Possibly looking to get a camper trailer and have some questions with towing

danielspivey

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So I’ve always had boats that had surge brakes. Never dealt w electric brakes. I’m looking to get an camper trailer that has electric brakes and I have a max tow. Pardon my ignorance, here are my questions:
1) being new to electric brakes, I thought that blue wire to the 7 pin hitch adapter told the trailer when to brake? Why do you need a brake controller?
2) I would be looking at getting a large trailer... 6400 dry, with a max load at 7450. Just want something big that has enough space. Would only be driving up to 2.5 hours. I know the max rating is 7650 for mine, is this running it too close to the limit?
3) has anyone towed something this size with a max tow?
4) has anyone installed a weight distribution system, would you recommend in my set up?

Also, I would be towing this rig 2-4 times with a year 2-3 hour distance trip. The other time it would be at the house for when we have friends at the house to stay (we live on the river).

Thanks!





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whiteglad

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I'll comment on a couple of your points:
1. the blue wire sends 12 volts to the brakes, on full braking. The brake controller tells the circuit, from the hot lead of the 4 in the brake controller harness, how much braking signal to send. It is just like your service brakes, you don't apply them fully most of the time. The controller has adjustments for how fast the trailer brakes come on, and how hard. The controller knows when to start the process by the signal wire from the brake light circuit. OK, now you know what the 4 wires in the harness under the dash are for--power (black), ground (white), braking signal (red), and trailer brake power (blue).
2. I would not go for that heavy and big a trailer. You will have stuff loaded in the Jeep and in the trailer, adding weight. The Jeep is 74" wide, mirrors 75.5", and with Rampage mirrors and Thorn adapters, 86.5". It would be hard to see around a 96" or 102" trailer, unless you get a camera system.
 

azeeb

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The trailer needs to know two things:
When to brake
How hard to apply the brakes

Trailers with surge brakes do the second part themselves. There is a hydraulic cylinder built in the trailer tongue. The harder the trailer pushes on the tow vehicle, the harder the brakes get applied.

Trailers with electric brakes need some other kind of method to accomplish this. This is what a brake controller does. It has built in accelerometers that detect how hard the tow vehicle is braking, and it sends a proportional signal to the trailer brakes based on that. They are also much more adjustable by the driver.

IMO, the trailer you are looking at is way too big. I have a 25 foot airstream that I feel is really pushing the limits of my Rubicon. I am between 6000-6200 fully loaded. If I was shopping for a new camper I would be looking for something under 5000lbs dry at the max. When you are towing close to the limits, you need to worry about much more than just “tow rating”. Learn what GVWR, GAWR, GCVR mean. Also the hitch rating. They are all max ratings for your tow vehicle, and you need to stay under all of them, not just the max “tow rating” which is mostly a made up marketing term. In the real world, you will be way over GVWR or GCVR long before you hit the “max tow rating”. If you don’t have a proper WDH setup, you will be way over GAWR.

A good WDH system that is properly setup makes a huge difference. Properly setup is key, though. Don’t assume the guys at the RV dealership know what they are doing. Some are good and some don’t have a clue. Learn how to do it yourself. I just bought a new Blue Ox Sway Pro. I like it because the setup is dead simple compared to other brands that require disassembly and adding more washers to control head tilt and WDH tension. Brands like Equalizer, and the slightly cheaper equalizer knock offs made by Husky, Curt are also very effective once dialed in, but they are a little more difficult to get adjusted the first time. Don’t cheap out on the WDH hitch if you want to tow a heavy trailer with your gladiator.
 

wvyankee2

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What they said! I have a 4500# Loaded 19' Travel Trailer with electric brakes and a Equalizer Weight Distributing anti sway hitch. I put 488 gears in with my 35" tires. It pulls great and I am very happy ( would not have been with stock 373 gearing! ) With that said, I feel like about 5000 pounds is a happy spot for Max towing with one of these trucks.
 

Phljeeper

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I agree with the comments. I tow a 4,700 lb 25’ travel trailer and it is the max I would want to tow with the Gladiator. It does great but if going larger and closer to the tow capacity you need a bigger truck.

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danielspivey

danielspivey

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Will probably start looking at something more in the 4000-5000 dry range. Thanks for all the input so far! Very helpful.
 

Bobh62000

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I agree with everyon, I pull 5000 lbs and in the mountains the truck pulls fine but the gas millage blows.
 

TrailHiker

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Any trailer with a total weight of 3,000 lbs or more is required to have brakes, connected to TV in the case of electrical brakes, or a surge braking system. This is a US Federal law requirement, followed by all statea, some states have a brake requirment on smaller trailers, but everyone at or above 3K lbs.

Next, the Gladiator also has a max trailer frontal area that can be safely towed, regardless of the trailer weight, and you need to take this into consideration also when towing enclosed cargo or RV type trailers. It is more than just the trailer max weight, you also have a 600-700 lbs max tongue weight limitation, that needs to be also considered.

If you fail to follow any of these requirement, and tow a trailer outside the Gladiator limits, in any of these three iewquirments, and get into an accident, you can be held responsible for any and all damages occurring. Your insurance company gets to walk, no coverage if you fail,to meet the Federal towing requirements or if you tow a trailer outside the vehicl’s max limits. Just thought you would like to know.
cheers
 
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OrangeTJ

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I don't tow with a JT but in addition to boats, I have towed a camper trailer very similar in size/weight to what you are considering with both a GMC Yukon and our Dodge 2500. With the Yukon it was marginal at best. Much better wih the Dodge. The thing that made the most difference between those tow vehicle was the suspension, not the powertrain (even though the CTD in the Dodge is way more stout than the 4.8 v8 in the Yukon). Soft suspension and long heavy trailers aren't a match made in heaven.

The thing I would really caution you to be aware of is that RV salespeople will try to sell you anything and they will tell you that you can easily tow at max limit (or over) with a smile on their face. Don't believe them. They don't care if it works well for you, just that they sell trailers.

My personal recommendation is to stay well under your maximum GCWR and recognize that "dry weights" published for trailers are as much marketing as truth. I think you'll find that even an essentially empty trailer with batteries, propane tanks, and other basic necessities will way quite a lot more. That doesn't even factor in your dishes, folding chairs, spare tire, bedding, clothes, a fridge full of food, etc.. Add water to that and you are typically much much closer to the trailer's maximum weight rating than you are to the published dry weight.

Regarding hitches - yes, you absolutely want and need a WD hitch. You will also want a sway conrol system of some sort. Even the basic friction slider anti-sway devices work fairly well.
 

DBT

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I'd also caution against going too light with a C-channel frame camper. My previous 1900lb teardrop camper (which could not use a WDH) towed fine behind a station wagon, but bucked and jerked behind the JT. Newer 3800lb camper with a WDH tows like a dream behind the JT.
 

TrailHiker

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I tow a TaB400 Outback, with a max load of 3900 lbs, I have it at around 3200 lbs loaded, and it tows quite nicely behind the JT, no bucking or sway issues. I also added the Jeep Max Tow rear progressive springs and shocks, which improved the towing handling.
cheers
 

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