1979 Triple E Surf Side Trailers - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-27-2008, 11:56 AM   #1
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Trailer: 1979 Triple E Surfside
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Hello & HELP!
Do 1979 Triple E surf side, 14 ft trailers have to have trailer brakes, because the one I am about to buy does not on its new torsion axle. Did all of them in this year/model come originaly with brakes. I was told the trailer weighs around 1600 lbs? I feel like a schmuck because I shook on it, but no money has been exchanged and he wants to deliver it three days from now. I am now wondering if this is why others passed up this trailer and if he knows this. Please help. Am I overreacting or should I swallow my pride and back out and save my families hard earned pennies.
My wife and I are new to trailer camping, and do not assume to know anything and do not have money to burn. We decided to make the jump from tenting as it was getting to be more difficult and time consuming with our growing family of two boys, both of whom are under the age of 4. I have many questions. First of all what is the real dry weight to these and will I be ok towing it with our stock 2002 Toyota Tacoma Prerunner TRD double cab which we just bought, since the trailers axle has been replaced with a new torsion axle with no trailer brakes? It has a 4 pin connector just like my truck. My truck is rated to tow 3500 lbs ( not a tow package model )and the hidden hitch has a 500 lb tonge weight max and the truck bed payload capacity is 1650 lbs. I just found in my trucks manual a small line that says that anything over 1000 lbs requires trailer brakes. Is this an absolute must or are they just being over conservative. We would be towing over mountain highways at times if we were to go through with this trailer purchase.

Bottom line, am I ok with this "no trailer brake set up" with what I have told you about my truck and this trailer, or, should I swallow my pride, admit I'm a schmuck and save our families pennies for somthing else?

Peter
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:16 PM   #2
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Peter, just my 2 pennys worth here, but when dealing with a safety issue (like brakes) there shouldn't be any doubt as to what you 'should' do to be safeŽ. Is the 'new' axle capable of having brakes installed on it? If you are NOT sure, look just behind the wheel (behind the hub) and look for a square(ish) metal plate that looks like its welded there for no good reason. IF you have these plates (one each wheel) then you can always ADD brakes when is financially O.K. to do so.

Towing as is would be O.K. but SAFETY is always first up on my mind and I like to try an impress upon others the need NOT to be taking short cuts when/where safety issues are of a concern.

I'll git offa mah soapbox now, LOL!!!
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:34 PM   #3
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Trailer: Bigfoot
Manitoba
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Surfsides all had brakes originally; and have a decal on the back saying electric brakes. Did the owner tell you that it did not have brakes? Nice to have a new axle, but you want brakes. You could try reducing your offer by the amount of the cost of brake installation (if the new axle has flanges to mount them.) Your decision, but I would factor the costs of brakes into the decision
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Old 07-27-2008, 04:19 PM   #4
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I have an old 4500 that came with no brakes but it did have the square plates as shown in the attached photo. You will also see the two wires(white and blue) sticking out of the fiberglass body, as well as the non brake style hubs. These hubs have to be replaced with ones that have brake drums incorporated, and you have to get backing plates with all the hardware. I don't know the cost of new drums, but I paid $80Cdn./side for the backing plates. I paid freight from Windsor to Toronto for a used set of hubs with drums that another member had from a used axle he was replacing on an identical trailer. Do you live near an RV wrecking yard where you could get parts?

I would strongly advise not towing without the brakes, especially if you go into the mountains. One of these trailers will likely be around 2000 lbs. when ready to go camping, which is more than the 1650 lb maximum payload for your truck, hence the warning in your manual to use brakes.

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Old 07-27-2008, 05:49 PM   #5
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Trailer: 1976 Trillium 13 ft
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Interesting that all Surfsides came with brakes and Trillium 4500's came with brake mounts but not always brakes - they are based on the same mold.

I have towed our 13' Trillium with and without brakes on our 1991 4x4 Toyota Truck. It did not have a 1000lb limit but I will tell you there is huge difference in stopping with and without them. I actually sold our first Trillium and got the one we have partially because of the brakes. From what I have read on this forum it's between 600-800 dollars to get an axles with brakes installed. You also need to figure in the price of adding the controller - when I was looking in vancouver a controller with install was running around $400-$500 depending on the model of controller. I got a Tekonsha Prodigy as it's not really that much more then others and everyone says it's the best on the market.

