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Old 10-20-2019, 04:16 PM   #1
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Adding brakes to second axle?

I did a search, but could not find any posts on the subject. I've noticed that the TT's with tandem axles that we've looked at only come with brakes on one axle. Is there any benefit to adding brakes to the second axle? I figured since the hub assemblies and backing plates were fairly inexpensive that the added braking force would cut down on wear and tear of both the trailer and TV. Any thoughts?
BTW: most of the TTs have been around 25' and under.
TIA!
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Old 10-20-2019, 04:41 PM   #2
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What is the gvw of your trailer?
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Old 10-20-2019, 07:44 PM   #3
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What is the gvw of your trailer?
Sorry, haven't nailed one down yet. Just trying to research all I can before I jump on the 1st tt so I guess it was a generalized question on if the benefits outweigh the cost. I'd be doing the install so it would just be cost of brake assemblies.
I guess I'm from the school of thought for having a running spare or overkill. Lol.
Thanks for any opinions yall could give.
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Old 10-20-2019, 08:50 PM   #4
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Sorry, haven't nailed one down yet. Just trying to research all I can before I jump on the 1st tt so I guess it was a generalized question on if the benefits outweigh the cost. I'd be doing the install so it would just be cost of brake assemblies.
I guess I'm from the school of thought for having a running spare or overkill. Lol.
Thanks for any opinions yall could give.
I have never seen a tandem travel trailer(not counting A frames) that doesn't have brakes on both axles. If it didn't and it had brake flanges, you are looking at less than $200 to add it. If the axle doesn't have the flanges, a new axle is an additional $200.
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Old 10-20-2019, 09:21 PM   #5
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2008-2018 TT's Jayco 26', Cherokee 36'. Brakes on both axles on both of them.
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Old 10-20-2019, 09:28 PM   #6
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I agree, never seen any tandem axle trailer that didn't have brakes on BOTH axles.
How about posting what tandem axle trailers, that you say have brakes on only one axle.
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Old 10-20-2019, 09:56 PM   #7
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Having brakes on one axle is very common. I have seen many two axle trailers
with brakes on one axle, and own one now and have had owned several over the years.

As had already been mentioned it is usually on smaller trailers of 25 feet or less and more than likely only on one, under a certain gross weight. I have never added brakes to the second axle and personally see no true benefit.

More often on utility trailers, but both our Terry's only had brakes on one axle. The one I have now is a 21' box trailer with a gross weight of 6000 lbs.


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Old 10-20-2019, 11:11 PM   #8
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My trailer is 24'11"...GVWR is 7000#. Mine is around 6000# loaded. Brakes on both axles.

The reason you don't see the second axle having brakes on some non travel trailers is that the manufacturers only have to have brakes that meet the requirements for weight as they leave the factory empty! That's the way it is for boat trailers and cargo trailers. My boat trailer and boat weighs close to 6000# and they only had brakes on one axle. One of the first things I did was add brakes to the second axle.

Manufacturers will put on the bare minimum to save money. You can decide if that's what you want. For me, the bare minimum is not enough. I travel down to many steep mountains. I don't want one axle's worth of brakes absorbing all the energy. If I have double the brakes, that's heat being dissipated over twice as much area.

Would you want brakes on only 2 wheels of your tow vehicle? I am sure it will stop fine with 2 wheels! Might get hot though.
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:29 PM   #9
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I have never seen a tandem travel trailer(not counting A frames) that doesn't have brakes on both axles. If it didn't and it had brake flanges, you are looking at less than $200 to add it. If the axle doesn't have the flanges, a new axle is an additional $200.
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My trailer is 24'11"...GVWR is 7000#. Mine is around 6000# loaded. Brakes on both axles.

The reason you don't see the second axle having brakes on some non travel trailers is that the manufacturers only have to have brakes that meet the requirements for weight as they leave the factory empty! That's the way it is for boat trailers and cargo trailers. My boat trailer and boat weighs close to 6000# and they only had brakes on one axle. One of the first things I did was add brakes to the second axle.

Manufacturers will put on the bare minimum to save money. You can decide if that's what you want. For me, the bare minimum is not enough. I travel down to many steep mountains. I don't want one axle's worth of brakes absorbing all the energy. If I have double the brakes, that's heat being dissipated over twice as much area.

Would you want brakes on only 2 wheels of your tow vehicle? I am sure it will stop fine with 2 wheels! Might get hot though.
Yes, manufacturers only put on what's required to do the job.

I had a 1972 24' trailer that came out with only brakes on front axle. Added brakes to the rear axles and then ended up with more brakes than I needed. Had to dial the controller down to minimum and even then brakes tended to be more "vigorous" than needed.

Of course today we have newer controller technology which helps.

