View Full Version : Replacing Electric Trailer Brakes with ?

06-01-2009, 10:24 AM
I've got electric drum brakes on all four wheels of my trailer. The trailer stays loaded near it's gross weight rating. The brakes never stay adjusted more than a few weeks. What are possible solutions? I've seen kits for surge brakes and electric over hydraulic. I am open to anything that has good stopping power and never needs adjustment.

06-01-2009, 10:32 AM
i guess you can go to hydraulic surge disc brake's .no adjustment necessary

06-01-2009, 10:45 AM
Surge brakes don't work in reverse, like when backing down a hill, do they? I rented a dump trailer with surge brakes a month or two ago and it stopped ok.

Do you know if anyone makes a hydraulic disc setup that is controlled by a brake controller?

06-01-2009, 10:46 AM
PS I was with the NMCB 24 out of Huntsville for a couple years.

06-01-2009, 11:38 AM
most all of the newer surge brake's have a back up cut out switch on the coupler so that is not a issue .ether mechanical or elect cut out ,that allows backing .:usflag: here's one http://www.cabelas.com/hprod-1/0001978.shtml

06-07-2009, 10:06 AM
The ultimate solution is electric-over-hydraulic disc brakes--but this is a very expensive setup (I'm guessing $1500+ for a tandem axle). Go to Dexter's website to see the brake setups that they sell.

Another solution may be heavier-duty axles and conventional electric drum brakes. The brakes should only come out of adjustment as the shoes wear down--if you are maxing out your axles, the brakes may be wearing quickly. Otherwise, some of your brake hardware maybe damaged, allowing the brakes to un-adjust themselves.

Brake controllers can need continual adjustment. The "smart" ones (like the Prodigy) seem to need less attention.

Mini man
06-07-2009, 10:47 PM
I did the elec over hyd disc brakes on all 4 wheels.
Un believable difference....would not have a trailer without now...using 5500 GMC hauling a 16K capacity trailer.

Gravel Rat
06-07-2009, 11:52 PM
The disk brakes are the way to go.

It is all about how much do you want to spend. In my mind brakes and safe stopping is worth the money.

Jason Rose
06-08-2009, 12:16 AM
I'm in the same boat... Damn trailer brakes drive me to drink. This spring I couldn't get them to work 100% no matter what I tried, and it wasn't that long ago I replaced all 4 drums and brake assemblys! I have a nice prodigy controler, and all the wiring is good, they just wear out too fast. Usually the magnet wears the inside of the drum to the point it won't make good contact before anything else is worn out. I've also wondered what other options are... My trailer is loaded to the max most of the time as well, with two 3,500 lb. axles, that's not a lot of load capacity. Just don't want to think about replacing the axles completly, because then I'd need new wheels and tires, and the trailer would have to sit higher, unless I used low profile tires... (maybe not, I don't know)
I'm just waiting for the place I buy from online to have a good sale on the brake assemblys in the size I need and I'll buy 4 more again.

06-08-2009, 10:45 AM
Another idea: check your wiring. If you have a bad connection or a partly corroded plug; it can make your electric brakes behave badly.

06-09-2009, 02:01 AM
I have checked the wiring. I've had wiring problems before but this time it is just that the brakes are out of adjustment again and I can't seem to get them to tighten up. Manually adjusted drums are just so outdated, it's ridiculous to think how many thousands of these systems are on the road (and dealer lots) right now. Cars had auto-adjusting drums 50 or more years ago. It's not rocket science!

I've priced disc kits and they run about 150 per wheel (600 for four wheels). The electric over hydraulic actuator is another 600. A hard line plus flex line kit is about 150. It's pretty much bolt together stuff. So, for about 1500 bucks, I could get this done.

Now I am wondering if I should put this much money into this trailer. It's a good size, 14' plus 2' dove tail, and it has lasted a long time, but I think before I put this much money into a 10k trailer I should shop around to see what I can get a bigger one for. A lot of times, 10k isn't enough capacity for me. I'd really like to get a 20 + 5 deckover with dual 10k axles but that would be 7 grand or more. Maybe just stepping up to dual 7k axles and a little longer deck would be a good middle ground?


06-10-2009, 06:25 PM
The drum brake question !!!!!

There could be only 10 inch drums on all your wheels ???
If 12 drums are fitted [minimum for trailer of this capacity i would think ]

Next on drum brakes the automotive world uses auto adjusters that adjust linnings when reversing . In reality it just extends the time between adjustments .

Dexter do sell a ""never adjust system drum brake ""

Disc brakes are the best either in a
surge type
electric over hydraulic

BEAWARE that some disc brake calipers are very cheaply designed and give more issues than its worth

Fix use an automotive caliper eg PBR brand 100,000 miles plus reliable etc

The other major concern is
Does your axle have the design / strenght :weightlifter: to be able to handle disc set up . Why The axle tip has to be usally spaced further away from the spring to bring the setup away from chassis for brake caliper clearance . This extra lenght places additional load on axle bearing spindle .


South Florida Lawns
06-12-2009, 07:58 PM
Probably one of the cheapest ways to get more stopping power is by going with a heavier duty axle, say from an equipment trailer or dump trailer 12k-14k. They come with bigger drums and should bolt right up. I'm getting ready to do this to my 16ft trailer.

06-13-2009, 12:45 AM
I'm thinking of just moving up to a bigger trailer rather than putting heavier axles under my current trailer. The frame and tongue are all about maxed out.

And bigger drums still have to be adjusted and taken apart and new magnets wired in periodically... With the e/h discs for trailers, you don't even have to unbolt the calipers to replace the pads, and they are otherwise zero-maintenance.
Posted via Mobile Device

06-14-2009, 11:16 PM
Borrowed a gooseneck this weekend. Had to buy and install a hitch Thursday night, went and picked up the trailer and brought it home. Put some air in the tires and towed a Bobcat 341 mini-ex out to Scottsboro and back on Friday. I replaced a couple lights on it and plugged a tire.

He was talking about trading me for my trailer; he's got a small Kubota backhoe and my trailer would be better for hauling it around, going over uneven terrain and turning around in cul de sacs.

Hope I ain't jinxing the deal by posting on here.

If he does trade, I will probably still try to upgrade to disc brakes at some point; the brakes on it work good but I know they will be out of adjustment in a month of regular use.

Anybody know how long a trailer you have to have to tote a Kubota backhoe, one of the smaller ones?