Trailer brakes


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Dpkal
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Trailer brakes

Postby Dpkal » Wed Jul 06, 2016 9:47 pm



Not too sure if this is where I need to ask this but I am looking into a camper trailer, and with the expected weight I figure having trailer brakes. I am very familiar with the trailer brake controller in a truck but not on a bike. Where does the controller get mounted and wired in??? I have been cruising the web and one idea was in a water tight container on the trailer..



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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:04 pm

It depends on the trailer. My camper is around 300 lbs empty, probably another 100 lb or so fully loaded. No trailer brakes, and while you definitely know it's there, as long as you plan your braking knowing you have a trailer, you don't need trailer brakes. You aren't going to want to do something stupid like brake hard in a corner in the wet, as it will most definitely push your back end around and you'll suddenly be looking at where you just came from as you head toward the ditch.

But for my trailer, I really don't think they're necessary - and they add weight and a power draw.

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby Dpkal » Thu Jul 07, 2016 6:56 am

Ok I was never planning on going over 400lbs and have pulled a trailer with my bike, never with any problems... I just keep reading about people using trailer brakes and wondered how they were rigging it up

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby FM-USA » Thu Jul 07, 2016 7:33 am

Dittoes here on WingAdmin.

My 3 way adjust with "Panic Stop" controller works wonders. I mounted mine it in the trunk but will locate it in the fairing left pocket. My loads vary and stopping to adjust it is getting old.
Pull a separate wire from the battery to power the unit. I believe that's in the instructions anyway.

One thing to be aware of is traveling when at speed. "IF" ever you need to panic stop and you're in a turn, straighten the rig out then brake hard. Scrub off the higher speed quickly so you can maneuver at a safer speed. Gladly it doesn't happen often.

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby themainviking » Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:28 am

I have two trailers. One is just a cargo type ultralite trailer, and fully loaded probably doesn't weigh any more than 300 pounds, so I have never even contemplated a brake system on it. The other trailer is a pop up tent trailer, and it weighs in at 390 empty. Add a little stuff in its storage area and it is likely over 500. It came to me with surge brakes. They are not electric. It is a self contained hydraulic system. When I apply the bike brakes, the pressure pushing forward on the piston in the tongue applies the hydraulic brakes in accordance with how hard I am braking, and the trailer brakes itself. It works well, but I do not believe it could be retrofitted onto another trailer without some amount of labour involved.
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby Dpkal » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:42 am

themainviking wrote:I have two trailers. One is just a cargo type ultralite trailer, and fully loaded probably doesn't weigh any more than 300 pounds, so I have never even contemplated a brake system on it. The other trailer is a pop up tent trailer, and it weighs in at 390 empty. Add a little stuff in its storage area and it is likely over 500. It came to me with surge brakes. They are not electric. It is a self contained hydraulic system. When I apply the bike brakes, the pressure pushing forward on the piston in the tongue applies the hydraulic brakes in accordance with how hard I am braking, and the trailer brakes itself. It works well, but I do not believe it could be retrofitted onto another trailer without some amount of labour involved.


I had surge breaks on my boat trailer and didn't like them. They locked up way too easy. Not sure I would like that on a bike in an emergency stop

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby aj1500 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:52 am

In my opinion if your going to pull a large camper and ride 2 up go with the brakes in some form

I have a Bunkhouse LX and loaded I know we are hitting 500lbs I pulled it for over a year without the brakes hooked up
my next to last trip to the mountains made me realize just how much I was pushing my luck as it can really push you in a down grade and even with good brakes on the bike it can heat them up pretty quick, I ride with in the proper gear for max eng torque but a heavy camper can really push going down hill. Anyway I hooked them up before this last trip and all I can say is I can't believe I waited so long. on mine the brakes have a control dial on the unit in the camper itself, it is activated by the brake lights of the bike using it's own power wire. I can't adjust it for panic stops but I can change it for normal flat ground riding or mountain type with a turn of a screw. I have 2 other utility type trailers I pull and for those I don't even consider the need for brakes
I also have brakes hooked up on my sidecar

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby Dpkal » Thu Jul 07, 2016 2:43 pm

aj1500 wrote:In my opinion if your going to pull a large camper and ride 2 up go with the brakes in some form

