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Brisbane Camper Trailer Inspection Tips | Tow Care Brisbane

Brisbane Camper Trailer Inspection Tips

Posted Posted by Peter Armstrong in Caravan Wiring, Electric Brakes, Poptop Campers, Trailer Repairs     Comments 2 comments

With Easter and Queensland school break around the corner, many families prepare for a camping holiday getaway. Part of getting setup for camp, is to upgrade from a tent and move to one of the many used camper trailer options currently on the market.

1974 Jayco Dove Inspection Tips


I was recently asked to fix a few things on a 1974 Jayco Dove camper to make it road worthy, for the new owners.

There were a few little surprises along the way, that can add unexpected costs, that I thought I would share with wary camper trailer buyers.

No wiring on one of the side running lights

One common issue on old campers is no running or clearance lights. The running lights usually fire up when you flick the lights on in the car. There are two on each side and two on the rear (these double as stop lights).

If one light is out, it is usually a bulb. If all the lights are out it is usually a rusted out earth screw on one or more of the lights. The running lights are often connected together, so if one is not earthed to the body they all fail.

This was the case on our Jayco camper. But on removing the light lenses I discovered that one light fitting had no wiring at all. I inspected the forward cavity and found no trace of the wires. I had to run a cable from the other side of the camper and splice it into the clearance light wire, coming from the trailer plug.

1974 Jayco Dove Inspection Tips


No Brake Wiring or Brake Magnets

Their were no working brakes on the Jayco. Although the camper was set up with electric brakes, on closer inspection the brake pads were shot and there were no brake magnets inside of the hub drums. As well the wiring that drives the electric braking system were completely removed.

I installed a completely new set of brake backing plates, magnets and pads. Then ran the correct sized wiring from the drawbar to both wheels. The handbrake cable and adjuster were also replaced and the whole braking system tested and adjusted.

It is worth noting the style of brakes on your potential purchase (electric is common), because there can be other cost implications. For example – Electric brakes require a brake controller to be installed into your car, in order to tow the trailer. You will need to budget at least $300 for this requirement.

In the case of this Jayco a simple controller was installed on the trailer drawbar to allow any rated car to tow the camper. These units don’t offer as many features as the in car version, but are fine for lower weight towing.

1974 Jayco Dove Inspection Tips


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2 Comments to “Brisbane Camper Trailer Inspection Tips”

  • Can you explain what this means?:

    ‘In the case of this Jayco a simple controller was installed on the trailer drawbar to allow any rated car to tow the camper. These units don’t offer as many features as the in car version, but are fine for lower weight towing.’

    • Hi Paul

      A brake controller unit can be mounted on the trailer draw bar and wired into the trailer’s electric brake system. It has a simple minimum to maximum dial which can be set, to control the amount of voltage applied to the trailer brakes. The vehicle trailer socket is wired as standard to apply 12 volts or so to the trailer, which if left this way would lock up adjusted electric trailer brakes. The controller on the trailer however can reduce this to say 7 volts based on how it is set, to give a more gradual application of the trailer brakes. With this setup any vehicle with a trailer plug and hitch (and the rated towing capability) can tow the trailer and the electric trailer brakes are looked after.

      The in car mounted controller delivers an adjusted voltage to the vehicle trailer socket and also allows the manual application of the trailer brakes from the drivers seat, as well as error reporting in some units.

      Hope that explains my sentence a bit more. Happy to blog a bit more on the subject.


      Peter Armstrong
      Tow Care

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