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Old 01-27-2016, 09:43 PM   #1
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To add brakes or not?

Okay, the wife and I decided we are going to Canada next year anestimated that with travel and side trips it will be 8,500 to 9,000 miles. Instead of pulling our big TT (a LaCrosse) with my diesel pick-up truck, we thought it might be cheaper to get a tent trailer that we could pull behind our Ford Escape. We found a good deal on a Flagstaff LTD in Texas and pulled it back to NM with my pick-up. We got around 15 mpg and were well pleased since we get 9-10 when pulling the LaCrosse.

Fully loaded the Flagstaff weighs 1,700 lbs and the Escape is rated to pull 2,500 lbs. The Flagstaff has a seven prong electrical hook-up and the Escape was wired for a 4 prong. So we got the adapter and then found out that the Flagstaff doesn't have brakes. So our friendly local RV repair-person said he could get us a bid for installing brakes on the Flagstaff. But I don't know if it is worth it.

We haven't had the Flagstaff connected to the Escape yet so I don't have any real life on the road experience with it yeat. What is your opinion? Towing across Texas where it is flat is one thing, but what happens when one gets to the mountains?
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Old 01-27-2016, 10:19 PM   #2
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Depends if the cost of brakes is less than the cost of fixing your Escape when the idiot in front of you stops suddenly!!

Your call!!
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Old 01-27-2016, 11:35 PM   #3
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Putting brakes on a 1,700 pound trailer is a very simple and easy job. You can get the entire kit (backplate with shoes and all the other stuff, and hubs and drums) for less than $200. Go by any place that sells landscape or enclosed utility trailers and they will probably have everything you need. Total install time for a pro is less than one hour...probably two hours if you've never done it before.

Most states, and Canada, require trailer brakes if the trailer gross weight rating exceeds 3,000 pounds. However, there are some states that require them with gross weights (gross, not actual) of 1,500 pounds or less.

AND, if you have to do a really fast stop in any turn or curve on a wet road I guarantee you that trailer is going to jackknife...right away. Been there, done that.
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Old 01-28-2016, 08:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arenablanca View Post
The Flagstaff has a seven prong electrical hook-up and the Escape was wired for a 4 prong. So we got the adapter and then found out that the Flagstaff doesn't have brakes.
With a 7 prong Bargman connector, the Flagstaff may already have brakes, or originally came with brakes. An adapter plugged in between a 7 prong and a 4 prong will not provide braking. There will be additional wiring and a brake controller needed for the Escape, and if the Escape did not come with a factory tow package, an auxiliary transmission cooler may be needed.

IMHO, a 1700 lb. trailer being pulled by an Escape needs brakes !!
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Old 01-28-2016, 09:59 AM   #5
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If it doesn't have them, I would install them. I pull a large LTD with a truck and have been happy to have them at times.
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Old 01-28-2016, 01:08 PM   #6
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Use the diesel to tow the tent trailer. Gas mileage might be better than you think with the lighter weight of the tent trailer. I used to pull a similar tent trailer with no brakes with my F150 and stopping wasn't ever an issue.

Just an option to throw out there.
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Old 01-28-2016, 01:26 PM   #7
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I would go for fitting brakes, our laws a bit different over the pond from you but max trailer weight without brakes for us is 750kg (1653lb app) we generally have smaller tow vehicles though. better be able to stop as quickly as you can. The other thing to consider is if relying on tow vehicle braking alone, on long descents you will be overheating and wearing out the brakes quicker than letting the trailer take some of the load.
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Old 01-28-2016, 01:27 PM   #8
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Use the diesel to tow the tent trailer. Gas mileage might be better than you think with the lighter weight of the tent trailer. I used to pull a similar tent trailer with no brakes with my F150 and stopping wasn't ever an issue.

Just an option to throw out there.
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Old 01-28-2016, 01:32 PM   #9
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Depends if the cost of brakes is less than the cost of fixing your Escape when the idiot in front of you stops suddenly!!

Your call!!
Correct answer

As long as the backing plate flanges are on the axle, which they probably are, you can get all the parts for less than $200 like emm-dee says as a kit. Just search for R&P carriages on Ebay.

You may not need them by law, but they can't hurt anything.
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Old 01-28-2016, 02:29 PM   #10
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I would take the LaCrosse. Let's see. You are going to put brakes on the pop up, rewire etc.. spend about $400 to save about $600. How many weeks will this trip take. We took several long trips including a tour of the Canadian Maritimes and a trip Around the Great Lakes. Each trip took about 6 weeks. For the money difference, I personally would want the convenience and comfort of the LaCrosse. Life is too short to worry about a couple of hundred dollars sepnt on vacation.
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