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HydraStar Marine Electric Over Hydraulic Actuator Installation

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How to Install the HydraStar Marine Electric Over Hydraulic Actuator

Speaker 1: Today we're gonna be having a look at and showing you how to install the HydraStar Marine Electric Over Hydraulic Actuator with Breakaway and Seven Way RV Harness, rated at 1,600 PSI, this is part number HS381-9067. Now the reason you're gonna want an electric over hydraulic actuator to control your trailer brakes such as this one is because it's far superior than your typical surge coupler style brakes that your boat trailer's normally have. With your surge breaks you have no control over it whatsoever, with this you can dial up or down the intensity of the brakes being applied with the brake controller inside your truck.Also when you go to back up your trailer with surge brakes as soon as you start to back up the brakes are being applied, the more force they're using to back up the harder the brakes are gonna be applied unless you have a manual lock out which you have to get out of your truck, engage the lock out so you can back up without the brakes being applied. With this where you have your brake controller set up at when you're backing up that's how much the brakes are gonna be applied so it makes it easier to back your boat into the water down the ramp but yet you still have some brake assistance there so you don't have all the weight of the boat or the trailer dragging you into the water.Also with the surge coupler the way the brakes are applied is the weight of the boat and the trailer start to push the coupler against your truck and as the coupler collapses it applies pressure to the fluid and engages the brakes so there is a delay of the brakes being applied. With the actuator here being electric over hydraulic it's immediate, there is no delay so as soon as we start to activate our brakes in our vehicle the brakes are being applied in our trailer. Now this is a marine rated actuator, by being marine rated we have an aluminum construction here which is corrosion resistant and it is also vented to help relived pressure and let moisture escape.

This will ensure that our brakes will operate appropriately and we don't get any moisture inside our unit causing corrosion and damage. Our gaskets inside are also marine rated so you don't have to worry about salt water corroding them.Now what's great about this kit compared to other option out there is that this comes with everything you need in order to convert your existing boat trailer or other trailer that has hydraulic surge brakes over to one that has electric over hydraulic set up. We have our actuator and new junction box to hold all of our wiring and a seven way plug so we can utilize the brake controller inside of our vehicle which is great since most boat trailers only come with a five pole flat to get the reverse signal out to your lockout for your actuator. We also have this breakaway kit with this nice battery box here which is self charging so you don't have to worry about taking the battery out to charge it, it has a built in charger, and we can check the condition of the battery by pushing this button on the top. We also have the breakaway switch which will apply our trailer brakes in the unlikely event that our trailer came disconnected from our truck.

With the pin pulled you can hear the brakes being applied.This kit is rated up to 1,600 PSI so it'll be perfect for our disc brake applications on our trailers. It is rated to support trailers up to three axles, anywhere from one to three. The one thing that I really like about this kit and with electric over hydraulic brakes in general when comparing them to surge couplers by having so much more control over them we can activate our brakes manually from inside our vehicle by using the manual brake override on our brake controller so if our trailer starts to sway side to side on us and we need to bring it back and align our vehicle we can use the manual override by sliding the adjuster over just to slow our trailer down and bring it back in line. With the surge coupler you can't do that, many of our customers feel that this is a much safer way of towing their trailer behind their vehicle.Now when comparing this actuator to other electric over hydraulic actuators out there such as the Dexter DX series this is a much slimmer design actuator so we're much more versatile in our mounting solutions, it'll work great on top of narrow channel frame trailers such as this one. Now for a few measurements to better assist you in choosing mounting locations for your components our actuator measures 11 and three quarters inches long, it is three inches wide at its widest point, and it is seven and three eighths of an inch tall from the bottom to the top of the cab.

