Brakes; Disc or Drum?

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Brakes; Disc or Drum?

Postby Alan_H » Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:56 pm

I'm going to change out the axle on my trailer before I start my build. I want to go torsion or Timbren axles.

I also want to add brakes, as it will allow me some more lee-way with total weight for my TV that has a light tow capacity.

I am debating disc or traditional drum brakes.

What are the opinions out there on this subject? Does one get enough benefit from disc for the price difference?

Thanks!
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Re: Brakes; Disc or Drum?

Postby Shadow Catcher » Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:41 pm

Disc brakes are superior in so many ways, BUT, the level of complexity is much greater.
This gives an idea of what is involved https://www.etrailer.com/faq-adding-electric-over-hydraulic-disc-brakes.aspx
Speed costs money, how fast do you want to go, or in this case how much do you need to stop above and beyond the TV brakes.
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Re: Brakes; Disc or Drum?

Postby dales133 » Fri Feb 12, 2016 12:49 am

Ive got mechanical discs,they are simple to set up and very effective
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Re: Brakes; Disc or Drum?

Postby Alan_H » Fri Feb 12, 2016 1:39 pm

dales133 wrote:Ive got mechanical discs,they are simple to set up and very effective


By mechanical, are you meaning hydraulic with the surge actuator coupler?
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Re: Brakes; Disc or Drum?

Postby KCStudly » Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:29 pm

... or a parking brake?
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Re: Brakes; Disc or Drum?

Postby Alan_H » Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:52 pm

Here's my conundrum...

Electric Drum brakes are $240.

Disc Brakes, hydraulic with surge actuation coupler and electric lock-out for reverse... $440.

Disc brakes, with electric-hydraulic actuator.. over $1K.

I already have a brake controller for the car and it is almost finished getting wired for 7-way plug, so that is not a cost factor.

I like the idea of discs, but I am wondering for a trailer that will probably be below 1300lbs fully laden if there is that much of an advantage.
Additionally, I will probably only use the trailer 4-6 times a year if I am lucky.

It sounds like I am trying to talk myself out of it, I know... because if I go disc, I will likely go with the electric-hydraulic option, but that puts me at more than 4 times the cost.

Regarding set-up, I'm not scared of that, I have been twisting wrenches since I was 5, including brake jobs, engine rebuilds, trans rebuilds, electrical, painting, and interior work. I have the skill set to accomplish either one.
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Re: Brakes; Disc or Drum?

Postby dales133 » Fri Feb 12, 2016 5:00 pm

Alan_H wrote:
dales133 wrote:Ive got mechanical discs,they are simple to set up and very effective


By mechanical, are you meaning hydraulic with the surge actuator coupler?

Yea mechanical disics with surge actuator and built in mechanical park brake
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Re: Brakes; Disc or Drum?

Postby Alan_H » Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:42 pm

dales133 wrote:
Alan_H wrote:
dales133 wrote:Ive got mechanical discs,they are simple to set up and very effective


By mechanical, are you meaning hydraulic with the surge actuator coupler?

Yea mechanical disics with surge actuator and built in mechanical park brake


Where did you source your setup? Maybe I'm not looking in all the right places.
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Re: Brakes; Disc or Drum?

Postby dales133 » Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:49 pm

I got mine in australia from a company called huntsman products in melborne.
Im pretty sure something similar is avaliable there.
Ill take some pics for you.
Mines not assembled yet but ive fitted the same system before and it works very well.
They come with weld on caliper brackets for square axles
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Re: Brakes; Disc or Drum?

Postby dales133 » Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:54 pm

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Re: Brakes; Disc or Drum?

Postby Dale M. » Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:05 am

I have a 7000 lb car carrier trailer and I haul many different things of different weights on it, it has electric drum brakes I can adjust braking capacity at any time with simple move of lever on controller, I can lock up brakes at an time with any kind of stop.... Electric drum brakes work and are a lot simpler to implement and simple to operate and less expensive.....

