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Nara17

Trailer Towing Question

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I have a 2006 F-150 with trailer tow package but I've never had ocassion to pull with it because I do not own a trailer.

My question for the day...

Can I pull a 2 horse trailer (no idea on weight, but straightload, no dressing room) with 2 horses (about 2500 together) with my truck, as is? Or do I need to have a brake system installed?

My friend called pepboys to find out, and they told her that if we pull as is, the trailer will be brakeless, it will destroy the brakes on my car, that the plug that goes into my truck from the trailer is just for lights etc... But he's also trying to sell her the extra brake system so he's not exactly reliable haha.

Now she's freaked and won't pull the trailer. She was supposed to be hauling my 2 horses with my truck, because I (as a person) have never pulled a trailer. And I of course do not want to risk it if the guy is telling the truth, cause these are babies.

Anybody here have experience with this? Can I tow without the extra brake hookup?

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Pepboys is quite right...towing won't be the problem, stopping WILL be. If the trailer doesn't have a braking system, all the inertia created by the trailer will have to be stopped with your truck brakes alone...and that can wear your brakes out rather quickly. I learned that the hard way!! Luckily, I wasn't hauling when my brakes blew up on me...but I WAS planning on hauling the very next day. Close call. I got my brake box installed ASAP and have very happily been towing with my F150 ever since.

Now, does the trailer you will be hauling HAVE brakes at all? If it does, all you need to do with your truck in plug in a brake box (mine cost $79 at pepboys) because your truck is already wired for towing (part of the towing package)

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What he isnt telling you is that, yes it will destroy your brakes.....

just faster...Not immediately [smiley Wavey]

So if you hauled alot without trailer brakes, you will need to replace them often. Trailer brakes are a rarety around here on 2ht even in the mnts. Everyone pulls steel 2HTs with 150s and downshifts down the hills.

If you go slowly and drive carefully with plenty of distance, it should be fine to tow occasionally without brakes so long as your truck is rated to tow the weight you are carrying.

But Serah is right, its better if you plan to haul alot to have brakes...People around here just replace their brakes tho lol..

Edited by Trinity

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I know people who have done it, but it's not safe. The brakes on the trailer are there for a reason. That's a whole lotta weight behind with no stopping power.

I think friend should probably take a bit of time and do some research on the mechanics of pulling. It only takes one mistake to end up with a disaster.

I don't mean that to sound mean, but harsh. Too many people haul who really have no business doing it.

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Thanks guys!

Serah - pepboys here quoted us as $300. Which isn't really worth it for me currently. I believe the trailer has electric brakes.

Trinity - I could never do that in your area haha. When we were down there I used my brakes a lot just to get my truck around the curves and down the hills safely haha.

Spacy - The reason we were going to take my truck instead of hers is she wants a mechanic to clear it for towing first because she bought a lot model and doesn't really know what she has, whereas I know I have the trailer tow package.

I feel like the whole brake system should be included in the trailer tow package....so it's safe for pulling trailers. As the name implies...crazy world we live in.

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Thanks guys!

Serah - pepboys here quoted us as $300. Which isn't really worth it for me currently. I believe the trailer has electric brakes.

Since your truck already has the towing package, it *should* be wired already, all you need to do is buy the brake box. You can install it yourself, all you have to do it plug it in, really. Pepboys was probably quoting you the wiring installation. Look under your trucks steering column, there should be some wiring with a little open prong just waiting for something to plug into it. That's what you plug the brakebox into. Brake boxes cost between $50-$150, depending on the kind you buy.

If pepboys isn't being very helpful, I recommend O'Reilly's. They are GREAT, in my area anyway!! I went to pepboys, napa, and a few other locally owned places before I finally went to O'Reilly's for something...and yea...they didn't run me around in circles trying to convince me, they just gave me what I needed, showed me what to do, and sent me on my merry lil way! lol (plus, it was a female worker who was able to answer the question that NONE of the men workers at the other places knew how to answer!! lol)

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Man, youd think we would have a mass of trailer accidents around here with all the non-brakebox towing 150s we have around here...

Should you do it alot? No probably not, Can you do it if needed with reasonable safety and the weight is within the trucks parameters of capability? Yes.

Seriously? It can be done...safely.....if your truck is rated to tow the weight and in good mechanical condition. Granted, I now have a 250 but I dont have trailer brakes. Never have. Even when I had my 4HGN. I bet 1 out of 10 trailers around here have working trailer brakes of the weekend riders who trail ride regularly. My best freind hauls her steel 2H with a 150 regularly for the last...I dunno...7 years or something? She is a safe trailer puller and knows her vehical.

The only recent trailer accident was when the gals trailer popped off the ball on a hill and the safety chains didnt hold ( what is with some of these so-called safety chains??) . Now THAT scares me.

Just sayin...

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Thanks guys!

Serah - pepboys here quoted us as $300. Which isn't really worth it for me currently. I believe the trailer has electric brakes.

