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Old 06-02-2017, 09:12 PM   #1
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How to tell if Rockwood 1640ltd has brakes and other options?

Hello!

I am new to the world of pop ups from tent camping.

How can I tell if a 2014 Rockwood 1640ltd has trailer brakes? Can I search with the serial number to see all the options this specific trailer has?

The trailer has a 7 pole connector. But that could be to power the fridge?

My tow vehicle has a 4 pole connector so I will need some sort of adapter to connect. I assume what I purchase depends on if the trailer has brakes.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 06-03-2017, 02:32 AM   #2
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If it has a 7 pin connector, it likely has electric brakes.
Your vehicle will need to be wired for a 7 pin connector and a brake controller and a brake controller installed.

The 7 pin connector has nothing to do with running the fridge on DC. The DC side of the fridge runs on the trailer's battery. The 7 pin connector will provide a trickle charge to the battery while driving.

It sounds like it doesn't have the factory tow package.
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Old 06-03-2017, 03:13 AM   #3
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If all you have is a 4 pin, your truck needs a brake controller. An adapter ain't gonna do it.

In answer to the first question, poke your head under and look for wires going to the axles maybe. Though like bikendan said, if it's 7 pin, it likely has brakes. According to this the ltd does. http://www.ralphsrvcenter.com/new_ve...93715&CatDesc=

If I were buying a used trailer, I'd hook the 7 pin up and manually operate the brake controller. Use the seller's tv if necessary. Make sure they actually work.
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Old 06-03-2017, 04:20 AM   #4
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If the trailer has a 7 pin you just can't take for granted it has brakes. There is no requirement they used all 7 pins / conductors of the cable. A 1640LTD has a GVWR in the neighborhood of 2160 lbs. A lot of places do not require trailer brakes when the GVWR is below 3000 lbs.

We had a Palomino Y 4124 which was one of the larger popups they made at the time, 12' box with cassette toilet/shower (Shoilet). It was rated 2990 GVWR from the factory and did not have brakes. The only way to be sure is call Rockwood or physically look at it.

You can get all the parts in kit form to add brakes to a popup for around $200, and its an easy job.

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Old 06-03-2017, 12:39 PM   #5
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If it weighs more than 100lbs I would bet that it has brakes, it's the law in most states.
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Old 06-03-2017, 02:23 PM   #6
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If it weighs more than 100lbs I would bet that it has brakes, it's the law in most states.
Actually the requirement in the vast majority of states is 3000lbs or over.

These manufacturers do not put brakes on pop ups and A frames unless they absolutely have to because they can not rate the GVWR low enough. The cost to install brakes comes right off the bottom line which is low as it is.

On our 2009 Palomino 4124 they carefully rated the GVWR @ 2990.
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Old 06-03-2017, 06:07 PM   #7
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Well, I went under the pop up and it does not have electric brakes. I appreciate the help and the thought of adding them.

So, since it doesn't have brakes, what is the seven pin plug used for? My tow vehicle will have a 4 pin plug. Is there an adapter I can use to connect the two for lights and turn signals?

Thanks for everyones help !
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Old 06-03-2017, 06:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Spaceace View Post
Well, I went under the pop up and it does not have electric brakes. I appreciate the help and the thought of adding them.

So, since it doesn't have brakes, what is the seven pin plug used for? My tow vehicle will have a 4 pin plug. Is there an adapter I can use to connect the two for lights and turn signals?

Thanks for everyones help !
Just use a 7 pin on the tow vehicle and not connect blue (brakes) or orange (aux / reverse).

