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Trailer brake upgrade?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by brucec32, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    I have a 5' 4" x12' landscape trailer. 6 years old. New tires. 3500 lb axle, torsion suspension, crank up wheel/foot welded to unit.. Well built with tubular steel where many just use angle iron, costs about $1200 new. But the expanded metal on the ramp needs replacing. Otherwise in fine shape. I also feel like I need to get trailer brakes for safety. I like the size, which isn't that common, since I can fit two full size mowers on it and the width of the wheels matches my pickup, so it's less trouble to keep on the road. I also would prefer not to deal with two sets of tires.

    Should I fix my trailer ramp and upgrade the brakes or just sell it for a few hundred and apply that towards a new trailer?

    What does it cost to upgrade to a simple trailer brake system, including brakes, controller, etc? A do-it-yourself project or best left to pros?
  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    You upgrade it with brakes, and you'll have around 14-15 into it. Here, you can buy a brand new 12 or 14 ft. with brakes for that much. I just priced a 20', with wrapped tongue, brakes on both axles, and heavy duty lift gate, for $1850 out the door.
  3. CELS

    CELS LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Messages: 50

    If you like your current trailer and it fits your needs, I would stick with it and just do the repairs/upgrades. I don't have exact figures, but there are several on-line trailer parts. Looks to be a simple install. Plus, steel prices/lead times are getting crazy. Just my .02
  4. mmacsek

    mmacsek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 545

    I had a 6.5x14' single axle trailer with leaf springs that I upgraded with brakes. I think the cost for the brakes was $200.00. I thought it was pretty straight forward. You need a good ground. As far as the controller I installed a Tekonsha Voyager. The installation is easy if you have a newer truck. I have a 96 Ford F250. According to the instructions the Big 3 are already wired. You have to contact the truck dealer for the plug to go from the factory wiring to the controller. About $15.00. The Tekonsha controller is nice because it only lights up when the trailer is plugged into the truck and there is a complete circuit with the trailer brakes. If you ever lose continuity to the trailer brakes you'll know before an emergency occurs. My new used truck has a cheaper generic controller that lights up whenever the truck brakes are activated. Hope this helps. PM me or email me if you have more questions. There is a BIG difference stopping a trailer with brakes. Matt
  5. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,372

    I'd sell it and get a new trailer. It's only money. It's all a write off. Even if you like how the trailer is the width of your truck you can get a new one the same dimensions. FYI, a tandem trailer is easier to back up than a single axle.
  6. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    Thanks, I'll look into how to upgrade them on the web and elsewhere.
  7. MudslinginFX4

    MudslinginFX4 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,170

    I would upgrade your existing trailer. I think you would spend a lot less money then buying a new one. It sounds like it wouldn't be that hard to put brakes on it or fix the back. Personally, I hate to spend money on new trailers and stuff especially since they aren't new anymore after you buy them, I like to really wear stuff like that out.
  8. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Go to a trailer dealer around you. (Did you purchase your trailer new around there?) Sometimes, they can sell you a whole axle all built with brakes for the price it will cost you to do it yourself...especially if they'll take a trade on your old axle.
  9. wriken

    wriken LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,154

    ck out the sponsor on here for trailer parts
  10. mowerman90

    mowerman90 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,490

    If you lived near Tampa FL it would cost you about $150 for a brake package consisting of: backing plate w/brakeshoes, brake drums, new bearings/seals. Add to that a few bucks for some primary wire and anywhere from $49 to well over $100 for a brake controller. Installation is simple and straight forward. First remove your existing hubs and wheel bearings. You should see a square plate with 4 holes (one in each corner) on your axel. This is where the new backing plate and shoes gets mounted. After the backing plate and drum is mounted it's just a matter of running the wires to your connector and controller as per the instructions. You'll notice a big difference with brakes and your trucks brakes will last a lot longer.

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