Do a 13' Scamp need electric Brake? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-10-2019, 07:26 AM   #1
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Name: KoyD
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Do a 13' Scamp need electric Brake?

Hey everyone, I have this 2002 - 13' Scamp that don't have electric brake. I don't know is it o.k. to leave it like that or put electric brake on later ? I know that most 13' camper "Don't have electric Brake install."Why?" Most of these 13' camper can weight over 1,000 lbs. Is it "safe" for towing and stopping .If I decide to put electric brake on the 13' "Is it a hard to do? Do you have to replace the whole wheel axle ? Anyone have any suggestions and advice will be appreciated-Thank you all.
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Old 02-10-2019, 08:03 AM   #2
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Yes! With fully loaded weights between 1500 and 2000 pounds, many potential tow vehicles are going to specify trailer brakes on a Scamp 13. Some states also have low thresholds for trailer brakes: 1500 pounds in several states and 1000 pounds in New York. Even if not required by law or vehicle manufacturer, trailer brakes bring safety advantages and reduced wear on the tow vehicle's brakes.

Some people reason, "If I drive conservatively, I'll be fine." Maybe true, but no one can control what other drivers will do, nor anticipate acts of God, like a falling rock or a deer darting across the road. I was in heavy evening traffic outside San Diego, just a few exits away from our beach destination, when a bright yellow sports car cut me off and immediately braked hard to make an exit ramp. Quick reflexes, full-on emergency braking, and assistance from the trailer brakes prevented contact and kept the rig in a straight line. I might well have been held liable, and even if not, it would have spoiled a long-anticipated vacation.

Look under the trailer behind the wheel. If the current axle has a square flange with four bolt holes it is brake-ready. If not, yes, you'll need a whole new axle. My 2008 was brake-ready, but that wasn't always the case at Scamp. I don't know when they changed.
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:12 AM   #3
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YES TWICE!

Replace the original axle with with a NEW axle with brakes. Overall much easier two swap out the complete axle assemble and about the same price to buy a complete new complete axle assembly with brakes rather than buying a brake kit and adding brakes to the probably worn out original axle. I would also buy new leaf springs if so equipped at the same time to replace the original leaf springs.

That assumes you can add brakes to the original axle. I doubt the original axle will the the mounting boss for the brake backing plates if your trailer is an older one.
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Old 02-10-2019, 01:24 PM   #4
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Do you need electric brakes on a 13'er? YES (unless you're pulling it with a SEMI.)
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by vintageracer View Post
YES TWICE!

Replace the original axle with with a NEW axle with brakes. Overall much easier two swap out the complete axle assemble and about the same price to buy a complete new complete axle assembly with brakes rather than buying a brake kit and adding brakes to the probably worn out original axle. I would also buy new leaf springs if so equipped at the same time to replace the original leaf springs.

That assumes you can add brakes to the original axle. I doubt the original axle will the the mounting boss for the brake backing plates if your trailer is an older one.
Scamp 13's of that era have a welded-on rubber torsion axle. A complete new axle with brakes, installed with associated wiring, will likely run around $1000. The welding means it's not a DIY job for most people. If it has the mounting plate, you can add brakes for a lot less, and if you're handy, do it yourself. A 7" brake kit is under $150.

You’re correct, though, that it may be about time. Torsion axles have a working life of around 15-20 years, and this unit is in that window. They can last much longer, but with gradually diminishing ride quality.

One advantage of a whole new axle is being able to specify a different arm angle for a bit more clearance. I’d go with a zero degree axle myself (OEM is 22 degrees up), which will raise the trailer about 2-3”. That would make for fewer tongue strikes, less drop on the ball mount, and a better appearance (IMO) without greatly increasing wind drag or requiring a step to enter. You can also switch to a bolt-on mount if desired.
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:53 PM   #6
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Name: bill
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Other thing to consider is state regulations. Here in NC, anything 1,000 pounds or more requires brakes. I see you are in NC as well.


Of course, tow vehicle will require a brake controller.

In the end, stopping is more important than “going”.
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:58 PM   #7
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It would be irresponsible to tell anyone that they don't need trailer brakes.
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:51 AM   #8
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It would be irresponsible to tell anyone that they don't need trailer brakes.
Does that mean I can sue the DOT for saying I am not required to have trailer brakes on my Campster?
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:07 AM   #9
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Does that mean I can sue the DOT for saying I am not required to have trailer brakes on my Campster?
You could certainly try, assuming you suffered injury due to the lack of brakes on your trailer.

But the attorney for the DOT would argue that the owner’s manual for your tow vehicle requires them over 1000 pounds, which your trailer certainly is.

I suspect a judge would just laugh.

“Legal” and “responsible” are rarely in perfect alignment. The former sets boundaries on egregious behavior. The latter has a higher standard.
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:55 AM   #10
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I view trailer brakes as being a maintenance issue for the tow vehicle. Without trailer brakes, the tow vehicle will be needing brake maintenance at a faster rate. Have you checked what it costs to replace the brakes on your tow vehicle? I know on my truck it's $$$. Trailer brakes are really cheap to replace. This is a no-brainer for me. I don't care if trailer brakes are needed by law or because of safety. I prefer to keep money in my pocket so I can spend it on fuel to go camping or to pay for site fees and entertainment. Based on that, why would I NOT want trailer brakes. That may sound like an oxymoron, but having brakes on a trailer is certainly a lot cheaper than maintenance on my truck. YMMV
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:44 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post

“Legal” and “responsible” are rarely in perfect alignment. The former sets boundaries on egregious behavior. The latter has a higher standard.


Well put.

And, if a stranger, that I know nothing about, and nothing about their towing ability or their tow vehicle or the area they will be towing in, asks a question that seems to reveal they have little familiarity with the subject, or about an important safety system, I will definitely not tell them to go ahead and tow without brakes. That has nothing to do with the law. It's common sense.

If you have to come down one one side of the fence or the other, which will it be? "Sure, go ahead and tow that down out of the Sierras, with your Yugo, in a subzero snow storm. No problem" or "Since it's summer and you are only moving it once, to your buddies house three blocks away, and towing it their with your deuce-and-a-half military truck, you'll be fine". No problem.

I think it's great that the OP asked the question. Good job. If you're not sure about something and it's a safety issue, definitely ask. It's certainly a chance to get every opinion that can be imagined.
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Old 02-16-2019, 05:07 PM   #12
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Will surge brakes do the job? Is a brake controller the only way to go?
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Old 02-16-2019, 05:19 PM   #13
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Look up Autow Brake. It might be what you’re looking for.
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Old 02-17-2019, 09:17 AM   #14
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Name: James
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Trailer brakes

Even where trailer brakes are not required by law, in case of an accident the lack of trailer brakes may contribute to the insurance company assigning to you a larger portion of the liability for the accident. $$$$$! Adding insult to injury. Get, adjust, and use trailer brakes!
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