View Full Version : Electric or Hydraulic trailer brakes?

12-10-2005, 01:44 AM
Like I said in my other thread, Im going to be buying a new trailer. I have a choice of electric or hydraulic brakes on both axles. I was wondering if one is better than the other? Some advantages and disadvatages? Is there anything I need to buy for the trucks to make one work vs. the other? Thanks.

12-10-2005, 08:41 AM
An advantage of hydraulic brakes would be the ability to switch tow vechiles with out each truck having to be wired for eletric brakes.
An advantage of electric brakes would be the ability to adjust how much the brakes are applied when you step on the brake pedal. Also if you are towing with a manual tranny, the electric brakes has a manual over ride that you can use on a hill to help hold the rig so you dont burn out your clutch while trying to take off.
Im sure there are more but that is the 1st two that come to mind. Also check your state laws, there was a post last week about hydraulic brakes not being legal in FLA.

12-10-2005, 09:35 AM
generally the hydros are surge brakes.. work well except are a pain to back up.. have to get out and go flip a switch to override the brakes.

12-10-2005, 09:37 AM
I thought the DOT outlawed surge brakes?

12-10-2005, 09:51 AM

just bought two trailers.. a 7x14dump and a 7X20 equipment..... while looking i saw many equiped with surge brakes.

12-10-2005, 09:56 AM
Most all marine applications are surge brakes and the U-haul trailers are too

12-10-2005, 11:15 AM
When you say hydraulic, do you mean surge breaks? If so i would go with the electric brakes.

12-10-2005, 06:27 PM
When you say hydraulic, do you mean surge breaks? If so i would go with the electric brakes.

Im not positive on that either, the options on the sheet said electric or hydraulic.

Is there a way around having to have a brake box in every truck?

12-10-2005, 08:53 PM
I prefer electric brakes, but make sure you buy a good controller for the tow-vehicle. As for hydraulic brakes (surge-brakes) the post was correct about the brakes applyed while backing up unless you get out an disable them. Well some on the high-end bass boat trailers have an electric solonoid that is connected to reverse light wiring that automatically does this.

another positive on electric brakes is that you can snag things with your trailer and rip off the brake lines or wires. Well it is a simple fix on electric brakes and the maintainance is cheap as well.

12-10-2005, 09:36 PM
There are 2 different types of hydraulic brakes, surge and what I call "true hydraulics" that use a brake control and send a signal to a master cylinder on the trailer and apply the brakes. I have electric brakes on 4 trailers and "true hydraulic" brakes (hydrastar) on the big trailer, 36' gooseneck-triaxle w/duals. The hydros are a better set-up when used for heavy loads, they don't fade like electrics can.

I would first find out what style of hydro brakes the trailer has. I personally wouldn't by surge brakes...