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Trailer Brakes

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Jan 26, 2005.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    I was told by a customer that if you don't have brakes on your trailer, you can count on a pre-mature failure of your automatic transimssion.

    This has scared me ever since he told me that.

    So I'd like to add trailer brakes. I called e-trailerparts.com and the girl tells me you have to do some welding to add the brakes to the trailer. I don't know how to weld so I'm thinking the do-it-yourself approach to trailer brakes may not work out.

    Are trailer brakes necessary? What's the cheapest way to add them to an existing trailer?

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. xcopterdoc

    xcopterdoc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 752

    give some trailer specs...
  3. Eddie B

    Eddie B LawnSite Senior Member
    from gone
    Messages: 859

    how much weight are you pulling? single or dual axle trailer?
  4. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    I've been pulling a 3,000 pound load without brakes behind my F-150 for over 40,000 miles now with no harm done. My F-150 is currently at 104,000 miles. I also have super heavy duty front disc brake pads on the truck @ $84 a set. BTW, I am within the state regs so don't jump my azz on this.
  5. zz218

    zz218 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Two seprate systems brakes and transmission. Stopping a trailer would have no effect on transmission only premature wearing of brakes. I correct myself, stopping a trailer by downshifting gears could put extra wear on trans. but that would have nothing to do with trailer brakes. If truck is automatic transmission might want to check owners manual about using overdrive. If your truck has manual transmission keep rolling. For safety i would suggest getting trailer brakes. Your truck wasn't designed to stop that amount of weight.
  6. wroughtn_harv

    wroughtn_harv LawnSite Member
    Messages: 194

    Take your trailer to Dallas Axle on Halifax off of Mockingbird. They're where I buy all my trailer parts. They have the stuff and they know what will work when and how. Duane is the African American behind the counter that's smarter'n just about anyone alive on trailer components. He does have the gift of gab which will make your visit pleasant too.

    Chances are most likely there's a set of electric brakes that will bolt right up to your stubs. If you have an electric drill you can use electrical conduit clamps and self tapping screws to install your wiring. The brakes will be a bolt up.

    It isn't rocket science. A little patience and attention to detail and you can have brakes on your trailer.

    If it's a dual axle trailer consider which axle you want the brakes. I prefer the front but here in Texas the most popular option seems to be the rear. What is important is the axle that has the most contact under load is the one you want to brake.

    Trailer brakes are like raincoats. If you don't work in the rain then you really don't need it. And all of us have worked in the rain without one and survived. It's just smarter to always have them.

    You don't want the brakes stopping the whole rig. Probably the only thing worse than not having brakes is to have them adjusted up where they lock up easy. If you have an emergency stop and it's slick you're not only fighting to stop. Chances are you're seeing a trailer coming up along beside you taking out that escape route. Your trailer has become a sled because the tires are now skis.

    That's why in some instances having one axle without brakes is a good thing. The rolling axle will help keep the trailer straight in an emergency stop.

    If you run your trailer full and empty you will adapt to adjusting your controller each time you hook up to accomodate your load. When I'm pulling empty I roll it back to almost nothing. When I've got fifteen thousand pounds back there I want all the help I can get.
  7. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    I'd guess my trailer weighs about 1,000 pounds empty. The most I can load onto it is about 4,000 pounds.

    It's a single axle trailer.

    Think trailer brakes are necessary?

    DFW Area Landscaper
  8. lwcmattlifter

    lwcmattlifter LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Messages: 859

    Not really, but what is the gross weight of your trailer? Most single axle trailers have a 3500 lbs gross. When you subtract out the empty weight of the trailer (1000 lbs), that leaves you with a 2500 lb payload. If you are hauling 4000 that is way over weight and I doubt the tires and axles can handle that. If this is the case then brakes or no brakes on your single axle trailer, you need a trailer with a higher gross weight rating....time to move to a tandem and most all of them have brakes on at least one axle. Check your title or registration card it will give you all the weight specs you need.
  9. wroughtn_harv

    wroughtn_harv LawnSite Member
    Messages: 194

    I'd go with brakes. But then that's just me.

    And I just noticed Southwest Wheel is sponsor here. They're less than a mile from Dallas Axle and do the same thing.

    If it's still owned by the same guy he's nice, from Oklahoma City originally, and named Dallas. Go figure. :dizzy:
  10. Mikes Machines

    Mikes Machines LawnSite Member
    Messages: 112

    At the weight you are pulling you dont really need brakes but it would be nice. Once you have them you will be spoiled without them. I pull about the same amount of weight and wish I had them but have been too lazy to get them. Human nature I quess

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