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Trailer question

I'm trailering my Star to Vancouver and back and then my Model T to another tour near Santa Barbara. 3000+ miles. I bought the trailer used about 1000 miles ago and have never inspected the brakes. I know nothing about trailer brakes. The nearest trailer service dept. is 40 miles away and all booked up.

My question is should I let sleeping dogs lie and just listen for squealing brakes or try to inspect them myself? Specifically, are these typically drum or disk brakes (the trailer is 15 years old). How do they differ from auto brakes? Are parts hard to find?

Where Are You From? San Francisco, CA area

Do You own a car built by Durant? 1925 Star Touring

Re: Trailer question

Hi Vince.....

Trailer brakes can be a couple different types. Most are very similar to the drum brakes used on cars and trucks.

The difference is in how they are activated. Most use an electrical controller that energizes a magnet that applies the brakes ( this is the most common). Some use a hydraulic surge system, with a master cylinder on the hitch(a lot of rental trailer are this type).

If your brakes are electrical, the controller in the truck may have a diagnostic feature that will alert you to any electrical problems. Electrical connections are the most common problem. I always use contact cleaner on my plug ins and silicon dielectric grease on the connections.

Just about any auto or RV shop should be able to check or service your brakes. Most trailer brakes are not self adjusting like modern cars and rely on you adjusting the shoes for ware.

At 15 years old I would definitely inspect the brakes before a long trip. Also check out the tires for age cracking etc.

In Pennsylvania we are required to have brakes on all axles and the trailer must pass a yearly safety inspection.

Parts are not difficult to find. RV dealers and tractor supply places have them. Most trailer manufactures use a Dexter (brand) axle and the difference in parts is the weight rating of the axles.

A good source of parts on the net is etrailer. Check them out for more info.

I've been dragging trailers around for years, and with normal maintenance they are trouble free.

Hope this helps, see you in Vancouver!!!

Frank ---

Where Are You From? Hookstown Pennsylvania

Do You own a car built by Durant? a few

Re: Trailer question

Another thought is to also have the wheel bearings checked when you have the breaks checked. Sometimes these are forgotten and can cause a problem on a long trip. Make sure you have a spare tire somewhere for the trailer if possible. An RV or trailer place should be able to sell you a rim. I've heard horror stories about car guys towing their car and having a flat on the interstate and no spare.

Where Are You From? Oviedo (near Orlando) Florida

Do You own a car built by Durant? 1928 Durant Model 65 4 dr

Re: Trailer question

electric brake units, there are 4 on a trailer..are relatively cheap...under $75 dollars a wheel...they are purchesed in pairs and are each one a complete backing plate with wire hookups and all electrical magnetic stuff included.. already a part of unit....just buy 4 and bolt off and on backing plate...then hook up wires...to harness and connector...you also need a break-away unity (a few dollars more) in case traier disconnects, it applies brakes (it has a battery pack) ...i had my trailer redone...wiring, all brakes new and drums turned and breakaway , etc...under $1000....and tires are about 50-60 dollars each

Where Are You From? PENNA.

Do You own a car built by Durant? 1925 STAR F ROADSTER

Re: Trailer question

also, visit ....championtrailers.com, site for lots of info on trailers and brakes and all parts associated..with drawings and explanations as to what is correct and best....it will teach you all you need to know
have a safe trip

Where Are You From? PENNA.

Do You own a car built by Durant? 1925 STAR F ROADSTER

Re: Trailer question

I just spent the last little while putting brakes, along with a breakaway unit on my one axle trailer for hauling the Star.
My situation, trailer with single axle (3500 kg GVW). Loaded with Star, trailer weighs 3200 kg.

Canadian cost to rig a single axle trailer with all hardware and electronics was $ 550.00. Labour was mine.

BC regulations are if GVW > 2998 kg then brakes (on each axle) are required., along with breakaway is required.
Tongue activated brakes ok if GVW <= 6000 kg. After that required to be connected to car foot pedal.
Hiway inspections are a severe matter in BC and they have lowboys to haul you away if you fail.

