Do I really need a brake controller? - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-22-2011, 03:08 PM   #29
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Roger, get the Tekonsha controller. The controller is not too pricey but the wiring harness and its installation may set you back a bit. It runs off your car battery. The Jubilee is one of the heavier FG trailers out there - it is just under 2000 pounds. Yes you can tow without the brakes, but you should definetly get them operational. You will need the drum brakes on the trailer serviced, you will need a 7 pin connector, not a 5, and I understand from the guy that services our electrics that the trailer brake alone should be enough to stop the trailer and tow vehicle, at least at low speeds - ther person who installs your wire harness can explain this. (The controller sits under your dash and has a lever that you can manually activate the brakes.) Don't know what Jeep you have or its tow cap - but unless you are towing with a fullsize pickup, go for the trailer brakes. They are indispensable to us, towing our Jubilee with a Santa Fe.

See the Tekonsha website.
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Old 11-11-2011, 12:40 AM   #30
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Any idea how to check if I have brakes, capability for brakes? i.e. can I just by some brakes and throw them on or do I need to change out the axel. I have a 1991 13' Scamp. I don't see a break away switch and my Tekonsha P2 brake controller (best on the market by every reviewer ever) didn't recognize brakes, so they are probably not connected.
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Old 11-11-2011, 01:08 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinScamps View Post
Any idea how to check if I have brakes, capability for brakes? i.e. can I just by some brakes and throw them on or do I need to change out the axel. I have a 1991 13' Scamp. I don't see a break away switch and my Tekonsha P2 brake controller (best on the market by every reviewer ever) didn't recognize brakes, so they are probably not connected.
If you have brakes there will be wires going to them. You can look under the trailer at the wheel. No wires no brakes. Chances are that you don't have brakes on '91 13' Scamp. You can't just add them unless there's a flange for them on the axle.
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Old 11-11-2011, 01:10 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
If you have brakes there will be wires going to them. You can look under the trailer at the wheel. No wires no brakes. Chances are that you don't have brakes on '91 13' Scamp. You can't just add them unless there's a flange for them on the axle.
Yup no wire. in terms of "flanges for them on the axle", what am I looking for?
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Old 11-11-2011, 02:36 AM   #33
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You probably have the brake flanges.
Pull the wheel and look for a 5" x 5" square price of metal with a hole drilled in each corner at the back of the spindle.
Thats what you attach the backing plate to which holds the brake shoes.
You will need a complete brake kit which includes brake drums.
Notherntool.com is a great place to do business with.
A complete kit will cost you around $240.00 plus shipping.
I've been over some of those 1100' or 12000' passes. You will be glad you have brakes going down those long grades.
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Old 11-11-2011, 08:00 AM   #34
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"#1, do I need the internal battery for the brakes? The place we do most of our camping has shore power, and I just planned on hooking up to that, and not getting a battery for now. Obviously if I need a battery, I'll have to break out the credit card."
The battery you would need to activate the trailer brakes is a small one, relatively inexpensive. The alternate option is the regular size battery to which the brakes can be connected. this bigger battery will also operate your 12v trailer accessories.
Either way, the brakes/battery combo is a safety feature activated in an emergency if the trailer becomes un hooked. The controller will active the brakes concurrent with the vehicles brakes for shorter stopping distance and time, again another safety feature. Do you still drive without seat belts? Again a safety feature.
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:41 AM   #35
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Brakes are probably the MOST important item on any trailer!

Pulling a trailer is easy and most any 4 cylinder car can pull a trailer. Stopping is a completely different issue.

With any fiberglass trailer you are adding anywhere from 1,000#'s to 2,500#'s of additional weight pushing the tow vehicle with brakes on that tow vehicle that were designed for stopping the vehicle itself and "maybe" not much else. Yes there is a safety factor built into a brake system by the OEM manufacturer of your vehcile and that also depends upon your upkeep and maintainence of your tow vehicle brakes. Most any vehicle has some type of towing capacity listed. Have you ever seen a STOPPING capacity specification listed anywhere for any vehicle? No you have not since that is not listed by the vehicle manufacturer.

If you have trailer brakes on your rig use them! If your brakes do not work repair them. If you need a controller buy one. As much as you may be worried about your safety I am far more worried about my safety and making sure that your do not run into the back of my vehicle somewhere at sometime because you could not stop your vehicle and trailer.

It's the responsible thing to do!

I know this is my first post however lack of working trailer brakes is real issue with inexperienced or weekend trailer tower's. Having pulled many trailers hundreds of thousands of miles many of the trailer accidents I have seen on the road are recreational RV tower's without trailer brakes such as boat trailers, small RV trailers and big RV trailers wrecked that may or may not have had working trailer brakes.

You can buy and install NEW trailer brake assemblies and a trailer emergency breakaway kit on most any trailer that has mounting flanges for brake assembly backing plates for $250 per axle or less. That's a small price to pay for your and my safety.

As much fun as camping can be you have first arrive SAFELY at your camping destination!
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Old 12-11-2011, 09:07 AM   #36
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Hi Mike, welcome to FiberglassRV. Nice first post. SAFETY FIRST!
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:47 AM   #37
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I'm going to hijack this thread for a moment, please excuse me.
My truck ('71 VW) doesn't have a brake switch on the pedal. Does anyone know if using the brake light switch on the master cylinder will work?
I'm probably going to get the P2.

Sorry for the hi-jack. Mike
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:09 AM   #38
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The brake light switch on the master should work fine to get a signal to actuate a brake controller. Make sure you hook up the brake controller wire to the switched side of the hydraulic brake switch.

What you are looking for is a brake signal power source for the brake controller that is actuated by depressing the brake pedal which turns on the brake lights which will also actuate the trailer brakes. That's exactly what that hydraulic switch on the master cylinder does!
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:19 AM   #39
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That's what I was thinking. Thanks!
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Old 12-12-2011, 01:02 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by John_M View Post
The Tekonsha P-3 can be mounted straight up and down, but its not exactly cheap...

Tekonsha P-3 Trailer Brake Controller - Proportional Tekonsha Brake Controller 90195
The P-3 might be a bit overkill. You want to consider the Prodigy. Tekonsha PRODIGY Brake Controller - Proportional Tekonsha Brake Controller 90185

FYI. In some states, (Oregon for one), if your trailer is equipped with electric brakes you must have a brake controller, it must be in working order. That applies to trailers that normally don't require brakes. It would not be legal for me to tow my trailer with a vehicle that doesn't have a brake controller connected and working order.

I have the Prodigy and two vehicles that I can tow with. All I have to do is remove the controller from one vehicle to the other to change tow vehicles. But, I do have to remember to do that.
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:52 PM   #41
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Here's the place I got mine. Some of my friends also. Towshop Discount RV Camping Trailer Parts and Accessories
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:09 PM   #42
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The prodigy is a great controller and I have one I used when we had the Scamp. When I sold the Jeep I forgot I had it in the house so there it sits, no wiring kit though. Our new truck has the integrated brake controller so I don't need it. If anyone wants it just make an offer. Our camper needs a good restoring wax so I'd trade if you want to come to Florida. That's probably not a good deal but didn't I mention Florida!

-John
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