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How To Use an Electric Brake Controller With Hydraulic Brakes On Tandem Axle Boat Trailer

Question:

My double-axle boat trailer has brakes actuated by a yoke that slides rearward pressing a hydraulic piston that engages the brakes. My F-250 has an electric brake controller.Should I bypass the mechanical actuator and use the electric controller instead? I believe an additional piece of hardward may be needed to actuate the piston. Is more than the Blue wire required?

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Expert Reply:

Your boat trailer has hydraulic surge brakes that uses a surge coupler to activate the trailer brakes.

An electric brake controller will activate the brakes by using an electric current, so you will have to either replace the hydraulic brakes on your trailer with electric brakes or use an electric over hydraulic brake actuator like the Dexter Electric Over Hydraulic Brake Actuator, part # K71-650.

To use the Dexter actuator you will need to make sure your brake controller can be used with electric over hydraulic brakes. Some factory brake controllers will not work with electric over hydraulic brakes.

To install part # K71-650, you must also use at least a 9 amp/hour breakaway kit, like Dexter Breakaway Kit, part # 34-285. This kit will activate the brakes in case the trailer becomes uncoupled from the tow vehicle.

To hookup part # K71-650, you will connect the Yellow wire to cold side of breakaway switch, which is the wire that is hot when breakaway occurs. The Black Wire connects to the positive connection on breakaway switch, which is wire that charges breakaway battery. The Blue Wire will be connected to blue wire on 7-way connector, and gets power from brake controller. The White Wire is ground and is connected to trailer frame.

If you need a brake controller that is compatible with Electric Over Hydraulic Brakes, I would recommend the Prodigy P2 Brake Controller, part # 90885.

To activate your brake controller, you will have to connect the wires from the 7-way of your vehicle to the brake controller. Some vehicles have the wires ran already and just require a plug-in adapter and a few other connections. If you can send me the year make and model of your vehicle, I can give you specific instructions and what is needed to hook up a brake controller.

If you want to replace the hydraulic brakes to electric brakes I would need more information on your boat trailer, like the axle size and the bearing numbers. With that information I can help you chose the correct parts to switch the brakes to electric brakes.

I am including a couple of links to FAQ pages on trailer breakaway kits and electric brake controllers.

expert reply by:
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Jeff D

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