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Old 05-17-2012, 10:45 PM   #1
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Default I need a trailer...

I ran a search on trailers and didn't find what i was looking for, if i missed something apologies. so im searching high and low for a open trailer to haul my track car to and from Dallas area tracks. i live about 2.5-3 hours from both MSR Cresson and ECR, so it's a bit of a haul. i will be pulling up I20 to Haslet where my mom lives. i generally stay the night before a track day and the night after at her place. that means ill be in traffic with the trailer and car at least some of the time.

i've looked at just about everything i can find on craiglist and people are insane when it comes to trailers. home built dilapidated POS trailers for $2000. i can get a new one for $1850 or so, but normal trailers aren't really the style i want and the more i save the, more money i have for tires and track time.

i found the style i want, its all metal with only wheel tracks on the sides for the car. i like that idea because its lighter and i can get under the car at the track if i ever need to. it's also nice and short with 14-foot rails and its cheap at under $1k. the goal is to be able to store it in the garage at home. the catch is the trailer has no brakes.

i will be pulling the trailer with a 08 5.4L ford expedition. the question is to you guys that pull your cars, should i walk away since it has no brakes? I'd say about 90% of what i have seen lacks brakes. I understand its safer to have brakes on the trailer. my question is how much do those brakes really help? It can't be so hazardous that I'll burst into flames at any given second.

the other option is to buy electric trailer brakes and add them myself down the road a bit. I've seen kits online with the inner electric brake hubs for about $50 each. Is it complicated to install those things? i'm no mechanic, but i am mechanically inclined. i've written install manuals for Mustang parts for several years so generally i can figure things out well enough.

I've never towed anything so perhaps I'm being a puss and worrying too much. I'm also worried about the ground clearance on the car, i had one trailer dealer ask what kind of car and when i told him he said the car wont clear a dovetailed metal floored kearney car hauler. So opinions? I guess im hoping to hear from some of you guys that haul your Miatas on trailers with no brakes to get an idea how sphincter puckering it is.

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Old 05-17-2012, 10:55 PM   #2
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I wouldn't haul a car on a trailer without brakes.
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:58 PM   #3
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Quite a few ****** on here say you need trailer brakes but I've driven both and as little as your little car weighs with the trailer it isn't necessary unless you are trying to pull it with another Miata.
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:06 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by sixshooter View Post
Quite a few ****** on here say you need trailer brakes but I've driven both and as little as your little car weighs with the trailer it isn't necessary unless you are trying to pull it with another Miata.
this is what i was thinking, but being a trailer noob... the car is probably 2200 pounds, the trailer in the pic would probably be half that. and the truck has a 9k towing capacity. seems a decent buffer, car and trailer would be under 4500lbs id wager. drive sensibly, ie not at 90mph in traffic, and it seems viable. granted if papaw pulls out in front of me i might wish for brakes.

i just found this too, Texas brake law for trailers, i don't have to have brakes by law in the state:

547.401. BRAKES REQUIRED. (a) Except as provided by
Subsection (b), a motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, pole
trailer, or combination of those vehicles shall be equipped with
brakes that comply with this chapter.
(b) A trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer is not required
to have brakes if:
(1) its gross weight is 4,500 pounds or less; or
(2) its gross weight is heavier than 4,500 pounds but
not heavier than 15,000 pounds, and it is drawn at a speed of not
more than 30 miles per hour.


I guess i could buy the trailer, use it to bring the car home from the builder and see how it goes. if i get sphincter leakage, add electric brakes. Anyone ever put electric brakes on a trailer that doesn't have them to start with?
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:32 PM   #5
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If you have enough money to track a car you have enough money to properly equip your trailer.

Rule of thumb I've heard is that you can be up to GWVR without extra brakes. If you want to go over your GWVR that's when you need trailer brakes. The 9,000lb towing capacity without a doubt assumes that you have a trailer equipped with appropriate brakes. Think about it, would you rather have brakes and not need them or not have brakes and need them? Especially with an extra 3,000lbs that the frame of your car is going to have to deal with when you plow into papaw.

