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Wright Trailer

1491 Views 37 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Ariens93GT20
Hey guys,

I bought a used Wright equipment trailer yesterday, came in a package deal with a 1995 Terramite T5C backhoe.

The VIN sticker is completely faded, and the prior owner had no documentation and never registered it.

But, it was built locally, in Seekonk, MA, the Wright company still exists, and I spoke with the owner today!

I sent him a (long) email and some pics, hopefully he can find enough info in his records to help me get this registered, fixed up, and inspected.

Mike

PS: Link to my Terramite thread here: Mike's Terramite T5C Backhoe

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Some details:

As I mentioned, the prior owner never registered it, had no title, and the VIN sticker is completely faded away. He owned it for 18 years, and bought it used at that time.

It needs a bunch of work (tires, brakes, wiring), which is why it came home on the flat bed tow truck. He hadn't driven it in three years, and said that he never touched the brakes or tires in the 18 years that he owned it.

I'd assume it will need to pass a state inspection at some point. MA says anything over 3,000 pounds GVWR needs an annual inspection.

Here's what I've confirmed/measured so far:

Found a number stamped into the top of the frame (drivers side of A-frame), hopefully that's all they need to find records.

Should I be looking anywhere else (on the trailer) for a stamped VIN?

The backhoe that I bought with the trailer is a 1995 (maybe a clue to the trailer's age?). The backhoe weight is approximately 3200 pounds.

The trailer's bed is roughly 14 x 7 feet, with a 2-foot dovetail rear end (roughly 20 feet LOA including the tongue). Ramps are stored in pockets under the rear end, accessible from the passenger side.

The frame is 2x5 inches, C-channel steel construction.

The deck boards are 7.25 inches wide, so I'd assume 2x8 (nominal), secured with Torx screws.

Has a spring-loaded, lock ring, A-frame coupler for a 2-inch ball. (I'm a little surprised it's not a bigger ball). It has raised lettering reading "Hammerblow Co" and a worn sticker that says SAE Class 4, 7000 pounds gross weight, 1050 tongue weight (and Made in Mexico). Another sticker on the coupler body says Bulldog (and to make sure the coupler is locked before towing).

Has 2 axles, and appears to have brakes. Has aluminum diamond plate fenders.

All lights are recessed, probably original, and doubtful if they're LED.

The tires say High Life, M316, size is ST205/75D15.

The hubs are roughly 2.5-inch diameter, grease caps are about 2-inch diameter.

What do you think the gross weight would be?

What kind of brakes do you think it has? If I had to guess, I'd say electric because there's a 5x5 inch box on the front of the bed frame (with blue wires going into the bottom of the box), and a smaller box near the front of the tongue (also with blue wires) that has what appears to be a (broken) breakaway cable. The smaller box says "TAP by Hoppy."

I will update this thread as I make progress. But, I have no real need to tow this anywhere anytime soon, and the bigger priority is fixing up a few things on the backhoe and getting work done here!

Mike
small trailer like that, it'll have electric brakes. If it has a breakaway cable, there should also be a small battery (probably that 5x5" box), so that if the breakaway cable gets pulled out (presumably, the main trailer plug also gets pulled out at the same time, because the trailer has broken free), the battery is then connected directly to the brakes, applying them to bring the trailer to a stop ASAP.

any numbers stamped into the frame is likely manufacturer dependent, both if/where they would be located, and what is stamped in place.

2 axle trailers like that, I would say typically start with 3500lb axles (so 7k for the trailer). You might look on the axles themselves, the trailer I use all the time w brakes, has a plate on each axle tube indicating their load rating (but again, this may be manufacturer specific, I haven't looked on my other two trailers to see if they have anything similar).
Looks like a nice solid trailer. Well worth fixing up. Hopefully you have a serious tow vehicle if you plan to trailer the Terramite. I would guess the combined weight will be well over 5K lbs.

Regarding the brakes, how many pins does the trailer wirining harness have?
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Thanks guys!

It's a 7-pin round connector.

My 2005 Ford Explorer (4.6L V8, 3.73 differential) is "rated" to tow 7,140 lbs. Has a 7-way socket, but I don't know if it has a brake controller.

Mike
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With the 7-pin connector you likely have electric or electric/hydraulic brakes. That’s nice because you can get a Trailer Brake Controller and fine tune the responsiveness (hopefully the Explorer is pre-wired for a TBC, if you don’t already have one.)

That’s a good rating on the Explorer and should be enough with a small margin. But double check your owners manual on both tongue weight rating and hitch capacity. Most vehicles with Class 3 hitches will require a distribution system for trailering over 5K lbs.
Thanks guys!

It's a 7-pin round connector.

My 2005 Ford Explorer (4.6L V8, 3.73 differential) is "rated" to tow 7,140 lbs.

Mike
Good points. For now and the foreseeable future, I'll only be connecting it to move it around the yard (as little as possible, LOL)...

Mike
In that case you are 100% good-to-go. 👍👍👍
Good points. For now and the foreseeable future, I'll only be connecting it to move it around the yard (as little as possible, LOL)...

