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Old 02-13-2011, 05:29 PM   #1
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Workhorse Chassis Owner
Triple E Owners Club
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Posts: 15
surge brakes or electric ??

I am interested in buying a dolly , because of the price versus a blue-ox then the brake buddy etc. Two types are available to me surge hydraulic brakes or electric . I can`t seem to make up my mind which is better , can I get some input from you guys . any help would be appreciated Thanks .

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Old 02-13-2011, 05:44 PM   #2
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I have a Karr Kaddy SS w/surge and I really like it. The braking self adjusts with varying weight's. The only negative is it's a little heavy and cost a little more. But factor in you have no need for a controller, can use it on other vehicles (without a controller) and it's compact storage-it's a winner.

2007 Allegro Bus 42 QRP, 400 ISL
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:02 PM   #3
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Location: Boerne, Texas
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We went through this decision process about one year ago. We ended up buying a Mastertow 80HDS (surge brakes). I didn't want to add a controller and worry about the right setting, etc. The surge system adds about 90 lbs. to the weight of the trailer but it works great. I added a trailer jack to make it easier to handle, and that was the best $20 I have ever spent.

Ultra-Tow Marine Swivel Bolt-On Jack — 1000-Lb. Capacity | Trailer Jacks | Northern Tool + Equipment

I believe our dolly cost about $1,500 and I bought a spare which I carry in the trunk of our toad. We have towed it now for about 7,000 miles with not a single problem.

Here is a picture of our rig and tow dolly. Note, the trailer jack was installed after this photo was taken.

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2009 Newmar 42 ft. Allstar 4188, Wheelchair Accessible, 400HP Cummins ISL, Allison 3000, Mastertow Dolly, '98 Riviera
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:14 PM   #4
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Surge brake Pros: X2 what wardy said
No controller needed.
Self adjusting
Use on other vehicles

Surge brake cons:
Hyd. lines seem to vibrate and crack
Can't adjust the braking pressure

Electric brake pros:
You can adjust braking pressure
A little easier to work on

Electric brake cons:
Difficult to feel how much power to apply when behind a 20K lb MH
Have to install a brake controller.
Whatever vehicle pulls it will have to have a contoller

IMO, get the surge brake.
2003 Allegro, 32BA, W20,'06 Saturn Vue, Demco Aluminator, RM9700, R1150RT B'mer
SE Louisiana
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:44 PM   #5
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Hi njoylife,
I have a dolly with surge brakes. It works as advertised and I would make the same purchase again. Best I know, the only disadvantage with surge brakes is when on a long steep down hill grade, the surge brakes will be on all the way down the hill. Since I do not plan to take the dolly to the dolly west of the Mississippi, this is not a problem for me.
2005 Newmar KSDP 3910 + GMC ENVOY XUV 37K lbs Moving Down The Road
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:30 AM   #6
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I prefer electric brakes. I've had trailers with both and as they get older the surge brakes seem to have more problems. They need the same maintenance as the hydraulic brakes on your car, including periodic fluid changes and shoe adjustment. They have a tendency to apply and release when going over rough terrain. They are only proportional once the load overcomes the initial spring pressure.

While it's true that electric brakes require a controller almost every truck and motorhome since 1999 has been prewired from the factory. I've used the same Tekonsha Prodigy controller on my 1999 Ford Expedition, 2001 Winnebago Adventurer and 2010 Ford Expedition. It's plug and play taking all of 2 minutes to move it from one vehicle to another.
Electric brakes are truely proportional in that the controller can be set for the load on the trailer/dolly rather than a preset spring pressure in the coupler. There is no fluid to change or cylinders to rebuild as age sets in. We currently have a 10,000 lb trailer and a 3,500 lb tow dolly both with electric brakes. The trailer is about 15 years old and the dolly is 10 years old. Both are used regularly and neither has had any problems I have no desire to go back to surge brakes.
2013 Adventurer 32H
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:03 AM   #7
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Here is a comparison: BUT YOU GOTTA STOP! - Trailer Brakes: Electric vs. Hydraulic Surge - RedTrailers.com
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:44 PM   #8
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Thank You all , for your input , I appreciate it and I will go with surge brakes .
2004 triple e commander 35

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