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Old 05-13-2005, 10:28 AM   #21
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BJoern,

Thanks for the explaination of the European requirements. I hope that you can find a way to keep the electric brakes on your Airstream.

As clarification, the trailer my earlier post is not mine. It belongs to the parents of my former exchange student. Her father had told me that they brought it on a trip through Poland and the rough roads shook it to pieces. He does not think it is repairable and will not tow it again.
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Old 05-13-2005, 12:40 PM   #22
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As long as I am here

We used to have a Jayco fold down with the surge brakes. I really like the electric brakes better but then the fold down was so light comparatively speaking. My question is why are electric brakes illegal in Europe? I am curious about that.
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Old 05-13-2005, 01:50 PM   #23
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An intersting fact about surge brakes vs. electric brakes:

About 20% of boat trailers have electric brakes. This is because it is illegal to use surge brakes in Commercial Interstate commerce.

Boat trailer manufacturers make one trailer out of every five with electric brakes, they can use that trailer as the transport when they haul the other trailers from their shop to the retailer. The four trailers with surge brakes are stacked on top of the one with the electric brakes.

Makes sense to me.
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Old 05-13-2005, 04:20 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheel interested
My question is why are electric brakes illegal in Europe? I am curious about that.
I can only speak for Germany and I am not 100% shure if everything is true, but thats what I understood from what people and officials told me.

In German Regulations the Tow Vehicle and the Trailer brakes have to be independent from each other. A surge brake brakes with or without Tow Vehicle sounds silly but it does or at least it could. The surge brake "only" needs an impulse on the coupler i.e. by braking the TV.

The electricbrake need an electric impulse normaly given by the brake controller, as the brake controller is in the car, it is in the eyes of the germany laws not independent from the Tow Vehicle. Stupid Laws? YES!!!

I found the german guideline for electricbrakes, that I mentioned before. It is not illegal to drive with electric brakes as long as the brakecontroller unit is in the trailer and not in the Tow Vehicle!
The allowed max. trailerweight is depending on the possible brakingpower, which is (in the eyes of the German engeneers) lower than with a surge brake. Therefor they test the Tow Vehicle - Trailer Combo and then decide which max trailerweight they allow.


And the last big difference is, that the Tow Vehicle and the Trailer are seen as one unit, which means for us that we can not change the Tow Vehicle, as it is illegal to use another one as the tested with the trailer. So if you buy a new car all the tests have to be done again and if they don´t like the result, you have to change Axles, brakes and coupler to surge brake.

I love my country and the regulations, laws and technical engeneers at the TÜV...

We will try to get a permisision to drive with the elctric brakes, but it probably will be a hard and lonely way to go.


Bjoern
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Old 05-13-2005, 08:24 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pschoerrn
I can only speak for Germany and I am not 100% shure if everything is true, but thats what I understood from what people and officials told me.

Snip.....

I love my country and the regulations, laws and technical engeneers at the TÜV...

We will try to get a permisision to drive with the elctric brakes, but it probably will be a hard and lonely way to go.


Bjoern
Bjoern,



All that I can say is WOW!

I thought that we had some tough regulations from state to state. California seems like nursery school compared to your regulations .



Thanks for sharing,

Henry
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Old 05-14-2005, 06:22 AM   #26
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well, an electric brake system IS independant of the tow vehicle if you consider that it would have a break-away switch, and its own independant 12v electrical system. should the trailer disconnect from the tow vehicle, this safety mechanism will apply the brakes on the trailer.

what performs this function on a surge brake system?
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Old 05-14-2005, 06:37 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck
well, an electric brake system IS independant of the tow vehicle if you consider that it would have a break-away switch, and its own independant 12v electrical system. should the trailer disconnect from the tow vehicle, this safety mechanism will apply the brakes on the trailer.

what performs this function on a surge brake system?
You are right Chuck! Does every Trailer have a Brake-away switch?? If not is it possible to put them on every trailer? That would probably concern the thechnical engeneers overhere.

The Surge brakes are activated in case of seperation by a safty leach. If the connection between hitchball and coupler opens, the surge brake is automatically activated.

The leach is connected with the handbrake and is put over the hitchball when hitching up the trailer. In case of seperation it pulls the brake until the tires block, thats sometimes killing the tires, but better the tires then other people.

Bjoern


BTW. Thanks to all! This threat really is a big help for me!!
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Old 05-14-2005, 06:39 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck
well, an electric brake system IS independant of the tow vehicle if you consider that it would have a break-away switch, and its own independant 12v electrical system. should the trailer disconnect from the tow vehicle, this safety mechanism will apply the brakes on the trailer.

what performs this function on a surge brake system?
Chuck, on most surge brake systems I have seen and used, there is a lever attached to the master cylinder of the surge unit, which in turn is attached to the safety chains. Theoretically, if the trailer gets away from the tow vehicle, the safety chains will pull the lever up, and actuate the trailer brakes.
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Old 05-14-2005, 06:43 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axleman
Bjoern,
All that I can say is WOW!
I thought that we had some tough regulations from state to state. California seems like nursery school compared to your regulations .

