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Old    D C (DCross)      Join Date: Jul 2016       05-22-2017, 4:32 PM Reply   
I just noticed WakeWorld posted about their new G23 trailer and it prompted me, once again, to wonder why these high end trailers continue to come stock with surge brakes instead of electric brakes. With the trailer, fuel, and accessories, these boats are easily topping 8,000lbs. I see lots of threads about diesel or gas tow vehicles... for the most part, if you've got a good set of electric trailer brakes and a brake box in the tow vehicle, you should be good to go. Which again, makes me wonder why the trailer manufacturers are using surge brakes instead of electric. Am I missing something?
Old     (WheelerWake)      Join Date: Mar 2013       05-22-2017, 6:17 PM Reply   
Why would you prefer electric?
Old    David Langston (rdlangston13)      Join Date: Feb 2011       05-22-2017, 8:10 PM Reply   
Because you dunk them under water would be my first guess. Not sure if electric trailer brakes actually have electrical components at the axles or not but if so, that would be my guess
Old    Art (rallyart)      Join Date: Nov 2006       05-22-2017, 10:55 PM Reply   
There are lots of good reasons to have surge brakes instead of electric. I prefer them because: I can tow with any vehicle regardless of wiring or plug; and they are self adjusting to the load; they have no parts negatively affected by water.

Opinions may vary with use and dosage.
Old    Ryan Stover (onetogofast)      Join Date: Jun 2012       05-23-2017, 4:31 AM Reply   
Surge brakes work well. A lot of people tow with the nose of the boat too low and the trailer not sitting level and that effects a lot of hoe easily that collar slides. A level trailer won't sound and be as violent when you take off from a stop releasing the tongue as well! My $.02
Old    Jack Henry (racer808)      Join Date: Jan 2013       05-23-2017, 5:58 AM Reply   
I will never own another boat trailer without E brakes again. SOOOO MUCH better than the surge brakes. There are zero issues with backing the trailer in the water especially now that every things LED. There are no electrical components at the axles / wheels.
Old    Rick (CALIV210)      Join Date: Jun 2015       05-23-2017, 6:37 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by racer808 View Post
I will never own another boat trailer without E brakes again. SOOOO MUCH better than the surge brakes. There are zero issues with backing the trailer in the water especially now that every things LED. There are no electrical components at the axles / wheels.
Then you have Electric over hydraulic . Which is even more expensive .
Old     (WheelerWake)      Join Date: Mar 2013       05-23-2017, 7:04 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by racer808 View Post
I will never own another boat trailer without E brakes again. SOOOO MUCH better than the surge brakes. There are zero issues with backing the trailer in the water especially now that every things LED. There are no electrical components at the axles / wheels.
Why are they better?
Old     (WheelerWake)      Join Date: Mar 2013       05-23-2017, 7:08 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by rallyart View Post
There are lots of good reasons to have surge brakes instead of electric. I prefer them because: I can tow with any vehicle regardless of wiring or plug; and they are self adjusting to the load; they have no parts negatively affected by water.