Mike
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5 lug rims normally indicate 3,000 or 3,500lbs axles. 3,500 is much more common. As a trailer weight guess, I’m going to say 1,100-1,500lbs. With something as small as an Explorer I would highly recommend brakes on both axles if you decide to put the unit on the road. Since it has never been registered it might be worth a discussion with your local DOT office on what to rate the trailer at. You can de-rate trailer, that way it will fit the towing vehicle restrictions. For example, trailer gvw is 7,000, well you can transfer some of that to the towing vehicle through tongue weight. The sad part, every state interprets and enforces the laws differently.
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The "brake controller" is just 12 volts coming from the brake light circuit ......when you hit the brake pedal...a loooong time ago U-Haul used to have aligator clips that they would connect to the spade terminals where the wires connected to the brake light socket when you rented from them...they also had other mechanical brake systems that had rods and lever action......when you hit the brakes, trailer was still going forward faster than the vehicle which would trip the rods and levers, activating the brakes
Thanks guys!

It's a 7-pin round connector.

My 2005 Ford Explorer (4.6L V8, 3.73 differential) is "rated" to tow 7,140 lbs. Has a 7-way socket, but I don't know if it has a brake controller.
Mike
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Mark I think U-haul has that on some of their trailers still. Surge brakes.
I wasn't sure if they still used them...when I was ( a lot more actively) buying tractors I rented a lot of trailers from them....they all had the electric brakes, and the vehicles I had were equipped with the proper sockets for connecting to them
Surge brakes are very common. Many boat trailers use them for their simplicity. You need a 5-pin harness that sends a signal to by-pass the cylinder when reversing, otherwise it can be tricky backing up especially on a hill.

All the Uhaul trailers I’ve rented were basic 4-pin (just the lights), even the ones with surge brakes. They don’t bother with the by-pass for reversing, which can be a real challenge in certain circumstances.
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Do surge brakes work in a breakaway situation?

Mike
Yes. There is a cable connected to the tow vehicle that gets yanked and locks the brakes up.
Do surge brakes work in a breakaway situation?

Mike
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Just measure the diameter of the axles, that will tell you the axle rating, and in turn, the GVWR of the trailer itself. At least that will work for a trailer of that year. Nowadays, for MAXIMUM GVWRs, trailer manufacturers rater their trailers for OVER what the axle ratings alone would dictate, because they assume that 15% of the gross trailer weight will be transferred to the tow vehicle. For example, back in the day that trailer was made, if it had two 7K axles, they'd stamp it as a 14K GVWR trailer. Nowadays they'd sell it (legally) as a 16,100 GVWR trailer. But measuring the diameter of the axles will tell you what they're rated for.

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If not, they're easily, and relatively cheaply added. Not a big deal in itself.
Thanks guys!

It's a 7-pin round connector.

My 2005 Ford Explorer (4.6L V8, 3.73 differential) is "rated" to tow 7,140 lbs. Has a 7-way socket, but I don't know if it has a brake controller.

Mike
I wonder if it could be converted to surge brakes. Are those considered to be as safe as electric brakes?

Are electric brakes fail-safe like truck air brakes? In other words, do they use power to release? That would seem safer if the battery died (unless that only matters during breakaway, in which case, it's game over anyways).

Mike
No, electric brakes are not fail-safe. All that's required for them not to work properly is for one of the magnets to come loose. Far from fail-safe. But a MUCH better option (as far as I'm concerned) than surge brakes are. To me, the only purpose of anybody using surge brakes, is so that ANY vehicle can tow them. You could hook up your VW Bug to a trailer with surge brakes and tow it. Surge brakes rely on a plunger to push the brake fluid into the brakes, which in turn squeeze the brakes closed. Those plungers seem to ALWAYS need rebuilding (at least on every surge brake trailer that I've owned). To me, surge brake trailers are just supposed to give you SOME kind of brake pressure, but far from ideal. Electric brake trailers on the other hand seem to be more reliable, and actually give you a decent amount of braking power. Just my .02.

To me, the best brakes you can get on a trailer (barring air brakes) are EOH electric over hydraulic brakes. But that's probably a whole different animal than you want to get into. If it was my trailer, I'd just stick with electric brakes and be done with it.
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Thanks Jeff. The coupler is only rated for 7000 pounds, so I'd be willing to bet it's got two 3500 pound axles. I'll measure them to be sure.

Mike
Just measure the diameter of the axles, that will tell you the axle rating, and in turn, the GVWR of the trailer itself. At least that will work for a trailer of that year. Nowadays, for MAXIMUM GVWRs, trailer manufacturers rater their trailers for OVER what the axle ratings alone would dictate, because they assume that 15% of the gross trailer weight will be transferred to the tow vehicle. For example, back in the day that trailer was made, if it had two 7K axles, they'd stamp it as a 14K GVWR trailer. Nowadays they'd sell it (legally) as a 16,100 GVWR trailer. But measuring the diameter of the axles will tell you what they're rated for.

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