Brakes??

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by Franchesca, Nov 13, 2020.

  1. Franchesca

    Franchesca Active Member

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    Just spoke to my cousin who said his camper does not have brakes. Now I’m wondering if mine does or doesn’t. 2000 Thor Skamper Vision-23GL. How do I check? My camper has never left the yard since my daughter parked it there several years ago.
     
  2. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Ok, fisrt i would check behind the wheel , is there wires going to it? Then the toung for the break disconect switch. This is for electric breaks. Surge breaks are diffrent and i think have an actuator or something on the toung.
     
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  3. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    You can tell buy looking at the wheel hubs. But a camper that size most likely does have breaks.
     
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  4. flingwing1969

    flingwing1969 Active Member

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    The M23GL came standard with electric brakes - they were an option on the other models. That does not mean that they are functioning, or even connected, however. You should have a brake controller in your towing vehicle to make them work, also you need to be running something other than a 4-pin trailer connector. If you have a brake controller, you are ready to see if the trailer brakes work. You can test them a number of ways - jack up your PUP, have a friend hit the TV brake and see if the wheel you've jacked up turns, now check the other one. The best way to test them is to go slowly on a dry level area, increase the braking on your controller pretty high, then brake - you should feel the trailer tugging on your TV. Lower your braking power on your controller until you feel the TV is not stopping like it does without the PUP behind it, then turn the controller up a notch or two.
     
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  5. Franchesca

    Franchesca Active Member

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    My hitch has that pin connector that I plug the one from the camper into. The brake lights come on for the camper. I don’t understand breaking power on controller. I don’t know these terms. I did see some wires under the camper near the tires. I was thinking maybe I should take my camper to an RV place and have someone check the brakes and repack the bearings.
     
  6. Franchesca

    Franchesca Active Member

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    What are wheel hubs?
     
  7. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    Does your vehicle have a brake controller?
     
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  8. Franchesca

    Franchesca Active Member

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    There are wires near the tires. On the toung there is that 4-pin that I plug into my truck. I thought that was only for the lights on the back of the camper....does that pin make the brakes work?
     
  9. Franchesca

    Franchesca Active Member

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    What is a brake controller?
     
  10. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    An trailer with electric brakes had a round plug with 7 pins.

    As far as wires for brakes near the tires go, the wires for brakes go into a metal plate behind the wheel. They are easy to see if you look at the metal plate where it attaches to the axle.
     
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  11. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    It controls a trailers brakes. Some vehicles, mainly trucks or large SUVs come with them factory installed. If a vehicle doesn't have one factory installed, you can buy one and add it

    If the plug on your vehicle has 4 pins and is flat, you dont have a brake controller
     
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  12. Franchesca

    Franchesca Active Member

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    The plug is rectangular with 4 pins. I will look tomorrow for the metal plate.
     
  13. flingwing1969

    flingwing1969 Active Member

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    Okay Franchesca, your camper came with brakes on it, they were standard equipment on your model. Someone has put on a 4-pin connector because it should have come with a round five, six, or seven pin connector like this:

    [​IMG]

    Your rig weighs well over 2000 lbs loaded which, depending on the size of your towing vehicle is not a lot but brakes on a trailer are really a good thing. In Massachusetts you would not have to have working brakes on your trailer but it is a good thing. In order for the electric brakes to work, they must draw power from the towing vehicle or from the trailer's battery in the form of emergency break-away brakes. For them to work, you also need a piece of equipment on your dash called a brake controller. The brake controller is adjustable so that you can make the trailer brakes brake harder or softer depending on conditions and the weight of the trailer - it is a wheel on it that you rotated to increase or decrease the trailer brake's power. It is wired into the trailer through the connector and it works by increasing or decreasing the electrical power to the trailer's brakes. It looks something like this:

    [​IMG]

    You should have one, along with a proper connector to your trailer - any trailer shop can hook you up and also tell you if your brakes are properly functioning. They should tell you that first as I suppose a prior owner could have disconnected the brakes at the wheels. BTW, what towing vehicle are you using for your trailer? It is the largest Skamper model and weights 2236 lbs empty and maxes out at 2750, if you don't overload it.
     
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  14. flingwing1969

    flingwing1969 Active Member

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    Only the plugs won't be as colorful as this picture. While there are a number of different plug setups, including magnetic ones, they will look kind of like this. [​IMG]
     
  15. Franchesca

    Franchesca Active Member

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    I will be towing it with a silverado 2x4 which should tow around 5000 lbs. The camper appears to have been stripped by the original owners.
     
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  16. flingwing1969

    flingwing1969 Active Member

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    Your TV is plenty for your trailer. You really should consider getting the PUP's brakes working, however. It would not hurt to find a trailer shop (does not have to be an RV store) that you think you can trust and have them give it the once over - they could pack your wheel bearings for you at the same time and give you an idea of what you need (and how much it will cost) to get your brakes working. If your pickup is newer, it may have (probably has) a quick connect for a brake controller and a proper 7-pin trailer connection - my wife's 2006 Colorado has a quick connect for a trailer even though it is a smaller pickup.
     
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  17. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    YouTube is your friend. Lots of videos on every aspect of campers, trailer, and towing
     
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  18. ChiefHart

    ChiefHart Member

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    If you trailer has a 4-way connector, IT DOES NOT have Brakes. If it has a 7-way connector it may or may not have brakes. Checking wires may not be definitive as my trailer was wired for brakes but did not have any, until I added them. Pulling one of the wheels is the most conclusive method to be sure.
     
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  19. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    You can't say that definitively with a used trailer. I bought a trailer with a 4 way that had brakes...A previous owner bypassed the round plug and put on the flat. The trailer still had brakes. They just didnt work.
     
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  20. bdr129

    bdr129 Member

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    I know it doesn't deal with brakes, but if the trailer was sitting for several years not only should you repack the bearings, and also probably look at getting new tires. Depending on your location (especially if you live in very hot dry areas like the Southwest) you would be lucky to get 4 maybe 5 years of life out of a tire. And if they were sitting for years, it could have taken an extra toll on those tires.

    As for brakes, that trailer as mentioned above is about 2200 pounds empty, loaded you would be probably at 3000 lbs. While many states it is legal to tow a trailer without brakes if it is less than 3000 or 3500 pounds, I will tell you, you will definitely feel that trailer behind you when it comes time to stop without trailer brakes, even if your tow vehicle is a full size pickup. When I first bought my pup, it was a little over 3300 pounds, and the brakes were never serviced. Well driving it home without working brakes, even though I was in a heavy full size suv, it was not a fun experience to say the least. By the time I got home (about 25-30miles) even taking back roads and driving slow and leaving plenty of distance and using engine braking, my tow vehicles brakes were HOT! Just as someone mentioned above, take it to a trailer shop (doesn't need to be an RV dealer, and in fact, you will likely find better pricing at a trailer shop) and have them repack the bearings, and add on some electric brakes, or even surge brakes at the least. And not to beat the tire point to death, look into a set of new tires. I would bet you would be looking at $500-800 depending on where you live for all of that. If you, or someone your know is pretty handy, there are good youtube videos on how to do all that, and it doesn't require specialized tools or anything. Some places even have traveling mechanics you can find online to come to your house and do the work. If you want, Etrailer is a good source for where to buy the brakes, etc. Parts would only be a couple hundred dollars.
     
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