Trailer Brakes - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-20-2006, 09:32 AM   #1
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we are looking to buy a new trailer and were leaning towards the escape. Partly because of the design and partly because they are made in our hometown, which makes repairs etc...that much easier! Then we saw a TAB and really liked them as well. http://www.tab-rv.com/ they are very sturdy well made little trailers.... but they don't have a bathroom and we've been thinking that's a good idea.

As we are looking around we keep hearing "at least you don't have to fiddle with trailer brakes" or "this one you can tow without trailer brakes".......so what are the issues with trailer brakes or are there any?

I started this question on someone elses thread but thought I would start it so that more people could respond specifically to this question..... thanks
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Old 08-20-2006, 10:08 AM   #2
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Quote:
As we are looking around we keep hearing "at least you don't have to fiddle with trailer brakes" or "this one you can tow without trailer brakes".......[b]so what are the issues with trailer brakes or are there any?
I have towed both a 13' Compact Junior without electric trailer brakes, and a 16' Fiber Stream with electric trailer brakes. Other than adjusting the voltage setting on your brake controller when first starting out, I don't think there are any issues.

For too many people who do not tow a trailer with brakes the sticking point is the memorable performance of Desi Arnaz in [b]The Long Long Trailer!

How many people remember the scene expousing, "trailer brakes first! TRAILER BRAKES [b]FIRST!!!"

It isn't that way anymore, but try to 'splain that to someone who is not an experienced trailer driver.
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Old 08-20-2006, 12:03 PM   #3
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>>As we are looking around we keep hearing "at least you don't have to fiddle with trailer brakes" or "this one you can tow without trailer brakes".......so what are the issues with trailer brakes or are there any?

I have been towing trailers for over 30 years. With brakes and without. 12000 to 13000 lb. 6 horse trailers, 6000 lb boat and trailer to the little 1000 lb. Burro I now tow.
It is my opinion that if you are under the GVW of you vehicle you will be safe and have no problems without brakes. It appears that you are looking at very small, lite weight trailers.
Last week I was coming up Hiway 178 in California, the Kern Canyon, when I came around a very sharp curve and there was a tourist stopped in the middle of the road. There was no place to go other than a vertical cliff on the right side and a sheer drop into the Kern River on the left, no shoulders. I hit the brakes so hard the ABS system was activated and my Toyota Tacoma PU and my brakeless Burro stopped in a prefectly straight line.
Your vehicle braking system is designed to stop a load up to the GVW of your vehicle.
If you have a [good quality hitch] and you are under the GVW of your vehicle , it is my opinion, that you will have no problems without trailer brakes. If trailer brakes will give you a greater feeling of security then by all means buy a trailer with brakes.

Hope this helps,
John Perry
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Old 08-20-2006, 12:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
As we are looking around we keep hearing "at least you don't have to fiddle with trailer brakes" or "this one you can tow without trailer brakes".......so what are the issues with trailer brakes or are there any?

I have been towing trailers for over 30 years. With brakes and without. 12000 to 13000 lb. 6 horse trailers, 6000 lb boat and trailer to the little 1000 lb. Burro I now tow.
It is my opinion that if you are under the GVW of you vehicle you will be safe and have no problems without brakes. It appears that you are looking at very small, lite weight trailers.
Last week I was coming up Hiway 178 in California, the Kern Canyon, when I came around a very sharp curve and there was a tourist stopped in the middle of the road. There was no place to go other than a vertical cliff on the right side and a sheer drop into the Kern River on the left, no shoulders. [b]I hit the brakes so hard the ABS system was activated and my Toyota Tacoma PU and my brakeless Burro stopped in a prefectly straight line.
Your vehicle braking system is designed to stop a load up to the GVW of your vehicle.
If you have a [good quality hitch] and you are under the GVW of your vehicle , it is my opinion, that you will have no problems without trailer brakes. If trailer brakes will give you a greater feeling of security then by all means buy a trailer with brakes.

Hope this helps,
John Perry

In my humble opinion the straight line is the key. If your trailer wasn't close to being in a straight line with the TV when braking is applied wouldn't the trailer have a tendency to jack knife?

I have brakes on S13. As far as I can tell, towing a 1500lb trailer with a 4800lb Chev Blazer, the main thing the trailer brakes do is keep the trailer behind the TV.
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Old 08-20-2006, 12:32 PM   #5
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T@Bs have brakes, they are surge brakes. They activate with the forward momentim of the trailer that keeps going when the car slows or stops. The tongue pushes against the hitch and "plunges" an activator for the brakes (Simplified, but you get the idea) They don't work in reverse.

I towed my Burro without brakes for a long time, and wore out 3 sets of brakes in my car doing so. There was a world of difference when I got my trailer brakes wired up, even tho, prior, I felt "ok" without.

I had ONE incident where I used the TRAILER to straighten out my car by using the panic feature on my brake controller. I was hydroplaning and I shudder to think what would have happened if the car went sideways while towing. The trailer slowed and pulled my car back in line.

That split second was worth every penny I spent getting the brakes done properly.
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Old 08-20-2006, 02:42 PM   #6
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As we are looking around we keep hearing "at least you don't have to fiddle with trailer brakes" or "this one you can tow without trailer brakes".......so what are the issues with trailer brakes or are there any?
I don't know where you've been looking but apparently that concern was more voiced there than here. I've been on this site since its inception and have membership to a few fiberglass RV and travel trailer sites. I don't think electric brakes have gotten any worse a rep than AC units, propane cooktops or htich locks here. There are options for any component of a trailer. Options that are considered tremendous positives by one camper will be the bane of the earth to another, generators for instance. You can find bad things about electric brakes, surge brakes or no brakes. I applaud you in trying to become better educated about other elements of trailering. But I think you may be focusing on a problem that doesn't exist, at least here anyway.
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Old 08-20-2006, 04:19 PM   #7
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Thank you for all of the responses..... now we are off to look at more trailers. Since our truck is getting a hitch next week we will need to change the wiring and upgrade to wiring which supports brakes...

another question?

Is there an adaptor so that we can also haul the 4 prong wired trailers?
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Old 08-20-2006, 04:47 PM   #8
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Yep. Uhaul, Walmart, Camping World and just about any business that supports those who tow should have them.
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Old 08-21-2006, 12:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Thank you for all of the responses..... now we are off to look at more trailers. Since our truck is getting a hitch next week we will need to change the wiring and upgrade to wiring which supports brakes...

another question?

Is there an adaptor so that we can also haul the 4 prong wired trailers?
Hoppy makes some that your existing 4 prong plugs into on the back and gives you both 7 pin and 4 pin on the hitch side. Found mine at Wall Mart. They also make 1 for 6 pin .

Look at the bottom of this link for the Multi-Tow Adapter
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Old 08-21-2006, 12:53 AM   #10
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Once set up, I have found the brakes no problem to keep working or to use.

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...Your vehicle braking system is designed to stop a load up to the GVW of your vehicle...
Yes, but not the Gross Combined Weight of the vehicle and trailer. My Toyota (a Sienna) manual makes it very clear that if the trailer is over a specified weight, trailer brakes are required, and I expect that this is true of the Tacoma as well. The weight on the trailer axle does not contribute to traction for the tires of the tow vehicle, so lack of traction could easily become a problem.

John, perhaps you meant that if the combined weight of tug and trailer is within the tug's GVWR, then there's enough brakes. That would be true, except that there's still the traction problem, and not many of us have trailers so light (or tugs so big) that the whole trailer weight (almost 1400 kg loaded, in my case) is within the payload of the tug (about 550 kg in my case).
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