Every time I find myself hooking a trailer up to my LandCruiser I have a smile from ear-to-ear because it means I’m heading away for a whole lot of fun.
Over the last few years there isn’t a lot of things that I haven’t towed, from a 3 tonne Kedron off road caravan to my 6.2m plate boat, plus plenty of camper trailers along the way. Just recently I towed a camper trailer on some of the hardest tracks in the Victorian High Country in some of the steepest terrain I’ve ever driven.
While it can sometimes be a bit of a slog towing heavy loads off road, the rewards are usually huge. Having a comfortable camper setup at an idyllic campsite with a fully functioning kitchen usually makes it all worthwhile when you’re sitting back enjoying a cold one. Likewise, with the boat, the extra effort of towing is usually all but forgotten when your drag is screaming and you’re hooked up to the fish of a lifetime.
One of the things I have found though, is you certainly must be extra prepared if you want to tow (especially off road) and you want to have a hassle-free trip as well as the confidence that you and your rig are going to get home again safely. Getting the basics right means you will be a heck of a lot safer and towing won’t be viewed as a chore any more.
Around 10 years ago, I was towing a car trailer with a 4WD strapped down to it and had to travel about 800km down to the Melbourne 4WD Show. After around 200km of driving I started down a big hill and my worst fears were realised.
The trailer brakes weren’t working and the heavy load on the back started pushing my tow vehicle down the hill causing me to lose control and skid from side to side, doing about 100km/h. Extremely scary stuff. As I tapped the brakes it got a whole lot worse and I was moments from suffering a very horrible crash on the freeway.
I was lucky enough to realise this quickly and powered out of the severe skidding and was somehow able to bring everything to a halt, with still all 4 wheels still on the ground. It taught me one very important thing, never skimp on any gear relating to your safety. From then on, I’ve only ever used REDARC Electric Brake Controllers in my LandCruisers.
Fast forward 10 years and I have just recently installed the new Tow-Pro Elite Electric Brake Controller from REDARC and after using it across the Top End and in the Victorian High Country towing a loaded-up camper, I’m happy to report an incident free trip. One of the features that I find extremely useful is the fact that it has 2 inbuilt functions that work for me on and off road.
Firstly, there’s the proportional mode which is great for general on-road driving where the brakes are applied in a progressive manner. This is a fantastic feature that does exactly that, progressively applies your electric trailer brakes in a smooth manner and avoids skidding, meaning you almost don’t notice you’re towing a couple of tonnes behind you.
The other feature that I seem to use more off road, is the manual mode. Yep, you can switch this very clever brake controller off the proportional mode and dial it up (or down) to suit the terrain you’re driving. I was driving down a very steep hill in the High Country where I wanted to almost lock the trailer brakes up it was that steep, so I didn’t have the weight of the trailer felt behind my ‘Cruiser. It worked a treat and I could drive very slowly down the hill and concentrate entirely where I was putting my wheels.
All this talk about towing has got me thinking that I should probably hook the boat up, turn the phone off and knick-off for the afternoon!
Catch you next time,
Watch Shaun talk about the Tow-Pro Elite Electric Brake Controller below