is it ok to have one brake on a tandem axle car hauler?
I am considering a 7x16 wood deck car hauler for the touring. It comes with one brake. I thought two was better but would rather not put out the expense of another brake if one is ok.
Thanks in advance, Bob
It is ok for very light loads My tandem that I haul cars on (you can never be sure what car you will be hauling wife / friend etc) has 4 brakes I would be concerned if you got on a slippery surface 1 brake would pull to the side making a bad situation worse!
C.R. I think he means on only one axle.
My recommendation is to have brakes on all axles. You never know what you will be hauling once you get the trailer and I like to keep my options open. Also with brakes on both axles, the braking force needed will be distributed over 4 wheels instead of two increasing the life of the components.
One axle braking on both sides should not cause a pull to the side.
I prefer both axles having brakes. You never know how quick you need to stop in and emergency.
Iv found that at times where hard braking is a must the 4 brakes I have on my tandem trailer have saved my bacon more than once. I remember once while taking the touring car to Ohio a tractor trailer passed me and did not judge his distance before pulling back into the right lane. If it wasn't for those four brakes on the trailer I feel that I could not have slowed down enough to miss that big rigs trailer from hitting me.
John I have seen trailers sold with one brake on one wheel usually the forward most wheel on the left side and I don't know how they (the manufacturers get away with that.
Well Robert, What is your car worth to you? Let that guide your decision. For me, two axles 4 brakes - nothing less!
I think it is often too easy for those with deep pockets to vote for four brakes. Those on a budget need to find another way that will still work. My brand new enclosed trailer is a single axle with brakes and it works great even with the brake controller set at half power. The key is how you drive it. You should have no problems if you take a serious attitude when trailering. Driving 120 kph or more with any trailer is asking for trouble. I set my cruise control at 100 and keep my distance letting everything go around me. I pay close attention to everything and focus on getting there safely. Can't afford double brakes? Go slower.
Pulling a 24 touring I found brakes on. 1 axle was fine. With my John Deere tractor on my new trailer with brakes on both axles I do not want to go over 45 mph. On a new trailer brakes on the second axle adds about $100 . If I found a good used flat bed with brakes on 1 axle at a good price, I think it would be fine for a Model T hauler.
Thanks, it sounds wiser to go with brakes on both axles, even if one axle would still suffice.
One advantage of only having brakes on one axle of a tandem trailer is this;
If those brakes go into lockup on a hard stop, the trailer will continue to track straight behind you. This can be especially important if you are towing in slippery conditions. Lets say a icy road or serious rain. IF you lock up all 4 trailer wheels in slippery conditions it WILL want to come around and pass you and it will happen in a BIG hurry. This is especially true if the tow vehicle has ABS braking (which most of us have now).
Just something to consider if towing in slippery conditions. And those slippery conditions can appear VERY quickly on a paved road where there has been NO rain for sometime. A thin layer of oil builds up on the pavement and takes awhile to wash away. Of course that would NEVER happen in California!!
Further, if you decided you wanted to add brakes to the other axle, the parts are VERY reasonably priced. I have found that a NEW backing plate assembly is less than $80.00 and a new hub/drum with NEW bearings is similarly priced. This is assuming that the axle has the mounting flange which they usually have
Mine only has brakes on one axle. I have considered adding them to the other one, but never got around to it. I have had panic stops with Model T's and heavier stuff (Farmall H) with no problems. Not to say it is ideal, but it is OK. I may still add the second set of brakes one day.
C.R. Read your second post. I've never seen that. They shouldn't be able to get away with brakes on only one wheel. Even on a dry road it could get tricky.
I have towed as much as 6500lb on my car trailer. It has brakes on one axle, I wish I had them on both, but hauling anything up to the official limit of 5000Lb brakes on one axle seems adequate.
Biggest thing I can say is get a good controller, if you have a Ford pickup F150 since 2009 with towing package get the built in controller your dealer can add it and program. The factory controller makes an unbelievable difference, very nice, works with the trucks stability control system and the ABS.
For the cost of putting a second set of brakes on the trailer, it is well worth it.
I am a firm believer that all car trailers manufactured now should have brakes on all axles, just as cars do.
Check your state laws.
Here in MN, car trailers are required to have brakes on all axles.
I would retro fit brakes to the other axle. And might I add to solder and shrinkwrap all wire connections.
I just spent 4 hours a couple weeks ago ridding my brake wiring from the quick connectors they use for wiring when they built the trailer. They have caused so many headaches with my lighting which I finally fixed a couple years ago, but the issues finally crept into my brake wiring--of course at an inopertune time.
Be safe, do it once, do it right.
And as mentioned, some States require on all axles. This could net you a ticket if you happen to another state that requires it, even if yours doesn't.
