Do I need/want trailer brakes?

bsham

Well-Known Member
Aug 2, 2011
64
4
Florida
We are moving to Florida and trailering the boat down from Virginia behind a Lexus 460. The trailer is in pretty good shape, bearings packed, new tires, and lights checked before leaving. We have almost never used the trailer except for a few 3 minute rides from the pier to house. We will be getting rid of the trailer in Florida as the boat will be going to high and dry storage.

1. The trailer doesn't have brakes. Do I need to invest in them for a single trip?

2. What is your opinion on taking 95 versus secondary highways? Does not having trailer brakes change this answer?

3. Should I get the boat shrink wrapped to protect the paint?
 

Rusty Rod

Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2015
1,439
114
San Diego
I would say you need brakes, if you're pulling it behind a Lexus 460. Obviously, the Lexus is not design for pulling, so I doubt it would have enough braking power. That being said, I would look into renting or borrowing a truck.
 

cw.abeljr

Well-Known Member
Jun 6, 2014
1,325
74
Pasadena, Md
Personally I would not attempt that trip without brakes if possible, especially with highway speeds. I've trailed short distances without brakes but have always done so at slow speeds. I was once trailering my first Mako 23 inboard with a trailer not having brakes. It was in a light rain after a day of boating. I approached an intersection with a stop light and when I applied the brakes on my pickup truck the extra weight of the trailer had all 4 tires on my truck skidding and I ended up in the middle of the intersection. Luckily there was nothing coming from the opposite direction but it was a scary few seconds.
 

Gary S

Well-Known Member
Feb 4, 2010
1,706
167
Algonquin Illinois
+1. Modern cars cut weight from everything to get mileage and that includes the brakes. Rotors are made thin and many times cannot be machined but are replaced instead. My 20 has drum brakes on the front axle and does a good job but I tow with a truck. I have not driven on 95 outside of Florida but I personally would stick to a limited access road such as that over secondary roads,you can see far ahead,don't have to deal with cross traffic etc. Shrink wrap is up to you,not much to get dirty on a 20,just hose it out when you get there.
Where are you headed in Florida?
 

[email protected]

Well-Known Member
Aug 4, 2015
718
83
Pacific Northwest
um,.....don't consider it just for this trip,....
You can be driving in your neighborhood and turning a slight bend when a kid on a bike shoots in front of you. When you hit the brakes, the weight of your 20' would snap you around like a yo-yo.
Cheap insurance,...coulda, woulda, shoulda,....
 

Mistress

Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Captain
Jan 22, 2005
7,530
245
San Jose, CA
Rent a truck. Adding brakes will be expensive for a one-time use.

Towed my Mack numerous times with 3/4 ton and above trucks with non-op brakes. Before I took it to Sandy Eggo going over the Grapevine, I added an exhaust brake to my stick shift diesel.

Now it has disc brakes but that was part of a $6K upgrade

It's not like you have hills in FL. Just drive far ahead of yourself.

This is NOT legal advice.
 

bsham

Well-Known Member
Aug 2, 2011
64
4
Florida
Thanks for the input. I'm headed to St. Pete. Just as an aside, several of you mentioned renting a truck. While the Lexus may not have street creed as a towing capable vehicle it does have a towing capacity of 6,500, which puts it in line with most vehicles I would rent.
 

cw.abeljr

Well-Known Member
Jun 6, 2014
1,325
74
Pasadena, Md
Thanks for the input. I'm headed to St. Pete. Just as an aside, several of you mentioned renting a truck. While the Lexus may not have street creed as a towing capable vehicle it does have a towing capacity of 6,500, which puts it in line with most vehicles I would rent.

It may be able to pull 6500 lbs but I sure wouldn't want to try to stop that weight in a hurry. That was the case with my truck and the incident I spoke of......Just my $.02
 

Gary S

Well-Known Member
Feb 4, 2010
1,706
167
Algonquin Illinois
It would still be better to have brakes but with that tow rating I would not worry about the tow vehicle then. If it's rated to tow 6500 it's rated to stop it.A empty 20 on a trailer should not be more than 4500 I would think. The problem that might come up in a panic stop would be the vehicle nose diving,the towed load still pushing and lifting the rear of the vehicle and pushing it sideways. I replaced everything on mine to tow it the 1500 miles down. It was easier to install complete brake backing plates than rebuilding the originals,new brake line and hose and a new master cylinder for the piece of mind.
 

Mistress

Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Captain
Jan 22, 2005
7,530
245
San Jose, CA
Thanks for the input. I'm headed to St. Pete. Just as an aside, several of you mentioned renting a truck. While the Lexus may not have street creed as a towing capable vehicle it does have a towing capacity of 6,500, which puts it in line with most vehicles I would rent.

6500 is on the low end of any current pickups. And you're right around the 2/3 of rated capacity which is my thumb-of-rule. Most every bit of carnage I see on the roadways involving trailers are towing above that 2/3's self-imposed limit.

Do most get away with it most of the time? Yeh.
 


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