electric/hydraulic brakes for boat trailer

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25,985
Location
Upstate NY
I am going to replace the rusty Titan surge brake coupler on my boat trailer as its an eyesore. The trailer is galvanized and the coupler and winch are rusty eyesores. So if I was going to upgrade to electric hydraulic braking now will be the time. A surge coupler is about $350 and a plain coupler with the brake electric/hydraulic controller is $750. I have the brake controller in my pickup. I will spend the extra $$ if I feel there is a real benefit. Other options are to remove the current coupler and sand blast it and replace worn parts. Or forget the brakes as my pickup can handle it without trailer brakes.
 
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Messages
13,255
Location
North Carolina
How heavy is the boat and trailer? I like electric brakes on my TT. i know a lot of boat trailers don't have them, unless they are big. Electric brakes are nice if you really have to get on the brakes in an emergency braking situation.
 
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Messages
18,201
Location
NH
I know electric over hyd is popular on boats, but I wonder if just electric and replacing parts every couple years is cost effective. I think the wiring is the weak point on electric setups on boats?
 
Messages
1,841
Location
.
I've used surge brakes on my boats for years with no major issues. I use DOT 5 silicone which requires a complete flush of the system if there was DOT 3 in there before. I think surge brakes are fine because the weight of a boat and trailer a re relatively constant. Once I have dialed in my boat trailer brakes, they give me years of trouble free service. For a trailer such as a landscape trailer or an enclosed trailer where there can be large differences in weight from one trip to the next, electric brakes are the way to go. It is nice being able to apply the trailer brakes without applying the tow vehicle brakes, but if the boat on the trailer is well balanced, there should not be an issue with trailer sway. My new boat has surge brakes that has an electric lockout solenoid for reverse which sure beats having to stick a pin in the surge brake when backing up hills. My other boat is a twin engine CC boat and its trailer has electric brakes. This is a 2006 model and has given me some problems. I had a fuse blow on the brakes and had nothing which is scary when pulling a 6000 pound boat and trailer. Fortunately there are no hills between my house and Erie. Long story short; either one is fine. For me, the less wiring in the water the better.
 
Messages
1,680
Location
CT
going electric over hydraulic is only worth it if it saves on your vehicle brakes and the cost involved with that, so if you trailer the boat a lot over long distances then is the $750 or whatever the upgrade cost worth it? and the other thing is driving convenience. my boat gets trailered 1 mile or less from house to boat ramp, and i only used to do it twice a year when the boat sat in the water... so for me be surprised if the trailer lights even work smile but depending on how frequent you trailer and where, the electric/hydr. may or may not be worth it, you said your truck can handle it so i would say just sandblast your current setup and repaint. adding the electric setup is also one more thing to maintain.
 

Donald

Thread starter
Messages
25,985
Location
Upstate NY
The boat and trailer I would guess are 8,000. Its a 24 1/2' sport cruiser with Mercruiser 260 HP I/O. 75 gallon gas tank. Dual axle. I would have to verify if the existing brake controller can handle it. I think they sell adapters also. I just installed new everything for disc hydraulic brakes last year. But over the winter the new master cylinder seems to have seized up. And now I am looking at how rusty looking my coupler is. After I got a new Sunbrella conv. top and waxed the boat it started to looki like a nice boat again (rather than an old scow) and now the rusty winch and coupler are bothering me.
 
Messages
16,004
Location
NE,Ohio
8000lb.. I'd go with the best brakes you can. panic stopping isn't fun. Electric is great with a good brake controller.
 
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Donald

Thread starter
Messages
25,985
Location
Upstate NY
Given that the hydraulic disc brakes are all new it will be some form of hydraulic with surge or an electric/hydraulic controller. I may be going between Albany NY and Middletown CT once or twice a year with my boat.
 
I have found electric over hydraulic brakes to be a pita. Not a lot of repair places out there know how they work either, so getting repaired on the road could be an issue. While I am not a big fan of surge brakes either, they are the best setup for boat trailers due to complete immersion in water.
 
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