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Old 07-10-2007, 05:34 PM   #1
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Has anyone used surge brakes as opposed to electric? I'm considering a hi-lo type of TT and noticed that some makes offer an option.
Thanks, Steve

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Old 07-10-2007, 05:34 PM   #2
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Winter-AZ; Summer-?
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Has anyone used surge brakes as opposed to electric? I'm considering a hi-lo type of TT and noticed that some makes offer an option.
Thanks, Steve

There is no such thing as too late; that's why they invented death.

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Old 07-10-2007, 07:15 PM   #3
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We have owned 3 trailers and all have had electric breaks and with a good brake control we have had no problems.
Jim (SSG US Army Ret.) and Cheri (TSG Phx ANG Ret.) Mesa, AZ
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Old 07-11-2007, 03:10 AM   #4
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My boat trailer has surge brakes and they work great. Only thing is you will have to remember to pin your hitch before backing up since backing will apply the trailer brakes.
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Old 07-11-2007, 06:42 AM   #5
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Thanks for the quick response. I've had electrics too but never surge except for a U-Haul I rented this spring coming east from AZ
after selling our RV.
It occurred to me that surges aree used in most boat trailer applications too and so it seemed prudent to research the issue before buying a pop-up of sme type.
BTW, I'm researching Hi-Low, Trail-Manor and the like. Any suggestions or ideas are welcome.
I'd love to find a used one but it seems that they are "spoken for" almost immediately after being put in service. You know the deal: "Hey let me know before you sell it".
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Old 07-11-2007, 07:10 AM   #6
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Our pop-up (our first RV) weighed about 3400 lbs and had surge brakes on tandem axles. They worked just fine, other than trying to back uphill (gotta get out and pin 'em).

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Old 07-19-2007, 05:36 AM   #7
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Having to get out everytime before backing up is enough for me not to get surge brakes.

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Old 07-26-2007, 04:57 AM   #8
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You don't have to get out every time and pin your brakes. Only on a pretty steep uphill would that be an possibility. And actually, it is recommended to occassionally push backwards with the surge system up an incline. The reverse scuffing of the pads with make them work better going forward. I have owned several trailers with surge brakes and all have performed well. So well in fact that when I was looking for a brake system for my toad, I went with a surge brake to activate the brakes on my Jeep. It's idiot proof, no electronics to fail, no plugs to wiggle loose, and best of all no tire lock up as you are going down the road at 60 mph. Yep, they work just fine......

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Old 07-29-2007, 02:18 AM   #9
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Hey Sarge - can you give me a little info on the surge brakes you use on your toad when you get a chance? I'm with you on their reliability - I've seen and have a friend that had a tire lock up and it wasn't pretty.


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Old 07-29-2007, 07:15 PM   #10
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IMHO, having used both, surge brakes are good for emergency situations, when you need quick stopping capability. They also are usefull in situations of long downgrades where the weight of the load may cause constant surge breaking. Otherwise, surge brakes are seldom needed in every day, sensible driving situations. Additionally, you can't control them from the cab.

Electric brakes, on the other hand, properly installed and adjusted, work in conjuction with the tow vehicle's operational breaking system assisting in stopping the entire combination at all times. Additionally, as I understand, electric trailer brakes can be applied, by the driver, indepent of the application of the tow vehicle brakes.
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Old 01-03-2008, 04:10 AM   #11
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Have you ever thought about going electric/hydraulic with drum or disc brakes. Let me tell you if you want to stop on a dime this is they way to go. The only downside is that it is a little heavy on the wallet.
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Old 01-04-2008, 04:09 PM   #12
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A downside to surge brakes is you lose the main way to reduce/stop trailer sway after it has began. I do see many advantages too.
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Old 01-10-2008, 03:19 PM   #13
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We had a flatbed Trailer with hydraulic surge brakes that came with a 6-wheel ATV at work. It towed and stopped fine for the short time we used it. After a few uses we swapped the trailer to another department for a smaller trailer needed for another purpose, and later bought a covered trailer for the 6-wheeler.

The flatbed would not back up AT ALL unless you wired the Tow vehicle's backup light power to activate a bypass soleniod. The trailer had a flat 5-pin connector for this, and we plugged it into our regular flat 4 light socket plus added a 1-pin socket for the backup pin. Once this was done, driving and backing was fully automatic. I don't recall there being any way to get out and manually disable the brakes for backing this system without connecting this wire.

The brakes worked any time the trailer was pushing against the tow vehicle - going down hill, slowing or stopping.

One safety item I saw on another forum, and hadn't though about, is that if the tow vehicle enters a slick surface, and does not slow when brakes are applied, the trailer brakes will not apply. With an electric controller the trailer brakes could be manually activated to help.
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Old 12-27-2008, 10:20 PM   #14
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Also surge brakes do not work in reverse, after you pin them, thats it. So if backing down a hill with a heavy load You may not be able to stop with the tow vehicle only...

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