Show what you tow!

jmodge

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2015
Location
Greenville, MI
TDI
2001 alh Jetta, RC2 5speed daily commuter and 2000 alh Jetta 5spd swap, 2" lift, hitch, stage 3 TDtuning w/502's backroad cruiser
We have those also, usually on rental trailers. One thing I don’t like about those is sometimes they engage when you’re backing up. Electric brakes have a cab mounted controller and has fused power and a ground to it. and then also a wire attached to the vehicle brake light switch wire which is used to single the controller that the brakes have been applied. The controller then signals the electric brakes, which have a magnet that works as a cam to apply the shoes to the drums on the trailer
 

jmodge

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2015
Location
Greenville, MI
TDI
2001 alh Jetta, RC2 5speed daily commuter and 2000 alh Jetta 5spd swap, 2" lift, hitch, stage 3 TDtuning w/502's backroad cruiser
The magnet grabs the vertical surface of the drum and the rotational force of the drum is what applies the shoes. Generally controllers will have adjustable reostats the control both the aggressiveness and force that the brakes are applied. Also a manual override
 

jmodge

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2015
Location
Greenville, MI
TDI
2001 alh Jetta, RC2 5speed daily commuter and 2000 alh Jetta 5spd swap, 2" lift, hitch, stage 3 TDtuning w/502's backroad cruiser
Basically it’s a relay
 

jmodge

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2015
Location
Greenville, MI
TDI
2001 alh Jetta, RC2 5speed daily commuter and 2000 alh Jetta 5spd swap, 2" lift, hitch, stage 3 TDtuning w/502's backroad cruiser
Low amperage controlling high amperage
 

nokivasara

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2008
Location
Sweden @ Lat 61N
TDI
Tiguan 4-motion, Golf mk7
The magnet grabs the vertical surface of the drum and the rotational force of the drum is what applies the shoes. Generally controllers will have adjustable reostats the control both the aggressiveness and force that the brakes are applied. Also a manual override
Ok so it is triggered by the brake light. But how does it know how much to brake? The reostat is adjusted to the weight of the trailer I guess?
 

jmodge

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2015
Location
Greenville, MI
TDI
2001 alh Jetta, RC2 5speed daily commuter and 2000 alh Jetta 5spd swap, 2" lift, hitch, stage 3 TDtuning w/502's backroad cruiser
Trial and error. For example, my dump trailer running empty I will set it at 1.5, running full I’ll set it at 4.5 to 6 on a scale of one through 10. Another rheostat will control how aggressively the brakes will come on when signaled
 

Fix_Until_Broke

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 8, 2004
Location
Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, USA
TDI
03 Jetta, 03 TT TDI
The electric brake controllers have an accelerometer in them that senses the deceleration of the vehicle and proportionally adjusts the current to the trailer brakes. More current = more brake on the trailer.

You adjust the sensitivity of the accelerometer in the cab of the vehicle - which you're supposed to adjust with every change in load (empty trailer vs full trailer). Drive in a safe place at a safe speed, apply vehicle brakes, insure trailer brakes don't lock up. If they do, reduce the gain (sensitivity). If they don't seem to engage, turn the sensitivity up. The brakes on the trailer are traditional drum brakes, but instead of a slave cylinder pushing on the shoes, the electro-magnets have friction material on them that drags on the face of the drum. More current to the brakes, more magnetic force, more friction on the drum face, rotates the lever to push on the actual friction shoes (like a slave cylinder would).

It's a stupid system in my opinion

I much prefer the hydraulic version as you describe - we call them "surge" brakes over here. Everything that has electric brakes also has a reverse wire so when you shift into reverse, there is a hydraulic lockout solenoid that lets you back up a hill without engaging the brakes. Much more simple, robust solution - self compensating for the load on the trailer, etc. Unfortunately it's what we've always had what we keep repeating for some reason.
 

nicklockard

Torque Dorque
Joined
Aug 15, 2004
Location
Arizona
TDI
2010 Touareg Tdi w/factory Tow PCKG
I've noticed that you guys in NA seem to have electric brakes on the trailers? How does that work?

