Trailer brakes

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby catinmoon » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:59 am

Dale M. wrote:This site has a lot of information put together that will introduce you to and give youy better understanding of trailer brakes...

https://www.curtmfg.com/trailer-brakes-controllers

Essentially to put brakes on trailer you will have to have a axle that has a flange that brake backing plates bolt to and next item is brake drums/hubs that work with backing plate assembly... If your axle does not have flanges you can either replace axle or possibly have flanges added to axle...


Flanges are available to add, but real question is whether axle can accept flanges and brake assemblies....

Dale


thanks, I see there are surge brakes and electric brakes. for a td, is the electric brake the only option? The surge brake seems to be part of the hitch and not on the trailer axle.
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby Dale M. » Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:08 pm

catinmoon wrote:
Dale M. wrote:This site has a lot of information put together that will introduce you to and give youy better understanding of trailer brakes...

https://www.curtmfg.com/trailer-brakes-controllers

Essentially to put brakes on trailer you will have to have a axle that has a flange that brake backing plates bolt to and next item is brake drums/hubs that work with backing plate assembly... If your axle does not have flanges you can either replace axle or possibly have flanges added to axle...


Flanges are available to add, but real question is whether axle can accept flanges and brake assemblies....

Dale


thanks, I see there are surge brakes and electric brakes. for a td, is the electric brake the only option? The surge brake seems to be part of the hitch and not on the trailer axle.


Instead of having a electric controller in vehicle cab to operate the electric brakes on trailer, surge brakes are all hydraulic and use a master cylinder on hitch to operate the hydraulic brakes on trailer axle....

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby KCStudly » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:37 pm

Surge brakes are traditionally limited to boat trailer applications (at least in my region) where the components constantly get dunked in water, potentially salt water.

Copper wires don't fair as well as galvanized or stainless steel hydraulic lines.

The problem with hydraulic brakes, which use an articulated (hinged) hitch assembly to pump the brake master cylinder located in the coupler, is that they can be finicky backing up, falsely applying the trailer brakes due to the resistance of the trailer backing up. (When the TV applies its brakes in the forward direction the weight of the trailer pushes forward, pushing against the master cylinder. When towing forward the trailer drags behind and does not push on the master. When backing the trailer can push against the master and apply the brakes.) Having to get out to pin and defeat the articulated mechanism when backing up is a PITA for a system that does not get dunked, so forget about hydraulics for a road going camper.

The more I read about mounting the electronic brake controller on the trailer, the more I like it for a small light weight camper. I could pull mine with either TV and not have to install a controller in both TVs. There are modular brake controller systems where you can wire multiple TV's and swap the expensive part, the controller module, between vehicles, but that is still more complex and expensive than just installing a single controller on the trailer and triggering it off of the brake light application.

For a heavier trailer (like a car hauler flat bed, large double axle tow behind, or big huge 10k lb pumpkin catapult... nudge nudge, wink wink) this doesn't matter so much because the TV will usually be equipped with a brake controller anyway (thinking of modern HD PU trucks with factory installed controllers). Still I am a believer of including brakes on light weight trailers, especially if being towed by moderate to light weight TV's.

On TPCE I expect my full up over the road trailer weight to be less than 1500 lbs, but due to the expected off road nature and steep grades, I have included a heavier axle with over sized drum brakes (large bearing 3000 lb axle with derated springs). My TV's are an '03 Jeep Wrangler rated at 3000 lbs towing, and an '08 Ford Escape rated at 3500 lbs. Neither currently have brake controllers installed.
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby catinmoon » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:52 am

KCStudly wrote:Surge brakes are traditionally limited to boat trailer applications (at least in my region) where the components constantly get dunked in water, potentially salt water.

Copper wires don't fair as well as galvanized or stainless steel hydraulic lines.

