How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man

Bikes, trikes, personal mobility and getting to/from the event - this is the place to discuss general transportation issues.
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trilobyte
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How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man

Post by trilobyte » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:14 am

A friend of mine recently shared this document with me, and with his kind permission (it should be a public link) I'm passing it along here.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1F0D ... MsEgQ/edit

Excellent advice for people towing things to Burning Man and back safely. This will be my first year towing something out there, and I really appreciate the advice. If any of you seasoned towing vets have additional insights to share, please post your tips below.

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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man 2016

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:02 pm

I'll read more of it when I get time, but that article starts out with two major inaccuracies.
First, trailers do not require brakes at 1500 pounds. 3000 pounds or more is when brakes are required.
Second, you do not necessarily need an electric trailer brake controller. You only need that if the trailer has electric brakes.
U-Haul and most other rentals do not have electric brakes and do not use a brake controller in the tow vehicle.
They use surge brakes, like boat trailers do.

The guy does start out by saying he doesn't know anything about hauling trailers, so I'd not take that article as gospel.
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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man 2016

Post by maladroit » Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:11 pm

Condensed: make sure your equipment is legal, in operating condition, and don't make any sudden moves.

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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man 2016

Post by Just_Joe » Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:30 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote: First, trailers do not require brakes at 1500 pounds. 3000 pounds or more is when brakes are required.
Yeah, I was a little concerned when I saw that 1500 number.
I guess it depends on who you ask! An official looking DMV flyer incorrectly lists 1500#.
http://dmvnv.com/pdfforms/equipreqtr.pdf
It references a Nevada Revised Statute (NRS), but when you look up that statute, it's been replaced by NRS 484D.250 which says:

6.  Every trailer, semitrailer, house trailer or pole trailer of 3,000 pounds or more gross weight or equaling more than 40 percent of the towing vehicle, manufactured or assembled before July 1, 1975, must be equipped with brakes on at least two wheels.

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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man 2016

Post by Token » Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:31 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:I'll read more of it when I get time, but that article starts out with two major inaccuracies.
First, trailers do not require brakes at 1500 pounds. 3000 pounds or more is when brakes are required.
Second, you do not necessarily need an electric trailer brake controller. You only need that if the trailer has electric brakes.
U-Haul and most other rentals do not have electric brakes and do not use a brake controller in the tow vehicle.
They use surge brakes, like boat trailers do.

The guy does start out by saying he doesn't know anything about hauling trailers, so I'd not take that article as gospel.
C'mmon Admiral, he did cite his sources of information.
I am not an expert, so I interviewed the experts. 12 California and Nevada Highway Patrol Officers, 6 Nevada Sheriffs (local Burning Man area), 9 mechanics who work specifically on RVs, trailers, hitches, generators, 4 Uhaul rental agents, 2 insurance agents and Nolo press legal website.

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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man 2016

Post by GreyCoyote » Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:33 pm

Yay. Another "expert" with a FAQ.

NRS 484D.250  Equipment required.
1.  Every motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, house trailer and pole trailer, and any combination of those vehicles operating upon a highway must be equipped with brakes in compliance with the requirements of this chapter.
2.  Every such vehicle and combination of vehicles, except:
(a) Special mobile equipment towed by a motor vehicle at a speed of 20 miles per hour or less;
(b) Trailers, semitrailers and house trailers having a gross weight of 3,000 pounds or less, except as provided in subsection 6; and
(c) Pole dollies when used in the transportation of poles at a speed of 20 miles per hour or less by a public utility or agency engaged in the business of supplying electricity or telephone service, when the transportation is between storage yards or between a storage yard and a job location where the poles are to be used,
Ê must be equipped with service brakes complying with the performance requirements of NRS 484D.255 and adequate to control the movement of and to stop and hold that vehicle under all conditions of loading, and on any grade incident to its operation.
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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man 2016

Post by Hoverdave » Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:39 pm

Trailer brake requirements differ by state.
In California they are needed if the trailer is over 3000 lbs.
Camping trailers, 1500 lbs.
I do believe you are required to adhere to the laws in the state you are in, not where your trailer is registered.

http://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/trailer-brakes/
Last edited by Hoverdave on Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man 2016

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:41 pm

The more I read the more the author says wrong.
U-hauls don't use a 5-pin, they use a 4-pin. It's commonly called a "flat 4". It's got four wires.
White is ground, brown is running lights, yellow is left turn and green is right turn.

The connector he says is called a "Circle 7" really isn't. There are two different 7-conductor trailer plugs in common use today. Big-trucks use one that has round pins. RVs and pickup trucks use a similar one but the connection pins are flat blades.
The plug you want is generally called a 7-pin RV plug.
The two don't interchange, so if you get a 7-pin, make sure it's the right style.
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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man 2016

Post by Token » Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:53 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote: First, trailers do not require brakes at 1500 pounds. 3000 pounds or more is when brakes are required.
Dammit, its lunch time so here is the research.

DOT (Federal) - 3000lb.

