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Old 07-23-2005, 09:23 AM   #1
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What Happened?

Recently, while returning from our family vacation in the mountains of Colorado I had a bright idea of turning off all of my 12 volt items in the trailer. I feared that I would overcharge my batteries while returning to Oklahoma. So, to perform this I turned the factory installed 12 volt switch, located behind the couch, to the "off" position. When we got back on the road I could feel a huge "drag" on my vehicle. The drag was so bad that when I would try to coast down hill (4% grades) instead of accelerating or maintaining a constant speed I would decelerate significantly.

So, I pulled over and rolled the switch back to the "on" position. Got back on the road and the drag on my truck and trailer was now gone. I never disconnected the trailer from my truck or activated my breakaway system.

It seems to me that by rolling the factory installed 12 volt switch to "off" I had activated my electric trailer brakes. But how? Any thoughts on this?

Thanks,

Greg
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Old 07-23-2005, 09:42 AM   #2
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Rivet Interesting ...

One Time,

I also have a 25' 1985 Sovereign, and have towed with both the switch 'on' and 'off'. It never made a difference in my towing.

I still am not sure what-is-what ... for I have read on this Forum that in order for the break-away switch to activate the brakes, the battery switch needs to be in the 'on' position. Therefore, I now always tow with the switch 'on'.

I suppose some day I will take the time to test this out, but in the meantime, if I'm not restoring the '65, I'm dragging the '85 around behind me!

Hopefully, someone else of the Fourm will be able to help you. I also will be interested in the responses.

Personally, I am also curious if while towing and the switch is in the 'off' position, is the battery being charged ... or not?
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Old 07-25-2005, 09:54 PM   #3
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Hey Norm,


I'm kinda lost on this mystery as well. Somebody told me that it sounded like by turning off the switch I had activated the break away switch. But, don't the wheels on the coach lock up? Also, I was advised that there is no need to turn that switch to "off" if you are concerned about overcharging your batteries while travelling with the tow vehicle.

Thanks,

Greg
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Old 07-26-2005, 05:23 AM   #4
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I hope you did not intend to run your refrigerator while en route. Without 12 volts it will not work.
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Old 07-27-2005, 05:37 PM   #5
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12 volt switch!!!! What 12 volt switch?

Guess my trailer is too old!


So what does the owners manual say about the switch? Again my pull toy is too old for a manual, however I know that you guys with the new stuff have a manual.

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Old 08-20-2005, 04:03 PM   #6
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NEVER, EVER TOW WITH YOUR TRAILER BATTERIES TURNED OFF OR DISCONNECTED!!!

Those batteries are the power source for the emergency break-away feature. On my trailer, a 1997, the batteries do not have to be turned on to power the emergency break-away, but they do have to be installed. Different trailers may be wired differently.

You cannot imagine the helpless feeling of seeing a trailer you were towing pass you as you travel down the road. In my case, it was a small, utility trailer and it stopped when it hit the guard rail, doing no damage to itself or the rail. It didn't even have brakes.

I learned a great lesson cheaply from that event. Don't assume that your trailer will remain connected.

Loren

P.S. That trailer required a 2" ball, but the owner who lent it to me assured me that it took a 1-7/8" ball. I forgot to attach the safety chains. Now, I don't take anyone's word for hitch specifications. I find the size stamped on the hitch or I don't tow it.
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Old 08-20-2005, 05:15 PM   #7
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Yikes! I had that same thing happen with my welder once. It passed by me and it was THE SCARIEST experience Ive ever had. Luckily there wasnt any traffic and the hitch dug into the asphalt several times and it spun out and stopped in the intersection without hitting anything. WHEW!
From that day forward I check EVERYTHING twice, never tow without brakes and sometimes even use 2 sets of chains.
Brakes are another story...its a bad feeling to be pulling in the rain and need to stop fast without them...it only took once for me to be pushed by the trailer out into an intersection to make me a lifelong brake fan.
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Old 08-20-2005, 05:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chikagurl
Yikes! I had that same thing happen with my welder once. It passed by me and it was THE SCARIEST experience Ive ever had. Luckily there wasnt any traffic and the hitch dug into the asphalt several times and it spun out and stopped in the intersection without hitting anything. WHEW!
From that day forward I check EVERYTHING twice, never tow without brakes and sometimes even use 2 sets of chains.
Brakes are another story...its a bad feeling to be pulling in the rain and need to stop fast without them...it only took once for me to be pushed by the trailer out into an intersection to make me a lifelong brake fan.
I have seen several trailers come unhitched and are attached to the tow vehicle by only the safety chains. The last time, a Suburban was towing a relatively small utility trailer, the load shifted to the rear of the trailer, it lifted, came off the ball, and proceeded to beat the tailgate of the Suburban to death. It was, however, much better than allowing the trailer to sail off across traffic on its own .
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Old 08-21-2005, 09:53 AM   #9
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Gives the saying of "measure twice and cut once" a new twist.

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Old 08-21-2005, 12:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Action
Gives the saying of "measure twice and cut once" a new twist.

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ABSOLUTELY
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