I have a Bunkhouse LX and loaded I know we are hitting 500lbs I pulled it for over a year without the brakes hooked up
my next to last trip to the mountains made me realize just how much I was pushing my luck as it can really push you in a down grade and even with good brakes on the bike it can heat them up pretty quick, I ride with in the proper gear for max eng torque but a heavy camper can really push going down hill. Anyway I hooked them up before this last trip and all I can say is I can't believe I waited so long. on mine the brakes have a control dial on the unit in the camper itself, it is activated by the brake lights of the bike using it's own power wire. I can't adjust it for panic stops but I can change it for normal flat ground riding or mountain type with a turn of a screw. I have 2 other utility type trailers I pull and for those I don't even consider the need for brakes
I also have brakes hooked up on my sidecar


Are you saying the electronic control for the braking in installed on the trailer already. All you needed to do was pull a power line

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby FM-USA » Thu Jul 07, 2016 2:54 pm

Dpkal:
Do you already have the controller?
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby aj1500 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:04 pm

Yes, the brake motor and control module are built together, it has a dial on top of the motor to adjust the brake fluid pressure that gets applied
you just use a 5 wire flat plug on the trailer to add the wire for the motor, I pulled a wire from the brake circuit on the bike and ran it to the 5 wire plug I put on the bike
it does not run through the converter for the normal brake and blinker wires for trailer lights, it is a dedicated wire to operate the brake motor
I was going to put it on it's own switch, like a returning spring loaded switch, think CB talk button, but decided that wasn't safe, I may not be able to think quick enough to grab it in a panic situation but I know I'll be on the brakes instinctively. now this may sound crazy but because the brakes are activated when the bike brake lights are applied, I adjusted my rear brake pedal sensor a little so I can hold the brakes at a stop light and the motor in the trailer is not running all the time. takes a little more pressure to hit the sensor for brake lights from the foot pedal

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby Dpkal » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:37 pm

FM-USA wrote:Dpkal:
Do you already have the controller?

No I don't have the controller. I am trying to get information on how to install one and if I do need to install one what is recommended also where to put it

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby FM-USA » Thu Jul 07, 2016 5:02 pm

Dpkal wrote:
FM-USA wrote:Dpkal:
Do you already have the controller?

No I don't have the controller. I am trying to get information on how to install one and if I do need to install one what is recommended also where to put it

In your case you may want to keep it on the trailer. Your trailers load will be rather consistent, set it forget it. That may be a small amount of weight but the extra wires will be OFF your bike keeping precious space open. Like I said, mine is in the trunk and 1/4 Cubic Ft. is dedicated to it, for a rather small trunk that little space is... well precious.

I have an older controller, Reese I think, I had a few different models. I rarely mess with it so I'd have to go look... someday.
It cost around $65 back 8 years ago. The controller works off the brake lights and I've adjusted the rear/front brake switch to come on near full pedal depress. The front master brake switch comes on at a mere touch, that way I can let the trailer do ALL the braking. (Reason is below)

The controller I have has 3 way adjustments. Trailer/Vehicle %, pendulum and timed adjustment. I like the timed style since on long stops I can let off the front brake light and start over several times doing a slow or fast stop on my choice. I simply think counting off the seconds and start over. Also I think peeps behind me see blinking brake lights means BACK OFF, which I appreciate :P . If the pendulum swings full forward it will immediately put the trailer brakes in full stop, hence 'Panic Stop'. I DO HAVE TO watch my rear when breaking hard and fast, with 4 tires stopping I will stop quicker than any unsuspecting driver (key word, unsuspecting or ON THE PHONE/TEXTING)... woops, cool got a little warm.
I prefer the trailers brakes coming on first, helps the bike stay straight, near no chance of jack-knifing.

Some will use an extra battery on the trailer dedicated to its brakes but theirs extra cost and weight to deal with, not to mention checking it before every trip. My Wing is stock and I have no battery issues with the trailers extra electrical load. Tho when my Full RV is finished I will be looking at (currently expensive) Li-Ion batteries on the trailer. SO-FAR (fingers crossed) on paper that trailer is still holding to 400# Net Weight dry and 500# wet. Now add JUST HER items... OI-VIE!!! :roll: :roll: :roll:
I've hauled 3/4 ton behind my Wing a couple times now and several times 3/5 ton, trailer brakes came in handy. So heavy trailer loads seems to be in my blood. ;) . My Wings drive line is still OEM and nearing 200K. HOO-AHH!!!+!