I just finished a trip through the rockies to Drumheller on the #1 and back on the #3 with out Subaru and I can't say enough about the brakes.
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Old 07-27-2008, 07:28 PM   #6
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Trailer: 1979 Triple E Surfside
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Thankyou everyone for the good advice, I have some tough decisions to make now, either fork out the cash for a trailer brake conversion or no trailer for now.
Its hard to believe that a tacoma that's rated for towing 3500 lbs couldn't handle a 1600 lb trailer without trailer brakes. Any other advice is greatly apreciated.
Thanks again

Peter
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Old 07-27-2008, 11:27 PM   #7
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Name: jim
Trailer: Casita 2000 17ft. Liberty
California
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Thankyou everyone for the good advice, I have some tough decisions to make now, either fork out the cash for a trailer brake conversion or no trailer for now.
Its hard to believe that a tacoma that's rated for towing 3500 lbs couldn't handle a 1600 lb trailer without trailer brakes. Any other advice is greatly apreciated.
Thanks again

Peter
My '06 Tacoma V6 stops the Scamp '13 quite nicely w/o brakes.
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Old 07-28-2008, 01:38 AM   #8
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The truck may be able to handle it under nomal conditions but maybe not under emergency conditions -- You'd be asking it to stop 150% of the truck weight...

Ford has recently added to their owner's manuals "The brakes are designed to stop the GVWR, not the GCWR", IOW designed to stop the truck and load, but not a trailer.

Six braked wheels on the ground are far better than only four, as I found out when I put brakes on my 91S13 pulled by Dodge D150 half-ton pickup.

Having brakes on the trailer in slippery conditions means it is less likely to be trying to pass the truck when the truck brakes are on in a downhill curve...

Likely the axle has the flange with four holes in it, making add-on brakes feasible. All bets are off, however, if someone put a replacement axle on and didn't spend the $3 to get the flanges. Towing for a while w/o brakes is different than not ever having them.

The flange plates are clearly visible in Bill's good photo above -- The problem is that the flanges must be welded in place before the rubber is inserted and welding afterward damages the rubber.

In the worst case, consider that a new axle w/factory brakes may not cost much more than just the brake hardware itself -- Depends on how good a deal you'd be getting on the egg. I know this is all more expensive on the north side of the border, but might be combined at some time in near future.

As much as I believe trailer brakes are a really good thing, I wouldn't call it a deal killer unless your tow vehicle capacity notes specify brakes.
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Old 07-28-2008, 07:45 AM   #9
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Trailer: Bigfoot
Manitoba
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Thankyou everyone for the good advice, I have some tough decisions to make now, either fork out the cash for a trailer brake conversion or no trailer for now.
Its hard to believe that a tacoma that's rated for towing 3500 lbs couldn't handle a 1600 lb trailer without trailer brakes. Any other advice is greatly apreciated.
Thanks again

Peter
Like Pete says, it will handle it under most circumstances. However, it significantly improves your safety margin to have brakes. In the US, the insurance/liability issue if you have an accident while exceeding the manufacturers spec can be problematic. It is worth the money to install brakes right off the bat, and not have any worries. Having the 7 prong plug will also restore the ability to charge the on-board battery while travelling.
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Old 07-28-2008, 10:45 AM   #10
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Trailer: 1977 Triple E Surfside
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Mine has brakes but as I did not have a brake controller and am presently using a borrowed truck, I tow without them hooked up. I think the key is being aware that you need to allow yourself sufficient time to stop. I don't feel like the truck is being pushed by the trailer or requires excessive stopping distance but then I don't generally throw on the binders and allow lots of room between myself and the vehicle ahead of me. I am also travelling without a ton of gear in the trailer.

In future, if I either hold on to this tow (an older Explorer) or pick up my own I will likely add the controller but when advised it was about a $500 touch to add it hasn't been the priority this summer.
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:32 AM   #11
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Trailer: 1976 Trillium 13 ft
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Cam has a good point about liability in the US of A. Our original trip plans this summer were to head through Washington State and down to Montana. That was enough reason right there to get the brake/controller installed.
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Old 07-28-2008, 10:00 PM   #12
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In future, if I either hold on to this tow (an older Explorer) or pick up my own I will likely add the controller but when advised it was about a $500 touch to add it hasn't been the priority this summer.
Controller doesn't cost that much -- You can buy a prodigy from EBay for less than $100 and then hire an RV place to do it or get a good friend a six-pack (for afterwards, of course!).

http://shop.ebay.com/items/__prodigy-brake...ollerQQ_npmdnuZ
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Old 07-29-2008, 02:06 AM   #13
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Trailer: 1979 Triple E Surfside
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Thanks again for all your advice. My wife and I passed up the trailer and hope to find one with trailer brakes, we would love to get a 13' scamp, the newer the better, or a 13' lil bigfoot trailer. If you hear of anyone selling near Vancouver,BC, Canada or as far as Seattle, Washington. We dont have a big budget by any means but we feel it is an investment towards family time with our boys.
Cheers
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:39 AM   #14
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It wasn't the cost of the controller that put this on hold, it was the cost of wiring the Explorer. My local shop didn't seem too eager at my offer of a six-pack
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