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Disc brakes?

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Hi, I am a new lurker from Spokane that is researching Olivers. I am going to look at an Elite II in three weeks in Walla Walla, in the meantime I have several brake questions.


Does anyone have an electric over hydraulic disc brake setup on their trailer?


As most of you know, regular trailer brakes are a royal pain in the rear to keep working effectively, and are at great risk of fading when hot, rusting, seizing, getting bearing grease contamination on the linings and generally not behaving right. I have towed boat, travel and utility trailers for close to 45 years now and am really getting tired of screwing around with conventional brakes .... I have better things to do with that time and more important things to worry about!


Disc brakes are more powerful, run cool (low risk of fading on steep descents), are lower maintenance and have quick and easy pad changes. Also, a leaking grease seal generally won't contaminate the pads! The downside is that they are initially WAY more costly, require hydraulic fluid lines and an actuator (either surge or electric), and regular fluid changes, say every three years, to remove deteriorated fluid from the system. Plus you need to occasionally check the reservoir for the correct level. The boat guys love them since they tolerate regular salt water dunking.


Oh yeah, they are also sexy cool looking! Especially with colored calipers...




Cost of an electrically actuated dual kit is around US$1150. Would Oliver do this for me at the factory? It would involve extra labor and engineering to install the extra components. Is there room inside the propane compartment? Ooh, maybe that is a bad idea, electrics and flammable gas don't mix! Any suggestions about where you could mount the actuator unit and control box?


There might be complete 3500 lb Dexter disc brake axles available that could be ordered, so that the factory techs would not have to take apart the hubs and backing plates of the regular axles. That would save a little labor cost. However, Dexter disc parts are uber costly ....$160 for a set of pads, $180 for a rotor! The aftermarket parts are cheap: $20 for a pad set. Maybe THIS is why we don't see these everywhere


It seems as if a premium quality trailer should have these brakes available as a factory option..... Especially since Oliver markets them as being friendly for smaller tow vehicles with perhaps marginal brakes, compared to a pickup.


Maybe this is a job for me after delivery.....


I'm looking forward to seeing my first Ollie and to your comments. Would you invest in this system to save hassles and worries? Would you pay say $1500 for a factory upgrade?




John Davies

Spokane WA USA

SOLD 07/23 "Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 32” LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel, Maggiolina Grand Tour 360 Carbon RTT.

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That looks very interesting. One of the things I've appreciated about the Oliver family is their willingness to listen to customers, within reason of course. In the past, if you could imagine it and your wallet was deep enough, they would do their best to make it happen. Some of our wonky "way out there" ideas were so well received that they've been incorporated into the options list, or have become a standard feature on the production line.


But it needs to be something that will add value to the Ollie before it hits the options list or normal build process, and it must be properly engineered for safety. This cool idea might be one that catches on . . . can't hurt to ask ;)


Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pete & "Bosker".    TV -  '18 F150 Super-cab Fx4; RV  - "The Wonder Egg";   '08 Elite, Hull Number 014.


Travel blog of 1st 10 years' wanderings - http://www.peteandthewonderegg.blogspot.com


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Merry Christmas (eve),

We've towed our Oliver about 80,000 miles now, with the oem Bulldog hitch, and factory, standrd electric brakes. We normally tow with a half ton pickup (4x4 Dodge or Silverado), but occasionally with our Volvo xc90. The Volvo we feel, with the 2.5 , 5 cylinder engine, isn't the best choice of our "fleet", since we camp a lot in the mountains. Both trucks are older, but great tow vehicles, and take us where we want to go.


if you decide to add a different hitch, and different brakes, I'd be interested in your experience. Most of us change up if our camping experiences doesn't work with the (highly varied) factory lineup we bought.


As far as mods, we have a fairly extensive collection on the forum already. Some have been adopted, others not, others as an addon at additional cost.


I will say that the Oliver folks are far more receptive than most in the rv world. But don't be disappointed if they don't get excited about ta new hitch, or new brake idea. You can always change it, for a fairly decent cost, and report back. If other owners haven't asked for the same mod/idea, they may be reluctant. The two you have posted about are fairly inexpensive changes, for you. Changing hitch or brakes for Oliver, would require, I think, some engineering (costplus time) involvement on their part. I don't work for them, so.... Maybe , maybe not. Bring up your ideas, if you like the trailer, and see what they say. And, you can always be the pioneer. We've been there.


Sometimes, its cheaper to mod on your own, than ask the factory to do it. You'll just have to see what the outcome and response is for your idea. A one=off is always more expensive than a standard option.



2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.




