Do I really need a brake controller? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-08-2011, 09:14 PM   #15
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True story from last week's trek home from New River State Park/Twin River's Campground (NC/Va border).

We decided to take Hwy 221 S home....mountainous, downhill and curvy. Mr 2yax noticed that the control (Prodigy 3) was suddenly registering 00 (meaning it wasn't working). We find a pull-over to check it and smell HOT brakes from the car upon exit.

Check the connection, which had come loose (probably not seated properly on rehooking the trailer at the campground...tip for next time is double check that connection), put her back on, walked and watered the dog letting the car brakes cool, hopped back in and no more worries.

Without a functional controller coming down that mountain, all of the work would have been put on the tug, we could have lost braking on the Durango (meaning none for Li'l Scamp either) and that would not have had a pretty ending.

If you never tow in the hill country, maybe no brake controller would be fine. If you do, my dos peso is that I wouldn't want to take the risk of making the tug do all the work.
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:28 PM   #16
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Another vote for Tekonsha. I have the P3 - it's smoother than I expected with any amount of braking. A buddy of mine who does a lot of towing, said its the best controller he's ever used. Also for what it's worth, I bought mine when I was placing an order with e-trailer.com and they price matched another online store at $125.
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Old 08-17-2011, 04:49 PM   #17
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Great Thread

I just bought a 16' Fiber Stream. I have never towed much of anything before and never with my own vehicle.

The Fiber Stream has brakes. I was wondering if to use them or not as they are so light. If I did, do I need a controller. If so what kind.

This thread answered all of my questions for a NewBee.
Thanks
Glenn
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Old 08-17-2011, 06:50 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by ticntoc View Post
This thread answered all of my questions for a NewBee.
Thanks
Glenn
Glenn
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:46 PM   #19
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It probably depends on what you're towing with. I'm towing our Egg Camper with a V8 Chevy Silverado right now. We've had brake problems for 3000 miles on our western trip. Jerking when letting off the brake pedal at stoplights, etc and the trailer brakes locking completely up at city speeds. Stopped at an RV service place in Idaho Falls this afternoon and determined that our month old controller was defective. I had it disconnected until I can get home for warranty. Have driven near 100 miles since with out noticing anything different. I've carried pickup campers that weighed as much as our Egg and never needed any extra brakes.
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Old 08-18-2011, 07:13 AM   #20
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I think personal option maybe different as voiced by the various opinions here, but you need to check with the local DMV authorities to determine if the trailer has brakes do they need to be hooked up and functioning. Then you can go from there in making your decision.
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:11 PM   #21
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I think here in CA, anything over 1800 pounds requires brakes. The Fiber Stream is right there on the edge and already has the brakes. I figure a controller for $150-200, installed is well worth the money. What's the trailer, the car and possibly my life (or friends and family) worth, campared to $200?

Glenn
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:14 PM   #22
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I believe trailer brakes are required in NY if the empty weight is over 1,000 lbs. If that's the case you will need a brake controller. Not sure what you're towing with, but my Subaru, for example, also requires trailer brakes if I tow more than 1,000 lbs (goes to 2,700 lbs with brakes).
I love my trailer brakes. Once I left the house with the truck and forgot to swap my Prodigy brake controller to the truck and realized it at the first stop sign due to the extra stopping distance. Turned back and pulled it out of the Subey and plugged it back into the Dakota.
A breakaway switch is something extra and that's the only thing that would need a battery source on the camper. That applies the brakes on the trailer if the trailer becomes disconnected from the tow vehicle, and you can buy small batteries to power them (although it's not much more to just buy a full size battery for the camper)

John
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Old 08-19-2011, 01:57 AM   #23
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Smile Welcome to the wonderful world of FG

According to

State Towing Laws for RVs

New York requires brakes on any trailer over 1000#.

Do you plan on leaving the state of New York? You may have to follow that state's laws re towing. Many states require a breakaway switch, which means a battery. You will want a battery if you ever boondock. Don't say, "Never." That is what we said and then we ended up staying in a Wal Mart, a Denny's and a I-5 rest stop when we couldn't find a place to stay. All required battery for lights.

There are many discussions on this blog about ignoring laws. I did it myself when I was young and dumb by towing my 2800# boat/trailer with a 1500# rated hitch, but you don't want to get into an accident in that condition. Your insurance company may disown you on the basis that you are breaking the law. Lawyers for aggrieved parties would eat you up.
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Old 09-03-2011, 08:55 PM   #24
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Brake rules change by area; but if you go into an area that requires brake on your trailer they will not cut you slack. Just go the local enforcement: in Ontario it is the MTO you will have one for your area.

In Ontario it depends
1 If trailer is over 3000 lbs (told includes all loaded items) or
2 If trailer is over 50% of the weight of the tow vehicle or
3 If trailer was manufactured originally with brakes
Then Yes they are required; was told when I asked

The Dealer installed unit on our Toyota is a Voyager inertia activated proportional braking unit we had to add a breakaway switch to the trailer to make it legal.

See people braking the rules all the time was told that they will not bother you unless it looks to be unsafe or if you have an collision.
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:18 PM   #25
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P.S. battery required for electric brakes and the breakaway switch
Personally feel brakes are just a good safety item for any load over 500 lbs
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Old 09-04-2011, 12:10 AM   #26
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Owners manuals and bureaucrats... Seems most advice around here concerns respecting these two sources which are clearly fallible, It's the laws of physics which concern me, and their author is clearly infallible.
While breaking the rules of the former can be done with relative impunity, the laws of the latter are strictly enforced and should be the greater concern,and they apply across state lines.
Let's be safe, regardless of where we drive, or what the state permits!
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:32 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by floyd
Owners manuals and bureaucrats... Seems most advice around here concerns respecting these two sources which are clearly fallible, It's the laws of physics which concern me, and their author is clearly infallible.
While breaking the rules of the former can be done with relative impunity, the laws of the latter are strictly enforced and should be the greater concern,and they apply across state lines.
Let's be safe, regardless of where we drive, or what the state permits!
Floyd, I don't think I could agree more!
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:08 AM   #28
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Do you need a brake controller - definitely not - unless stopping is important to you!

Rules and laws are "what can legally be done". As was said - the laws of physics are immutable and they appear to dictate that the more you (your tug + trailer) weigh, the longer it will take to stop. The car in front of you can stop in "x' distance. Can you?

Are you legally required to get a controller? (see all discussions above)

Should you get one? If you don't, then please let us all know where & when you will be traveling, so we can be elsewhere!
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