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Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by Laura Rosas, Dec 17, 2018.
How important are they? How difficult and expensive are they to add?
I love my electric breaks on a my current camper and will never own another camper without them . My old 1990 camper did not have breaks and was not even break ready. Back then light weight campers under 2000 they felt did not need breaks so why bother. If the camper came break ready it would have been a fairly easy thing to add. However my old camper was not which meant I would have had to run all the break lines, rewire the pigtail, not to mention new drums etc. So the question is, is your camper break ready?
Welcome from the West Virginia mountains. Depending on what your TV is, brakes can make the difference of crashing or driving home. Some states require brakes depending on the state and the weight of the trailer.
Brakes can be easy to add if the axle is brake ready ( square flange between the spring and the wheel), if not easier to replace the entire axle . Parts will be less than $500
I would never go anywhere without electric brakes. Maybe you should tell us more about what you are planning and have for a tow vehicle and camper.
Opps. almost forgot .......
Greetings from the Connecticut shoreline.
Hello and welcome from Minnesota.
As state above, different states have different laws. The necessity of electric brakes depends on the trailer and the tow vehicle.
I have electric brakes on my pup but not my boat trailer. Both weigh nearly the same. Having the brakes on the pup makes a huge difference in stopping distance and trailer control.
I think of it this way: The price of brakes versus no brakes is determined on how much damage you caused to vehicles and people by not being able to stop in time.
Welcome to the Portal from South Carolina. Our Aliner, about 1,600 pounds, has brakes that only actuate during an emergency by a cable. If you are looking for brake components, eTrailer is a good resource.
Welcome from Oklahoma. Brakes on the trailer will not only stop you faster & safer, but will cause less wear and tear on the tow vehicle.
law or no law, I still love electric brakes. I went down sharp hill with heavily loaded popup on I-17 in Arizona, the electric brakes kept me sane!
See? There ya go reminding me of Babes Roundup in Camp Verde again!
Brakes are nice. Just HOW nice depends on what you're driving and what you're pulling. Using a pickup truck, I've towed a 1800 lb mid-70s popup without brakes and didn't feel it. Towing my current ~3500 lb highwall popup without brakes in stop-and-go traffic, you feel it. It doesn't feel unsafe, just that the trailer will push against the truck. I wouldn't take it into the mountains without brakes (or anywhere now that I've got the brakes working).
If the camper trailer doesn't come with electric brakes already installed, how difficult (and expensive) is it to get them installed on the trailer? I know I will need a brake controller installed on my tow vehicle as well.
I'm looking at a 2000 Skamper Vision by Thor M-23C camper tomorrow morning and hoping it will work out for us. Our tow vehicle is a 2017 Toyota Sienna (with tow prep - towing max capacity 3500 lbs) and I've done all the math and I know the weight for this camper is perfect for us (about 1900 lbs when you add in the A/C unit and fridge) so even with our cargo etc added, we will be well below our towing limits. HOWEVER, the trailer doesn't have electric brakes installed and the current owner says we won't need them because the camper is so lightweight. I'm not willing to take chances - I want electric brakes installed.
P.S. - I'm having a hitch and regular 4-flat trailer wiring put on it this afternoon by Uhaul. From what I've been reading, for the electric brakes I'll need a 7 pole connector instead of the 4. Is that an easy fix, or will that require a whole new wiring install?
I'd let U-Haul install the 7 blade connector this afternoon. No need to pay for labor twice. The controller can be added later.
Probably not much help for you, but in case any Aussies are reading, we just had our override brakes replaced with electric brakes on a 35yr old pop-up, controller installation was about $550 AUD (took a couple of hours) and the brakes themselves were about $1000 AUD (and was at the workshop for about a week). We've only just got it done so haven't had much chance to feel the difference.
We decided to go for it after having a scary sway incident on the highway when a truck came past and we must have caught a gust of wind. Unfortunately it was the one time we didn't have the sway bars on either (luckily we did have them with us and put them on after we pulled into a service station to change our undies). Apparently electric brakes are better in a sway situation than the override brakes. Also we just found out the camper was heavier than registered so it's just as well we got it done!
You need to get the axle info off the back of the axle. Back side center. it might be hard to see. Check on dexter web where the axle info is. Check with dexter what brakes are available. You may be able to just buy the brakes with backing plates for about $50 each side, buy 2 drums about $50 ea, buy new bearings for the new drums about $20 each side and 30 #12 wire and you have brakes. It depends on the axle if it that simple? You would need to add a brake controller to the TV. I would call that $225 to have someone install it with the parts.
Like other's said, it kind of depends on your tow vehicle (TV). I towed a 1996 Jayco Eagle 8 for 5 years without electric brakes. It didn't have them, and Alaska law didn't require them. I guess it weighed about 2,000 lbs? I didn't care because I towed it with a F350 diesel. I literally could not even see it in the mirror and never felt it behind me.
Like the others, I prefer to tow with my brakes, but I caused an ID10T error a couple of trips ago and shorted the brake connection. I didn't even notice, until I looked at the pigtail. I took it easy after that, but the experience was much the same. Luckily I didn't have to perform any emergency braking; things might have been different. Pup is about 2200 lbs loaded, TV is an '04 Expedition.
I tow with a 2016 Sienna and added brakes to our pup. If you check the owners manual for the Sienna, you’ll see that trailer brakes are required for trailers over 1,000 lbs. Its not too bad adding the controller and 7-way plug to the van, but can be a bit daunting due to crawling under the van to run the wires and then running wires through the firewall into the van. I used this kit from etrailer, which gives you everything you need. It plugs into the 4-way you just got and then connects to the new brake and charge lines you’ll have to run up along the bottom of the van. Etrailer has great videos on all sorts of vehicles. Even if they don’t have your exact one, the idea is the same.
The trickiest part for me was finding a good place for the brake controller since the knee airbag ruled out the most common place. I ended up drill a hole in the back of the storage cubby in the center dash and using Velcro to hold the controller.
I also added a battery isolator relay to cut the power when the van is turned off, but that’s a little more involved with running an extra wire to the fuse panel and using a fuse tap.
If the pup axle has the backing plates, you can add brakes with simple hand tools. This was my bill of materials, though I’ve not had very good luck with the etrailer branded brakes and will probably be replacing them with some Dexter ones in the spring. If you have a battery on the pup you wouldn’t need the full break-away kit I got, just the switch.
I towed with a sienna for many years. A 2,000 lb trailers with extra loaded into it, I would not even think about no brakes. With no brakes, I would think you will add 25% to your stopping distance. On the freeway that might be 50 feet ahead of the car ahead of you.