Do surge brakes replace a brake controller

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by anothersmith, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. anothersmith

    anothersmith Member

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    I've found a PUP that states it has surge brakes so, they state, that there's no need for a brake controller.

    Is this accurate? What is your experience with surge brakes and their efficacy?

    thanks
     
  2. PeterS

    PeterS New Member

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    I am pretty sure surge brakes are hydraulic and not electric, so no controller is needed. The braking comes from a cylinder between the trailer and slowing car.
     
  3. nineoaks2004

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

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    No controller needed, PeterS is correct as they are hydraulic however there can be problems backing up you have to get out of the TV and disengage the surge brakes, going down a steep hill can also cause a problem. Need to keep an eye brake fluid levels. I had one a long time ago but converted to electric.
     
  4. anothersmith

    anothersmith Member

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    the backing up issue makes total sense, and would be a pain. Can it be disengaged with a switch/ lever or something?
     
  5. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    Yes, you have to get out of the TV and lockout the surge mechanism. The ones I have seen have a pin that goes through a hole in the tongue
     
  6. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    anothersmith, plenty of Jaycos had surge brakes and lots of uhauls, the force of the trailer pushing into the TV as one uses the TV brakes causes the trailer brakes to be applied. No controller needed. Slow backing in not a issue and most if not all have a method to allow backing.
     
  7. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    I get out and survey the site before I start backing in anyway, no problem to set the reverse lockout then. Better to use a pin than just the lockout lever if it has one because the lever will reset every time you pull forward. Not really a problem though unless you're backing up a fairly steep slope or have potholes in the way. You do need to check the fluid level in the master cylinder at least a couple of times a year, the system going dry is the worst thing that can happen. I sometimes wish my current camper had surge brakes instead of electric.
     
  8. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane I'd rather be camping

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    The surge brakes on my boat trailer have a solenoid activated by my reverse lights that disable the brakes for backing. It does take a 5 flat connector for the wiring harness.
     
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  9. anothersmith

    anothersmith Member

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    So I pulled the trigger on this PUP today, got it for a decent deal and drove it 3 hours home.

    I noticed after stopping there is a clunking noise as the surge breaks disengage, is this normal? I haven’t checked fluid/ lubrication yet but will be the first thing I do tomorrow.

    Any advice?
     
  10. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane I'd rather be camping

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    Is the clunk from the bar in your reciever not fitting snugly? I guess my real question is does it clunk with other things you tow? My boat trailer with surge brakes does not clunk.
     
  11. anothersmith

    anothersmith Member

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    I don’t know since I’ve never towed with this vehicle before. My guess is that the trailer needs some oil to help it disengage.

    Jon
     
  12. ezakoske

    ezakoske Active Member

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    My boat trailer surge brakes clunk pretty much every time I pull away from a stop.....pretty typical.
     
  13. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    Yep. I have surge on mine. They clunk constantly. I hate them. My front unit needs a complete rebuild, and the lines to the wheels need replaced as well. And they can suck when trying to back in to a spot. On my older one the reverse lockout disengages as soon as you pull forward, and I have never been able to park in one smooth motion. I really want to replace with electric brakes, but I would have to cut and weld a new coupler onto the tongue since Jayco in their infinite wisdom decided to not use a bolt on version.
     
  14. fredhead

    fredhead Member

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    I had a boat trailer with surge brakes. From when it was new I'd get clunk when pulling away. It works by the end of the trailer tongue sliding into itself, compressing a master cylinder just like pressing the brake pedal in a car. My trailer had a solenoid that shut off the hydraulic line when the TV's backup lights are on, but also had a place to insert a pin to keep the tongue from sliding. To put the pin in, I would have to gently ease the TV forward to extend the tongue, then the pin would go in. My problem was the calipers for the disc brakes would freeze up from being immersed in salt water.
     
  15. Dback2k4

    Dback2k4 Active Member

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    My boat trailer has them also. They're a pain but electric brakes really don't work well on a trailer submerged under water :)

    Clunking is normal. I'd look into replacing with electric brakes on a camper trailer though. Much nicer!
     
  16. FARfetched

    FARfetched Active Member

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    Wow, first time I've ever heard of surge brakes. You can get a pretty decent education on this site!
     
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  17. Dback2k4

    Dback2k4 Active Member

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    I'd never heard of them either until I bought my boat and had to ask what the fifth pin on the lights hookup was for, I'd never seen a 5-pin flat connector until then. My utility trailer had the standard 4-pin flat and the camper was the 7-pin round.

    [​IMG]
     

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