The problem with hydraulic brakes, which use an articulated (hinged) hitch assembly to pump the brake master cylinder located in the coupler, is that they can be finicky backing up, falsely applying the trailer brakes due to the resistance of the trailer backing up. (When the TV applies its brakes in the forward direction the weight of the trailer pushes forward, pushing against the master cylinder. When towing forward the trailer drags behind and does not push on the master. When backing the trailer can push against the master and apply the brakes.) Having to get out to pin and defeat the articulated mechanism when backing up is a PITA for a system that does not get dunked, so forget about hydraulics for a road going camper.
...............more content deleted.


thanks much for this explanation. I don't plan on dunking the TD in the water, for sure! This is helping me get a better idea of what a good solution might be. Right now I am using a Tow Vehicle that is larger than what I would hope to have in the future, but it does handle the trailer quite well. My previous smaller truck didn't have the power that this older car does.
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby Homebrewer25 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:10 am

Is anyone here familiar with Autowbrake? https://getautowbrake.com/

Interesting concept.
It's 5 o'clock somewhere ... time for a :beer:

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby KCStudly » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:38 pm

I looked at that when I first heard about it on another thread. IIRC it is expensive, like hundreds of $$$.

Then I heard Noseoil talking (typing) about how Sheddie set his up using a standard inertia under dash unit (like $70) mounted in the TB instead, just triggering off of the brake light signal and taking power from the house battery. No need to run a 7-prong lead, nor brake power wires from the vehicle if you don't want.

Look at this post in the Tucson Tortoise thread.

With a std trailer hitch the inertia is pretty much the same in the TV and trailer (unless maybe you are jackknifed?... and if that were the case some tires would be skidding sideways anyway...), and it just seems so much more convenient than having to have multiple setups for each vehicle that you tow with.
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby Shadow Catcher » Fri Apr 27, 2018 7:55 pm

From personal experience any modification to the Crosstreck will void warranty or give them an excuse to. I have a H6 3.6L Outback with a 3400# rating. I have a class III hitch as I wanted a 2" receiver and a transmission cooler along with . They would not cover a torque converter failure under warranty. My tear btw is 1600#.
Your Crosstreck has a 1500# and I am betting with brakes. If it has the CVT transmission you will be changing the transmission oil much more frequently.
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby noseoil » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:06 am

The brake light circuit is simply the "signal" wire, it tells the brake control module to wake up & start looking at things. The actual current for the brakes feeds from the tow vehicle (in my case the trailer storage battery system) through the controller, & then to the braking system on the axle (10" shoes on my 3500# setup). You can't use the brake light wire to power a controller, it will fry everything.

I chose the Tekonsha IQ 90160 as the controller for my setup & it works very well. I settled right now on a setting of "6" based on the tires & some gravel on a road in our area for braking power. I was told that the shoes my have better grab once they wear in a bit with time, so that setting may need to be changed in the future. We'll just have to wait & see how it goes. As was mentioned, I put the controller in the tongue box, adjusted the bias & called it good. Frank put his in the galley, but it's all the same since they both live in the trailer & not in the tow vehicle. It still functions the same way. Once the brake lights are activated by the brake pedal in the tow vehicle, the sensor in the control module is activated & current is applied proportionally to the shoes based on the tow vehicle's braking & deceleration.

Anyone with a lot of mountain driving will be well-served by adding brakes to their rig. Driving through Phoenix is always a nightmare for us, so having brakes really helps. Even with a lighter trailer (say 1200# or even less) having a smaller tow vehicle will benefit from having trailer brakes. I know it costs a bit more to build this way, but it's easier than having to re-fit as we did after the fact. With the amount of miles we had towing without brakes, I guess we were just lucky to not have a problem.
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby Aguyfromohio » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:27 am

We think we'll install the Redarc Tow-Pro Elite.
It's proportional controller like most, but you can mount the main box anywhere in any orientation.
That avoids the knee-knocker box under the dash that's awkward to reach to activate the trailer brakes.

