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View Poll Results: SURGE or ELECTRIC brakes for a tow dolly?
I prefer Surge Brakes 13 54.17%
I prefer Electric Brakes 7 29.17%
It doesn't matter, they're both good 4 16.67%
Voters: 24. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-30-2015, 09:53 PM   #15
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I have yet to see any jake brake activate brake lights. (sorry but untrue)
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Old 01-30-2015, 10:02 PM   #16
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Surge brakes for ours. No connections other than lights needed so I can loan it to others or tow it with the van. This is our second dolly and both have had surge brakes.
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Old 01-30-2015, 11:39 PM   #17
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A major difference between surge and electric brakes is the adjustment between loaded and unloaded.
ADJUSTMENT:
The surge brake set-up will auto adjust the braking pressure depending on the weight on the dolly...more weight - more brakes / less weight or unloaded - less braking pressure needed to keep the dolly behind you.

Electric brakes must have the braking pressure adjusted by the driver (on the brake controller). Once set, the driver can shut-off the brakes when unloaded to retain the loaded setting. But, then in a panic or hard stop the dolly has no braking to keep it behind the RV.

BACKING:
Backing surge brakes is possible with a lock-out (mechanical key or servo solenoid connected to the back-up lights).

Backing electric brakes is easy since there is no braking until the brake lights come on.

BREAK-AWAY:
Brake-away device on surge brakes is a cable actuated arm on the dolly tongue mounted brake cylinder to lock the brakes if needed.

Brake-away device on electric brakes is a separate dolly mounted battery with a cable actuated switch to lock the brakes if needed.

CONTROL:
Electric brakes need a controller at the drivers position and 1 wire to the bumper - or a remote controller mounted on the dolly (hard to adjust, but simple).

Surge brakes need no add'l equipment inside the RV to work.

Best luck
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Old 01-31-2015, 07:02 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jergeod View Post
I have yet to see any jake brake activate brake lights. (sorry but untrue)
a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, firstly the important thing is its a jake brake, brake being the operative work, read a few regulations regarding applying any type of brake, the law is simple, and who in their right mind would not want brake lights on when the jake brake is applied, in hi setting my coach decelerates rapidly and it would be asinine not to warn others using the road. and how would you know if some is using jake or brake pedal when you are following

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Old 01-31-2015, 07:25 AM   #19
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I personally will only use electric brakes that can be manually activated from the TV driver's seat because 30 years ago I was pulling a TT that went into a nasty oscillating sway, after I instinctively swerved to avoid a chair that fell from a truck in front of me, and after the fourth swoosh across three lanes of highway I manually applied the trailer brake and "pulled" the rig back into a stable straight line. We had a real mess to clean up in the TT from contents that dumped onto the floor from the refrigerator and cabinets but we lived to tell about it. Not that this can happen with a 10:1 MH:Towed weight ratio but I still like to have options available to me in times of crisis.
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Old 01-31-2015, 07:30 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jergeod View Post
I have yet to see any jake brake activate brake lights. (sorry but untrue)
Does Engine Brake Activate Brake Lights

a little reading for you

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Old 01-31-2015, 07:36 AM   #21
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As it happens, there is a newer Master Tow with Electric for $725, and a newer Master Tow with Surge for $1000 (which includes a spare tire, too).

Seems that the $1000 is money well spent, right? Any reason I should look for something other than Master Tow? We're talking a few thousand miles/year for use, and all highway.
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Old 01-31-2015, 07:46 AM   #22
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I prefer surge brakes and have them on my 10K 24' car hauler that I load with my car, motorcycle and pedal bikes into, surge applies proportionate braking that has never cause any issues, including when coasting down 100's of miles of large hills in NY and PA on I 81

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Old 01-31-2015, 07:50 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bamaboy473 View Post
As it happens, there is a newer Master Tow with Electric for $725, and a newer Master Tow with Surge for $1000 (which includes a spare tire, too).

