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Trailer towing and trailer brakes?

2799 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  minnesotaart
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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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.
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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