put in front of you while towing and you had to slam on your brakes your going to wish you had brakes. Your trailer will stop much straighter with brakes then without.

my 2 cents

Inabanus posted 03-15-2007 05:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Inabanus  Send Email to Inabanus     

Thanks for the info. I learn something new each time I visit this site. I agree with you, why not have the brakes if you can?

Thanks again.


Chuck Tribolet posted 03-15-2007 11:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Why not? Because it's one more thing to go wrong. I've
got nine+ years on a 16' 7" Montauk and haven't felt the
need (100 mile round trip tow 70 times a year).

On the other hand, Hoop had brakes installed on his similar
boat and trailer, and says it's a lot better.


contender posted 03-16-2007 08:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
I have to agree with gbcbu, I think that disc brakes on a trailer that size is overkill, unless you are towing with a motorcycle? I would have spent the extra money on boat stuff or a spare tire and jack for the trailer, or a cover for the boat... good luck
swist posted 03-17-2007 07:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
I agree with Dave, and I even have the exact same Karavan trailer for my 170 Montauk. I've pulled it all around curvy, hilly winding roads in Maine, as well as on the highway at 65 mph, and I never felt the trailer needed its own brakes (and I have have boat/trailer combinations in the past that have had bad trailer brakes so I think I know what it feels like when the trailer starts to take control of the tow vehicle!).
Feejer posted 03-17-2007 11:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for Feejer  Send Email to Feejer     
I guess some of you are not following the thread. He MUST have brakes according to Volvo. God forbid he has a crash and a lawsuit is filed against him. If he did not have trailer brakes where required he is screwed. End of story.
contender posted 03-17-2007 01:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
Maybe I miss it but I do not see where it states he has to have brakes, He did state he got them as an option, meaning not required, you do not need them.
Feejer posted 03-17-2007 07:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Feejer  Send Email to Feejer     
"Volvo Cross Country Wagon that requires a trailer with brakes for anything being towed over 1,650 pounds."

That tells me the manufacture requires him to have trailer brakes. Or maybe I'm reading it wrong.

jimh posted 03-18-2007 07:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The surge brake nomenclature refers to the design of the brake controller, not to the design of the brakes. Most boat trailers use a surge brake controller. The alternative is to use an electrical controller

The actual brakes are either drum or disk, as mentioned above.

Most brake systems use hydraulic actuators. The alternative is electrical actuators. Electrical actuators are common on travel trailers but not on boat trailers. Immersion of the brake axle in water is often hard on the electrical components.

There are combination systems which use electrical controllers and hydraulic actuators. These are rare, especially on small boat trailers.

Most boat trailers for a 17-foot boat use a surge brake controller with hydraulic actuators. Disc brakes are becoming more popular.

Barney posted 03-18-2007 08:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Barney  Send Email to Barney     
In some instances my backup light circuit lockout will not keep the surge brakes from activating. This is when backing up an incline. Backing down the launch ramp is not a problem. A strong automatic vehicle would not care, however a four cylinder stick wants to know why your backing up the hill with the trailer brakes on.
Feejer posted 03-19-2007 06:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for Feejer  Send Email to Feejer     

What boat is shown in your photo?

swist posted 03-19-2007 07:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
Obviously if you need trailer brakes you need trailer brakes, but after several different trailer brake systems in a salt-water environment, coupled with outside Winter storage (yeah I should probably read the Florida thread in the general forum), I had much trouble keeping them working correctly - access is very difficult for washdown unless you start taking wheels off etc, and things get crudded up easily.

One reason I downsized to a 170 Montauk was so I could have a simple trailer and not deal with any of that stuff.

Barney posted 03-19-2007 09:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for Barney  Send Email to Barney     
Feejer, The boat is a 170 Montauk with an EasyLoader trailer.

I have brakes on the trailer to be legal. I don't know how much law enforcement looks at that until you hit something. Jim

Feejer posted 03-19-2007 10:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for Feejer  Send Email to Feejer     
It does not take a crash. I got pulled over by a MD state trooper on 95 a few years back for a turn light on the trailer being out. Next thing I know is he's checking out the trailer tounge. He then told me my boat trailer should have brakes, So, $250.00 later I'm on my way. The following day I called the dealer and bitched him out. In the end the boat dealership said they were in the wrong, but brakes on the trailer (free) and gave me $250.00 for the fine a got. Not all bad.
contender posted 03-21-2007 08:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
Feejer are not all states different for trailer brakes? do not know myself but I think in florida it goes by weight. Also per the other issue I do not see where any one was talking about a volvo wagon.
swist posted 03-22-2007 07:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
I have never seen any requirements for trailer brakes in the motor vehicle laws in the Northeast states I have boated in (MA, ME, NH, NY). (Doesn't mean they're not there.)

On the other hand, if the tow vehicle requires them for certain configurations, that would be a different issue - in this case affecting the warranty on the tow vehicle.

It is probably also true that if a trailer causes physical or personal damage to someone because it did not brake properly, you are going to be liable and/or get sued regardless of whether the vehicle manufacturer or the law says you need trailer brakes, and regardless of whether the trailer actually has working brakes or not. You are responsible for what your trailer runs into. No different from it coming loose from the tow vehicle.

Barney posted 03-22-2007 08:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for Barney  Send Email to Barney     
At the time I put my trailer brakes on I had visions of interstate travel. The owner's manual on my truck says any trailer over 1000 lbs needs brakes.
Looks like all states have laws on brakes. Don't know if these are up to date. The great state of Mississippi has alway got to be different, so for two different reasons I put the brakes on.
swist posted 03-23-2007 08:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
Wow, now there's a useful chart. It would probably take days of crawling through Motor Vehicle Dept web sites et al to find this info oneself.

Notice how most states seem to be at 3000 lbs, so your average Montauk 17/170 owner is out of the woods.

You think Mississippi has to be different? Look at Mass - 10000 lbs! You'd have to be crazy to tow a 9999 lb trailer without brakes!

mikeyairtime posted 03-30-2007 01:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for mikeyairtime    
Those charts are not 100% reliable, for instance it says California law is 3000 lbs or less no brakes. It's really 1500 lbs or less no brakes.
Inabanus posted 05-19-2007 02:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Inabanus  Send Email to Inabanus     
I finally got the right person to explain and be able to install the proper car wiring to accomodate the new 170 Montauk I pick up next week.

Without taking too much space up here, my Volvo involved rewiring and a control module to regulate the system.

If anyone needs specifics let me know.


Post New Topic  Post Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | RETURN to ContinuousWave Top Page

Powered by: Ultimate Bulletin Board, Freeware Version 2000
Purchase our Licensed Version- which adds many more features!
© Infopop Corporation (formerly Madrona Park, Inc.), 1998 - 2000.