Thanks for sharing,

Henry
We could open a new threat on regulations and laws in our countries... That would be interesting too, but I think no country on planet earth will beat us germans in the number of regulations and laws anyway...

Just imagine that 3/4 of all worldwide tax laws come from germany!


But that should be another threat in the off topic section I guess.

Bjoern
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Old 05-14-2005, 04:31 PM   #30
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I wonder how you handle equalizing hitches with surge brakes, or don't you use them in europe? The systems used in the US (Reese, easy Lift, etc) would seem to cause problems with a surge brake system. It seems to me that even a friction sway link would cause problems.

Jim Mickle, Utica Michigan, USA
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Old 05-14-2005, 04:53 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmickle
I wonder how you handle equalizing hitches with surge brakes, or don't you use them in europe? The systems used in the US (Reese, easy Lift, etc) would seem to cause problems with a surge brake system. It seems to me that even a friction sway link would cause problems.

Jim Mickle, Utica Michigan, USA

Jim,

equalizing hitches are unknown and not necessary as normal hitch weight are between 110 lbs and 220 lbs. Friction Sway links are also unknown, the anti-sway stuff used overhere looks like the one in my post before. It work by squeezing the coupler against the ball and has 4 friction pads integrated. These pads can be changed when worn out, so thats a cheap and easy way.

Most trailers don´t even have these anti-sway systems!

Another big difference are the towing speeds which are between 49 mph and 62 mph. Normal towing speed is 49 mph and that is pretty safe with the european trailer, which are lighter and have the axles in the middle of the trailer.

Bjoern
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Old 05-14-2005, 04:56 PM   #32
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There are adapters available for surge brakes and equalizers hitches. I do not use an equalizer hitch on my boat. I do have surge brakes and they work rather well. No brake controller and easy hook up. Here is a link for an equalizer hitch that can be used with surge brakes. http://rvwholesalers.com/rv-terms/eq...zer-hitch.html There are others it is just the first one I found.

My boat and trailer are about 7500 #'s, dual axle, dual brakes, with standard class V hitch mounted on the van listed below. The boat is 26' long, with trailer total length is about 30 feet. Ball is 2 5/16ths.

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Old 05-15-2005, 02:33 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Action
My boat and trailer are about 7500 #'s, dual axle, dual brakes, with standard class V hitch mounted on the van listed below. The boat is 26' long, with trailer total length is about 30 feet. Ball is 2 5/16ths.

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Just curious, what type of brake does your boat trailer use, disc or hydraulic drums?



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Old 05-15-2005, 10:04 AM   #34
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I have a very traditional system. 4 wheel hydraulic drum on multi-leaf springs. A 1997 system made by Dico. Dico is now Titan.


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Old 05-15-2005, 03:23 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pschoerrn
Does every Trailer have a Brake-away switch??


Bjoern,



A break away switch is a fairly straightforward addition to most electric brake systems. It usually requires attaching a small leash (steel cable), control box and additional (small) 12-volt battery to the trailer (generally on the tongue). The lease attaches to a control box on the trailer and the other end goes to the tow vehicle. If the unit becomes detached from the tow vehicle it pulls the leash out of the control box and activates the electric brakes using 12-volt power from the additional small battery. I hope this helps !



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Old 05-15-2005, 03:59 PM   #36
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Thanks Henry,

that really helped, so it works like the safety leach on a surge brake...

We now just have to find a technical engeneer at that gives us his ok for the electric brakes on our trailer .


Bjoern
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Old 05-15-2005, 04:36 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pschoerrn
Does every Trailer have a Brake-away switch?? If not is it possible to put them on every trailer? Bjoern
State laws vary, my trailer has never had a breakaway switch even though it has electric brakes. It seems that trailers that have a weight of under 3000 pounds are not required to have them, at least where the trailer originally was registered, and where it is now. It would be possible to install one on the trailer, though.
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Old 05-15-2005, 05:43 PM   #38
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Bjoern & Terry

Bjoern & Terry,

Glad to help Bjoern ! Terry you are correct state laws do vary . You two guys may find the following link interesting, I did. Just thought that I would share .

http://www.championtrailers.com/brkart.html



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Old 05-16-2005, 11:58 AM   #39
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Thanks for the link, Henry! That was helpfull too...

Maybe a dumb question, but how do you secure your Trailer when parked? Does the electric brake allow anything like a parking brake, which we have on all our surgebrake trailers?

Please don´t laugh to loud, I could hear that.

Bjoern
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Old 05-16-2005, 12:03 PM   #40
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Securing a parked trailer with out the towed vehicle is usually done with wheel chocks behind and in front of the wheels.

In an electric brake set up the brakes can only be used if there is electricity (a battery or tow vehicle) available and hooked up to the trailer. This is not very practical when not towing. A block of wood is cheap and easy.

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