Some U-haul places can also install brake boxes. I had them install one on my F250 for about 80-100.

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Install a break controller. If there is an accident and it is discovered that you did not have breaks...the insurance company may not cover you and you open yourself up to countless other problems.

It is a small price to pay for 'peace of mind' and safety.

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As others have said...if you're on flat ground, have ample room to stop, etc, you're fine.

But it is harder on the vehicle without the brake box. If the trailer is set up for the electric brakes, it's smart to get the brake box installed (and learn how to adjust!)

You CAN tow with all manner of vehicles. Heck, even mine is rated to tow. (I wouldn't)

Thing is, God protects the ignorant. Once you know better, you are screwed! And now you know better. ;)

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Broo is right I'm afraid - LOL! If you have the tow package, than as was said, you are already wired up and it would be pretty inexpensive to buy a break box and plug it in. Plus, if your friend will be getting her truck eventually set up to haul the trailer, then she could buy the box from you (or just have her buy it now) and then use the same one in her truck...

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Thanks again ladies, always interesting to hear the different takes on it.

My friend got someone to look at her truck and she found that she was completely set up for hauling. Several hours after the whole thing started, we hit the road to go find the trailer which we were borrowing from a friend of a friend. Took us awhile to find it but not overly long to hook it up. Coming out the drive it felt odd but we double checked all connections and tires, and chalked it up to the driveway. Of course once we hit a point on the road where we actually had to stop, it felt bad. We detoured back to my friends house, making extra slow starts and stops to keep the jolting away. Then we call the trailer owner....brakes went out, she didn't fix them cause she doesn't use them.

So now the trailer is at my friend's house, and I have to hire someone to move my guys. There's $200 that would have been nice to avoid [surrender]

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You need a brake box. Period. Way to dangerous to haul without.

And illegal in my state.

All two axle trailers must have brake systems on the trailer, plus breakaway chains, plus an emergency brake (stops the trailer if it comes off the truck).

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Glad no one was hurt.

Bottom line is, if you're not educated enough to know you don't have trailer brakes, or that your own truck is or isn't wired to tow, you shouldn't tow.

Not saying this to you, saying this about your friend.

Why did she not test the brakes when she bought the trailer? Or even think to ask? Or is this not her trailer?

How did she not know she's wasn't set up for hauling? Is there a brake box in the truck? That would have been the Captain Obvious thing. Again, if she's not that experienced, she shouldn't do it.

I suppose it would be ok to do on flat roads but in our area with all the elevation changes and hills, its not a good idea. Especially because roads around here have so many blind turns. Its hard to "slam" on the brakes with the proper braking, with no brakes you're asking for an accident.

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.............it's HOW the trailer brakes stop the trailer.

The trailer - and particularly with horses on - can be like trying to stop a wet noodle if you have to brake suddenly or in wet driving conditions. It can very easily pivot on the ball and jack knife forward.

Matter of fact there are conditions where only the manual brake under the dash should be applied lightly (think throwing a boat anchor over the side) and not use truck brakes at all.

My suggestion actually would be to spend the little bit extra and get a digital braking system.

Be safe.

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Just had trailer/plug work done yesterday because my brakes wouldn't work and I had to haul 2 for coggins. Glad I did, I had a car stop quicker than I anticipated. If I hadn't had the brakes working, the trailer and 2 ponies would have pushed me into the car ahead of me. I had left plenty of room, or so I thought. So, I will not pull without brakes working. Oh, I have a f150 w/towing.

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I hauled for years with a small 2-horse equipped with a surge brake and my '98 F-150 equipped with towing package. If you know how to trailer there shouldn't be any issue at all. It is not illegal in PA, and I never found it to be unsafe. If I had been doing some major hills, I probs would have wanted a brake, but that's not the lay of the land here.

Of course, as Mo's Mom said, there is always the possibility of a problem. Just saying I never had one.

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I hauled a 2H bumper pull for YEARS with out brakes... First time I hauled a trailer with brakes, I will never haul with out one again.

I had a one ton dodge and hauled my friends 4 horse stock trailer with 4 horses and a little pony in it. I was wishing that it had brakes. (desperate times kinda thing). I had to increase my stopping distance by 4X normal to stop safely with out brakes. In that situation there is no leaving enough room because people WILL get in front of you and stop.

Spacey, I get what you are saying but.... we all had to learn at some point in time about towing trailers and all that entails. I wouldn't be to down on the OP or the friend... after all, the OP is here asking questions that I"m sure she's passing the info on to the friend. I mean, when I bought my first horse, I wasn't given a manual on proper towing and what brake boxes looked like.

Now, that being said, if the OP (or friend) now knowing about brakes continues to haul without... they get what's coming to them.

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Not to hijack, but to maybe expand on this a little.....

I've got my new 3H slant with brakes, and my 09 F150 with full towing package plus built in digital brake box.

