Towing a standard trailer, when do you need trailer brakes?
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    Default Towing a standard trailer, when do you need trailer brakes?

    Say you have a 5300 lb milling machine. Do you need trailer brakes to tow it with a standard trailer (non-gooseneck) ?

    My truck is a 2013 Chevy Silverado 2500HD diesel crew-cab 4x4 short-bed.

    Gross vehicle weight rating is 10,000 lbs.
    Tow rating is 13,000lbs for standard trailer (non gooseneck)

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    Depends on your skill level. I have lost brakes before (wire fail) when towing 15,000 inc trailer. If you pay attention and stay away from idiot drivers it's easy. If your going to be around idiot drivers, then you may want to get some.




    Testing a new product here, looking for feedback Towing a standard trailer, when do you need trailer brakes?

    You should put replace your standard air with towing air in your tires. It really helps on the long hauls. It's not summer or winter seasonal air, totally different mix. There is argon in it that makes it more stable.

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    Default Towing a standard trailer, when do you need trailer brakes?

    What trailer with that load capacity would not have brakes? I think the rule is >3000#
    Are you saying you have a trailer with bad brakes?

    There are other people on the road, assume they will do something stupid. Would you sleep at night if you took out a van load of kids? Yup—- pretty remote odds, but when you move heavy objects over the road you need to be thinking about more than you.



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    Quote Originally Posted by ripperj View Post
    What trailer with that load capacity would not have brakes? I think the rule is >3000#
    Are you saying you have a trailer with bad brakes?

    There are other people on the road, assume they will do something stupid. Would you sleep at night if you took out a van load of kids? Yup—- pretty remote odds, but when you move heavy objects over the road you need to be thinking about more than you.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

    My truck has this warning message "service trailer brake system" . It just appeared a few months ago. I haven't even towed anything in 2 years. I replaced the fuses and the trailer brake relay per the solutions suggested by others who have expereinced the same issue with Chevy trucks of similar vintage.

    Would trailer surge brakes be enough?

    My truck weighs around 7000lbs enpty.

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    You can't look up your own state's DOT laws online ?

    Generally (as mentioned above) 3000 lbs and above requires brakes.
    Most states now say every axle will need brakes as well.

    And now you've changed the conversation with "surge brakes".

    Does your trailer have brakes ? Is the inspection current ? (many states require yearly inspections if the trailer has brakes)

    Please get things straightened up.

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    I towed 7500# from coast to coast a couple times with a 2wd 4.8 liter gas Chevy Tahoe without trailer brakes without incident. The trailer had brakes but the controller failed. I just left plenty of following distance and had it geared down going downhill. Gas mileage was a real bitch 7-8 MPG.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    You can't look up your own state's DOT laws online ?

    Generally (as mentioned above) 3000 lbs and above requires brakes.
    Most states now say every axle will need brakes as well.

    And now you've changed the conversation with "surge brakes".

    Does your trailer have brakes ? Is the inspection current ? (many states require yearly inspections if the trailer has brakes)

    Please get things straightened up.

    I don't have a trailer . I will be renting it from some place like Sunbelt or United Rentals or similar.

    The issue is the Trailer Brake Warning displaed in my Truck's D.I.C. (Dashboard Information Center). Yes I am going to take it to the mechanic or dealer to get it checked out. But until I do that I was wondering whether a 7K or 8k trailer (5300lb load + trailer) needed truck activated brakes.

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    I'm curious as to why small/medium sized trailers in the US don't tend to be fitted with over-run/surge brakes and use electrically actuated brakes instead. What's the reasoning?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rand View Post
    I'm curious as to why small/medium sized trailers in the US don't tend to be fitted with over-run/surge brakes and use electrically actuated brakes instead. What's the reasoning?
    The only place I see surge brakes are boat trailers (and rental trailers).

    Electric brakes are very common here, and they are nice to be able to dial them up/down based on load, as well as applying them to straighten out a trailer.

    But....all the braking (with electric brakes) depends on qty (1) 12 ga wire.

    As to the reasoning, I don't know.