All that said, gross weight in that section refers to your axle capacity (registered weight), not your actual on the road weight. That trailer would have to have a pair of 2250lb or less axles (it very likely does not) to not need brakes. On an open trailer like that the axles are most likely 3500lb or 2500lb axles making your gross weight 7,000lbs or 5,000lbs. You're going to need brakes on any trailer built to hold a car.
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:41 PM   #6
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I would totally pull a trailer without brakes if I were driving in Texas.
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:42 PM   #7
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F the brakes,we had 2 setups at my old shop, 3-car dove-tail with a winch (not 5th-wheel) and brakes, and a cheap single car trailer, our tow vehicle was a F-350 Crew cab w/ tool box bed and gasoline v-10 (fuel mileage fail). With the single car trailer hauling a 99 NB, we would go up and down a couple mountains on a 10 Hr. drive with no trailer brakes just fine. We did make some extended ramps to make getting lowered cars on and off possible.
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatKao View Post
If you have enough money to track a car you have enough money to properly equip your trailer.
I pulled enough heavy loads without brakes through Texas and the southeast that he will be fine. Most people are huge pussies about this.
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Old 05-18-2012, 02:20 AM   #9
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The first time you have to stand on the ABS with a trailer, you're going to feel like a retard for not having spent the money on trailer brakes.

Honestly, I would just buy a brand new trailer - they hold their value outrageously well. That's what I did (paid $2026 taxed, titled, and licensed for 5 years) and I don't regret it because the trailer is still worth what I paid for it two years ago.
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Old 05-18-2012, 04:05 AM   #10
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I have towed without brakes when the trailer harness acted up. I was driving a heavy Q56 so it did not seem to be much of an issue. I did notice when the brakes were gone but never felt nervous without them.

That being said I would still look for a trailer that has them. I found a great dual axle trailer with electric brakes for $700.
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:57 AM   #11
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Don't laugh im being serious.

Anyone ever seen a horse trailer double as a car trailer or vice versa? Im thinking about douing this. I dont think it would be difficult to haveremovable slants built into a horse trailer. 3 horses, or 1 Miata.
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:09 AM   #12
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Best trailering advice. Drive like you have no brakes. Look ahead, plan ahead and check your mirros often. Towing is no big deal.
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:39 AM   #13
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I love having brakes on all my trailers. I have completely forgotten my steel deck 18' trailer was behind me because it acted no different than without it. It is really a cheap upgrade that I would recommend.

I second what Andrew was saying about buying new. Trailers really don't lose value much and the deals are only to be found by friends selling to other friends. Other than that you are buying an old unit for too close to new price.
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hustler View Post
I pulled enough heavy loads without brakes through Texas and the southeast that he will be fine. Most people are huge pussies about this.
thanks, i was hoping to hear from people that have done this. i don't mind adding brakes to the trailer, i suspect its not that complex. i've been reading old threads, didn't i see one where you said you hauled cars for a dealership? curious if the trailer had brakes.

on my old Boss 302 i had to swap front pads at the track. was in a hurry once to make a drivers meeting and started the car to back it into the gravel pits at ECR after the swap and forgot to pump the brakes a few times to get the fronts working again. the back brakes didn't do squat on that car, it rolled for long enough that i though id be the first guy to crash in the pits at the track. i've been wondering if trailer brakes are the same way.

it's not that i can't afford a trailer with brakes, it's that this side of an expensive trailer that is custom built no one seems to be making the style i want. this one happens to be the exact style i want, in the exact length i want, and doesn't have brakes. it does have 3500lb axles.
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:48 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rharris19 View Post
I love having brakes on all my trailers. I have completely forgotten my steel deck 18' trailer was behind me because it acted no different than without it. It is really a cheap upgrade that I would recommend.

I second what Andrew was saying about buying new. Trailers really don't lose value much and the deals are only to be found by friends selling to other friends. Other than that you are buying an old unit for too close to new price.
it's 900 and change for the user trailer before i beat on him, a new one in my area is at least $2000 OTD
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Old 05-18-2012, 09:28 AM   #16
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Mine doesn't have brakes, but its also only about 3000lbs with the car. I haven't had to lock them up yet, mostly because I follow Chris' advice. I drive like I don't have brakes. Get better gas mileage that way too

Of course, if I had a choice I'd get brakes, and when I buy a trailer (current one is a loaner from a friend) it probably will have them.

