"I am not young enough to know everything" - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-13-2015, 09:37 AM   #1
Sid
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"I am not young enough to know everything"

Before I get started I want to say a huge THANK YOU to Floyd and others that casually mentioned in a post a few months back the proper use of electric brakes in a sway situation. This being my first camper with them I really didn't know how much I didn't know.
We were headed to the Grand Canyon following a downpour down a 6% grade in the Rockies. The camper was towing great as usual. Half way around a 50 mph curve we came upon several cars embedded in the outer guardrail and a couple of others crashed and blocking the right lane leaving only portions of the right lane passable. The culprit was a 50 foot wide stretch where a coating of clay washed across the highway.
I was going slow enough to avoid a spin but apparently not enough to avoid sway. Having just read the pertinent postings ( insert the THANK YOU here) I now instinctively reached for the controller and not the Jeeps brakes. Instantly the camper was back in line and I was able to quickly maneuver through the available opening without further incident. I shudder to think what would have been if I hadn't had that little bit of mental training a few days earlier.
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Old 06-13-2015, 09:49 AM   #2
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Thank you for the your kind words.
That is the nice thing about this forum...
You have the knowledge and experience of so many people to draw from when you start out, then you soon find yourself in a position to contribute and help others as you gain experience and knowledge of your own!
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Old 06-13-2015, 10:02 AM   #3
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Thumbs up learn so much

Yes ! this place is great . great people
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Old 06-13-2015, 10:16 AM   #4
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Sid, your story is the best answer I can think of when someone asks "Do I really need trailer brakes on my very small, very light trailer". Thanks for sharing. Raz
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Old 06-13-2015, 10:55 AM   #5
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Trailer brake controler, sway control and weight distribution....don't leave home without them! Safety First.

Happy camping!
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Old 06-13-2015, 10:57 AM   #6
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Excellent post. A little foreknowledge goes a long way!


Sent from my iPhone using Fiberglass RV
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Old 06-13-2015, 10:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid View Post
I was going slow enough to avoid a spin but apparently not enough to avoid sway. Having just read the pertinent postings ( insert the THANK YOU here) I now instinctively reached for the controller and not the Jeeps brakes. Instantly the camper was back in line and I was able to quickly maneuver through the available opening without further incident. I shudder to think what would have been if I hadn't had that little bit of mental training a few days earlier.
Sid glad to hear it all worked as it should for you!! I shudder to think sometimes when someone is new to towing asks here if/why they need brakes as the tug seems to stop the trailer just fine in normal driving conditions. Also surprised sometimes as to how many folks do not seem to know what that lever on the controller is to be used for.

Its the unforeseen need to STOP NOW situations that can get us in the worst of trouble.
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Old 06-13-2015, 01:19 PM   #8
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I missed Floyd's post from a few months ago. I searched, but Floyd is prolific. I will have brakes and a P3 controller, but I'm not sure what the proper use of electric brakes in a sway situation is. Could someone please direct me to the quote that may save lives, especially mine?? That situation Sid writes about has my hair standing on end. Thanks!
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Old 06-13-2015, 01:47 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by WendyW View Post
I missed Floyd's post from a few months ago. I searched, but Floyd is prolific. I will have brakes and a P3 controller, but I'm not sure what the proper use of electric brakes in a sway situation is. Could someone please direct me to the quote that may save lives, especially mine?? That situation Sid writes about has my hair standing on end. Thanks!
Don't know what Floyd said, but he and his good wife are good friends of ours.

The main thing you need to do with your brake controller is have it adjusted properly to be just aggressive enough to hold the trailer back but not skid its wheels. You will have a switch mounted to your car's brake pedal arm which energizes the brakes, and an decelerometer which senses how hard you are braking; in turn increasing the voltage going the the trailer brakes. You should not need to reach for the controller itself. But, IF the "TAIL starts to WAG the DOG" ...yes, apply trailer brakes only.
Each time you leave on a trip, test the brakes, on a quiet street, by actuating the controller ... at a slow speed. You should be able to feel them engaging, but not skidding the tires.
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Old 06-13-2015, 03:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WendyW View Post
I missed Floyd's post from a few months ago. I searched, but Floyd is prolific. I will have brakes and a P3 controller, but I'm not sure what the proper use of electric brakes in a sway situation is. Could someone please direct me to the quote that may save lives, especially mine?? That situation Sid writes about has my hair standing on end. Thanks!
Sorry Wendy don't know the quote from Floyd but the basics of stopping sway is DO NOT use your tugs brakes to try and stop it. Use the leaver on the brake controller to apply the brakes to the trailer only.
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Old 06-13-2015, 03:23 PM   #11
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I missed my own comment as well, but I agree with what our good friend Wayne said.
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Old 06-13-2015, 03:23 PM   #12
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OK, got it, generally. Thanks, Wayne and Carol!
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Old 06-13-2015, 05:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
To stop and/or control sway once it starts, first there's some lever or switch on the brake controller that will allow you to just apply braking power to the trailer. That's the first step. No tow vehicle brakes, just trailer brakes. That will usually take care of it. If you don't have trailer brakes accelerate to get the trailer behind you then slow down. This can be tricky, depending on the road conditions, such as curves stop signs, traffic, etc. The more room you have the easier this is to accomplish.

I can emphasize strong enough to have brakes on your trailer with a good controller.
My mistake, it was Byron Kinnaman who was the originator of the posting I referenced.
Obviously the error was caused by the high regard I have for Floyd
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