add brake control to trailer dolly - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-14-2010, 09:21 AM   #1
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add brake control to trailer dolly

Hi, need some advice from you brake controller experts:

I have this trailer dolly from Harbor Freight:
Heavy Duty Trailer Dolly

It works great on a level surface. But when I roll our 13' Scamp to its parking spot next to the garage, there is a slight decline I have to go down. I can muscle it with someone helping holding it back so it doesn't get moving too fast and run me over, but it's a little sketchy and so I had the idea of controlling the Scamp brakes by adding a button to this dolly.

But I'm not exactly sure how to go about it. Any ideas? I can run a wire from the trailer battery up to a push button switch on the dolly handle, and then a wire back down to the brake terminal on the trailer plug. Then hold the switch closed when I want to apply the trailer brakes. But I'm not sure if a direct 12V connection to the brakes is ok. Do I need to find some kind of thumb-operated potentiometer to vary the resistance? Hmmm...I suppose I could just by a cheap brake controller and attach it to the dolly handle, but I was hoping to make this even simpler.

Any ideas? Am I crazy??
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Old 11-14-2010, 12:43 PM   #2
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I'd say you could wire it up the same as you would with a break away switch.

Or if you had a Dexter axle, they now make brakes with manual park.

Can you MacGuyver something on the dolly to press against the dolly wheels to act as brakes? Perhaps by using the cable brakes off an old bicycle and some levers or rods?
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Old 11-14-2010, 04:42 PM   #3
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Wilder:

We have the same dolly, and you are right you need to be careful when you are going down on a slope. I have found that if I leave the hitch jack in the down position I can brake the trailer by just raising or lowering the handle on the dolly. Since this is not too stable, I usually also have a piece of wood in my hand to put under the wheel of the dolly so that it won't roll. You don't want the trailer to get away from you!

I've also found that the trailer is much easier to move uphill if more weight is at the back, for example if my wife sits on the back bench. I'm getting better at backing the trailer into position with our car which also reduces the amount of grunt work involved.

Brian
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Old 11-14-2010, 06:11 PM   #4
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Roy, I thought about putting bakes on the dolly, but it's so light the trailer would just push it along even with the wheels locked if it had any momentum. What do you mean by break away switch? I do have the stock Scamp (1993 axle, I believe it's a Dexter). The brakes are stock for the Scamp too.

Brian, I'm rolling downhill, i.e. I'm walking backwards with the dolly and the trailer rolling toward me. I've found I can brake it by digging the leg of the dolly into the ground, but it's not very graceful. I just want to activate the Scamp's own brakes with a switch or knob at the handle of the dolly.

thanks,
-Wilder
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Old 11-14-2010, 07:09 PM   #5
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Here's an old post to get you started.
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...tch-26101.html

or Google this:

site:fiberglassrv.com +wiring +"breakaway switch"

My understanding is the brakes work better in the forward direction because the momentum of the trailer initially helps position the shoes.
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Old 11-14-2010, 07:17 PM   #6
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The electric brakes take some time to activate. They work by a magnet attaching its self to the hub and the rotation of the hub then applies the braking action. It could take several revolutions of the hub to get the full benefit of the brakes. I don't think the brakes will work in reverse. Only forward motion.

Have someone assist you by applying a chock to the trailer tire to stop or slow it.
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Old 11-14-2010, 08:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Brian Van Snell View Post
I've also found that the trailer is much easier to move uphill if more weight is at the back, for example if my wife sits on the back bench.
I've found it much easier to move uphill if the other person is helping to push.
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Old 11-16-2010, 04:33 PM   #8
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hey, I do have a Tekonsha P3 controller, so I can easily pull it out and hook it to the dolly. good idea! now I just need to find a weekend when we're not camping to play with all this gotta love winter camping in a Scamp with heater!!
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Old 11-16-2010, 05:22 PM   #9
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We used our John Deere riding mower on our 13' Scamp since we moved it around on the grass to mow. Miss being able to do that to the 5th wheel.
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Old 11-16-2010, 05:51 PM   #10
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Wilder,
You could see if you plan works simply by pulling the breakaway cable, assuming you do have a battery and breakaway switch on your trailer. Have an extra pair of hands available when you test it in case the brakes don't grab well enough. Full 12 volts won't hurt it (just remember to plug the breakaway plug back in when you're done or you'll drain your battery), and you shouldn't have to worry about a sudden stop since your speed will be hopefully low.
If it works by pulling the breakaway cable (which activates the brakes) then you could invest in a switch on the tow dolly, either an on/off switch or a variable switch.

Cyndi,
Maybe you could mount a roll bar on your John Deere and mount a hitch on top of the roll bar for your 5er!
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:56 AM   #11
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Don't give my husband ideas. I never did see how they moved the 5th wheels on the factory floor.
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:12 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Cyndi B. View Post
Don't give my husband ideas. I never did see how they moved the 5th wheels on the factory floor.
I'd consider dropping the front jacks on car dollies. Something like this:
2 Piece 1500 Lb. Capacity Vehicle Dollies
I know I've seen some 3 wheeled ones that are flatter on the supporting surface somewhere. For some reason, I can't find them tonight.
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Old 11-18-2010, 04:38 PM   #13
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theres a way to put a lever type brake on that cart and its used on alot of contracters eqipment and easy.
Try to locate a "curbing machine" from a paver and look at the brake on it . thet use them on alot of pit carts too at race tracks.....its just a lever with a. steel pad the goes against the tire. I'll try to find a picture later too........Bruce
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Old 11-18-2010, 04:54 PM   #14
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Roy:

They roll well in dirt? Hopefully we are done moving it for the winter. We got it wedged in, hopefully we can get it wedged out without having to cut a tree down.
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