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Hi John, I'm glad you're looking into the possibility of going to a disc brake system. I had previously considered changing to disc brakes and Robert and I discussed it about a year or so back. However, the system you show in your post is not one that will work with the Oliver. That “kit” contains hubs with a bolt pattern of 5 on 4-1/2". The bolt pattern on the hubs of the Oliver are 6 on 5-1/2". I spoke with the folks at Brakerite when I was considering changing and was told that they did not have a “kit” with hubs that would fit our axles. The lady I spoke with at that time was going to put the individual parts together that we would need and get back to me with a price. I never heard another word. I did not follow up because I decided since I can actually lock up the brakes as they are now that changing the actuators from drum to disc would not stop me any faster. I also was told that the onboard brake controller in my Sierra would not control electric over hydraulic. I have since found out that it will work so I’m not completely dead to the idea. I would still be interested in getting a price for the parts. If you want to follow up with Brakerite and post your findings here I think there may be some interest if the price is in line with the existing “kit”.


You need the bearings as they will already be in the existing hubs. You will have to replace the four seals to be mounted in the new hub/rotors. The standard axles on the Elite II are 3500 pound rated with 10 inch hubs that have the proper 6 on 5-1/2" bolt patterns. I think they are made up special for Oliver. You need to make sure the hubs you are purchasing will use the exact same bearings that are in the hub/drums. You also would not need batteries for the breakaway kit since the power would be supplied by the Oliver’s on board electrical system. As best I can determine it will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $1500.00 to replace the drums with discs.


I this is what you would need, these are all listed on e-trailer.


Kodiak Hydraulic Brake Line Kit - Tandem Axle - 20' - PN# 20TA-BLKIT...$102.08

Titan BrakeRite II Severe-Duty Electric-Hydraulic Actuator Kit-PN# T4835700...$768.95

Grease Seals 10-36 (pair) - PN# RG06-070 (x2)...$ 7.20

Kodiak Disc Brake Kit - 12" Hub/Rotor

6 on 5-1/2 - Dacromet - 5,200 lbs to 6,000 lbs - PN# K2HR526D (x2)...$599.90

Steve, Tali and our dog Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie, Lucy and Reacher (all waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD SRW Diesel 4x4 





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I am still enamored with disc brakes. I think they are a wonderful upgrade for any trailer. Here is a very complete article on a fifth wheel conversion.




Mark was blown away when we got the trailer out on the highway. On the Prodigy P3 Brake Control, he experimented with a few settings and settled on a boost of “B2” and 8.5 volts. As we eased onto the highway, he commented, “It feels like I’m driving a car!”


During the next three weeks we made our way from central Texas to the Florida coast, driving in all kinds of conditions, from remote back roads, to many miles on the I-10 Interstate freeway. We sat for hours in massive stop-and-go traffic jams around big cities, and Mark coped with tricky driving situations on small downtown city roads with lots of stop lights.


In the past, if a traffic light turned yellow at the wrong moment as we approached, we just had to keep going and cross our fingers that it wouldn’t turn red while we were crossing the intersection, because we just couldn’t stop the trailer in such a short distance. No more!! On many occasions, as we came to an intersection, the light turned yellow on our approach, and Mark was able to stop the truck and trailer in time in a nicely controlled manner.


In Fort Worth, TX, and again around Baton Rouge, LA, we found ourselves in amazingly congested traffic. Mark was able to relax in the heat of the battle, completely confident that he could stop the trailer in a very short distance if need be.


When we got into Sarasota, Florida, we came across some astonishingly aggressive drivers. One driver cut us off with just an inch to spare, instantly coming to a complete stop directly in front of us. It was a heart stopping moment that all RVers dread. Mark slammed on the brakes with a force I have never seen him use, either in a car or in our truck pulling our home.


All the tires of the truck and trailer squealed as we came to a shockingly abrupt stop, leaving lots of rubber on the road behind us. We were both stunned that the trailer stopped in such a short distance. There is no doubt that if we had had our old electric drum brakes, we would have rear-ended the car in front of us and had a really bad — and possibly life threatening — accident.






Here is the actuator they chose, and I would use. It is very compact, proven in a decade of use in the marine trailer world, and ideally would go in a compartment in the cabin, close to the axles.




This mod is certainly doable by a very skilled home mechanic, but only one that is comfortable doing brake and hydraulic servicing, and with running hard lines down to the area over the axles. It would be a truly FINE option for a new Oliver.


John Davies


Spokane WA

SOLD 07/23 "Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 32” LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel, Maggiolina Grand Tour 360 Carbon RTT.

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Steve. I realize your post was from last December, buy you state standard axle as 3500#, my elite II has D60 axles as do Bill's, believe from the picture he posted in EZ Flex, these are 5200# axles, Dexter makes the 6K disc brakes and specs them out for the D60 axle w/ 6x5.5" pattern. Do you think/know that Oliver has some special setup on these axles that would not allow the change out?


If you click the link and then on the right side in the first drop down specify 6K disc brake



One Life Live It Enjoyably

2017 F350 6.7L SRW CC LB

2015 Oliver Elite II Hull #69

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