Thanks all for those who replied to my original post. Just an update, the trailer I have does NOT have electric or hydraulic brakes as I originally thought but DOES have SURGE brakes. It's an all aluminum open trailer that is very light weight but has two axles. The trailer weighs 680 lbs. I'm hauling a roadster with a 2012 Ford Ranger 4.0. I've hauled it before over 200 miles with my Ranger and I didn't seem to have any problems at all, but then again I never had to apply the brakes in haste. Do I even need a brake controller? The shop that's doing the install says yes. ??? I'm clueless on trailer brakes.
If there are surge brakes on the trailer, then you do not need a controller. The surge brakes are totally contained on the trailer and work using the deceleration force as the tow vehicle stops. When you apply the tow vehicle brakes, the surge brake coupler's internal master cylinder compresses against the hitch body, actuating the trailer brakes.
Allen - Because you say that the shop that is doing your installation says you need a brake controller for a trailer with surge brakes, I'd be very wary of anything else they tell you or try to sell you. In fact, I have to think that because recommending a "controller" for surge brakes is so ridiculous, I'm thinking that there is just some misunderstanding between you an whoever told you that,.....FWIW,......harold
The only control you need with surge brakes is a possibility to lock out the trailer brakes when backing up a hill. On newer trailers there can be an electric connection to the reverse lights on the car to lock them out automatically, on older trailers you may have to lock them manually in some situations (not a problem in most backing up situations)
Most important with surge brakes is to make sure the mechanism moves freely and that the brakes are adjusted properly to work evenly side to side. Yes, most of them have a manual lever to lock the mechanism for backing up, - at least the ones I have seen.
If your surge brakes have a master cylinder mounted on the trailer and you have a hand operated release lever to disable the brakes when backing up, you will have to get out and flip the lever on the trailer each time you backup after going forward because the brakes actuate or re-set as soon as you go forward.
The fix is to install a solenoid in the hydraulic tube that sends the pressure to the brake drum wheel cylinders. If you have self adjusting brakes and don't do this your brakes will tighten up so tight resulting in the brake drums getting so hot that they will turn cherry red and blow the tire.
Connect the solenoid to your back-up light power wire and each time you back up the lights will turn on and the brakes will turn off. All trailer supply stores sell this solenoid and they cost about $35 plus the length of wire.
If your trailer only has a four wire flat plug connection you will have to run a separate wire from the back of your tow vehicle's backup light circuit wire to the solenoid. I had to do that on our boat trailer and so I installed a quick disconnect plug under the rear bumper and have to plug that in every time we tow the boat. You pick up that wire in to loom that comes down the left side of the towing vehicle, or at least that was how I did it on our Dodge pickup.