Brakes - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-16-2014, 02:07 PM   #1
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I am getting ready to order a Lil Snoozy. It has surge brakes. Electric brakes are available for a little more money plus the cost of a controller. Is it worth it to have a little more control? Has anyone with surge brakes have any dislikes. Any opinions would be appreciated.
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Old 04-16-2014, 02:58 PM   #2
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I have towed trailers of one type or another for the past 50 years and never had a surge brake trailer stop like electric brakes which are adjustable. Personally I prefer the electric brakes and would pay extra for these. This type of brake with the brake-away switch is also a valuable safety device should the trail become disconnected while underway.
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Old 04-16-2014, 03:01 PM   #3
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I've used surge brakes when towing boats with no problem but with a boat I never experienced side to side sway where electric brakes would help some.

Replacing electric brakes is a lot easier and less expensive than surge brakes.

A big factor would be what your TV is. If the Snoozy is close to the maximum weight capacity of the TV I would personally choose electric brakes.
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Old 04-16-2014, 03:04 PM   #4
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Electric brakes also give the driver up-front control of the trailers brakes. If, on a long down hill run, surge brakes can sometimes do weird things if sway occurs.

Actually I would think that electric brakes should cost less as there is less hardware to install and only wires to run, not brake lines, and a lot less labor.
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Old 04-16-2014, 03:27 PM   #5
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Electric brakes also give the driver up-front control of the trailers brakes. If, on a long down hill run, surge brakes can sometimes do weird things if sway occurs.

Actually I would think that electric brakes should cost less as there is less hardware to install and only wires to run, not brake lines, and a lot less labor.
I believe the Snoozy frame is built on a production frame supplied by a "boat trailer" frame manufacturer. It's a galvanized and probably is only available from the factory with surge brakes. Electric brakes should be a lot less expensive but when they are a special it must increase the cost.

Surge brakes are used on boat trailers because they can be submerged in water where electric brakes would be ruined. Surge brakes are also used by rental yards because they are easier to attach to a customers tow vehicle.
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Old 04-16-2014, 03:35 PM   #6
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I am getting ready to order a Lil Snoozy. It has surge brakes. Electric brakes are available for a little more money plus the cost of a controller. Is it worth it to have a little more control? Has anyone with surge brakes have any dislikes. Any opinions would be appreciated.
I have had trailers with both and would be willing to pay extra for electric brakes to get greater control.
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Old 04-16-2014, 03:44 PM   #7
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Electric is the 1st choice for most trailer manufacturers.
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Old 04-16-2014, 05:54 PM   #8
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Another quick thought! It has been my experience to learn that a large number of people surpass the towing capacity of their vehicle when they think the manufacturers' weight quotes are for the trailer only; when in fact it includes the additional weight of passengers and items carried inside or on top of the tow vehicle, thus the better braking quality of electric can be adjusted to compensate for all weight while surge brakes only handle the trailer weight. I do not think this is the safest way but I am a firm believer in adhering to the complete manufacturers recommendations and read "all" of the details they release.
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Old 04-16-2014, 06:00 PM   #9
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Is it true that Lil Snoozy offers propane brakes?
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Old 04-16-2014, 06:03 PM   #10
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I would guess that electric brakes would probably carry a better value at resale. Just because many folks know about electric brakes & brake controllers. Surge brakes you might have to explain more to get buyer to understand.

The need to insert pin to disable in order to back up, and not forget the disabling pin when leaving or you have no brakes also reduces the value of surge brakes in my mind.
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:09 PM   #11
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I had a '73 Sprite with mechanical surge brakes and found that I needed to drive, rather apply the brakes differently than with the electric brake systems. The surge brakes really did not activate until the trailer felt the sudden brake in speed from the tow vehicle. When the surge system activates, you feel a thump at the hitch which at times caught me by surprise. Going over mountains and driving in heavy traffic was not as comfortable due to brake reaction time and the lack of brake away safety. We added electric brakes to our 1991 13'scamp so that we had better control coming down mountains towing with a '90 Jeep. It's real easy to tow a trailer but you have to have the butt to stop one.
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:39 PM   #12
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Thanks so much for sharing all your experience and knowledge. What a great forum. I had already asked for the electric brake option then started second guessing myself. They charge 100.00 more for them. I suspect that is more for paperwork than mechanical cost. I don't mind paying a little more if we are satisfied with the result. I drove a couple of trucks pulling cargo trailers in the military. They worked but felt a little strange at times. Glenn, they would not do propane brakes but were open to "solar"
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:36 PM   #13
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I owned a 1993 Casita 16ft it had surge brakes and they worked very well.
Chuck
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Old 04-17-2014, 12:51 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by charlsara View Post
I am getting ready to order a Lil Snoozy. It has surge brakes. Electric brakes are available for a little more money plus the cost of a controller. Is it worth it to have a little more control? Has anyone with surge brakes have any dislikes. Any opinions would be appreciated.
I hate surge brakes. Hateful things. I recommend electric or none.
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