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Review of Dexter Axle Brake Actuator - Surge Brake Actuator - DX83FR

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Dexter Axle Brake Actuator - Surge Brake Actuator - DX83FR Review

Hello everybody. This is Jeff at Today, we're going to take a look at this Dexter DX 7.5L bolt-on drum brake actuator, for a 2" hitch ball. Has a 7,500 pound weight capacity. Now you'll use this actuator to synchronize your trailer brakes with your tow vehicle brakes. Basically, this hydraulic actuator will activate your trailer brakes when your tow vehicle slows or stops.

What happens is when you apply the brakes in your tow vehicle, deceleration occurs and the momentum will push your trailer toward the rear of your vehicle. So with the surge brake system, this actuator is then triggered as your trailer moves forward, while the tow vehicle slows and the inner portion of this actuator will telescope in and applies force to the master cylinder that's back here, which in turn supplies the necessary hydraulic pressure to engage your trailer's brakes. You can see this as a nice low profile coupler latch to ensure easy, secure connection.A lot of the actuators will have a large latch up here that goes back and forth, this one is just nice and low profile so you don't get it damaged or bent, and it is an over center latch mechanism, it will only engage when the actuator is fully seated on a 2" hitch ball. And I want to demonstrate that, I happen to pull an example, here's a 2" hitch ball that this would fit on. And just to show you how it installs.

First thing you want to do is, it has this safety pin that's tethered, you pull this safety pin all the way out just like that, and that'll release the latch. And then to open the latch, it has this little round section up at the top here that slides back and forth, just slide that until it opens up all the way and now you're ready to attach.So basically what you'll do is, that'll be your hitch ball. Once you're over it, it'll drop right onto the hitch ball, push that down, blocks it to the hitch ball, and then for extra safety, you'll take the safety pin, slide it all the way through, line it up with the hole on the other side, and with that in there, it'll keep that latch from fully opening. So by chance, if this did hit something and release the latch, you can see that it won't open all the way, it'll still stay attached. Then you just push it down, and then to remove it again, just pull out your safety pin, slide open your latch, and then just remove it from the hitch ball.

Simple as that.Now, if you notice it does include this breakaway cable. Now the breakaway cable is required, and basically what this does, is this breakaway cable will prevent trailer runaway situation. This hook here will hook to your tow vehicle, and then what happens is if the sever does come on hook from your tow vehicle, it would pull and stretch this cable, and what that would do is then that would apply the pressure for the master cylinder to apply the brakes in the trailer. So if it come detached, this breakaway cable would keep it from a runaway situation. Now, the master cylinder on this, let me see if I can turn it over and you can probably see the end of the master right here.

This master cylinder is constructed of aluminum, rather than plastic or steel for increased strength and corrosion resistance, and you access that master cylinder right on top here.This is where your brake filler cap will be, and you see it's recess down in there so it doesn't get damaged or anything, and this is where you'll check your brake fluid or add your brake fluid if needed. This does have a nice sink plating on, it offers excellent corrosion resistance. You can see the holes right here in the back, it is a bolt on installation. It is designed to fit a 3" x 5" straight tongue trailer. Now the hardware installed is not included. This part is made in the USA. Few specs on this, the application is hydraulic drum brakes. The ball size we've mentioned it fits is as a 2" diameter ball. Weight capacity, 7,500 pounds.And one last note I do want to mention on this, is because this model does not include a reverse lockout, it is recommended that you equip your trailer with either an electric reverse lockout solenoid, and that would actually screw onto the back of the master cylinder right back here. Or you can actually put free backing brakes on your trailer, and that way, either way you can drive in reverse without triggering your trailers brakes. But that should do it for the review on this Dexter DX 7.5L bolt-on drum brake actuator for a 2" hitch ball, has a 7,500 pound weight capacity..

Questions and Comments about this Video

Grover B.
My dual axle trailer has a tongue that is 3" wide by 4" deep. Is this the right actuator?
Etrailer Expert
Reply from David B.

If you have drum brakes go with the Dexter DX7.5L A-60 Brake Actuator - Bolt On - Drum - 2" Ball - Zinc - 7,500 lbs # DX27FR . This one has the 3"-4" straight tongue mounting.

Michael T.
Question - this is designed for a 3" v 5" straight tongue, can I use this to replace my existing actuator which is on a 3" x 3" straight tongue? From the image it looks like the top two mounting holes would align with my setup and the bottom holes would not be used.
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Les D.

@MichaelT It will be important to select a actuator designed for the weight of the trailer you want to tow. For instance, if you want an actuator that will weld onto your 3 x 3 inch tongue, and be rated for ujp to 7,500 pounds gross towing rate, you could use the Dexter # DX53FR actuator. If you need something different, just let me know.

Info for this part was:

Employee Lindsey S
Written by:
Lindsey S
Employee Leah B
Edited By:
Leah B

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