Both of my TT's since 1995 came with all wheel brakes but single axle braking has and still exists as long as the manufacturers can show they meet the requirement for stopping.

One consideration however. If one only has brakes on the front axle, and they should lock up on a slippery road, the rear axle with wheels that are still turning will keep the trailer from sliding sideways. Turning tires have more traction than those that are on locked up wheels.

Just saying.
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Old 10-21-2019, 03:21 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mxtreme30 View Post
I did a search, but could not find any posts on the subject. I've noticed that the TT's with tandem axles that we've looked at only come with brakes on one axle. Is there any benefit to adding brakes to the second axle? I figured since the hub assemblies and backing plates were fairly inexpensive that the added braking force would cut down on wear and tear of both the trailer and TV. Any thoughts?
BTW: most of the TTs have been around 25' and under.
TIA!
Love your cat picture!
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Old 10-21-2019, 05:01 PM   #11
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Love your cat picture!
Thanks! It's basically how I feel in the morning before my coffee!

I appreciate everyone's input and a lot of good pro's and con's to both sides. If mine comes with only one axle with brakes I will probably go ahead and install a second set JIC one axle or one side quits working. It seems like a fairly straightforward upgrade.
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Old 10-21-2019, 05:28 PM   #12
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Thanks! It's basically how I feel in the morning before my coffee!

I appreciate everyone's input and a lot of good pro's and con's to both sides. If mine comes with only one axle with brakes I will probably go ahead and install a second set JIC one axle or one side quits working. It seems like a fairly straightforward upgrade.
Just remember what babcock said, easy job if attachment plate is on the axle so you just bolt on backing plate assembly and swap hubs for drums. Otherwise plan on just buying a complete new axle with brakes installed. More expensive but only involves unbolting old and bolting on new. Connect wires and done.

This only pertains to conventional axles mounted on springs. Torsion axles are a whole different discussion.
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Old 10-21-2019, 09:27 PM   #13
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I cannot imagine this! I have a low end cheapie, but I'm pretty sure I have brakes on all four hubs. As I recall, there are wires to every one of them. I'm 99.9% sure. But this discussion raises the hair on the back of my neck. Tomorrow morning, if it has stopped raining, I'll crawl under.
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Old 10-21-2019, 10:10 PM   #14
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I know it's not a Forest River product, but it's one of the contenders with the better half only it's the 2020 model that we like.

https://www.rvguide.com/specs/grand-...xls/17mke.html

You'll notice under "Brakes" only one axle has the electric brakes.
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Old 10-22-2019, 12:19 AM   #15
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I know it's not a Forest River product, but it's one of the contenders with the better half only it's the 2020 model that we like.

https://www.rvguide.com/specs/grand-...xls/17mke.html

You'll notice under "Brakes" only one axle has the electric brakes.
Don't believe everything you read.

This is my trailer
https://www.rvusa.com/rv-guide/2017-...233rbs-tr31456

It has brakes on all 4 wheels.
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Old 10-22-2019, 07:57 AM   #16
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Yeah, I wonder if the front and rear brakes wording is for motorhomes where the front could be disk and the rear drum.. Never seen a trailer that did not have brakes on all wheels (unless they were removed). Some states might even require all wheels to have functional brakes if required (not actually sure about my state, PA. Edit: all wheels need brakes)
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Old 10-22-2019, 08:22 AM   #17
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I have owned many tandem axle travel trailers and they all had brakes on both axles.
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Old 10-22-2019, 11:20 AM   #18
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I have owned many tandem axle travel trailers and they all had brakes on both axles.
You probably never owned a 1972 24 ft Prowler. That was a popular TT and it only came with brakes on the front axle.

Laws regarding trailer brakes are all over the board. Some states require brakes on all wheels of a towed vehicle. My state only requires trailer brakes if the trailer weighs more than 3,000 lbs.

Here's a list of trailer brake laws across the country. One needs to comply not only where they live, but where they travel.

Seems like the best approach would be to have brakes on all wheels and probably followed by mfr's today on all tandem axle equipped TT's.

Interesting thing is how some states merely have a performance requirement rather than number of brakes. Utah requires that brakes on towing combinations stop "within 40 feet from an initial speed of 20 mph on level, dry, smooth, hard surface.".

I guess that if one can do that with single axle braking they're golden.
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Old 10-22-2019, 11:39 AM   #19
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I'll be damn, if this is accurate, ours only has brakes on one axle as well. 5100# dry and 7600# GVW. I'll have to look at the wiring and the hubs.
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Old 10-22-2019, 11:55 AM   #20
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I'll be damn, if this is accurate, ours only has brakes on one axle as well. 5100# dry and 7600# GVW. I'll have to look at the wiring and the hubs.
Look at your trailer itself...My previous post shows a link that says its on one axle on mine as well but it's definitely on both axles.
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