Mountain trip with no trailer brakes?

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by MikesRaleigh, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. MikesRaleigh

    MikesRaleigh Member

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    OK, OK, i'm convinced!! :) so follow up question...since I'm about as mechanical as a box of rocks, who would install them for me? Theres only 1 camping place around Raleigh that I know of..Bill Plemmons RV, and they seem more geared to RV's than popups. Would a regular brake place work on them I wonder? Also, I wonder what the cost would be..I only paid $2200 for the camper itself.
     
  2. RockyRoo

    RockyRoo Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD

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    They have pups for sale, I'm sure they will service it. Money is money, right? But be prepared, they will likely charge close to or slightly over $100 an hour for labor. I would check with them.
     
  3. BuxCamper

    BuxCamper Member

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    I was moving the PU once without the brake controller in and going about 5 MPH. I tapped the brakes the normal amount I would when going that fast and for a moment couldn't figure out why I wasn't stopping. It was 2000 pounds of camper continuing to push me.

    Now I only needed to push the brakes a little harder but that taught me the value of trailer brakes.

    Additionally if you should you find yourself with trailer sway, you can apply only the trailer brakes to damp it out.

    Sent from my Xoom using Tapatalk HD
     
  4. Storm Trooper

    Storm Trooper Home is where you park it!

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    Mike,
    Take a little time and go through this board.
    http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?board=50.0
    It has a lot about brakes and what you'll need to have.
    It's best to ask more specific questions in that board after you've read some of the posts.
    And you will need a brake controller for the TV and the appropriate wiring.
    Good luck, you'll find plenty of help there.
     
    libtronica likes this.
  5. RockyRoo

    RockyRoo Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD

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    I can appreciate what Bux said. I never had brakes on either pup, so I didn't know what I was missing. When pulling out of a campground last year with my HTT (obviously much heavier than any pup), I didn't have the wiring harness connected right and the brakes weren't getting power. Once I got it stopped on the side of the road and fixed the connector I assure you I will not willingly pull without brakes again.
     
  6. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    Hey Mike

    When you flatten that bike with 7" brakes you'll be sorry you didn't go with 10" or 12", time for a lift and replacement axle! How about dual axles with 4 x 12" brakes?

    Seriously it won't be cheap to add brakes
    You won't get the cheaper pricing of parts online
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Add-Brakes-your-trailer-Camper-Snowmobile-7-5x4-5-/290363381794?pt=Motors_RV_Trailer_Camper_Parts_Accessories&vxp=mtr&hash=item439b019822

    Report back any quote, I'd prepare for $600-$1000 complete with break away, controller brakes and wired to go.

    I've considered this more than once and would prefer a complete new axle complete with brakes for ease of install for a small premium $

    Getting rear ended by a massive truck with its normal braking is scary to me.
     
  7. Spridle

    Spridle Active Member

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    Yea R&P Carriages is where I priced my stuff out last year. Look up underneath and see if you have a blue wire bundled up behind the backing plate. If you do then it was prepped for brakes and will be a bit easier for whoever does the install. If the camper has a battery then the break away kit is super cheap, like $7. Prodigy P2 controller is what R&P strongly recommended as good controller without being overkill.

    I hear you on the install part. A lot of the reason I'm able to do any of the things we do is because I can do pretty much anything myself, although it's not always cost effective for me to do so. For me I'm looking at $250 to $300 in parts and an afternoon or so of work. Very different than contemplating $800 installed from an RV shop.

    I would think any old timer garage could do the brake install. Definitely check around and ask some friends. The brakes themselves should install very easily. I would think your bigger challenge is the controller on the Honda TV. But none of this is very difficult as things things go.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
    bob barnes likes this.
  8. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    The small parts add up.
    Wire, connectors, crimping pliers, protective plastic loom, resetting circuit breakers, ... I'd want new bearings/races.

    Eastern marine brakes come with mounting stud but no nut [?:~{]

    If you don't have a charge line, that should be added also.

    Splicing into the brake switch wire under the dash has held me back, I know what the trailer store would do with those crappy connectors that pierce the wire. I've enjoyed my travel in WY and all over CO.
     
  9. MD Saga

    MD Saga Pop-up journeymen

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    I put brakes on our Saga after a few trips being pulled by our Sienna. I know the mountains around Boone and I wouldn't risk it without brakes. We were on Skyline Drive for the Shenandoah rally last June and it was "sporty" even with the brakes.
     
  10. Travelhoveler

    Travelhoveler New Member

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    I believe North Carolina law mandates auxillary brakes for all campers weighing more than 1,000 pounds. We purchased a new to us pup in Wilmington in November and they told us they could not let us off the lot unless we had a working brake controller in our vehicle to work with the trailer brakes.

    Check with your DMV but that's my understanding. Even towing in the flats of the Piedmont or coastal plain would be illegal without those trailer brakes.
     
  11. warwgn3

    warwgn3 Car Shows are 2nd only to Camping!

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    One of the leading causes of brake failure related towing accidents is due to over heating the tow vehicle brakes while going long steep downhill grades.

    The best thing (I think) is that when you are towing a trailer in the mountains with no RV brakes is to help your tow vehicle brakes by gearing down. Doing that SHOULD cause the engine and transmission to hold you back from gaining speed and momentum when going down hill. Use your brakes very intermittently on the steeper portions and tight turns, etc.

