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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought a brand new 2010 Escape Limited with 3.0L V6, Auto, and 4wd. In the winter, I'm going to be pulling a two place snowmobile trailer with it and I'm looking at upgrading to an enclosed trailer. The total weight of the two snowmobiles assuming they each have a full tank of gas is about 1200 pounds. The two trailers I'm looking at are 1065 pounds and 1325 pounds respectively which would make my total weight to be towed 2265 or 2525 depending on which trailer I pick. Ford says my towing capacity is 3500 so I should be OK with either of these two setups. A third trailer which is also a possibility is a two place Triton XT series which is 1550 pounds and would put total towed weight at 2750.

The question I have is on weather or not I will need trailer brakes. The Ford towing guide is not much help as it just says brakes are recommended for ALL trailers. State law in my state says they are required for trailers exceeding 3000 pounds so I'd be well under the legal limit. So at what weight should I be really concerned about having trailer brakes? My inclination is to just get them but if its just redundant it might be a waste. Also, has anyone used electric trailer brakes? If so how much did it cost to modify the truck for them?

PS: I did get the factory installed Class II towing package.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I towed a 3000 pound boat/trailer that had surge brakes, I can't imagine not having the brakes on the trailer. You could definately tell when they engaged.
I've never had a trailer with brakes before as I only towed lighter trailers - my current two place open snowmobile trailer weighs in under 1700 pounds combined for the trailer and snowmobiles. As I understand it, surge brakes are completely self contained on the trailer and don't require any mods to the vehicle. Is that right?
 

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You will want to look up your states towing laws. Some states require trailer braking systems at really low weights...

Try one of these links: Towing Laws - Towing World or CampingLife - Brake Laws by State

Both of the lists are a few years old now, which is why it's a good idea to check with your local DMV to verify that these numbers haven't changed [i.e. gotten more stringent].

If you are planning on towing on a regular basis, than you should really be thinking about trailer brakes and a trailer brake controller. These two pieces of equipment will allow you to stop safely without putting undue amounts of stress on the vehicles brake system. An extra 2500 pounds of trailer, plus gear and payload can really make for some intersting situations in an emergency.
 

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ratman6161 said:
I towed a 3000 pound boat/trailer that had surge brakes, I can't imagine not having the brakes on the trailer. You could definately tell when they engaged.
I've never had a trailer with brakes before as I only towed lighter trailers - my current two place open snowmobile trailer weighs in under 1700 pounds combined for the trailer and snowmobiles. As I understand it, surge brakes are completely self contained on the trailer and don't require any mods to the vehicle. Is that right?
I don't tow and know little but I do know that Ford didn't include the extra fifth wire in the harness to tie into the vehicle's brake system.
 

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I've had both types of trailer brakes on trailers that I have owned, plus I have pulled heavy trailers without trailer brakes.

The surge brakes are a great solution if the tow vehicle can generate stopping force (on dry pavement), which is what activates the trailer surge brakes. If your on a slippery surface, the tow vehicle may not generate enough stopping force for an emergency situation an the surge brakes become less effective. You are more likely to encounter a slick surface than not with your Escape if you are pulling in winter weather.

I would think that it is a good safe idea to invest in trailer brakes and a controller if your going to pull that much wieght with an Escape.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If your on a slippery surface, the tow vehicle may not generate enough stopping force for an emergency situation
Hmmmm....Since its for snowmobile season I guess electric is the way to go. Any idea how much it would cost me to get the Escape wired up for that? I'm not mechanically inclined so doing it myself is definitely out.
 

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No idea. The last truck I had I did the work myself using a kit. That was back in 1985. I'd just get three bids from reputable facilities that deal in that sort of thing. Trailer store, what have you. Go with the lowest bid, unless of course the price is "too good to be true". You know, it probably is "too good to be true".
 

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Check out RV shops in your area for quotes and high quality parts & service. The staff at those places are 100% better than the staff at your local U-Haul when it comes to wiring for trailers and frog vehicles. The last thing you need some U-Haul employee screwing up your vehicle wiring so much that everytime you step on the brakes, the trailer lights blow a fuse.

I don't know how much the installation will run you, but the brake wire will be the hardest part.... As wptski pointed out, the Escape isn't pre-configured for the brake controller. All this really means is that the guy doing the install will need to determine where to tie the controller into your vehicle and then run and install a 7-pin harness at the back of your Escape.

Then enjoy!
 

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I have an '02 Escape with the factory trailer tow. I had a brake controller and 7-wire plug-in installed in 2003 for about $250. Had it done at a professional place that only does hitch installs and has been in business for many, many years. More expensive than other places (like U-Haul) but I've had zero issues with their work. I very much recommend going with electric brakes on the trailer, they help a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
minnesotaart - from your handle I assume you are from the same neck of the woods as you (Minnesota???). I'm in Wright county - is your recommended shop anywhere near me? O course I havn't really even started looking at trailers yet and probably won't be buying before October or November as I won't need it before then.
 
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