Sav is right, and it sounds like your search is only proving it further. The damn things hold their value like gold. Buy a new one today for $2000 and sell it in 5 years for $1700. That's one hell of a deal if you ask me.
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Old 05-18-2012, 09:43 AM   #17
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Don't worry about the brakes, you've got a big enough truck to slow it down as long as you drive like you know you've got a trailer attached. I've hauled a miata on that style of trailer before (and with a smaller truck), and I have no idea what you mean by the car wont "clear" the kearny dovetailed whatever style trailer. The Miata rocks that trailer just fine.
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Old 05-18-2012, 10:41 AM   #18
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Took 2 trips to Lincoln,NE from Austin,TX without brakes on the trailer There were one or two places that I wished I had brakes on the way back due to College Football traffic. Otherwise, it was fine. The truck was an '01 V8 quad cab Dakota. Otherwise, just plan ahead.

I've since upgraded to F150 and went ahead and put brakes on the trailer. Battery/trailer electrical bits and hubs were ~150 bucks and if you can turn a wrench and crimp some wires.... done. Plus it was new bearings without having to repack The brakes were not necessary but it is nice insurance.

If you buy a new trailer, make sure you crawl under it and look at the joints and welds. I wish I did that on my trailer. There is a very good reason some trailers are a couple hundred bucks more for what looks like the exact same thing. Mine is a pretty simple and cheap 14ft utility trailer and there are a couple places I would have liked to see welded on the underside but I'm too lazy to remove the decking to get at them right now.
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Old 05-18-2012, 10:58 AM   #19
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You'll never regret having a trailer with brakes, but you could definitely regret having a trailer without brakes.

The cheapest brakes you'll find are the ones that come with the trailer you buy. Adding brakes later sounds like it could be cheaper...but it won't be. There is more to the system then just adding the drums. At minimum, the trailer will need to be re-wired with a 7 or 6-pin round connector, it will also need a break-away key and back-up battery. That is assuming that whatever trailer you purchased was built with (Dexter) axles that can accommodate standard Dexter-type brake components. And while we're on the topic of axles, consider that not all axles are created the same. A trailer without brakes was likely built to carry light loads, and could have axles with weight ratings lower than you need.

Towing to an event is (hopefully) the most dangerous part of the event. Spend a little extra money now an save yourself from grief. I have zero interest in owning or towing with a trailer that does not have brakes.

Once you do have your trailer, never, ever, let anyone help you tie your car down or hook up the trailer to your tow vehicle. All of that should be your routine and you should do every bit of it. I've learned that the hard way.

Should you ever find yourself in a bad situation, for example, if the ball fails, the trailer gets hit, or the trailer comes off of the ball for any reason, you'll be damn glad that you have all of the proper back-up gear in place, including the brakes, safety chains, and break-away key. I had a situation like that happen once, while riding shotgun in a friend's truck towing my car on my trailer. The trailer landed on the chains, pulled the break-away key, and locked the brakes. Considering what could have happened, there was no drama. With the brakes engaged, the trailer never once hit the tow vehicle as we stopped.
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:09 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shanem View Post
thanks, i was hoping to hear from people that have done this. i don't mind adding brakes to the trailer, i suspect its not that complex. i've been reading old threads, didn't i see one where you said you hauled cars for a dealership? curious if the trailer had brakes.

on my old Boss 302 i had to swap front pads at the track. was in a hurry once to make a drivers meeting and started the car to back it into the gravel pits at ECR after the swap and forgot to pump the brakes a few times to get the fronts working again. the back brakes didn't do squat on that car, it rolled for long enough that i though id be the first guy to crash in the pits at the track. i've been wondering if trailer brakes are the same way.

it's not that i can't afford a trailer with brakes, it's that this side of an expensive trailer that is custom built no one seems to be making the style i want. this one happens to be the exact style i want, in the exact length i want, and doesn't have brakes. it does have 3500lb axles.
Of course it would be nice to have a new trailer, with brakes, and a roll-back, and a Peterbilt tractor to pull it with. The terrain in question does not require brakes, sure it would be nice and I'd add them later, but not required.

I ran cars all over the country for a wholesaler from 2003-2005. We had trailer brakes on the two trailers, but they rarely worked, lol. I once pulled an F250 with a v10 Dodge without trailer brakes, through the rain in Georgia, and made it to my destination without a problem. I've also pulled a 3500lb Cougar to Iowa with an Xterra (lol) on that same trailer, and lived to tell about it. I usually pulled with a Duramax diesel and a 3-car hauler that had working trailer brakes, the single-car hauler did not have working brakes and I usually pulled that with a gas truck.

One day I'll have a Moto-IQ style trailer...but that day is not here yet. You'll find that most people who say brakes are required either live in mountains or live in California and are not men.

You seem like you go to the track a lot, do we know each other?
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