13' Perris Pacer (1985) needs brakes - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-11-2007, 05:25 PM   #1
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Trailer: Perris Pacer 13 ft 1985 / Mazda B3000 Dual Sport 2002
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Hi everybody, my first post after reading everything I could about axles and brakes.

We've got a 1985 13' Perris Pacer with no brakes. The axle is shot (45* up angle!) and it has the old style leading arms. However, it does have the mounting plates to add brakes. What I'd like to do is "get legal" with 10" brakes and then move the gear over to a new axle some day. There are threads here about why leading arms were not so good with brakes and you can't buy them anymore... but isn't this better than not having brakes?

When I do get a new axle, hypothetically, could I spin a trailing arm axle around and use it that way? I get the impression that some axle upgrades have been done that way. Any reports on how well or bad that turns out?

many thanks for the wealth of information and hospitality!

here's our twinkie:

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ID:	11082


thx
Billy
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Old 12-11-2007, 05:38 PM   #2
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I think the brake parts (which includes new hubs) will cost enough that the extra to go all the way to a whole new axle would be minimal, and well worthwhile.

The only problem I can immediately think of with the combination of brakes and leading arms is that brake application will tend to make the trailer rise on the suspension (while it would tend to be pulled down by brake reaction with the more normal trailing arms). That's not ideal, but the suspension travel on these trailers is so small that I suspect it's not a big concern.

Personally, I'm sure I would rather have a less-than-ideal combination of leading arms and brakes than no brakes at all. Since my Boler doesn't have leading arms (doesn't have arms at all - it has leaf springs) and came with brakes from the factory this hasn't been a choice I've faced.

I assumed that the "can't buy it anymore" situation applied to all leading arm applications, not specifically those with brakes. I understand some reasons why leading arms are undesirable, but I find it hard to believe that the axle assemblies were ever built any differently for leading or trailing... I suspect that it's the same hardware and the suppliers are just less willing to see them installed in the leading orientation now. There is an exception in Europe, where the AL-KO Delta and similar BPW products are available in a semi-trailing configuration (semi-leading would not be a good plan), but all of the "rubber torsion" axles here have straightforward trailing geometry... no sophisticated alignment angles to consider.
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Old 12-11-2007, 05:49 PM   #3
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The title asks about adding 10" brakes: the available brake size will depend on the axle's spindles. The spindles of axles up to 2200 lb capacity or so (e.g. Dexter Torflex #9) are likely to fit only hubs with brakes about 7" in diameter (e.g. Dexter 008-271-07 hub with 7"x1-1/4" drum), while 10" drums come with hubs for axles up to about 3500 lb capacity (e.g. Dexter Torflex #10; 008-247-05 hub with 10"x2-1/4" drum). Unless the Pacer has an unusually high axle capacity, I suspect that 10" brakes are not an option... but they would be if a whole new axle assembly is fitted.

The Dexter catalog is a great reference for what (hubs, brakes, etc) is available with what (axle size and type).
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Old 12-12-2007, 01:06 AM   #4
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Hi everybody, my first post after reading everything I could about axles and brakes.

We've got a 1985 13' Perris Pacer with no brakes. The axle is shot (45* up angle!) and it has the old style leading arms. However, it does have the mounting plates to add brakes.

here's our twinkie:

Attachment 11082


thx
Billy
I have done complete brake jobs on a Trillium 4500 and a 13" Scamp in the last few months. You not only need brakes you will need new brake drums. You will have between $200.00 and $250.00 dollars invested just in brake parts.
I think you would be better off buying a new axel complete with brakes.

Merry Christmas,
John
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Old 12-12-2007, 07:16 AM   #5
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Welcome to the forum. To answer your question with another question; do you really need brakes on a 13' trailer? It may be a good idea if your tow vehicle is a small car. Most vehicles, however, will tow and brake the 13' just fine. I vote with John for the new axle.
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Old 12-12-2007, 07:35 AM   #6
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The vote is unanimous so far. Buy a new axle with brakes. You may need to do a little fabricating to have the trailing arm axle mount where it should, but the result will amaze you. The cost won't be significantly more than the brakes alone. A worn out axle can cause your frame (and perhaps body) to crack as well as throw everything inside around.

Roger
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Old 12-12-2007, 01:52 PM   #7
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To answer your question with another question; do you really need brakes on a 13' trailer?
I think that the answer is likely "yes". Even a 13' trailer normally substantially exceeds 1000 lb when loaded, and the manufacturers of most vehicles used for towing our trailers at least recommend (and often require) trailer brakes for trailers over 1000 lb. Of course, if Billy's truck is a full-size (it looks like a compact to me), and the Pacer isn't too heavy, it might barely be okay.

One can debate the definition of "need"... but that's already been done in other discussion topics, so maybe we don't need to rehash it here.
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Old 12-13-2007, 05:05 PM   #8
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Thanks, everybody.

Based on the good advice, I'll put off buying brakes for the old axle and speed up my plans for the trailing arm axle welding job retrofit.

(anybody know a good welder around the California Monterey Bay area?)

In the meantime, we'll tow the 13' with a Ford Crown Victoria V8 until the brakes get on then switch back to the 1995 Toyota Pickup (4 cyl, manual trans)... better for hauling around a usually wet yellow Labrador Retriever!

thanks!
Billy


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Old 12-13-2007, 06:11 PM   #9
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...In the meantime, we'll tow the 13' with a Ford Crown Victoria V8 until the brakes get on then switch back to the 1995 Toyota Pickup (4 cyl, manual trans)...
Although the Crown Vic is presumably heavier than the pickup, which is an advantage for braking, it may not be any better for towing overall... I would still be cautious about tow vehicle capacity, which may be limited in the Crown Vic by the rear suspension, and the long rear overhang.
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Old 12-13-2007, 07:29 PM   #10
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Thanks, everybody.

Based on the good advice, I'll put off buying brakes for the old axle and speed up my plans for the trailing arm axle welding job retrofit.

(anybody know a good welder around the California Monterey Bay area?)

In the meantime, we'll tow the 13' with a Ford Crown Victoria V8 until the brakes get on then switch back to the 1995 Toyota Pickup (4 cyl, manual trans)... better for hauling around a usually wet yellow Labrador Retriever!

thanks!
Billy
You are under estimating your Toyota PU. I have had an 05 Toyota Tacoma 4cyl. for 25 months now and have almost 52000 miles on it. At least 10000 of those miles was with my previous 13' Scamp that did not have brakes and I never had a problem. I just had a 50000 mile service done and still have 65% of my brake shoes left according to the Toyota Tech. A lot of those miles were in the High Country of Colorado, 2 trips, and 10000 to 11000 foot Mt. Passes.
I never lacked for go power or stopping power in the Mts..
John
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Old 12-13-2007, 10:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
we'll tow the 13' with a Ford Crown Victoria V8
I knew of another member who towed a 13' trailer (a Boler) with a Crown Vic; even had the trailer painted to match the car. He has since replaced the car (and subsequently repainted the trailer).
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Old 12-14-2007, 07:08 AM   #12
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I knew of another member who towed a 13' trailer (a Boler) with a Crown Vic; even had the trailer painted to match the car. He has since replaced the car (and subsequently repainted the trailer).
Ford Crown Victoria is rated for 1500 pounds.
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