Our junction box at its longest points measures six and three quarters of an inch long, at its widest point it is three and a half inches wide, and it is two and a quarter inch tall. Now the battery box for our breakaway system is five and 7-16ths of an inch long, it is four and a quarter inch wide, it is also four and a quarter inch tall. Our seven way cable measures six feet long from the very end to where it goes into our junction box.Now that we've gone over some features we'll show you how to get it installed. To begin our install we need to find a place to mount our actuator, in our particular case since we are working on a boat trailer which already had hydraulic surge brakes on it we're gonna mount ours on the center channel of our trailer here because this will protect it the most from side to side, we also want to make sure that our hydraulic fitting is facing where the brake line comes out of our current cylinder. We'll take a drill now and go through each one of the holes in the four corners to make a pilot hole.

With our pilot holes now driller we'll now secure it in place with our provided self tapping screws.Now we need to find a spot to mount our junction box for all the wiring. We're just gonna put ours right behind our HydraStar unit, this way our wires can easily go inside the unit. We'll mark out our holes by making a pilot hole with our drill, now in our junction box here I like to point out there's two holes on one side and one hole on the other side. We want to have the side of our two holes facing towards the front of our trailer that way we'll have our seven way come out of one hole and then the wires that go in from our HydraStar unit will go in the other hole. Now we'll secure this in place with our self tappers.Now we need to find a position to mount our breakaway switch. We're gonna mount ours on the outside of our passengers side of our trailer right here as far front as we possibly can. We don't want to attach to our coupler area here because this coupler will be replaced at some point with one that is not a hydraulic surge coupler. We'll mark where we want it and drill a pilot hole. Now we'll mount our breakaway switch, ensuring that our pin faces the front of the trailer, line up the hole, ensure that it's as level as possible, and we'll secure it in place with the self tapping screw.Now we need to find a location to mount our breakaway battery box. We're gonna mount ours on the inside of our passengers side frame about right next to where we mounted our junction box. Now depending on your application this may be a little bit more difficult for you to do because of clearance so we're using a right angle drill to make this easier for us. We're gonna mark out our top holes first. Okay we have our upper holes marked out now so now we're going to drill those holes out completely. Okay now we'll secure it in place with our self tapping screws. We went ahead and repeated the same process for our bottom screws, this way our breakaway battery box is securely mounted.Now we can start working on our wiring, we'll lift off our cover for our junction box, inside we'll find several color coded terminals. We'll take the end of our seven way now and one of our plugs here, you'll notice how the plug is sealed where there's a small pin hole in it, we'll just poke our wires through that pin hole. Okay with the wires poked through we'll just push this down until it's covering our sleeve here on the wiring, we'll have the flat part facing up and we'll slide this opening here through the slot in our box. Now we'll take our wire clamp here, sit it over our seven way wires, and we'll clamp the wires in place with our provided screws.Our junction box is color coded to the exact same colors of the wires from our seven way connector so we'll strip back insulation from each wire, crimp on a connector, and match it up to the corresponding color. Now some of these wires are thicker than other ones, for the thicker wires we'll use the yellow connectors, for the thinner wires we'll use the blue connectors. The yellows are meant for 10 to 12 gauge wiring and the blues are meant for 14 to 16 gauge. Now as we work our way closer to where our connector enters the box we can actually cut off excess wiring so we don't have to have too much slack inside here and it gives us a cleaner install.Now the ring terminals that we crimped on are heat shrink ring terminals so we'll use a heat gun to shrink down the ring terminals to make sure we have a nice weather tight seal. You'll want to use a heat gun over a lighter because a heat gun does provide a source of indirect heat versus an open flame, the indirect heat won't damage the connector like a direct flame will from a lighter, we have these heat guns available on our website. Here's what it looks like with our heat shrink ring terminals shrunk down, you can see it goes around our wire and seals nicely so we don't have to worry about any moisture getting inside.Now we'll take the wires that come from our HydraStar unit itself, we'll separate the yellow one so we'll just have the black, the blue, and the white, we'll take another one of these grommets here and we'll push those three wires through it. Now we'll take the three