Adding trailer brakes

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jeffyr, Dec 4, 2000.

  1. jeffyr

    jeffyr LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 876

    I wanted to add brakes to my tandem axel trailer. I could use advice.......I've seen them in the Northern Tool catalogue for $100-$150. Is there a better place to get them ? Is this a driveway project ? It doesn't look hard, but I've never done it so I can't say for sure. Can I get away with brakes on 1 axel or is there a reason to do both. I have plenty of brakes in the Chevy C30 to stop it, but as the truck gets older, I have been using my Ram 1500 here and there(I know it's only a 1500) and the brakes aren't cutting it.
    Any advice would be appreciated.

    jeffyr
     
  2. gorrell

    gorrell LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 536

    How old is your trailer? If it has some age on it, this might be time to trade it in on one that has brakes. By the time you get the brakes and brake controller installed you'll probably be near the $400 mark. I personally would not install the system myself, but if you're more mechanically inclined than I am, go for it. My opinion, I'd trade units. Thanks, Lynn
     
  3. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Posts: 4,831

    You will have to change the hubs on the back axle and put on the brake system and new hubs that will have the disk for the magnets to grab. It involves taking off the axle nut and bearings, bolting on the brake assembly, putting the bearings in the new hub, putting the hub on and adjusting the axle nut. Then hook up the wires to the other brake wires. You won't need to change the brake controller as Lynn said since you already have one for the existing 1 axle brake system. I hope this helps.
     
  4. jeffyr

    jeffyr LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 876

    Thanks for the advice. The trailer does not have any brakes now, and I don't have a controller. But even if I did upgrade to a new trailer with brakes, I would have to purchase the controller. So it may be worth it to put brakes on 1 axel anyway. Northern Tool has break kits for the 3500lb axle for somewhere around $150 and the controller for $75-100.

    jeffyr
     
  5. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Posts: 4,831

    I have never seen a tandem axle trailer with no brakes. I guess I was wrong Lynn, sorry. Most new trucks are pre-wired for trailer brakes, so you just mount the controller and plug in the controller to the plug to the back. If not, you have to tap into power, a ground, and then run a wire to the brake light switch to activate the trailer brakes. You then need to run a wire back to the back plug for the trailer lights from the controler and the wires out of the controller are all marked. It's so easy, even I can do this. :)

    I would get brakes on that trailer ASAP for your saftey and saftey of others.
     
  6. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    I'm with Lynn. If you don't do this, atleast go to where you bought your trailer (if new) or go to a trailer sales location. Sometimes, they'll give you a brake axle all set up for about $150 - $200.00 with a trade in of your old axle.
     
  7. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,937

    jeffyr,

    Is this one of those tandem trailers with small snowmobile trailer tires? If it is, there aren't any brake kits for these. I also haven't heard of a tandem axle trailer w/o some type of brakes. If its a home-made job, you should maybe think of getting a new trailer. This is what Lynn was talking about Runner, not just trading axles. There are nice 16x7 trailers out there for (what I have heard) $895 and up to $1795 for a good one. You don't say what you are hauling on it, but if you have troubles stopping, it must be pretty heavy. If you dont want a brake controller, you could always go with surge brakes (just don't back up hills that much). As for adding brakes, be cautious, There are quite a few axle manufacturers out there and identifying yours may be difficult or impossible. You may be better off buying two new axles w/brakes, if your trailer itself is in good shape.


     
  8. jeffyr

    jeffyr LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 876

    The trailer is a 6.5 x 12 Doolittle. It was open and it now has steel and wood 4ft sides. I bought it used a few years back not knowing all that much about trailers, which may explain why I wound up with it. It has 15" rims and full size tires. Gross weight with all equipment is around 2500-2800 lbs. Like I said, the Chevy C30 has been stopping it fine since I bought it, but the Dodge 1500 complains.

    jeffyr
     
  9. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,937

    If your not grossing 3000lbs, you dont need trailer brakes. Save your money and just live with it. Maybe try to improve the Dodge's brakes ie: more agressive linings, cut rotors and drums, adjust up rear drums properly.

    I don't want to sound anti-safety, but 2800 lbs is nothing and any 1/2 ton truck should be able to stop it reasonably. I just think you will end up spending more to convert to brakes than the trailer is worth.

    P.S. : The name brand of the trailer is becoming of it!!

     
  10. jeffyr

    jeffyr LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 876

    Outch...That last jab hurt dixie !

    although appropriate.


    The guy I bought it from used it to haul and store a couple of motorcycles, so it was only seeing 1k or so. I guess that is why he didn't get brakes. As for me ????????????????????????????
    jeffyr
     

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