Greg Kuhnash, I agree about the Ford F150 controller. I have the newest F150 and I ordered it with the towing package to pull my former trailer that had no brakes at all. Later, I switched to a trailer with brakes and added the factory controller, installing it myself in minutes. It was then just a matter of finding a dealer that wouldn't hose me for an hours labor to switch it on. Some dealers think all their customers are mechanically stupid. Yes that controller is perfection. You can't beat the factory.
Amen to soldering and shrinkwraping all wire connections. If you don't do this you may find that you have no trailer brakes.
(Message edited by paulmikeska on October 21, 2014)
It seems a little ironic to worry much about brakes on only one axle when we own Model Ts. :-)
John Carter yep it's ironic but have you considered your paradigm shift when you get behind the wheel of a model T ...nothing like it!
I had the occasion where brakes only worked on one side of the trailer and it did try to steer the tow vehicle in the opposite direction. I personally would not go for it. Brakes on just one axle work fine but on both wheels. I didn't know you could get a trailer with brakes on only one wheel. Sounds goofy to me.
Is this a new or used trailer ?
The Motor Vehicle Laws in your state determine the requirements for brakes ...
Generally - any trailer with a GVWR of 3000 pounds or more and/or having more than one axle requires electric brakes on all axles.
Invest in a new tandem axle car hauler.
Open trailers usually are $3000 or less.
If you are contemplating buying a used trailer,
take someone with you with lots of experience.
I haven't seen anyone yet mention if you have brakes on only ONE axle make sure it is the REAR axle.
If the brakes are on the front axle, when they are applied the rotational force lifts the equalizer at the back of the spring, drives the rear axle down and lifts the front axle and the tire leaves a nice skid mark to prove the brakes are working.
If the brakes are on the REAR axle, when they are applied the rear axle wants to push itself into the road harder and lift the front axle putting more force on the rear axle. With a load on the trailer the rear brakes are much more effective than front axle only brakes.
Trailer braking requirements vary from state to state. Here is a list of all state requirements by state:
When you drive a model T with no front brakes you should drive it like it has no brakes.
When you haul a model T on a trailer with no brakes you should drive like you have no brakes.
Damned if I am gonna spend two years income for a used 3/4 ton pickup and a tandem axle trailer with four wheel brakes to haul a T when I've been doing it with a single axle trailer and no brakes on the trailer for forty years behind four cylinder pick ups and vans.
I've had some panic stops too, but I wasn't doing 70 MPH in heavy traffic.
Ya, I know Bud, I'm one of those stupid "single axle" guys that is risking his life just pulling out of the garage and driveway.
I also walk across streets, ride bicycles and drive a model T occasionally. And when I watch TV in my house I never hook my seat belt.
Aaron,I have always read your post and valued your view point!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think your wrong about single axel's but if you drive with your brain your ok! Most do not!!!!!!!!!!! Back in the 18 speed,34' dump trailer with 6 axel's 3 up 3 down!!!!! Bud.
My Wells Cargo auto hauler (18'enclosed) came with one axle brakes. Both wheels. That was 15 years and many miles ago. Stops as good as it gets.
Bud, you may be shocked to know that I often drive with 3 of my family members in the rear seat of my single rear axle car!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You're going to be shocked to find out about all the folks that ride a motorcycle with two people on it! And no seat belts.
That's more risky than hauling a T on a single axle trailer at 50MPH.
In fact one of the most dangerous things that can happen is to have a rear tire blow on a passenger car while at speed. A front will pull to one side, a rear blowout will often cause the car to fishtail.
I think we should start a campaign to get all those damned single rear axle cars off the road before more people get hurt.
They need two rear axles with six ply tires to be safe.
You're just not safe without the best. There's no such thing as overkill when tearing down the road at 55 MPH with humans in the car or truck.
I have a 2000 lb boat trailer with disc brakes on the front axel only. The boat is another 5000 lbs. At 45mph stops great. Surge Brakes!
Dodge 2500 Cummins.
Oh boy! Surge brakes! Now you've thrown a real curve ball in this thread! I don 't like surge brakes. They do eliminate the normal electrical wiring and electrical brake controller issues, however, in my opinion, at too much expense. Admittedly, this is conjecture on my part, as I have a tandem axle open car hauler trailer that has surge brakes, and I can honestly say that I have had no "issues" or trouble with it so far, however, it's my thought that in a "panic" and emergency situation is when you need brakes the most urgently, and if the emergency situation results in a jackknife, that's when you need effective trailer brakes the most, and surge brakes only work properly when everything (trailer & tow vehicle) are running in a straight line. In a jackknife, you might as well not have brakes at all, because with surge brakes, the pressure exerted on the hitch which actuates the surge brakes is greatly deminished or gone in a jackknife situation! Just when ya' need 'em the most! Again, just my opinion, FWIW,......harold
Personally I've never seen a boat trailer with electric brakes, only surge brakes
Bill I was just thinking about what you said about brakes on the rear axle, and I totally agree. Now this assuming that you have a spring suspension. With a rubber block suspension, it probably doesn't matter
Aaron,I guess i did not need all that! Sorry to hear it! Bud.