adding brakes

JLong

LawnSite Member
Location
Eastern KS
how difficult/expensive is it to add brakes to a trailer axle.
i'm looking at a trailer that currently has one brake axle
although for dot complience both need to be braking and
it must have a "break away" box
 

igotdiesel2

LawnSite Member
Location
Indianapolis, IN
If you can look at the axle that doesn't have brakes see if there is a plate with 4 holes on it behind the hub. If that is there then it is really easy to add a brake plate and new drum hubs to the axle. Otherwise there is welding involved adding the 4 hole plate. A new complete set of brake plates and drum hubs will cost you about 350 to 500 depending on where you get them. I like www.etrailer.com for my brake parts. -Jason
 

Jason Rose

LawnSite Fanatic
Best place I've found for good prices. http://shop.easternmarine.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=catalog.catalog&categoryID=149

Of course you will also need the drums. http://shop.easternmarine.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=catalog.catalog&categoryID=298

And your "breakaway box" http://shop.easternmarine.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=catalog.catalog&categoryID=250

I've used eastern marine the last couple times I've had to replace the brakes on my trailer. You just missed the sale they had on the self adjusting brake plates. (that's when I bought mine) It cost me about $500, with shipping, to do all 4 drums and 4 brakes on my trailer. 3500 lb. axles, 10" x 2" brakes.

BUT, add up your costs per axle to retrofit versus just buying new axles with brakes already on them. If it's pretty close in price, which it probably will be, it may be easier to just put new axles under it and then in the future you can just replace brakes as needed. If you want to retrofit you will need to wire the brakes on both ends, where an axle with brakes already installed has the wire running thru the tube to the other side, you just wire one end.

Of course if your truck dosn't lready have a brake controler you will need one of those too...
 

topsites

LawnSite Fanatic
As a general rule a decent set is going to cost you about as much as the trailer's worth,
at least that's been my experience, don't forget the controller.
 

Jason Rose

LawnSite Fanatic
As a general rule a decent set is going to cost you about as much as the trailer's worth,
at least that's been my experience, don't forget the controller.

True... But how much does a new trailer cost? Usually a lot more than what your trailer is worth... That's how I ended up with the 20' trailer I have now. The guy was scared about the "cracking down" on businesses with trailers by the DOT, the trailer only had brakes on one axle, and they were shot, and the trailer frame was cracked, so he sold it to me for $600. Well to buy a new one is about $3500, so to me it was well worth putting new axles under it (a couple years later) and fixing the frame (before I ever used it). But, if your trailer is in bad shape, or you are already outgrowing it, don't spend the money on brakes. As you can see, it's expensive!
 

topsites

LawnSite Fanatic
I would check out a reputable parts source, such as Agri Supply, and they do sell these
kits in places but I would want hardware I can trust.

Not sure what the brakes will run you but probably a few hundred per wheel, that's the cheap part.

The controller's another story, you really want a fully automatic one otherwise you'll end up forgetting to adjust it
from loaded to not loaded or in between and either about run into or over something, or smoke the tires...
That kind of controller runs near a grand by itself, but at least 6-700.

You might can find one used, or remanufactured...
 

Jason Rose

LawnSite Fanatic
Uh, no. Even the top of the line controler, is under $250. and unless you are towing a giant camper all over the USA the top of the line isn't necessary.

I have a Tekonsha Prodigy, which a few years ago was 2nd or 3rd best (not anymore tho) and you can buy one now for around $100.

I've never heard of a brake controler that was "load sensing". The better ones are "adjustment free" in respect to you don't have to level them and set them up like you did the old ones, they will work at more angles and with less glitches. You still have to set the maximum braking force on all of them though. But just the maximum, once you set it just under where the wheels lock when your trailer is loaded "as normal" you are good to go. But you do need to readjust if you unload the trailer, sometimes. Depends on your driving and the quality of the brakes on the trailer.
 

topsites

LawnSite Fanatic
Uh, no. Even the top of the line controler, is under $250.

Top of the line cheapos, sure.

I've never heard of a brake controler that was "load sensing".

Maybe keep looking and if the salesman tells you they don't make that it means you're in the wrong store.

I mean hell if someone just wanted cheap ass brakes why they didn't say so, and why even
bother asking about the different types, cheap is cheap so just buy the next one.

I just said you need a fully automatic load-sensing controller that you don't need to ever adjust
or you will either run through an intersection because you can't stop, or smoke the tires.

And maybe they did come down in price but without much looking around I'm up to $400,
then I'd look around some more because I'm not too sure either of those is the one I would want.

No Wal-Mart stuff now, hear?
 
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