Electrical Brakes for a 13' fiberglass camper - Fiberglass RV
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Old 12-07-2016, 03:25 PM   #1
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Name: Jim
Trailer: Burro
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Electrical Brakes for a 13' fiberglass camper

Hello
I have a 1983 Burro (max axle weight of 1200 lbs) and I want to put electrical brakes on it. I was told by eTrailer today that they don't sale electrical brakes for any axle under 2000 lbs. Has anyone encountered this problem and know of a solution?
Thanks
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Old 12-07-2016, 03:41 PM   #2
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You could get a 2000 lb axle with brakes and use the 1200 lb springs.
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Old 12-07-2016, 04:02 PM   #3
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It doesn't have springs. The solution is a new axle.

If it's the original axle from 1983, it's a 1200 pound leading arm rubber torsion axle. With a useful life of 15-20 years, it's well past its expiration.

Most people replace with a Dexter #9 Torflex axle or equivalent, rated at 2000 pounds. That allows for 7" electric brakes. Some people also switch to a trailing arm configuration. I believe installation in the original leading arm configuration is possible, but voids the Dexter warranty.

A Flexiride axle is another replacement option. It allows you to raise and lower the ride height in the field for highway or back road conditions.

A utility trailer shop, not an RV shop, is often the most knowledgable and least expensive place to do the work, which involves cutting and welding. The axles are built to spec based on measurements supplied by the installer, so it's important to find a shop that has experience with torsion axles. If you post your location, someone here might even be able to make a recommendation.

I did a google site search* on "Burro axle" and there are a number of helpful threads on exactly your situation.
* Blue task bar under your log-in information at the top right of the window, "Search," and scroll down to "Site Search/Google"
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Old 12-07-2016, 04:51 PM   #4
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Behind the trailer hub and spindle is there a 4 bolt brake flange welded in place?

Not knowing what your working with especially a U-Haul check carefully this may work for you if you have the brake flange and standard axle sizes. Assuming you have 4 lug rims on a 4x4" pattern.


Add Electric Brakes to trailer Complete kit 2000# Axle 4 Lug 4x4" 7" drum axel | eBay
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Old 12-07-2016, 05:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
Behind the trailer hub and spindle is there a 4 bolt brake flange welded in place?...
That's a good question, because it's possible the axle has already been replaced, and if so, it's likely a 2000 pound axle. The reported 1200 pound rating may be from an OEM tag that doesn't reflect the change.

Good catch, Steve.
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Old 12-07-2016, 08:44 PM   #6
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Name: Jim
Trailer: Burro
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Electric Brakes

Ends up the guy at eTrailer made a mistake, and they actually do have electric brakes for the 1200 lb axle on my 1983 Burro. I just need to get him my bearing sizes and I should be all set.

It's the original axle (on my 1983 Burro) which make me nervous, but it looks like it's in pretty good shape. Not much rust and all the welds look good so I'll cross my fingers and give it a try.

Thanks everyone.
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Old 12-07-2016, 08:52 PM   #7
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Jon - I just read your post. Thanks for the detailed information. I'll call a utility trailer shop and see what they want to charge for the new axle you suggest.


I bought the burro ~2 months ago and have been working on it off and on since. I haven't towed if since I brought it to my house 2 months ago, so I need to tow it now that it's ready for the road, and see how badly the rubber torsion mechanism is worn, and then decide if getting a new axle is needed. Hopefully not, but being from 1983 that may be wishful thinking as you suggest


Thanks.
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Old 12-07-2016, 09:22 PM   #8
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Electrical Brakes for a 13' fiberglass camper

You can actually do a quick test of the axle yourself; no need to tow it anywhere. Jack up one side of the trailer (on the frame behind the axle). Watch to see if the wheel drops down as the frame raises. If it appears to be frozen in place and moves in tandem with the wheel wells, the axle is dead.

But do take Steve's suggestion and look for the brake mounting flange (square with four bolt holes, tilted a little from horizontal). You have to get your head right under and look immediately behind the wheel. Its presence would be a good indication the axle has been replaced at some point.

Best wishes! It's not rocket science, but it is a learning curve!
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Old 12-07-2016, 09:32 PM   #9
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The trailer does have the 4 bolt hole flange (although it looks like it could be from 1983). I'll jack it up tomorrow and see how much the wheel lowers as the trailer rises.

Thanks for all your advice.
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Old 12-07-2016, 10:07 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jgilardi View Post
The trailer does have the 4 bolt hole flange (although it looks like it could be from 1983). I'll jack it up tomorrow and see how much the wheel lowers as the trailer rises.

