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Old 01-15-2018, 03:27 PM   #1
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Name: Jill
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Still Crazy

Hi, I am a new owner of a 13 ft Scamp And I am going to be towing with a 2017 Subaru Forster. My question is, if I want to due Colorado and hills should I install Electric Brakes?
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Old 01-15-2018, 04:19 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stillcrazy View Post
Hi, I am a new owner of a 13 ft Scamp And I am going to be towing with a 2017 Subaru Forster. My question is, if I want to due Colorado and hills should I install Electric Brakes?
How much does your trailer weigh? I like trailer brakes regardless of the trailer weight, but that would be a vital piece of info.
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Old 01-15-2018, 04:32 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Stillcrazy View Post
Hi, I am a new owner of a 13 ft Scamp And I am going to be towing with a 2017 Subaru Forster. My question is, if I want to due Colorado and hills should I install Electric Brakes?
Yes, you should. I tow a 13' with a heavier vehicle with higher tow capacity than your Forester and would not want to do so without the brakes.

Have fun in CO with your new Scamp!
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Old 01-15-2018, 04:39 PM   #4
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I towed my boat with a Subaru Loyale ( many years ago ). Almost didn't stop at the bottom of a long hill leading to a major highway. Never going to put my family in that situation again.
That's aside from the extra, very expensive brake jobs the Subaru needed because I was towing a trailer without brakes.
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Old 01-15-2018, 04:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Stillcrazy View Post
Hi, I am a new owner of a 13 ft Scamp And I am going to be towing with a 2017 Subaru Forster. My question is, if I want to due Colorado and hills should I install Electric Brakes?
They're cheap, they add value, and they save wear on your TV brakes.
Plus they help you stop more effectively in all conditions especially wet.
Even if your 13 is on the lighter end it will prove worth the investment.
Its a rare mod which will return more of its cost in use or resale!

OH! And another thing! When you switch to an RV plug you can easily add battery charge and hook up your back-up lights!
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Old 01-15-2018, 05:41 PM   #6
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any trailer over 1500 lbs gross needs brakes in many states. trailer over 3000 lbs gross needs brakes in ALL states, and those brakes MUST have a safety cable emergency activation, this typically requires they be electric brakes, which means you need a brake controller in your tow vehcle and a 7-blade RV style connector.
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Old 01-15-2018, 06:53 PM   #7
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Haven't looked at the 2017 but check your manual as earlier models all suggested 1000 lb limit if towing on a long uphill slope in hot weather.
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Old 01-15-2018, 07:08 PM   #8
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Yes, yes, yes. Get trailer brakes.

Look behind the wheel and see if there's a square plate with a hole at each corner. If you have this backer plate, adding brakes is pretty straightforward for any mechanic. If there is no backer plate, though, you must replace the axle with one that has the plates. This could be a $600-$700 job. But if your Scamp is more than 20 years old, it could benefit from a new axle anyway; the torsion axle's rubber becomes stiff with age (don't we all?) and ceases supporting and rebounding properly.
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Old 01-15-2018, 07:44 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
any trailer over 1500 lbs gross needs brakes in many states. trailer over 3000 lbs gross needs brakes in ALL states, and those brakes MUST have a safety cable emergency activation, this typically requires they be electric brakes, which means you need a brake controller in your tow vehcle and a 7-blade RV style connector.
The information below is essentially accurate and intended to be informative, with no expectation of being perfect or comprehensive in detail or nuance.

Notice there are 4 states below a 2000# brake requirement and only 3 more below 3000# which require brakes.. There are 10 states which have requirements which start at more than 3000# or no weight specific requirement at all.

There are at least a dozen states which do not require a Breakaway Switch at all, or do so above the entry level brake requirement, (adding that requirement at a higher weight).
Example Illinois ...brakes required at 3000# , but breakaway switch not required until 5000#.

Of course no state denies your right to add brakes or breakaway switches on trailers below the weight requirements.
For instance, my trailer is registered in Illinois and weighs less than 2000#.
It has no brake requirement, however...
I have opted to have brakes, but no breakaway switch.


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Old 01-15-2018, 08:18 PM   #10
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I added electric brakes to an old pop-up camper by welding on the square plates that the brake backing plates bolt to. Can this not be done on a torsion axle. The pop-up had a leaf spring suspension.
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Old 01-15-2018, 08:34 PM   #11
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Interesting. That was a useful chart Floyd. Have you seen one that shows which states require the safety break-away switches? I wouldn't travel without brakes, but wonder how useful the break-away switches are? As far as I know; Scamp doesn't even offer them as an option. It would seem if many states required them; they would come standard when you ordered brakes?

To the OP- Another advantage of having trailer brakes is being able to recover from high speed wobbles due to swaying. You can apply the brakes at the controller on or below the dash. It will usually bring the trailer back under control.

