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Trailer tech

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Shifty Shifterton, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. HemiRambler
    Joined: Aug 26, 2005
    Posts: 4,140

    HemiRambler
    Member

    Phat Rat, I agree - If you're running a "new" truck with anti-lock rear brakes then the Old Style Electric/Hydraulic controller will most likely have issues. I believe the problem is that the increased volume in the rear line (due to the controller) messes with the anti-lock in the truck. I'd be tempted to try it (just to see what all happens)- but it IS said to be a NO-NO - so again I agree with you.

    Shifty - that "timed" controller I found to be annoying - it was ok for "regular" stops but when towing I am rather conservative when I brake - I would find that they would ramp up at a rate faster than I would normally require which became annoying. Backing up also became somewhat annoying as well. Constantly having to be aware of the controller and "pedaling" the brake to make it do what I wanted seemed all wrong to me. Now granted the one I had was a lower end model - I am quite positive that the higher end ones work much better.

    Some things I was cautioned about when I went looking:

    The "timed" controllers I simply found annoying - admittedly they worked good under typical conditions - other times not so much.

    The pendulum style controllers achilles heel was said to be hydroplaning.

    The electric/hydraulic - no longer made as they aren't compatible with anti-lock brakes. I also wonder if the "not compatible" part is a result of product liability. One manufacturer's product being inter-twined with anothers spells possible legal woes.

    In any event I thinkk ALL the models have Pro's and Con's - I would suggest anyone looking to buy one - do lots of research first.

    Surge brakes - I whoelheartedly agree with the previous comment that they belong on boat trailers!!! :)
     
  2. Shifty Shifterton
    Joined: Oct 1, 2006
    Posts: 4,965

    Shifty Shifterton
    Member

    I agree wholeheartedly. Just trying to flavor this thread with the kind of DIY that uses very low budget parts, and the old controllers are easy to find used for next to nothing.

    My personal annoyance is that I store the trailer on grass. Every frickin time ya forget to shut the controller down it rips a 3 foot stripe in the yard. Doh!
     
  3. phat rat
    Joined: Mar 18, 2001
    Posts: 4,308

    phat rat
    Member

    When I first had my trailer I used one of the old type units that taps into the brake line/master cylinder. The truck was an 87 Ford Ranger. The only way I could use it was when the trailer had a load on otherwise it locked them up. I've always figured that was because of the anti-lock system. My remedy for that was a toggle switch that shut the power off to the brake control when I was running empty. This is not the ideal way to do it. The newer Prodigy or P3 is an excellent controller but I still like the old style we used to use better.

    Shifty, when you say it looks as though you need a center taillight I think possibly you are misunderstanding the requirement. It says 3 rear identification lights. This is besides the taillights. That's the strip of 3 in the center that you see on trailers. I have them on mine and yes it's a vulnerable place. My answer to that was to build a three sided 16ga box that they set in.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2008
  4. HemiRambler
    Joined: Aug 26, 2005
    Posts: 4,140

    HemiRambler
    Member

    Shifty, I got ya! Makes PERFECT sense to me (heck I'm running the old style electric/hydraulic myself) those can be had for DIRT. I took mine apart made sure the piston was free and replaced the seals. I thought about making the bore out of stainless - maybe this winter.

    Phat Rat - excellent Idea - I like that.
     
  5. Johnsonupnu
    Joined: Jul 13, 2008
    Posts: 19

    Johnsonupnu
    Member

    Thanks for the reply's guys. I already have some of the red and white reflective tape that I got from work for free, so I am def going to be putting it on. I just didnt know if I was suppose to run it all the way down both sides or what. I didnt/dont know about how the lights were suppose to be placed and what color. I have LED tail/brake lights that will be going on also. I hope to be able to get this thing wired by next weekend anyway since it will be getting cold before long. I will try to get some pics up soon. Thanks again
     
  6. You don't have to run it the length of the trailer on an open car hauler. On my 18' open, I have tape behind the front side marker and in front of the rear side marker on both sides; each section is a foot long. Plus, I have some on the front and rear of both fenders (white in front, red in the rear), plus on the tongue and near the taillights. I used to sell haulers until '03, and one of my friends still sells them. His trailers have more DOT tape on the sides, but it is not one continuous strip, like on a semi-trailer or most new enclosed haulers. The Federal laws have changed recently that require the DOT tape on every new trailer that exceeds #7,000 GVW, but having tape on a trailer does not necessarily mean you will get stopped by the weight and measures nazis. In OK, a trailer with less than #10K GVW does not even require a license plate or title, if you are non-commercial and your tow vehicle has an Oklahoma tag! I've taken my hauler through most of the Midwest and the Rockies, and have never had a problem with weigh stations, ever. Even in Nebraska, which I've heard is a huge PITA with people and trailers!

