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Author Topic: trailer brakes - do I need them?  (Read 4492 times)
scotty p
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« on: July 07, 2009, 06:53:30 AM »

I have a 12' coleman mesa that has brakes. My nissan pathfinder is not wired for them and it will cost about 350.00 to get it rigged. Most of our camping is in Texas and I never feel I would need trailer brakes. This summer we are going to Colorado. I am trying to decide if I need to spend the money (tight right now) to have the brakes work. Do most of you that have gone there have them? Thanks for the input!   Scotty
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Oz and Us
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« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2009, 07:22:31 AM »

Yes, you need your Mesa's brakes operational no matter where you're towing.  The Mesa is a fairly heavy popup but if it helps any to convince you of the need for trailer brakes you may want to know that every Fleetwood model manufactured from 2001 onward came standard with electric brakes, even the diminutive Taos ... and Fleetwood didn't make this move for no reason.  Get yourself a Tekonsha Prodigy brake controller and have it wired in ... period.

FWIW, I have towed in Colorado and many other mountain regions ... you want those brakes on your trailer to be operational.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2009, 07:23:21 AM by Oz and Us » Logged

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rabird
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« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2009, 07:26:52 AM »

Yes, although not legally required in TX, a 3500 lb trailer is way over the legal limit in other states. I felt at the limit with a <2000# GVW trailer, no passengers and minimal cargo while crisscrossing CO. You'll note plenty of brake and transmission shops there. I used the transmission to maintain downhill speed. Believe the speed warnings on curves!

$350 seems high for the controller and wiring. What about doing it yourself? etrailer.com has a few install videos.

If my trailer had brakes, I'd hook em up.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2009, 07:30:27 AM by rabird » Logged

brgmgb
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« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2009, 08:12:01 AM »

Get the brakes wired.

There are only four wires for the brake controller.  You'll need a wire for power.  You can run a wire directly to the battery if needed.  You'll need a wire for ground.  You'll need to run a wire to the rear for the vehicle to connect to the trailer's electric brakes.  Finally, you'll need a wire from your brake pedal.  Once you get over the fear of tapping into that wire, the installation is easy.

Does the vehicle already have the 7-wire socket?  The brake wire may already be installed.  On our Grand Cherokee, it was taped to the outside of the harness above where there driver's left foot is.

Does the camper have a 7-wire plug?  Our Camplight came with a 6-wire plug.  I cut it off and installed a 7-wire to make it standard. 

We have a Prodigy proportional brake controller.  Well worth the money. 
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2009, 08:48:39 AM »

Definately buy a brake controller (I love my Tekonsha P3 - here is a good article about it http://www.offroaders.com/reviewbox/showproduct.php?product=366). We tow an '01 Bayside (rated at 2630lbs unloaded) with a '98 F150 (rated to tow 5000lbs) and quickly discovered that the trailer DOES push the truck (yes, even on level roads) when stopping. The truck ALMOST stops just as quick with the PUP and brake controller compared to the truck solo. Get your Pathfinder wired for a controller and you'll be glad you did (especially if you head for any mountains). Our truck had the factory towing package, so all I needed to do was buy the adapter harness for my truck/controller. I'd verify that your Pathfinder isn't prewired for a brake controller: yes - buy a controller w/ an adapter harness and install it yourself; no - pay someone to do it properly (wiring, install controller and test with PUP).
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scotty p
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« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2009, 10:47:46 AM »

Thanks for the info guys! I think I will take the unanamous advice. The SUV is not prewired for the 7way. I dont think that is something I want to try to tackle. I will check around and see if I can get a better price.
  Thanks again!  Scotty
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scotty p
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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2009, 12:37:41 PM »

Just found a Joes hitch and trailer to do it for 200.00.  Going tomorrow!
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austinado16
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« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2009, 12:48:26 PM »

Good choice, you're really going to like having brakes on the trailer.
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rabird
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« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2009, 01:40:23 PM »

Just found a Joes hitch and trailer to do it for 200.00.  Going tomorrow!

The one on Peak St. - Tell Lester or Luther howdy!
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jdanton
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« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2009, 02:15:54 PM »

Glad to hear you're going for having it wired in...I have a light pop-up and even with my heavy van, it does push me down the hills quite easily...I wish I had brakes on it, even though it's barely 1000lbs soaking wet.

I did just find that my brake proportioning valve was seized, so essentially my back brakes weren't doing a whole lot...so this year might be different.
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Chuck S
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« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2009, 02:38:18 PM »

$200 with a Tekonsha Prodigy or P3 brake controller?  Or with Joes Time Delay controller?  Or just the wiring?

-- Chuck
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scotty p
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« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2009, 06:32:28 AM »

Rabird, Yeah that is where I am taking it. I thing it was Louis I talked to.
 
 Chuck, they told me they use the draw tite 5500. Thoughts? Probably wont go till next week now.
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windbreaker
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« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2009, 10:14:25 AM »

This is my fourth year towing my trailer, and I "needed" them for the first time last Tuesday.  I'd get them hooked up because you won't know if you really need them until it's too late.
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rabird
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« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2009, 10:23:26 AM »

Quote
I think it was Louis I talked to.
I knew it began with an "L"! Good source for bearing seals & cotter pins.

Folks everywhere swear by the $100 Tekonsha Prodigy

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Oz and Us
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« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2009, 10:30:21 AM »

Chuck, they told me they use the draw tite 5500. Thoughts? Probably wont go till next week now.

IIRC the Drawtite it a simple time delay controller ... can't imagine why you'd want one when the superlative Tekonsha Prodigy which is an inertia controller can be purchased for $100 US.
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Oz Mods Gallery

'14 Freedom Express 192RBS / '05 Avalanche 4x2
'03 Fleetwood Yuma / '05 Avalanche 4x2
'08 KZ Spree 240BH-LX / '05 Avalanche 4x2
'07 RVision TrailCruiser C21RBH / '06 Silverado 4x4
2000 Fleetwood Santa Fe / '98 Explorer 4x4
'98 Jayco Eagle 10UD / '94 Caravan
'69 Coleman CT380 / '65 Impala

"If the women don't find you handsome they should at least find you handy!"
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