Jayco RV Owners Forum

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-10-2016, 09:41 AM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Athens
Posts: 1
Surge or Electric Brakes?

Hello Friends,

My wife & I have purchased a '99 Jayco Eagle 12 SO pop up camper.The weight on the title shows as 2200 lbs. It has class C tires (which I've read is rated safe up to 65 MPH). So, it looks like I'll need to get D rated tires on the trailer. Now, when I opened the door, the GVWR shows 3000 lbs. I've removed the awning, marine battery & the water tank (as we plan to State Park or RV Park camp).

Our tow vehicle is a '12 Ford Escape XLT 3.0 L V6 4WD (6 speed automatic with no overdrive, but does have an engine assist button for steep declines) with a MAX towing of 3500 lbs. It is equipped with a transmission cooler. I replaced the class II hitch with a class III.

We like the camper, but, even with taking things easy when towing it, are concerned that it may ultimately cause harm to the transmission & engine. However, we're not currently able to buy a lighter camper or a more powerful vehicle.

When I hitch up, my tow vehicle lowers only slightly. Nothing is drooping. Everything looks straight & balanced. I've towed the pup & can definitely feel the weight on inclined (overpasses, etc.) Feels fine on the highway, with very minimal sway.

I'm not seeing any brakes of any kind on this pup. Now, we are really just planning on towing it in Texas & it's pretty flat here. However, my wife wants to camp on the beach. In order to do that, we'll have to go through Houston. I am an EMT & am used to manuvering a vehicle with weight quite often. I'm a very offensive & defensive driver.

All that aside, Houston traffic is insane. So, my questions are, should I have surge or electric brakes installed onto the pop up & continue to enjoy it at an easy, cautious pace? Not worry about additional brakes? Or, forget it, sell it & save for something lighter?

Whatever the case, I will value your opinions. And, I thank you all for taking time to read my lengthy post. God Bless.

richnjen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2016, 10:01 AM   #2
Senior Member
oldmanAZ's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: AZ
Posts: 7,030
Welcome to the forum and, it sounds like, the wonderful world of camping.

I'm not knowledgeable enough about your trailer or vehicle to help with your question.

Sherm & Terry w/rescues Eydie (min Schnauzer) Steve RIP (std Poodle)
2015 Jay Flight 27RLS (Camped: 102 nights '15, 90 nights '16, 70 nights '17 so far)
2006 Ford F350 6.0 PSD, Lariat, 4WD, CC, LB, SRW, auto., Camper pkg.
oldmanAZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2016, 10:51 AM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Nanaimo
Posts: 429
You should be fine with your vehicle. If it is rated for pulling 3500lbs then it can safely pull it. You can take a lot of stress off your vehicle components by simply driving a little more relaxed and lighter on the foot.

Trailer brakes are always better but at 3000lbs you should be legal in most States without them. Here is a link to an AAA website that lists the requirements for trailer brakes in all of the States and Canadian Provinces.

Trailer Brakes - AAA Digest of Motor Laws
2016 Jayflight 26BHS Elite
2014 F150 4x4 Super Crew, Eco-Boost, Max Tow
Bayliner Trophy 2002ff
BCK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2016, 11:29 AM   #4
Senior Member
mike837go's Avatar
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Campbell Hall
Posts: 2,837
IF (and that's a big if...) you do decide to put brakes on your trailer, I would recommend electric over surge any day.

Surge brakes only read the relative deceleration between the tow vehicle and the trailer. That force may not be what is desired in all situations.

Personally, I had to get out into traffic on a downslope. The trailer's brakes were in full lock because of gravity. Just when gravity should of been helping.

Electric brakes are controlled by a box in the cab connected to the toe vehicle's own brake pedal. While not perfectly proportional to the tow vehicle's brakes, they respond to driver input (no more, no less). So at least you can control them from the cab.
TT 2015 19RD "TheJayco"
TV 2003 F-350 "Montblanc" - Housebroken chore truck

Sitting in The Cheap Seats.
And proud of it!
mike837go is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2016, 12:06 PM   #5
Senior Member
TWP723's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Abingdon
Posts: 3,594
Definitely get brakes. Years ago, the wife and I towed the PUP in my signature with a 2002 Escape 3.0 24V with class 3 hitch. Sagged pretty bad and the vehicle had a time with it. You most likely won't damage anything...especially with the 3.0. I wouldn't travel at higher speeds. It struggled though..no mistake about it. You know it's back there.
2013 Jayco Eagle 328 RLTS
2013 Ford F350 6.7L 4x4 CCLB
W/Air Lift air bags (front & rear)
Equal-I-Zerô WDH
Me, Momma and Charles (RIP buddy)
And introducing Sofie!! ;)
TWP723 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2016, 03:51 PM   #6
Senior Member
Mustang65's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Clearwater, FL area
Posts: 3,671
Originally Posted by richnjen View Post
Hello Friends,

I've removed the awning, marine battery & the water tank (as we plan to State Park or RV Park camp).

