Help me pleez! Newbie... - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-13-2007, 04:55 PM   #1
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Trailer: Scamp 13 ft
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I just purchased a 1982 13' Scamp - cute as a bug. That is the great and wonderful news.

I own a 1991 Toyota Previa (max tow 3500#) and had a hitch mounted to tow my new prized possession.

So, thinking I am all well and good - am now realizing there is much more to this.

I'm all over getting a trans. cooler installed - so that is next - IF, and only IF this isn't going to break the bank ultimately with my Previa.

Do I need trailer brakes? If so, give me an idea of a cost and what kind to get. And, this era of trailer -- is there brakes on it?

And yes, I do plan on towing it in the mountains...Oregon Coast Range and the Cascades and Blues.

I am hoping to make SE Oregon in the next 2 weeks....

(bearings repacked, tires good, looks good, and I am loving looking at her, waxing her, thinking about adventures in her...)

Any Portlanders out there? If so, maybe we can hook up and y'all can give me some local pointers........
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Old 09-13-2007, 05:08 PM   #2
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Hi Janelle, welcome to FiberglassRV.... from a Portlandite! (Actually I live in Gresham). Trailer brakes are always a good idea. But your trailer doesn't require them. Just remember the trailer is behind you, when going down those mountains and you'll be fine. The thing I noticed that makes trailer brakes a really good economic idea, is the brakes on the tug are going to wear out sooner with out trailer brakes and they're more expensive to replace than trailer brakes.

Be sure to check out the Northern Oregon Gathering happening in about a month at Champoeg Park! We'd love to meet you, even if you can only come out for the day. Click here for more info: Northern Oregon Gathering, Fall Event

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Old 09-13-2007, 06:07 PM   #3
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Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
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Quote:
I just purchased a 1982 13' Scamp - cute as a bug. That is the great and wonderful news.

I own a 1991 Toyota Previa (max tow 3500#) and had a hitch mounted to tow my new prized possession.

So, thinking I am all well and good - am now realizing there is much more to this.

I'm all over getting a trans. cooler installed - so that is next - IF, and only IF this isn't going to break the bank ultimately with my Previa.

Do I need trailer brakes? If so, give me an idea of a cost and what kind to get. And, this era of trailer -- is there brakes on it?

And yes, I do plan on towing it in the mountains...Oregon Coast Range and the Cascades and Blues.

I am hoping to make SE Oregon in the next 2 weeks....

(bearings repacked, tires good, looks good, and I am loving looking at her, waxing her, thinking about adventures in her...)

Any Portlanders out there? If so, maybe we can hook up and y'all can give me some local pointers........

The weight of the 13' Scamp is well below your max tow rate. As for brakes you probably should check or have somebody check as to whether there are brakes installed on the Scamp. If there isn't any brakes, you're fine. If there are brakes installed on the Scamp Oregon law requires that they be operational, that is connected to brake controller and working. It's a funny little quirk in Oregon Law, you don't have to have brakes on the trailer but if you do have them you have to use them. Go figure.
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Old 09-13-2007, 06:23 PM   #4
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Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
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Quote:
I just purchased a 1982 13' Scamp...

I own a 1991 Toyota Previa...

Do I need trailer brakes?
Quote:
You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?'
I expect that the Previa owner's manual probably specifies that any trailer with a loaded weight over 1000 lb requires trailer brakes. Legally, they are not likely required; however, legally, you can operate all sorts of stupidly unsafe vehicle combinations. In this case, it's not as if a 1001 lb trailer will keep the Previa from stopping adequately for normal traffic conditions, but that doesn't mean it's good enough when you really need brakes.

It's possible that Toyota specifies a higher acceptable weight for trailers without brakes for the Previa than all their other similar models, in which case, maybe you don't need brakes.

Most 13' trailers do not have brakes. Many people tow them with vehicles smaller than the full-size pickup or SUV which actually doesn't need them to have brakes. Few people get killed doing this.
I would still add the trailer brakes; call me conservative.
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Old 09-13-2007, 08:19 PM   #5
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I'd add the brakes (I did on mine, even towing with a half-ton Dodge, and they made a looot of difference!).

You'd rather regret the expense of getting brakes than the possible expense of not getting brakes.

PS If you have the original axle, the rubber is 25 years old, so it may not be all that long before you may want to replace it. By far, the least expensive way to buy the brake hardware is to buy a new axle w/brakes!
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Old 09-13-2007, 11:25 PM   #6
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Trailer: Scamp 13 ft
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Hi -
Thank you so much for all your help. Of course, it is a clear as mud. So, if I ADD brakes, do I add electric or the pulse or whatever you call it?

I want to be economical (cheap would be the term), yet safe.

Any other tips are always welcome. I'm a little worried about sway.....but think that her maiden voyage will tell the tale and I can always stop along the way if I need to add sway bar/s. Any advice o that?
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Old 09-14-2007, 06:20 AM   #7
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Janelle, the brakes are electric, and will require a brake controller. The Prodigy is probably the most popular, and with good reason. You'll find that it is about the same or even less expensive to replace the axle with a new axle that already has brakes installed as it is to buy and mount brakes on an old axle. Further, if your axle didn't come with square mounting brackets for the brake backing plates, it isn't possible to mount brakes on that axle as the brackets can't be added. As Pete suggested, the design life of a rubber torsion axle is about twenty years. Some make it nearly to thirty, but in any case, yours (if it's not already bad) is at the end of it's useful life. This may be an excellent opportunity for you to have new suspension under the trailer AND new brakes as well. Your little Scamp will thank you.