With all the complication of setup for disks needing a electric over hydraulic actuator and messing with fluids and such, don't see any advantage other then bragging rights of " I have disks in my trailer".... My thoughts are so what....

Surge operated hydraulics are sort of a joke.... Seen many a boat trailer with them and many a problem.... And If you forget to lock pin the surge type its a bear to backup...

Also if on the road, where are you going to get parts if you have a problem.... For electrics almost every little town will have some sot of trailer place that may have them in stock, with specialized disk brakes system its probably going to be "we will have to order that for you and it will take 7 days"....

If you need parking brake on trailer you can just pull "brake away switch" pin to lock trailer wheels till you can get your wheel blocks in place....

Yes I recognize the superior braking concepts of disks, but for trailer use electric drums win in my book every time...

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Re: Brakes; Disc or Drum?

Postby drhill » Sat Feb 13, 2016 11:12 am

I agree with Dale. Keep it simple and economical with the electric drum brakes.

At only 1300 lbs your trailer wouldn't require brakes anywhere in Canada. The provinces all vary a bit but the strictest is anything over 2000 lbs or 50% of the vehicle weight. I expect the USA is pretty similar. I understand that you might want brakes anyway, but I don't see a need to go overboard. I have 3 vehicles and all have rear drum brakes.
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Re: Brakes; Disc or Drum?

Postby Alan_H » Sat Feb 13, 2016 11:49 am

Great feedback folks. :applause: I was leaning that way, but the last 2 posts definitely have me convinced to stick with the drums.

@drhill You are correct, I am not required brakes per the State requirements until 2000 lbs, however, it will be peace of mind, and reduce stress on my TV.

According to my Owner's Manual, my max tow limit is 1000 lbs without brakes and 1500 lbs with brakes. I think Subaru of America is being conservative with this rating, as folks outside the US state that theirs are rated up to 2K lbs.
I plan to keep my trailer as light as possible, however, I feel I should build in the safety if I can afford it. :worship:
Plus I'm building 5' high, 5' wide and about 10'4" in length, so it's probably a safe guess that I will be over 1K after load-out to travel. :NC
I may even use some of the $$'s that I was considering spending on discs and add drum brakes to my utility trailer as well. :thinking:
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Re: Brakes; Disc or Drum?

Postby Dale M. » Sun Feb 14, 2016 1:15 pm

Little story, was coming back from race track one evening towing with 1500lb (trailer package) rating Chevy PU towing trailer that weighs 1470 pounds (empty) and a 1360 lb race car on it.... Was approaching a intersection in the top side of tee about 50mph, car was approaching in bottom leg of tee and HAD STOP SIGN, how ever he ran stop and did a left at low speed right in front of me, I was hard on anti-lock brakes and trailer tires were actually squalling with elect brakes (10 inch) actually strong enough to lock both tires on trailer, I would guess we miss hitting the idiot by mere inches as his whole back end of car disappeared under hood of my PU.... Needless to say we did not touch but my best guess there was not more than 2-4 inches between his rear bumper and my front bumper, and the Chevy bow tie emblem on my grill was a big as a Peterbilt in his rear view mirror...

Stopped at next place to pull off for restroom and refreshment and was on road again about a hour later, was making a climb on a hill (4 lanes) with two 18 wheeler ahead in right lane doing maybe 20-25mph, moved into left lane to maintain speed and was almost at rear of last truck when he came over into my lane to pass truck ahead of him, again hard on binders as all I could see was bug stainless steel doors with Great Dane on them, again we had full anti-lock binder and trailer wheels with brakes locked up......

It was a road trip home from HELL...... Rest of trip home I was so shaken I would not get out of right lane and ran in one of those big long gaps you see in highway traffic, did not want to see another car even close to me....

Actually think extra braking from trailer was what keep me for actually hitting front vehicle in both instances....

Electric brakes set up proper and maintained do work and work well.......

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Re: Brakes; Disc or Drum?

Postby MtnDon » Sun Feb 14, 2016 3:24 pm

I would stick with our traditional electric drum brakes with a good controller and spend whatever is necessary to make them self adjusting.
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