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Old 05-29-2012, 04:32 PM   #1
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Whats safe without a Brake controller?

I didnt want to make a whole thread about this but I searched and couldnt find a definitive answer. I am planning on picking up a Honda Civic. Its approximately 100 miles away. To avoid paying for a Uhaul dolly or trailer, I want to use my friends dual axle flat bed trailer. I believe its mostly steel construction with wood planks as a floor and steel ramps. Im going guess and say it weighs 1000 lbs. The civics curb weight is around 2600 lbs. That puts the whole situation at 3600 but just to make sure Im nt under estimating, call it 3800. I do not think the trailer has electric brakes. My friend pulled it with his Chevy 1500 pickup WITHOUT a controller, so I assume no trailer brakes. However, is 3800 lbs. safe to tow with a Tacoma and no trailer brakes?

My vehicle is in my sig. Factory Tow package.

Thanks!
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Old 05-29-2012, 06:28 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelg589 View Post
I didnt want to make a whole thread about this but I searched and couldnt find a definitive answer. I am planning on picking up a Honda Civic. Its approximately 100 miles away. To avoid paying for a Uhaul dolly or trailer, I want to use my friends dual axle flat bed trailer. I believe its mostly steel construction with wood planks as a floor and steel ramps. Im going guess and say it weighs 1000 lbs. The civics curb weight is around 2600 lbs. That puts the whole situation at 3600 but just to make sure Im nt under estimating, call it 3800. I do not think the trailer has electric brakes. My friend pulled it with his Chevy 1500 pickup WITHOUT a controller, so I assume no trailer brakes. However, is 3800 lbs. safe to tow with a Tacoma and no trailer brakes?

My vehicle is in my sig. Factory Tow package.

Thanks!
NO.
According to the "book of Tacoma", brakes for any load over 1000 pounds. Realistically, 2000-2500 max. Check about the trailer. Flat bed car haulers are usually more than 1000 pounds. Think closer to 2000. Verify status of trailer brakes, maybe the trailer has hydraulic brakes? If that is the case, then no brake controller is needed.
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Old 05-29-2012, 07:06 PM   #3
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NO, I was in the trailer business for 15 years and you can jackknife so easy, killing you or someone else.
that kind of weight, will have a mind of its own.
and if you get stopped, in some states, they will make you park it on the road, will throw the book at you. and I have heard stories from people that they impounded the trailer and load, and you don't want that.
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Old 05-29-2012, 07:08 PM   #4
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Depends on what the state thinks. In CA you need brakes for 1500lbs or heavier.
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Old 05-29-2012, 07:19 PM   #5
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I was with my friend when he made about the same trip in his 1500. Granted it is a full size, the overall weight of the truck and the braking performance are quite close to a V6 Double Cab Tacoma. He handled it fine with a car that might weigh more (1968 Mustang Convertible).

Again, Im unsure how the trailer is setup. Its a 7 pin. Theres another safety line that gets attached to the truck. I think this safety line is meant to enage the brakes if the trailer became disconnected. But how would that work???
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Old 05-29-2012, 07:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelg589 View Post
I was with my friend when he made about the same trip in his 1500. Granted it is a full size, the overall weight of the truck and the braking performance are quite close to a V6 Double Cab Tacoma. He handled it fine with a car that might weigh more (1968 Mustang Convertible).

Again, Im unsure how the trailer is setup. Its a 7 pin. Theres another safety line that gets attached to the truck. I think this safety line is meant to enage the brakes if the trailer became disconnected. But how would that work???
The trailer has brakes. That extra line is a breakaway. If the trailer gets disconnected from the truck, that extra line pulls the brakes on the trailer so it comes to a stop.

I generally agree with Knucklehead, realistically 3,000 lbs is the max I'd tow without brakes and that's only if you're experienced, less if you're not familiar with towing a trailer.
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Old 05-30-2012, 06:23 PM   #7
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I've done it, but I don't recommend it.

Allow a lot of stopping distance at all speeds - even from 10 mph. Especially from 10 mph.

I'd slowed to a creep and went to put on the brakes to stop the load the rest of the way. The truck brakes locked up and the trailer pushed me an additional 5 feet beyond where I'd planned on stopping.
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Old 05-30-2012, 06:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjmoose View Post
I've done it, but I don't recommend it.

Allow a lot of stopping distance at all speeds - even from 10 mph. Especially from 10 mph.

I'd slowed to a creep and went to put on the brakes to stop the load the rest of the way. The truck brakes locked up and the trailer pushed me an additional 5 feet beyond where I'd planned on stopping.
Good to know. About how much weight were you pulling?
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Old 05-30-2012, 07:18 PM   #9
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one more thing to remember if you are going to do this, make sure there is NO chance of rain.
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Old 05-30-2012, 10:31 PM   #10
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I towed 3000-3500 for 6 hours. No problem at all.

Trailer had brakes but were not operating at the time due to a cut brake line.

Since then have the brakes hooked up and you can tell they help but would not have any concern doing it again in my eyes.

When ever I trailer I leave more room and place all eyes on the road with extra attention.