    Far as placement of the DOT tape, the white part goes towards the front of the trailer, and the red towards the rear. Side lights need to be amber at the front corners, and anywhere along the sides that face out to the side; should you decide to run any lights other than on the corners. You might consider placing an amber running light or reflector on the front of the fender, and a red reflector or running light on the rear of the fenders, as well. Red goes on the rear and the rear sidemarkers. Amber is allowed for rear turn indicators, also.

    That DOT tape generally runs anywhere from a dollar to $1.25/foot, BTW.
     
  7. QUESTION: How do you recommend connecting the tiedowns to the rear axle? I bought 2 nylon tiedowns with built-in axle loops- there's a hook at the end and a ring to clip it to about 12" in. I wrapped them around the axle and the shock, and crossed the tiedowns. It seems the straps would slide to the pumpkin if you don't have something anchoring it.

    Thanks,
    Kurt
     
  8. Shifty Shifterton
    Joined: Oct 1, 2006
    Posts: 4,965

    Shifty Shifterton
    Member

    Sliding straps haven't proven an issue for me, be real careful wrapping around shock mounts. That kind of bunching around the shock bracket edge is what can ruin your strap.

    An equal concern is the brake line fixed to the axle. If they run in an area where the strap is tight, slide the straps under em, or you risk damaging the line.

    Unrelated note-----

    A HAMBr currently has a stolen trailer post going. (and I hope he gets it back) The description is black with beat up fenders and a broken tongue jack, which describes half the trailers on the road.

    So from a theft recovery/prevention standpoint, custom colors, custom wheels, and anything else you can do to identify it is pure goodness. Suppose you're at the racetrack and out of the corner of your eye see your own trailer leaving the facility? Would you notice it? If the thief steals it for local use or sale, how much effort will it take to make it blend with a million others?

    These are the kinds of things thieves think about before choosing which one to grab. A custom painted trailer may seem frivilous, but there is real benefit.
     
  9. Weasel
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 6,708

    Weasel
    Member

    Great thread Shifty - this is what the HAMB should be about - giving serious and useful information.

    Just a couple of things I have which may be of interest:

    1). TrailerAid - the easiest way to change a wheel on a dual axle trailer. Use it as a chock too. I used mine on the way back from CHHR on Sunday - a snap to change the wheel/tire (trailer I bought had car tires and I should have put on trailer tires but ran out of time to get them changed).

    2). Tilt-A-Hitch - best used with an electric tongue jack but will work with hand crank type. Basically it turns any trailer into a tilt trailer - just great for really lowered cars - yep and even those with failed airbaggies.

    Both of these items are usually available on EvilBay.

    To me every cent spent on trailer safety and ease of operation is worth it when I consider the value of what I am hauling.

    My next item is to fit the system with the movable D-rings so that I can use wheel bonnet tie downs. I always worry about suspension compression on trailered vehicles. I never use open hook tie downs for vehicles and do not advocate doing so. I lost a car off a trailer once when I hit a hard bump and the suspension of the car compressed enough to allow two of the open ratchet strap hooks to disengage from the D-rings.
     

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  10. TexasT
    Joined: Dec 25, 2007
    Posts: 54

    TexasT
    Member
    from Texas

    Lots of good info here. As stated in my earlier post back on the first page, carry two spares for your dual axles. I used to wonder how people could ruin rims but now I know. I think the front tire on this side was the tire that was the twin to the one shown in the post with the separated belt. I'm convinced this one separated a belt and blew taking out both tires. And rims, wrapping tire wired all up in the drums. I got to pull both drums, unwind the wire from the shoes. Upside the bearings got inspected and repacked. The boy thought it was fun. I guess. I told him that was because we had the right tools, the right spare parts and the knowledge to fix what was wrong. Wouldn't have been near as 'fun' without these three things.

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