OK, need to talk Trailer stuff

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by jrsride2002, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. jrsride2002

    jrsride2002 Adventurer

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    OK, so I JUST bought a single axle trailer off CraigsList. Like it, for the most part....
    So I need a hear to heart talk about this. This is my first trailer, that will be hauling MAYBE 1500lbs plus the ~1250lbs trailer. I've already set my van up to handle this and much much more.
    Want to talk about add on's, and modifying this sucker, just a little bit. Normally with me, their is no little bit of mod'ing but with this, it seems pretty set up for my needs... When I got it, wasn't to happy that the manufacture didn't install an e-brake system. I dont know what would be more daunting of a task. Larger brakes on the Astro, to handle something like that OR e-brake the trailer... Just dont know.
    Also I was checking the lights off the sellers truck, and the lights could BEARELY been seen during in the day light hours, so I am gonna head up to Harbor Frieght for some LED replacements, and may through on some side signals also while I am at it.
    By doing these mods, extra lights, and e-brakes. Wouldn't that pretty much require a 7 prong plug as apposed to the manufactures 4 prong plug??? I not positive, but I thought I read that some where on here a while back, could totally be wrong though...
    Lastly, I do a LOT of dirt bike riding in my local deserts and have started going in to the woods. I have have every belief in God, that my buddies are gonna want to do a ride, or join me for a trip. I could end up hauling a load of bikes, so I want to do what I spotted on someone elses trailer....

    [​IMG]
    (this is not my trailer, it belongs to durangoman and might still be for sale, but this is one I am looking to copy)

    As for my trail specifically, I bought a 2011 PJ Single Axle - U8 trailer. U8, refers to the size, for the most part. It is a 7' x 14' trailer. Here is a link to a PDF of many trailers, including mine, from the manufactures website: http://www.pjtrailers.com/brochures/web_utilities.pdf

    No joke, I spent close to 4 hours, in a parking lot, just trying to understand how to park this thing.

    Wants/Need to do's:
    E-brakes
    7 prong plug
    LED tail lights
    E-track and hook ups

    I do not have much more I can think of at this time.
    Really looking for some insight, opinions, comments, concerns, evaluations, etc...

    Thanks guys for reading,
    ~Junior
    #1
  2. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    Most single axle trailers don't have e-brakes. You don't normally see those until you get to double axles.
    #2
  3. jrsride2002

    jrsride2002 Adventurer

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    Should I consider doing that?
    I just dont know about the brakes on my van is my main thing.
    #3
  4. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    Maybe consider a newer van or talk to a good mechanic to get his opinion of the vans braking ability.
    #4
  5. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

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    The most important thing is: make sure you have adequit tongue weight. If you don't IT WILL BECOME UNCONTROLABLE!!!!!!! and thus WILL kill someone. The DOT has some good info on thier website about this. After that make sure you have more than enough brake energy. Then take it easy when towing. You can't stop as easy and maneuver as easy. Kinda like riding with an unpredictable pillion.
    #5
  6. showkey

    showkey Long timer

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    The main reason single axle trailers do not have brakes is cost................the trailer industry is so price competitive they leave brakes off to meet a price point. Trailer brakes are on the top of the list of nice to have. Once you have a trailer with brakes you will not buy one without brakes.............been there.
    #6
  7. CanadianX

    CanadianX Oh!? That is deep.

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    Might want to check the inspection rules for trailers with vs without brakes. Brakes on the trailer could be a nice thing but could be far more costly then just upgrading the brakes on your van. I tow an enclosed trailer, single axle and no brakes and the brakes on my SUV (Xterra) do just fine. I drive a little slower and give myself more space for the added measure of comfort.

    I added the E channels to mine, a must do as it makes it so easy to strap things down.
    #7
  8. Helipilot

    Helipilot Been here awhile

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    PJ trailers are usually very well made and will last you for a long time if you take care of them. The dim lights were probably a result of a bad connection or improper ground connection. Check your wiring for a short. The trailer will have a three wire set; Green is the right side of the trailer's brakes and turn signal; Yellow is the left side for brakes and turn signal lights; the Brown is the running lights. The left and right is determined by standing behind the trailer and looking forward to the tongue.

