Electric Brake or Surge Brake? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 08-24-2006, 10:57 PM   #15
Senior Member
 
Tom Trostel's Avatar
 
Name: Tom
Trailer: 1980 Bigfoot 17 ft
Texas
Posts: 1,300
Registry
Send a message via AIM to Tom Trostel Send a message via MSN to Tom Trostel
About 10 years ago the local Air Force base rented 16' Casitas that had surge brakes. I'm sure they were sold as surplus and some may still be on the road. So you may see a Casita with a master cylinder and brake fluid reservoir on top of the tongue.
Tom Trostel
__________________

__________________
1980 Bigfoot 17' & former owner of 1973 Compact Jr
Tom Trostel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2006, 11:59 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
Pete Dumbleton's Avatar
 
Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 3,072
Send a message via Yahoo to Pete Dumbleton
I would greatly prefer a boat trailer with surge brakes over electric brakes -- Typically the electric brake installation has a splice within inches of the brakes (due to the short pigtail on the magnets) that would have to be waterproofed -- I doubt that corrosion on the inner face of the drum hubs where the magnets slide would do the system any good.

Surge brakes have some advantages, especially if one intends to pull the trailer with several vehicles because no brake controller or its wiring is required on the tow vehicle -- A Flat-4 connector for lights is all that's required -- Also, many have a parking brake feature.

The obvious disadvantage is that the driver can't activate the brakes separately from the tow vehicle, plus they don't work in reverse.

I don't know how one adjusts the surge brakes for the desired braking effect, or even if it's possible.

Regarding surge brakes in B.C., here are a couple of links stating they are OK up to a certain weight limit (in fact one says they MUST be used up to that limit, but I believe they meant 'may'), about 6,000 lbs -- I suspect the supposed prohibition against surge brakes comes from the folks towing weighty Bulgemobile 5W/TTs -- BTW, the law seems to want the big trailers to be capable of having the brakes applied independently by the driver:

http://www.rversonline.org/ArtFAQ10.html

http://www.britishcolumbia.com/infor...tails.asp?id=6

Here's a quote from a Jan 2003 post to a Fishing Group:

QUOTE
Any one else heard about the law in BC that surge brakes are not legal on trailers rated for more than 2800kg (6160lbs). I sent the enclosed e-mail to the RCMP on Vancouver Island, and received the attached reply. I am now looking at some sort of electrical/hydraulic system that can be actuated from the cab like electric trailer brakes. Anyone using these?


> Dear Sir,
> I heard that boat trailers registered in the United States, and equipped with
> surge brakes, are no longer allowed to enter Canada. Is this true?
> Thank you,
> Mitch Carroll
>
Mr. Carroll:

You have been mis-informed. Surge brakes are allowed here in British Columbia
until the trailer and it's load weigh more than 2,800 kg. (lbs = kg x 2.2) At
that point, a braking system is required for the trailer that will allow the
trailer brakes to be applied separately from the tow vehicle brakes by the
driver. A surge brake does not meet this criteria and cannot be used for
heavier loads.

Hope this helps.

Tim

--
Constable Tim Schewe
Webmaster
Vancouver Island Traffic Services
Parksville, B.C.
END QUOTE

I strongly suspect that all state and provincial restrictions on surge brakes have to do with heavy loads and perhaps commercial vehicles.
__________________

__________________
Pete Dumbleton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2006, 06:53 AM   #17
Senior Member
 
Trailer:
Posts: 787
Quote:
Surge brakes have some advantages.........
The international perspective again: all European travel trailers use mechanical surge brakes - the same cable-operated drum brake technology used on cars in the 1930s!

I have learnt from this site and others that electric trailer brakes may be desirable and are probably superior to surge brakes. However the endless correspondence about brakes and controllers suggest to me that there are a lot of folks driving around without trailer brakes and maybe as many with inoperative or unadjusted trailer brakes and/or controllers.

So I've learnt that the huge advantage of mechancial surge brakes is that they work themselves (at least until lack of maintenance stops them working well) - no driver input, purchase or understanding is required!

