So you think you don't need trailer brakes? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-15-2011, 09:28 PM   #1
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Name: Donna D
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So you think you don't need trailer brakes?

... I encourage you to think with your wallet.

I've mentioned many times that no trailer brakes becomes a maintenance issue for your tug...

Yesterday I spent $599.67 on brakes for my tug... and my trailer has brakes. Merry Christmas to me... NOT. I had saved that money for new technology. A new 64gig I-POD or new laptop or maybe a I-PAD... sigh... not this month. Stopping safely is more important. AND, my trailer HAS brakes. That's redundant... but, do you really want to spend money unnecessarily? Ask YOUR mechanic what replacing the brakes your tug would cost... from simple (pads, shoes) to the expensive (replace calipers and/or drums). Let THAT be your decision, not just the fact your tug CAN stop your trailer. If you're a reasonable garage mechanic you may find you can replace drums/shoes on your trailer for less than $100 a side. $200 is 1/3 what it cost me to replace the brakes on my F-150. I HATE to think how frequently I would be spending that money if my trailer didn't have brakes. YMMV
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Old 12-16-2011, 12:36 AM   #2
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Donna, just out of curiosity....How many miles did you have on that set of brakes? And about how many of those miles do you thing you had towing? I'm only trying to put things in perspective. My '03 Honda CRV had 96K on it when I traded it in for the Subie, and I was still on the original brakes. But, I didn't tow, and I did alot of Interstate driving. The Subie has about 47K on it right now. When it was inspected last June, the brakes were still very good. Sorry you got hit at this time of year. Auto maintainance doesn't have holidays. You did the right thing.
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Old 12-16-2011, 12:56 AM   #3
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Hi: Donna D... "Ooh Ooh Ooh Ooh...Merry Christmas Santa".(Beach Boys)
Our '95 Taurus tug just ate up a $600.+ set of tires, $350.+ brake rebuild, and $130.+ new battery. HAPPY HOLIDAYS TOO!!! Almost 60,000mi./100,000kms including two seasons of tuggin' a Boler 13'er w/out brakes. Trouble is at this time of year all these costs were necessary for safety and reliability of winter driving.
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:48 AM   #4
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Name: Daniel A.
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Keep in mind folks that the terrain we drive makes a big difference, mountain driving will eat brakes.
That price sounds fair Donna.
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:16 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
... I encourage you to think with your wallet.

I've mentioned many times that no trailer brakes becomes a maintenance issue for your tug...

Yesterday I spent $599.67 on brakes for my tug... and my trailer has brakes. Merry Christmas to me... NOT. I had saved that money for new technology. A new 64gig I-POD or new laptop or maybe a I-PAD... sigh... not this month. Stopping safely is more important. AND, my trailer HAS brakes. That's redundant... but, do you really want to spend money unnecessarily? Ask YOUR mechanic what replacing the brakes your tug would cost... from simple (pads, shoes) to the expensive (replace calipers and/or drums). Let THAT be your decision, not just the fact your tug CAN stop your trailer. If you're a reasonable garage mechanic you may find you can replace drums/shoes on your trailer for less than $100 a side. $200 is 1/3 what it cost me to replace the brakes on my F-150. I HATE to think how frequently I would be spending that money if my trailer didn't have brakes. YMMV
I just did brakes all the way around on my Ranger, new rotors, new drums, and Raybestos best brakes including complete spring kits.
At 145,000miles this was second time for front pads and the first for everything else. The bill was about $100 per corner, using the best name brand parts. Could have done it much cheaper with lesser parts from AutoZone.
My trailer has original 7" brakes with around 55,000miles(still good). Somebody on here found a complete kit for 7" trailer brakes, reportedly for less than $150.
I have found that town/city driving is what results in the most brake wear, highway driving yields more miles, trailer or not.
We moved last year (only across town) and all those short trips resulted in considerably less than average distance from this last set of brakes.
While every driver's results will be different, I doubt that brakes on a thirteen would result in a measurable savings on tug brakes, certainly not enough to pay for them,but that's not entirely the point is it?
Of course the smaller the tug, the greater the impact.
Your point is still an ounce or two on the "trailer brakes" side of the scale...all things considered.
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:30 AM   #6
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I for one recommend brakes purely on the ability to engage them manually from the tow vehicle. There are many conditions or factors that can induce sway and many items that can assist in reducing the possibility. As far as I have found none of those items can stop sway if it happens. The manual mode on the brake controller will engage the trailer brakes allowing the tow vehicle to re-gain control as the pulling force. I for one hope to never have to manually engage my trailer brakes but hate the thought of "I should have gotten brakes" riffling through my head in an emergency.

