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Thread: Trailer conversion from surge to electric over hydraulic brakes

  1. #1
    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Default Trailer conversion from surge to electric over hydraulic brakes

    I have been planning on doing this for a couple of years, and just got around to it this spring. My trailer is a triple axle 15K lbs gross trailer with disk brakes on each axle. It came new with a surge coupler, which worked fine, but was not ideal for several things, such as long downhills and the 'thunk' you get pulling away from a light.

    I ended up going with Titan for both the actuator and their 20K lbs bolt on coupler. I went with a Dexter breakaway battery, since they have a single battery whereas the Tital system uses two smaller batteries. I ordered all of these parts from Etrailer.com. I also got a mounting pedestal from pacifictrailers.com that raises it up off the trailer beams to protect it from getting in the salt water (people say this is what wrecks these systems when they get accidentially submerged). The one 'gotcha' was that the pedestal was designed for the Titan two batteries instead of the single Dexter battery, so I had to cut off this adapter and reweld it to fit the Dexter system.

    So far so good, the system seems to be working fine, although I am not planning on hauling the trailer for a couple of weeks. One noce thing about this system is that it makes bleeding brakes easy. I just used a set of vise grips to hold the manual control on my controller slightly on, and there was pressure at all of the brake bleeders.

    I think the total charges came in at around $800, and it took me 4 hours or so to complete. I was a bit unsure where to put the system; it seems like it can go anywhere that is out of the way. Here are a couple of shots of the system.





    I know, the wiring still needs some cleanup. I got the Titan II actuator, which comes with cables to just plug your trailer plug into this system, but I cut off my trailer plug and the end they plug it into and hard wired this, hopefully for better reliability.


    Anyone need a slightly used (2 years old) surge coupler? I will have to get arould to put this on CL at some point this summer. Seems like someone should be able to put it to use.

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    Member JR2's Avatar
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    Nice work, I just got all my stuff in the mail yesterday for this exact same conversion. etrailer messed up and did not send any of the pig tails for the kit. Once that gets here its getting done. I did not order a mount like you did, I plan on putting the whole thing in a big battery box mounted on the tongue. My tongue will not get water up on the coupler and if it does I can always add your mount later.

    I too will have a surge coupler for sale here in the next couple of weeks.
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

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    Member Blue Thunder's Avatar
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    I have had this same system on my trailer for 5 years and love it. It costs a little more, but works way better than the surge system.
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    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    Use dielectric grease in all your connectors and then seal them with liquid electric tape. Even if they have the rubber gasket in them they will condensate, the reason for the grease is to elminate the air space, the liquid tape seals things up tight. This will ensure a very long trouble free operation.

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    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Thanks Dupont, thats why I like posting here. I knew that, and even have the stuff here to do it, but I didn't think about it until you said it. I will put that on my to-do list before I try it out this weekend.
    2009 Seawolf 31'
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    Member JR2's Avatar
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    Got my shipment from etrailer the other day and they messed up and did not send me the complete kit for the brake controller, all I got was the hydraulic unit...ugh. Now sending emails back and fourth and waiting again. They actually told me they did not have one in stock and were trying to get Titan to send me one.... I will find out more on Monday.
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

    Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top. -- Hunter S. Thompson

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    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    I took my boat down to Whittier yesterday and ran the new system. If anything it was oversensitive and the trailer was stopping the truck. I kept turning it down on the way. Later I noticed that it was in 'boost' mode, which I should have had turned off. I did end up with some brake fluid dripping from the controller, I think I have it overfilled a bit and the vent ends up leaking. Overall if works great and I think it will just get better as I get it tuned.
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    Member JR2's Avatar
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    That is great to hear. Hopefully my parts get here soon. I want to take my first trip to Whitter in the next 10 days or so....
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

    Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top. -- Hunter S. Thompson

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    Member JR2's Avatar
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    Got my conversion done this weekend with no real problems. Tucked all the parts into a big battery box and its a tight fit but well protected.

    Initial test drive results where fantastic. I also got the my weight distribution hitch all set up, trailer is level with in 1/2 inch and pulls like a dream now.

    Here is a picture of the install..
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    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

    Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top. -- Hunter S. Thompson

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    Newbie member here, so I hope this posting is ok. I have purchased a factory new BrakeRite electric over hydraulic actuator because I thought it would be a warrentee replacement on my new trailer. It turns out the problem was my truck wiring, so this unit was mounted and used once to test the system and I can't return it. My loss your gain $450.

  11. #11
    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrogers View Post
    I took my boat down to Whittier yesterday and ran the new system. If anything it was oversensitive and the trailer was stopping the truck. I kept turning it down on the way. Later I noticed that it was in 'boost' mode, which I should have had turned off. I did end up with some brake fluid dripping from the controller, I think I have it overfilled a bit and the vent ends up leaking. Overall if works great and I think it will just get better as I get it tuned.
    Once you learn the setup settings needed for conditions it's really the bomb.

    I run mine on a higher setting in and around town then I do cruising down the highway. Then on long downhills (I have a manual shift) I actually change my trailer gain and switch back and forth between truck/trailer to allow my brakes to cool. Putting more to the trailer most times because I do not run as many miles on those brakes that I do on my truck.

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    Member JR2's Avatar
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    Had the unfortunate chance to do a "panic stop" test of the new brake system tonight on the way home from Whittier. Some a hole pulled out in front of the car in front of me and it got real ugly quick. Locked em all up and slid about 40 ft stopping just short of the car in front of me. Everything stay straight and nothing got bent so we survived. All in all I am very impressed with the system and I think if I had the old surge brakes I would be writhing a new post with pics of a wrecked truck and boat.
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

    Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top. -- Hunter S. Thompson

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    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    The very reason I dial in more gain when running in town. My deal happened with a city bus......dumbbutt driver. could have really hurt a few folks if I had not been abled to get everything locked up.

    Glad to hear someone else has learned about the benefits of a better system.

  14. #14
    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    John,

    Glad to hear the new system worked well. I have not yet 'tested' a panic stop with a load. I should probabily test this before I need it. Did the trailer brakes lock up at about the same time the truck did? Based on this experience, did you change anything, such as dialing in more trailer brake boost, or more or less trailer braking? I don't know if your controller is the same as mine or not (I have P3), but what are you running for max voltage and boost value, if you have these settings?
    2009 Seawolf 31'
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    Member JR2's Avatar
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    I don't have many settings on my controller. I have a little slider on top of the controller and I just move it until I can just feel the boat brakes start pulling on the truck. I am sure the boat was locked up as it was just a bit off to the side when I looked in the mirror so it had been sliding and was just starting to come around. The roads were wet and with gravel on them so sliding was fairly easy. I have tried to lock up the trailer using just the controller before and I was not able to do it. I will add that when I opened my box today to check everything I found that I have a leak in the system, looks like its coming out of the fill holes on the unit. Either the fluid was too full or I just need to tighten up the fill caps a bit more.. something to look into in two weeks when I get back from the slope.
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

    Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top. -- Hunter S. Thompson

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