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Old 05-06-2004, 11:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Can someone give me the good the bad and the ugly on surge brakes? Is that the way to go or are electric better?
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Old 05-06-2004, 11:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ag4gt
Can someone give me the good the bad and the ugly on surge brakes?Is that the way to go or are electric better?
With surge brakes you can not use a weight distributing hitch and can not use an anti-sway bar. This limits the size of the trailer you can pull. The stopping force of surge brakes depends on how hard the tow vehicle is stopping. While this is somewhat true of electric brakes you do have control on how hard the brakes come on for the stopping force. If you have a trailer of any size, you want a weight distributing hitch, so your going to use electric brakes.


Old 05-06-2004, 01:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It is also a pita to back up especially uphill with surge brakes. You have to insert a pin to stop the surge coupler from activating the brakes.

Surge brakes are also more expensive and more work to install. Unless there is a reason that you can't have electric brakes that is the way to go IMO.
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Old 05-06-2004, 05:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Surge brakes are great for boat trailers because they aren't allergic to getting wet.

There are surge setups that can accomodate weight distributing and sway bars, and even some that automatically lock off when the backup lights come on. Of course extra features cost extra bucks. Many of the simpler systems on boat trailers have a lever to lock the brakes off for backing . . . not to big a hassle becasue backing usually means launching or retrieving and you were going to get out to unplug the trailer lights and pu thte drain plug in the boat anyway.

Weight distribution is not such a big deal on boat trailers as most of them have long and light tounges, just because boats carry their weight at the rear.
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Old 05-09-2004, 08:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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My last boat/trailer had surge brakes. Lots of bang and clank noise with this type of set up. The new trailer and boat have electric, what a difference, nice and smooth stops/starts.

Will you be using this for a boat?
Old 05-09-2004, 07:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I thhink most tandem axle trailers for boats are going to have surge brakes with the electric back up release. I haven't seen a new rig without it for several years.
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Old 05-09-2004, 10:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I do know that with a backing up a hill without the lockout will kill a Ford tranny in a few seconds...

Every now and then there is some poor guy that just learned why never again to buy a Ford automatic...
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Old 05-18-2004, 10:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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On our boat trailer w/surge brakes, there is five pins on the "pig-tail" instead of the usual four. the fith wire is for when you are in reverse it supposubly disengages them so they let you back up freely. BTW mine are disk on both axles and have had no problems or complaints, and they frequently visit salt water.
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