Has anyone around here actually used one? They sure look good on paper...

https://redarcelectronics.com/products/ ... controller
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby Homebrewer25 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:11 am

noseoil,
I'm still working on the trailer frame for my build, but would like to go ahead and add the battery and brake controller before I floor it. My battery will be mounted just to the rear of the axle (dexter torflex) and I'll make the battery box large enough to mount the controller too.

Can you go into more detail about wiring up your 3rd brake light and the brake controller? You used a 7 pin connector, right?

How would you go about wiring the brake contoller (and a 3rd brake light) if you only have a 4 pin connector? The Yellow (left turn signal) and Green (right turn signal) wires double as the brake wires. I assume that both go hot when the brakes are pressed in the TV ... how can I get a signal for a 3rd brake light and/or the brake controller? I wouldn't want the brake light or the controller to activate when I turn on a turn signal.

Is there a device that takes two inputs and only produces an output if both inputs are hot? Like an AND gate in electronics, but for a 12v system?
It's 5 o'clock somewhere ... time for a :beer:

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby Homebrewer25 » Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:24 am

I think I've answered my own questions.

Etrailer has a tail light converter (https://www.etrailer.com/p-118158.html) that converts the two turn signal inputs into 3 outputs ... left turn signal, right turn signal, and stop. It is normally used to feed a 3rd brake light, but I can use it to send a brake signal to the controller.

I came up with this diagram, which includes a battery switch, a 30A breaker, a breakaway switch, and a Diode (to prevent breakaway current flowing to the controller if the breakaway activates).

Please provide feedback and corrections if necessary.
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby noseoil » Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:57 am

That's what I ended up with & it works out well. The 3rd brake light controller is just a backward-application of a "splitter" like you have to make the turn signal & brake light work on the same bulb. I had a 3rd brake light on mine, so the wire for the 3rd brake light bulb is the wire I use for the control module.

The control module should be in a place you can adjust it easily if you have to. A mattress or trap door in the way may not be as easy to deal with as the galley shelf, tongue box or some other place where you can get to it.
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby Homebrewer25 » Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:48 am

Thanks for the confirmation.

I missed the part about the feed to the extra brake light doubling as the feed to the controller. That tail light converter is the part of it that I missed.

I want to get this all working before I start on the body, so will mount it in the battery compartment. I'm making that large enough to hold 2 batteries in case I decide to add a second one later, and after initial installation and testing, I can move it to the compartment that will contain my power panel. That will likely be a section of my galley shelves.
It's 5 o'clock somewhere ... time for a :beer:

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby noseoil » Sat Sep 01, 2018 9:01 am

Remember, the brake controller works with the rolling weight of the trailer. If you set it up with just the frame, once the build is complete & loaded, it will need to be adjusted for the extra weight of the build, additional stuff & items which may live in a tongue box. All of this comes into play with the setting, since it's the total load which you care about.

The bottom line is that once it's completely finished & being towed, it will likely be set once to get things right and then forgotten. Only in times of major road condition changes (ice, mud, a very steep down-grade) would you think about changing the setting. I set mine in a gravel patch to work so the tires aren't locking & called it good. Even a small amount of braking will help to keep the trailer tracking well during hard stops.
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby KTM_Guy » Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:09 pm

Read online about a guy that was towing a trailer and for what ever reason kept getting a bad wobble. He would slow down and it would go away. He started getting strong cross winds and the wobble was getting worse. He reach down to put more trailer breaking on when he got what he called a "death wobble". Luckily his hand was on the controller and he put on full trailer breaks. He was convinced we would have wadded up the TV and trailer if he pressed the TV breaks. He said the wobble was most likely because the trailer was load heavy to one side and behind the axle.

I know a lot of us are pulling small trailers with medium to large TV's. But we are seeing more people asking about pulling 5' or 6' wides with smaller SUV's or cars. Makes sense to have trailer breaks and a controller where the driver can get to it.

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