In city traffic it can get hairy around rush hour and added braking is never a bad thing to have.
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Old 05-30-2012, 10:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelg589 View Post
I didnt want to make a whole thread about this but I searched and couldnt find a definitive answer. I am planning on picking up a Honda Civic. Its approximately 100 miles away. To avoid paying for a Uhaul dolly or trailer, I want to use my friends dual axle flat bed trailer. I believe its mostly steel construction with wood planks as a floor and steel ramps. Im going guess and say it weighs 1000 lbs. The civics curb weight is around 2600 lbs. That puts the whole situation at 3600 but just to make sure Im nt under estimating, call it 3800. I do not think the trailer has electric brakes. My friend pulled it with his Chevy 1500 pickup WITHOUT a controller, so I assume no trailer brakes. However, is 3800 lbs. safe to tow with a Tacoma and no trailer brakes?

My vehicle is in my sig. Factory Tow package.

Thanks!
Yes you can. I regularly tow up to 6000 lbs or so with mine. Most double axle wood floor car haulers are about 1600lbs. I towed my Double axle when I first bought it with my corvette on it from Kansas to Tennessee, about 780 miles with no controller because I had not installed one yet. Just DON'T brake hard or suddenly and give yourself ALOT of extra time to slow down, coast and downshift as much as possible. It will be just fine, especially for just 100 miles.
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:00 PM   #12
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A controller is much cheaper than crashing. Buy one.
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjmoose View Post
I've done it, but I don't recommend it.

Allow a lot of stopping distance at all speeds - even from 10 mph. Especially from 10 mph.

I'd slowed to a creep and went to put on the brakes to stop the load the rest of the way. The truck brakes locked up and the trailer pushed me an additional 5 feet beyond where I'd planned on stopping.

WTF?!?!? Come on now you can't be serious? SO your brakes weren't working at all or you were towing the USS Missouri.....which is it? Cause I tow anywhere up to 6000 lbs and even when my brakes were worn I could always stop....
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Old 05-31-2012, 07:06 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by 1C271 View Post
WTF?!?!? Come on now you can't be serious? SO your brakes weren't working at all or you were towing the USS Missouri.....which is it? Cause I tow anywhere up to 6000 lbs and even when my brakes were worn I could always stop....
You tow 6,000 lbs without trailer brakes?
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Old 05-31-2012, 07:08 AM   #15
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Ballsy fucker hey?

I've fulled 5000+lbs with brakes and even then it's a new experience.

Get a controller. Rent one. Do something. Is 3800lbs horrible? No. But if you're not used to pulling anything with your truck last thing you want is to write off your truck or worse, kill someone.
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Old 05-31-2012, 07:13 AM   #16
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The trailer most likely has surge brakes which does not require a brake controller since they are activated by centrifugal force and not electric current. If this is the case you're golden. The safety cable actuates the trailer brakes if the tow vehicle and trailer become separated.
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Old 05-31-2012, 07:17 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dexterdog View Post
The trailer most likely has surge brakes which does not require a brake controller since they are activated by centrifugal force and not electric current. If this is the case you're golden. The safety cable actuates the trailer brakes if the tow vehicle and trailer becomes separated.
Surge brakes are activated by a hydraulic piston that's in the trailer tongue. Truck stops, trailer's weight and momentum compresses the piston, forcing fluid to the brakes. There's nothing spinning that creates centrifugal forces.

I still think the trailer has electric brakes because it has a 7-pin connection. If it had surge brakes only, it'd most likely be a 4-pin as the other 3 pins wouldn't be necessary.
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Old 05-31-2012, 08:59 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pugga View Post
Surge brakes are activated by a hydraulic piston that's in the trailer tongue. Truck stops, trailer's weight and momentum compresses the piston, forcing fluid to the brakes. There's nothing spinning that creates centrifugal forces.

I still think the trailer has electric brakes because it has a 7-pin connection. If it had surge brakes only, it'd most likely be a 4-pin as the other 3 pins wouldn't be necessary.
The 7th pin that 6 pin and fewer plugs lack, is reverse signal. Surge brakes require a reverse signal to lock out the brakes when backing up. Electric brakes only require 5 pin.
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Old 05-31-2012, 09:25 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knucklehead View Post
The 7th pin that 6 pin and fewer plugs lack, is reverse signal. Surge brakes require a reverse signal to lock out the brakes when backing up. Electric brakes only require 5 pin.
Not all, I've never seen a trailer with surge brakes and a 7-pin plug. I know what you mean, it's a reverse lock out so you can actually back the trailer up but every surge brake equipped trailer I've ever towed has only had a 4-pin connection. They were all Uhauls.
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Old 05-31-2012, 12:27 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pugga View Post
You tow 6,000 lbs without trailer brakes?
I've pulled about 4700 with no trailer brakes, drove 780 miles just fine, no problems at all. And since moose never answered me I call BS on his post, there is no way that whatever you could pull with your Tacoma would keep pushing you with your brakes fully applied. Unless your brakes were not bled properly and had air in them or you were trying to stop on an ice rink.

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