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Do I need Weight Distribution Sway Control and Trailer Brakes on 3500 lb Trailer Towed By Ram 1500

Question:

I have a 15 Dodge and a camper tgat weighs 3500 loaded. Do I need sway bars and a brake system?

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Expert Reply:

I took a look at the Ram's owners manual and it states if the trailer weighs more than 1,000 lbs loaded, it should have its own brakes. Towing the 3500 lb trailer without braking could lead to accelerated brake lining wear, higher brake pedal effort, and longer stopping distances in the truck. I would need to know a little bit more information about the trailer to help you add brakes. I need to know the axle capacity on the trailer. This can usually be found on a sticker on the axle or stamped into the axle. If you are not able to find that information it helps to know which size wheel is on the trailer now. I do recommend adding brakes to the trailer if you do not have them already.

If the trailer already has electric brakes and you need a brake controller for the ram, I recommend Curt Brake controller part # C51180. The Curt Echo plugs into the 7-way at the rear of your Ram and connects to your smartphone with an app. There is not any extra wiring with the Curt Echo as long as your 7-way has an active power wire that connects to the vehicle's battery. The Echo's internal sensor senses when the vehicle is braking and sends a signal to the trailer brakes to activate.

The owner's manual also states if your trailer is 5,000 lbs or more it is mandatory to use a weight distributing hitch. Since your trailer weighs 3500 lbs loaded then you may not need weight distribution or sway control unless you begin to experience sway or rear vehicle sag.

If you begin to experience sway or rear vehicle sag then it is a good idea to add a weight distribution system to your setup. I recommend the Fastway e2 part # FA92-00-0600 because it's going to prevent side-to-side movement with the 2 point friction points on the brackets. The spring bars hold the trailer in line so you're not going to experience as much sway when there's a sudden gust of wind or a big truck passes you on the highway. The trunnion bars insert into the front of the weight distribution head without having to get on the ground and put the bars into the bottom of the weight distribution head like round bar systems. The spring bars are rated between 200 and 600 lbs of tongue weight so they are rated for your trailer tongue weight which should be 10-15% of the 3500 lb loaded weight.

You do need a hitch ball with a 1-1/4 inch diameter shank for the weight distribution system. I recommend part # A-90 for a 2" ball and part # 19286 for 2-5/6" ball.

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Heather A

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