Quote:
I don't know how one adjusts the surge brakes for the desired braking effect, or even if it's possible.
Surge brakes are, by their nature, self-adjusting - if the trailer tries to go faster than the tow vehicle, it increases the load on the brakes until the trailer is in balance with the tow vehicle.

Andrew
__________________
Andrew Gibbens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2006, 08:10 AM   #18
Senior Member
 
Roger H's Avatar
 
Name: Roger
Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
Iowa
Posts: 5,000
Quote:
...the endless correspondence about brakes and controllers suggest to me that there are a lot of folks driving around without trailer brakes and maybe as many with inoperative or unadjusted trailer brakes and/or controllers.

Andrew
Byron, corrosion is the bane of electrical connections. Regardless of how well they're sealed, auto-style electrical connections that get submerged eventually corrode. That's a truism for boat trailer owners. Electrical connections get submerged on boat trailers regularly. Many are submerged in salt water regularly. Common sense tells us to rinse our boat trailers thoroughly with fresh water after every trip, and check our electrics regularly. It's called routine maintenance, but have you ever watched at a marina to see how often that's actually done by Joe Average boat owner?

Even surge brakes corrode inside the drums, but it takes them longer to stop working. The rust has to actually prevent the shoes from moving. On electric brakes, once a connection anywhere in the system corrodes enough for the resistance to be high enough to stop current, from the perspective of having trailer brakes, your brakes are done regardless of the condition of the drums, shoes, or magnets.

Andrew, I think that the sole advantage of electric brakes over hydraulics in an RV application is that they can be applied from the drivers' seat as the driver chooses, and prior to the tow vehicle's brakes being applied. As far as their stopping ability, I haven't seen much difference between them over the years. Both will stop the trailer.

There's the old saw "ignorance is bliss" that I'm sure covers many of them. There are many inaccurate assumptions, misinformation, and a lot of "Kentucky windage" assessments of trailer equipment needs out there by average folks who don't tow often or far. Fortunately, most folks "get away with it" most of the time. No one among us can guarantee that if you do something or fail to do something, it will result in a crash every time. We all know that's just not the case, but unfortunately some folks take that as validation that certain equipment and/or towing procedures are unnecessary, as proven by the fact that they've done it, or know someone who did it and had no problems at all, so it must be OK.

The type of brakes and their functionality for the towed load (as well as sway control, weight distribution, load distribution, suspension tuning, and appropriate tire pressures) isn't a huge issue until some unanticipated crisis occurs at highway speeds. THAT's when all of the extra 'stuff' that some of us insist on doing and/or having pays off.

Roger
__________________
Roger H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2006, 02:05 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
Brian B-P's Avatar
 
Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Alberta
Posts: 5,000
Great discussion on surge brakes!

Just by coincidence, I was looking at eBay ads (related to the current scam topic), and stumbled across a U-Haul with surge brakes. Here's the eBay listing link, but if you have limited network speed beware that this listing has 48 images, totalling 3.4 MB: 1986 U-Haul 16 Camper Travel Trailer Burro Casita Scamp (Item number: 230022333248).


Click image for larger version

Name:	UHaul16_surgeBrakes_472x360_80.jpg
Views:	38
Size:	69.8 KB
ID:	4678


I think this is consistent with the philosophy of using surge brakes to minimize tow vehicle requirements in a rental situation.

There are also a number of U-Haul features and quirks of this particular trailer which those interested in U-Hauls might want to look at, but they're outside the scope of the current topic.
__________________
1979 Boler B1700RGH, pulled by 2004 Toyota Sienna LE 2WD
Information is good. Lack of information is not so good, but misinformation is much worse. Check facts, and apply common sense liberally.
STATUS: No longer active in forum.
Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2006, 02:38 PM   #20
Senior Member
 
Byron Kinnaman's Avatar
 
Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
Oregon
Posts: 6,308
Registry
Quote:
Byron, corrosion is the bane of electrical connections. Regardless of how well they're sealed, auto-style electrical connections that get submerged eventually corrode.
Roger
I'm going to have to disagree with you a bit here. In modern automobiles the "electric" fuel pump in submerged in the gas tank. My well pump is submerged in the well. Fountain pumps are submerged. There are lights submerged in swimming pools. The list goes on and on. We ran some tests on "auto-style" connectors, submerged in salt water. Lots of salt cyrstals formed on the outside of the connectors, but the connectors worked for over 2 years of submersion. As I stated earlier it's not a real issue, but a perception issue.
__________________
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
Byron Kinnaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2006, 11:30 PM   #21
Senior Member
 
