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Old 04-17-2004, 09:31 AM   #1
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ABS and Hydralic trailer brakes

Hello everyone,

I have a '59 Tradewind that is setup with hydralic brakes. I hope to convert to electric at some future time. But until then? I've also heard that ABS and RWAL doesn't work with the hydralic systems. Also is ABS/RWAL standard equipment of an option these days? Any ideas on this?

Thanks in Advance, Rod

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Old 04-17-2004, 03:15 PM   #2
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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ABS and Hydralic trailer brakes

Greetings Rod!

While I haven't experienced towing an Airstream with the hydraulic surge brakes, I have had the experience of towing two different U-Haul trailers with hydraulic surge brakes behind my '99 K2500 Suburban with ABS brakes. In both cases, I towed the trailer over the same route empty as well as loaded to 3,500 pounds. In a little over 1,000 miles, I experienced no unusual problems with the Suburban brakes - - the trailer brakes were prone to "shuddering" when being towed in an empty condition - - when loaded to 3,500 pounds both the box trailer and the car hauler performed as expected behind the Suburban.

I didn't experience any "panic" stops, and that is where I would expect problems if any were to develop. I suspect that the cycling of the ABS on the tow vehicle might cause some "jerking" of the connection between trailer and tow vehicle, but the cycling is so fast and controlled, I wouldn't anticipate significant problems with the application of the surge brakes.

If what you are working with is something other than hydraulic surge brakes, I think that the answer would be very different. With the absence of any hydraulic connection between trailer and tow vehicle with the surge brakes, the pulsing of the ABS on the tow vehicle would be totally independent of the surge braking system on the trailer.

My biggest concern when towing the trailers with the surge brakes wasn't so much with the interaction between my tow vehicle with ABS and the trailer; rather it was a panic stop situation where I would like to apply the trailer brakes independently of the tow vehicle - - I guess that I have become overly dependent upon the manual brake button on my electric brake controller as a security blanket of sorts.

Good luck with your restoration!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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