    FWIW I picked up a trailer "how to book" (IIRC Haynes) from your country, just to see how other places do trailers, it is interesting to say the least.

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    I my experience the rental places around here have surge brakes installed on all the rental trailers. I can also tell you that backing a loaded trailer equipped with surge brakes up a hill really sucks, which may be why they aren't more popular.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenton View Post
    I my experience the rental places around here have surge brakes installed on all the rental trailers. I can also tell you that backing a loaded trailer equipped with surge brakes up a hill really sucks, which may be why they aren't more popular.
    5 pin or 4 pin plug ?

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    I believe they actually 7 round, but all I had was a 4 flat and an adapter on my truck, when I asked the rental guy he said all the plug does is run the lights since it had surge brakes.
    Last edited by kenton; 01-14-2020 at 02:30 PM. Reason: grammer

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenton View Post
    I believe they actually 7 round, but all I had was a 4 flat and a adapter on my truck, when I asked the rental guy he said all the plug does is run the lights since it had surge brakes.
    Many surge brakes use a 5 pin (they add the reverse light) to operate a "lock out" solenoid for backing.

    Older surge brakes have a pin (IIRC it hangs free on a chain) and you have to get out, and install it, to lock the master cylinder from moving (for backing)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rand View Post
    I'm curious as to why small/medium sized trailers in the US don't tend to be fitted with over-run/surge brakes and use electrically actuated brakes instead. What's the reasoning?
    I seem to recall surge brakes are not permitted in some states. Surge brakes don't work worth a darn in the mountains, and don't help when the trailer starts to sway.

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    A data point on the surge brake question

    I recently moved a 8000# Fadal on a rental 18’ equipment trailer from Pa to Ct. The trailer had surge brakes
    There were some pretty good hills and my 2012 Ram 2500 Hemi did fine. A problem that I had that you won’t is 50mph up a hill is right on a shift point. You have gobs more torque. Check the brakes in the parking lot or side road and you will be fine.



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    In California brakes are required only on camper trailers over 1500 pounds. thats it. mo breakaway requirements etc.
    I think motorcycle trailers over some weight need brakes too.
    Bill d

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    The auto manufacturers really spec things to keep them out of any liability issues. I have two vehicles, a 3596 lb Outback and a 6045 lb Sequoia. Both owners manuals have require brakes over 1000 lbs. And some oddly specific instructions:

    2016 Outback Curb Weight 3596
    2700 lb with brakes
    1000 lb without brakes
    1350 lb when towing a trailer on a long uphill grade continuously for over 5 miles (8 km) with an outside temperature of 104F or above.

    2011 Sequoia Curb Weight 6045
    7100 lb with brakes
    1000 lb without brakes
    over 2000 lbs requires a sway control
    over 5000 requires load equalizing hitch

    I imagine the number of folks that actually follow these are few. My old 78 E-150 had a tow rating of 6,600 lb, and I towed a "3000" lb boat and trailer, single axle, no brakes for years without issue. Lucky I guess

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    Quote Originally Posted by wheels17 View Post
    I imagine the number of folks that actually follow these are few. My old 78 E-150 had a tow rating of 6,600 lb, and I towed a "3000" lb boat and trailer, single axle, no brakes for years without issue. Lucky I guess
    Not really "lucky", rather the ass end of that e-150 is allot more stout, and glued firmly to the road, much more than your above listed new vehicles.

    Of course it did ride much worse though, and that is what is driving these
    complicated ratings on the new stuff, note "needs sway control" as a requirement.

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    Saying 'I did this and no one died' is not convincing

    What is the stopping distance towing 'x' weight trailer with vs without brakes.

    I am will to bet a that, in an emergency stop, 'if' you don't jack knife it, you have increased your stopping distance by 100 feet at least when dealing with a trailer that 'should' have brakes [several thousand pounds]


    If you think you need brakes, you need brakes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill D View Post
    In California brakes are required only on camper trailers over 1500 pounds. thats it. mo breakaway requirements etc.
    I think motorcycle trailers over some weight need brakes too.
    Bill d
    I'm pretty sure that the OP:
    1. Is over on those weights
    2. Is nowhere near Kalifornia


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