Trailer: 74 13 ft Boler and 79 17 ft Boler
Posts: 568
Just out of curiousity, does anyone out there know if the surge brake will lock up the wheels if the tow vehicle`s wheels are locked up in a panic situation?....you would think that they would, if the trailer was heavy enough since they basically duplicate the brake pedal operation of the brake system on the tow vehicle, or would the trailer weight itself prevent the brakes from locking up... ....something that I`ve never tried........Benny
__________________
Benny K is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2006, 12:05 AM   #22
Senior Member
 
Pete Dumbleton's Avatar
 
Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 3,072
Send a message via Yahoo to Pete Dumbleton
Andrew, you're right -- Thinking about it, I can see that the surge brakes are essentially self-adjusting for varying loads -- Now that I'm thinking about it, I recall a very heavy boat trailer that my father had with electric brakes that was a bear to tow empty (without the very heavy boat) because the wheels would lock up with any medium application of the brakes -- That was back when the brake controller was hydraulic and tapped into the tow vehicles brake lines at the master cylinder.

Your point about non-working electric brake controllers is a good one -- Surge brakes are simpler and more likely to be actually working.

BTW, I forgot to mention that friction sway controls can NOT be used on surge brakes, according to the sway control manf.
__________________
Pete Dumbleton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2006, 03:10 PM   #23
Senior Member
 
Brian B-P's Avatar
 
Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Alberta
Posts: 5,000
Quote:
Just out of curiousity, does anyone out there know if the surge brake will lock up the wheels if the tow vehicle`s wheels are locked up in a panic situation?....
I've never towed with surge brakes, but here's how I see this situation:
The action of the surge brake system is unrelated to the behaviour of the tow vehicles brakes - it depends only on how hard the coupler is compressed, and that compression is [b]due to deceleration of the trailer.

If the rate of slowing down is extreme enough, then there would be enough brake action to overcome available traction at the trailer wheels, so if tug has sticky tires and big brakes, the trailer tires may not be able to match them, and slide.

If you panic and push too hard on the tug's brake pedal, the surge brake system can't "know" this; it can only brake hard enough to keep up with what the tug does. This seems like an inherently good characteristic to me.

Proper behaviour of the surge brake system depends on correct [b]design. The relationship between force at the coupler and braking force will depend on brake size and type, and the ratio of the slave cylinders in the brakes to the master cylinder in the coupler. An undersized master cylinder will mean excessive hydraulic pressure and thus too much trailer braking, and vice versa. Perhaps there is a mechanical leverage adjustment in some couplers, allowing tuning, but I don't know.

Cable-actuated surge (or "over run") brakes should have the same characteristics as hydraulic surge brakes, but it's an all-mechanical leverage issue, without hydraulic cylinder sizes to consider.
__________________
1979 Boler B1700RGH, pulled by 2004 Toyota Sienna LE 2WD
Information is good. Lack of information is not so good, but misinformation is much worse. Check facts, and apply common sense liberally.
STATUS: No longer active in forum.
Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2006, 09:53 PM   #24
Senior Member
 
Trailer: 74 13 ft Boler and 79 17 ft Boler
Posts: 568
Isn`t the tow vehicles severity of brake application also cause the trailer brakes to apply harder because of the inertia of the weight of the trailer being exerted on the plunger on the master cylinder of the coupler? The lighter the brake application of the tow vehicle, the less inertia being applied to the trailer coupler.....or am I in left field on this and not getting something?...man, how did I get into this? ...Benny
__________________
Benny K is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2006, 10:03 PM   #25
Senior Member
 
Byron Kinnaman's Avatar
 
Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
Oregon
Posts: 6,308
Registry
It appears to me that there's a couple of problems with surge brakes. One when trying to back a trailer up hill I would think the brakes would have a tendency to be applied. Another is the "panic button" thing. I've used the full brake lever once on my electric brakes. I don't know what would have happened with surge brakes instead of electric.