You would still connect brown (tail), green (rt turn), yellow (lt turn), black (12v+) and white (gnd).
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Old 06-03-2017, 06:36 PM   #9
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He doesn't have a 7 pin on his tow vehicle, hence his question. You can use a 7 to 4 adapter on the trailer to connect to the truck. That will operate tail, turn, and brake lights on the trailer. What you will be lacking is a 12 volt hot wire to help recharge the trailer battery or power 12 volt items in the trailer.
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Old 06-03-2017, 07:06 PM   #10
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I had the same question on my 2011 Rockwood Freedom 1940LTD. I contacted Forest River with the Trailer S/N and Tim Brumbaugh promptly got back to me to confirm my trailer was indeed built with brakes. Suggest you contact Tim at:

tbrumbaugh@forestriverinc.com
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Old 06-05-2017, 08:48 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by CedarCreekWoody View Post
He doesn't have a 7 pin on his tow vehicle, hence his question. You can use a 7 to 4 adapter on the trailer to connect to the truck. That will operate tail, turn, and brake lights on the trailer. What you will be lacking is a 12 volt hot wire to help recharge the trailer battery or power 12 volt items in the trailer.
Thanks for the help, that is exactly what I want to do.

I've seen adapters online at etrailer that mention 7 pin on vehicle to 4 pin on trailer. My situation is the opposite. Does that matter?
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Old 06-05-2017, 08:51 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Tiguan Tow r View Post
I had the same question on my 2011 Rockwood Freedom 1940LTD. I contacted Forest River with the Trailer S/N and Tim Brumbaugh promptly got back to me to confirm my trailer was indeed built with brakes. Suggest you contact Tim at:

tbrumbaugh@forestriverinc.com
Thanks - I sent an email today.

I'm learning about 12v and 110 power so I'm also hoping the pop up has a converter so I can power 12v items from 110 power. Do you know if yours does?

Also, since you have one already, do you know what the hitch height for the trailer is? I'm picking one up and trying to figure the rise I need for my hitch.

Thank you !
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Old 06-05-2017, 11:58 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Spaceace View Post
Thanks for the help, that is exactly what I want to do.

I've seen adapters online at etrailer that mention 7 pin on vehicle to 4 pin on trailer. My situation is the opposite. Does that matter?
Yes, it matters a lot! You want an adapter that is 7 pin female and 4 pin male. They are commonly available. Many auto parts stores sell them. Take your truck, get one that fits. That way you won't get confused.
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Old 06-05-2017, 12:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceace View Post
Thanks - I sent an email today.

I'm learning about 12v and 110 power so I'm also hoping the pop up has a converter so I can power 12v items from 110 power.
ALL RVs come with CONverters.
Yours has one unless a previous owner removed it.
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Old 06-07-2017, 11:53 AM   #15
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Ditto on the recommendation to call Forest River. I've called them and they are VERY helpful.

It isn't clear from your original question, but it sounds as if you are looking at (or for) a used camper, perhaps via private sale (or dealer). If so, it's incumbent on the seller to demonstrate the features of the camper. The seller should set it up and demo ALL features....including hooking it up to a tow vehicle and demonstrating any brakes using the trailer brake controller manual braking feature. You should be able to feel the trailer brakes slowing the tow vehicle and trailer, and doing it well.

Other crucial demonstrations:
Lift mechanism - manual or power;
Fridge - on all power supplies, ESPECIALLY propane;
Water pump;
Hot water heater (if so equipped);
Furnace;
Gray/Black water tanks and valves (if so equipped);
Toilet flush (if so equipped);
Trailer lighting - both running lights (tail, signal, brake lights and side markers) and service lights (interior and exterior);
Interior/Exterior AC power - outlets, appliances (e.g. microwave), stereo/TV (if equipped);
And so on.

Another way to know if your trailer has brakes is that all trailers equipped with brakes have an emergency trailer brake switch that is activated by a thin steel cable tether that connects to the tow vehicle. This is in addition to the safety chains and power umbilical cord. This is nothing more than a plastic tab that keeps two contacts apart in a switch block on the A-Frame. Pull the tether cable and the plastic divider pulls out, the contacts touch, and the brakes are applied by the trailer battery on a "runaway trailer." I park my trailer on a flat spot at the top of a steep hill, and I have to spin my trailer manually in this tight space. I tie a rope to my emergency brake switch when trundling it about the driveway with a tongue dolly, just in case it gets away from me.

If your question is more about "shopping" and choosing a model, and if you want to be sure to have a trailer with trailer brakes (say, for mountain driving), it's a pretty safe bet that a trailer that does not REQUIRE brakes - say one that weighs around 2000 pounds - will not have them. My previous Viking was 2100 pounds GVWR, and it had 12" wheels with no brakes. That's par for the course. Brakes add a lot of cost, complexity, and weight to a trailer, so, as a rule of thumb, if it doesn't need them, it won't have them.

