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Googan
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 6000lb trailer with surge brakes that are likely completely shot due to neglect.

I'm considering options for re-fitting the brakes on the trailer. I've read all the competing arguments on electric vs surge vs electric over hydraulic, etc.

The trailer would get used MAYBE once a year (maybe less). And it would get dipped in salt water twice during that once a year use.

I've read of electric brakes specifically designed for boat trailers, but can't seem to find them online. Anyone know of a source? Do I need these boat-specific bakes considering the infrequency of use?

My hope is that a complete brake system replacement with electric brakes will be easier and less expensive than a complete replacement with surge brakes. (already have the control module in the truck).

Has anyone installed their own electric break system on their boat trailer? Any advice?

Thanks,

Mel
 

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I've read of electric brakes specifically designed for boat trailers, but can't seem to find them online. Anyone know of a source? Do I need these boat-specific bakes considering the infrequency of use?
What your talking about is electric over hyd. Electric brakes like on a horse traile will never last.

The fact that you use the trailer so little is your enemy. I bet it's parked on bare ground....IE: not on concrete. It's my analogy that this contributes to the demise faster, as the moisture in the ground rises and keeps the underside of the trailer in a wet state for a lot longer period of time al the time.
 

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For as little as you use it why replace the brakes. What are you towing it with? And how far?
 

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Googan
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
X-shark: Can't really do much about the infrequent use, except take it for a walk every now and then (without the boat). Regardless, doing that now won't fix its condition. It is on concrete, your irrelevant assumptions are very helpful in addressing my questions...

The boat is stored off the trailer a couple states away.

Sealark: The trailer needs to be functional for annual vacations. Towing up to 800 miles with a 3/4 ton chevy. In ideal conditions, I'm no terribly worried about the breaks, but accidents don't often occur in ideal conditions.

I'm talking about full-on electric brakes. There are people with electric breaks on boat trailers. I've surfed the internet, and it seems the only people who say they don't work are people who have never had then. So I'm looking for someone with some experience to help me here. Even if the breaks rotted through every year, replacing the parts that contact water (the entire break assembly) would be easier (and probably cheaper) than regular maintenance on surge breaks.
 

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Tangle Master
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There is a member on the V20 forum who has electric brakes on his single axle trailer. He is going on four or five years with his. But after every trip, he removes the wheel and drum and cleans and lubricates them. Lotta work.
 

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Perhaps reading some of this will get you better educated on this subject so that you can make good decisions.

http://championtrailers.com/brkart.html#electric_brakes

Electric brakes are commonly used in utility and RV trailers. In this application, their painted automotive grade components provide excellent service, if properly installed, wired and maintained. In boat trailer application, however, they fare poorly. The wet launch boat trailer application, especially in salt water, normally destroys electric brakes within a season or two.
http://championtrailers.com/DISC_BRAKE_INSTALLATION_ARTICLE.HTM
 

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Bearded Brotula
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There are people with electric breaks on boat trailers. I've surfed the internet, and it seems the only people who say they don't work are people who have never had then. So I'm looking for someone with some experience to help me here.
I've had electric brakes on a boat trailer. Saltwater and electric brakes don't mix. Took them off and changed the entire system over to hydraulic. Take the trailer for a spin every now and then. Check your fluid. Basically, do preventative maintenance.
 

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OCD Reel Service/Repair
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I have surge brakes on my 17,000 lb. trailer and they work fine. I also only use the trailer once or twice a year. Use Kodiac SS calipers and pads with Dacromet rotors and keep them clean. You will have no problems.
 

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I have a similar size trailer, maybe a little bigger, with surge brakes. It has a rinse system that you can attach a hose to and rinse the brakes after use. Lasted nine years before I had it rebuilt -- brakes, bunks, brackets, bearings -- 'bout $1500 for the whole deal.

Had an RV Trailer 32' long with electric brakes, personally liked the surge brakes better. Found it was helpful when parking the trailer to pull forward a bit so the pads weren't on the drums.

Salt water is hard on everything except fish. Both systems are going to fail after a while.

I'd be curious as to why most trailer manufacturers go with surge over electric, might be worth a call to one of them. I'm guessing it is an economic decision.

