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  • This will open a hornet's nest

    I am in process of upgrading my one axle surge brakes...yuck!

    I was fully ready to pull the trigger on an electric over hydraulic disk brake set up( for two axles), when my wallet started to seize shut when I fully computed how much this was going to cost.

    So, in the mean time my buddy who owns several trailers and uses them daily says why aren't you looking at self adjusting electric for both axles....I instantly proclaim...duh water and electric! He then takes me out to see his boat trailer which he has owned for ten years with you guessed it electric brakes.

    I said but what about the corrosion? Well after looking at a disassembled hydraulic drum setup and a electric drum set up and using my mechanical skills I can't tell you there is much difference. The only electrics, besides connection on the outside of the drum is the sealed electromagnet. So for further insult he took the drum off the boat trailer to show me nothing! No corrosion, no bad parts...just brakes!

    Are disks better, heck yes. Is electric or hydraulic better, yep...but in doing the math I could replace every brake component FOUR times and still not reach the price of converting to disc.

    This is a reply from etrailer about electric boat brakes: Traditionally, trailer manufacturers did not use electric brakes on boat trailers because the brake magnet wiring and trailer wiring did not always have the best insulation or water protection.

    These days, more and more manufacturers are using electric brakes on boat trailers due to improvements in wiring insulation and heat shrink connectors. If you are going to use electric brakes, I strongly recommend using heat shrink butt connectors, like part # DW05745-10, when splicing the wires together.

    I know I have set myself up for this, but from a mechanical standpoint I don't see how I can make any other decision....With the saved money I can splurge and buy Goodyear Trailer Radial!
    1982 Whaler Montauk 90HP( sold)[br]1977 25 Mako CC 225HP

  • #2
    I know a few guys that have electric drum brakes on their boat trailers, haven't heard any complaints from them...

    And besides, if they do need parts (shoes) they just get them at the local RV dealer and don't have to order them...

    Forgot to mention, they do have the flush attachment on their rigs and use them regularly.
    1992 211 w/175 OptiMax
    Glen Campbell, Pa.

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    • #3
      Rusty,

      If I had the benefit of that feed back and pricing advantage when I did my brake conversion, I believe I would have gone with elec drum brakes.

      Also, because your trailer is mainly used in fresh water, the corrosion concerns are reduced.

      I did my conversion in 2008. My old system, like yours was single axle hyd drum. But it was falling apart. It needed all new everything. I didn't want backing plates and hardware again, so I went with disc. I also didn't want hyd "surge & wait" after hearing about the elec controller in the cab. Thus, elec/hyd was the likely choice.

      Good luck. Sounds like your gonna get those radials.[]
      Ole Joe
      Just floundering around
      White Hall & Ocean City, Maryland
      1978 Mako 25

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      • #4
        I hate trailer brakes! I understand it's a necessity, but I can say I have taken my pads off in the past. Got to see an Owens trailer with stuck disc brakes heat up and blow the valve stem into space. I think no matter which system you go with it's still all preventative maintenance. No issues with drum if you can maintain.

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