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Old 03-03-2013, 04:40 PM   #1
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1969 18' Caravel
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Do I need brakes?

We just bought a 69 caravel and are hoping to take her to the smokies soon. Do we have to get the brakes hooked up or do you think we can tow it as is? I am a bit concerned about the mountains...
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:00 PM   #2
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Depends on what your towing with. Ford explorer might be a little on the lite side. Probably need the brakes.
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:12 PM   #3
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We just bought a 69 caravel and are hoping to take her to the smokies soon. Do we have to get the brakes hooked up or do you think we can tow it as is? I am a bit concerned about the mountains...
Safety is the real issue for everyone aboard your tow vehicle.

That small trailer can make you lose control faster than you can blink an eye.

How do I know?

I settled a claim with the family of a man and wife that was killed doing exactly what your proposing.

Not very easy, I assure you.

Andy
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:34 PM   #4
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Always go for safety first! jack it up, pull the wheels and then take a long thoughtful look at the brakes - an adult beverage often helps at this point. if the brakes are good, pack the bearings hook up the electrical to a quality brake controller test em and head on out.
if the brakes are bad it is time to check the axles and then decide whether to
1. replace total axle assembly
2. backing assemblies
3. just shoes and repack bearings
none of these jobs are really too horrible for a weekend if prepared.
tim
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:05 PM   #5
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You need brakes along with a functioning break away switch and a good house battery properly wired to the brakes via the break away switch.
Proper adjustment of the brakes is also key.
And a brake controller in the TV that works.
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:24 PM   #6
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I couldn't imagine towing without brakes. Ever.
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:38 PM   #7
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I couldn't imagine towing without brakes. Ever.
What do think is going to happen if you hit a piece of road debris or you blow a fuse and your trailer brakes fail. Makes ya think about if your tow vehicle could handle the load, doesn't?
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:52 PM   #8
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Legally, trailer brakes are required for a trailer of more than 3000 gvw and/or any tandem axle trailer. Brakes are necessary for emergency handling. Brakes are what keeps your trailer behind you in a panic stop. Your stopping distance is greatly increased without brakes.
I wouldn't tow without brakes, particularly in the moutains. Unless your trailer brakes work, your trailer will push your tow vehicle in downhill turns.
The point about checking out the running gear on an old Airstream is a good one. Torsion axles have rubber inside which degrades over time.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:24 PM   #9
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What do think is going to happen if you hit a piece of road debris or you blow a fuse and your trailer brakes fail. Makes ya think about if your tow vehicle could handle the load, doesn't?
Indeed, but there's a world of difference between setting out knowing that you don't have brakes and suffering some failure whilst on the road. Any number of vehicle components can fail whilst driving, but I don't suppose people worry too much about whether they can handle a tire blow out, a suspension failure or even a (car) brake failure; if they did they'd never drive anywhere.

I have no concerns that my tow vehicle will handle an emergency stop in the event of a trailer brake failure, in the same way that I don't concern myself that my tire may blow or something else may go wrong. The difference is that once I have stopped, I'm going nowhere until the brake issue is resolved.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:45 PM   #10
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I delivered trailers for many years and my policy was to not accept any trailer without working brakes, regardless of size.
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:25 PM   #11
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Brakes.......

Be safe........
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:26 PM   #12
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Definitely brakes.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:07 PM   #13
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Brakes,use 'em, no question about it.
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:24 PM   #14
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Legally, trailer brakes are required for a trailer of more than 3000 gvw and/or any tandem axle trailer. Brakes are necessary for emergency handling. Brakes are what keeps your trailer behind you in a panic stop. Your stopping distance is greatly increased without brakes.
I wouldn't tow without brakes, particularly in the moutains. Unless your trailer brakes work, your trailer will push your tow vehicle in downhill turns.
The point about checking out the running gear on an old Airstream is a good one. Torsion axles have rubber inside which degrades over time.
In many states the law requires them with more then 2000lb GVW for the trailer.

In some states brakes are required if the trailer GVW is more then 1/2 the TV weight or 3000lb whichever is less.
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