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Old 06-27-2011, 12:31 PM   #1
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Question Surge Brakes - Worth it to install?

Hi everyone, this is my first post and I'm completely new to camping. We picked up our 2011 1007 model on Friday and took it to a Jellystone campground Friday night to ease us into camping. Besides the awning , everything went really smooth!

I have a question though, we live in Illinois where its pretty flat. I am towing this with my 2010 Honda minivan and have the Honda tow package installed. However, in 3 weeks we are going to go to Pittsburgh and Hershey PA where it is quite mountainous. Should I have the surge brakes installed? It's a 10' box and weighs approximately 1850lbs with all my stuff in it.

The dealer thinks probably not worth it, but I am afraid of those long steep inclines.. its bad enough when you aren't towing a big box behind you.

Any thoughts or advice would really be appreciated.
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:37 PM   #2
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I had surge brakes on an old trailer and it was a problem backing up an incline, they always locked up. Just use a good electric brake controller like the Prodigy p2 or p3 and it will work great.
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:59 PM   #3
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Hmm, I don't have electric brakes either. Dealer is telling me to drop the transmission into 2nd gear as I go down the mountain... It's about $1000 to install the electric brakes and brake controller and wiring, etc.
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Old 06-27-2011, 01:16 PM   #4
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Hey Penns215! Welcome to the Jayco Forum! If you get some time come on over to the new member forum and introduce yourself.

Glad your first trip went well! Those awnings can be a little tricky until you figure them out.

Rather than surge brakes - could you add electric brakes? I think you would be much happier. I know it is an option from Jayco, just not sure how difficult it is to install aftermarket.



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Old 06-27-2011, 01:26 PM   #5
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They aren't terribly involved to install yourself, but I don't really think it's necessary. I'm guessing that you're Honda has a 3,000 or 3,500lb tow rating, which is well above what you're pulling. I think you'll be fine without brakes.

If you decide you can't live without them, go with electric. They are better in just about every way on a camping trailer.
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Old 06-27-2011, 02:08 PM   #6
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Thanks (I will go and introduce myself) and Thanks for the tip about not needing them. I do have 3,500 towing and electric brakes are about $1000..and I figure if I burn through my brake pads while on this trip, it will be cheaper to buy new brakes on the van.

Thanks for the tips everyone, nice to have a forum to vet these questions through!
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Old 06-27-2011, 08:32 PM   #7
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Just keep it slow and easy, gear down and let your engine do some of the braking. Dont ride the brakes so you give them time to cool a little between braking.



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Old 06-30-2011, 12:38 AM   #8
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Don't take the risk. Install full electric brakes. Simple brake hubs (or new axle - that has included brake hubs), some thick 10 gauge wire, a simple 7 pin connector and a industry validated Prodigy P2/P3 brake controller. Simple 4-5 hours to install / upgrade. Well worth the time and the small cost for saving lives (yours and others).

Seriously... If your attached trailer is over your vehicle's cargo carrying capacity, install electric brakes on the trailer. Most mini-vans have internal cargo capacity of 1,500 lbs. Any attached trailer without its own brakes ABOVE vehicle's CC weight is taxing the vehicle's factory brakes. Thus, high risk of failure, early burn out and can "Warp" the rotors during panic stops. And, not to mention fish tails and long braking distances. Simply install full electric brakes on your trailer and "its good for life". Once installed and properly adjusted, you'd be amazed. And, (like me) you'll be telling many others to install brakes on their trailer over 1,500 lbs as well... Braking power before and after is amazing...
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Old 06-30-2011, 01:47 PM   #9
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I have surge brakes on my FSO and there is a switch you though when backing up so the brakes don't lock up.

But for the time, and money I would do electric brakes..
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:11 PM   #10
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I just got a small Jayco with surge brakes, which I know nothing about, and when I backed it in to the driveway the brakes did not lock up. Is there something wrong with them maybe? There is what looks like a knob on top but the lettering on top is worn and I can't read it. Could this be that switch? Also, do surge brakes require fluid? This is all new to me. Thanks.....Bill
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:39 PM   #11
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I thought most states passed laws that any trailer over 1000 lbs had to have brakes?

I went through PA this last summer and I was down shifting and braking lol

There's some steep mountains there.

I would add the brakes. JMHO

You'll spend more than the $1000 if you get into trouble or a wreak.

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Old 02-21-2013, 05:24 AM   #12
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Virginia requires brakes on trailers 3000lbs and over.