Opinions may vary with use and dosage.
That they always continuously self adjust is the main reason I prefer surge brakes.
Old    Dave (bcrider)      Join Date: Apr 2006       05-23-2017, 9:25 AM Reply   
You can't have straight electric. You would need to have electric over hydraulic. The cost depends on your current set up as to whether you already have disc breaks or drum. They need to be disc. After that you just have to replace or modify the tongue so it no longer slides. Then add a small battery and the controller for the breaks. Depending on the application it's probably around $1500-2000 to do. Better breaking than surge by far and less of a requirement to own that diesel that everyone else believes you have to own.
Old    D C (DCross)      Join Date: Jul 2016       05-23-2017, 12:23 PM Reply   
WheelerWake, raised on a farm, any trailer that we came across that had surge brakes instead of electric went straight to the auction or CL. With electric brakes, you've got the ability to turn the brakes up or down based on your load and your travel conditions. Example - pulling a boat down the interstate is fine with surge brakes, but if you're going through any kind congested area it is extremely beneficial to reach down and turn the trailer brakes up to make it easier to stop quicker. One good thing about these boats/trailers is they do ride level on the trailer which makes towing fairly easy, but any time I have to pull through town it's a guarantee that I will smell burning brakes when I get out of the truck (whether I'm pulling with a dually or a half ton). Agreed, I'm not the most patient driver, but with electric brakes it would solve the problem. It's just weird to me... I've always preferred electric over surge, and every other high end trailer I've owned came factory with electric.
Old    Gavin (Gavin17)      Join Date: Nov 2015       05-24-2017, 4:19 AM Reply   
Most people will prefer electric over hydraulic but it's not a cheap upgrade. If they were the same price more boat trailers would be electric. If I were ordering a new trailer I'd at least price them but not sure I'd want to pay that much extra since the surge brakes are ok while electric feels much nicer while towing.
Old    Jack Henry (racer808)      Join Date: Jan 2013       05-24-2017, 4:32 AM Reply   
Mine came with the E brakes, or hydraulic, whatever they are. I tow with a Ram 1500, my VLX had surge brakes and it towed fine but you knew it was back there when stopping. Now I have a 23' MB & it just stops better. Especially going through the mountains. Someone mentioned surge being self adjusted, I would like to know more about this cause it seems I have to adjust the brake controller gain when traveling which is why I am asking?
Old    D C (DCross)      Join Date: Jul 2016       05-24-2017, 7:39 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by racer808 View Post
Mine came with the E brakes, or hydraulic, whatever they are. I tow with a Ram 1500, my VLX had surge brakes and it towed fine but you knew it was back there when stopping. Now I have a 23' MB & it just stops better. Especially going through the mountains. Someone mentioned surge being self adjusted, I would like to know more about this cause it seems I have to adjust the brake controller gain when traveling which is why I am asking?
Surge brakes being self adjusting is somewhat of a 'figure of speech'. They come set from the factory and you can adjust them (with tools) so the tongue slides more/less freely allowing more/less stopping power - although I think very few people ever actually do this. What he meant by 'self adjusting' is that the harder you brake your vehicle, the more force is put on the tongue of the trailer, which in turn produces more braking power on the surge brakes (hence self adjusting).
Old    Adam Zuzelski (azeus17)      Join Date: Feb 2010       05-24-2017, 10:44 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcrider View Post
You can't have straight electric. You would need to have electric over hydraulic. The cost depends on your current set up as to whether you already have disc breaks or drum. They need to be disc. After that you just have to replace or modify the tongue so it no longer slides. Then add a small battery and the controller for the breaks. Depending on the application it's probably around $1500-2000 to do. Better breaking than surge by far and less of a requirement to own that diesel that everyone else believes you have to own.
Why do you say you can not have straight electric? If you own a tow vehicle with a brake controller already in it, this can be a very cheap upgrade. Pretty much all you need are new brake assemblies which range from $30 each on up. Some might require new drums as well, but not all. Would also require a 7 pin connector which is about $60 for an upgrade kit. The electronics in the assembly are sealed, so no big deal, just use heat shrink connectors on the wiring and its all good. No different than dunking lights, which everyone does. Much better, actually adjustable, braking.
Old    D (infinitysurf)      Join Date: Apr 2017       05-24-2017, 8:20 PM Reply   
The new G3...probably has electric over hydraulic AND surge. Think most of the newer boatmate trailers do on the higher end boats. My boat is a 2014 and came with surge and electric over hydraulic. I have an SV244 that I pull with a Chevy 1500 with max tow package and the trailer will stop my truck if I want it too. Pulls and stops like a dream. Barely know the boat is back there unless going up a steep grade.
Old    Rick (CALIV210)      Join Date: Jun 2015       05-25-2017, 7:28 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by azeus17 View Post
Why do you say you can not have straight electric? If you own a tow vehicle with a brake controller already in it, this can be a very cheap upgrade. Pretty much all you need are new brake assemblies which range from $30 each on up. Some might require new drums as well, but not all. Would also require a 7 pin connector which is about $60 for an upgrade kit. The electronics in the assembly are sealed, so no big deal, just use heat shrink connectors on the wiring and its all good. No different than dunking lights, which everyone does. Much better, actually adjustable, braking.
Its possible but I think you would have to leave it unplugged from the truck during launching and not plug it back in until its almost completely dry .
Old    Dave (bcrider)      Join Date: Apr 2006       05-25-2017, 9:05 AM Reply   
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaSv2ipiNzA

Go to the about 2:40 mark.
Old    Gavin (Gavin17)      Join Date: Nov 2015       05-25-2017, 2:25 PM Reply   
There are sealed all electric units now that say they're submersible. I'm not sure how long they've been on the market but I don't think many boat trailer manufacturers offer them as an option. Traditonally hydraulic was used on boats because they simply do better under water. Sure the surge brakes "self adjust" but turning the dial on the brake controller isn't exactly hard work. I like having control and thats what an electric brake controller gives you. More and more trucks are coming stock with brake controllers. I have one and I wish I could use it with my boat. Since electric stop and release with the pedal they feel much smoother. Surge stop and release with tongue pressure so they're on a delay and the feeling inside the truck isn't as good. The more I talk about it the more I'm tempted to upgrade my trailer to electric over hydraulic.