wires from our breakaway battery, we'll separate the blue taking the black and the white, and we'll push those through that grommet as well. Now we'll take the wiring that went to our existing trailer plug, we already went ahead and cut that off, and we're just left with the wiring that runs our lights for our taillights, our marker lights, and turn signals and brake lights. We'll shove that through the grommet as well.Now we'll take the short segment of white wire that comes with the kit and this will be our ground wire for our trailer and we'll shove this through the grommet. With all of the wires that we now need through our grommet we can place the grommet inside the junction box. Now we'll take our clamp, go over our wires, and we'll secure them in place so they don't get pulled out.Now we'll take the blue wire from our HydraStar unit and we'll crimp on one of our heat shrink ring terminals and we'll place that over the terminal in our junction box that has the blue wire from our seven way going to it, it's also the terminal with the blue dot over it. We'll measure off how much of our black wire we're gonna need to connect to the black terminal from our HydraStar unit, cut off the excess, and we'll strip back some insulation, we'll crimp on a ring terminal, and measure off how much wire we need from the white wire from the HydraStar unit, strip back some insulation, and you'll crimp on a terminal, place that over the stud with the white dot, the short strand of white wire that we passed through for our ground we'll strip back some insulation and we'll crimp on a terminal there, place that over the stud as well.Now we'll take the white wire from our breakaway kit, measure off how much we're gonna need here, strip back some insulation, and we'll crimp on the ring terminal there, place that over the stud too. Now we'll take the black wire from the breakaway kit, measure off what we're gonna need, cut off the excess, strip back some insulation, and we'll crimp on one of our ring terminals. Now just like we did before we'll shrink down all of our ring terminals with the heat gun.Now that we have all of our ring terminals heat shrinked inside for our white terminal, our black terminal, our blue terminal, we can install the nuts. The white terminal, this is our ground, the black terminal that's our constant 12 volt power, the blue that is the electric trailer brake output from our truck, this is where the HydraStar unit will get its signal to operate from the brake controller inside of our truck. We'll also put a nut over the yellow terminal, we're not attaching any other wires here just the wire from our seven way connector. This is for the reverse output signal from our truck. If you have reverse lights on your trailer they would hook in here.Now we need to work on hooking up our trailer's light circuits to our three terminals that are left, I have a red one, a green one, and a brown one. The brown one is for our trailer's right turn signal and right brake light and that gets our green wire. We'll separate our green wire and all this wiring here was already on our trailer. We'll measure off how much we're gonna need, cut off the excess, strip back some insulation, and we'll crimp on one of our small diameter heat shrink ring terminals. Now we're going to use this green terminal here, this is for our taillights and running lights and that'll get the brown wires.We'll separate our other brown wire from this yellow wire here, measure off what we're gonna need, cut off the excess, strip back insulation from both those brown wires, and we'll twist these two wires together and we'll crimp on one of our larger diameter yellow ring terminals to those two wires and that leaves us with our yellow wire for our left turn signal and our left brake light. That'll go to the red terminal here, cut off our excess, strip back the insulation, take one of our remaining ring terminals, and we'll crimp that into place. Now we'll use a heat gun and we'll shrink down our terminals. Okay with those all shrunk down now we'll place them over the proper studs and we'll install our nuts. Okay now that we have all of our wiring connections made inside of our junction box we can install our grommets in the locations where wires can pass through that we're not using so we have one on this side and one on the backside, then we can install the lid now.Now the short white wire that we added for our ground that came with our kit we'll strip off some insulation from the other end of it and we'll crimp on the final ring terminal that comes with the kit and we'll shrink down the insulation. Now this ring terminal needs to be attached to the frame of our trailer and this will ground all of our wiring that we've installed. We're gonna mark out a section in our frame where we can drill a hole for it then we'll drill a pilot hole. With our pilot hole made we'll now secure the ring terminal in place with the self tapping screw.Now the blue wire from our breakaway battery and the yellow wire from our HydraStar unit these need to connect to the wires on our breakaway switch. It doesn't matter which wire connects to which on this, it senses the switch once this pin is pulled it closes the circuit so it doesn't