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Surge Coupler Equipped Trailer Brakes Occasionally Actuate When Backing Trailer

Question:

Hydraulic surge brakes. Sometimes the brakes lock up in reverse. But not every time.

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Expert Reply:

When the brakes lock up, are you backing up a small hill or a rise? I'd be willing to bet you are.

It sounds like your surge coupler isn't equipped with a reverse lockout. A reverse lockout will prevent the coupler from compressing and actuating the brakes when you back the trailer. There are a couple possible solutions for this.

Depending on the surge coupler you have, it could be possible to install an electric lockout like part # T4748800 for Titan or Dico surge couplers or # DM11993 for Demco surge couplers.

A better solution would be to install free-backing brake assemblies like # 40716-15 for a 10 inch brake assembly on a 3500 lb axle or # AKFBBRK-7-D for a 12 inch assembly on a 5200, 6000 or 7000 lb axle. When you back a trailer with free-backing brakes you'll feel some initial resistance which will quickly disengage, allowing you to easily back the trailer.

From a long-term reliability standpoint, I'd recommend the free-backing brake option.

If you'd care to reply with the manufacturer and model number of your surge actuator and the capacity of your axles, I'd be happy to make some recommendations that are more specific.

expert reply by:
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Mike L

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