Last edited by Gavin17; 05-25-2017 at 2:30 PM. Reason: Typos
Old    Cory D (cadunkle)      Join Date: Jul 2009       05-25-2017, 7:03 PM Reply   
Electric brakes puts more components susceptible to corrosion and water intrusion (wiring for brake magnets) regularly submerged. Sure it can be done but they won't last nearly as long as hydraulic brakes and plumbing. You could do electric over hydraulic as mentioned for better control, but the benefits of additional control are likely marginal given the fairly light weight of most boats. For the heavier boats it might make sense, it's expensive but really a drop in the bucket compared to what a new boat sells for. I've always figured an easy crossover point for when electric brakes make sense is when the load weighs more than the truck, which has never been the case for any boat I've had as my last truck weighed 6000 lbs and my current truck weighs 6600 lbs.

I will say properly functioning and adjusted hydraulic brakes work great for moderate loads of most boats. A couple years ago I put all new brakes on both axles of my trailer and ran new lines and hoses. Wow, what an improvement! Stops almost as well as the truck alone. Trick is to adjust your trailer brakes at least annually. I've never come across a self adjusting drum brake on a trailer, and self adjusting drums still need period inspection and adjustment. I inspect, adjust, and repack brakes and bearings on my trailer and truck annually before my summer vacation. Good time to repack wheel bearings too.
Old    Eric R (Shakarocks)      Join Date: Mar 2013       05-26-2017, 8:54 AM Reply   
I just converted my Boatmate surge brakes to all electric. It's a great upgrade and everything is sealed. The whole thing cost me about as much as replacing the mater cylinder on the surge brakes. I could see an issue in salt water but I doubt I'm going to have any problems for several years.
Old    Art (rallyart)      Join Date: Nov 2006       05-26-2017, 12:10 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by racer808 View Post
. Someone mentioned surge being self adjusted, I would like to know more about this cause it seems I have to adjust the brake controller gain when traveling which is why I am asking?
Surge brakes use the force of the trailer pushing forward to activate the hydraulic master cylinder for the brakes. When there is no boat on the trailer there is not a lot of force pushing forward to put on the brakes. When the boat is on there is much more so the brakes come on harder. When the boat is loaded up and on the trailer it has even more force so the brakes come on harder yet. That is what allows them to be self adjusting. More weight on the trailer, more brake force applied to the trailer brakes.
Old    David Langston (rdlangston13)      Join Date: Feb 2011       06-12-2017, 5:45 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakarocks View Post
I just converted my Boatmate surge brakes to all electric. It's a great upgrade and everything is sealed. The whole thing cost me about as much as replacing the mater cylinder on the surge brakes. I could see an issue in salt water but I doubt I'm going to have any problems for several years.
Link to the parts used for the conversion?
Old    Eric R (Shakarocks)      Join Date: Mar 2013       06-12-2017, 10:41 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdlangston13 View Post
Link to the parts used for the conversion?
I don't remember what they used. They explained the system to me at the time and I asked all the pertinent questions. Just go to your local trailer place and tell them what you are looking to do.

I just did a Lake Powell trip. The e-brakes worked like a dream.
Old    Cory D (cadunkle)      Join Date: Jul 2009       06-13-2017, 7:40 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by rallyart View Post
Surge brakes use the force of the trailer pushing forward to activate the hydraulic master cylinder for the brakes. When there is no boat on the trailer there is not a lot of force pushing forward to put on the brakes. When the boat is on there is much more so the brakes come on harder. When the boat is loaded up and on the trailer it has even more force so the brakes come on harder yet. That is what allows them to be self adjusting. More weight on the trailer, more brake force applied to the trailer brakes.
That is not at all what self adjusting means in the context of brakes. Self adjusting refers to the brakes self adjusting the distance of the shoes from the drum. I've yet to come across any self adjusting trailer brakes.
Old    Paul Blamey (Blamey)      Join Date: Apr 2016       06-17-2017, 6:53 PM Reply   
Pretty sure disk brakes are self adjusting. Maybe not all of them but I have seen some that are.

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