The most common over here is a mechanical over-run braking system that uses the weight of the trailer pushing towards the car during braking to apply the brakes on the trailer. When the trailer no longer pushes on the car the brakes are pulled back and the trailer is free wheeling again.
The electric brakes for our trailers are typically solenoid activated drum brakes around 10" (25.4cm) diameter. They are activated through the 7 pin connector to the towing vehicle. Brake proportionality is by voltage. Higher voltage is higher braking pressure. Usually, we have to purchase an aftermarket brake controller which converts the car's braking signal into a proportional or time-based trailer braking. There are also more advanced ones that listen to the OBD data stream and adjust braking according to the actual braking--for instance when the towing vehicle is using anti lock braking, the trailer brake will stay fully braked, no matter what the brake pedal position or other signals say. It's a sort of intelligent system.

There are also electric over hydraulic trailer disc brakes for larger trailers, but most people just use the simplistic electric brakes.

For people who tow boats, they usually use the mechanical 'surge' brakes that you use because they are immersion tolerant.
 

[486]

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Location
MN
TDI
02 golf ALH
I've noticed that you guys in NA seem to have electric brakes on the trailers? How does that work?

The most common over here is a mechanical over-run braking system that uses the weight of the trailer pushing towards the car during braking to apply the brakes on the trailer. When the trailer no longer pushes on the car the brakes are pulled back and the trailer is free wheeling again.
we've got those too, they're called surge brakes here

the electric brakes are a little more failure prone, but they got the benefit of when the trailer gets squirrelly you can manually apply just the trailer brakes and it'll straighten it out right quick
 

FJ40Jim

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2002
Location
Lancaster, Ohio, USA
TDI
'01 Golf GLS 5MT, '12 JSW DSG
Oilhammer, when you towed your camper trailer with the golf, did you track fuel economy? I'm curious what the windage did to fuel economy, and if you had to tow in 4th gear.
I'm not oilhammer, but I tow a trailer on TV.



When we towed the scamp all over the eastern US for 8 years "You can't do that, the tiny car will blow up, jacknife, etc!", the ALH TDI went from 48 to 29MPG.


The 2012 JSW TDI&DSG went from 44 to 25. The Mk6 chassis was better than the Mk4 as a tugboat.
 

NarfBLAST

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 3, 2002
Location
Waterdown, Ontario, Canada
TDI
2001 Golf 5MT
Love the great explanations about trailer brakes! Once in a while I will see someone who "forgot to turn down the trailer brake setting" with an unloaded trailer coming up to a stop light at a normal braking pace for their truck but completely locking their trailer brakes and creating a huge smoke show from the time they breathed on the brake the pedal in the truck to the when they reach a full stop. Its rare to see because must drivers feel the tug, hear the noise, see the smoke, and adjust the knob right away.

None of my trailers have their own brakes, I try to keep them under a metric ton (2200 lbs) of weight.

Anyway, I got to use my newest 6' x 12' flatbed trailer for the first time yesterday!





Here are some videos I made of coverting an old camper into this beautiful flatbed hauler:




I absolutely love the Jetta Wagon Towing Springs on my Golf. They do add almost 2 inches of nice supple ride height in the rear when unloaded, and let me max out the 200lbs rated tongue weight of my hitch with confidence. Basically, when fully loaded, the rear suspension sits where most cars sit unloaded:



I also have
VR6 Wagon springs in the front with 1" strut spaces from this Evolution Import kit plus 10cm OEM strut spacers on top of those for 1.5ish inches combine in front. I could not use the 1" spacers from the Evolution kit in the rear because it was just too much when combined with the rear Jetta Wagon Towing springs. I was able to sell the rear spacers to another TDIclub member who used them to help with the saggin rear end on their vehicle. An excelent upgrade on its own, I'm surprised Evolution Import doesn't sell the front and rear spacers separately.

edit: I should mention that if you are going to lift the rear more than 1.5 inches you may need shock extensions, which I include a close up look at in this video:


Thanks again to IDParts for support our community with products like these, and making their catalog so easy and accessable! IDParts.com has all of their
towing springs on sale, by the way.

Happy Towing!
 
