Should I repair the surge brakes or switch to electric on 2000 Jayco14?

Discussion in ' Trailers and Towing Forum' started by tomohara, Mar 24, 2018.

  1. tomohara

    tomohara New Member

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    Aug 1, 2014
    Mount Shasta
    I bought a 2000 Jayco Eagle 14'; have towed it to the coast and back with '72 Ford F100 (new engine, tran etc). The tent trailer surge brakes never worked for the previous (second) owner. I've gotten by w/o out them so far, but think it would be good to have a little help at times. Trailer official weight is 2100lbs.
    My question is whether to have the surge brakes rehabbed, switch to electric or just leave well enough alone. My power brakes aren't working - when I get them going it should be all I need....? We don't go camping in funky weather, but do cross mountains. I'm just a bit concerned about the surge brakes enacting downhill. I just drove down highway 1 to Fort Bragg and if they had come on during those downhill runs they'd likely burn up. Or not.....
    What do you think?
  2. f5moab

    f5moab Retired from the Federal Government

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    May 7, 2013
    Somewhere in Idaho
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018
  3. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    May 21, 2015
    If you can repair and maintain the brakes on your 72 Ford you should be able to handle surge brakes on a trailer. If there's clear brake fluid, not water, in the master cylinder it may be as simple as a brake adjustment. But I would pull the hubs, look at the condition of the shoes and drums, and look for discoloration around the wheel cylinders, which would indicate leaks. Because the brakes apparently have not been working for several years test the actuator and make sure the hitch slides in and out. For best results I would replace the master cylinder, wheel cylinders, flex hoses at the axle, drums and shoes and flush the system with new fluid. is a good place to price the parts needed and compare the cost of conversion to electric.
  4. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    Oct 15, 2006
    Graceville, Florida
    I had a Jayco unit a few years ago with the surge brakes, they are a pain, going down hill the sometimes will lock the brakes up, when backing up you have to get out and physically unlock the brakes so they do not operate or they will lock up. They also started to leak fluid that was the excuse for me to replace the hydraulic brakes with electric. Good Luck and Happy Camping
  5. Mr.SumSum

    Mr.SumSum New Member

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    Mar 23, 2017
    I have a 96 jayco and last year replaced every part of the surge brakes except for the steel brake lines. I have never been happy with how they perform. If I was to do it over, I would go the conversion route to electric brakes.
  6. benandbobbi

    benandbobbi Member

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    Dec 18, 2012
    I replaced our surge brakes with electric. Ours were too far gone before i figured out there were not working. I would have needed ALL new parts. Going electric was cheaper for me. Now i was told i would have better braking with the hydraulic over the electric system by Dexter. I also have the small 8" tires.
  7. Lug_Nut

    Lug_Nut Active Member

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    May 29, 2016
    Mt. Wachusett area, MA
    I'm partial to the hydraulics. That was a big plus in the decision to purchase our new to us camper.
    Hydraulics are fully servo and self pressure regulating. The harder the trailer pushes against the tow vehicle, the harder the trailer brakes are applied. The TV brakes are lightly applied? The trailer is lightly braked. Panic stop? The trailer brakes also go to the same force.
    Hydraulics can activate even when the tow vehicle brakes aren't on. Engine braking down a long grade? The hydraulics will activate, but only as needed, even without the tow brakes being applied.
    Stopped at a long light or a train crossing? Hydraulic tailer brakes aren't on, but the electrics are, heating up the coils and using electric power continually.
    Hydraulic brakes work with any tow vehicle regardless of wiring harness pin configuration. No controllers, no gain setting, no delay timers.

    Backing up, particularly backing up an up incline, can be difficult. The master I chose to install has a lock-out to prevent brake activation under that situation.

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