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Old 01-01-2013, 06:15 PM   #1
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1968 26' Overlander
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Help regarding trailer brake system - 69 23' safari

all,

i plan on picking up my new to me 23' airstream safari tomorrow with my 1994 isuzu trooper - i have a basic trailer light plug in with no connection for brakes - will this be an issue moving the trailer??

i was just told that the trailer brakes will remain locked if i don;t have the proper brake wiring set up - i can't imagine this being the case but is it correct??

thanks in advance.
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:23 PM   #2
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Your Izuzu Trooper has been designed with adequate braking capacity for itself and a small, 10% margin for safety.
It does not have braking capacity for itself and 6900 pounds of travel trailer.
You need a trailer brake controller in the tow vehicle before you tow your new Airstream.
The only deadline is the one you impose on yourself.
Hope this helps more than it hurts.
P.S. No, the trailer brakes will not be locked unless the emergency disconnect switch has been activated. That can be determined with a visual inspection.
Which reminds me, is there a volunteer Airstream Inspector in the area to help you out with your recovery effort?
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:54 PM   #3
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i've been towing my fishing boat and trailer which weighs 3500lbs for 4 years w/o brakes - i only tow it about 8 miles from storage to marina every year and use the side roads.

i was planning on towing the airtsream the same way - it weighs 3800 lbs and shouldn't be an issue since the trooper is rated to tow up to 6000 lbs.

BUT i've never heard of brakes being in the lcoked position and trailer not being moveable if i don't have electric brake controller on my trooper?
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:22 PM   #4
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Help regarding trailer brake system - 69 23' safari

Greetings groovzilla!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstreams!

Quote:
Originally Posted by groovzilla View Post
i've been towing my fishing boat and trailer which weighs 3500lbs for 4 years w/o brakes - i only tow it about 8 miles from storage to marina every year and use the side roads.

i was planning on towing the airtsream the same way - it weighs 3800 lbs and shouldn't be an issue since the trooper is rated to tow up to 6000 lbs.

BUT i've never heard of brakes being in the lcoked position and trailer not being moveable if i don't have electric brake controller on my trooper?

The first thing to consider is whether you have a compatible trailer connector on your Trooper. Your Airstream likely has a seven-terminal connector that can be either the blade-type (modern) or a period pin-type connector - - either one will have seven terminals. Depending upon the actions of previous owners, your Airstream's connector may or may not be wired such that it would be compatible with a modern seven-terminal connector.

I have attached a copy of the seven-pin connector wiring schematic that was being utilized when you coach was built -- and it is definitely different than the current industry standard schematic. There is no guarantee just how your coach's connector is wired so it is best to check it out utilizing a commercial tester or a test-light with 12-volt power source to determine the function of each wire in your coach's connector.

Based upon my experience retrieving Vintage Airstreams, you can almost count on having to adjust the wiring on the coach's connector and/or replace the connector such that it matches what is on your tow vehicle. Just plugging the coach's connector can result in any number of maladies one of which might include having the brakes applied continuously (if brake wire on connector corresponds to charge line on tow vheicle) or an of a number of odd reactions to inputs that you might not anticipate. It is always best to allow for sufficient time to sort out the connector wiring when retrieving a Vintage Airstream with unknown connector wiring.

Good luck with your mission!

Kevin

P.S.: Something else to consider. The Airstream will likely have a significantly higher hitch weight than your boat trailer, and the profile presented to the wind will likely be somewhat different as well. My personal recommendation would be to be sure that you have a properly setup weight distributing hitch as well as a functioning brake controller prior to trying to tow the trailer any significant distance.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 7wayplug1966-81.pdf (9.0 KB, 24 views)
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:54 PM   #5
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Well, in Florida you couldn't legally tow it without functioning trailer brakes but you're not here. So, you need to ask yourself if your really want to strap a couple of tons of aluminum to the back of your Trooper for the ride home.

Might turn out swell. If it doesn't, many folks (I.e. lawyers, insurance agents) may well be questioning the plan.

Just a few thoughts,

Mike
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:59 PM   #6
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according to this web site
state brake laws
and noticing that you are from Washington St. So if your Isuzu has a tow capacity of 5000lbs x .40 = 2000lbs and considering the fact that a 23' safari weighs a little more than 2000lbs, by your state law you would be required to have trailer brakes. If you can afford to purchase a Airstream I would hope that you could put out a few bucks for a brake controller for your safety let alone some persons safety. Now you could be real careful and get it home with out accident, but If you do have an accident then I believe that it could be gross negligence on the drivers part. And not only could a person face civil, but could depending on the severty of the accident lead to criminal.
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:51 PM   #7
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Just remember that even if you have 6000 lb tow capacity it doesn't correspond to your brake stopping capacity in your trooper because trailers of that weight will always have their own brake system whether they are surge, drum or disk brakes. Just imagine if your trooper wants to stop its own curb weight but a sailing airstream doesn't want to stop then you've got something weighing between 4000-6000 lbs behind you even at 35 mph it can be disastrous. Like a state trooper nudging you with a pit maneuver...your trooper wouldn't stand a chance. Nor would anyone in front of you. I actually haven't checked but maybe uhaul rents controllers? Otherwise hold off a day or two and get one installed at pepboys or uhaul. At any rate...good luck
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:49 AM   #8
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thanks for the responses - i think it is best that i have the brake controller installed on my trooper OR find another vehicle to tow the airstream to my home. i have too much to lose if the tow doesn't go well and i certainly don't want to put anyone in harms way.

the airstream will be parked at our home and used as a guest sleeping space and computer/office nesting. we won't be using it on trips however once i have it in my possession we may be more inclined to take it out on a trip but i doubt it.

in either case, this is certainly a good example of not wanting to be a penny wise and several pounds foolish.

appreciate all the input and look forward to this great resource for more questions and general airstream chat.
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:03 AM   #9
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Sound Advice and Good Decision

Happy and relieved to know your decision.
You'll find that Airstream is heavier than you think. My 23' was about 5800 pounds empty with spare tire and full propane bottles.
Good luck as you sort this out.
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:33 AM   #10
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Good response. Your trooper with a brake controller should be fine. A larger tow vehicle with 8000lb capacity to tow but no brake controller is still not ok but I'm sure you didn't mean it that way when you said a different vehicle to tow. Most of this is pointless anyway because it would be best regardless to inspect the brakes for function and proper voltage rather than taking the owners side of "they worked the last time I used em". AS inspectors would be more than happy to check it out for you if you're willing to wait for them or you can do a forum search for proper brake testing. With a brake controller and a 15 mph test on that boost button on the controller you will know right away if the brake is functioning or not. Also I think load distribution hitch would be a good idea even for a short tow. I'm the type to err on the side of redundant safety measures (years of rock climbing) its time consuming but I would beat myself silly with "shoulda could woulda". Good luck again and sorry to put too many things in your head!
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