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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2001
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    1,021
    Location
    Arkansas
    Tractor
    TN70D, 4wd, 16x16 trans

    Default Trailer Brakes

    How big of a trailer can one haul without trailer brakes?
    I am thinking about hauling a ~ B21 sized unit with FEL and 4’ cutter about 30 miles. I have a diesel F250 (manual 5 spd, ~7000 lbs) and my thought is that if I go slowly and carefully this should be a piece of cake. Since the trailer should be at least ~1500 lbs lighter than the truck even the Ozark hills should not be a problem?

    I have seen guys pull these with gas powered F150s, however, they may have had electric brakes. But then again I have seen a lot of people do a lot of dumb things…….

    So for those of you with lots of experience in these matters what do you think?
    Ok, marginal, unwise, or really Dumb?

    Also I am not planning on doing this more than a couple of times a year, so is it worth while to invest in a brake controller?
    Phred



  2. #2
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Posts
    6,737
    Tractor
    JD 8320 MFWD, JD 6415 MFWD, FEL, and cab, John Deere MFWD 4600, John Deere 4020, John Deere 4430, John Deere 455 mower, Deutz, and Gehl 4610 perkins skidsteer

    Default Re: Trailer Brakes

    I don't think you'd have any trouble with load Phred. The main thing you want to do is when you are going down hills just keep her slow and slow down before you speed up. It's easy to get them going too fast and brakes burn up in a BIG hurry going down hills. I learned that the hard way when I was 17 years old. Hauling a load of cattle down a steep hill and even though I'd heard it a million times I was in a hurry. Burnt up my brakes a little over half way down. If you don't think that is a pit in your stomach! Luckily there was a straight away at the end of the hill and I just held it straight. I was hitting about 90 at the bottom of the hill with a load of cattle behind me. I NEVER made that mistake again.


  3. #3
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    444
    Location
    Central Arkansas
    Tractor
    Kubota /L2650/ LA450/B4690 -- John Deere 450 Dozer

    Default Re: Trailer Brakes

    Fred as CBD said it should be marginal ok to do if you take it slow. Also I think it would be wise to get the brake controler. They will run about $50-75. And most all newer trucks already have the hook-up pre-wired under the pannel. You just plug in your controler and that is it. Should take less that two hours to wire the whole thing if you had to... And makes it a lot safer, and lets you haul a lot more without a problem. My controler is made by drawtite, and pluged right in, but had to run a wire back to the trailer connection because some had already messed up the wire harness before I got the truck..


  4. #4

    Default Re: Trailer Brakes

    Better safe than sorry. The cost of a brake controller is trivial compared to what it could cost you otherwise. In NYS, I believe the point at which brakes are required is 1000 lbs. Also, brakes are required on 80% of the axles. That means that brakes are required on both axles of a dual axle trailer. If you are going up and down some fairly steep "hills", I would definitely get brakes on the trailer. So, if you were in NY, the troopers would cite you for what you plan on doing.


  5. #5
    Super Member RobS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
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    6,236
    Location
    SW Michigan
    Tractor
    John Deere 790

    Default Re: Trailer Brakes

    I agree with Jag, spring for the brake controller. They aren't much money and the trailer brakes do make a difference. Also could save your wallet in the event of an accident. Some insurance companies check for brakes and overloading. I have a Reese controller for about $75 [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]


  6. #6
    Veteran Member mikim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Posts
    2,315
    Location
    Paige Texas
    Tractor
    NH TC45

    Default Re: Trailer Brakes

    What year and model is your F250?? I have a 2000 F150 Lariat w/ towing package and didn't need a controller. The controller is built in somewhere with the towing package and all I had to do was install 2 relays that were in the glove box into the fuse/relay box under the hood and "presto" - but having had trailers without brakes and with brakes --- I'd always go for the "with" if there was any choice in the matter at all.
    mike


  7. #7
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    1,573
    Location
    Waco, Texas
    Tractor
    Kubota B2910; Kubota T1670

    Default Re: Trailer Brakes

    Phred,

    I'm not sure I understand whether or not you have brakes on your trailer. If you do, I would definitely get a controller so you could use them. My experience is limited to surge (hydraulic)brakes, which are supposed to be better on boat trailers because of corrosion, dunno if this is true. Anyway, I would go with brakes if at all possible. I was in an unavoidable (very unavoidable) accident that was so only because I did not have trailer brakes. 60 mph, dry pavement, and a fella cut me off on a two lane bridge, braked hard, and hit the guy in front of him. My turn . . . Bam![img]/w3tcompact/icons/frown.gif[/img] The feeling of that boat "pushing" me along is one I won't soon forget (or the bruised ribs, semi driving over the front half of my truck, etc). I would never pull anything over 2000 lbs, personally, that didn't have brakes. Even the most careful people have accidents . . . that's why they call 'em accidents. 15 years of driving and that's my only one. Bad memory.


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Posts
    1,021
    Location
    Arkansas
    Tractor
    TN70D, 4wd, 16x16 trans

    Default Re: Trailer Brakes

    Guys,

    Thanks for the feedback.
    After looking into the cost a bit more I will go with a controller.

    Any suggestions on the best maker?

    Phred


  9. #9
    Veteran Member hayden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
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    1,709
    Location
    MA/VT
    Tractor
    Kubota L5740 cab + FEL, Cat D5G dozer, Kubota KX121 excavtor

    Default Re: Trailer Brakes

    Do check your state laws. Here in NH anything over 5000lbs GVW must have brakes, and it's for a good reason. As noted earlier, if you do have an accident and it turns out you were not using your brakes, you would be very exposed.

    I've got a techonsha (sp?) controller and it was $70 or so in the local shop. It makes a BIG difference.

    Search for brake contollers in this site. I asked about them a year or so ago and got a bunch of good advise which led me to by particular buying decision.


  10. #10
    Super Member RobS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
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    6,236
    Location
    SW Michigan
    Tractor
    John Deere 790

    Default Re: Trailer Brakes

    Phred, I've heard Tekonsha are good. I've got a Reese, which I'm not too fond of. You'll find two major types of controllers: Pendulum and Electronic. The pendulum models sense vehicle decel and the electronic models (like mine) just use a delay. Each uses the stop light switch to detect braking but neither is truly proportional to to the tow vehicle brake pressure. I've never used a pendulum model but would like to try. I find myself tweaking my electronic model quite a bit (when going from highway conditions to parking lot conditions etc.). A decent RV dealer will have a good selection [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]


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