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Replacing Hydraulic Surge Trailer Brakes with Electric Drum Brakes

Question:

I have a tandem axle boat trailer that has hydraulic brakes on the back axle only. I use the boat in fresh water only and will not be taking it to saltwater locations. A number of my professional mechanic friends have recommended I switch to the Dexter self adjusting electric brakes and after a lot of reading Im ready to do it. Both axles are rated at 3500 lbs and the current brakes are 10 x 2.25. Will the 23-468 and 23-469 be the correct choice. The backing plate bolt pattern matches up. I also want the correct drums with a 5 x4.5 bolt pattern. My axles have the greese fitting in the end of the axle and I like that setup and do not want to change. I think that is the EZ-Lube drum. What else do I need? Do you have a break away actuator you would recommend for a boat trailer? Thank you.

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Expert Reply:

Dexter 10 x 2-1/4-inch electric drum brakes # 23-468 and # 23-469 are a perfect choice for your 3500-lb axle that has a 4-bolt brake flange. We see more and more boat trailer manufacturers specifying electric drum brakes as standard equipment due to their lower cost and easier installation. Electric brakes require a compatible brake controller like the Prodigy P2 # 90885.

To choose new hub/drum assemblies you'll need to know the bearings used in your existing hubs; this will ensure new hubs will fit on your spindles. The linked photo shows the typical appearance and location of bearing numbers. All of the 5-on-4-1/2 hub/drums for 3500-lb axles that we sell use inner bearing # L68149 and outer bearing # L44649 and can be seen on the linked page. If your hubs use the same bearings you can use part # AKHD-545-35-EZ-K which includes along with the hub itself the bearings, races, grease seal, grease cap, and lug nuts. This is an E-Z Lube hub that works on your E-Z Lube spindles.

For a breakaway kit you can use # 20099 from Hopkins.

You'll also need wiring to install the brakes; use # jacketed wiring. Electric brakes are not polarized so either wire can be ground or hot. I linked our page for wiring parts and also an article that covers the process of adding electric brakes to a trailer.

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