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colbysmith



Joined: 02 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 8:54 am    Post subject: Electric Brakes Reply with quote

I know there have been numerous threads that touch upon this subject, but thought I'd start a new one with some photos. I've argued with several of you over the use of all electric brakes (as opposed to Electric over hydraulic - EOH). And nothing riles me more than listening to a few dealers or those that confess to know, badmouth them. While I dunk my trailers only in fresh water, I know there are others that have had very good experience with the electric brakes in salt water. In the end, if you are running drum brakes (ie, as opposed to stainless disc), I suggest going to electric is going to be a cheaper alternative to hydraulic and with less maintenance. Here are some photos I recently took of my Dexter Electric brake on one wheel after 3 seasons. (All brakes looked the same.) They continue to serve me well. Colby







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colbysmith



Joined: 02 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My recommendation for anybody getting a new trailer is to go to some form of braking that can be controlled from the cab. Ie, all electric, or electric over hydraulic. The EOH is going to be a more expensive system, and with the addition of the electric pump that provides the hydraulic pressure. With that system you will still have hydraulic lines, and pistons (calipers) and oil that doesn't like moisture. However you also have access to stainless steel discs which are superior to the older drums. OTOH, with a good simple only electric system, you have no separate hydraulic pump or hydraulic components to deal with. If you are looking to replace an older corroded hydraulic system, it is very easy to convert to all electric. Simply cut (and remove if you chose) the hydraulic lines, weld or replace the hydraulic coupler with a standard coupler and replace the hydraulic backing plates with electric ones. You'll probably also have to replace the drums. But these components are relatively cheap. With electric or EOH as opposed to surge hydraulic, you will also need to add an electric brake controller to your cab, but most cars with tow packages have the wiring harness already installed. And those that don't, it's relatively simple to wire one up.
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journey on



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, electric brakes in Wisconsin certainly look good, as your photographs show. They look like the ones on our travel trailer, which has worked for more than a decade, giving good service. And that set of brakes has waded through water up to the axles, so fresh water doesn't bother them. I haven't tried launching that trailer though.

A lot of us launch in salt water, though. If you do, before I convert to all electrics, I would look at the pictures above and think about what salt water would do to those electrical parts. That square chunk of metal at the bottom is an electrical solenoid made of soft iron and copper wire. And think of the problems you had with unsealed trailer lights before they came up with sealed LED's

Just an opinion.

Boris
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Will-C



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:00 am    Post subject: Electric Brakes Reply with quote

I think for me at least, the cost factor is out weighed by what actually functions better. Since disc brakes are usually stated to out perform drum brakes for a host of reasons. The automotive and motorcycle industry seem be fading away from drum brakes. I have serviced both disc and drum brakes in a salt water environment and I think for me at least I would rather service disc brakes than drum brakes.
Kodiak has vented rotors in both a standard plating, then a Dacromet coating (more rust resistant) and then the stainless steel. They offer calipers in the same choices. I wonder why more boat trailer manufacturers don't offer the cheaper electric option? How many miles have you actually towed using the electric brakes?
D.D.

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mgarr682



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You may have something there. My boat is currently sitting at a truck repair shop waiting for a new caliper. On my way home from the coast yesterday one of the calipers on my surge/disk brake system decided it no longer wanted to release after just two years of use. I'll go back down to pick it up in a few days.
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Sunbeam



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colby,

I've been reading your various posts on electric brakes but had never seen them. I didn't realize until now that they were drum brakes. I see where you say the electric parts are well sealed, but how do you get away from the tendency for the shoes to "stick" to the drums (as ghone's kept doing). I'm no brake expert, so maybe that's a non-issue for some reason I don't yet know about.

I didn't know about these when I re-did my trailer so I went with four wheel discs and a hydraulic system (surge activated).
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colbysmith



Joined: 02 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got well over 7000 miles on the current set of brakes. Probably close to 8000 if not a bit more. And a whole lot of fresh water dunkings! The last 4000 miles was towing out to Seattle, over several passes with steep grades. While disc do a nicer job in stopping, remember, the trailer brakes are not there to stop the tow vehicle, but rather only assist it in stopping the trailer. I only once had a problem with a brakes dragging, and that is because I had adjusted them to tight. With hydraulics, the hydraulic oil has to return back to the piston. Any corrosion there, and it's continuing to hold the brake shoes against the drum, with only the springs trying to pull the brake shoes back. With electric, the shoes are applied by current in the magnet causing it to grab onto the inside circumference of the drum. As the drum turns it "pulls" on the magnet, the higher the voltage (applied by your brake controller in conjunction with stopping inertia) the harder it pulls on that magnet, which in turn applies the brake shoes. Once the voltage is removed, the magnet is no longer being pulled against the drum, so no pressure put on the brake shoes. It hangs rather lose, so the only way the brakes can "freeze" or hang up, is if a part breaks, or they are adjusted to tight to begin with. As for why more trailer manufacturers don't offer the cheaper electric option, I don't know of any that don't. You just might have to ask for it. Otherwise, I'd say ancestry worship and due to a misunderstanding of how electric brakes work. Colby
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colbysmith



Joined: 02 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boris, and others. Don't get me wrong. If I could afford it, I'd go for the EOH option with stainless everything. And if in salt, I'd still be doing a fresh water flush frequently. But between surge drum and electric drum, I'm going to continue opting for electric! It has served me well for a long time, and is relatively inexpensive! Colby
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Will-C



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:26 pm    Post subject: Electric Brakes Reply with quote

For me I want what works (stops) best. I don't have a case against electric brakes. My aversion is more against drum brakes in general as they have more moving parts, require adjustment, and don't dissipate heat as well as vented rotor equipped disc brakes. But to each his own. I hope your electric brakes last forever.
D.D.
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thataway



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colby, after your discussion on line, and our PM discussion, I thought long and hard about the E/H vs electric. What it boiled down to is that for The disc electric over hydraulic it is going to cost me $800 more than the drum/pure electric.