My opinion on brakes/no-brakes is that, if the trailer is heavy, it needs brakes. If it's light, it doesn't. Brakes are not a deciding factor in choosing a trailer. If the trailer needs them by law, it will have them. Choosing a heavy trailer because it has brakes provides no advantage in the mountains over towing a lighter trailer that has no brakes. Compared to the brakes on your car, trailer brakes are, frankly, pathetic. Electrically activated drum brakes may be better than no brakes at all, but only barely. They are poor substitutes for hydraulically actuated disk brakes on your car.

Another consideration. Since your tow vehicle doesn't have a 7 pin connector, it is obviously not setup as a serious tow vehicle (with a towing package). Yes, you can retrofit, but many other components of your tow vehicle will NOT be upgraded for towing: transmission cooler, larger capacity radiator, proper towing final drive ratio, standard alternator, standard signal flasher, and, and, and... If your tow vehicle has a 4 pin connector, as Jeff Foxworthy says, "There's your sign." Going heavy may overtax your tow vehicle, regardless of its claimed tow rating.

Finally, regarding braking. It's important to use your transmission gearing to control speed - NOT the brakes. Brakes are for stopping. On long downhills, shift down, just as the truckers do. With a manual, this is obvious. With an automatic, however, manual shifting is also possible, but surprisingly few do it. Most vehicles can safely maintain "highway" speeds in lower gears, especially on long downhills. Save the brakes for when you really need them. I've followed many Fivers down mountains with smoke pouring out of their brakes...especially when pulled by diesels which provide little or no engine braking unless equipped with a "Jake brake". God help them if they have to stop!

The same is true on long uphill grades. Downshift manually to keep the engine in the peak of the powerband AND to avoid wear and tear on the transmission from all the shifting up and down. Most uphill grades are also somewhat twisty, so you hit the gas and force a downshift on the straights, then lift off for the turn. The transmission upshifts, then comes the next straight and a kickdown downshift--all under load. This puts a lot of unjustified strain on the clutches, etc. and it will shorten the life of your transmission. It also subjects your passengers to a lot of herky-jerky shifting rather than the smoother experience of simply staying in the proper gear as you would with a manual.

If your vehicle has a tachometer, you have a gauge for safe engine RPM. If not, take your tow vehicle out on a long straight and floor it. Note the speeds where it shifts at full throttle. At or below those shift points are safe engine RPMs for the particular gear. It's likely that these shift points will be at startlingly faster speeds than you expect, so if you are conservative, stay about 10 MPH under the shift point speed for any gear, and your engine will be happy. Also, the final shift into top gear will likely be at "extra-legal" speeds, so do your testing discreetly!

Braking technique - on long downhills, if you are picking up too much speed, stand on the brakes somewhat hard for a few seconds, scrub off speed, and then get off them and allow them to cool. "Dragging" the brakes lightly over a long period of time will have the so hot that they are glowing red. Cooling is crucial to stopping power. P.S. forget overdrive.

I missed a bunch of the thread, so I apologize if I am repeating or if the discussion has moved on.
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmoore13 View Post
Ditto on the recommendation to call Forest River. I've called them and they are VERY helpful.

It isn't clear from your original question, but it sounds as if you are looking at (or for) a used camper, perhaps via private sale (or dealer). If so, it's incumbent on the seller to demonstrate the features of the camper. The seller should set it up and demo ALL features....including hooking it up to a tow vehicle and demonstrating any brakes using the trailer brake controller manual braking feature. You should be able to feel the trailer brakes slowing the tow vehicle and trailer, and doing it well.

Other crucial demonstrations:
Lift mechanism - manual or power;
Fridge - on all power supplies, ESPECIALLY propane;
Water pump;
Hot water heater (if so equipped);
Furnace;
Gray/Black water tanks and valves (if so equipped);
Toilet flush (if so equipped);
Trailer lighting - both running lights (tail, signal, brake lights and side markers) and service lights (interior and exterior);
Interior/Exterior AC power - outlets, appliances (e.g. microwave), stereo/TV (if equipped);
And so on.

