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Old 10-02-2010, 12:37 PM   #1
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1977 31' Excella 500
Red Rock , Texas
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surge brake actuator?

Howdy,

I'm a newbie.

I recently got a '77 excella 500. It has all the problems one could expect... rear droop, funky plumbing, etc...

One positive is the axles appear to be in decent shape. The disc and pads are in good condition too. My question is about surge brake actuators. Any one use them? It is fairly inexpensive compared to the e/h units. Is there any reason why one of these should not be used?

sorry if thats been answered before...
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Old 10-02-2010, 12:55 PM   #2
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1977 27' Overlander
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You have to butcher the hitch to install it,it is very expensive to install,does not give the driver as much control as electric brakes,Etc,Etc. Unless someone has changed the axle since you trailer was made,I would guess the rubber on the torsion axle is shot. Good luck ,and welcome to the forum. Dave
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Old 10-02-2010, 01:14 PM   #3
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I don't know much about the older ASs, but I don't think they had OEM disk brakes back in 1977, so because you say the axles appear to be in decent shape AND they have disk brakes it would seem that they have in fact been replaced.
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Old 10-02-2010, 02:24 PM   #4
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I don't know if the axles have been replaced, but they seem to function fine, with a few degrees positive camber... (camber?)

I would guess they would be shot too... but so far they appear to have some life left.

As far as butchering the hitch and installation, thats not going to be a problem. I'm a good welder... I'm more concerned with how well they work. I have pulled a couple of large generators that were equipped with surge brakes. It was honestly hard to tell how much stopping power they had. I don't think the gennies weighed as much as the AS.
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Old 10-02-2010, 07:11 PM   #5
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1977 27' Overlander
1973 27' Overlander
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The 77 used a vacuum electric with booster over hydraulic disk brakes,they make an electric actuator that mounts on the tongue and is operated by the electric controller inside the truck.Can`t help it just hate surge brakes.Dave
Hope 1 of the European guys joins in,I understand they must change to Surge
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Old 10-02-2010, 07:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junkyardawg View Post
I don't know if the axles have been replaced, but they seem to function fine, with a few degrees positive camber... (camber?)

I would guess they would be shot too... but so far they appear to have some life left.

As far as butchering the hitch and installation, thats not going to be a problem. I'm a good welder... I'm more concerned with how well they work. I have pulled a couple of large generators that were equipped with surge brakes. It was honestly hard to tell how much stopping power they had. I don't think the gennies weighed as much as the AS.
Surge brakes are an absolute total hazard to use on a travel trailer, especially one that's 31 feet long.

In yout travels, you will experience a sway.

Unfortuantely, you cannot apply surge brakes by themselves. They only work when you hit the tow vehicle brakes.

That, in itself, creates the guarantee, that you will most likely find yourself, in a ditch, if your lucky. If luck is not with you, you more than likely will find the trailer, the tow vehicle, you and all your passengers, UPSIDE DOWN.
An automatic brake controller that can also be manually applied, is an absolute must.

The disc brakes are original and some parts are still available for them. If the actuator is bad, it can be replaced with a current type that does not need a source of vacuum to power it.

Andy
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Old 10-02-2010, 08:31 PM   #7
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1977 31' Excella 500
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Thanks Dave.

I appreciate your input. I don't yet have any opinion. Its all still pretty new to me... I've pulled lots of different trailers around, but never really had the chance to decide what gear was on the trailers... I have to admit I like the simple design of the surge brake. I thought it might work well for a trailer that is going to mostly travel flat ground between my home and the Texas coast.

Thanks again for the input...

btw... this forum is really awesome!
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Old 10-02-2010, 10:30 PM   #8
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Most travel trailers (TT) use weight distributing (WD) hitches to transfer some of the forward weight of the trailer onto the front axle of the tow vehicle (TV) for better handling and safety...

Most (if not all) WD hitches do NOT work well with, or are designed to be used with 'surge' type brake actuators due to the for-aft movement of the coupler - also there are leverage forces in play at the ball/coupler connection, which would make a surge coupler more prone to failure or damage...

Unless you've got a marginal braking system, IE very heavy trailer, electric brakes work very well...If your axles need replacing or rebuilding, you might take a look at converting to electric brakes - those older AS hyd brakes are far from ideal - IMHO!

New electric brake backing plate assemblies are very economical, as are the matching hub/drum assemblies...the other 'plus' with electric brakes compared with that old AS hyd system is that you can easily pull the trailer with TV's that have electric type proportional type brake controllers - much more prevalent in the real world...

Since your AS is of the same vintage as ours, and our axles were shot two years ago when we bought it - the rubber element rods inside axles were 'toast' and we had almost no articulation left in the system...we bought nice new, upgraded axle assemblies with 12 inch electric brakes from Inland RV in So-Cal and enstalled em' - a relatively easy task (did it by myself)...and couldn't be happier - much better 'ride', safe NEW braking system, etc...

Good luck on your projects...

Ray
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:59 AM   #9
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Equal-I-Zer can be used with surge brakes, as can the very similar REESE products where the lever arms "slide". This is what the boaters (5-9% TW) are using on their rigs where that low TW percentage means a big boat.

I still wouldn't use it, but offer this as some FYI.

Equal-i-zerŪ Hitch - Product Info - Compatibility



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