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Old 11-14-2022, 08:44 PM   #1
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1977 31' Sovereign
1987 29' Airstream 290
Norman , Oklahoma
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To spend or not to spend and does it make a difference?

I'm in the middle of a renovation on a 1977 31' International Sovereign. I'm towing it with a 2019 Nissan Armada. I'm at about 70% of the vehicles towing capacity. I'd like to know if it's recommended that I install an anti-sway setup and add electric brakes to the rig? I towed the trailer about 100 miles to get it back to my shop and it towed well and it stayed in a nice straight line behind my tow vehicle. There weren't any issues with stopping either. Are these items required anywhere in the states or crossing into Canada and are they worth the investment? Thanks, Eric
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Old 11-14-2022, 08:50 PM   #2
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Brakes are required. And I'd highly recommend sway control.
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Old 11-14-2022, 10:36 PM   #3
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You definitely need brakes and probably will want sway control.
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Old 11-15-2022, 05:18 AM   #4
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In Virginia, if the trailer weighs more than 3000 lbs, brakes are required by law. Most states have a similar requirement.
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Old 11-15-2022, 06:53 AM   #5
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Yes on both...always better to play it safe, and follow the law.

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Old 11-15-2022, 07:03 AM   #6
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New axles should be part of your restoration and they will come with brakes. The trailer should be wired for them since it came with brakes from the factory. Sway control is optional, but recommended.
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Old 11-15-2022, 07:18 AM   #7
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In Virginia, if the trailer weighs more than 3000 lbs, brakes are required by law. Most states have a similar requirement.
The lowest common denominator I have deduced is 1500 pounds as a states' requirement for trailer brakes.
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Old 11-15-2022, 07:39 AM   #8
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Thanks for the input. I actually figured I would need to do the brakes at least, and I've gotten a quote from E-Trailer for the sway control. I'm having the underbelly (frame and holding tanks, axles and associated plumbing and wiring) inspected before it goes back on the road. If the axles and current brakes are in good shape is it still recommended that I replace the axles? I'm trying to adjust to living on a fixed income and nothing is getting cheaper!
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Old 11-15-2022, 08:06 AM   #9
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If the axles are original, they need to be replaced. It is all about height and travel. To check travel, the wheel should drop a couple of inches when the trailer is jacked. If it does not, the rubber inside the axel has hardened and will not absorb shock.
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Old 11-15-2022, 09:10 AM   #10
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1977 31' Sovereign
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I just got off the phone with Dexter axles in Chickasaw, Oklahoma, about ten miles from me. They said If I can get a picture of the number stamped on the axle it would help them get the correct axles for me. They said there is also an 'information plate' on the axle and that would also help them identify my axle. Can anyone tell me where to look for this information while I'm under the trailer? Thanks for the assist
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Old 11-15-2022, 09:45 AM   #11
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If replacing axles, it be a good time to consider hydraulic brakes.
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Old 11-15-2022, 10:39 AM   #12
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You have already heard about brakes. Sway control is required by law in the state of Iowa.
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Old 11-15-2022, 10:59 AM   #13
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Trailer Brake requirements for Canada

In New Brunswick, Canada, any trailer over 2,000 lbs is required to have independent trailer brakes. In my opinion you did well to tow a 31' travel trailer anywhere without a weight distributing hitch and sway control but I see that the Nissan Armada has some impressive anti sway and load levelling features in it's suspension. You'll have to be the judge of that one. Happy Trailering!
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Old 11-15-2022, 11:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster View Post
If the axles are original, they need to be replaced. It is all about height and travel. To check travel, the wheel should drop a couple of inches when the trailer is jacked. If it does not, the rubber inside the axel has hardened and will not absorb shock.
Agreed. Take it from a guy who has had an axle break on a vintage unit. (Just don’t do the lift. They look ridiculous..)
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Old 11-15-2022, 12:39 PM   #15
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If replacing axles, it be a good time to consider hydraulic brakes.
I should have said hydraulic disc brakes.
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Old 11-15-2022, 01:52 PM   #16
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And we would recommend if you're going to take it off-road go ahead and do the lift kit it doesn't look that badly and it performs very well. If you're sticking more towards pure authentic restoration by all means leave off the lift.
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Old 11-15-2022, 07:33 PM   #17
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Agreed. Take it from a guy who has had an axle break on a vintage unit. (Just donít do the lift. They look ridiculous.)
Don't do the lift? The first time he drags the tail of that 31' long trailer going into a fuel stop or any other place that has dips, uneven curbs, steep driveway approaches etc. he will wish he included the 2 3/4" lift when installing new axles. I have a 2019 FC 25' and would not even attempt to go up my driveway without a lift kit install. Looks Silly? Depends. Dragging the back of the trailer is pretty silly. No effect on handling or towing.
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Old 11-15-2022, 08:06 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Brakes are required. And I'd highly recommend sway control.
I would add axles while your at it...


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Old 11-22-2022, 01:22 PM   #19
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I was in a very similar situation and just got new axles. 5500# axles were only ~$2500 each, and given how important that part is, seemed well worth it. There is also the issue that trailer brakes are a critical part of sway control. A good WDH will have sway control, but that's really more "sway mitigation". If a sway condition arises, the ONLY way to damp it is prompt application of the trailer brakes. So a sway control hitch makes that situation less likely, but working trailer brakes are the only solution once it comes up.
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Old 11-22-2022, 07:12 PM   #20
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Sway control is like safety glasses. You don't need them till you wish you had them.
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