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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve entered a whole new realm of research while shopping new vehicles. I’m aware of trailer brakes but traditionally I would just validate vehicle tow ratings. Well, a deeper dive has uncovered this whole braked vs. unbraked topic which seems to reveal that something like a 4Runner with 5000 lb towing is actually rated for much less (like 1600) if the trailer does not have brakes (mine doesn’t.) Just to get an idea I even checked the Tundra manual and found similar info. Now, on top of looking for a new vehicle, I’m wondering if I need to add brakes to my trailer (2200 Pathfinder TRS on McClain double-axle aluminum).
 

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What did you decide to do about trailer brakes? I am asking myself the same question. I tow a 21 foot NauticStar 3-4 days a week with a Nissan Frontier Pro-4X. My tow is less than three miles, one way, and the Nissan pulls the boat without any problems. It is a 2018 and has a tow rating of 6100 pounds. I suspect my boat and trailer combination weighs less than 3500 pounds, fully loaded. I have not had any problems stopping the the rig, but every now and then, when the road is slick with an early morning mist, I have heard and felt the anti-lock brakes being tested during the last 30 or 40 feet of a stop. I seldom have much traffic on my short run to the ramp, and I am legal to tow without brakes in Texas: "A trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer is not required to have brakes if: its gross weight is 4,500 pounds or less; or. its gross weight is heavier than 4,500 pounds but not heavier than 15,000 pounds, and it is drawn at a speed of not more than 30 miles per hour." (dps.texas.gov), but it only takes one time for someone to pull out in front of me and everyone ends up having a bad day. Having said all of that, I am considering putting a set of all stainless DeeMaxx disc brakes on my front axle only and re-evaluate my own situation. I will probably order everything from Eastern Marine as I have read nothing but good things about their customer service and their prices are competitive. I can always add a second set later, if I think that I need them. I plan on using surge brakes instead electric-over-hydraulic as I have used surge brakes on another trailer and thought that they did fine. If you add brakes, do you plan on adding them to one axle or both?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I’m holding off on adding anything for the moment. I keep my boat in a slip so I don’t need to tow very often. However, I posted the question because of what I leaned while searching for a new vehicle. I posted the same question on an owner former for my boat and the overwhelming response seemed to be that most people tow without brakes. I may also reconsider down the road but not adding at this time.
 

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If I had a choice I would tow boat without brakes. If your trailer needs brakes put surge brakes and keep them maintained. If you can deal without them that would be my preference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If I had a choice I would tow boat without brakes. If your trailer needs brakes put surge brakes and keep them maintained. If you can deal without them that would be my preference.
That’s exactly what I’m thinking. I was just surprised to see the actual unbraked rating for so many vehicles.
 
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