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Are Surge Brakes Good

author
Maria Johnson
• Saturday, 02 January, 2021
• 7 min read

By browsing this site you are agreeing to the use of cookies. Surge brakes are not exactly driver-controlled; they activate automatically whenever the driver slows the tow vehicle.

surge brakes brake hitch system jerking trailers notice neck pic
(Source: www.thehulltruth.com)

Contents

In the next few minutes, you’ll learn how surge brakes work, why they are the most popular form of trailer brake, and how to maintain them. Surge brakes require no setup or knowledge of the braking system to operate, no electric controller or special wiring, and can be submerged in water.

Both of these types of brakes require specialized experience and don’t perform well in water or freezing conditions. Surge brakes remove safety hazards in the water and with operators who aren’t familiar with other trailer brake systems.

The front side with the hitch is separate and slides on the ledge to the back half of the neck. When the load gets heavy the rod extends between the two parts of the neck and the weight is distributed between them.

Trailers with surge breaks typically start to slow when applying the brakes. But, it’s a small price to pay for ease surge brakes give when operating your trailer.

Periodic maintenance is required, but simply follow the manufacturer recommendations to get the most out of your hydraulic surge brakes. Your surge brakes have got your back, but always practice increased safety when driving your trailer with a tow vehicle.

surge brakes brake dolly tow disc electric kit
(Source: towsmarttrailers.com)

Hydraulic Surgeries versus Electric Brakes As the tow vehicle’s brakes are pressed, there is force applied to a hydraulic cylinder located on the hitch that activates the trailer brakes.

The quicker you slow down your tow vehicle, the more pressure is applied to your trailer’s brakes. There will be less wear and tear on the tow vehicle with a properly set brake controller.

There are plenty of advantages to owning a trailerable boat as opposed to one that you keep in a slip or on a mooring. If you’re shopping for such a boat, bear in mind that with a vessel of a certain size and weight you’ll need a brake system on your trailer.

Yes, the surge brakes stopped the trailer well enough, but when you lifted off the brake pedal to accelerate, the release could almost be described as violent. The return spring in the master cylinder slammed the piston back out, and it really jarred the truck and its passengers.

However, I think for runabouts and other boats that weigh 7,000 pounds or fewer, the simplicity of the surge -brake system is hard to beat in function or price. Brett Becker is a freelance writer and photographer who has covered the marine industry for 15 years.

surge dolly kit tow stehl brake hub electric assembly trailer parts
(Source: www.stehltow.com)

In addition to covering the ski boat and runabout markets for Boats.com, he regularly writes and shoots for BoatTrader.com. Based in Ventura, Calif., Becker holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s in mass communication from the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

The front section with the hitch attachment is a separate piece. It is made to slide on a ledge into the back half of the neck.

A master cylinder for the brakes is mounted to the back half of the neck and has a rod extending from the master cylinder to the front half of the neck. The rod for the master cylinder can be adjusted to cause the brakes to come on sooner or later, whichever is desired.

When the tow vehicle is in reverse, pushes in on the trailer neck, which would activate the surge brakes. Inserting a pin in the neck of the trailer prevents this from happening while the driver is backing up.

Just bought it. Got rid of the 3/4 ton I had. Motor was shot...anyway the f150 has brake controller. But boat trailer has surge brakes . Good I deal to convert to electric brakes ?pulling it 90 mile to Erie in spring then back again in fall.I think the boat/trailer weighs around 4000 lbs. Feel I have more control how I want the trailer brakes to perform.

surge brake frustrations hull
(Source: www.thehulltruth.com)

If you're just towing twice a year, I would stick with what you have and just take my time. Just make sure you disconnect them at the ramp and plug them back in before you leave.

While surge brakes do work, the electric brakes are the safest way to go. If there set right the trailer will always be pulling the tow to a stop.

Even tho you only tow 2 times a year it only takes one hard stop to avoid a life-changing experience. I have surgebrakes, and they will stop both boat and truck once the cylinder engages.

I towed my boat 225 miles each way for several years but now use inside storage at the lake. Surge are mechanical, need no wiring, require no controller, are self-adjusting as far as breaking force and are easy to maintain.

I also prefer surge because I have disc brakes on my trailer, and they are extremely easy to maintain. Electric brakes are adjustable for your preferences, can be applied manually if desired, are mechanically simpler (no lines, fluids, etc) and are easier to test.

(Source: audvidgeek.wordpress.com)

Surge are mechanical, need no wiring, require no controller, are self-adjusting as far as breaking force and are easy to maintain. I also prefer surge because I have disc brakes on my trailer, and they are extremely easy to maintain.

If you are just running up route 11 in Ohio or 79 in pa, I would be fine with surge brakes behind a f150. If I was doing twisty mountain roads, I may well consider electric brakes. If you do put electric brakes on it, check to see if your model allows them to be used when submerged... My big trailer, 3axle, has electric over hydraulic brakes so works in water going down ramp with the 10,000# Baha on back.

I am surprised that a Bay liner Trophy hardtop on trailer is only 4000#. If you are just running up route 11 in Ohio or 79 in pa, I would be fine with surge brakes behind a f150.

If I was doing twisty mountain roads, I may well consider electric brakes. If you do put electric brakes on it, check to see if your model allows them to be used when submerged... My big trailer, 3axle, has electric over hydraulic brakes so works in water going down ramp with the 10,000# Baha on back. I am surprised that a Bay liner Trophy hardtop on trailer is only 4000#.

I'll keep that in mind...paper work says 4000lbs full tank of fuel.it just has the little 3.0 in it.I'm guessing 4500lbs at the most possible weight. I'll keep that in mind...paper work says 4000lbs full tank of fuel.it just has the little 3.0 in it.I'm guessing 4500lbs at the most possible weight.

brake fluid system braking test strips moisture worn distance napa absorbs potential issue another longer bad napaonline knowhow need mechanical
(Source: knowhow.napaonline.com)

Just the boat empty weighs 3400#, 65-gallon fuel at 6.3#/gal is 410#, and add tandem-axle trailer of (guess) 2500#. You will likely have at least 200# of gear, ice, etc., so lets say you will trailer about 6500# headed to the lake. Adding that all up... With my Chevy 2500, I would trailer that 90-mi in/out to marina per season with surge brakes providing little traffic and an easy tow like route 11 in Ohio or 79 in pa. That is about 50% tow capacity of my Chevy 2500.

Bay liner 2159 The tandem trailer weighs 880lbs. Only the front wheels have brakes right now.but when it's all said and done. Ill be putting electric brakes on it.i don't plan on being in a hurry towing it...ill tow it once in April to the lake then again back home in November. Thanks for the boat info though. Interesting read. Always glad for input... Similar situation(almost)....got a 20' maxim with no brakes that I pull a couple of times a year with a f150.

Similar situation(almost)....got a 20' maxim with no brakes that I pull a couple of times a year with a f150. Bay liner 2159 The tandem trailer weighs 880lbs. Only the front wheels have brakes right now.but when it's all said and done. Ill be putting electric brakes on it.i don't plan on being in a hurry towing it...ill tow it once in April to the lake then again back home in November. Thanks for the boat info though. Interesting read. Always glad for input...

I have surge on my 27' cat trailer the total wt is 11200lbs. I tow 2 times a yr at 55mph on a dry day with my Ram 1500 biodiesel.

Similar situation(almost)....got a 20' maxim with no brakes that I pull a couple of times a year with a f150. If you have no brakes on you trailer it may cost you as much as $100 more for the drums for 4 wheels.

bayliner 2452 classic 1993 boats usa length fuel
(Source: boats-from-usa.com)

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