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Jack Martin 03-25-2006 11:20 PM

Taking chance on first and only trip...
I'll bet this question won't sit well with some of you, but I'm going to ask it anyway...

I have a farily long ride (400 miles) to make with a newly purchased 1964 Globtrotter 19' behind a Chevy Silverado 1/2 ton. It will be the trailer's one and only highway voyage. I am considering making the ride with a ball hitch only- no sway bars, no brake controller. How slow would I have to go to avoid problems with stopping, swaying, etc... I know if I only went 10 mph I'd be fine. I know if I went 50 mph I'd have problems. Where's the break point?

I'd go 20 mph if I had to, if that would keep me in control. Am I nuts? Thanks.


SilverToy 03-25-2006 11:32 PM

Gamblin' man....
Jack -

Welcome to AS forums. What a way to introduce yourself!?!!!!

What you are proposing to do is really rather foolhardy. For yourself, your property, your LIFE (potentially).

Not to mention if someone else gets hurt by your actions.... can you say lawyers?

Do the right thing. Get your truck outfitted properly. Who knows, maybe you'll enjoy the towing experience so much that you'll want to do it again, and again and again.....

If you do go ahead with your aforementioned plan - be sure to post time and dates, SO WE CAN ALL STAY FAR AWAY FROM YOU AND YOUR AS!

Hope you make the right choice here!

See ya -


Jack Martin 03-25-2006 11:59 PM

Thanks Axel...
The problem is, I'm not really a gambling man. If I took all local roads and went 20 - 30 mph all the way, might I survive? I promise I'll tell you when I'm leaving...

SilverToy 03-26-2006 12:11 AM

Maybe more than you realize...?
Jack -

If you are serious about your question, then perhaps you are more of a gambler than you realize....?

My advice is DON'T DO IT. Can't help with the speed part since it isn't really anything I would contemplate, much less recommend or advocate. Sorry Jack.

Consider the tires and bearings before you undertake moving the unit.

Seriously Jack, do the right thing here! For all the right reasons! Too much can go wrong with this scenario.... Please reconsider!

My 2 cents


Jack Martin 03-26-2006 12:47 AM

I am reconsidering...
Axel -
Thank you for your well placed concerns. I have already replaced the tires, and the bearings were recently repacked. I will be purchasing a brake controller, and probably investigating sway bers.

You see, I'm not really a gambler. Certainly not with my life, or yours.

Thanks again. Your comments were taken very seriously, and were very helpful.


dwightdi 03-26-2006 02:21 AM

I have been known to limp home without brakes for 400 miles after they failed on the road and could not get repair parts. This is a pretty small rig and a reasonable size truck so I think you could get away with it. It still would likely be considered illegal. If you have no experience towing, then this is a poor way to learn. I would drive as fast as it seems still feels you are in control. If it feels scary slow down. If you go too slow the police will likely think there is something wrong and stop you.

clancy_boy 03-26-2006 02:37 AM

My experience in December.

I don't want to say I did the same thing - but I sorta did. Bought my Caravel on EBay and had to go to IN to get her. The first thing I did was search the internet for trailer repair locations near my pickup point (40 miles). I called them and made arraingements for a complete inspection. I bought a new spare on the way, the trailer service center installed my electric brakes and did a good inspection. No real problems with the running gear were found and all it cost me was $179 for the brake controller and installation with inspection. They repacked one set of bearings. I also had a complete set of bearings w/ seals in the truck with a shop jack just in case. Good set of tools were extra insurance.

The other thing you might want to do is call your insurance agent and inform him of your purchase. Tow vehicle insurance covers the trailer BUT they may need to be informed first.

Good luck - I went 700 miles but had done some precautionary prework in advance.


Darol Ingalls 03-26-2006 07:30 AM

Run Chicken Little, the sky is falling again! Your pickup and a 19' Globetrotter will do just fine with a little caution. If the tires are good, bearings are OK, and you have the correct size hitch ball (2"), safety chains, brake and turn signals (you are doing this in daylight, I hope) you will have no legal or towing problems. Look at all the big boat trailers being towed by small SUVs with nothing better than a glorified bumper hitch. Your Globetrotter weighs less than many boats of the same size and lots of those don't have brakes or sway control. Don't get in a hurry, drive defensively, and enjoy the trip.

flyfshr 03-26-2006 07:46 AM

One other item that will be highly recommended is a break away switch. Most states require this. If your trailer becomes unhitched, the brakes engage on the trailer. Also, I would recommend the use of towing mirrors so you can keep an eye on what's going on back there.


blucloud 03-26-2006 08:09 AM


Your globe Trotter weighs approximately 3000#. Have you ever tried to stop a 3000# trailer, without auxilary braking, quickly from 40mph? Secondly, most states require some type of auxilary trailer breaking on units over a certain weight. (surge or other). A brake controler is the best insurance for a safe trip.

As for the hitch setup .... do you have any fellow campers that would let you borrow a their WD hitch for the trip?

Whether you tow your trailer with proper equipment or not, or being careful when doing so, it will always be the unexpected actions of the other vehicles that cause problems.

Just my opinions ....Dave

Jack ....I have an extra brake controller that you may have if you would PM me your address.