    A new axle is the best way to get electric brakes since the brake wire is inside the axle tube to get power from one side to the other. A 3,500 lb brake axle should be no more than 150.00 without springs (Note: Buy the Easy-Lube axle to insure you get grease to the back bearings when you do your ANNUAL axle service). You can use your springs that came with the original axle. The brake axle is directional and you must mount it with the right and left brakes on the corresponding side of the trailer or they will not work. Additionally, you will need to install a Break-a-Way system which consists of a 12 v small battery and a snap switch to activate the circuit and stop the trailer if it breaks away from your vehicle. This will be about 60.00. You will need to install an additional wire pair to operate the brakes, one hot and one ground wire. This should make you 50 state legal if you are less than 8'wide and16' in length.

    This will call for the 7-prong plug to run the three basic wires, the two wire brake system, a ground wire and a hot wire to keep the Break-a-Way battery charged. It is not difficult to do if you want to invest in the trailer. I used to own a trailer manufacturing and axle distribution company (31 employees) as part of my flying operation. Personally, if you are going to haul other riders bikes I would suggest a two axle trailer since if you have a flat on a single axle trailer it becomes pretty uncontrollable if you are heavy and are at speed and you also have the ability to carry up to 7,000 lbs which includes the weight of the trailer. Good luck in your endeavor.
    #8
  9. mookybird

    mookybird Gramps

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    I certainly don't want to be the guy who teels someone not to uggrade their brakes.

    I own a number of small trailers, some get used every year and others everyday, I love little trailers they just sit there waiting until you need them and the battery is never dead, they don't need antifreeze etc.

    I've run tens of thousands of miles with trailers without brakes on them and of course many of those were with heavy loads and pulled with a 2wd toyota.

    Brakes are always good and more brakes are always gooder but not having them on a light trailer isn't horrible.

    I believe big in good wiring with soldered joints and good quality heatshrink over them, LED lights are a really smart idea and lastly I buy expensive tires for any trailer that I'm going more than a few miles with. Enjoy your trailer it looks like a nice one and unlike just about everything else a person buys they are worth as much years from now as they are today.
    #9
  10. jkm

    jkm Been here awhile

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    I learned that a little of the e-trac goes a looong way. I actually put too many sections of it on my trailer and never use some of it. I'm going to take the extra back off because it's difficult to set gas cans, etc on top of it.
    I use the ATK bike shoes. I mounted each one to a seperate piece of plywood. Then I put thread inserts in the bed of the trailer. I attach the plywood / shoes to the bed of the trailer using a thumb bolt down thru the plywood and into the thread insert. This system permits me to easily remove the shoes and have a nice flat trailer floor for hauling other things when I need to.
    Good luck. Sometimes it's hard to stop farkling a trailer......jkm
    #10
  11. slobinski

    slobinski Inept adventurer

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    Years ago I bought a ten foot utility trailer with a 3500 pound Hayes single axle, to use at work and elsewhere. Could not find one this size with electric brakes, so I eventually researched and discovered that Dexter brakes and hubs would fit it perfectly, and best of all were in stock locally. Did this mod one winter and it's worked fine ever since, and I'm still on the original brakes. I don't know if this would be cost-effective today, but it may be an option. I remember it being a fun project; possibly more so because the dealer assured me it would never work. :deal
    #11
  12. Stumpalump

    Stumpalump Been here awhile

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    Unless your hauling 3 Harley's then you don't need breaks. They will lock up too easy. If you do it, a good controller should be considered.
    #12
  13. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    I went with a surge coupler and disc brakes on my 5x10. That way the brakes always work no matter what's being used to pull it and they work in reverse. Should the trailer come loose when going up a steep hill, the safety wire will trip the brakes and they won't unlock themselves when the trailer tries to roll back downhill. The disadvantage to surge brakes is not being able to tap the trailer brakes alone to line things back up if things get a bit squirrelly. A huge advantage is that the trailer brakes will never lock up under normal use no matter how it's loaded.
    #13
  14. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    Do you mean side markers, or turn signals? U.S. vehicles aren't equipped with separate brake and turn signal circuits for trailers. For my tow vehicle, I got a European 13-pin harness. (Some day I'll actually install it.)
    #14
  15. kiwi_outdoors

    kiwi_outdoors Been here awhile

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    maybe not with bikes - but if you ever start hauling other stuff, such as wet garden refuse, it gets heavy quickly, and you can find yourself towing too much mass.

