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Old 04-30-2005, 01:37 PM   #1
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Electric/Hydraulic Informal Survey

O.K.
This is an informal survey...
If you have an Electro-hydraulic system - what do you have and what are your impressions.
I will start compiling a list and formulating a comparison based on the responses that are sent in on this.
Add if you can how easy or hard it was to install and any notes you think would be helpful to someone like me who will be going through this for the first time on our unit.
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Old 05-06-2005, 11:21 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buttercup
O.K.
This is an informal survey...
If you have an Electro-hydraulic system - what do you have and what are your impressions.
I will start compiling a list and formulating a comparison based on the responses that are sent in on this.
Add if you can how easy or hard it was to install and any notes you think would be helpful to someone like me who will be going through this for the first time on our unit.
I am familiar with the Actibrake electric/hydraulic unit. Honestly I would have to say that it has performed with great success on a delivery trailer used everyday. We replaced electric brakes 3-4 times a year, if that helps you understand the miles that this trailer sees. Once converted to Actibrake + disc brakes the trailer has needed repair only once in 1 1/2 years. The Actibrake was the problem, it was sent out, repaired for free and returned, it took about 3 days to get it back.



As for the installation, the Actibrake was easy to install, the disc system is another story. Running the brake line was very time consuming. That had to be the worst part of the installation. I don’t know if you are looking to convert to disc brakes or simply update the electric/hydraulic unit. If you were converting from electric drums to disc I would plan on a full 6-8 hour day. Basic hand tools, and in our case a tube flaring set, were all that was required. I hope this helps.
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Old 05-06-2005, 11:26 PM   #3
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This is good info. I have discs already with a vac/hyd system. I want to replace that with elec/hyd actuator.
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Old 05-07-2005, 12:40 AM   #4
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Post Wiring/Plumbing Done!

As long as 12volt electrical wiring and a small amount of plumbing do not scare you, your installation should be very straightforward. This web link is a .pdf file of the installation manual for the Actibrake.



http://www.activetech1.com/actibrak/brakesystem/install-man04.pdf#search='actibrake'



It will take several minutes to load, but I believe that you will find it very helpful. Read closely and you will see what is required for installation. This should also help you determine if you are comfortable or not with the procedure. I got a great deal on this system with Kodiak brakes. PM me if you want to know more about what I paid etc...
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Old 05-07-2005, 12:27 PM   #5
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Question???

I have often wondered; Do I really need disc brakes?
They have a real Gee Whiz quality, but do I really need them?
What would I gain by installing that system?
I'm of the mind set that my equipment will work, if I watch what I'm doing when towing.
i.e useing the engine for brakeing, don't overdrive the conditions...
My tow vehicle has four wheel disc brakes, my trailer got a new set of shoes, went from 10" drums to 12" drums when I replaced the axle.
Any thoughts as to what I would really gain for the expense and time?

All flames accepted.
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Old 05-07-2005, 01:13 PM   #6
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No flame from me. I actually feel lucky to have them. I have had a few friends say that I should just go electric. Yes that would be easier but why?
I'll keep the discs and work around it.
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Old 05-07-2005, 03:26 PM   #7
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Talking Disc's or Drum's/Opinion's and Facts

I will comment on a few opinions and a few facts.



My first opinion is that disc’s are better. Why? How many automobiles do you see today with drum brakes? In the early days auto’s had 4 wheel drum brake systems, as time went on front discs were the rage, now 4 wheel disc is the hot set up.



My second opinion is that drums on a trailer are most likely fine. Most trailers do not see as many miles as auto’s do and they are a secondary brake system the tow vehicle being the primary.



The first fact is electric drum brakes can have a lot of gremlins. Wiring, shorts, loose pieces, grounds, magnets, heat build up, parts availability etc… The disc system is less problematic as a whole.



The second fact is that maintaining a disc brake system is more straightforward for the average consumer. Simply remove 2-bolts, drop a caliper and install pads (most trailer disc systems use pads readily available at auto parts stores). Anyone that has completely disassembled a drum brake for service will certainly agree.



The third fact “this one could be the clincher” is that what does a brake do? It stops a trailer being towed. A disc brake has far more ability to stop in a short distance than a drum. In brake testing that I have been involved with it is not uncommon for a disc system to come to a complete stop in half the distance that it takes a drum brake.



Last fact, the disc system is more expensive to purchase on average, but if you factor in maintenance costs and so on it just may be a wash.
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Old 05-07-2005, 05:44 PM   #8
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Disc brakes are cool. Bottom line, they look awesome. You can point to them and say, "Hey, I have disc brakes on my trailer!".
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Old 05-07-2005, 11:51 PM   #9
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The PO of out TT said that the brakes were so good that they would stop his truck when he would give his brake controller a squeeze. That is some stopping power!
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Old 05-08-2005, 09:46 AM   #10
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They are good at stopping a trailer on a dime.
My Minuet had no need for them though. It weighs a whopping 2,450 lbs.
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Old 05-08-2005, 08:19 PM   #11
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Post No Surprise to me!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buttercup
The PO of out TT said that the brakes were so good that they would stop his truck when he would give his brake controller a squeeze. That is some stopping power!
That really doesn’t surprise me!



You should ask your friends that told you to go electric if they can stop their tow vehicle with the electric brakes, well that might get something started, that’s probably not a good idea.



However I agree, disc brakes really do rock!
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Old 05-08-2005, 08:40 PM   #12
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The standard test to see if your electric drum brakes are working is to apply the brakes and see if they skid the trailer tires.

If you can lock up the tires with the brakes, that means to me that you have the maximum possible braking available.

How is a disk brake going to get you twice the maximum possible braking power as defined by the tire traction on the road? They'd have to use something other than tires on the road to do that.
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Old 05-08-2005, 08:44 PM   #13
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Interesting comments above. But isn't it true that on the road you may not want the tires to lockup, so that the trailer doesn't jack-knife? Disk brake stopping ability is certainly great, but that may come at a price. There seem to be many tradeoffs.
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Old 05-08-2005, 09:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leipper
The standard test to see if your electric drum brakes are working is to apply the brakes and see if they skid the trailer tires.

If you can lock up the tires with the brakes, that means to me that you have the maximum possible braking available.

How is a disk brake going to get you twice the maximum possible braking power as defined by the tire traction on the road? They'd have to use something other than tires on the road to do that.
'Brake Bias' is a tricky Art/Science. 'Brake Bias' is the setting of braking force in a vehicle brake system. In most vehicles you will find that the brake force is set at about 60% in the front brakes and 40% in the rear brakes.
This is done so that under hard braking if the tires lose adheasion to the road surface, the front tires will lock up first.
Tires that have locked up have passed there maximum point of adheasion, and the major portion of braking force has been lost.
If you allow the front tires to start skidding first the rear breaking force will keep the vehicle going in a straight line. No loops going down the hiway.

If your trailer locks up its' tires, the trailer will try to pass your tow vehicle,
and at best just jack knife your rig.
As for all I know you should never have so much braking on your trailer as to cause the tires to skid. I think this is inviting trouble.
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