I've hauled the trailer empty but not yet loaded. I'm in the Texas Flat Country - no hills around here.

How do you set your digital braking box correctly? There's a default of "somewhere in the middle" but I've not ever used a digital one (I've only used an old fashioned manual one years ago) and would love a quick lesson site or something with advice.

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Mine is digital. This is what my trailer guy did...I was sitting with him.

We set it at 50....

Empty trailer

Went on a flat, empty stretch of road. Hit breaks, if the trailer brakes lock and slide before you completely stop..back off a bit, we went to 45...

try again...We wanted to feel like the trailer was not hindering or actually pulling back on the truck when you have to just slow down, but when you have to stop, like at a light or stop sign that the trailer does not push you. I actually experimented quite a bit. Then when I went home, I live on a gravel road, tried again at about 5mph to a stop, and the trailer locked and slides just a little.

Next time when I took one pony, first before I left, I tapped brakes first on my dirt road to make sure the breaks were stopping the trailer first, I had to up it to 50.

I took Mo and Zeke yesterday, checked the brakes at the first stop sign, felt pushed just a little...2 this time in trailer..upped it to 60.... perfect. The trailer felt like it wasn't behind me, but the brakes weren't causing it to jerk, or skid at a stop sign.

So, everyone likes it a little different, I have to up or down it a little for the different weights.

Hope this helped. [smiley Wavey]

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I had a 2002 F150 and I used it to haul a 3H angle haul steel trailer around. I did have the brake controller installed but after my first trip out & back with the trailer, I realized the trailer's brakes were NOT working. So the truck was having to do all of the work to stop the trailer. You *can* do it but if you have to stop in a hurry, you are screwed.

When I had my brakes replaced, I had to have the rotors replaced as well because they got so hot they warped and didn't work properly. Getting those replaced is a LOT more expensive than just buying a brake box in the first place.

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Digital here too..................one ton dually with a camper on most of the year........two horse steal slant load with one horse hauled, but with every piece of tack I own and a 50 gallon (500 pounds) water tank in the tack room.

I have mine set to 45 as well.

:)

The trailer - and particularly with horses on - can be like trying to stop a wet noodle if you have to brake suddenly or in wet driving conditions. It can very easily pivot on the ball and jack knife forward.

And BTW.........I meant wet noodle if you don't have brakes on the trailer...........

Edited by Cactus Rose

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My husband & I both have brake boxes in our trucks. We each have to adjust the brake box controller for our own personal preference. He likes it to have more bite because he tends to stop later than I do. I like it to have a little less cause I start slowing down way before I have to stop.

If we are driving in traffic (went through STL and Kansas City rush hours one trip), I have them way up incase someone gets in front of me and I have to stop fast. Country roads, it's turned down.

We also have a dump trailer that the brakes don't work on. I HATE HATE HATE driving with it behind me when it's got a couple ton of rock on there. Even with my husband's dually it just feels like I'm being shoved forward even when I allow ample time to get slowed down to stop.

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I get it, journey, and I hope the OP knows I'm not ragging on her. I just know the area, and would hate for something bad to happen. This area is SO hilly and windy. And people fly around turns and its lots of braking and accelerating.

Driving a truck/trailer is serious business. Its not something I think people should experiment and learn. I personally think that anyone who hauls anything over a certain size/weight should have a CDL. We have to get a permit to drive a car, and THEN try for a drivers license. It should be the same if you are hauling any sort of real weight.

My husband got his CDL and taught me the basics and without that knowledge I'd be up a creek if I got in trouble.

If its an emergency, then sure, by all means do what you gotta do. But IMO, if its for a fun trip or to move horses, it can wait until all the ducks are in a row.

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I also have to set mine different than when Hubby is driving. It also depends on what horse I am hauling or where I am driving how I set mine.

Mine you stop in gear and put you foot on brake, then adjust the numbers to your setting. Then I pull up a ways and hit brake to see if I like the feel of the stop I get from that setting.

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Next time when I took one pony, first before I left, I tapped brakes first on my dirt road to make sure the breaks were stopping the trailer first, I had to up it to 50.

I took Mo and Zeke yesterday, checked the brakes at the first stop sign, felt pushed just a little...2 this time in trailer..upped it to 60.... perfect. The trailer felt like it wasn't behind me, but the brakes weren't causing it to jerk, or skid at a stop sign.

Ya.............like that ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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I have a '99 F150 that I tow with and I have a digital brake box. It was under $30. The truck has all the wiring you need, you should be able to reach under the driver side dash and find the wiring harness. The plug near the hitch is for brakes and lights.

I must have a different type then you guys. I have two settings, one for the braking "power", which is perfect for me at 3, and braking "aggressiveness" which I keep at 7. Quotes because I'm sure those aren't the technical terms LOL

I practiced quite a bit trucking without horses before I ever loaded up. Lots of backing up, lots of quick stops, driving on back roads and highways, etc. Good luck to your friend, she'll get the hang of it.

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