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Old 01-15-2018, 08:36 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by mary and bob View Post
I added electric brakes to an old pop-up camper by welding on the square plates that the brake backing plates bolt to. Can this not be done on a torsion axle. The pop-up had a leaf spring suspension.
The heat from the welding over the rubber strands within the tube would be ruined.
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Old 01-15-2018, 11:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stillcrazy View Post
Hi, I am a new owner of a 13 ft Scamp And I am going to be towing with a 2017 Subaru Forster. My question is, if I want to due Colorado and hills should I install Electric Brakes?
Yes, get them, but do not burn them up on those long downhills in the mountains of Colorado. It is mountains here, not hills. Downshift and take it easy. On those long descents from the mountains to the plains I always catch a whiff of the burning phenolic - from those overheated brake pads or linings. Definitely not good for them. The big signs here say: Trucks you are not down yet; stay in low gear; miles of steep grades and curves ahead. But I see is as a reminder for all vehicles.

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The heat from the welding over the rubber strands within the tube would be ruined.
Dave & Paula
I would think a decent welder exercising reasonable care could do this without ruining the rubber torsion inserts.
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Old 01-16-2018, 07:16 AM   #14
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The heat from the welding over the rubber strands within the tube would be ruined.
Dave & Paula
The flange doesn't mount near the the rubber, it is at the axle spindle. By welding a little at a time and using compressed air or water to keep the heat from traveling up to the rubber, I see no problem welding on a flange.
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Old 01-16-2018, 07:30 AM   #15
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Agree with all regarding brakes. Get 'em. In addition to state laws, Subaru specifies trailer brakes over 1000 pounds when towing with your vehicle. The 2017 Forester's tow rating is only 1500 pounds, so you will want to watch carefully how much you pack (including both trailer and vehicle). I'm assuming your Scamp is the basic bunk model. Some well-optioned bathroom models can approach 1500 pounds empty. You would do well to weigh your trailer loaded for travel. You may be surprised.

You will not only have to be careful descending mountain grades by using lower gears, but you will have to take it pretty easy going up as well. The manual says to limit speed to 45mph climbing long grades and to keep an eye on the dash for engine and (especially with the CVT automatic) transmission temperature warning indicators. If needed you may have to pull off and take a break. Do you have the 2.5 or the 2.0T engine? Manual or automatic?

Bottom line, this is a marginal vehicle for this size trailer, and the Rocky Mountains (along with many other parts of the West, as well as some places in the Eastern mountains) present fairly severe towing conditions. Heat and headwinds affect performance as well as elevation and grade.
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Old 01-16-2018, 07:59 AM   #16
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brakes on our scamper

well our scamper is a 13f I don't intend to run brakes on it. I only had one trailer with brakes and that was a 32f 5th wheel and yes it was needed and I used them.

I have ran boats way heavier than the scamp no brakes. use good sense towing you see a good hill coming up downshift. when I had the 40f bus the best advice I got was what every gear you went up the hill was the gear you used going down. I drove that bus on the most scary highway in ark. it was the worst I have ever driven on ever 15mph curves.

26,000lbs taught you a lot the biggest was the transmission was your brakes. I had a brake drum break on it one time not fun all due to me riding the brakes.

People get in trouble thinking they are running a race car with a trailer behind them!

bob
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Old 01-16-2018, 09:46 AM   #17
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thank you all for your advice
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Old 01-16-2018, 10:45 AM   #18
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Absolutely get brakes! Your trailer is not very heavy, but your TV isn't either. It doesn't matter what the specific state requirements are for brakes, so forget all the charts and the research for what is legal. The issue is safety. Trailers with brakes are much safer than those without brakes. It's as simple as that. If you get an uncontrolled sway, or have to stop quick on a curve, the brakes will likely save you from a crash. With long downgrades you'll be much less likely to overheat your TV brakes and they will last longer.
Yes, you should get the brakes and a good quality brake controller. Adjust it properly and learn how to override it in an emergency. Sooner or later, you'll be very glad you did.

If you don't have the backing plate mounting flanges, it's probably better to replace the torsion axle. The flanges have to be in exactly the right place and absolutely square with the spindle, or the brakes won't work correctly, so it will cost something to get them and have them welded on properly. The heat of welding is not a problem as the location is pretty far from the torsion tube, but the rubber is already old, so replacing the axle will fix the rubber and get you the flanges in the factory designed position.
Then you simply get the pre-assembled backing plates, hubs and wire in a 7 pin harness. It seems like a lot of work, but it's not bad once you have the proper axle. Once done you'll also have new bearings and be ready for years of service.
You can go to etrailer.com to look at axles, backing plates, hubs and wiring kits, to get an idea of parts costs.
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Old 01-16-2018, 02:09 PM   #19
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depends

my scamp 13f weighs 1,000lb loaded we have no b/r. when I purchased it the man had put a new axle on it has brakes he told me he never bothered to hook them up. I respected his opinion I saw things at his place that were really nice such as he had his own car lift in his garage he knew what he was talking about.

I have pulled the trailer quite a few miles been up some good hills been on the interstate I have not seen any problems. saying this I do not drive over 55 and I watch quite a bit ahead and do a lot of anticipating driving.

I use my transmission for brakes and will continue to do so. of course this is my opinion and driving style it may not suit others.

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Old 01-16-2018, 02:17 PM   #20
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So, you rely on Depends?
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