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GlowBugTDI

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2018
Location
Cambridge, MN
TDI
2001 Beetle GLS TDI (BIODSL). Glow Bug TDI (sold)
Went and picked up a load of pea gravel yesterday with my new trailer light system. Worked really slick! It was probably a 700-900lb load, and I felt like i had to let the clutch out a lil slower or it would starts spinning or stalling depending on which way i tried it. Do you guys usually have to let out the clutch slower when towing heavier weights and if so have you seen increased clutch wear, or had to get new clutches?
 

vandermic07

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2011
Location
West Central Pennsylvania
TDI
01 Golf 5 spd, 03 Jetta Wagon
Yes but with a lot heavier loads than 900 lbs or starting on hills. I usually dont notice a difference on flat ground until i get to 1200 lbs.

Basically you have to get the car going about 5 mph (1st gear idle speed) before the clutch can be fully engaged. If you let out too fast it will stall because there was no momentum built up.

If you feel it slip, either your clutch is on its way out or you had a ton of weight and giving it heavy throttle.
 

GlowBugTDI

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2018
Location
Cambridge, MN
TDI
2001 Beetle GLS TDI (BIODSL). Glow Bug TDI (sold)
Yes but with a lot heavier loads than 900 lbs or starting on hills. I usually dont notice a difference on flat ground until i get to 1200 lbs.

Basically you have to get the car going about 5 mph (1st gear idle speed) before the clutch can be fully engaged. If you let out too fast it will stall because there was no momentum built up.

If you feel it slip, either your clutch is on its way out or you had a ton of weight and giving it heavy throttle.
Ok. Im not slipping as i have a newer SB stage 2 daily. I just didn't know how much i should be riding that cluch as i usually let it out pretty quick
 

[486]

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Location
MN
TDI
02 golf ALH
It was probably a 700-900lb load, and I felt like i had to let the clutch out a lil slower or it would starts spinning or stalling depending on which way i tried it. Do you guys usually have to let out the clutch slower when towing heavier weights and if so have you seen increased clutch wear, or had to get new clutches?
I just let the clutch out like normal and let the tires do the slip if they've gotta
My thinking is that the free tires that I run are a lot cheaper than the ceramic clutch.
Also, the tongue weight of the trailer tends to reduce your traction up front.
 

GlowBugTDI

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2018
Location
Cambridge, MN
TDI
2001 Beetle GLS TDI (BIODSL). Glow Bug TDI (sold)
I just let the clutch out like normal and let the tires do the slip if they've gotta
My thinking is that the free tires that I run are a lot cheaper than the ceramic clutch.
Also, the tongue weight of the trailer tends to reduce your traction up front.
My winter set of Blizzaks have gotten me less then 8k miles so far on ~50% tread😁.The centers are all flat, granted they are over 4-5 years old
 

[486]

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Location
MN
TDI
02 golf ALH
if the middle is wearing first, look for a slightly narrower set next time (they'll also punch through the slush better)
Noticing that on my current set of 215/60r16s, they're too wide for the wheels so the center is wearing a lot faster than the shoulders.
 

gearheadgrrrl

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2002
Location
Buffalo Ridge (southwest Minnesota)
TDI
'15 Golf DSG, '13 JSW DSG surrendered to VW, '03 Golf 2 door manual
I just let the clutch out like normal and let the tires do the slip if they've gotta
My thinking is that the free tires that I run are a lot cheaper than the ceramic clutch.
Also, the tongue weight of the trailer tends to reduce your traction up front.
I've driven big trucks with ceramic faced clutches that were grabby like that, company went back to conventional clutch facings.
 

[486]

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Location
MN
TDI
02 golf ALH
I've driven big trucks with ceramic faced clutches that were grabby like that, company went back to conventional clutch facings.
I hate it something fierce, but sadly it's the only thing that'll hold up. Limited room in the bellhousing means I can't do something more gentle like a kevlar lined twin.

If I were able to do it again, I'd just limit torque in the tune file to 400 ft/lb and use the (thousand dollar!) stock application clutch set
 

joyjoy22

Active member
Joined
Jun 5, 2019
Location
Florida
TDI
2015 Volkswagen Beetle
I'm not oilhammer, but I tow a trailer on TV.



When we towed the scamp all over the eastern US for 8 years "You can't do that, the tiny car will blow up, jacknife, etc!", the ALH TDI went from 48 to 29MPG.


The 2012 JSW TDI&DSG went from 44 to 25. The Mk6 chassis was better than the Mk4 as a tugboat.
It's been a while since I have seen this type of trailer.
 
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