Now If I went with the SS brake lines and the Kodiac brakes, with SS calipers, it would be about $1800 more.

For the amount of use, and with a good wash down system, my conclusion is that for my purpose the cheaper plated brakes will do about as well. Plus the better braking capacity of the disc brakes, and better ability to wash the internal parts, that it would do fine my my purposes.

Still too much risk for me with the salt water. But it is risk vs reward...

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Darkwater



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I bought our Sea Ray in 2004 (sold 2013), the surge brakes, which were installed on one axle of the tandem trailer, were totally shot, including the cylinder and the lines. Cost to replace all was going to be over $500 in parts for the single axle. I discovered that Fulton was producing electric trailer brakes designed for salt water, so I tried them. Cost was about $350 including brake units, drums, electric lines and flushing system. (cost does not include breakaway device or brake controller.

The brakes lasted about 5 years of mostly saltwater use. I replaced them with ordinary Dexter electric brakes and new drums with total parts cost of about $180. Those brakes were still functional when I sold the boat in 2013 (4 years on the brakes).

I much preferred the control of the electric vs surge.

To avoid seize, it was necessary to thoroughly flush after every saltwater dunk, including slow rotation of the wheels while the flusher was on. Also necessary to disassemble brakes annually to clean and lightly grease moving parts.

Fulton stopped production of the "marine" electric brakes years ago, likely because they did not last long unless carefully maintained.

Electric trailer brakes might be considered an option for a strictly fresh water use situation.

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colbysmith



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doug, I think you kind of make my point that electric brakes are serviceable in salt water use also... but I understand the added necessity of the fresh water rinse. Just curious for those running the disc brakes, either surge or EOH, in salt water, how are they holding up? Does one still need to rinse them? I've already read several reports of EOH pump motors needing to be replaced at $500+ a unit.

In all honesty, at one time I was considering the EOH system. But I'm not convinced that for me, it is worth the cost. And seeing a few write about the EOH pump motor problems, and past experience with hydraulic lines and brake parts in water, I'm not sold on that system for now.

My intent with this thread is not to put down EOH or those that prefer that system, but rather show that straight Electric brakes are an inexpensive and efficient option. Disc brakes will always be superior to drum brakes. But I see electric systems as actually being superior to hydraulic systems when it comes to fresh or salt water. (And that's because of fewer mechanical parts for the water to corrode.) Now if there was a way to energize disc brakes with electricity rather than hydraulics, we'd be talking! Smile

While our discussion has hinged mostly on the corrosion of the metals, many continue to argue that water and electricity don't mix as they use the example of the old incandescent lighting. To those, I leave this: Sump & well pumps. If that's not enough, then fuel pumps and sensors that are submerged in gasoline, with live electrical wires attached. Electricity has for a long time been safely used submerged in liquids. Smile

Colby
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Will-C



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:06 am    Post subject: Electric Brakes Reply with quote

I think that how people maintain their equipment has a lot to do with it's life cycle. We rinse our whole trailer after launching in salt water including wheels brakes, frame etc. I bought a Float On aluminum trailer in the spring of 2009 with stainless steel hardware ,Kodiak disc brakes with a surge activated master cylinder. Once a year I check over brake lines, check the brake pads, replace if required, pull off the calipers lube the pins they float on and look over the rotors and redo our grease seals and repack bearings. Our calipers, rotors are all original from when the trailer was purchased. Some brake lines (rubber type) were replaced due wear from rubbing on the trailers frame etc. Anywhere that I have seen that I have sleeved the brakes line in clear plastic fuel line that was slit and tie wrapped in place. See trailer mods in our album. I think in 2010 we had Float On change us over to EOH as we were trailering to Grand Teton and Yellowstone. I later upgraded from a 1200 pound controller that I had trouble with to a 1600 pound controller last year and it was around 500 dollars I did the switch myself. Our truck an 09 Chevy 2500HD with a Duramax diesel and Allison transmission and boat with trailer that weighs about 13,000 pounds. I'm a 9 mph over the speed limit sort guy towing the boat or in my Honda Civic. I drove tractor trailers in a past life and I have seen more than my share bad accidents. So I would not see much comfort in staring at an invoice for a cheaper brake setup after rear ending someone and possibly really hurting them. But this is just how I do things. In forty some years playing with boats has never come cheap at least for us.
D.D.
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Will-C



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:07 am    Post subject: Electric Brakes Reply with quote

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Will-C



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:20 am    Post subject: Electric Brakes Reply with quote

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