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How Do I Change From Surge Hydraulic Brakes To Standard Electric Brakes?


I have tow vehicles with hydraulic surge brakes, can I remove it and use standard electric brakes which uses the controller on my tow vehicle ? thanks


Expert Reply:

Switching from a hydraulic braking system to electric on a trailer is actually a lot less complicated than the other way around. You basically just need to lock out your surge brake actuator, swap out your brakes and hubs, and then add some wiring and a breakaway kit on the trailer side. I can actually let you know what you will need right now.

I also recommend that you change your hubs and drum assemblies, because there are some hydraulic brake specific hubs which don't work with brake magnets. Getting the correct parts will require me to ask for some additional information. The numbers stamped into your trailer's existing bearings and seals will help you determine the proper hub-and-drum assemblies. You will also need to know the wheel bolt pattern of your existing hubs so that the new hubs will match up with your existing wheels.

Please refer to the linked article for help and then click on the appropriate filter on the hub page. Choose the hub type (with a brake drum) and then confirm that your existing hub uses the same inner and outer bearings as the replacement. Part numbers should appear on your existing bearings.

A new hub must use the same inner and outer bearing in order to ensure it will fit properly on your spindles.

To find a compatible brake assembly, you need to know the hub diameter and depth. I have a chart attached which shows which brake assembly part number you will need based on those measurements.

If you already have a 7-Way installed on your trailer then adding some wiring is very easy. You just need to run 10 Gauge Wire # 10-1-1 from the pin in the 7 o'clock position back to your brake assemblies (see attached picture). The brake assemblies have 2 wires; one for power and one for ground. It doesn't matter which wire is used for which function.

If you don't have a 7-Way then I recommend installing the Trailer Wiring 7-Way Upgrade Kit # e99011 which includes a junction box for easy installation and all of the ring terminals that you need.

The most popular breakaway kit is the Hopkins # 20099 which includes a battery that has a built-in charger and that you can test with the push of a button. It is a favorite here at etrailer and has received great customer reviews.

To activate the trailer brakes just use the brake controller on your tow vehicles.

I have linked some videos and helpful articles that you can reference as well.

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