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Old 01-05-2017, 04:09 PM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
Jacksonville , Florida
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This is a towing question

I have a 1976 31' sovereign that needs a new frame built. the frame is intact but does infact need a new one built. I will be towing it about 6 hours up I-95. New tires and repacked bearings. no trailer breaks but the trailer is gutted. I bought new axles that i can either toss in the back of my 2015 RAM 1500 or strap down slightly in front of the axles inside for better weight distribution. also, I don't have a weight distribution and sway bar hitch. Come to find out, when you remove the electrical inverter, the tail lights and electric breaking system no longer work as well.
My questions are:

1) Do I need the sway bars and weight hitch for a gutted rig?

2) How does everyone feel about an experienced driver, with many years towing trailers, towing a gutted airstream (structurally)? it has the interior skins waist up still attached.
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Old 01-05-2017, 05:15 PM   #2
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No brakes ? bad idea
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Old 01-05-2017, 05:34 PM   #3
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towing

No brakes not the best scenario but being gutted you should not have any problems. Make sure to leave a little extra space between you and the car in frt. Drive very defensively. I tow for a living and just recently I brought a 38 ft. spartan that had been restored out of central fla to up around Greensborough NC. NO BRAKES and had no problems. Go to harbor freight and buy a set of the temporary taillights and attache them to the rear bumper that way you don't have any issues with taillights and brake lights.
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Old 01-05-2017, 05:40 PM   #4
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towing.

The trailer will be light enough you will never know its back there even without weight bars. I would put the axles inside the trailer and strap them down directly over top of the trailers axles that way the trailer is carry the weight and wont load the trailer tongue heavy. That is the reason most people have issues with sway when pulling. To much tongue weight.
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:46 PM   #5
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I think your issues are mostly legal. You need lights, brakes, and a break away braking system to run it on the highway. Why are there no trailer brakes? I would fix that and install a battery for the break away system. The harbor freight running lights are a good idea. No real reason to take the chance and do what you want to do that I can see.
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Old 01-06-2017, 12:58 AM   #6
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When we purchased our used 1991 25 ft excella it only had working brakes on one axle that did basically nothing, my 2015 Ram 1500 stopped it wonderfully. Being a 31 ft you might get a little sway, not a huge issue for one tow. But I would definitely do something to make all lights work.
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Old 01-06-2017, 07:15 AM   #7
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Sway increases with speed. Go slow.
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Old 01-06-2017, 08:30 AM   #8
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sway.

Sway does not always increase with speed. I have had small overloaded trailers sway at very slow speeds and smooth out at a little faster speed. I am not advocating for you to speed up and try that. Sway is associated with improper weight distribution in the trailer. An empty airstream with no load will not sway unless you have a mechanical issue that causes it. Popssible causes for sway would be tires mismatched, improper loaded trailer, weak spring on one side, warped or broken frame. misalignment of axels. well you get the point. Drive defensively, and have a safe trip.
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Old 01-06-2017, 08:40 AM   #9
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If it's illegal to drive it without trailer brakes or the emergency brake away, why is this even a question?

Mike
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:16 AM   #10
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Depends on the state

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caffeinated View Post
If it's illegal to drive it without trailer brakes or the emergency brake away, why is this even a question?

Mike
Most states require trailer brakes only if the gross weight exceeds a certain threshold (4500 lbs in Texas).
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:26 AM   #11
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Brake and break-away switch requirements vary by state. Most states specify trailer brakes are mandatory for trailers weighing 3,000# gross and over. Some states are lower and require the trailer weighs less than 40% of the TV weight when hooked up.
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Old 01-06-2017, 11:40 AM   #12
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1976 27' Overlander
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Practically it sounds like you would not have a problem. I always thought the worst scenario that generated sway was improper weight distribution mainly attributed to weight either behind the rear axle or too high. I would try to get your tongue weight to be the same as normal 10% +/- of the entire trailer weight.

I will not pretend to know the rules for various states. Here in British Columbia you can have a trailer up to 3000 lbs without any trailer brakes. As my boat and trailer came factory new from California with no brakes I would assume but not confirm that Cali is the same. Look below at what I pasted in with a Ram 1500 you may not be able to meet the 40% component. Your truck is likely in the 5000 lbs range meaning your trailer could only be 2000lbs, seems awful light. If you could get a larger truck you'd be in business. My GMC 2500HD is almost 7000 lbs curb weight when full of fuel.

It sounds like you need to verify the legal requirements but if you had the trailer balanced correctly and you met the legal requirements I would do it.

Quick excerpts from the internet:

Florida Trailer Laws & Trailer Regulations


Florida's laws and regulations for trailers are listed below:


Florida Trailer Brake Laws
Every such vehicle and combination of vehicles shall be equipped with service brakes adequate to control the movement of and to stop and hold such vehicle under all conditions of loading, and on any grade incident to its operation.
Every vehicle shall be equipped with brakes acting on all wheels except trailers, semi trailers, or pole trailers of a gross weight not exceeding 3,000 lbs., provided that the total weight on and including the wheels of the trailer or trailers shall not exceed 40 percent of the gross weight of the towing vehicle when connected to the trailer or trailers; and the combination of vehicles, consisting of the towing vehicle and its total towed load, is capable of complying with the performance requirements of the law.

Pole trailers with a gross weight in excess of 3,000 lbs. manufactured prior to January 1, 1972, need not be equipped with brakes.
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Old 01-06-2017, 12:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BambiTex View Post
Most states require trailer brakes only if the gross weight exceeds a certain threshold (4500 lbs in Texas).
2 axles is also an automatic requirement for trailer brakes in Texas.
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Old 01-06-2017, 01:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wahya View Post
Sway does not always increase with speed. I have had small overloaded trailers sway at very slow speeds and smooth out at a little faster speed.
Perhaps towing small overloaded trailers with mismatched tires and warped springs is not the best way to learn typical characteristics of pulling an RV trailer.

Contrary to your claim, speed is definitely a major factor in sway.

Further, overloading a hitch is far safer than underloading it when trying to avoid sway.
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