Not saying whether that's good or bad, just citing the requirement.
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:38 AM   #13
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The limit in Iowa is 3000lbs as well, however, I would suggest reading your owners manual. It may very well recommend a trailer over 1500lbs have its own brakes, we had a Chevy minivan at one time and that was it's limit.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:15 AM   #14
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Keep in mind if you do surge brakes you will have to change the coupler on the trailers "A" frame if it is not setup already. we had surge on our 12 udk pop-up and it had a lever to switch that would de-activate the brakes for backing up.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:32 AM   #15
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Had surge brakes on an old Starcraft Galaxy 8, large popup, and loved it when needing to stop fast or even in traffic. I never had a problem backing up with them either.

However, on a long downhill run south of Lansing Michigan I had the brakes come on and we never did accelorate quickly enough for them to come off. They dragged for about 10 miles and my FIL who was following us noticed the fire coming from the right brake. We had the brake drag, heat up the wheel, melt the seal on the wheel cylinder, leaked brake fluid, and started the fluid on fire.

We started the shoulder on fire, the wheel well which was plastic, and some other minor damage. Took all weekend to repair using the local auto repair shop and working at the campground.

Surge brakes are great for stops but I do not like them for long downhills as you need to pull on them to releasee them and they don't always dis-engage on their own.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:46 AM   #16
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Correction: Ohio law is brakes on any trailer 2000lbs or more.

http://www.roadkingtrailers.com/brakelaws.htm
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:56 PM   #17
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I agree with DaleNoel. We too have a 2011 1007, which came with surge brakes. We had a lot of trouble getting them to work properly, had to go back to the dealer 5-6 times for adjustments. One side would grab and pulse, causing the trailer to hop under all but the most gentle stop. After adjustment they'd work for one day and then act up again. Turned out it was a contaminated brake shoe (or so they said, still not sure it's 100%). Surge brakes will not lock up nor grab as hard as your vehicle brakes, but they do help take some of the burden off your vehicle in hard braking. I've been very glad to have them a time or two. Since they by nature depend on a momentum "surge" to activate, as opposed to sustained steady braking, I'm not sure how well they'd do for long downhill braking. The knob you describe is the reverse lockout; swing it up into locked position to lock out the brakes while backing up. (Mine won't stay in locked-out mode when I want them to.) Surge brakes help with quick stops, but really they're kind of a Mickey Mouse deal, and I'd definitely get electric brakes next time. Even on a 1007. Peace of mind.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:47 AM   #18
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Well after researching surge brakes, I took my recently purchased Jayco back to the dealer and he has agreed to repair them at no cost, so far. I just bought the thing and when I got it home it backed right up. Brakes didn't work. The salesman didn't even bring up the brakes during the walk through. Took it to a shop and he opened it up and it looked like rusty water inside. Said the small shock absorber was shot too. My question is after reading about the brakes locking up, or surging, would it be alright if I disengaged the brakes when coming down a long hill? I'm headed up to the mountains soon at an elevation of 5600 feet. Coming back downhill could be a problem. Thanks....Bill
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:22 PM   #19
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I dont lite surge brakes on my 2010 1007 jayco, to many problems. have brakes backed off all the way...
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Old 05-11-2013, 05:27 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rimshot View Post
I just got a small Jayco with surge brakes, which I know nothing about, and when I backed it in to the driveway the brakes did not lock up. Is there something wrong with them maybe? There is what looks like a knob on top but the lettering on top is worn and I can't read it. Could this be that switch? Also, do surge brakes require fluid? This is all new to me. Thanks.....Bill
Hey Bill, I'm new to a Jayco Pop-up 14SO and it has surge breaks also. They shouldn't have locked up backing into the driveway unless your driveway is a steep incline, that's where the switch comes in. When you're backing up a hill you'll need to change the position of the switch so the break doesn't come on. The knob on the top is the break fluid filler cap, make sure there's fluid in there, mine leaks a bit so I need to address that. The switch is on the side of the hitch, mine's on the passenger side of the vehicle, looks more like a lever that will be in a up or down position. My manual says the up position is "Towing position" and the down is the "Back-up Position."

To add just a bit more, I emailed Jayco and asked for a copy of the manual for the camper (they didn't go back to 2000) on the website. They emailed me a PDF of the manual and the spec sheet for the camper. That's got everything you need to know about all the parts and pieces. You may want to do the same so you have everything you need.

--Moose
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