Trailer BRAKES!
 
 

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Trailer BRAKES!

This is a discussion on Trailer BRAKES! within the Horse Trailers forums, part of the Barns, Boarding, and Farms category
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  • When do you need trailer brakes with horse trailers

 
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    06-19-2012, 03:02 PM
  #1
Weanling
Trailer BRAKES!

Okay, so we FINALLY were able to get a trailer, and then we got the truck to pull it-- a Ford 150 8-cylinder. NO problem pulling, even with both my horses loaded. That was about a year and a half ago.

Last week, I paid over $700 for a brake job on the truck! It burned up in the middle of a haul---very scary! Our mechanic said, "You know this truck isn't big enough, don't you?" Not because of the pulling power, but the braking power. Because the trailer probably wasn't equipped with brakes, he said. "Don't use your brakes to slow down, down-shift." We never had an automatic before, we thought it was, well, automatic.

So after googling etc. I tried to find a place who could check/fix my trailer, since if it had brakes, the truck would we fine. No place on the island. Was in the feed store (most excellent source of information) and discovered that our trailer DOES have brakes, that our truck even has the gadget for connecting to them, and all we need to get now is the brake controller, under $200, available locally.

WHY did no one tell us this? WHY isn't the brake law enforced? We get our trailer safety-checked, but no one ever checked for brakes, just the lights. How come I have to ask a cowboy to please check our trailer to see if we finally get it all connected right? I feel so stupid, but it's IGNORANCE.

Live and learn. . .and find a mechanic who knows something about trailers.
     
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    06-19-2012, 03:06 PM
  #2
Showing
Wait, nobody, from the trailer seller on down to a mechanic TOLD you that you needed an electronic brake controller?

Yes, trailers have brakes, but in order to access them you must have a brake controller. When I totaled my truck in February and had to buy another one, the first thing I did was go out and get another brake controller. I refuse to haul a trailer without one.

This is Trailering 101, and I'm surprised not one person even ASKED you about it.

There is no 'brake law' of which I'm aware, because not all trailers are heavy enough to require a controller. Horse trailers now, yes, they require a controller.

I know Maui's an island, but c'mon, you're not the only horse person there!
     
    06-19-2012, 03:10 PM
  #3
Green Broke
Oh and don't downshift. Or use the idiot mechanic you went to anymore. Granted probably very few truck/ trailer people on Maui. Gears are designed to make a car go, brakes are designed to make a car stop. And as you found out trailer brakes make a trailer stop. Maybe on a long down grade down shifting may be benificial but that's about it. I would assume a boat trailer shop would be a better place ot go. Pretty much any dual wheel heavier boat trailer will have brakes. A larger marina should have experienced trailer brake techs.
     
    06-19-2012, 03:17 PM
  #4
Weanling
I read that there's a law, every tire that touches the road needs to be equipped with brakes. Could be wrong, though.

Can't wait to get the controller. It's a weird feeling to learn something that's "common knowlege". Of course, after all this time, the brakes could be frozen. But we know someone who will check for us.

The general opinion is that there are a lot of non-braking trailers on the road, especially when you consider how many boats are hauled around.
     
    06-19-2012, 03:24 PM
  #5
Showing
It's just one of those things you don't know about that everyone assumes you do.

I had a friend help me out when I was looking for my first rig. He not only told me the engine and liter size I needed, but all about brake controllers, lifts, and how to maintain my trailer properly.
     
    06-19-2012, 03:53 PM
  #6
Trained
Not surprised no one said anything.

When I bought my truck they told me all I had to do to get it into 4 wheel drive was to shift the lever in the cab.




......they didn't mention that I had to lock the hubs too!
Posted via Mobile Device
     
    06-19-2012, 04:05 PM
  #7
Green Broke
Wow. That's just wrong. I don't know how you made it to that point without a single person telling you that you needed a brake controller??? I definitely would NOT go back to them. Thankfully its an easy fix and you caught it before someone got hurt.

I personally stick with standards for my trucks.
A while back I was riding with my trainer pulling her 4 horse slant w/ camper (with a ram 3500 auto) and we were up in the mountains in colorado. While we were coming down the mountain, her brakes literally caught on fire! We had to pull over to the side and put it out. Then had our friend with a standard come get the trailer while we had the truck towed back....needless to say she sold it and got a standard.
     
    06-19-2012, 04:23 PM
  #8
Green Broke
Shifting down on steep grades is a good idea, it helps keep your speed down using engine compression. Downshifting with an automatic just to stop at a light or sign isn't a real good idea as it could lead to premature failure of your transmission. Same can be said of a manual but it wont happen as fast due to differences in how the transmission is constructed. Anyway, as I was once told, brakes are cheaper than transmissions.
     
    06-19-2012, 09:26 PM
  #9
Green Broke
Okay, don't let anyone tell you brake controllers are created equal.

Do your research and get a good one.

I have a hays and it's a very good controller, but were I to do it again I'd get a max brake.

MaxBrake™ - Hydraulic over Electric Variable Brake Controller

My second choice would be a prodogy P3

Brake Controllers - Tekonsha

Stay away from a draw tite.

A good controller brakes smooth.
     
    06-19-2012, 09:51 PM
  #10
Trained
I have the prodogy P3. So far, very good, two seasons in.
     

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