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How to Convert a Trailer with Surge Brakes to Electric Over Hydraulic Brakes


Looking at buying a trailer, but the one that has the options I want has surge brakes instead of electric or electric over hydraulic. Is there a way to convert the surge to electric over hydraulic? Thanks.

Expert Reply:

You can convert surge brakes to an electric over hydraulic braking system. To do this, you will need an electric over hydraulic actuator and a brake controller.

For an electric over hydraulic actuator, I recommend looking at the Carlisle HydraStar units. If your trailer has drum brakes, you will want part # HBA-10. If your trailer has disc brakes, then you will want part # HBA16. I have also attached a link to all of our electric over hydraulic actuators for you to check out your options.

The next item you will need is a brake controller. It is important to choose a brake controller that is compatible with electric over hydraulic brakes. The brake controller that I would recommend is the Tekonsha Prodigy P3 Trailer Brake Controller, # 90195. This is a proportional brake controller that is easy to use and competitively priced. Unfortunately, the Tekonsha PowerTrac brake controller, # 39523, that you referenced is not compatible with electric over hydraulic systems.

The last part that you will want to look at is the actuator that is currently on the trailer. If the trailer has surge brakes, then it likely has an actuating coupler. Since the coupler will no longer need to be actuated, I recommend locking out the coupler or replacing the it with a standard coupler. It may be easier to lockout the coupler if it is welded to the tongue or, depending on the age of the trailer and the style of the actuating coupler, it may be easier to unbolt the actuating coupler and install a standard coupler.

Once you have found a solution for your coupler, you will simply run the brake line that was previously going to the actuating coupler to the electric over hydraulic actuator. I have attached two FAQ articles on adding electric over hydraulic disc and drum brakes for you to check out.

expert reply by:
John H

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