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Open Roads Forum  >  Tow Vehicles

 > Unbraked trailer, towing limitations

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Boomerweps

Hills of PA

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Posted: 08/24/22 10:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow! Completely unaware of Ford requiring trailer brakes for 1500#. Found it in the owners manual.
I do have a chart of states requiring trailer brakes at what weight. (Unable to post pics here). Most states have a 3000# limit, a few less (the usual nanny states), a few more.
I had a enclosed cargo trailer that was legally limited to GVWR 2990# because it had no brakes, even though it had a 3500# axle in PA.
As was mentioned, electrical trailer brake assembles can be had for $200 or less a wheel. A little wiring and proper 7 pin plug w/o labor will be well under $500. I’ve seen that it’s easier and for not much more cost to buy a whole brake assembly vice replacement shoes on a trailer. If I had known the ease and cost of adding brakes, that cargo trailer would have got them.


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PButler96

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Posted: 08/24/22 10:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You should know by now if you've spent a minute reading these boards that you need an F-550 to pull a 2900 lb trailer, let alone stop one.


I have a burn barrel in my yard.

Sjm9911

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Posted: 08/24/22 10:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just add them. Its pretty strightfor2a4d if you have the backing plates. You can get them as a set on like e trailor, all you have to do is 4 bolts on the hub and add the wires. Dont forget the break away switch and the controller. If you are semi handy it will take a day. But probably like 4 hours.


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valhalla360

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Posted: 08/24/22 10:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Grit dog wrote:

There’s a reason the law in many/ most states is 3klbs max with no brakes.


Probably dates back to the 1920s when 25-35mph speed limits were the norm.

Then all the old guys complained that they didn't want to pay to add brakes, so this was the compromise. Never been updated since then.

Do you have an historically accurate source to suggest why 3k lbs was chosen?


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valhalla360

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Posted: 08/24/22 10:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RetiredRealtorRick wrote:


Mathematically looks great, but I'm not sure it works exactly that way in real life.


Probably depends on conditions but I wouldn't be surprised to find than it's not uncommon to require more than a 25% increase in braking distance.

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 08/24/22 10:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

PButler96 wrote:

You should know by now if you've spent a minute reading these boards that you need an F-550 to pull a 2900 lb trailer, let alone stop one.

Lol. You’re gonna confuse another new guy….
But to his point, yup, all them little single axle cargo and utility trailers driving around, vast majority don’t have brakes and never did. Why? Because it’s NOT illegal.
Mostly once folks get retireded and spend too much time inventing new risks that they’re paranoid of, this becomes an issue.
It’s not for the real world though.


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JRscooby

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Posted: 08/24/22 11:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

valhalla360 wrote:

So if your SUV is 5400lb, that means the trailer is adding 50% to the weight that it has to stop...plus what other gear/people do you have in the car.

I've had the trailer brakes not work one time and I went slow the 10 miles to get home...it took forever to come to a stop from speed. Not something I would want to repeat.

Also, there is the issue of keeping things in line. If the SUV rear axle starts to slide in a panic stop, the trailer is going to try and push it around into a jacknife. Trailer brakes will try to keep everything in line.

As suggested, see if you can add brakes to the trailer. There's a reason manufacturers provide much higher tow ratings when the trailer has brakes.


Rear lock up? You hope. The TW reduces weight on the front, increases on the rear. Plus light vehicles are expected for front to do most of the stopping. (Bigger brakes) So it is much more likely for the front to lock up. Remember when you where a kid, would lock the rear brake on your bicycle and go sliding? Good fun, and only wore out the back tire. If the front wheel ever locked the wear was on knees and elbows.
Now later, ever try to stop on ice, feel front sliding? You have no control over direction.
Now I know your modern ride has anti-lock brakes, will release the brake on the wheels that want to slide. But if that slide is happening because you are stopping more weight than system is designed for, and a smaller percentage of that weight is on front wheels, anti stop brakes. But you can steer into something cheap.

BarabooBob

Baraboo, WI

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Posted: 08/24/22 11:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Check out this site to determine state requirements for trailer brakes: https://www.readybrake.com/state-towing-laws.html
For my own safety, I added trailer brakes to my utility trailer because I frequently load up with fire wood and it probably weighs in at 3500 pounds. I don't want to kill someone because I can't stop.


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Sjm9911

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Posted: 08/24/22 12:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

https://www.nj.com/sussex-county/2022/08/pickup-pulling-excavator-loses-brakes-crashes-into-nj-tire-shop-authorities-say.html
Not saying they had or didnt have brakes, but they did impound everything. That means they will check if they needed them and they were hooked up. Usally, in a minor fender bender they dont check. But if something bad happens, they definitely will.

mkirsch

Rochester, NY

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Posted: 08/24/22 01:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

valhalla360 wrote:

Grit dog wrote:

There’s a reason the law in many/ most states is 3klbs max with no brakes.


Probably dates back to the 1920s when 25-35mph speed limits were the norm.

Then all the old guys complained that they didn't want to pay to add brakes, so this was the compromise. Never been updated since then.

Do you have an historically accurate source to suggest why 3k lbs was chosen?


1920's? Motor vehicles BARELY had brakes in the 1920's, let alone trailers. The guy who invented trailer brakes wasn't even a glimmer in his father's eye in the 1920's, LOL (probably not really but you get what I mean).

Again, 95% of the time when you make up numbers, you look silly.


Putting 10-ply tires on half ton trucks since aught-four.

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