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Is a Brake Controller Needed for Activating the Brakes of a Boat Trailer with Surge Brakes

Question:

Hello. I just purchased a 2015 GMC Sierra SLE 1/2 ton. The tow rating for the the truck is over 6000 lbs. I have a boat and trailer hookup Starr trailer that weighs around 3000 lbs. First question is do I need an electric trailer brake controller? Trailer has hydraulic brakes. Old truck was 3/4 ton and I didnt use the trailer brakes. Second question is if I do need a brake controller, I have a tekonsha Voyager that I used on a 1996 Explorer with a large pop-up camper can I use the Voyager brake controller? Truck has towing package with a 4 pin flat hookup and a 7 pin socket. Trailer has a 5 pin flat. Thank you for your reply.

1

Helpful Expert Reply:

Your trailer has surge brakes on it so you do not need to install a brake controller to activate them. Surge brakes use the inertia of a vehicle trying to stop the trailer to compress the hydraulic fluid in the master cylinder which then transfers to the brake assemblies and activates the trailer's brakes.

Since your trailer has a 5-pin socket this would indicate that it has an electric lockout solenoid. What an electric lock out does is prevent the fluid from being sent to the brake assemblies when the trailer is being put in reverse. The reverse light circuit of your trailer wiring is what does this. Because a 4-way doesn't have a reverse light circuit you will need to use the 7-way to 5-way adapter part # A75TB to convert the 7-way to a 5-way so that you can back up your trailer without activating the brakes.

helpful expert reply by:
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Jameson C

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