Another way to know if your trailer has brakes is that all trailers equipped with brakes have an emergency trailer brake switch that is activated by a thin steel cable tether that connects to the tow vehicle. This is in addition to the safety chains and power umbilical cord. This is nothing more than a plastic tab that keeps two contacts apart in a switch block on the A-Frame. Pull the tether cable and the plastic divider pulls out, the contacts touch, and the brakes are applied by the trailer battery on a "runaway trailer." I park my trailer on a flat spot at the top of a steep hill, and I have to spin my trailer manually in this tight space. I tie a rope to my emergency brake switch when trundling it about the driveway with a tongue dolly, just in case it gets away from me.

If your question is more about "shopping" and choosing a model, and if you want to be sure to have a trailer with trailer brakes (say, for mountain driving), it's a pretty safe bet that a trailer that does not REQUIRE brakes - say one that weighs around 2000 pounds - will not have them. My previous Viking was 2100 pounds GVWR, and it had 12" wheels with no brakes. That's par for the course. Brakes add a lot of cost, complexity, and weight to a trailer, so, as a rule of thumb, if it doesn't need them, it won't have them.

My opinion on brakes/no-brakes is that, if the trailer is heavy, it needs brakes. If it's light, it doesn't. Brakes are not a deciding factor in choosing a trailer. If the trailer needs them by law, it will have them. Choosing a heavy trailer because it has brakes provides no advantage in the mountains over towing a lighter trailer that has no brakes. Compared to the brakes on your car, trailer brakes are, frankly, pathetic. Electrically activated drum brakes may be better than no brakes at all, but only barely. They are poor substitutes for hydraulically actuated disk brakes on your car.

Another consideration. Since your tow vehicle doesn't have a 7 pin connector, it is obviously not setup as a serious tow vehicle (with a towing package). Yes, you can retrofit, but many other components of your tow vehicle will NOT be upgraded for towing: transmission cooler, larger capacity radiator, proper towing final drive ratio, standard alternator, standard signal flasher, and, and, and... If your tow vehicle has a 4 pin connector, as Jeff Foxworthy says, "There's your sign." Going heavy may overtax your tow vehicle, regardless of its claimed tow rating.

Finally, regarding braking. It's important to use your transmission gearing to control speed - NOT the brakes. Brakes are for stopping. On long downhills, shift down, just as the truckers do. With a manual, this is obvious. With an automatic, however, manual shifting is also possible, but surprisingly few do it. Most vehicles can safely maintain "highway" speeds in lower gears, especially on long downhills. Save the brakes for when you really need them. I've followed many Fivers down mountains with smoke pouring out of their brakes...especially when pulled by diesels which provide little or no engine braking unless equipped with a "Jake brake". God help them if they have to stop!

The same is true on long uphill grades. Downshift manually to keep the engine in the peak of the powerband AND to avoid wear and tear on the transmission from all the shifting up and down. Most uphill grades are also somewhat twisty, so you hit the gas and force a downshift on the straights, then lift off for the turn. The transmission upshifts, then comes the next straight and a kickdown downshift--all under load. This puts a lot of unjustified strain on the clutches, etc. and it will shorten the life of your transmission. It also subjects your passengers to a lot of herky-jerky shifting rather than the smoother experience of simply staying in the proper gear as you would with a manual.

If your vehicle has a tachometer, you have a gauge for safe engine RPM. If not, take your tow vehicle out on a long straight and floor it. Note the speeds where it shifts at full throttle. At or below those shift points are safe engine RPMs for the particular gear. It's likely that these shift points will be at startlingly faster speeds than you expect, so if you are conservative, stay about 10 MPH under the shift point speed for any gear, and your engine will be happy. Also, the final shift into top gear will likely be at "extra-legal" speeds, so do your testing discreetly!

Braking technique - on long downhills, if you are picking up too much speed, stand on the brakes somewhat hard for a few seconds, scrub off speed, and then get off them and allow them to cool. "Dragging" the brakes lightly over a long period of time will have the so hot that they are glowing red. Cooling is crucial to stopping power. P.S. forget overdrive.

