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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Truck Campers- A Word About Brakes

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wellsdesigned

Above the Sacramento Fog, CA

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Posted: 09/28/04 10:42am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Truck Campers- A Word About Brakes
Another factor to consider is that ¾ ton and more trucks were built to tow. If you look at the owner's manual, there is usually a statement to the gist of "supplemental trailer brakes are required for trailers that weight over XXX lbs". That weight takes a loaded truck into consideration and is usually going to be much greater than any camper you put on the truck ends up being greater than the cargo capacity. The understanding I get from this is that the brakes have been designed to stop the loaded truck plus the figure the manufacturer has stated. Granted, a trailer load is different on the truck and perhaps the engineers have taken the resistance of the trailer's tires into consideration, but if a camper adds 4000 lbs on your truck and the manual says you don't need supplemental trailer brakes for trailers under 2000 lbs, then the worry is less (not erased) because the cargo capacity of the truck was 2600 lbs, plus 2000 lbs capacity of the no-brakes on a trailer = 4600 lbs of stopping power. This is not a license to overload. Just an observation of again why the 80% overloaded do it for so many miles.

Regardless of what your situation is, your camper will cause you to have to drive much more carefully. Braking will require more skill and braking at curves will instantly be radically different. Take it slow at first and develop a feel for your rig, and never become over-confident.

See also:
Truck Campers- Overall Weight Basics
Truck Campers- Stepping Beyond Weight Basics
Truck Campers- Axle Weights
Truck Campers- Tires
Truck Campers- Suspension Upgrades
Truck Campers- Camper Options
Truck Campers- A Word About Brakes
Truck Campers- Towing With A Truck Camper
Truck Campers- Center of Gravity (COG)

I’ve talked about the basics, now’s the chance for specifics. Reply to this topic with your specific truck camper situation and if your new, ask questions.

* This post was edited 09/28/04 11:24am by wellsdesigned *


2002 2500HD 4X4 Ext. Cab 6.0L V8
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Visit my Truck Camper Travels site.


roadranger

Colorado Springs, Colo

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Posted: 09/28/04 11:49am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My truck was built with 4 wheel disc brakes...
they work well with the camper onboard.

YET I still installed brakes on my 3500 lb single axle trailer,
and bought my 7000 lb tandem axle trailer with 2 axle brakes.

Better safety factor to have functioning brakes on ALL axles you have down on the ground. I figure since the DOT requires brakes on all axles of tractor trailer rigs, it's a good idea on our RV rigs.


----------------------------------------------------------------


'01 Dodge 2500 4x4 QuadCab HO Cummins 6 spd,19.5 Ricksons,Ranchos,Hellwig sway,4 leaf helper springs,Titan V hitch w/28in. extension.

'03 EAGLE CAP 950,slide out,dual batteries,Honda EU2000.

Tow- 7000lb.tandem axle Cargo trailer

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Don87401

Farmington NM 87401

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Posted: 09/28/04 02:26pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Brakes on both trailer axles for me! And using the BrakeSmart controller.


Don and Sarah
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Ripsnort

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Posted: 09/28/04 05:37pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

FWIW, I read some where a few months ago that surge brakes on trailers have a high percentage rate of failure in an emergency. (Shrugs)


Stupid should hurt.

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Raften

Northern Calfornia

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Posted: 09/28/04 06:45pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am so glad I installed an exhaust brake. Long steep down hill grades don't bother me anymore.


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JoeChiOhki

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Posted: 09/28/04 07:17pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lemme make sure I've got this in my head correctly, Surge brakes are the variety that are controlled via a mechanism on the tongue of the trailer, activating when the truck decelerates, causing a compression of the mechanism and forcing brake fluid down the lines to the brakes.

Electric brakes are the variety on your average travel trailer/fifth wheel/toy hauler that use an electric system controlled by a braking module tied into the master cylinder's pressure lines to detect braking action and electrically apply the drum brakes on the trailer (Well, my parent's 10,000gvwr tandem axle toy hauler uses drum brakes, not sure if all electric brake systems do) through a system of powerful magnets.

Am I anywhere near the ball on this?


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lm17

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Posted: 09/28/04 09:04pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My 2000 Dodge Ram 2500 has a brake adjuster on the rear. This tells the truck to apply more rear brake to stop the truck. I can say my truck stops BETTER when i'm loaded up with my TC.
Just a note that when you use air bags they prohibit the brake adjuster from activating thus you get the same braking power as if your truck was empty.


2000 Dodge 2500 QC 4X4 Cummins Long bed
2003: 40' Dutch Park Model park home.
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CampingNut


tfe11111

Bozeman, MT USA

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Posted: 09/28/04 09:11pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Joe,
Most surge brakes are electrically activated.

Surge works fine on light trailers (under 3500#s) but are heck to pay when backing up if you forget to disconnect or use the back up switch.

On icy roads surge brakes can send your trailer tail around chasing your front bumper.


Timothy F. English
"Eat beef, drink Bud, drive a Chevy!"

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WarrenS

Cypress, CA, USA

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Posted: 09/28/04 10:58pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

Hi Joe,
Most surge brakes are electrically activated.

Surge works fine on light trailers (under 3500#s) but are heck to pay when backing up if you forget to disconnect or use the back up switch.

On icy roads surge brakes can send your trailer tail around chasing your front bumper.


All the surge brake trailers I've seen are hydrolicly activated not electrically. The backing and icy road problems are two more reasons I don't like surge brakes.

The only thing I can say is good about them is that they don't require any special equipment (brake controller) in the tow vehicle. Of course that means you can't tell your friends "sorry, you don't have a brake controller" when they want to borrow your trailer.


Happy Trails,
- Warren
Wife, 8 year old boy, 6 year old girl
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87 Honda TRX250R

WarrenS

Cypress, CA, USA

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Posted: 09/28/04 11:01pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

Lemme make sure I've got this in my head correctly, Surge brakes are the variety that are controlled via a mechanism on the tongue of the trailer, activating when the truck decelerates, causing a compression of the mechanism and forcing brake fluid down the lines to the brakes.

Electric brakes are the variety on your average travel trailer/fifth wheel/toy hauler that use an electric system controlled by a braking module tied into the master cylinder's pressure lines to detect braking action and electrically apply the drum brakes on the trailer (Well, my parent's 10,000gvwr tandem axle toy hauler uses drum brakes, not sure if all electric brake systems do) through a system of powerful magnets.

Am I anywhere near the ball on this?


Very close except that the brake controller (at least the ones I've seen) are activated by the brake light switch rather than the master cylinder pressure sensor. Another advantage is that the controller will have a lever so the driver can manually apply the trailer brakes if the trailer starts to sway.

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