Years ago on another forum a member added a friction bar to their rig. They tried to induce sway and were successful. Their advice: First and formost do not ever try and induce sway! Secondly, get trailer brakes because that's what saved their lives.

At first I thought, of course I would never try and induce sway, but I'm not in control of everything. An odd set of circumstances can put any of us in danger instantly. Being prepared is the best we can do, regardless of the outcome.

-John
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Old 12-16-2011, 12:03 PM   #7
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I do most of my own wrench turning and unless they replaced everything I think you got beat up. If you went to the Ford dealer then you would be beat up for sure. My '93 Toyota is still running the original rear brakes and the second set of front pads, I don't tow much with it but I do have a pretty heavy foot. Donna, I know that you have the mechanical knowledge to have been able to do it for less money but sometimes we just don't want to do it.
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Old 12-16-2011, 12:22 PM   #8
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I replaced my trucks front brake pads for $60. Granted I do my own work, but it's really easy to change pads on disc brakes. Unless the rotor is warped there's no need to replace them. I pull my rear drums on every tire rotation to inspect and have yet to change the brake shoes.

One tip I have is to flush your brake system every few years with new fluid, that keeps moisture from being absorbed and makes the seals last much longer in the calipers and master cylinder. Brake parts aren't that expensive, it's the labor that kills you.
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Old 12-16-2011, 12:41 PM   #9
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I do most of my own wrench turning and unless they replaced everything I think you got beat up. .
My brothers Ford F-550 crew cab had a rear caliper seize up and burst. He lost the rotor as well. He was (insert expletive) at the dealer for $2500 for just the back brakes. Good thing the company pays.
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:07 PM   #10
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My brothers Ford F-550 crew cab had a rear caliper seize up and burst. He lost the rotor as well. He was (insert expletive) at the dealer for $2500 for just the back brakes. Good thing the company pays.
I can believe that, Toyota tried to sell me a $400.00 caliper and I reminded them that I already had the truck and I only needed a caliper, I went to NAPA and saved about $350.00.
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Old 12-16-2011, 06:15 PM   #11
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Name: Ron
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Somebody on here found a complete kit for 7" trailer brakes, reportedly for less than $150.
That would be me I ordered them from r and p carriage. They're on ebay. They've arrived at my sister's house just across the border and as soon as I feel like risking sitting in the Christmas border lineup I'll nip down and pick them up. They were $148.00. For that price, for me, it was a no brainer if it was worth adding them. If I only have to use them once in a panic stop it'll have been worth it to me.

Ron
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:05 PM   #12
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Keep in mind folks that the terrain we drive makes a big difference, mountain driving will eat brakes.
That price sounds fair Donna.
Mountain driving should not eat brakes. Brakes are not intended to control your speed, that's the job of the engine. Whether you are driving in the prairies, uphill or downhill, don't hesitate to use lower gears in your transmission to control your speed.

-- Dan Meyer
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:32 PM   #13
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Good brakes are a necessity, not a luxury item. Donna, sorry you can't get some new toys this season but I know that the peace of mind you will have every time you hit the brakes is worth more than the toys. I just had the front brakes done on my Highlander this past Monday, rears were done 10K miles ago... that's the first new set of brakes on it and it is now at 106,000 miles. There was no question in mind about spending the money, I hardly gave it a thought, because I knew how vital good brakes are. Mine were about $200 per axle at the Toyota dealer.
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Old 12-16-2011, 09:43 PM   #14
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IMHO
Regarding the cost; what you don't spend on your tow vehicle brakes, you will spend on your trailer brakes. Taking the same quality of pads / shoes they will wear out the same the same $ when you grand total all the wheels. Callipers will fail due to unuse than "over use" - that's why typically rear wheels / trailer brakes seeze more often than the front do. As it is, at the moment, all the maintenance I need on my trailer axle is looking after the wheel bearings being tight and greased. I don't want to add to that $ on the trailer brakes that rust because they are used so rarely compared to my TV.
Safety; with 750 lbs on the axle of my trailer behind Rainier, I'm simply not worried about the stopping power. When it comes to sway control... when you need brakes to control the sway, you are already too deep in... you know what. Proper weight distribution and hitch set up are the key. Well, maybe not. The real key is to know limitations of your skill and towing set-up and to stay well within it.
As always, YMMV but, that is the way I see it.
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