Seems that the $1000 is money well spent, right? Any reason I should look for something other than Master Tow? We're talking a few thousand miles/year for use, and all highway.
FWIW its all about the tires, most dolly are similar in design and I have had a few, tires are the big factor assuming you are not overweight and secure the car properly, make sure you have good tires, I like radial and always slightly over capacity and always with tpms, also use magnetic lights, they are cheap and alert people that the car is 15 feet behind the dolly lights


Carry a spare, a jack and torque wrench,

Moxy
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Old 01-31-2015, 07:55 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarab0088 View Post
A major difference between surge and electric brakes is the adjustment between loaded and unloaded.
ADJUSTMENT:
The surge brake set-up will auto adjust the braking pressure depending on the weight on the dolly...more weight - more brakes / less weight or unloaded - less braking pressure needed to keep the dolly behind you.

Electric brakes must have the braking pressure adjusted by the driver (on the brake controller). Once set, the driver can shut-off the brakes when unloaded to retain the loaded setting. But, then in a panic or hard stop the dolly has no braking to keep it behind the RV.

BACKING:
Backing surge brakes is possible with a lock-out (mechanical key or servo solenoid connected to the back-up lights).

Backing electric brakes is easy since there is no braking until the brake lights come on.

BREAK-AWAY:
Brake-away device on surge brakes is a cable actuated arm on the dolly tongue mounted brake cylinder to lock the brakes if needed.

Brake-away device on electric brakes is a separate dolly mounted battery with a cable actuated switch to lock the brakes if needed.

CONTROL:
Electric brakes need a controller at the drivers position and 1 wire to the bumper - or a remote controller mounted on the dolly (hard to adjust, but simple).

Surge brakes need no add'l equipment inside the RV to work.

Best luck
x2
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Old 01-31-2015, 02:54 PM   #25
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As of today, I'm the owner of a Master Tow with surge brakes, spare tire, two pairs of straps, and kept up by a retired Master Chief, USN, so not a speck of rust anywhere.

I'm satisfied that either system would have worked fine, but this one was available and was in excellent condition. It's good to have smart people lend experience to the buying decision, so thank you all
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Old 01-31-2015, 04:03 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bamaboy473 View Post
As of today, I'm the owner of a Master Tow with surge brakes, spare tire, two pairs of straps, and kept up by a retired Master Chief, USN, so not a speck of rust anywhere.

I'm satisfied that either system would have worked fine, but this one was available and was in excellent condition. It's good to have smart people lend experience to the buying decision, so thank you all

congrats mine served me well, if I can suggest a little preventative maintenance, re and wheels wheels nuts and add a little never seize, check bearing play and ensure good grease twice a year, I also cant say enough about tpms, if the dolly or your car get a flat you may not even feel it, I didn't, bearing buddies are your friend, I would also do a one time bleed of the brake fluid then ya know where ya stand.

Good luck

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Old 01-31-2015, 05:32 PM   #27
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Yep, a call to TST on Monday to get 4 more senders. As luck would have it, the owner has kept everything greased and lubed, and under cover, so all I need to do is to keep up the good work.
There's crazing on the fenders and I'm wondering about what to do there. Ideas?
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Old 02-01-2015, 06:51 AM   #28
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The Acme EZE TOW Tow Dolly

A few more notes...

If you choose the Hyd Surge DISC brakes they have far fewer parts then the drum system. They never need adjusting, much more powerful and they cool off very fast.
Most dollies using drum brakes have a real problem because the adjusting ports are blocked by the spindle plate, which means, most people using drum brakes do not have brakes at all because the brake pads are not reaching the drum.
Dollies do not have self adjusting brakes.
We now offer our dolly with no brakes ( idler ), Electric brakes, and Hyd DISC brakes. Others are now offering disc brakes as well but we were the first by several years. There is a demand for Idlers and Electric brakes but for pure simplicity, reliability and power you need Hyd Disc Brakes.
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