Another when backing with surge brakes, not uphill, there is no trailer brakes, if I understand how they work. With electric, prodigy controller, there's brakes.
__________________
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
Byron Kinnaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2006, 11:09 AM   #26
Senior Member
 
Bigfoot Mike's Avatar
 
Name: Mike
Trailer: Bigfoot 25 ft
Posts: 7,317
I have been following this thread and there are [b]Opinions (not based on fact) and [b]Misconceptions.

There are reasons each type of trailer has different type of brakes.
There are Electric Brakes, Hydraulic Surge Brakes in both disc or drum, Hybrid Electric Activated Hydraulic and probably more. Most of the newer, better Boat trailer brakes seem to be made with Stainless Steel disc brakes, and are ALL surge brakes. They have an electric activated system (from the backup lights) for locking out the surge for backing up.

See “Hydraulic vs Electric Trailer Braking Systems” and scroll down to [b]Electric Brakes.
Quote:
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.

Painted automotive grade brake springs rot, adhesively bonded shoe pads become detached from their foundation plates, and water soaked magnet electrical insulation commonly fails. For this reason, most boat trailer owners opt for hydraulic surge brakes either disc or drum.
__________________
Bigfoot Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2006, 11:49 AM   #27
Senior Member
 
Bigfoot Mike's Avatar
 
Name: Mike
Trailer: Bigfoot 25 ft
Posts: 7,317
...And the best of both worlds.
DEXTER Electric / Hydraulic Drum Brake Actuator

__________________
Bigfoot Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2006, 12:01 PM   #28
Senior Member
 
Trailer:
Posts: 787
This reply applies only to European (mechanical) surge brakes - I don't know if it's relevant to US (hydraulic) surge brakes, though I doubt it.

Quote:
One when trying to back a trailer up hill I would think the brakes would have a tendency to be applied.
No, nowadays all trailer brakes in Europe must be the 'auto-reverse' type which do not work in reverse, except when applied by the handbrake.

I think this law came about as you used to have to get out of the tow vehicle and lock out the brakes manually at the coupler - and I think too many people forgot to re-engage them before they drove off......

Incidentally, a British company has just invented an auto-reversing hydraulic disc brake, and I can't for the life of me think how they could work.

Quote:
Another is the "panic button" thing.
This strikes me as the big advantage of electric brakes - and probably would be a bigger benefit over here where both trailer weights are heavier (relative to the tow vehicle) and noseweights (=tongue weights) are lighter.

However, I would be interested to know whether the 'panic button' function was only really of use to experienced drivers, who had the confidence to take a hand off the steering wheel to locate and apply the brakes - is this something novice drivers can do when a weave starts?

Quote:
Another when backing with surge brakes, not uphill, there is no trailer brakes, if I understand how they work. With electric, prodigy controller, there's brakes.
This sounds a bit like the "not invented here" syndrome. I have never found the absence of brakes in reverse to be any problem - are there people who drive as fast or as aggressively in reverse as they do forwards?

My "not invented here" thing is concerning handbrakes - I can't for a moment understand how anyone could want the danger of a trailer with no handbrake.

I see Dexter offer electric brakes with a mechanical handbrake operation - has anyone ever seen these? They seem like the best of both worlds - though having dual operation they must also be the most expensive solution (and the cynic in me says that electric brakes would be promoted by trailer manufacturers as they are the lowest cost option).

Andrew
__________________

__________________
Andrew Gibbens is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Update Electric Brake/Controller install on Boler kevin61 Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 5 01-12-2009 09:03 PM
Why not surge brake? EricMeyer Care and Feeding of Molded Fiberglass Trailers 12 04-17-2008 08:11 PM
Electric Brake Control for Subaru Forester Todd Sleeman Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 20 10-27-2007 11:08 PM
Electric brake controller Legacy Posts Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 2 03-28-2003 12:04 PM
Update Electric Brake/Controller install on Boler kevin61 Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 0 12-31-1969 07:00 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:25 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.