Bad brakes or actuators on a trailer can spell disaster on the road if not taken care of in a timely manner. If you’re in transit with precious cargo and the hydraulic actuator on your surge brake system fails, you can kiss the whole thing goodbye – and that’s if you’re lucky.
It could also cause an accident where you, your field team, or other drivers are hurt. Safety is the name of the game, and at Camco Wheel & Axle, we’ve got replacement electro/hydraulic actuators that will keep you, and others, safe on our roads.
What exactly is a hydraulic actuator?
An actuator converts energy into torque, controlling or manipulating a system or mechanism into motion or preventing them from moving. Actuators come in different types, and for the sake of this article, we will be discussing hydraulic actuators.
Generally speaking, what makes a hydraulic actuator work is the cylinder or fluid motor within that uses pressurized fluid to help with mechanical activity. The higher the pressurized fluid, the more torque is produced.
Even though the physical process of compressing fluid is difficult, a hydraulic actuator exerts a lot of force to get the job done.
What makes it work?
A trailer that has a surge brake system isn’t that different from your towing vehicle. Both work on a hydraulic brake system, but the only difference is how the brake is activated.
With a vehicle, your feet are what you press against the brake pedals, which then apply pressure to the brake drum or disc brake caliper and rotor. With a surge brake system—another form of a hydraulic actuator system—the brakes, so to speak, are a part of the hitch assembly in the form of a surge brake actuator. It’s a brilliant system that works as follows.
When you are hauling a trailer down the road at around 45 miles per hour, both your towing vehicle and the trailer are traveling at the same pace, where your vehicle is essentially “pulling” the trailer. When you pump your brakes in the cab of your truck, your vehicle will slow down, and the trailer will begin to do the pushing. When the actuator slides, or compresses, it operates the master cylinder, causing it to build up brake fluid pressure.
The harder you press the brake in your cab, the more pressure your actuator builds up. This causes your trailer to brake just as hard as your towing vehicle. You may not have direct control of the brakes in your trailer, but with the brakes in your towing vehicle, you have an indirect method of safely braking both your vehicle and your trailer.
Do you need to replace a hydraulic actuator on your trailer? Stop by Camco Wheel & Axle for all the commercial trailer parts you need.
We’ve got everything you need when it comes to replacing hydraulic actuators or any other part that will get your trailer working in tip-top shape, and our service technicians can help you pick or install it.