Trailer Brakes?

Tagdog

New member
I want to try and do a simple trailer build. I was curious about brakes. How many of you have put brakes on your trailers? We have a jeep so the trailer will not be big, probably around an M 416 size with a total weight loaded of 2000 pounds or less. We will be going to Colorado. How hard are the brakes to put on and are they necessary. Any links or tips would be great.
 

JKChad

Observer
Trailer brakes, legally, are usually not required in most states on a single axle under 2500-3500lbs. That being said, I absolutely love having brakes on my trailer and opted for a specific backing plate that has a manual parking brake feature built into the brake system. I've pull my trailer all over central and southwest Colorado and definitely felt the trailer brakes helping stop my brother-in-law's loaded down overland rig. When offroad, being able to manually grab the trailer brakes to help slow down on slick surfaces can help prevent the trailer from trying to push your rig. Also, it's so nice to be able to simply grab the parking brake when moving the trailer around or lock it down while your trying to setup up camp and not have to be reliant on a wheel chock. I still use a wheel chock, as a redundancy but it's technically not needed. I have all sorts of details on the trailer brakes I have, just the common dexter 3500lb axle with the axle tech backing plate, if I remember correctly, for a 10x2.5" drum/hub. Just look at my trailer build thread.

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jacobconroy

Hillbilly of Leisure
I would recommend brakes too. I have two trailers that are between 1500 and 2000 lbs. with brakes and would hesitate to pull either of them without brakes. If your trailer starts to sway...just tap on the brake controller to stop it. People will pull out in front of you when you are pulling because they don't want to get stuck behind you. Stopping power is very comforting.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Trailer brakes, legally, are usually not required in most states on a single axle under 2500-3500lbs.
I don't know anything about anything, but seems to me in my limited experience that trailer brake thresholds for roads are one thing. Having them on a 2,000 lbs trailer are nice, with a smaller truck especially. But off highway I'm pretty sure having them is almost mandatory on anything technical. Certainly I'd think when you need to use low range. I just have mental images of trailers wanting to drag you backwards or swapping ends with your truck on steep or loose climbs & descents. Not sure what the threshold might be, but I'd think it would be a lot lower than for highways. I wonder, too, if having a controller you can manually apply them wouldn't also be useful?
 

JKChad

Observer
I don't know anything about anything, but seems to me in my limited experience that trailer brake thresholds for roads are one thing. Having them on a 2,000 lbs trailer are nice, with a smaller truck especially. But off highway I'm pretty sure having them is almost mandatory on anything technical. Certainly I'd think when you need to use low range. I just have mental images of trailers wanting to drag you backwards or swapping ends with your truck on steep or loose climbs & descents. Not sure what the threshold might be, but I'd think it would be a lot lower than for highways.
I agree with you 100%! I mentioned that very detail in my original comment. Hell, just being on slick wet roads is reason enough in my book. I just see a ton of people responding in threads like these saying, "I pull my xyz trailer that's thousands of pounds and never needed brakes!" I've towed a triple axle 5th wheel all over the country that's within 100-200lbs, gross combined, of us needing a CDL. People on the road just plan suck at having any respect, or logic, of heavy loaded vehicles. You can never be to safe when towing.

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Tagdog

New member
Thanks for the answers. I am looking at Dexter Torsion Axle with brakes It looks like they make it easy. I can order and it will come put together.
 

JKChad

Observer
Thanks for the answers. I am looking at Dexter Torsion Axle with brakes It looks like they make it easy. I can order and it will come put together.
Yeah, super easy. Worse case you might need to pack with grease and install 2 bearings, install a seal cap on the back of the hub, and install the drum/hubs on the spindle. Easy to do and good to learn, for future maintenance, if you haven't done it before.

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JKChad

Observer
Will adding trailer brake hubs make the hub face distance greater?
Not 100% sure. If I remember correctly, the brake flange mount to hub face distance on most dexter 3500's with the 10x2.5" drum is 6". Your axle tube has to have a brake flange to be able to run the backing plate that the drum slides over.

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Thanks. I have the flange. Maybe brakes are in the future. Cost of a decent brake controller as a hindrance at this time.
 
We have a jeep so the trailer will not be big, probably around an M 416 size with a total weight loaded of 2000 pounds or less.
Beyond the legal issue, the brake question is answered by how heavy the trailer is vs. how heavy your tow vehicle is. A 2,000-pound trailer without brakes being pulled by a semi-truck isn't an issue –the trailer isn't going to push it. A Jeep is not a semi (or an F250) and 2,000 pounds down a grade could become a big deal if you need to slow down or stop –but keep in mind, I don't own a Jeep.

The legal issue is only pertinent for the state the trailer is licensed in. All trailers towed (and registered) above 25 MPH in North Dakota have to have brakes. Here in Idaho, it's 1500 pounds. In a lot of states, it is 3,000#. And some states require a safety inspection to get registered...

Adding brakes doesn't add width to an axle. But buying an axle with idler hubs and then upgrading to brake hubs is more expensive than just buying the brake hubs to begin with.

You can add the brake controller to your Jeep later and you don't need to spend over $80 for one.

T
 

alia176

Explorer
;)
I didn't read the whole thread but trailer brakes are a no brainer in my book. Since this trailer is getting built, I"d simply order an axle with the trailer brake option. This way, the OP can choose at a later time to add brakes. But, I can guarantee you that nobody ever said this to themselves:

"self, I think i have TOO MUCH braking capacity with my setup"......;)
 

old_CWO

Member
My father always says, "truck brakes are for stopping the truck. Trailer brakes are for stopping the trailer." I tend to follow his advice and use trailer brakes when appropriate.
 

Martyn

Supporting Sponsor, Overland Certified OC0018
As everyone say get the trailer brakes. Do some research before buying a torsion axle. They don’t perform that well off road, and there is no field repair if they fail. For your light weight trailer some Suzuki Samurai leaf spring might be a better alternative.
 
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