Trouble hitching and unhitching w. disconnected surge brakes

Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by tomohara, May 19, 2018.

  1. tomohara

    tomohara New Member

    Aug 1, 2014
    Mount Shasta
    Have a recently acquired 2000 Eagle 14 popup. Original owner disconnected surge brakes many years back. The two problems are: A: roughly half the time I cannot get the hitch onto the ball, or off it, without rugged persistence; and B: the chunk from the popup sliding forward when coming to a stop - then chunk again pulling away. The second is irritating but perhaps harmless - the first a royal pain. I had to mess with it quite a while to get it onto the ball today to take to town to have a mechanic look at it ( he said he had the same problem with the one on his boat trailer and didn't know how to fix it either - suggested an rv repair place but none in our county. I got home and it would NOT come off. I got to thinking that perhaps the hitch won't open when the thing is slid forward from stopping, so I pulled forward and then backed up and braked enough to get it to slide back rearward (chunk) and darned it the hitch didn't come off nice as pie.
    My question is, did I discover the problem? and can I have the sliding thing welded so it can't slide forward?
    Would the thing you have to press down before backing up be an issue?
  2. CampStewart

    CampStewart Member

    Nov 3, 2017
    I would be inclined to get rid of the surge brake coupler entirely and replace it with a conventional one. The only possibly issue would be that it will probably raise your trailer tongue a few inches. In a perfect world it would be horizontal but if yours is close to it now raising it a bit should not be an issue. You could always get a more steeply dropped hitch. Since I would never use surge brakes on a camping trailer I would not be concerned about the now vented hydraulic line, I would simply open the brake bleeders and drain the brake fluid out. I would replace with electric brakes if I wanted brakes on the trailer.
  3. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

    Oct 3, 2007
    Waterford, Ct
    I also would replace the coupler.
  4. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2015
    There should be a reverse lockout on the coupler slide to allow you to back up without engaging the brakes. Maybe just couple of holes that line up to insert a pin. Permanently pin that with a bolt and nut and then clean and check your coupler for adjustment.
  5. nineoaks2004

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

    Oct 15, 2006
    Graceville, Florida
  6. nhlakes

    nhlakes Well-Known Member

    Oct 15, 2011
    DE and NH
    I would not give up on having brakes, they can come in handy. ;)

    It would be nice to know why the surge brakes were disconnected. It could have been as simple as the brakes were not disengaging while in reverse due to a simple problem and the prior owner did not know what they were doing.

    There's usually a lockout to prevent the coupler from sliding back if the reverse solenoid is not working. I've had lots of boat trailers over the years and most have had surge brakes (still have a couple.) My Ranger boat temporarily has the surge brake lockout in place since I need some brake work done (nothing to do with the hydraulic surge function) and the Tundra is big enough to easily stop it.

    I'd bring your camper to a trailer shop or mechanic familiar with trailers with surge brakes. You're more likely to find surge brake experience at a boat dealer than a RV dealer, since surge brakes are rare with RVs but common with boats.
  7. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2015
    DFW, TX
    I have sure brakes on mine. PO did something similar. I need to rebuild the whole system (cylinder, pads, hitch hardware, etc) out just replace with electric. I hate the surge brakes. On mine there is a lock out but it only works for one reverse and forward motion. I have never baked into a spot or at home in a single try. If they worked I would be constantly getting out to lock them out unless there is a way to keep them locked

    On mine the surge couple is welded to the top of the frame so it would be easy to have a shop cut the old one off and put a conventional one on. Them I would just need to swap the brakes to an electric system and run the wiring.

    Mine often refuses to unhitch, out the tab gets pushed forward to where it won't go down on the ball. I carry a big screwdriver that I use as a pry tool to force the tab back into position so it will slide on or off.
  8. tomohara

    tomohara New Member

    Aug 1, 2014
    Mount Shasta
    Thanks for the replies. Looking to replace the hitch, but in the meantime I believe that the hitching and unhitching problems are caused by the surge brake unit sliding forward. I believe that being in the braking position (connected or not) pushes the tab forward, making it not open enough for the ball to go through. So, logic tells me that if I push the brake disable lever down - and keep it down - my hitching problem should be over. Plus no sliding back and forth....the chunk. I'll let you know how that works. Thanks again.
  9. tomohara

    tomohara New Member

    Aug 1, 2014
    Mount Shasta
    As in "My Ranger boat temporarily has the surge brake lockout in place since I need some brake work done "
  10. tomohara

    tomohara New Member

    Aug 1, 2014
    Mount Shasta
    There is! I'm going with that. May have to secure it, but believe that will do the trick. Hope so anyway - have spent too much time on our last two trips trying the 'long screwdriver thing', with many another old geezer trying to help. Thanks for the input.

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