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Old 08-01-2010, 11:37 AM   #11
Scott O
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This one got a bit off topic. The question posed by the OP was whether or not he needed trailer brakes. I looked at the date of the post, half expecting it to be April 1. So the serious and easy answer to the question is YES, you need trailer brakes for a variety of reasons. If you ever have to do a panic stop with your trailer and you do not have trailer brakes, the first thing you will notice is your trailer passing you. This is not a good thing, and it will get messy shortly after this...
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Old 08-01-2010, 04:18 PM   #12
harveyrv
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Yes.....warped brake rotors are quite common and warped calipers are less common. However, our service dept replaced enough warped brake calipers for me to know that it does happen. It was not a "Scare tactic". It was an extreme example. I could have just as easily used rotors, transmissions, ring & pinions, U-joints, torque converters, broken caliper or suspension bolts...........I just happen to think of calipers because I have seen that on light trucks towing trailers or carrying large campers before.

If anyone is having a problem with the 50% number than maybe you are just trying to find something to argue about......I tried to point out to you that I used the word "MAY"......I thought that you might have missed that but evidently you may not understand the implication of the word.

If a buyer is looking into purchasing a used vehicle with 100K miles on it (to use as a TV), it would be wise for that person to understand that SOME vehicles have been used and abused and an abused, high mileage, vehicle MAY have used up it's capacity to tow by even more than 50%........

A properly maintained and well cared for high mileage vehicle that has not been used for towing before would have much less wear & tear and will have maintained MORE (not all) of it's capacity to be used as a TV.

The point is, EVERYTHING on the vehicle that receives stress degrades over time.....I'm not quite sure what you are taking issue over. If it's semantics....so be it. If you are thinking that things don't stress and brake over time.......then I have news for you......you're wrong. Manufacturers and government agencies have no obligations to worn people that high mileage vehicles may have less capacity than a new vehicle........that's called "Common sense".

As for the S10......I don't have it any longer. It had a 5500# towing capacity (new), which was adequate for the task at hand. It was a great little truck....little truck.....little truck...... It was well cared for and never towed anything or used in any other heavy service but I did not feel comfortable with the short wheel base........what's your point???
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Old 08-01-2010, 05:06 PM   #13
MisterP
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Why don't you take this fight offline. It no longer has any relation to the question of the thread.
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:28 PM   #14
grakin
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I tow with a 3/4 ton "heavy duty" pickup. The one time I had the TM behind me without brakes, it significantly increased my stopping distance - maybe by 50% or so. Easily enough to end up smashed into someone.

And that's a big, heavy vehicle with about a truck bed carrying capacity of somewhere around 2,000 - so it has pretty good sized brakes.

It's illegal to tow without brakes (for the TM, in most states). Even more importantly it could kill you.

Here's what you need to ask an RV dealer for, at a minimum, for brakes:

To get the brakes back to the trailer, you need a "brake controller". It should cost about $100 in parts and probably about the same in labor for someone who is good at the job. Insist on a "Prodigy" controller as sometimes dealers will try to skimp and put a garbage one in there (it's not worth it for the very tiny difference in cost - do it right). You don't need any relays for the brake controller. You will also need a "7 pin" plug. Since the plug is going in anyhow, they might as well wire in the reverse lights and a wire from your battery for charging the trailer (it's nice to be able to keep your fridge cool on the road, plus it is a safety concern - the trailer's break-away brake system needs a charged trailer battery).

I'd also recommend having the dealer look over your entire rig - just to make sure you don't destroy your vehicle by towing with it. I would not trust the opinion of a dealer trying to sell you a trailer on this, nor would I trust a U-Haul dealer - go to an actual RV dealer that isn't selling you something. You likely will need at the least a "Weight Distributing" hitch which will set you back a few hundred dollars. This is also a safety item if your vehicle needs it - the TM has a very heavy tongue weight for a trailer its' size.
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:02 PM   #15
harveyrv
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterP View Post
Why don't you take this fight offline. It no longer has any relation to the question of the thread.
I disagree........... This discussion is relevant to the issue of any/all TM owners that tow with vehicles that have a 3500# tow rating (as the OP does). It is particularly relevant to anyone that may be considering towing a TM with a 3500# tow rated TV and no trailer brakes. That's what the OP was asking.

