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TOPIC: Trailer Surge Brakes

Trailer Surge Brakes 3 years 10 months ago #96419

  • kckranz
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Hi there -

I'm going to pick up a used tandem axle galvanized trailer that appears to have one of those trailer tongue brake controllers. From what I understand, there is a brake cylinder in there with a brake line to either disc or drum assemblies at the wheels.

Question: Do these require any hardware or electronics inside the tow vehicle to communicate with the actuator or do these function as self-contained units?

I think I read somewhere there is a swing arm in the actuator to detect momentum shift. Do these also brake backwards (backing down a steep ramp)?

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Re:Trailer Surge Brakes 3 years 10 months ago #96445

  • MarkS
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Some pics of the unit might help here KC, good to see you back. Generally the true "surge brake" trailers don't need a controller in the tow vehicle, it's all actuated by the tongue unit on the trailer. (There may be a safety cable that hooks to the tow vehicle to engage the brakes in case of decoupling, however.)

Many of the older units had no "reverse lock out" so you had to be careful when backing not to gas it too hard, or you would engage the brakes. Once again, some pics would be most helpful. ;)

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Mark

Re:Trailer Surge Brakes 3 years 10 months ago #96449

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Sorry but I can't help with a picture. I bought the trailer with a boat on it through Boat Angel (sight unseen, will pick up in a few weeks). I'll just be happy to get my '64 Luger under a tandem axle with brakes. Excited about the new trailer. It is a Long brand trailer, 1989 model. The 80's decade of galvanized trailers was a good one - this one seems to be similar to the Cox Superloader, which was built like a tank.

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Re:Trailer Surge Brakes 3 years 10 months ago #96673

Given that it's been sitting for 12+ years, I'd assume that the brakes don't work. I'd also assume that the tires are dry rotted, and that the bearings should be re-packed before going any long distances. All relatively minor easy fixes, but fixes none the less. The rest of the trailer does look damn good tho! Also, those are probably drum brakes, and more that likely, if the lines were good when it was set there, they may not have the ability to hold the pressure now. They would run them in the frame out of harms way, but often, esp. in salt or brackish water, it would lead to a faster decay-also true of the reservoir in the tongue. All that said, none of it may be true, and it may pull like a dream! But I'd go in assuming the worst..

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Re:Trailer Surge Brakes 3 years 10 months ago #96677

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Good advice. I plan to bring plenty of grease and tools to pickup. The donor states he has never had the trailer in the water, but given math, the trailer had use prior to his ownership (the trailer is a 1989 model). That said, if the trailer was in good shape when he got it, I suspect it's in pretty good shape now, sans the items you noted (dry rot in tires, brake lines, etc). He said the tires hold air fine, which should get me home for a closer inspection of the entire rig.

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Re:Trailer Surge Brakes 3 years 9 months ago #97348

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I got the rig back to my house - about 200 miles. What a terrible towing experience. It felt like I was pulling a deployed parachute the entire way home. Significant vibration at all speeds. Now, the tires are indeed dry, but held pressure the entire trip with full tread, no visible soft spots. I was able to inspect all of the hubs and bearings before bringing the rig back. Bearings and hubs were fine.

I'm wondering if the vibration was due in large part to the boat being a tri-hull. Seemed possible air could be trapped flowing under the boat (lifting it). I pulled the rig with a Nissan Pathfinder and there was about 6 feet of tongue between the TV and the boat.

Pathfinder is plenty for the rig - I pulled my Luger on a single axle, no brakes, through mountains and had a smooth ride all the way from Rochester NY to Raleigh. I pulled 4000 lbs of deck lumber last month and was fine there as well.

Oh, the trailer is in near-mint condition, exception being the brakes which had rusted out. I'm very happy with the trailer - it looks like it could haul a half-track.

FYI: Boat is a 1969 23' Thunderbird tri-hull cuddy. Trailer is a Long Trailer Co galvanized tandem axle (6000 lb capacity).
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Re:Trailer Surge Brakes 3 years 9 months ago #97359

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I don't think the hull design (even a tri-hull) will effect the vibration when towing KC, I pulled a 17' Glastron tri-hull all around the Southeast with a mini truck for a couple years without problem. Not sure what the towing capacity is for your Pathfinder, but dual axle trailers are harder to pull.

I would look to the tires on the trailer first. Even though they hold air, they are very possibly "flat spotted" from sitting in one place for a long time. They look to be common size (?), maybe you can find some decent replacements (good used would be fine) and try that first?

Just my two cents, glad you got her home safely!

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Mark

Re:Trailer Surge Brakes 3 years 9 months ago #97367

I've seen tires out of round from sitting. Also consider the hull may contain waterlogged foam.

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Re:Trailer Surge Brakes 3 years 9 months ago #97378

Cool Rig,

In addition to the tires, if you towed it with the canvass up like that, it may have contrbuted, believe it or not. I and friend towed 21' with a bimini up (against my better judgement) and it vibrated in the wind. When we stopped and put it down, it went away. Just a thought...

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