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Old 06-01-2021, 12:04 AM   #1
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EOH Disc brake conversion

Planning on replacing all components of my 17b brakes this year. For about $550 more than Dexter parts I could convert to disks with an electric over hydraulic system. Has anyone else done this? It would be nice to have better braking power and easier maintenance.
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Old 06-01-2021, 12:11 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by flynfrfun View Post
It would be nice to have better braking power and easier maintenance.

The existing braking system is more than adequate for the trailer weight.

How could maintenance be easier?
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Old 06-01-2021, 12:30 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flynfrfun View Post
Planning on replacing all components of my 17b brakes this year. For about $550 more than Dexter parts I could convert to disks with an electric over hydraulic system. Has anyone else done this? It would be nice to have better braking power and easier maintenance.

We have a 17, and the brakes work very well. We have traveled extensively throughout the Western US, frequently over mt. passes in the 7,000 ft. plus range, and with 5-8% grades. We've never had a problem with brake inadequacy or over heating.
I don't understand the "easier maintenance" comment. Electric over hydraulic is a much more complicated system to install and maintain than a simple mechanical adjuster on the stock electric brakes. I have adjusted them twice in 20,000 miles. (Of course, most of those road miles were driving and towing, with braking only a very small % of the time.)
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Old 06-01-2021, 04:58 AM   #4
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The brakes work fine, save your money for Firewood.
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Old 06-01-2021, 09:13 AM   #5
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I bet if Escape offered EOH disk brakes as a $550 option, most of you would have gone that route. That is why I'm contemplating it as it is a $550 option over a basic brake system replacement I can go with right now. I don't mind the installation as it's not all that difficult and would be a fun summertime project.

I know this is not common, but I want to make sure it's because of cost and not that the EOH systems are unreliable or have other downfalls I'm unaware of. That was the main reason for my post...to see if by chance someone else has installed an EOH and whether or not they would do it again.
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Old 06-01-2021, 09:29 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by flynfrfun View Post
I bet if Escape offered EOH disk brakes as a $550 option, most of you would have gone that route.
After 12 campers with drum brakes I wouldn't waste my money on disks, so I guess I wouldn't fall into the "most" category.

Unless hooked to an extremely complicated anti-lock hydraulic system, it has been found that simple hydraulic brakes can lock up much easier with the simple brake controller everyone installs. There is a good reason for anti-lock brakes on today's disk brake equipped vehicles. I doubt you'll get them with an anti-lock component.

Enjoy,

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Old 06-01-2021, 10:46 AM   #7
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Thumbs down not for me but YMMV

I'm with Perry - I've never felt any shortcomings with the wonderfully KISS electro-magnetic drum brakes on any of the many RV and heavy utility trailers I've owned and I've no desire to get into the chore of occasional hydraulic fluid flushing (recommended preventive maintenance for any hydraulic brake system regardless of fluid type for good reason) on a trailer.

EOH brakes would be a quick "no thanks" option for me.

YMMV, no worries.
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Old 06-01-2021, 04:20 PM   #8
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That seems very reasonably priced - the electric-over-hydraulic actuator alone usually costs more than $550, and there are also the calipers, caliper bracket, disks, hubs, and hoses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perryb67 View Post
Unless hooked to an extremely complicated anti-lock hydraulic system, it has been found that simple hydraulic brakes can lock up much easier with the simple brake controller everyone installs. There is a good reason for anti-lock brakes on today's disk brake equipped vehicles.
ABS is not needed because of disk brakes - it works better because of them. ABS is now required (on motor vehicles) as part of the same ever-escalating expectations for performance that also led to the replacement of drums with disks in light vehicles (and even some heavy trucks).

Of course if you set the controller gain too high you can lock up the trailer wheels, and more effective brakes will be more able to do this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perryb67 View Post
I doubt you'll get them with an anti-lock component.
ABS is generally not used on the many trailers that use disk brakes (which are usually surge systems rather than electrically controlled), but ABS is now required on at least some heavy truck trailers.

