Jump to content

Tandem Tow Dolly


Recommended Posts

Surge brakes scare the heck out of me, used them in the past and will never do it again. All too often when braking and turning in slick conditions the surge brake system would allow the trailer to push the back of the truck around and jackknife the rig or brake too hard pulling the back of the truck into a slide.

 

Electric brakes with a good quality proportional controller are a far better solution. Avoid a timer based electric as they are a very bad idea, just cheap to build and sell.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Surge brakes scare the heck out of me, used them in the past and will never do it again. All too often when braking and turning in slick conditions the surge brake system would allow the trailer to push the back of the truck around and jackknife the rig or brake too hard pulling the back of the truck into a slide.

 

Electric brakes with a good quality proportional controller are a far better solution. Avoid a timer based electric as they are a very bad idea, just cheap to build and sell.

X2..... I would go with electric.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have towed a lot using surge brakes on both a large pop-up and a horse trailer. While surge brakes are designed such that they do not apply when going down a steep grade with the engine holding you back, they do have sever limitations. I found them satisfactory only in good weather and on dry roads. I was much younger then and doubt that I'd feel that way if I were to do it now, especially with that horse trailer when two horses were in it! With the amount of weight that you are considering, I'd insist upon electric brakes with a good controller such as the Prodigy or something similar.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The hold-off on braking when the rig is going down hill under engine braking is done at the expense of braking sensitivity on level ground on the surge brakes I've seen. They used a spring, some adjustable, some fixed, that held the trailer back from activating the brake by some number of pounds of forward pressure on the hitch.

 

As you jacked up the start of braking point so you could avoid activation on downhills and engine braking you also changed the hold-off for flatland braking meaning the trailer pushed harder on the truck than it would at a lower level.

 

Picking a hold-off setting as low as possible makes for the best flatland experience so using something that allowed some braking at high levels of engine braking is probably the best compromise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok I have just got to play devil’s advocate after reading the above post. But first let me disclose I use both surge and electric brakes.

I have to question why a surge brake trailer could or would when braking and turning in slick conditions allow the trailer to push the back of the truck around and jackknife the rig? Was the trailer over loaded or speed a factor? An just how can electric brakes do any better job of braking when the brake sensor is mounted in the truck and only reads the inertia effecting the truck and NOT the trailer? Ok on the flip side how does a surge brake unit brake too hard pulling the back of the truck into a slide. I can see the angle and quick turning of the tow vehicle could affect the “surge” of the trailer, but too brake too hard and pull hard enough to pull the back end into a slide? Was the tow vehical too small to begin with? So again I ask just how can electric brakes do any better job of braking when the brake sensor is mounted in the truck and only reads the inertia effecting the truck and NOT the trailer?
Next the issue of braking while the MH is engine braking. I have to ask why not want to the toad weight to load the trailer brakes rather than increasing the load on the MH engine braking. Effectively you just decreased the MH braking ability by 10% or more, not a smart idea especially for us gassers. The budget for brake pads was raised. If you buy the good quality pads from AutoZone they will replace they for FREE for as long as you own the vehicle. I have just replaced the pads for the first times after five years of towing for piece of mind and not due to wear. On the other hand electric brakes are affected a lot of factors. Was the controller set when conditions were ideal? Did you readjust it for slick roads to prevent lockup? Did you readjust the controller when you drove the toad or refueled and the fuel load changed the weight on the brakes? Every change in weight requires a readjustment for optimal braking! Now most electric users set the controller once and never think about the need to readjust for every change in weight and road conditions and risk less than optimal braking when that one time you really need every last bit of braking available.
My vote for a tandem tow dolly would be surge brakes simply because of the variables involved. Surge self regulates while electric MUST be constantly reset to adjust for changes in weather, and /or weight to avoid locking the brakes or not providing enough braking to avoid pushing the MH. One electric brake lock up will flat spot tires. Replacing a set of trailer tires runs a bit more than the $14 brake pads for a surge brake trailer not to mention the peace of mind knowing when you press that brake pedal the trailer is not going to push you.
I was not looking to step on anyone's toes, I do use both types of brakes and have pros and cons for both but for simplicity surge is the way to go. I will say for electric I only use a P3 brake controller because it is the most idiot proof.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Love, welcome to the forums. Good to have you participate.

 

I too have used both and can respond to part of what you bring up. One major difference is that you can apply an electric brake on the trailer manually without applying any brake to the tow vehicle and it is often helpful to do so if road conditions are slippery. And since surge brakes do not apply until the trailer applies pressure against the tongue of the trailer, the tow vehicle must always brake first in order to get any braking action on the trailer and it will always lag behind the tow brakes and probably apply less braking when in slippery conditions.

 

And I do vary the setting of my electric brake control based upon road conditions. I have run a tests in parking areas in dry, wet, and in snowy conditions with an observer to let me know at what point the wheels lock so that I can keep the set point just under that level.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kirk thanks and you are spot on with the biggest pro for electric and the biggest neg for surge...the ability to manually engage the braking. Glad to know you are one of the few that knows the need for variable settings on the controller. Sadly too many people only know what the salesman told them the day they left the dealership and too many salesmen push the time delay units because they are cheaper. I appreciate the input from the above posters I just felt the person asking should have been given more details of both types than was provided. I am a CDL driver and have driven everything from a VW bug pulling a 17ft boat, to hot shots pulling 42ft trailers to semis and brakes are a serious issue with me. I have seen too many people hurt because of poor knowledge of the brakes they risk their lives with. Lol and my other pet peeve is surge protectors so don't get me started on that issue either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...