If your pop-up has Lp gas and a CO alarm, I would put a battery back in to supply power to the CO Alarm. Hate to have a leak while you are in the pop-up.. safety first

2013 Jayco Eagle 284BHS
250Watt Grape Solar Panel, MorningStar MPPT 60 Charge Controller
1500 Watt Ramsond PSI, 2 Trojan T145 Batteries (260Ah)
2 - AirSight Wireless IP Cameras (used as rear view cameras)
EnGenius WI-FI extender, D-Link wireless (n) modem
MagicJack Internet Phone
2012 Ford F150XLT, EcoBoost w/3.73
157" Wheel base, HD Towing Package

Our Solar Album https://www.jaycoowners.com/album.php?albumid=329
Mustang65 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2016, 04:27 PM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2013
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 2,057
Originally Posted by mike837go View Post
IF (and that's a big if...) you do decide to put brakes on your trailer, I would recommend electric over surge any day.

Surge brakes only read the relative deceleration between the tow vehicle and the trailer. That force may not be what is desired in all situations.
X2! I had a popup with surge brakes. It was a '93 Jayco 1208, 2600# GVWR. The short answer is that surge brakes suck and require more maintenance than electric brakes.

However, I will say that despite what the law says, you'd be smart getting any kind of brakes.
2013 Jayco Jayfeather X20 E, 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab Z71 SLE
DocBrown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2016, 07:58 AM   #8
Senior Member
Seann45's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Saskatoon Sask Canada
Posts: 9,701
If the trailer came from the factory without brakes then they are not required.. a cheaper easier solution would be to upgrade your vehicle brakes.. add drilled and slotted rotors and more aggressive brake pads.. this is an easy not expensive upgrade.. you can get what you need from summitracing.com
2004 Chev Silverado Duramax optioned past the max. 2009 Jayco Eagle 308 RLS 765 watts of solar, 6-6 volt batteries (696 amp hour), 2000 watt (4000 surge) whole house inverter.
175 days boondocking in 2017
215/2016, 211/2015, 196/14, 247/13, 193/12

Seann45 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2016, 08:28 AM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Dale Hollow Lake Tn/Ky
Posts: 1,941
Suggest you not remove necessary or useful accessories [battery comes to mind] in an attempt to make a less than optimal TV more BETTER. I pulled a popup of a similar weight with a straight six Volare wagon and made it back and forth to the Rockies twice, to Fla twice, and several dozen shorter outings and Fall trips to Indiana state Parks. Retired that wagon with 175k miles when we bought our first full sized Van. The oil cooler is a big important deal for your TV. Forget the add on brakes, just take care of the ones on your TV. You will wear them out faster. You can not turn a marginal TV into a dually by adding electric brakes and removing the awning.

PS my cross country trips were made with the family of 3 kids and 1 grandmother, a dog, and plenty of stuff we probably didn't need.
Bassdogs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2016, 09:07 PM   #10
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Dwight
Posts: 6
I have a 1994 Jay series 1207 I will be pulling with a GMC Canyon 4 cyl.I do not have trailer brakes that work.It has surge brakes but there shot and I decided not to mess with it.I think it weighs some where around 1200 to 1300 pounds.No hot water heater no fridge no battery it has to propane tanks and I did away with the worthless bag canopy.

Where I will be going is mostly 55 to 60 mph roads.I can stay off the interstate 95% of the time.When I do have to get on the interstate I can still keep it around 60 mph.

I keep the truck in 3 and that way it will not shift into overdrive.I am the guy who normally runs a little under the speed limit.Let the ones going 10, 20 and 30 over the limit pass.Just picked up a new set of tires 20.5 X8 -10 those itty bitty tires are to small to be driving fast.

I will just keep my distance brake early and take my time.Whats the hurry anyway.

jdlx277 is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

» Virginia State Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:58 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2002-2016 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.