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Old 12-27-2006, 01:04 PM   #1
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I asked this question in the hybrid area as part of another discussion but also wanted to ask it here for a possibly quicker response.

Can you tow a small popup w/o an electric brake controller.

We are possibly buying a new camper and trading our popup in. Our old van has the brake controller. The dealer will switch the controller from one van to the other for us at no charge. Problem is that the dealer is 2 hr away and we need to bring the popup in to trade. We don't want to bring 2 vans. We would like to pull the controller from the old van and bring it with us. But, then we would have to pull the popup with the new van w/o a brake controller. The new van is a Chevy Express 1500 w/ tow package and wt limit of 6600. After our stuff is out of the popup, it should weigh under 2K.

What should I do?
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Old 12-27-2006, 01:04 PM   #2
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I asked this question in the hybrid area as part of another discussion but also wanted to ask it here for a possibly quicker response.

Can you tow a small popup w/o an electric brake controller.

We are possibly buying a new camper and trading our popup in. Our old van has the brake controller. The dealer will switch the controller from one van to the other for us at no charge. Problem is that the dealer is 2 hr away and we need to bring the popup in to trade. We don't want to bring 2 vans. We would like to pull the controller from the old van and bring it with us. But, then we would have to pull the popup with the new van w/o a brake controller. The new van is a Chevy Express 1500 w/ tow package and wt limit of 6600. After our stuff is out of the popup, it should weigh under 2K.

What should I do?
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Old 12-27-2006, 05:22 PM   #3
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To me, the question you have to ask yourself is:

"Is the risk of the unsafe act you're considering worth the cost of four hours of gasoline?"

Please think about this.
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Old 12-27-2006, 07:44 PM   #4
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The first thing I would ask is how much dose it weigh ? Most states say anything over 3000 lbs is required to have brakes. I am looking for the web site that states it and will post when I find it.

Always be sure your tow vehicle is capable of towing with the weight, never take it to the limit for your safety.
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Old 12-28-2006, 05:48 AM   #5
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Frank, the reason I am posting here is because I don't know if there is a risk. I would never do anything risky like that. If it is risky, there is no dilemma, we will take both vehicles.

Jim, the popup weighs under 2K lb. So I don't think that legally it is required, but sometimes the law and what is actually safe don't always add up.

Our new van has a much higher tow capacity than our old one. The thought of towing w/o the brake controller makes me nervous. If you don't have a brake controller, isn't the brakes of your tow vehicle then having to stop both the trailer and your vehicle.

I remember reading something about brakes on a popup that were triggered by the stopping motion of the vehicle. Not sure. Some sort of pressure brakes or something.

So, if you don't have a brake controller, then your electric brakes don't work and your trailer has NO brakes on its own. Is that correct? If that is the case, then it is a no brainer that we bring both vehicles.
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Old 12-28-2006, 04:28 PM   #6
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Sandra; Here is a state by state brake requirment for trailers. You can see what they require.

If your trailer has electric brakes, then they should be used. If your new van has a tow package, that should mean all the wireing is already in place for the brake controller and a new controller and wiring kit is all thats needed.

U Haul has a brake controll on some of their trailers that works when you stop thats the only ones I know that have that motion brake thing. We had it on a car trailer we rented with a truck when my son moved away, and I did not like it at all to scary for me.

And yes if your trailr has electric brakes and you don't have a controller hooked up. They do not work

Bring the other tow vehical.... and be safe..



Spell checker has failed again so foregive any mistakes..........
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Old 12-31-2006, 06:24 PM   #7
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Again congrates on the Cub Hybrid.....
Hey Frank who ya doing........
I see that you did take Jim's advice and take 2 vehicles. When we had our 99' Coleman pop-up we didn't have trailer brakes. Back then Coleman made a bunch of trailers a hair under 2k so they didn't have to install electric brakes. I think now they put brakes on many of their pop-ups under that 2k units. I'm sure glad we have brakes.
Jim I see that you have the Dodge Mega-cab diesel. My brother bought on this past summer to haul his 5th wheel toy hauler. He got the 3500 single axle. He should have gotten the dually. I bet he is pushing 3000lb. hitch weight with his triple axle trailer. He tried to haul it with a 2500 series V-10 Dodge. It just could not handle it. I have driven the new diesel a few times and was supprised at how quite it was.
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Old 01-01-2007, 05:02 AM   #8
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Yes, we did bring both vehicles. I kept worrying about the kids though. 2 rode with him and 2 with me. I just kept thinking that we would get there and find out we were one kid short. (only 4 came) It is splitting up between 2 vehicles (as in home alone's airplane shuttles) that you wound up leaving someone. The trip back home all kids went in the new van and watched a video. I drove the old van w/o the camper by myself. I don't think I have spent that much time alone in years. It was so quiet.

Of course the last hour I switched to attempt to pull the new camper on familiar roads. That meant in the new van with the kids. With them watching TV, all was quiet. Not that they are noisy when travelling anyway, but there was not a single "are we there yet".

I am gonna like the tv on long trips.
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Old 01-02-2007, 03:11 PM   #9
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Jim; We love the mega cab. I am still not sure of the 5th wheel weight yet I have seen several differant limits. We are looking at a toy hauler with the garage, so I don't have to unlosd the bike to cook.


Sandra; Sounds like you had a great trip and a good time. Glad you had fun.
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