16' Casita need trailer brake? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 02-05-2015, 09:10 AM   #1
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Name: Julie
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Exclamation 16' Casita need trailer brake?

I have a 2004 Toyota Sienna and a 16' Casita. Do I need to have trailer brakes installed? I'm clueless. The salesman at the trailer hitch shop says yes. The mechanic said not necessary. $300 installation.
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Old 02-05-2015, 09:28 AM   #2
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Hi Jules, I have a 2004 Sienna as well, we pull a 13 ft boler.
The boler probably weighs close to 1500 lbs as pulled.
We dont have brakes on the boler but I am considering installing them.
I plan to upsize to a 15-16 ft unit sometime in the future and have decided
it will have brakes for sure.
Knowing the van pretty well, yes it will stop you, under normal conditions.
Add distractions, coffee, conversation, music, traffic?????
Trailer brakes make life a lot safer.
Fred
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Old 02-05-2015, 09:52 AM   #3
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I'd want brakes. As to whether they are required, it depends on which state you register the trailer. For example, here in NY, you would have to have brakes - NY requires them on any trailer over 1000 lbs, although I believe NY has the lowest weight restrictions in the US.
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Old 02-05-2015, 09:59 AM   #4
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I would certainly want brakes on this and $300 is a very good price.
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Old 02-05-2015, 10:00 AM   #5
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I towed our Compact Jr with a 2003 Sienna and no trailer brakes. Never had a problem, but the trailer only weighs 1200 pounds. We now tow a Bigfoot 17 with a 2006 Sienna and would not attempt without brakes. I think it's money well spent to get the trailer brakes working.
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Old 02-05-2015, 10:01 AM   #6
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Read your Sienna's owner's manual. Many newer vehicles require them over 1000# as well. Even if not, $300 is a small price to pay for the added safety and reduced wear on your Sienna's brakes.
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Old 02-05-2015, 10:14 AM   #7
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This is the requirement as compiled by the Auto Club. This is not the law but a guideline.
Trailer Brakes | AAA/CAA Digest of Motor Laws

I would also read this thread from another forum.

Sienna Gen-II Towing Capacity. (2004-2010)
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Old 02-05-2015, 10:19 AM   #8
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We also have a 16' trailer, the UHaul VT. We bought it with non-functioning hydraulic brakes and I thought it was fine like that on the highway. However, one really fast stop near Louisville, KY changed my mind. That trailer pushed us and continued to push us to the point that our tow vehicle tires were sliding across the pavement. We missed the car ahead of us by about a foot, but I put fixing the brakes on my priority list. I think you will find the $300 is money very well spent!
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Old 02-05-2015, 10:47 AM   #9
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I have a 13' Trillium and tow with a Frontier pickup. The brakes make up for the extra weight and provide for a safer experience. The first time you have to stop at the bottom of a steep hill you will be glad you have them. Raz
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Old 02-05-2015, 11:25 AM   #10
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Since yours is a 16' Casita, how sure are you that you do not have trailer brakes? I have a 16' year 2000 Casita SD and the Dexter axle Casita installed under it came equipped with trailer brakes. With 7-pin connector hooked to The Casita and with a brake controller in the tow vehicle, the Casita's brakes engage whenever I apply the brake.

What Casita did not install in my Casita was the "break-away" mechanism that would engage the Casita's brakes were my Casita to become unchained from the tow vehicle. Which "brakes" were you referring to?
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Old 02-05-2015, 12:04 PM   #11
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Maybe we are just needing a brake controller here. $300 installed would seem logical for a good controller and wiring. A complete brake system with hubs, drums and brake assemblies for that price seems too low.
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Old 02-05-2015, 12:26 PM   #12
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The OP has not said which 16' Casita they will be towing but if one looks at the thread Trailer Weights in the Real World - it appears a 16' loaded can weigh between 2000lbs and 3000lbs.

Check the tugs manual as it may require brakes on anything it tows over X so many pounds - on many tugs the X number is 1000lbs. Also as others have rightly pointed out many states require brakes on trailers over x so many pounds.

Would be surprised if there where to many 16' Casita's out there that don't already have brakes on them. If it has brakes the OP would simple need to add a brake controller to the tug.
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Old 02-05-2015, 01:06 PM   #13
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brakes!

16' casitas all have brakes on the axle. Some are 8" and some are 10", but they all have brakes. I don't care what state you live in or what the law is, you need brakes that work! I suspect what you don't have is a brake controller and the wiring that allows the brake controller to work. You also might want to find a different mechanic.
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Old 02-05-2015, 04:06 PM   #14
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At that price it is a good deal. Go for it. If you can avoid an accident.....

PS, one of our vehicles is a 2004 Sienna too. If our car ever dies we will use it to tow our 23. Apparently the Sienna's are great tow vehicles.
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Old 02-05-2015, 04:12 PM   #15
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I towed cargo trailers of that weight for several years... but only because those cargo trailers had no brakes on them. But after one too many times of being pushed by the trailer when I had to stop fast for traffic, I got fed up and replaced the cargo trailer with a braked trailer.

Do you "need" to use brakes with a 16' Casita? 99% of the time, you don't. It's the 1% that will endanger your safety or the safety of others. So, my answer is definitely spend the money. One day you will be glad you did.
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Old 02-05-2015, 07:54 PM   #16
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Trailer brakes for sure on that one! You would find that without trailer brakes you will be replacing brakes on you TV more often.
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:20 PM   #17
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Trailer brakes, I would not pull a trailer over 2000 lbs with out them. I want to stop!!!
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Old 02-06-2015, 12:37 AM   #18
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Brakes

In Alberta brakes are required on trailers 2500 lbs and over ,that is trailer and pay load. and if your trailer has brakes ie electric brakes you are required to have a brake controller. I have towed without brakes once . but not twice spend your time having fun .And not waiting to get your rig back from the body shop.Happy Trails
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:39 AM   #19
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Name: Julie
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Confused about brakes

Wow- thanks for all the great answers. I took my 2004 Sienna in without the Casita to Quality Bumper in Phoenix and they installed a Class II trailer hitch. I don't understand how the brakes/car/trailer system works. Wouldn't they have to set up the brakes on the Casita, not the car? I had a 1998 Sienna and had the trailer hitch and brake controller installed and then the car died before I ever had a chance to tow anything.

I had to have the trailer axle replaced at Spectrac.

Whatís the difference between a tow package and trailer hitch? Iím new at this and am clueless. I never know what questions to ask at the RV shops.
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Old 02-07-2015, 11:37 AM   #20
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The trailer hitch is just that, just the hitch ( attached to the frame of the tow vehicle). A tow package would include the hitch, wiring and brake controller(or at least a connector for the brake controller). This should also include a 7 pin connector mounted on the hitch or bumper.

The brake controller will supply a voltage to the trailer brakes when the brake pedal is pressed. This voltage will vary by the settings of the controller and on the better controllers, the inertia of the tow vehicle and trailer combined. There are a couple of different controllers but most people here will recommend the Tekonsha Prodigy Series Trailer Brake Controller. They seem to be the cream of the crop and fairly easy to use and adjust.

Introduction to Towing a Trailer | Hitches & Towing 101
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