Most of all this I learned from dad and pulling our family boat. One time I remember seeing him pulse the controllers trailer brakes in a rain storm. Later talking at dinner with the group he mentioned it kept the rig in a straight line when he felt the car hydroplaning. Some things one never forgets. ;)

BTW: If you haven't bought your trailer plug yet, don't use the 4-way round style, they are not industry consistent (I found out too late). I use the round 6 way plug. Has a couple spare pins if and when I need them.
Hummmm, other info coming... or ask.

.
Last edited by FM-USA on Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"OIL CHANGE?" _FM 07-2009
Know its new taste and be loyal, you'll know when to change that oil.
Taste testing as the miles flow, souring as that acid grows.
And don't flirt with dirt or darkened oil, all the faster your engine will spoil.

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Dpkal
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby Dpkal » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:05 pm

I would like to than everyone that has replied to my question. It has given me a ton to think about on how I would like to tackle this next adventure..

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby bstig60 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:56 pm

I have a Time Out camper trailer, they say it weighs 345 lbs, but I don't believe it since I can lift the wheels off the ground with it loaded. There is a brake option for it, but I think all they do is add weight and drag. I live in the mountains and ride there all the time without any problems. I agree with WA that you need to remember you are pulling a heavy load and plan your braking accordingly and you won't have any need for trailer brakes.
Bill

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby FM-USA » Fri Jul 15, 2016 6:44 am

Good point bstig60.
I too can lift the back end or one side of my trailer. Empty it weighs about 275#, half that's 138#. When lifting from the side the tongue is taking part of that load so it is a little less than 138#.
Lifting from the rear is a different story. Depends how long the tongue is. A long tongue means your lifting a larger percentage of the total weight than a short one. So for me it's above 200#, which currently at 62, I can do but is slowly getting harder. WHO INVENTED THIS AGING THING?!! (grrr :twisted: )
ANYWAYS....
When you lift your trailer you become a whole lot more aware of what your measly two little tire patches need to do when breaking. Not to mention when in a turn that's one tire taking a majority of the trailer pushing sideways. :( now add rain slick roads. :shock:

Another point I think needs addressing.
A trailer that's loaded or empty and you are using the tongue to push/pull it around by hand, that load is balanced over the axle on WELL greased bearings.
You've heard the phrase when push/pulling, "WOW, this trailer sure is light." That tongue weight maybe a mere 30 pounds but you tend to forget its total weight.
AH-HUH, there's a little more to it we seem to miss or forget. ;)
"OIL CHANGE?" _FM 07-2009
Know its new taste and be loyal, you'll know when to change that oil.
Taste testing as the miles flow, souring as that acid grows.
And don't flirt with dirt or darkened oil, all the faster your engine will spoil.

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby bstig60 » Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:02 am

Another ? I think may matter is home much air you run in the rear shock vs. what your tongue weight really is. Time Out recommends 20 lb tongue weight. I have the cooler option that sets on the tongue just in front of the camper box. Its really easy to get 20 lbs of stuff in it. I need to come up with a scale to see how much my tongue weight really is and adjust the air pressure accordingly.
How much air do others run?????
Bill

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby FM-USA » Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:20 am

I set my rear shock to JUST ABOVE the comfort of 2-UP riding. When I'm solo (said illya kuryakin) it matters little the slightly rougher ride. Tho I have the Interstate, I'd have to manually inset/remove the shocks air.

20 pounds tongue weigh. That all depends on your trailers frontal area. If it's flat it will lower the tongues weight the faster you ride. And each trailer has its own quirks.

BTW: I've has as much as 80 pounds on the tongue but the bags were empty so that's 40 pounds over the "recommended" weight. Everything made for consumer use has a built in margin for possible/probable overloading. A little is OK, a LOT is not.


"OIL CHANGE?" _FM 07-2009
Know its new taste and be loyal, you'll know when to change that oil.
Taste testing as the miles flow, souring as that acid grows.
And don't flirt with dirt or darkened oil, all the faster your engine will spoil.


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