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Top 10 Technical Product/Trailer-related FAQs
1. What is the easiest way to determine the hub face dimension of my axle?
The hub face dimension is the distance from the wheel mounting surface on one hub to the wheel mounting surface to the opposite hub. The easiest way to measure the hub face of a bare beam, is to take a measurement from the brake flange of one end to the tip of the spindle on the other end and add 1".
2. What are the basic requirements for lighting?
All Trailers must have working lights. Trailers that measure less than 30' long and no wider than 80" require the following: (1) Red Tail Lamps symmetrically mounted on the rear as far back as practical to indicate the vehicle's presence and width, (2) Red Stop Lamps symmetrically mounted on the rear as far back as practical to indicate braking, (3) Red or Yellow rear Turn Signal lamps symmetrically mounted on the rear as far back as practical to indicate direction of turn, (4) rear reflectors symmetrically mounted on the rear as far back as practical to indicate vehicle's presence and width, (5) Clear License plate lamp above the license plate, (6) Side marker lamps or reflectors on the front and rear as far forward and rear as possible. Check your state's DOT regulations for equipment longer than 30' and wider than 80". Note: several combination lights are available to address multiple functions within one unit, look for S/T/T (stop, turn, tail) which can include reflective lenses and license plate lamps.
3. When are brakes required?
If you have a tandem axle trailer with 3.5k capacity axles or greater you should have at least one axle braked. However, we recommend that all axles be equipped with brakes to help prolong the life of the tow vehicle brakes as well as provide for safer operation. For trailers used in commerce, the trailer axle(s) must be equipped with brakes unless the GAWR of the trailer axle is less than 3000 pounds and the hitch load imposed on the towing vehicle does not exceed 40% of the towing vehicles GVWR. For other details concerning commercial applications, refer to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations published by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
4. When do I need a breakaway kit?
Breakaway systems are designed to bring trailers safely to a stop by activating electric brakes, should a trailer be disconnected while driving. So they're a good safety feature to have if you have brakes. This type of safety system is required in most states on trailers rated over 3,000 GVW. Check your DOT regulations. Laws typically do not require a trickle charger for your break away kit but it's a good idea to ensure your battery is fully charged. Also, the best breakaway kits have an LED tester on the top to indicate that the kit is in working order. Those that do not have a tester require a manual test of pulling the pin and sometimes these pins can become damaged - requiring replacement.
5. What is the difference between eye-to-eye and slipper springs?
Generally speaking, trailer manufacturers will install Eye-to-Eye (also called double eye or shackle springs) springs for light to medium utility duty applications (axles with a capacity of less than 7,000 lbs) and Slipper systems on general to heavy duty applications (axles with a capacity of more than 7,000 lbs). Eye-to-Eye springs are coiled into an eye into which a bushing is placed. The front of the spring is captive in a spring "hanger" and the rear of the spring is allowed to swing on shackle bolts and shackle plates around a rear "hanger" and pin. Parts naturally wear out over time in this configuration but replacement parts are readily available. Slipper Spring systems have one end of the spring has the "traditional" eye and the other end comprises the open leaf or leaves of the spring forming a "tail" which slides in a "keeper" or "hanger" which is welded to the chassis of the trailer. This style of spring is very simple and long wearing. Slipper springs can be joined on a multi axle trailer with the tail of the front spring sliding over the eye of the rear spring. The main benefits of Slipper Spring configurations is that there is only have one mounting point to maintain and they can handle a range of load capacities from light to heavy duty.
6. What do terms like "5 on 5" mean, how do I measure the bolt circle for 5-bolt hubs?
When dealing in 2,000lb and 3,500lb capacity axles, hub specs are generally given as the number of bolts (lugs or studs) "on" one of four bolt circles (either "5 on 4.5", "5 on 4.75", "5 on 5", or "5 on 5.5"). The easiest way is to pick a stud and number them 1 through 5 in circle (clock-wise or counter-clock-wise), take a measurement from the outside of stud #1 to the center of stud #3. You will get one of 4 different dimensions: 4.5", 4.75", 5", or 5.5".
7. Which brake controllers work with electric over hydraulic set-ups?
Nuera Transport carries 2 models that work on electric over hydraulic brakes the Tekonsha Voyager 9030 (NT# 20-211) and the Dexter Predator 58-8 (NT# 20-115).
8. How do I calculate hitch weight?
The hitch weight for conventional, bumper type hitches should be 10% to 14% of the gross weight of the vehicle. The remaining 86% to 90% of the load will be carried on the running gear. The hitch weight for 5th wheel and gooseneck type trailers should be 15% to 20% of the gross weight of the vehicle. The remaining 80% to 85% of the load will be carried on the running gear.
9. Do I have to replace my hubs when I go from electric to hydraulic?
In most cases no, if your brakes can be replaced they will work on your existing hubs. We recommend contacting the trailer manufacturer prior to changing your braking system to identify any potential problems.
10. How can I fix a hydraulic brake actuator that won't allow me to back up?
There are two fixes for this: (1) purchase a lock-out solenoid or (2) install free backing brakes.