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Can Tandem Axle Trailer Have Electric And Hydraulic Brakes With Weight Distribution


I have a RV, max rated weight is 5500, on a pair of 3500# axles. I currently have electric brakes, but after issues with intermittent operation Im considering hydraulic on one axle and electric on the other, so Id have at least one axle working if the electric brakes fails in the future. Would this actuator work correctly if used with a wight distribution hitch? Im concerned the force would prevent proper sliding of the mechanism that actuates the brakes.. any experience on this kind of thing? I know pretty much all RVs use electric brakes, I figure mostly to control sway, but with one axle electric I could still independly operate for that purpose, but still have hydraulic a least if electric fails and need an emergency stop.


Helpful Expert Reply:

The first thing I recommend is to address the issues you are having with the electric brakes you have on your trailer currently. If you install hydraulic brakes on one axle, the problem may still be present with the electric brakes and could cause further issues if not corrected. If you wish to send more information about the problems you are having with your system we may be able to resolve the issues you are having. Adding a hydraulic coupler could affect where the weight distribution system is attached to the trailer and possibly cause a problem. Some of the weight distribution systems manufacturers recommend against using a surge coupler with their systems.

There may be a solution as simple and cost-effective as replacing the brake controller you are currently using. A brake controller like the Tekonsha P2 proportional brake controller, part # 90885, may be able to take care of the problems you are experiencing. This system activates trailer brakes in proportion to your vehicle's braking action and adjusts the trailer braking based on the deceleration of your tow vehicle.

If you decide you want to add hydraulic brakes to your trailer with a weight distribution system installed, it should not pose a problem.

There are several things to consider when you add hydraulic brakes to your trailer that is currently using electric brakes. If you do not currently have brakes on both axles you will need to have brake flanges welded to the axle if there is none. There is a special jig required to weld on brake mounting flanges such as # 4-35. The flange needs to be welded on concentric and square. Square meaning the flange must be a true 90 degrees from the spindle and concentric meaning the gap around the spindle must be the same 360 degrees around. This needs to be done by a professional welder.

If not, the brakes will not wear evenly and will cause reduced braking performance. If not at the right depth the brakes will not be as effective and again, wear unevenly.

Next you need to consider whether you want to install hydraulic disc like part # K2R35D, or hydraulic drum brakes like part # T4423400 for the right hand and part # T4423500 for the left side. The hub and drum kit I recommend is part # 84546UC3.

You will need to add a surge actuator to your trailer for the hydraulic system. The actuator you will want to choose will depend on the type trailer and type brakes you choose. I have linked you to our product page for trailer couplers with brake actuators. You can use the filters at the left of the page to find the coupler that would work best for you.

You will need a hydraulic line kit. For one axle I recommend part # DM5427.

helpful expert reply by:
Jeffrey L

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