ABS is available for light trailers with electric-over-hydraulic brakes, but it is uncommon, and of course it would not be included at only $550 over the cost of electric drums.
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Old 06-01-2021, 05:48 PM   #9
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I for one would love disk brakes on my trailer, but not enough to spend the money. If I was planning to keep the trailer for few years I can see myself spending the 550$. I had four travel trailers in the last twenty years and never liked the brakes. Very poor stopping power and modulation compared to any modern vehicle out there.
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Old 06-01-2021, 06:06 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
ABS is not needed because of disk brakes - it works better because of them. ABS is now required (on motor vehicles) as part of the same ever-escalating expectations for performance that also led to the replacement of drums with disks in light vehicles (and even some heavy trucks).

Of course if you set the controller gain too high you can lock up the trailer wheels, and more effective brakes will be more able to do this.

ABS is generally not used on the many trailers that use disk brakes (which are usually surge systems rather than electrically controlled), but ABS is now required on at least some heavy truck trailers.

ABS is available for light trailers with electric-over-hydraulic brakes, but it is uncommon, and of course it would not be included at only $550 over the cost of electric drums.


Sounds like we agree.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 06-02-2021, 09:05 AM   #11
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That seems very reasonably priced - the electric-over-hydraulic actuator alone usually costs more than $550, and there are also the calipers, caliper bracket, disks, hubs, and hoses.
To be clear, it is about $550 more than replacing backing plates and drums on my existing brakes. The entire Hydrastar kit (actuator, caliper, disks, brackets and brake line tubing) would be about $1000. I would install it myself so there would be no labor costs. E-trailer has Dexter brake assemblies and hubs for $450. I know there are cheaper options, but I would prefer to stay with Dexter parts at a minimum.
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Old 06-02-2021, 09:43 AM   #12
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My brakes work, but not as good as I would like. I have to turn down the gain when on city streets to stop the overagressive braking. Then I have to turn the gain up when on freeways to make sure I have enough instant braking power for emergency stops...and even then I'm not confident that I have enough braking power to stop as fast as I would like. I don't really have any issues braking in the mountains as I go slow and use a lower gear when going downhill and when I need the brakes they work ok.

From what I have read the EOH disk brakes should eliminate gain adjustments when going from city streets to freeway. I think partially because the brakes have about double the stopping power compared to electric drum brakes. So lower gain settings that work on city streets will still give enough stopping power when at high speeds. Not 100% sure on this but have read multiple posts online stating this.

The other thing that made me investigate this is it seems to me that when you suspect your brakes need maintenance whole assemblies tend to be replaced to make an improvement. What I mean is you can have perfectly good shoes and a worn magnet. You shouldn't replace just the magnet without having the drum machined so the new magnet will properly seat against the armature. Most people end up replacing the drum since turning it is usually not much cheaper. Then it makes sense to replace the whole brake assembly because the parts are rusty and it just doesn't make sense to only replace the magnet. So every time you do brake work it's rarely only one component replaced. They all work together and all need to be in good condition for good braking. So while the brakes are simple and relatively cheap, I think the reduced maintenance on disk brakes would pay for themselves over the long haul.
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Old 06-02-2021, 06:41 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by flynfrfun View Post
My brakes work, but not as good as I would like. I have to turn down the gain when on city streets to stop the overagressive braking. Then I have to turn the gain up when on freeways to make sure I have enough instant braking power for emergency stops...and even then I'm not confident that I have enough braking power to stop as fast as I would like. I don't really have any issues braking in the mountains as I go slow and use a lower gear when going downhill and when I need the brakes they work ok.

From what I have read the EOH disk brakes should eliminate gain adjustments when going from city streets to freeway. I think partially because the brakes have about double the stopping power compared to electric drum brakes. So lower gain settings that work on city streets will still give enough stopping power when at high speeds. Not 100% sure on this but have read multiple posts online stating this.
I think it's more likely that the response time, rather than the eventual amount of braking force, is the issue. Disks have minimal free play and so they engage quickly (even with a electronic circuit, pump, and hydraulics in the control path), so they feel more responsive.

