Trailer Brakes And Sway Bar - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-14-2006, 02:33 PM   #1
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I had real good feedback when I was considering ordering, a new 13 ft scamp, so good I went ahead with it. I will not get delivery for a while due to scamps fire but thats ok with winter coming,so I can still make changes. My questions are Should I have ordered trailer brakes ? If so, are there any changes that need to be made to the tow vehicle , what about sway bars , yes or No. Should I get the changes done before delivery or for any one who has picked up There trailer at the factory , will scamp help me with this. In my newness to this experience need to hear from others About getting the trailer brakes and sway bar.
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Old 09-14-2006, 02:43 PM   #2
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Dave, my recommendation is to go ahead and order the brakes. They'll only add a couple of hundred dollars to the price, and you'll be much happier in the long term.

The friction sway control bar is a good option to invest in.

Roger
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Old 09-14-2006, 02:47 PM   #3
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Short - Brakes yes
Sway bar no

Long -
I bought my 13' (2006 model) with brakes. The advantage is you get some braking done by the trailer and most importantly they help keep the trailer behind the tow vehicle. You can probably get by with out the brakes, many do, but I feel safer with the brakes.

The trailer seems to track pretty well without an antisway bar. There's some negatives to antisway bars and I figured there wasn't enough gain, if any to offset the negatives. The negatives is you loosen or disconnect the antisway bar on anything but dry pavement. Another negative I've read about is could mask a balance problem.

There you have my $.02 worth.
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Old 09-14-2006, 02:48 PM   #4
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I had real good feedback when I was considering ordering, a new 13 ft scamp, so good I went ahead with it. I will not get delivery for a while due to scamps fire but thats ok with winter coming,so I can still make changes. My questions are Should I have ordered trailer brakes ? If so, are there any changes that need to be made to the tow vehicle , what about sway bars , yes or No. Should I get the changes done before delivery or for any one who has picked up There trailer at the factory , will scamp help me with this. In my newness to this experience need to hear from others About getting the trailer brakes and sway bar.
Dave,
First off, CONGRATULATIONS on your new trailer. I am sure you will enjoy it. Now to the questions.
Brakes are never a bad idea, but they are another maintenance item. If you decide at a later date you need brakes, and don't have them initially, it will cost a fair amount to have them installed as you more than likely will need a new axel. The only changes to the tow vehicle, if I remember correctly , is the proper trailer connector plug and a controller w/ necessary wiring.
A sway bar should not be needed with a properly loaded and balanced trailer and vehicle. If you start with a bar you could just be masking a basic problem and this is never a good idea when towing.
I am sure others will also answer this, but also do a search as this is being discussed by several others now also.
GOOD LUCK ,
Chuck T.
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Old 09-14-2006, 03:25 PM   #5
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My Burro had brakes but I never hooked them up. All was fine for 3 years, then a couple of panic stops made me decide to hook them up.
I should have done it from day 1.
By all means get the brakes and use them.

Sway bar - nope.
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Old 09-14-2006, 04:23 PM   #6
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My experience with brakes is exactly the same as PJs.

I had been meaning to get them wired up, but put it off for a couple years. Now that I have done it, it's a completely different world. Can't imagine being without them now.

Yes, you will need to wire your tug with a brake controller. Don't be cheap, get a Prodigy, and take it to Camping World or U Haul, any reputable trailer shop and have them do it if you are not handy.

They can also show you how to use it, it's almost a set and forget operation.
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Old 09-14-2006, 11:39 PM   #7
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Brakes on a 13' would probably depend what you are towing with......I tow with a full size pickup with 4 wheel discs and really don`t need the trailer brakes.....if you do get trailer brakes, you have to have them wired and in working order in most jurisdictions......as for the anti sway bar......keep your tongue weight at about 12%+ and you shouldn`t need it .....they are used a lot on travel trailers because of the variables of weight distribution as you camp and use water out of your tanks and fill others, etc....so the anti sway bars are used as a crutch,(for want of a better word). .....Benny
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Old 09-15-2006, 09:04 AM   #8
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Come winter when you are towing on a slick road and your tow vehicle has great breaking and your trailer has no brakes and you look out your side window into the mirror and see your trailer in the oncoming lane or trying to pass you, that is when it is to late to decide to have electric brakes installed.

Itís called, better safe than sorry.
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Old 09-15-2006, 05:06 PM   #9
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I wonder what would happen to a trailer in the winter under icy slippery conditions and while in a curve on the road the brakes are applied....with ABS the tow vehicle wheels would keep rolling in a straight line but the poor trailer`s wheels would be locked up and the trailer possibly jack knifing and trying to take the tow vehicle with it.....now if you ran studded tires on the trailer all would be fine!....but without ?????? interesting......one years about 20 years ago I was caught in a major storm in Ohio....there was more semi`s skidded off the turnpike than I knew even existed.....hundreds that I passed!....and about 90% were mostly jack knifed or on their sides.....a state emergency was declared and we were put up by the red cross in a church basement....luckily I was only there with my car......now the question is: if the trailer brakes would help in a situation like that why didn`t the trucks go off the highway straight? ..... ..Benny..
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Old 09-16-2006, 10:34 AM   #10
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You are correct, The antilock brake thing is something to consider when towing.