NDOT (The place you drive to) - Rule is 1500lb.
CA - 3000lb
OR, KS, KY - Brakes? We don't need no brakes on trailers. - no requirement for trailer brakes. Heck, you can tow 3 trailers behind the same TV in OR.
ND and PA - All trailers must have breaks.

i.e. Since BM is in NDOT territory, the strictest requirement applies - 1500lb.

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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man 2016

Post by Token » Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:59 pm

After a few pages of reading, I do gotta say I'm leaning the Capn's view.

Some details are not fully baked.

Some recommendations are opinions really, not strong facts.

And the worst of all, the method of delivery is like a giant cluster bomb. Trow as much information out there and call it comprehensive.

Fire Hose Drinking Fountain.

I'd rather have a dozen key points rather than the shotgun approach. Utility drops when you fall asleep after page two.

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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man 2016

Post by GreyCoyote » Wed Aug 10, 2016 1:08 pm

Read the statutes. Its what the dude in the black robe is gonna use to lighten your pocket. If you can show a contrary statute (or solid case law) to support your viewpoint, he will roll your way almost every time.

Traffic courts are simply revenue generation tools wrapped in a thin veneer of law. Show them you are willing to fight hard, demand a trial, and make the prosecutors life miserable in the process, and they will usually turn you loose so they can fleece other prey.
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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man 2016

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed Aug 10, 2016 1:10 pm

The way I read Nevada law, it appears to be 3000 pounds like almost everywhere else.
I wouldn't even want brakes on a 1500 pound trailer. It would skid the tires square.

The article is clickbait, not real advice from someone who knows what they're talking about.
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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man 2016

Post by Jackass » Wed Aug 10, 2016 1:39 pm

For 7+ years I've towed my tent trailer and the junk all around California and beyond, in a Nissan Frontier with a bumper mounted ball. Never once has the bumper or ball caused any concern, nor have they moved...
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man 2016

Post by trilobyte » Wed Aug 10, 2016 1:58 pm

Thanks for the clarifications and information, guys. I'm not towing anything approaching either number, and not too worried about it. I wonder whether either Nevada (or some other state the author passes through) may have used that number in the past, or if they're all getting the same bogus info from the same source.

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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man 2016

Post by GreyCoyote » Wed Aug 10, 2016 2:04 pm

Jackass: as light as your trailer is, I'd be willing to bet you could drag it around for another 20 years and have no issues at all. This rather illustrates the futility of needing brakes on a very light trailer. A small trailer just feels like a full passenger load to most modern vehicles. It feels and drives a bit different to you perhaps, but to the chassis and power train its just another Saturday soccer match or a trip to Home Depot for mulch. :mrgreen: But as the weight goes up... Watch yer ass!
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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man 2016

Post by Jackass » Wed Aug 10, 2016 2:32 pm

It's supposed to weigh 2K empty, but all of the junk adds up. Plenty of off road action too. But, you're right it won't break.
I've had an invite to weigh it on a truck scale at a friend's business, just for shits n giggles.

My trailer does have surge brakes, one side of which I completely destroyed last year. The drum isn't even round anymore, more like egg shaped or oval...
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man 2016

Post by uncle sticky » Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:05 pm

I'm not saying a fucking word about towing this year.
The handbasket to hell is leaving. Hop in world!

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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man 2016

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:21 pm

Put all the fuel in the second trailer!!
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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man 2016

Post by uncle sticky » Thu Aug 25, 2016 8:46 am

Put all the fuel in the second trailer!!

Oh, now you gone and done it!
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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man

Post by trilobyte » Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:46 pm

I peeled the 2016 label off the subject line, and am bumping this thread in an effort to remind folks who are about to pack and load trailers to give some thought about safety. Please scroll up and see the posted info, there are quite a few knowledgeable contributors and a few laughs along the way.

Seasoned veterans who've hauled trailers to the playa, if you have a tip you don't see listed please post it here! Your help could help fellow burners save a little time, a little stress, and maybe even help prevent a few more accidents along the side of the road.

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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man

Post by LeonardPotato » Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:49 am

I think this is the best thing he said:

"And remember, you are on vacation. The drive is part of the journey. Take it easy, wave at your fellow burners, smile, turn up the music, check out the gorgeous scenery, have a good time on the drive and RELAX. Having an awesome burn starts and ends with having a safe drive."

1900 miles of open road, no point in rushing. Kick on the cruise and enjoy the ride.
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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man

Post by maladroit » Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:14 am

DO NOT SKIP the walkaround every time you stop. And stop often.

Got pulled over for having no lights on the back of my vehicle, turned out to be a wire pinched under a bolt from when I replaced the leaf springs.

Another time, with a rental trailer, they gave it to me with underinflated tires on one side. Patted it during walkaround and discovered the tire was really hot.

Check your load straps and your stacks of stuff often. On Gate road last year I tapped on the window of the car in front of me, because some liquid was gushing out the back of their trailer. Turned out that a bunch of their water containers had fallen off a stack and broken open.

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Re: How To Get Your Trailer To & From Burning Man

Post by Traveller in Time » Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:34 am

On passing villages slow, try to see the reflection of your trailer in the (shop) windows.

On a long stretch early- or late- when-the-sun-is-lower check the shape of your shadow in the mirror.

(edit) Do not stack heavy objects if they can be placed low!
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