    Before you go out in your fully-loaded rig & RV, you should first go out and check to see if gearing down will easily hold your unloaded tow vehicle back without the trailer. If it does that easily, then load your TV up, and try it again (without the trailer) - progressively working yourself up until you're fully confident that your engine and transmission will safely hold back your fully loaded rig. Make sure you do this before you head out, so you don't get yourself into an unsafe situation during your trip.
     
  12. Rodger D.

    Rodger D. New Member

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    WoW Class

    I can not believe all the replies on this since it was posted on the 2nd of February.

    We have Denver just a ways north of here. I fear driving through it more that I fear
    driving in the mountains. You may be able to see the curve and hill in front of you in
    the mountains but you have no idea of what another drive may do.

    When our Pop Up was first purchased the orignal owner ( and who ever followed ) never
    had brakes on it. This is what I did last June. It was as easy as re-lubing The Bearings
    ( had to replace them anyway ). No special tools or beyond High School knowledge needed.

    The "I can pull it OK" comments seem as if they need to learn more about stopping the
    weight.

    How about if your Trailered Unit is OK Brake-less in your state and you cross into a state
    that is more Up To Date In Safe Driveing while pulling trailers ???
     
  13. Spridle

    Spridle Active Member

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    http://drivinglaws.aaa.com/laws/trailer-brakes/

    Which states would those be? Reading down this list I can only find a few states that require brakes for trailers below 3000#. The % of GVW will be the legality issue with the Honda as the TV although I think even there it would squeak under. With my TV it's not even close to being illegal or overtly dangerous as my GVWR is something like 11,000#

    I think the poster should get brakes on his trailer especially given his TV and they agree, as was said it's also significantly cheaper than an accident of any kind. But I don't subscribe to the theory that you are doing something catastrophically stupid or immoral if you don't. This is no different than any other driving situation. Know your rigs limits and stay within them. Can you avoid an accident 100% of the time, no. Will you be able to do that 100% of the time with trailer brakes, of course not. The only thing you are doing is minimizing risk, not eliminating it.

    I have a buddy that towed a pickup truck on a trailer behind his Chevy Camaro halfway across the country with no trailer brakes or any added safety of any kind. THAT was catastrophically stupid. He even got pulled over and the cop let him off with a warning [?:~{]
     
  14. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    Here's a video that shows 4 vehicles that have braking distances from 70mph to 0 in 244', 139', 198' and 224'.

    I wonder how big a unbraked trailer it takes for the 139' vehicle to match the un trailered stopping distance of the Land Drover Discovery 4x4 @ 224' (I'm guessing it has has the largest tow rating).

    Jeremy Clarkson - on Stopping Distances!
     
  15. ricko

    ricko Member

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    Trailer brake installation isn't limited to RV dealers... Any 'trailer' shop can do it... Dexter axle is the OEM for most of these things and there are dealers all over the place.

    Check around town or with someone towing a small commercial trailer and they can recommend someone.

    We have several place in our city that work on any trailer regardless of what is above the axle.

    Ricko
     
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  16. Hacksaw

    Hacksaw Active Member

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    Not only can a trailer place add them almost any welding shop can and for about half Whitman rv shop would charge. The brake controller is a matter of buying the controller,the correct quick install harness, and vehicle side socket & harness.

    Think Outside !- No Box Required.
     
  17. Wenchinwaiting

    Wenchinwaiting New Member

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    Hi my name is Michele, I noticed we have the same kind of pup and I am going to Colorado this summer. I am installing a voyager brake controller in my truck and wanted to pull the wheels off my pup to test. It is a n2m unit and previous owner never used them. You have any hints?
     
  18. CamL48

    CamL48 New Member

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    Rather than hijack this thread, I recommend you post your question in a new thread. There are forums for brakes and such.

    Good luck.

    The OP is towing through the hills of NC, not the 11,000 foot mountain peaks of the Rockies. Brakes are always better than no brakes. With that said, you can tow without them ... esp with lighter PUPs and heavier TVs.
     
  19. Travelhoveler

    Travelhoveler New Member

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    How is this particularly relevant? The mountains in North Carolina are not nearly as tall as the mountains in Colorado, but they're often as about as high, measuring the distance from base to summit. Many peaks in Colorado start from 6,000'-7,000' feet and rise to the 14,000s. Mountains in North Carolina can rise from a few hundred feet to nearly 7,000'.

    I was a ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park where the highest continuous highway in the country crosses the Rockies. I've been on the Mt. Evans Road, the highest one-way road in the country. I've been through passes all over the state. I can tell you that the roads in the Appalachians of Tennessee and North Carolina are just as steep and winding as those and present the same sort of challenges. In fact, driving the Blue Ridge Parkway through the mountains probably puts as much stress on brakes as any road in the Centennial State. (I was a ranger there, too, and we often had to deal with overheated brakes on vehicles).

    Drivers in any mountainous country should fit all but the lightest campers with trailer brakes. And in the OP's state, he is REQUIRED to have brakes on his trailer, even in the flat coastal plain.
     
  20. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    I've said this before but I'll repeat it here: Ignore all state laws about whether or not brakes are required. Get them to improve safety. There is a difference between required by law and needed.

    I'll also agree with TH that the elevation of the mountains is irrelevant. It is the steepness and length of the grades and the frequency that one encounters them that matters. I've driven in the Rockies, Sierras and Cascades many times and there are no differences when it comes to the simple fact that trailer brakes are important safety equipment.
     

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