    and stay in the allotted lanes for towing, it will stop your speed from getting too excessive
    #15
  16. jrsride2002

    jrsride2002 Adventurer

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    Not 3 harleys, but 4 heavy dirt bikes(my XRL and few other odds and ends bikes) to Death Valley and local deserts


    Ya, I can totally see how this is a good idea, so that is why im opting e-track. As for gas cans... Well.. I think imma just have to strap them down also, and let it be....
    Farkling is a tough thing to give up on ANYTHING I have.. Bike, car, van.... Trailer..?? I am so screwed... lol

    My bad, I ment maybe adding more turn signals, but I am not totally sure what I am do, but I know it will be done :huh
    Yea after reading the wiring diagram the lights would not be interdependent from the breaks, but with the 7 pin I would have reverse lights.... For what its worth.. And would control the breaks.

    Wood for the winter...... Not always is it dry. I have a buddy, I stash a ton of wood at his place in a little corner of is back yard, and load up my van with about 5-700 lbs, alone... Im not sure if I can handle a trailer full, without the breaks...

    All in all, I think I am going to do a new axle with e-brakes, because I have no clue what weights I can and can't hold on to with just my van, so a little extra elbow grease, a lot of extra homework, and a case of beer with buddies around. Will make the job that much easier... In no way is replacing my van to keep the trailer, an option for me. And the trailer will take care of me once I have her dialed in and fixed up for my needs.

    Still, I will take as much input as I can get, but I know what I have to do.. Homework.
    Thanks again guys,
    ~Junior
    #16
  17. thisflatearth

    thisflatearth 2 wheel has been

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    Upgrading the trailer is going to be way easier no matter how you look at it.

    If you go with larger discs or drums on your van then you most likely will need larger wheels to clear the brakes and possibly a larger master cylinder to deal with the larger brake components. Pricey

    For the trailer if you swap a larger used axle entirely from a used trailer off craigslist or go to your local trailer place and get components or even a new axle.

    I plan on doing this with mine, I have a 8X12 that I pull with my 3500 silverado. I dont think i could load teh trailer up with enough weight to mess with teh truck without the trailer wheels popping :lol3 But I would want the ability to put 1 bike on the trailer and tow it with my wifes Equinox in an emergency. So I plan to swap teh axle or get brakes in teh spring.
    #17
  18. DC2wheels

    DC2wheels Castle Anthrax troll

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    #18
  19. jrsride2002

    jrsride2002 Adventurer

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    Yea, I know the van can pull, its just the stop I would be happier with the extra help. Also have been looking into a new complete axle with the breaks. Found a source in WI for $250 plus ship.....More dollar signs there... Still need to do proper measurements on the current axle and springs, to know what I need to fit. A small weekend task

    Scoped it out, but just came to the realization that I would require a new axle to to add breaks. They didn't offer complete axle's.


    OK, because I am looking for a new axle, the one I found is a 5200#, should I consider a heavier duty axle? My thought is if the spring AND axle are to stiff, the trailer would bounce all over the road while towing whether its empty or lightly loaded with just my buggy alone or 2(3?) bikes. Maybe go all out on an axle, and take it easy on spring rate?? So go for a 6000 or 7000 axle but get a 4500 or 5200 spring? Thoughts, please?

    Thanks again dudes, still much to learn in life to learn alone,
    ~Junior
    #19
  20. Hurricane Bob

    Hurricane Bob formerly: Bomber1965

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    Backing a trailer.

    go slow, crawl if needed.

    once it jacks, stop and do a small pull up, a few feet not two car lengths to correct the angle.

    watch the front car fenders that they don't wack something while your busy eyeballing the trailer.

    Here's the big secret, when backing up a trailer place one hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and keep it there.
    move hand left trailer tracks to the left.
    move hand right trailer tracks to the right.
    use small inputs not big swinging handfuls.

    :freaky
    #20