U-haul CT13 axle replacement with brakes, price in N. CA - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-15-2012, 06:14 PM   #1
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Name: Linda
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U-haul CT13 axle replacement with brakes, price in N. CA

Hi,

We are thinking about getting a Uhaul soon, but are concerned about the lack of trailer brakes. So I wrote the only place in Northern California that I could find and asked about their prices. I put in all the things I have read about on this forum, and the price came back appallingly high. Here's what I wrote:

We are buying a U-haul fiberglass trailer, but it does not come with trailer brakes and they apparently cannot be installed on the existing axle, which I believe is welded on. We would like to have the axle replaced with a bolted on Dexter axle (Torsion Axle plus shock absorbers), with trailer brakes and a sway bar/equalizer hitch. Then I guess we would have to get new tires as well. Could you please give me a ballpark estimate as to how much that would cost?

And this is what they wrote back:

The following prices are estimates pending when we see the Trailer and Vehicle you plan to tow with. There is little to no technical data available on the 1984 U-Haul CT13. Assuming 14" Tires and 1100 Gross trailer weight here are the quotes you requested.

1) Remove and replace existing axle with a Dexter Torsion axle, Shock Absorbers and Elect Trailer Brakes. The Material cost = $803.60 Labor Cost = $380 Tax = $62.28 for a total cost = $1245.88.

2) A Weight Distribution Hitch with Anti-sway bar will cost $454.58 including tax.

3) A Brake Controller in your vehicle to make the Trailer brakes activate, if you do not have already, will cost $352.23 installed including tax.

The grand total for the upgrades requested is $2052.69. I hope this helps.

So, that is way higher than people seem to write about on this forum. We can't do the work ourselves, don't know anything about replacing axles. Does anyone know of a place in Northern California that I could ask for another estimate? Or did I ask for things that are not necessary?

I'd really appreciate any help you could offer.
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Old 10-15-2012, 06:27 PM   #2
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The small UHauls were built without brakes even though they were rental units and would be pulled by a variety of renters in differing road conditions. Most CT owners are just fine without the brakes, but I know other owners just like the peace of mind. The brakes are certainly not required since these units are so light. Also, you should not need the specialty hitch you are requesting. These little trailers just don't sway unless you really misload the weight you are carrying. The shock absorbers are probably overkill, too, even if you get a new axle.

Unless the trailer is really sagging and has been used roughly, new tires should be what you need right away.

OK, I've given my opinion (having owned a similar small Burro). What do the rest of you think?
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Old 10-15-2012, 06:42 PM   #3
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I put brakes on my UHaul and I really like the way it tows, but certainly thousands of them have been towed for the last 25 years with a variety of cars and trucks. If I was replacing the axle for other reasons I'd definitely add brakes.

I'd encourage the OP to check with a trailer fabrication shop (they make custom utility trailers) and get a second opinion. I'd think that a new axle should be in the $600 - 800 range. I would skip the shock absorbers and the sway bar / equalizing hitch.

Check these places, too. Dexter Axle - Trailer Axles and Running Gear Components - California

I only paid $60 for a Tekonsha brake controller that I installed myself in a few hours. A place like UHaul should be cheaper than your quote if you need it installed. Depending on your vehicle, some just plug in.

I agree with Kevin, though, - put new tires on it and tow it for a while and see how you feel about brakes, shocks, sway bars and equalizing hitches.
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Old 10-15-2012, 07:39 PM   #4
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Thanks Tom and Kevin,

I will take your advice and tow it for awhile, and then look into the alternatives that you brought up.
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Old 10-15-2012, 07:51 PM   #5
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What is your tow vehicle, we tow our Uhaul with a 2003 Honda CRV
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Old 10-15-2012, 08:22 PM   #6
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We have a 6 cylinder Izusu Trooper.
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Old 10-15-2012, 08:44 PM   #7
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I think we're going to save you $2052.69. I'm an advocate of brakes, but agree the 13' trailers MAY not need them. IF you should ever get a new axle, get brakes THEN. You MAY want to get a sway bar... < $75. Buy the best tires you can and remember, always remember your trailer doesn't have brakes! Give yourself plenty of room, more than you think you need and pay attention to your tug brakes when going down looooong passes.

Safe travels, always
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:11 PM   #8
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Okay, that sounds like excellent advice. I was just worried because we've never towed a trailer before and some posters said things about wearing out your tow vehicle brakes and having close calls. But if we get a sway bar, we should be all right if we're cautious? Thanks so much for your help. We really don't have $2,000 to spend, that's for sure.
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:18 PM   #9
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Ms. Linda,
I've been pulling my CT-13 through out Western North Carolina including the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. No brakes, no sway bar and a MiniCooper ClubmanS tow vehicle. It pulls excellent in stock form!!!

If you intend to do a lot of mountain descents trailer brakes would be a nice
addition to help prevent brake fade on some inferior model tow vehicles but I have NOT experienced any of that and certainly no sway bar is needed if you keep a little more weight forward on the trailer hitch than aft of the axle.

Like the other comments: try it in stock form, you may really like it!!
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:46 PM   #10
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Linda, as others have said a weight distribution hitch and shocks and an Anti-sway bar should not really be necessary. The vast number of us hauling fiberglass trailers don't have any of those. If you are loading your trailer correctly there really shouldn't be a need for an anti sway bar although some people do add them as a extra insurance policy on the chance they ever do have a sway. But if an anti sway bar is actually required to keep your trailer from swaying under normal towing conditions then something is really wrong with your set up - often how the trailer has been stowed/balanced.
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Old 10-15-2012, 11:09 PM   #11
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Thanks, you all have so much experience and are so reassuring! I really appreciate it. We can't wait to get started--hope we will have a trailer to show you soon. We will be sure to load more weight in the front than in the back, and just give it a try.
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Old 10-16-2012, 05:47 AM   #12
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Lindl,

I agree with all the comments above. You don't need all that stuff. However, just something to add to the conversation. When you add the new axel, brakes, etc., your Uhaul will have equipment that can be fixed at normal RV places. The Uhaul uses proprietary parts and these can be exciting to get fixed when you are in the middle of nowhere Montana (Our hub went out on a vacation trip. We did find an old Uhaul dealer who had new hubs, but it was amazing that we did.) to get fixed. Now, don't let me scare you. The hub we had was broken and fixed by a PO, something we did not know until it broke. What happened to us is very unusual.

Someday, I hope we can put on Dexter parts on our Uhaul.


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Old 10-16-2012, 07:41 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Lindl View Post
Okay, that sounds like excellent advice. I was just worried because we've never towed a trailer before and some posters said things about wearing out your tow vehicle brakes and having close calls. But if we get a sway bar, we should be all right if we're cautious?......... .
You will gain confidence as you accumulate towing experience. Start out slow and don't try to drive like you don't have a trailer on the back. Allow more time to accelerate and to stop. Change lanes cautiously. Practice backing up before you need to do it. You will do fine!

Just to add to what Cindy said, we now know that the UHaul hubs are not proprietary, but are the same as as Camaro / Firebird from about 1993 to 2002. Universal part number is #513018. So if you need one, just go to an auto parts store.
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Old 10-16-2012, 09:54 AM   #14
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You all are the nicest group of people! Thanks very much for all your advice. I am really happy to hear about the hubs, because I was wondering what would happen if we needed one.
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