I think that it is crucial to understand that most vehicles with a 3500# tow rating should not be towing a fully loaded TM (plus passengers and cargo) at all. Towing without trailer brakes is particularly dangerous (and illegal in most States) and that danger increases as the TV gets older and degrades in maximum ability to handle its GCWR much less, towing over that rating.
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:21 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harveyrv View Post
I think that it is crucial to understand that most vehicles with a 3500# tow rating should not be towing a fully loaded TM (plus passengers and cargo) at all.
Harvey,
You are absolutely right about Every TM needing properly controlled and adjusted trailer brakes at all times. And you're right that people towing with lighter vehicles need to be carrying lighter loads, not "fully loaded" TMs. But what other people choose to do is their business, just like it was your decision to tow your TM with your S10 without a WDH, something I would not have done.

The problem is that you don't actually know much about most vehicles with a 3500# tow rating. You've never driven them, towed anything with them, and most important, you've never read their manufacturer's towing instructions, owners' manuals, or the door post stickers. You should let the people who know about these vehicles do the talking and not be making up rules for other people.
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Old 08-03-2010, 03:52 PM   #17
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In California I am required to have trailer brakes for the TM but not for the ATV trailer.

FWIW, my TM 2720, when loaded, weighs 3380 pounds on the axle. Including tongue weight the total weight of the trailer is around 4,100 pounds.

Maybe you will take a lot less stuff than I do. Most people take about 1,000 pounds of stuff, beyond the base weight of the trailer.
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Old 08-03-2010, 04:13 PM   #18
Redhawk
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Same in Colorado Wayne, anything over 2000 lbs requires brakes I believe.
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:56 AM   #19
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Default Weights, Brakes, and the laws

I've only studied two states so far, mine (Virginia) and California. Generally, the laws require equipment pretty much like what we'd expect for brakes, lights, mirrors, etc. I'm no expert on the law, I'm just reporting what it says in black and white, and in surprisingly simple and easy to read terms.

The California Motor Vehicle Code is found here: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/vc/vctoc.htm

The Virginia Motor Vehicle code is found here: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...cod+TOC4602000

Like Virginia, the concept of "overweight" appears to apply primarily to commercial vehicles in Califorinia. To be legally overweight, a vehicle would have to be more that 20,000 pounds on a single axle, or in California, 10,500 pounds on any single tire. I could find no reference to the things we have been discussing, such as tow ratings, or any references to manufacturer's ratings at all, for that matter, with one important exception.

In California, it is against the law for a tire to be on the road above the maximum tire weight rating specified on the sidewall. http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d15/vc35550.htm
For example, when a gross axle rating is the total of the two tire ratings, as it sometimes is, then the gross axle weight limit has the force of law in California.

The Point:
Manufacturers recommended towing ratings do not generally appear have any reference or support in the law. They are just guidelines published by manufacturers to define their recommendations for safe towing circumstances (and to control durability issues, as well). And it all comes down to one key safety concept: at the point of impact, there's always more speed happening than somebody intended.

In towing, there is no magic way to do it where you are absolutely safe, and the point where you are dangerous is a relative term which is always easier to find after the fact. There are no hard black and white boundaries that define good towing people and bad towing people. In between, there's a big gray area that we all have to operate in, and as different people, we have to choose different compromises as we work to make good choices to err on the side of safety.

I highly recommend following all manufacturer's towing guidelines. It is necessary that we follow the law, and the one universal and most important law for towing safety in every state is on the speed limit sign.

Note: If anybody finds something in the laws that contradict this, I'll cheerfully retract any offending parts of this post.
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2003 Toyota Highlander 220hp V6 FWD
Reese 1000# round bar Weight Distributing Hitch
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Old 08-04-2010, 10:15 AM   #20
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California has an exemption for light weight trailers. My ATV trailer, no matter how many ATVs I load on it, does not require a ny brakes at all, because it is a utility trailer with a weight rating below the lime (either 2,000 or 2,500, I forget which).

But, we are discussing TMs here, so a TM in California:

Must have trailer brakes. I think you could use surge brakes, but I would not want to do so.

If they are electric brakes then the trailer must have a battery to operate the brakes in case the trailer separates from the tow vehicle.
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