brakes - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-08-2016, 02:29 PM   #1
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Name: Morgyn
Trailer: Boler
Nova Scotia
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brakes

The Boler is going in to have her brakes installed on Monday. There was a miscommunication with the RV place about why I want the brakes and now everyone is confused plus the price jumped up by about $700!

They say we only need the breakaway ones but I thought they should also slow the Boler when I slow my vehicle. I was having them put on for safety as we tow with a Pontiac Vibe AWD.

Do I need breakaway only brakes or do I need brakes that slow the Boler down when I brake?? What do most people use?

I'm ready to pull my hair out over this brake issue!
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Old 06-08-2016, 02:57 PM   #2
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Name: Francois
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
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communication......

I'm guessing here.....you go into the dealership and tell them you want brakes for your very lightweight (to them) trailer...so they assumed all you were looking for is brakes and a breakaway switch (as in trailer becomes seperated from the tow vehicle...tounge mounted switch is tripped...brakes come on full)

the 700 dollar discrepancy is probably the cost of the brake controller plus the labor to install/wire it in your vehicle
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Old 06-08-2016, 03:49 PM   #3
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Name: Joe
Trailer: 1973 13' Boler
Ontario
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The controller and brakes for my Boler cost about $250. I'm guessing your car has an adapter for the controller which takes about 15min to install. The brakes about 30-45min each. All in about 2hrs tops..3hrs at a stretch for labour. So figure you're paying about $450 for 3hrs labour.
That's for normal brakes..which you need. A breakaway system is nice but it's an expensive addition you don't need.

I just noticed you said the price increased by $700. Sounds sketchy to me..I'd go somewhere else.
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Old 06-08-2016, 04:17 PM   #4
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
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Here is a reference for trailer brakes.

Trailer Brakes - AAA Digest of Motor Laws

its dated 2016 so should be pretty current. I didn't study it but i didn't see any requirement for breakaway switches. But it may be in every individual state requirements. a breakaway switch is in addition to a brake controller since allot of these requirements need operator inside the vehicle to be able to manually apply the brakes.

as far as added braking controls for your car the brake controler alone can run from 60 bucks to 300 bucks for an RF unit. then add all the extras and labor rate it all adds up.

Brake Controller
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Old 06-08-2016, 04:35 PM   #5
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Name: Jack L
Trailer: Bigfoot B-17 CB
Washington
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What vehicle are you using for towing ? Does I have a 7 pin connector? Etrailer lists lots of "brake, break away" devices. Most are $35-$45 to purchase and installation is not complicated so should not take an hour.


A brake, break away is one of those things that you don't really need, until the time you do really need it.
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Old 06-08-2016, 05:17 PM   #6
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Name: Daren
Trailer: 1985 19' Bigfoot tandem axle
Alberta
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Hi Morgyn in my opinion putting electric brakes on a boler is overkill by a long ways. I have pulled many trailers without electric brakes (motorcycle/skidoo/utility/travel) and then a lot with brakes. Bolers run roughly around 1,000 lbs dry weight this is just the trailer (none of your contents added or propane, water, grey water in it.). Bolers are light and the reason they don't have brakes factory installed is they are light. Heavy trailers (generally around 2000lbs are what come with electric brakes. I suspect you picked a light trailer for a reason and do not plan to overload it with a bunch of heavy camping gear.

If you are heavy footed and plan to drive with the trailer attached the same way you drive without the trailer than maybe you would need electric brakes. If however you plan to take it a little easier when pulling the trailer and give a little more room between yourself and the person in front of you then you will definitely not need electric brakes. I have a 2300lb bigfoot with electric brakes but on one occasion had to pull it with the brakes off. It was easy breezy and no problem or worry at all, and that is with a trailer that weighs more than twice your boler.

Now a breakaway brake is something all together different and something I would choose to have but not necessary. Not sure it that helps but it is my take on it.
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Old 06-08-2016, 05:48 PM   #7
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Name: Glenn ( second 'n' is silent )
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
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Never heard of a breakaway brake. I've have a breakaway switch, which activates the brakes.
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Old 06-08-2016, 05:52 PM   #8
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brakes

Have to disagree, Finner. A loaded Boler is likely between 1500-2000 pounds (see the sticky thread "Trailer Weights in the Real World" in the General Chat section). Many tow vehicles and one state require brakes over 1000 pounds. Several additional states require them over 1500 pounds.

I agree that with sensible, defensive driving they will probably never be needed, but the same could be said of seatbelts. It only takes once.
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Old 06-08-2016, 06:44 PM   #9
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not sure where you're at..here are the Canadian req's

http://www.rvda.ca/ProvBrakeReqts.asp
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Old 06-08-2016, 07:06 PM   #10
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Nova Scotia
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Alrighty...

So it turns out François was correct about the extra $700. It was for 4-6 hours of labour for installing the controller. They said if our car was newer, it wouldn't be as much. It just seems like a lot of work!

I'm in Canada so our prices might be a bit more??

We originally had asked for the price of a new axle with brakes but were told our axle was in remarkable shape. So the price of $500 was for the brakes to be put on the old axle and, it turns out, a breakaway switch. We already have the four pin wiring so also needed an adaptor.

So my reasoning behind the brakes are this...

I'm usually a cautious driver when I tow the Boler (I've read the real weights thread) so was doodling along at 80kmph in a 90 zone when I went around a turn and came upon a garbage truck in my lane up ahead. I had plenty of time to brake if I wasn't towing but it took all of the space to safely slow down when towing. Having that little push at the end of the car by the Boler really freaked me out. Maybe a shouldn't have been freaked out but I was. All I could think of was if we had been on a highway doing 100, it would suck to have brake suddenly.

Maybe I'm over thinking this? It just seems like so much money on top of the initial $500. There aren't that many RV places around us.
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Old 06-08-2016, 07:29 PM   #11
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Name: Glenn ( second 'n' is silent )
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Not having brakes on your trailer is also going to increase the wear on your tow vehicle brakes.
I just spent $700 on a brake job for my RAV4 ( and I have trailer brakes ).
So, you can pay now or later.
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Old 06-08-2016, 07:45 PM   #12
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
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The first time you load the trailer wrong and it starts wagging the tail and you reach down to hit the trailer brakes to straighten out the sway. You realize you were too cheep to buy a brake controller, your going to wish you didn't have to go through all the issues it can cause. Having brakes when you need them is far more important than not having brakes when you don't need them. Why wear seatbelts if your not going to be in an accident. Why buy new tires if your old ones are not flat? Best wishes in your travels what ever you decide to do.
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Old 06-08-2016, 07:46 PM   #13
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Oregon
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Glenn has this one absolutely CORRECT! Have you check what it costs to do a complete brake job on your tug? I remember what it cost me on my Ford F-150 ($$$$). Trailer brakes are the cheap shoe brakes. This is a maintenance issue. I'd much rather that be on the trailer than the tug. Remember, you're attempting to stop something that weighs maybe another TON behind you. Be safe!
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Old 06-08-2016, 07:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
I just spent $700 on a brake job for my RAV4 ( and I have trailer brakes ).
So, you can pay now or later.
True words Glenn
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