Good Luck
 

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Well I had them on a duel axle 6000 lb rig 23 ft boat. And they don't hold up worth a crap. And every thing bad said it true. I tow a cabover camper and a 21 ft wellcraft loaded to the hilt every year 2000 miles round trip to key west. No brakes the key is don't get in a hurry I drive 55 max been doing it for over 35 years. Luckely not one incident and at that speed I get 16 mpg with my 3/4 ton 6 speed manual dodge diesel. I just wave at all those people in a hurry that pass me up as they are exiting to fill up. Stay away from electric brakes.
 

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Googan
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks guys. This is helpful. Looks like I might want to take on the rebuild with the surge breaks. I was just dreading having to buy and replace the whole system: tongue/actuator, brake assemblies, etc. Seemed like not having to deal with the actuator and bleeding hydraulic lines would make the install on electrics easier (electric is something I'm more comfortable with when it comes to install). Also not having to buy the actuator would have probably made it cheaper. But alas, it doesn't seem to be my fate.

If everything was working now, it wouldn't even be a question, I'd stick with what's on there.

Fulton made a set of electrics specifically for boat trailers, but I can't seem to find them online. Perhaps they're out of manufacture.
 

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Thanks guys. This is helpful. Looks like I might want to take on the rebuild with the surge breaks. I was just dreading having to buy and replace the whole system: tongue/actuator, brake assemblies, etc. Seemed like not having to deal with the actuator and bleeding hydraulic lines would make the install on electrics easier (electric is something I'm more comfortable with when it comes to install). Also not having to buy the actuator would have probably made it cheaper. But alas, it doesn't seem to be my fate.

If everything was working now, it wouldn't even be a question, I'd stick with what's on there.

Fulton made a set of electrics specifically for boat trailers, but I can't seem to find them online. Perhaps they're out of manufacture.
I believe the electric boat trailer brakes your are talking about are electric over hydraulic. Uses an electric actuator but rest is hydraulic.
 

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Nope the ones I had used a magnet that when energized would actuate a regular drum assembly. Pure problem and junk. Plus you needed the actuator on the column
 

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There are a number of boat trailer builders who want nothing to do with electric brakes---for the time being. "We're not going to touch them, until I see something that shows me they are safe," says one trailer-manufacturing president who asked his name not be used. For others, like EZLoader's Dave Thielman, there is awareness that electric brakes have an image problem in the general public. "To some degree," he says, "it's a battle to re-educate people about electricity and water. We have a product that has been tested, re-tested and used in all kinds of conditions on the road. It works extremely well. It is just going to take some time." In Canada, trailers with a gross weight of 10,000 pounds are required to have electric brakes.



The electric brakes will be drum brakes. It's a known fact that drum hyd brakes are more problematic.


I see no change in that with adding the elect actuator.


It talks about extensive testing. I'm sure they keep dragging the trailer down the road. So here's my test.


Dunk it in saltwater and let it sit for a year.....Then tell me how they work.


Oh.....and when was that article written?


I have just recently got my hands on one of EZLoader's products.
Not super impressed. :(
Torsion bars are not galvanized. Still using old school Bearing Buddies, instead of Posi Lube Spindles.


--------------------------------------------



Just got a weird message that said my message was to short. Must legthen message by 3 letters. What's up with that?
 

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Buddy you go for those electric brakes. You have had about 150 years of experience telling you about trailers in the water and brakes. Your mind is set on electric so let us know how it works out.........:thumbup:
 

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Googan
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Buddy you go for those electric brakes. You have had about 150 years of experience telling you about trailers in the water and brakes. Your mind is set on electric so let us know how it works out.........:thumbup:
I don't recall stating that "my mind is set". In fact, I think there's a post a few blocks up that says something like, "Looks like I might want to take on the rebuild with the surge breaks."

Most of my posts in this thread were attempting to clarify assumptions. Technology changes, and opinions evolve. It is in anyone's interested to gather information from all perspectives before making a decision (no matter how experienced).

“If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.” ― Bertrand Russell

Thanks to everyone for their time. It was very helpful.
 

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It's kinda like Tie Down disk brakes. Years ago they were problematic. So the advise was go with Kodiak's.

Tie Down has come out with a new line.

I can tell you that I'm not betting on them with MY money. So we stick with what we know. :)
 
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