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Old 05-15-2005, 05:05 PM   #1
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1985 34.5' Airstream 345
Jarrettown , Pennsylvania
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Thumbs up 345 towing questions

Hello again all, working on planning the big summer trip, wondering what we should be a-draggin'. Looks like the cheapest way out for us would be to haul our Wells Cargo trailer, 700 pounds empty, carrying the bicycles and kayaks. Some questions for you knowledgeable ones: We have an unidentified switch on the dash, goes to a vacuum line on the carb, then an electrical relay and runs to the rear of the AS. Might this be for a Brake Buddy? Is that how they work, from a vacuum line? (PO didn't know.) The line is plugged at the moment with a long bolt. How does a Brake Buddy work, anyway? Should we look into getting brakes for the trailer? It won't be hauling much, three bikes and two 34-pound kayaks, plus some basic camping gear for if (shudder) we are sidelined waiting for parts. Probably won't top a thousand pounds all told. There is a Banks system in place, probably will help for the uphills, but should downhill be a concern with the caboose?

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Old 05-15-2005, 05:53 PM   #2
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Woodstock , Georgia
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not sure about your awitch, but with a light weight trailer I think you will be fine with no additional braking. The brake buddy is a terrific idea for cars towed behind but if your weight is so low on the trailer, in my opinion , with a good solid hookup youown't even know its back there.

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Old 05-15-2005, 06:05 PM   #3
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1978 31' Sovereign
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Err on the side of caution....

Originally Posted by pbnjsellers
Hello again all, working on planning the big summer trip, wondering what we should be a-draggin'. ....should downhill be a concern with the caboose?
Check out the following thread:

Most states threshold for required brakes is 3,000 lbs - with a few notable exceptions (Idaho comes in with a 1,500 lb requirement).

I can tell you one thing - when towing the +/- 2500 lb Saturn with the 345 there is a HUGE difference in braking ability when the Saturn brakes (VIP Tow Brake System) kick in.

IF your Wells Cargo trailer is already equipped with brakes, and if it were mine, I would throw a brake controller at it and utilize the trailer brakes.

Note that your tag axels are electric, and there is (should be) a brake controller already installed on the steering column for the tag brakes...I would NOT recommend splicing into this line for trailer brake control.

Just MHO only....

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Old 05-15-2005, 07:26 PM   #4
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Louisville , Kentucky
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If I remember correctly the brake buddy uses an interial sensor to apply brake pressure to a TOAD's break pedal. Not sure what you have rigged up but the bigger factor would be to see if you have brakes on the cargo trailer at all. Under 1000# you'll be legal should be fine without supplemental brakes. Obviously, you will be towing an extra 1000#s so controlled braking will take longer distances, but emergency braking could wrap that trailer up behind you.

As an aside, your plan to haul a cargo trailer has really got me thinking. Bikes, kayaks, maybe a Honda Metro Scooter (toad) along with any "extra" cargo in a trailer seems like a really smart way to go given the towing limits of the 345.
Steven Webster
1986 Airstream 345 Classic Motorhome
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Old 05-15-2005, 07:52 PM   #5
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Electric brake controller on Tag Axle

Is it feasible to replace the onboard brake controller with a modern multi axle unit? Or is the one on the tag axle rated for having more than one axle run through it (ampswise)? Other than being underrated why not tap into it for electric brakes?

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