My advice :
It's too late. Let them squeal.
Just drive as if you have no trailer brakes, that way they will not get any worse then they are now.

JUST MAKE SURE YOUR BRAKE LIGHTS WORK ON TRAILER, whether activated by your foot pedal or brake controller.

If your lites are all working, you can bull**** your way past inspection. The squealing will come in helpful at inspection time (if they can hear them squeak, they assume things are working).
Just start talking hockey or canadian football and don't stop till inspection is done.

History speaks


Where Are You From? Peace River AB

Do You own a car built by Durant? 26 Touring

Re: Trailer question

All very good advice from the club! Like the others I have been towing 30 years plus with no real problems, hauling cars coast to coast. Learning with each trip.

From the Gulf coast Florida this summer earlier I got back from hauling a restored 1964.5 Mustang to the Dallas Tx. area then picking up another car (w/2nd driver)outside of Amarillo Tx. taking it to Barstow Ca., then on up to Monterey Ca. and San Francisco area to pickup a 61 Corvette restored frame. Then after a short rest up there back down I-5 on to I-40 (old Route 66)detour down to Phoenix Az.(1959 Cadillac parts), back up to I-40, cross country up to Kansas City Mo. area (more Corvette parts) and back home. Fast Fun trip: 10 days and 5626 miles, and the tow jobs ($$) covered a lot of my trip cost.

Three+ TIPS to add: First make sure your Tow Rig is up to the task (tiny cars and light trucks won't be up to the strain). Check and Service(!) your Tow vehicle before you leave...much cheaper (and way easier!!) then fixing a break-down on the road.

Next have your Trailer tires checked (go with new or Very good!)and go with either 8 or 10 Ply truck, or LT heavy duty ones on 15" or 16" inch rims if possible. Light weight trailer, 2 Ply "P" car rated, or old "Car tires" won't get your loaded trailer very far! Carry a "good" spare trailer wheel & tire (be sure it fits: check it first at home!)and possibly an extra spare tire and tube. An air bottle or 12 volt air compressor is nice too. Also have a good Jack, Lug wrench and Chocks (check them out first for fit!). What I see on my trips is "Lots" of Tire and wheel troubles. Grease those bearings too (I have sometimes seen multiple blown tires or broken wheels; even on one veh, two different tires explode in front of me (RVs), a small trailer overturned, car & trailer jack knifed (High speed and Winds), etc., etc...ugh!)

Next; Replace or Update your Trailer lights; with a New LED harness and add Side marker lights, it's cheap insurance, these are about $50 dollars at Car Quest Auto parts or similar store's (easy to install yourself). You need to be seen especially at night or in bad weather. This also keeps the Police off your back.

Last Free tip; is to Know the regulations for the states or country you are traveling through. Example; Texas requires Mudflaps on the back of a Dually truck and likes Front licence plates (I met a state policeman roadside to discuss this "in detail" for 45 minutes plus in 2008, he quizzed my rider separately too asking if we were carrying drugs, where we were going, meeting who, on and on, etc, etc. Real Fun, not!). Iowa wants a pro drivers licence if your trailer is, or looks near 30 feet long or looks Heavy (carrying a car?) and you must hit the weight Scale stops! Florida doesn't require any of this and Every state is different... Take care.

Oh Yeah; Check your load often and make it tight, Carry a cell phone and a newer Rand McNally atlas too. Wal-Mart lets Truck's w/Trailer stay overnight in their parking lots (great when real tired)and Slow way down in the rain with a trailer!

Hope this helps you,
Lance C.

Where Are You From? Niceville, Florida

Do You own a car built by Durant? 28 Locomobile 8-70, 25 Loco JR-8 Brougham, 26 Loco JR-8 Sedan, and JR-8 Roadster project, 30 Durant 610 Deluxe Sedan


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