PDA

View Full Version : converting surge brakes to electric???


CURBAPPEAL NC
03-02-2006, 10:14 PM
Can you? A trailer i am building has surge brakes but the tongue is rusted and bent (doesnt work). Electric seem to be the way to go for backing purposes so i was wondering if there is a way to just convert it over to electric? thanks!

TURF DOCTOR
03-02-2006, 10:17 PM
Yea it can be done,seems more trouble than what it worth you will have to cut off your coupler and rewire it.

CURBAPPEAL NC
03-02-2006, 10:22 PM
Well I have already cut the coupler off and welded a regular one on thinking I didnt need brakes but now would like to have some so i was thinking to just convert it at this point might be easier. Everything else is still there!

gammon landscaping
03-03-2006, 12:58 AM
well you will have to change the hubs hydraulic brakes are disc most of the time and electric are drums, i personally like surge brakes. the backing thing only bothers me every once and a while. my hitch kind of sticks when it sits for a while so when you really need brakes the work but when backing slowly they don't bother me

Mr. Vern
03-03-2006, 01:34 AM
The last thing I would ever want to do is convert from surge to electric. Surge are proportional and are so much smoother. Not to mention that you can pull with any vehicle and still have brakes. You can buy surge couplers that have a solenoid that connects to your reverse lamps and will keep the brakes from applying while backing if you are really concerned about it. I don't have that on any of mine, but I rarely have an issue with them when backing up. It's really only an issue if you are backing up hill and then you can just get out and latch the backup lever.

CURBAPPEAL NC
03-03-2006, 12:23 PM
There is drumm brakes on it now. The electric are proportionate arent they? with the controller in the truck the harder you hit the brakes the more it works. Anyways just thought it might be able to be done fairly easily. maybe ill just get another surge actuator!

stroker51
03-03-2006, 05:43 PM
No, don't get another surge actuator. I think, not for sure, but i think that depending where you are it is illegal to use surge brakes. Think about it, you are loaded going up a hill or somthing, or backing down one, so if you dont make it all the way up, which does happen, you have no brakes backing back down. This is when you REALLY NEED brakes. The conversion isnt that hard, i just finished my trailer up. What I did was since the front axle was bent, i just ordered a new electric brake axle from my local trailer builder, bolted it right in, 2 wires and it was ready to go. I also rewired the entire trailer with a pre-made wiring harness from my dealer, it had all the leads to hook up to break away battery, actuator, and to the brake wires coming out of the backing plate on the drum. It really isnt that hard to do, even if you convert on the same axle, there was another post on here somewhere where somebody had to add brakes to the second axle, and just bought all the parts, they should bolt right onto the axle pretty easy. In any event, I would never go back to surge brakes, i really dont think they work as good as electric, and as i said, i think electric might be required by law. I know a new trailer can't be made in the state of Kansas with surge brakes, dunno about everywhere else.

Vinny
03-03-2006, 06:06 PM
I have always had electric brakes, works well for me and you can adjust them easy or hard according to your load. Hell, I save the brakes on my truck because the electric brakes have a lot of stopping power. Plus I would hate to stop backing down a hill.

TURF DOCTOR
03-03-2006, 06:14 PM
surge is what we run on 3 trailers we like em to each his own.

xcopterdoc
03-03-2006, 06:29 PM
I see you are from Fayetteville...
Take a lil trip to Lumberton, go to Agri-Supply, its off of 211going towards Red Springs. They have complete set ups, everything you need.

Mr. Vern
03-04-2006, 04:38 AM
No, don't get another surge actuator. I think, not for sure, but i think that depending where you are it is illegal to use surge brakes. Think about it, you are loaded going up a hill or somthing, or backing down one, so if you dont make it all the way up, which does happen, you have no brakes backing back down.
Wow - I never would have thought of that one. I have never started up a hill while towing and not been able to make it. Had that problem on my snowmobiles and dirt bikes, but never in my tow rig. Surge are legal here in CA, but I guess you would need to check your state regs. As far as electric being proportional, they are triggered by the brake light switch which is either on or off. Your controller either has a circuit that ramps up the amount of brake applied over about a 1 second period, or if you have one of the more expensive controllers it will have an inertia sensing mechanism that will attempt to make it proportional. I have found these to be problematic and touchy when towing on a grade. As far as the adjustment goes, yes you can adjust for load size, but what bugs me is getting it set for highway speeds and then as you are coming to a stop or around town it over applies the trailer brakes and makes for a real jerky ride. Not a major safety issue, just an annoyance. The design of surge brakes simply uses the pressure differential between the tow rig and the trailer to modulate the pressure. If your truck is slowing faster than the trailer the pressure on the piston increases and applies more trailer brake, if the trailer is decelerating faster, the pressure decreases and the trailer brakes less aggressively. It's a very smooth setup but does have it's tradeoffs (no brakes in reverse or worse yet brakes in reverse when you don't want them) but I personally prefer them. To each his own I guess

CURBAPPEAL NC
03-04-2006, 06:28 PM
I see you are from Fayetteville...
Take a lil trip to Lumberton, go to Agri-Supply, its off of 211going towards Red Springs. They have complete set ups, everything you need.


yeah i was there a few days ago. picked up the new coupler. pretty heavy duty, weighs about 20 bls called a FULTON for $50 bucks. I dont trust those zinc coated 10 dollar models, ive seen to many bent. They had an actuator for $110, almost picked it up. Agri Supply is the HEAT. wish there was one in Fayetteville.

gammon landscaping
03-06-2006, 01:29 AM
i think if you are pulling somthing up a hill and it won't do it then you need to be looking harder at you truck than you trailor brakes..in any case if this did happen you would just have to cram it in reverse and floor it and it would make it stop if you did it fast enough but would be a scary ride to say the least. i have both types and like the surge better just a lot less to deal with when towing

stroker51
03-06-2006, 05:22 PM
I don't have a problem pulling ANYTHING now that I have my 7.3 Powerstroke, but before I had this truck, and was driving an 84 F250 w/ 351 pulling like 12K+ lbs of hay, you can run out of power. I dunno, I just find it hard to believe that nobody here has ever had to back down a steep grade to get to a job, or turn around or ran out of power, like after turning a corner to go up a hill, I would just rather have a trailer that can stop while going backwards downhill, if it needs to, because for those of you who havent experienced this joy ride, it is a little on the scary side. JMO though, I know my trailer dealer though told me that he can't build a trailer to sell with surge brakes no more, maybe this is a state of KS deal, I dunno.