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How Many Sets of Electric Trailer Brakes For Tandem 3,500 lb Axles When Converting From Hydraulic

Question:

I have an EZLoader boat trailer for my 23.5 foot boat total loaded weight is approximately 6,000 lbs. The trailer is currently equipped with tandem 3,500 lb axles and both axles have hydraulic brakes that are shot and that I actually hate pulling with. I was a bit surprised that both axles had brakes as I was always of the understanding that a set of brakes on the front axle was sufficient. When I replace them, do I need a set of electric brakes on both axles? Is there a set that you would recommend that may be better for marine applications? I also need to install a new non-hydraulic coupler 2 inch ball, 3 inch channel if you have any recommendations on those as well for marine applications. Thank you!

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Expert Reply:

Excellent questions, and let's start with your query about having brakes on both axles. The answer is that you do indeed want to have brakes on both of your 3,500 lb tandem axles. The reason is because just one set of 3,500 lb brakes won't have the stopping power required for a trailer that weighs 5,000 or 6,000 lbs, and also just one set of brakes will also wear out very quickly as they'll be overworked for the load they are rated for.

So for the best stopping power and safest way to tow, we always recommend adding brakes to both axles on tandem axle trailers. For 3,500 lb axles the best option for electric brakes is from Dexter:

- Dexter Nev-R-Adjust Electric Trailer Brake Kit # 23-468-469

The reason to go with the Dexter brakes is not only are they of the highest quality, but unlike other options, they come with all of the mounting hardware needed to install. Along with the brakes, there are some other parts you will need (if you don't have them) since you are going from hydraulic to electric brakes, namely a breakaway kit, junction box and 7-way connector. What you can use are the following parts:

- Hopkins Engager Push-To-Test Trailer Breakaway Kit with Built-In Battery Charger # 20400

- Trailer Wiring Junction Box - 7 Terminal # 3375601100

- Hopkins 7-Way RV Style Connector - 8 ft. # H20046

- 10 Gauge Primary Wire - Red - per Foot # DW02508-1

- Deka Heat Shrink Butt Connectors - 12-10 Gauge # DW05745-10

Finally, you mentioned a replacement trailer coupler, and there is a standard coupler for a 2 inch hitch ball that mounts to a 3 inch channel which is perfect for marine applications, which is from Demco:

- Demco Channel Tongue Trailer Coupler # DM15945

I really like this coupler because it is a bolt-on coupler has a simple latch system called eZ-Latch where you just drop the coupler onto the hitch ball and you're set. It also has zinc plating and a 200-hour salt spray for awesome corrosion resistance. The only other thing you may want with this is a lock, the Surge Brake Coupler Lock # e98887.

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Kyle S

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