First horse trailer! Any advice welcome. - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 20 Old 02-20-2013, 10:26 AM
Join Date: May 2011
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I bought my first trailer when I was 17, I asked the old dealer if he had any advice for me on driving it, as I had never driven a trailer before.
He said,"never let anyone else hook up or unhook your trailer". It was the best advice ever. 30+ years later, no one has ever hooked up my trailer.

If something goes wrong, you only have yourself to blame.
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post #12 of 20 Old 02-20-2013, 10:35 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: North Dakota
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I just bought my first trailer a couple months ago as well. A 2003 Exiss gooseneck 3-horse slant.

We took it in to a shop to have the wiring all checked over, and brakes, etc. The hubby and I can look at it, sure, but we aren't mechanics. I'll leave that to the professionals. They had to fix a few things, but we're good to go now. We also took hubby's truck into the shop to make sure things were good to go on the hot wiring (so that we can run the interior lights on the trailer, even if the pickup is not turned on).

I'm a newbie at my own trailer too, so I took it into the professionals!
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post #13 of 20 Old 02-20-2013, 01:11 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: North Texas
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Originally Posted by Speed Racer View Post
Love stock trailers! My next one is going to be a modified stock.

If you don't have something like one of these under or on your truck's dash, you don't have a brake controller. I'd never haul without one.

Brake Controller |

Walmart sells a pretty decent one, and as has already been stated, if your truck is equipped with a tow package you'll have the wiring in place ready for installation.

I bought the Walmart one for my previous truck and it worked fine. When that truck got totaled last year, I bought a more heavy duty one for the new truck. More power never hurts!
SR, I just bought new (used) truck & need brake controller installed. Do you mind me asking where you got the new more powerful one? I have a 2300 lb. 2-horse slant BP, 3/4 ton HD truck. I love it when I don't have to shop around, and it was on my to-do list today! Thanks.
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post #14 of 20 Old 02-20-2013, 01:21 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Out, I got it from that link I posted; e-trailer.

They have a place where you can enter the year, make, and model of your vehicle, and they'll give you suggestions for the best controller.
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post #15 of 20 Old 02-20-2013, 01:22 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Bear Creek, Wa
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I would google "trailer sales and repair" for your area, and they can help you find the one that best suits your needs and also install it for you, and do all of the necessary testing.

I use the Prodigy P2, and its fabulous:
Brake Controllers - Tekonsha
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post #16 of 20 Old 02-20-2013, 01:40 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
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Your new trailer must have been stored inside. Really pretty. Agree with above--have a shop check your bearings and keep them greased, and double check the wiring. There is some product to spray in the connection to remove humidity, too, but I'm not a home to look for the name--a good shop can tell you. Didn't see, but I keep 2 spare tires on my 4-horse slant load, and they are REAL tires--we bought a new set of 6 when I replaced the others. Check the tires for the weight they are supposed to carry (can't remember if that's 'load capacity', but you understand.) When I bought mine we didn't know until we fully loaded it that tires weren't rated for that amount of weight. We blew two tires 1/2 way home from PA--we live in IL--and stopped at a tire store in OH that sold tires to semi's to replace them. It was neat that just lifted it up fully loaded and replaced the tires with the horses inside.
Also, maintain your tire pressure and check it the day before you want to travel, in case you need to hit a station with air, or use your own at home.
After you haul for awhile you will drive differently. You must pull out and slow down gradually. No putting the 'pedal to the metal' to get on the Interstate, and you shouldn't slam on the brakes, either. I usually just push "OFF" on my Cruise, and let the whole rig slow down before I use my brakes when I need to slow down.
Don't to be obssessing with tires, but buy a Trailer-Aid. You drive up on a solid block and it holds the weight of the trailer, while you change the tire.
Travel with a Garmin, or your favorite satellite map gadget. That's how we found the tire store in OH (2008.)
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post #17 of 20 Old 02-21-2013, 07:33 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2013
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Thanks Corporal. They kept it under a tarp and hadn't used it in YEARS, so I am thinking of having all the lights and wiring redone as well and the bearings regreased, etc. One problem...the hook up from the trailer that controls the lights, etc. has a different plug than the one of my bumper. Guess that's easy enough to have changed out?
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post #18 of 20 Old 02-23-2013, 08:36 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: south central Kentucky
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I don't know where you live but most places you can look in the phone book for people that install trailer hitches they will be able to fix you right up and show you how to set everything.
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post #19 of 20 Old 02-24-2013, 04:47 PM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Stafford, Va
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Originally Posted by Jim Andy View Post
I don't know where you live but most places you can look in the phone book for people that install trailer hitches they will be able to fix you right up and show you how to set everything.
That's a good suggestion.

Assuming you've already checked that the trailer itself is sound, floors, wiring, lights, tires, etc., this is what you need to do for your trailer, being as it's an older model:

1. Install a "Breakaway" kit. Your trailer is too old to have one, but most states now require it.
2. Change out the old plug for the newer, larger plug, or buy an adapter for it. Adapters are available for just about any configuration, but I recommend changing out the plug to match your vehicle's receptacle. Less chance of a bad connection.
3. Have all the bearings checked and re-packed. You'll likely end up replacing one or two, even if it's precautionary. Bearings are not expensive, but the labor is. It is not a hard job to do yourself, if you'll get a little instruction first. Just messy.
4. While they're re-packing bearings, have them check and adjust the brakes. Trailer brakes last a very long time, but they get out of adjustment as they wear. Normally, an adjustment is in order when bearings are re-packed.
5. Trailer Brake Controller for your truck. You may need an adapter, but for most newer vehicles it's simply a plug-in hookup and a couple screws to hang the controller under the dash.

Trailer brake controllers are essentially nothing more than a variable resistor. Buying a more expensive one doesn't necessarily mean you are getting a better one. There is no such thing as a more powerful brake controller. The power is simply the 12 volts your truck supplies. Most controllers have two adjustments, as noted above, one for setting a range, and the other for setting the brake sensitivity within that range. Buy the one that has the options you think you will like. I like one that has a lighted readout, so I can see the settings as I change them. Mine has a button for changing the range quickly, and a thumb-wheel for setting the sensitivity.

As for settings, read the instructions on your controller. For example if you are hauling a fully loaded trailer, you may want it on the highest range, say, range "D", to give you adequate stopping power. Then after you have unloaded the trailer and start home, you may want to select range "B", so that your trailer brakes don't lock up every time you apply brakes.

Within those ranges, you can set the sensitivity, so that you can feel how much brake the trailer applies as you brake. I set mine by applying the trailer brake without applying the truck brakes (there is a small knob or handle on the controller for this) and feeling how much braking I feel from the trailer. I set it so that I can feel the trailer brakes engaging well, but I do not set mine as stiff as the previous poster who likes to "let the trailer stop the truck". You can over heat trailer brakes easily and never know it, especially when you are running down a long hill. Let your truck do it's part as well.
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Last edited by thenrie; 02-24-2013 at 04:52 PM.
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post #20 of 20 Old 02-24-2013, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2013
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Thanks Thenrie! That was a lot of advice that I will surely take. I have already checked the floors...had to replace the plywood that was over the 2 x 6 board floor, but the board floor and metal support is all good . The wiring is going to all be redone as I want to add some more running lights and some more interior lights for horse and tack areas. I also plan to have the plug on the hitch changed out for one that matches my truck hookup. I will have to play around with the brakes thing. I live in Florida...the flat land, so hills are not an issue,lol. Thanks again!
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