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How to Change a Trailer Equipped with Hydraulic Surge Brakes to an Electric Brake System

A common question that we get in our Parts and Service Department at Felling Trailers is in regards to changing the brake system from Hydraulic Surge brakes to an Electric Brake System. Felling’s Parts Specialist identify for you the step-by-step process for changing from hydraulic brakes to electric brakes.

Felling Trailers Brake Systems:

Changing from Hydraulic Brakes to an Electric Brake System

Remove All Hardware

hydraulic brake system to electric brake system

The trailer should be securely lifted and supported when maintenance or repairs are being made to the trailer. Use properly rated jack stands to support the trailer.

  • Remove all hubs/drums
  • Remove brake backers
  • Remove all brakes lines
  • Remove hydraulic harness

Install new Electric Brakes

  • Install new brake backers
  • Install brake away
  • Install electric harness
  • Install new wheel seals
  • Install the original hubs/drums
  • Weld hydraulic actuator solid

If you need additional guidance on this process or would like us to walk you through any of these steps for changing out your trailer’s brake system, please contact our Parts Specialists ar Parts@felling.com or call 1-888-335-5464.


  1. I have heard a lot of good things about electric brake systems. So, as result, I am not surprised to hear that a lot of people want them installed. I appreciate the tips for replacing them myself, but I don’t know if I trust myself to do all that!

  2. I use my boat and trailer in salt water will that affect the electric brakes and it’s still better then hydraulic one other question is do they come in disc and drum or just drum

    • Good Morning Steve,
      Saltwater can be very destructive to brakes if left to sit on the brakes. Our suggestion would be electric over hydraulic disc brakes, disc brakes are open so when you spray the trailer off the salt has less area to sit and corrode the brake components. The brakes are more expensive than regular drum brakes however the braking is much better on a disc brake and less maintenance cost.

      Hope this helps,
      Felling Trailers

  3. I have converted my surge brakes to electric brakes. The wheels get hung up without the power connected to them. Do I need to replace the drums for this conversion to work?

    • Good Morning Len,
      You shouldn’t need to replace the drums unless they are warped which created high and low spots. A local machine shop could check them and if needed turn them.

      Hope this helps,
      Felling Trailers

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