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Old 04-28-2011, 06:20 PM   #1
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Hensley or Disc Brakes?

Currently I have a 34ft slide out, selling it and getting a 25ft FB. Towing with a GMC2500HD Duramax...I'm a huge hensley fan, but think with the small trailer I really don't need it. Thought I'd invest in disc brakes instead.
any point to having either with this rig setup?
Dan
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Old 04-28-2011, 06:29 PM   #2
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No doubt other aspects to consider, but my initial thoughts would be that if you already have the Hensley and like it, why not keep it? You're gonna need a hitch anyway.

With respect to the brakes, I haven't followed the threads too much, but have they not had a fair amount of trouble with them? Maybe it is all sorted out now. The standard electric brake arrangement may not be quite as good from the standpoint of brake fade, but it is pretty bulletproof in design and well proven. No doubt with your truck you've already got lots of braking power!

There, look at all the money you saved to buy a couple of nice LDC tv's or a Honda gennie or whatever!

Brian
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Old 04-28-2011, 07:28 PM   #3
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We have a 2005 25FB, named Lucy. We have towed Lucy over 70,000 miles. The 25FB is a great floor plan. We have camped in Lucy for 830 night. We tow Lucy with 2500 Suburbans.

If I had to choose between disc brakes and the Hensley on Lucy, I would definitely keep the Hensley.

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Old 04-28-2011, 07:39 PM   #4
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I vote you keep the Hensley, and spend your money on a MaxBrake controller. An awesome combination! (imho)
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Old 04-28-2011, 07:39 PM   #5
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Hang on to the Hensley.... I think there is a thread re: disc brakes that may help you with that decision.
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:20 PM   #6
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I think I'd take the Hensley as well. It's tough to quantify, but I think I'd rather have the stability and keep the stock brakes. My theory on this is the Hensley may keep you from being in a situation where you might need the disk brakes.
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Old 04-28-2011, 09:55 PM   #7
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I'll offer an alternative opinion, as seems to be my habit : I'd suggest that w/ a 3/4 ton truck and a 25' Airstream, braking quickly and surely is more critical than improving handling.

My feeling is that rapid accident avoidance (often modeled by speed made good through a slalom course) is largely oversold for truck and trailer combos - the length and high polar moment just makes such antics really impractical. I installed disk brakes on our Tradewind, and really really like the braking performance; I've had to hit the brakes hard once due to someone's pulling out right in front of us, and I think the truck & trailer stopped faster than the truck would have done alone. The four truck Michelin radials we use on the trailer don't hurt there either. Having the trailer not trying to push the truck down the road during a hard stop also makes the truck & trailer handle much more smoothly if you're also swerving at the same time.

Of course, if you already own the Hensley and like it, I'd leave well enough alone - but if you were going to spend $$$ on safer towing, I'd think seriously about disc brakes.

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Old 04-28-2011, 10:21 PM   #8
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Did you sell the larger trailer yet? If not please email me djangology@earthlink.net . Thanks
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Old 04-28-2011, 10:35 PM   #9
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I am with Bart on this one. I tow my 24' TW with an 08 Tundra and handling does not appear to be a problem, so I don't think that a Hensley would help me much. But I really don't know because I have never towed with one. The current drum brakes are adequate, but I believe that braking performance and maintenance would be much better with disc brakes- It is clearly much better on our cars. I plan to install disc brakes on my TW soon when I replace the axles. I will try to get at least some seat of the pants braking performance numbers after I install the new disc brakes.

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Old 04-28-2011, 10:44 PM   #10
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Our 2005 25FB ready to camp tips the scales at 7400#. A 1966 24 Trad Wind probably weighs at least 2000# less than that.

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Old 04-28-2011, 11:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barts View Post
I'll offer an alternative opinion, as seems to be my habit : I'd suggest that w/ a 3/4 ton truck and a 25' Airstream, braking quickly and surely is more critical than improving handling.

My feeling is that rapid accident avoidance (often modeled by speed made good through a slalom course) is largely oversold for truck and trailer combos - the length and high polar moment just makes such antics really impractical. I installed disk brakes on our Tradewind, and really really like the braking performance; I've had to hit the brakes hard once due to someone's pulling out right in front of us, and I think the truck & trailer stopped faster than the truck would have done alone. The four truck Michelin radials we use on the trailer don't hurt there either. Having the trailer not trying to push the truck down the road during a hard stop also makes the truck & trailer handle much more smoothly if you're also swerving at the same time.

Of course, if you already own the Hensley and like it, I'd leave well enough alone - but if you were going to spend $$$ on safer towing, I'd think seriously about disc brakes.

- Bart

That is definitely a fact that it will stop the tow vehicle faster with the trailer on than it can by itself. I had 79 with vacuum disk brakes and it would stop really fast and that was before the days of anti-lock brakes on tow vehicles. I was pulling with a 1080 3/4 ton Suburban. Living in a metro freeway area I have had to use anti lock on my F350 with full pedal and you think you are going to take out the car in front but the last second or two it stops faster than your mind had computer it to take. The disk brakes on an airstream have the same effect, or at least mine did.
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Old 04-28-2011, 11:50 PM   #12
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Our 2007 25FB with drum brakes would really yank on the truck with the controller set high. I bet that 2500HD stops good too. Maybe keep the trailer simple with drums and add an exhaust brake to the 2500HD for those long down grades?
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Old 04-29-2011, 12:41 AM   #13
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You don't need either.

Hi, I don't think you need either the Hensley Arrow or the disk brakes with the 25'er. But if you have an insecure feeling towing without the Hensley as some people do, you better stick to it. And you already have one. As for disk brakes, until they make them work as well as the ones on your tow vehicle, I wouldn't have them. I would rather have less braking all of the time with drum brakes, than to have better braking most of the time with disk brakes. Too many failures, lock-ups, and no activation problems with the trailer disk brakes. Too many problems posted on this forum about non-working and failed systems with trailer disk brakes to list here. Do a search. [my opinion]
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Old 04-29-2011, 01:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Too many failures, lock-ups, and no activation problems with the trailer disk brakes. Too many problems posted on this forum about non-working and failed systems with trailer disk brakes to list here. Do a search. [my opinion]
This has not been my experience. However, one does need to adjust the brake controller properly, and of course the trailer braking system needs adequate power, proper bleeding, etc.

We only have a few thousand miles on our disks, and one year... but I really like having them there. I also very much appreciate the fact that they are self adjusting, since that leaves more time for either camping or other Tin Pickle projects.

- Bart
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