I missed a bunch of the thread, so I apologize if I am repeating or if the discussion has moved on.
Just two things in regards to diesel engines and engine braking:

1. There is no such thing as engine braking on a diesel, unless it is equipped with an exhaust brake. If you don't have an exhaust brake and you attempt to brake by downshifting... you are probably going to break (lol!) something by overrevving your transmission. Gas engines can engine brake by throttling the flow of air into the engine. Diesels can't do that.

2. A Jake brake and an exhaust brake are two different things. I don't know of any consumer grade trucks that have a jake brake, which is tied in to the valve train. The newer Fords and Rams do have exhaust brakes though.
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:45 PM   #17
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Thanks for the help, that is exactly what I want to do.

I've seen adapters online at etrailer that mention 7 pin on vehicle to 4 pin on trailer. My situation is the opposite. Does that matter?
Yes it matters...as another Jeff Foxworthy message.
A TV with a heavy towing capacity will have a 7-pin connector, and it can tow a light trailer using a supplied 4-pin pigtail or a 7-pin to 4-pin adapter. My Dodge has both.

Reversing the scenario is possible, but these adapters are less common, because it's not exactly recommended. The implication is that you are using a TV with limited towing capacity to haul a trailer that is too heavy AND has brakes...and you are disabling the brakes. A recipe for disaster.
But, used judiciously, it should pose no problem.

The only reasons why a trailer would have a 7 pin pigtail with no brakes is that the manufacturer didn't want to waste inventory on two wiring harnesses. But given the cost of the 7 pin pigtail vs. a 4 pin, that seems very unlikely. On Amazon, retail for a 7 pin pigtail is about $30 and you can buy an entire 4 pin wiring harness for about $12. It also creates a hardship for trailer buyers when the trailer doesn't need the wiring capacity for brakes, and their tow vehicle needs to be modified to accommodate the 7-pin adapter.

There is another concern. Is it possible that the trailer SHOULD have brakes but the original axle was replaced with one that doesn't have brakes? Not cool. Look closely at the running gear for evidence of cut brake wires and a replacement axle. Maybe the original owner spun a bearing, ruined the spindle and had to buy a new axle...and went cheap.

Here is an adapter that will do the job: https://www.amazon.com/CURT-57184-4-...iler+connector
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:57 PM   #18
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Spaceace:

You may be on the right track thinking power for the fridge.

When I bought my Coleman popup (25 yrs ago), it came with a standard 4 pin connector for the running/brake/turn signal lights. It also had a separate 2-pin connector for hooking up 12VDC ("aux power") from the tow vehicle to power the 12VDC fridge while on the road. (Note that the 2nd pin was just a duplicate ground to the 4-pin's ground.)

I didn't like having to hook up two different connectors, so I rewired the 4-pin and the aux power into a single 7-pin connector. I then rewired my tow vehicle to a 7-pin connector. So the previous owner of your PUP may have done something similar.

My Coleman's tail lights also had backup lights built in, so I wired them up in the 7-pin, too.
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Old 06-07-2017, 05:17 PM   #19
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Joliet Jake Brake and the Blues

Quote:
Originally Posted by m35a2 View Post
Just two things in regards to diesel engines and engine braking:

2. A Jake brake and an exhaust brake are two different things. I don't know of any consumer grade trucks that have a jake brake, which is tied in to the valve train. The newer Fords and Rams do have exhaust brakes though.
Joliet Jake brakes are technically exhaust brakes in that they activate the exhaust valve to dump compressed air, but they are only built into large diesels from the get go. Small diesels in pickup class and similar rely on factory or aftermarket exhaust brakes.

For the purposes of this thread, using the generic term, "Jake Brake" seemed adequate since it has nothing to do with the original poster's tow vehicle, but you are correct that Jake Brakes and Exhaust Brakes are different technology that both exploit the exhaust system to increase pumping losses which, in turn, increases engine braking. And a typical pickup diesel has very little engine braking without one.


This runaway engine revs problem may also plague diesel sedans and SUVs...even a VW TDI...unless they are equipped with Jake - er, exhaust - brakes.
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