matter how you connect this. As you can see we're not gonna have enough wire to do this so we will have to supply some of our own wire. If you need to pick up some wire on our website you can pick it up as part number 12-1-1 for 12 gauge wire, it's sold by the foot.We'll start by stripping off some insulation from one of the wires, now because we are extending our wires we are gonna need some more butt connectors. These are still heat shrink butt connectors, these are for 14 to 16 gauge wires, they will work on 10 to 12 gauge wires as well, you can pick these up on our website if you need some. Crimp that on, take our extra wire that we have, strip off some insulation, slip it in the other end of the butt connector, and we'll crimp that into place. Measure off how much we're gonna need, cut off the excess, strip back some insulation, crimp on another butt connector, take one of the wires from our breakaway, strip off some insulation, stick that in the other end, and we'll crimp that down. Now we'll repeat the same process for the other wire. With all of our connections made we'll shrink down those connectors with our heat gun.With all of our connections made we went ahead and used the provided wire loom to help conceal our wiring and give us a nice clean look. Now with our wire loom we're gonna want to secure this to our trailer, now in order to secure a wire loom to our trailer we have these zip tie attachment points that have doubled sided tape on the back of them. These come with our kit, we'll take some soapy water or rubbing alcohol and we'll clean off our frame where we're going to stick our attachment points this way they have a better chance of adhering well. The zip tie will go through it, wrap around the wire loom, and we'll cut off our excess zip ties. We went ahead and repeated the same process just to secure the rest of the wire loom to the trailer so we don't snag it on anything and give us a nice clean look.Now we need to locate our brake line that goes to the back, in our case ours is right here going into a reverse lockout solenoid and we'll disconnect this brake line. Okay we have our brake line where we have easy access to our fitting knob, we need to connect this fitting to the fitting on our actuator. It's not gonna be long enough so we're gonna use a flexible rubber hose which we have available on our website in order to make this connection. Now depending on your application you may need a different length than what we're using, we have many different options available for you so just use the search feature on our website and search for the length that you need. We'll take the female end and we'll thread it onto the male end and we'll snug that down. Now we'll remove the plug from our actuator, place in the fitting from our brake hose, screw it into place, and we'll snug it down.Now we need to fill our reservoir with fluid, take the cap off, we'll use a fresh, unopened bottle of brake fluid and we'll fill it up. With it full we'll replace the cap and we'll begin the bleeding process. Okay now we'll take the yellow cap off the bleeder screw on our actuator, now we have access to the top of our bleeder on the nut. We'll take a wrench, stick it over the nut, replace a container with a hose on it to catch our brake fluid on that. Now we have two ways of bleeding our brakes, we can hook up to our vehicle and have someone operate the brake controller manual override inside the vehicle or we can have someone pull our breakaway pin.We'll go ahead and pull the pin now and we'll crack open the bleeder screw and we'll close it, reinstall the pin. What we're looking for is clean fluid coming out of our hose with no air bubbles, we'll repeat this process a couple of times. Go ahead. With the clean fluid coming out we'll pull the hose off, reinstall our cap, and double check our fluid level, topping it off as necessary. We'll replace the cap. Now we'll go back and bleed the brakes themselves with the bleeder screws on our calipers starting with the one furthest away from our actuator and working our way towards the front. Okay we're now ready to have the breakaway pin pulled again, we'll open our bleeder, and we'll repeat this process until we have nice clean fluid coming through. We'll do this on all of our wheels.That completes our look at the HydraStar Marine Electric Over Hydraulic Actuator with Breakaway and Seven Way RV Harness, rated at 1,600 PSI, this is part number HS381-9067.

Questions and Comments about this Video


Regarding the electric over hydraulic boat trailer conversion, what do you do with the movement of the the hold master cyclinder style hitch? How do you stop the 4” of movement in and out every time do brekw or excelerate??

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Mike L.

The correct thing to do would be to replace it with a standard coupler, but you can place a bolt through the mechanism, side to side that will prevent the coupler from compressing.

Info for this part was:

Employee Jeff D
Installed by:
Jeff D
Employee Randy B
Installed by:
Randy B
Employee Joshua S
Video Edited:
Joshua S
Employee Kathleen M
Video Edited:
Kathleen M
Employee Brent H
Test Fit:
Brent H

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