With the electric brake controller, you can turn the automatic portion of the brakes off and use it in the manual mode if the conditions dictated so. When I had the very large tag-a-long I used the manual brake quite allot to prevent sway and to straighten things out. I sometimes use it on the Scamp 5r to hold the truck on grades, etc.

At least if you have the brakes installed on your trailer you can choose to not use them in certain circumstances.

I have pulled an extremely heavy trailer on a gravel road, the trailer did not have brakes and when I went to stop at the intersection, the trailer pushed me out into the intersection and that taught me a most valuable lesson.

I think the big trucks have a way to just apply the trailer brakes if they want. I have seen a device that they can install that will prevent Jack-knifing however it appears that it is not widely in use. I've seen the big trucks jackknifed on perfectly dry roads also so why they jackknife, I guess one would have to ask a very old trucker for an answer.
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Old 09-16-2006, 11:21 AM   #11
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I retired from driveing trucks after 28 years. The number qne reason Trucks Jackknife is the trailer brakes are out of adjustment! I would guess that there are more Tickets issued ever year for Trailer brakes not adjusted correct than any other reason. When you apply the foot brake, The trailer brakes supposed to engage just before the Tractor brakes and that will keep you from Jackknifing. Now driveing on Ice and Snow is a whole problem in it,s self. Most of the time the best advice i could give is SLOW DOWN, I have had lots of Trucks pass me in Ice and Snow only to get up the road and find them in a ditch. In the truck inspection stations the number one thing they check for is Trailer brakes out of adjustment. When they find them out of adjustment they issue you a ticket and you can not move from that station until they are adjusted and then get inspected again. In a truck when you apply the foot brake and the trailer brakes are not adjusted right you have 60,000 lbs. pushing a 20,000 lbs truck down the road with the truck brakes tring to stop all 80,000 lbs. and i don,t need to tell anyone what is going to happen! JACKKNIFE
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Old 09-17-2006, 09:02 AM   #12
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John D., Great reply.

Your years of towing and sound advice is a valuable resource for this site.

One great thing we campers have is the ability to adjust the trailer brakes as we drive. If we were to drive in accordance with the conditions and make some adjustments before a panic situation occurs, we may have the ability to stay out of a jack knife situation.

One other thing that comes to mind, I have seen signs on really high bridges and at Apache pass that tell truckers, campers, other big stuff that their rig can be blown over if the wind reaches certain speeds. During a blizzard the news people showed many big trucks on their side because of the high winds. Seams impossible however it happens.

Every winter I have 4 wheel drivers passing me during hazardous conditions then find them in the ditch up the road. They think because they can start quicker than me they can drive faster. Only thing is, they can't stop quicker than a 2-wheel drive.
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Old 09-17-2006, 09:11 AM   #13
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The equipment failure that is the most common cause of accidents in general is a failure of the loose nut behind the steering wheel. After over 30 years of investigating accidents, I can safely say that is far and away the leading cause of accidents. Equipment failures are almost never the primary cause of an accident; driver error of some kind is almost always the primary cause of accidents. The three most common driver errors are: (1) speed unsafe for conditions; (2) following too close (failed to stop in assured distance); or (3) failed to yield right of way.

John's advice applies in every reduced traction situation: slow down. Getting to your scheduled event, even late, is more important than trying to keep a timetable, crashing, and not making it at all.

If you must tow under reduced traction conditions, slow down. Make sure your load is balanced, and your tire pressures are appropriate. Adjust your equipment for maximum effect in reduced traction situations. And above all SLOW DOWN.

Roger
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Old 09-17-2006, 01:39 PM   #14
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The equipment failure that is the most common cause of accidents in general is a failure of the loose nut behind the steering wheel. After over 30 years of investigating accidents, I can safely say that is far and away the leading cause of accidents. Equipment failures are almost never the primary cause of an accident; driver error of some kind is almost always the primary cause of accidents. The three most common driver errors are: (1) speed unsafe for conditions; (2) following too close (failed to stop in assured distance); or (3) failed to yield right of way.

John's advice applies in every reduced traction situation: slow down. Getting to your scheduled event, even late, is more important than trying to keep a timetable, crashing, and not making it at all.

If you must tow under reduced traction conditions, slow down. Make sure your load is balanced, and your tire pressures are appropriate. Adjust your equipment for maximum effect in reduced traction situations. And above all SLOW DOWN.

Roger
Hi: A wise man once told me never to forget "For every mile of road there are two miles of ditches"... Slow is better than no... Happy towing Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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