The usual workaround to this issue in modern proportional is a "boost" feature (which can usually be switched to be active or not), which adds a brief pulse of extra braking current as soon as the brake pedal is pushed (as indicated by the brake light circuit going on); I find that it works well on the highway, but is intrusive in stop-and-go traffic.
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Old 06-02-2021, 10:01 PM   #14
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The usual workaround to this issue in modern proportional is a "boost" feature...I find that it works well on the highway, but is intrusive in stop-and-go traffic.

And, freaks you out if you're slowly driving a dirt road, leaving the campsite, and boost accidentally got switched on.
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Old 06-03-2021, 09:35 AM   #15
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I mis-spoke when I said I adjust the gain...I switch my Tekonsha P3 from No boost in city streets to B1 (Boost 1) on the highway. Works OK, but I would still like more stopping power on the highways. If I turn the gain up to where I'm happier with the highway stopping power, then it seems I have way too much braking when on city streets even with no boost.

I'm about 50/50 on whether to just replace the drums and brake assemblies and see if things get better or go with the disks. For all I know maybe my brakes are not working properly and a new set will make things better. I have inspected the shoes and adjusted to where they are just barely dragging as you spin the wheel. The Tekonsha has a nice feature that will do a diagnostic check. Voltage was good, amperage was about 6 or 7 amps, so i think that's good too (3 amps/brake). I didn't really do a proper inspection on the magnets or armature as I was not familiar with how to inspect them when I had them off a few years ago.

I agree with prior posts that the EOH is more complicated than electric brakes. I really have no worries about the reliability of the brake tubing, calipers and disks as that is proven technology. The actuator is another matter. It has an electric motor, hydraulic pump and circuitry to make it all work. Lots of parts to fail or go wrong, and it's not cheap to replace if it does fail.
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Old 06-03-2021, 10:57 AM   #16
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I have inspected the shoes and adjusted to where they are just barely dragging as you spin the wheel.
The brakes need to not drag at all when they are not applied (although of course there is some drag from the bearings). If the brake shoes drag, they're wear and overheat just driving, especially at high speed.
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Old 06-04-2021, 09:11 AM   #17
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The brakes need to not drag at all when they are not applied (although of course there is some drag from the bearings). If the brake shoes drag, they're wear and overheat just driving, especially at high speed.
Brian,
To clarify my statement above...since my drums are not perfectly round, properly adjusted means as you rotate the wheel the high spot hits and makes a slight dragging sound and then goes away for the rest of the rotation. I should have made that more clear. I agree dragging brakes cause fade and overheating.
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Old 06-08-2021, 09:03 AM   #18
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I decided to replace my old brake assemblies and hub/drums. I want to give the electric brakes a fair chance and start with all new parts and see how it goes. Thanks for all the input from everyone. Really like the idea of disk brakes but a little leery about the actuator. Basically if it fails after the 2yr warranty you are buying another one for $600ish. I was able to get all my Dexter brake assemblies/drum parts for about $350 including Timken bearings/races.
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Old 06-09-2021, 10:56 AM   #19
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Will weigh-in on this as a automotive technician.....
Not a direct comparison but have converted two dual axle boat trailer trailer to EOH disc brakes.
Yes, the stopping power was much better on both 6,000 lb GVWR trailers and I would do it again for safety reasons. But, the maintenance requirements are much higher with the disc brakes and the rotors WILL rust - especially during our coastal BC winters.
Compared to my conversion costs your estimate seems very low, factoring-in the dual vs single axles.
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Old 06-09-2021, 11:04 AM   #20
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To continue...
We have a 2020 5.0 TA and I find even when fully loaded the brakes are adequate. We tow with an F-150 V-8 and do use engine braking to assist with hill decents.

Would I do the EOH conversion on the brakes when they wear out? Not based on the cost compared to doing same on my boat trailers or considering the increased maintenance requirements.
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