StingrayL82 03-26-2006 08:23 AM


I have personal experience with this matter. I bought my 1971 Sovereign 31' off of Ebay last year. I towed it with my 1997 Dodge Ram 2500HD 5.9L gas engine. No brake controller, no sway bars, no equalizer bars....nothing. I towed it all the way from Marblehead Lakeshore, OH to where I live, in MD. Eight hour trip. I stopped overnight at a truck stop to get some sleep, so the trip took me two days. Aside from the stop, I took it easy, set the cruise on 55MPH and went down I-80, I-76, to I-70 home. I never once had a problem. The Airstream towed straight as an arrow and never once swayed on me, not even on the PA Turnpike, as the 18-wheelers were flying past me. These silver bullets are incredibly aerodynamic, and I foresee no problem with you towing yours home, especially a 19 footer. As long as you're hitched on good and tight and you have safety chains, and you don't drive like Ernie Irvan, you'll be fine.


P.S. The brakes on my Sovereign didn't work anyway, and the Dodge stopped just fine. Just remember to allot yourself extra stopping distance.

sigv 03-26-2006 08:34 AM


No expert here but I picked up my 24' Tradewind in NC (I am in NY), towed her home with no electric brakes in the rain and snow. No problems whatsoever. Did not go crazy on the speed (about 65-70).

Good luck and don't sweat it.


lewster 03-26-2006 08:45 AM

HI Jack,

I have towed my now sold motorcycle trailer loaded with 2 bikes (3000# total) from FL to OR and back TWICE with no incidents using a Chevy 1/2 ton van once and my new Dodge Sprinter van. Trailer was not equipped with brakes and had no WD or sway devices......just the hitch and the ball. Follow the speed limits and always anticipate the extra time needed to slow down. Had no problems either with sway or braking. All Interstate travel.

CanoeStream 03-26-2006 09:12 AM

Restating what has been said before: Each state has specific laws requiring on-trailer brakes once you go over a certain weight. You will have to have tail lights working on the trailer, so why not brakes? I changed out my Argosy's old umbilical plug for a modern 7-pin in a cold rain when I picked it up. You just have to go prepared. Sounds like a need for a brake controller .... and you did ask!

Second -- 400 miles is a long way to tow in one day at 55mph (but is frequently done ...). At reduced speeds you might need to plan an overnight somewhere.

'64 Globetrotter, eh? Enjoy!

Coastalview 03-26-2006 09:13 AM

Jack, for legal purposes, I'd make an attempt to have the brakes operable, besides a standard 2" ball hitch, safety chains, and lights. Keep in mind, if it is equipt with such items from the factory, by all means have them in operation. The realitively new device for break aways, can be added too, just to be more compliant to todays standards. Sure you can make the run without them, I did with my original purchase of my trailer, with no brakes or weight distrubution or sway control, and made out fine, but it wasn't safe. Jeff

Boondocker 03-26-2006 09:28 AM

I wonder if you couldnt borrow a weight distribution sit up from somebody for the trip?

Jack Martin 03-26-2006 09:57 AM

Wowie - what a community!
Thank you all so much for taking the time to share your thoughts....

You can see that your opinions are all over the map. And you all lived to tell about it. I guess that leaves it up to my good (?) judgement. I don't want to create problems for myself or anybody else while I'm out on the road.

My good friend Mark will be accompanying me on this trip, and I'd like to see him also survive the experience.

So, I will take all your advice under consideration, purchase a brake controller, and get going.

Oh yeah..... do I need mirrors? (just kidding).


p.s. I am bowled over by the caliber of this group. Literate, experienced, concerned, friendly. Hope to see you on the road. Thanks again.

S C Streamer 03-26-2006 10:29 AM

Jack, I've towed a lot of trailers,from little tent trailers to 36' race car trailers, I don't see a problem for this ONE trip.

Must check;tires,wheels,wheel bearings,lug nut torque,and overall condition of coupler, etc.

Must have;All lights working,safety chains,proper ball height so trailer rides level. TOOLS!, brakes would be nice if you can get them to work, if not, keep your distance.

Hook it all up and take a test drive, city and highway @ 55mph. If you don't feel confident,DON'T do it. Make sure to pay attention to whats happening to the trailer behind you,wobbling wheels, smoke from the wheels,etc. . When you stop, check tire psi. ,loose lug nuts,coupler,lights.

When you get home, never tow it again until it is PROPERLY equipped


ps, If you do get stopped ,resign yourself that you MAY get ticketed for no brakes or breakaway switch.

juel 03-26-2006 10:47 AM

Just my two cents here. I was too stupid to ask advice when I went 700 miles to pick up my Argosy. Didn't know anything about this forum either. No sway control, no WD hitch, and the brakes went out after about 250 miles (and I didn't know it) Made it home, found the forum, got the WD hitch with sway control, fixed the connector so the brakes and lights worked. Believe me this trailer pulls a lot better with the "right stuff". Sometimes the not so bright are watched over. Good luck to you. Judy

S C Streamer 03-26-2006 11:31 AM

Two more cents;Only drive as slow as conditions allow,ie;don't do 35mph on the interstate. You've got a pretty small trailer with a 1/2 ton truck ,I really don't see a problem.

As a example of what can be done (not correctly ,but done none the less),when I was young & stoopid, my brother and I towed a 16' Hobie cat sailboat with an additional 800lbs of gear with a '73 conv. VW beetle all the way to Mazatlan and back,with no brakes equipped on the boat trailer!

I'm curious, as to why the trip would be the last one?


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