Thanks for all your advice.
While you're checking it out for wear look to see if it's welded on the frame or bolted. I think the originals were welded and if it's now bolted on you're in luck as that makes it an replacement easy DIY job.
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Old 12-08-2016, 05:45 AM   #11
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If you have someone step in the trailer and you look at the wheel to trailer movement and it's all in the tire and not axle flex then the rubber has failed and hardened.
My 1985 Scamp 16 was like that.
I had Flexiride make a 2800 lb axle for my replacement.

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Old 12-08-2016, 08:23 PM   #12
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brakes for Burro 14' wide body?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgilardi View Post
Hello
I have a 1983 Burro (max axle weight of 1200 lbs) and I want to put electrical brakes on it. I was told by eTrailer today that they don't sale electrical brakes for any axle under 2000 lbs. Has anyone encountered this problem and know of a solution?
Thanks
I'll bite. How important is it to have trailer brakes on a Burro? I have a Highlander, rated at 5000 lbs. I've only drove it once to get it home this week. Seemed okay. Will trailer brakes lessen wear on the vehicle brakes significantly?
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Old 12-08-2016, 09:10 PM   #13
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I'll bite. How important is it to have trailer brakes on a Burro? I have a Highlander, rated at 5000 lbs. I've only drove it once to get it home this week. Seemed okay. Will trailer brakes lessen wear on the vehicle brakes significantly?
You'll have to decide for yourself. There are a lot of factors, but a light TV needs trailer brakes more than a heavy TV and "towing capacity" isn't the whole story. Imagine yourself making a panic stop on a curve, maybe it's even wet, and decide if you'd rather have brakes or not while making that stop. No brakes might mean the trailer spins you into a jackknife. Then consider if you get into a fish tail sometime because of poor weight distribution in the trailer. With trailer brakes you simply reach down and manually apply them to fix the sway.

It's very easy to justify not putting brakes on a trailer because of cost or the hassle or whatever. No one can say whether you'll ever have to have them, but you might crash it because of not having them too. Driving it once to get it home is not representative of all the miles and all the situations you'll encounter.

I contend that EVERY travel trailer should have brakes. Especially since a lot of people are towing with light and high TVs with little reserve in their tow ratings.

Brakes are cheap and offer a lot of safety and peace of mind. Maybe they fall into the category of seat belts, safety chains and car insurance. You don't need them until you do, then you really do.
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Old 12-08-2016, 09:17 PM   #14
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Brakes are cheap
Trailer brakes are cheap. Toyota brake job is not cheap at all.
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Old 12-08-2016, 09:18 PM   #15
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Electrical Brakes for a 13' fiberglass camper

What Raspy said.
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Old 12-08-2016, 09:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
Trailer brakes are cheap. Toyota brake job is not cheap at all.
In my mind, trying to extend the life of the brakes on the TV is not the point. Safety is far more important to me, and trailer brakes add a lot of safety margin. Think how expensive a crash is compared to a brake job
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Old 12-08-2016, 10:29 PM   #17
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In my mind, trying to extend the life of the brakes on the TV is not the point. Safety is far more important to me,
You already said that. No need for me to repeat it. Extending tow vehicle brakes is added benefit. Wait, I already said that.
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Old 12-09-2016, 01:30 AM   #18
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Jim, what did you find out checking your axle ?
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Old 12-09-2016, 06:18 PM   #19
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Read the trailer brakes law for each state and every country you might tow into. Then cross off all the locations that your particular trailer isnt allowed because its over weight for the amount of brake force needed. Also look into what states and locations don't allow your trailer if you have brakes and are not connected (assuming that your trailer came with brakes and you choose not to hook them up) Now cross off all the locations your not allowed to go into off the list. Whats left are the areas your legally allowed to travel into with your trailer. If that list is acceptable to you you are good to go. If not or you want to travel with peace of mind that you are legal then add the brakes that every trailer should have come with. The time to find out isnt after an accident where you have to justify your actions.

Brakes are easier to get than lawyers and if something does go wrong a push of a button to save the day is a worth while investment.
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Old 12-10-2016, 06:10 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
Trailer brakes are cheap. Toyota brake job is not cheap at all.
Okay. I'm convinced that installing brakes is a good thing. After a bit of research, I see surge and electric. Electric can be "time-based" or "inertia-based"(for more heavy duty applications.
It looks like electric would be a bit simpler to install than surge.
Compare and contrast, surge vs electric, pros and cons, including cost and ease of installation(DIY vs professional).
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