Hitches & Brakes - Fiberglass RV
Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-02-2024, 11:18 AM   #1
Member
 
Trailer: Scamp 13 ft
Posts: 89
Hitches & Brakes

Hey Gang,

Have a Scamp 13. Never had brakes but have had no problems with either trailer or TV (Jeep Grand Cherokee). There have been many posts regarding, hitches brakes, anti-sway devices, etc. I have been wondering why surge brakes have never (or rarely) been used or addressed.

Just curious,

D.Mc.
Dennis McMillan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2024, 01:22 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Roy in TO's Avatar
 
Trailer: 1972 Boler American and 1979 Trillium 4500
Posts: 5,141
IIRC Surge brakes were used on Uhauls.



The only pro to them is they help with stopping while moving forward.



E-brakes have many more advantages. Like they work while backing up. Stop the tail wagging the dog. Can be proportional. Some even have a parking brake feature.



Some say you don't need ebrakes because our trailers are light. I prefer them because they can help you stop quicker and help keep the trailer under control.
Roy in TO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2024, 05:09 PM   #3
Member
 
Trailer: Scamp 13 ft
Posts: 89
Oh Yea, Didn't think of backing up. That's a deal breaker. Thanks for clearing that up. D.Mc.
Dennis McMillan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2024, 09:42 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Name: Jonathan
Trailer: ex-Casita, now Alto R series
Massachusetts
Posts: 243
Pros for surge brakes:
inherently proportional,
can operate without TV brake application such as when 'engine braking' on long down grades,
long term 'parking brake' capability when disconnected from TV and without battery depletion,
available with reverse lock-out (electric solenoid from TV reverse lights, or locked out from flipping a lever),
no controller needed,
no tie-in to TV brake light circuit (thinking EV's with regeneration slowdown without brake pedal and so no brake lights).

Cons for surge brakes:
higher trailer manufacturer's cost ( as if they pass the savings for less expensive electric brakes on to the buyer to partly offset the buyer's controller and installation costs),
unable to be used to compensate for poor trailer loading (to counter sway issues).

Can you tell I prefer hydraulic surge brakes? Can you also tell that I think it's not worth swapping working electrics to upgrade to surge?
Buy the trailer you like. Use the working brakes it comes with.
__________________
Jon MB, (the lesser half of Bonnie RB )
Jon MB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2024, 11:37 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Raspy's Avatar
 
Name: John
Trailer: Roamer 1
Smith Valley, Nevada
Posts: 2,892
Surge brakes are good for boat trailers that get dipped in salt water repeatedly. And they are good for rental trailers where no controller or working trailer wiring is needed.

But the fact that they cannot be applied separately from the tow vehicle brakes makes them not acceptable to me for a travel trailer. Plus, they only work by pushing against the tow vehicle, unlike electric brakes that can be adjusted to pull back and help the tow stop. Or help in case of tow vehicle brake fade. As far as a parking brake, which is a nice feature on any trailer, I prefer and have a lever and cable operated system. Like used in many cars. They cannot leak down and release over time.

Either system is far better than no brakes at all and it's true that the surge brakes are simple to use. Also true that electric brakes are not suitable on boat trailers, but I like them on travel trailers. My new Roamer1 has electric over hydraulic which is a complicated design, but gives the advantage of disc brakes.

Adjusting the electric brake controller is a bit more complicated than not having to adjust the surge brakes. My friend borrowed my flat bead trailer, with electric brakes, and ruined a set of tires on one trip by having the controller set to high. He skidded every time he stopped and ground the tread off in one trip! Sheesh. That would never happen on a surge system.
__________________
I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt.
Raspy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2024, 12:48 PM   #6
Member
 
Trailer: Scamp 13 ft
Posts: 89
Thanks All, As always an issue is more nuanced than it may seem at first. Appreciate the insight. D. Mc
Dennis McMillan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2024, 03:05 PM   #7
Member
 
Name: Ray
Trailer: Holidaire
British Columbia
Posts: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis McMillan View Post
Hey Gang,

Have a Scamp 13. Never had brakes but have had no problems with either trailer or TV (Jeep Grand Cherokee). There have been many posts regarding, hitches brakes, anti-sway devices, etc. I have been wondering why surge brakes have never (or rarely) been used or addressed.

Just curious,

D.Mc.



The big thing I have against surge brakes, at least on the RV I owned, is that you cannot install a breakaway switch in case the trailer separates from the TV. I realize that it's a rare thing, but in my area it is mandatory to have a breakaway switch.

I'm not too sure that breakaway switches help that situation anycase. If one brake is set even a little more than the other, that's the direction the RV is going in. Don't want to test it out either. Just make sure hitch and chains are always top notch.
As someone else mentioned as well, they only brake when pushing against the TV. They don't additional braking power when slowing down or stopping.
matthfam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2024, 04:57 PM   #8
Member
 
Name: James Y.
Trailer: Companion
Ohio
Posts: 83
Surge Brakes

I installed surge disc brakes on my FGRV maybe 8 years ago and love the trouble free operation. Some of the above comments are misinformation. Backing up is done by flipping a catch that releases the braking action. Mine also has a brake a way cable to set the brakes in case it becomes detached.
Jim G. - Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2024, 06:49 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Roy in TO's Avatar
 
Trailer: 1972 Boler American and 1979 Trillium 4500
Posts: 5,141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim G. - Ohio View Post
I installed surge disc brakes on my FGRV maybe 8 years ago and love the trouble free operation. Some of the above comments are misinformation. Backing up is done by flipping a catch that releases the braking action. Mine also has a brake a way cable to set the brakes in case it becomes detached.

I don't think all surge brakes are like yours though. Or at least they were not. It is interesting to note that these features are available.
Roy in TO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2024, 09:09 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Name: Douglas
Trailer: Lil Snoozy
MD
Posts: 224
Registry
My Snoozy had surge brakes. The mechanism inside the wheel allowed backing up. Also had a simple mechanical lever actuated by a breakaway cable that depressed the hydraulic brake piston.
I like the advice above that either type is better than none, and go with whatever comes with the trailer you have. I converted the Snoozy from hydraulic to electric after a few years. Both can be made to work. Both can cease working.
Air Doug is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
brakes


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
single bar hitches Bill MacDermod General Chat 3 05-03-2008 07:55 PM
U-Haul hitches- Beware John Perry General Chat 6 04-06-2008 01:32 PM
weight distribution hitches Ian-Vicki Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 16 07-09-2007 02:47 PM

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

Reviews provided by


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:42 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions Inc.