Enjoy!

Roger
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Old 09-14-2007, 03:32 PM   #8
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For towing in the mountains, definitely go with brakes. On long downgrades, the trailer will be pushing you, and the Previa's little engine won't be able to slow you down on its own (by downshifting to a lower gear). The Previa's brakes will slow you down fine the first few times, but they'll get hot and start to fade unless the trailer has brakes as well.

I agree, also -- adding trailer brakes makes economic sense as compared to repeated replacement of the tow vehicle brakes.

That's my two cents.
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Old 09-14-2007, 06:54 PM   #9
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...So, if I ADD brakes, do I add electric or the pulse or whatever you call it?...
The alternative to electric (here in North America) is hydraulic surge brakes. Technically, I find the surge brake design attractive. In practice, almost no one uses them on travel trailers, and electric (although they require a controller, unlike surge brakes) will be less expensive to buy (and perhaps less expensive to service over time). A later buyer would likely expect the brakes - if there are any - to be electric.

By the way, electric operation implies that they are drum brakes, or a quite expensive option of electrically controlled hydraulic disk brakes... which are really nice, but essentially no one has on light trailers. When people here say "electric brakes", they almost certainly mean the drum type.

A different trailer forum had a discussion of electric versus surge brakes... it was "lively". The topic seems to elicit strong reactions.
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:14 AM   #10
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Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
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Hi -
Thank you so much for all your help. Of course, it is a clear as mud. So, if I ADD brakes, do I add electric or the pulse or whatever you call it?
Roger is right... it would probably be cheaper to replace the axle with brakes... than ADD brakes.
Quote:
You'll find that it is about the same or even less expensive to replace the axle with a new axle that already has brakes installed as it is to buy and mount brakes on an old axle. Further, if your axle didn't come with square mounting brackets for the brake backing plates, it isn't possible to mount brakes on that axle as the brackets can't be added.
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:44 AM   #11
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Roger is right... it would probably be cheaper to replace the axle with brakes... than ADD brakes.
This may be true in your location. As a mechanic I've priced it both ways for our Scamp and it comes down to around $400 for the complete axle with brakes, vs. $160.00 for drums and new shoe kits.

When converting from no brakes over to brakes, it may be necessary to buy new bearings, depending on your choice of 7 or 10 inch brakes. Bearings at cost average around 10-20 bucks apiece for good ones. cheaper ones can be had for around 5-8 bucks.

One note for all people who have trailer brakes. When it comes time to have your brakes replaced, Whether you do it yourself, or have a mechanic do it. Look for the "complete" shoe kit. This means a backing plate with the shoes, magnet (another wear item), and all hardware allready attached. You just need to clip the wires, Reconnect via your method of choice, Bolt on and go. The complete kit for each side can be generally purchased for around 3/4 the price of just the shoes, and you have the piece of mind that comes with knowing everything in there is new, including the magnet.
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Old 09-15-2007, 07:06 AM   #12
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Name: Donna D
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This may be true in your location. As a mechanic I've priced it both ways for our Scamp and it comes down to around $400 for the complete axle with brakes, vs. $160.00 for drums and new shoe kits.
What was it? Gold plated? Check the Torsion Axle info about 3/4 of the way down this page: Profile Trailers. $269.47 complete with electric brakes. That's a bit less than I paid for the Dexter axle I replaced on my Scamp. So, for $100 more than what you paid for drums and new shoe kits, I'd get an axle that will last another 20 years. Janelle has a trailer that is nearly 25 years old...
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Old 09-15-2007, 08:18 AM   #13
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What was it? Gold plated? Check the Torsion Axle info about 3/4 of the way down this page: Profile Trailers. $269.47 complete with electric brakes. That's a bit less than I paid for the Dexter axle I replaced on my Scamp. So, for $100 more than what you paid for drums and new shoe kits, I'd get an axle that will last another 20 years. Janelle has a trailer that is nearly 25 years old...
Sorry I didn't mention that the new axle was with wheels and tires and the weld on "bolt-in" plate as well. 10" brakes 5 lug. 4000 lb axle.


I had to go back and check my numbers too, because my memory wasn't serving me well. Right after I wrote that it seemed high. Believe me the mess to try to find it was interesting, I think there's about a 1/2 inch of fiberglass/gel-coat dust over everything in my garage, and house right now.
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Old 09-15-2007, 08:33 AM   #14
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Sorry I didn't mention that the new axle was with wheels and tires and the weld on "bolt-in" plate as well. 10" brakes 5 lug. 4000 lb axle.
Adding in the wheels and tires, I can certainly understand the increase in price. By time I finished... the axle swap for me was up to about $700. I think Janelle is just looking for the least expensive option and would probably (?) stick with same wheels/tires. Bottom line, it pays to shop around.
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