News & Articles from Sierra Teardrops



Towing Requirements

FunDirector Jul-27-2015 towingteardroptrailerT@GT@Btowrequirements7-pin4-pinconnectorballtravel Systems

Often the tow vehicle you have determines which trailer we can share with you. In order to tow one of our little teardrop travel trailers, your tow vehicle needs the following:

7pin 7-pin Connector
  1. Tow hitch with adequate capacity for the trailer you are renting - The hitch receiver should be labeled with its tow capacity. Check your hitch and Owner's Manual to ensure that meets the minimum requirements outlined below.
  2. 2" ball - This is a standard size for trailers and boats.  Different trailers are happy with different ball heights, refer to the table below for the recommended height (from the top of the ball to the ground) for each trailer.
  3. Electrical Connector - See the table below to determine the connector required for the trailer you are renting.
  4. Liability Insurance - We provide comprehensive and collision insurance on all of our trailers at no additional charge to our renters. Liability insurance is covered by the policy on your tow vehicle, which typically extends coverage back to anything you tow with the vehicle.

All our trailers are wired to connect to a standard 7-pin connector.  For all the T@Bs, a 7-pin connector is mandatory since they have electronic brakes. Both T@G trailers (Nomad and Escape) are wired for a 7-pin connector, but we have an adapter that will let you connect these two trailers using a 4-pin connector if needed.  That’s only possible on the T@Gs since they do not have electric brakes.

 

Trailer Dry
Weight
Tongue
Weight

Optimal
Ball Height

Brakes Connector Required

Minimum Vehicle Tow
Capacity

Escape 1095 145 16" None 7-pin round or 4-pin flat 1500 lbs
Nomad 1200 (estimate) 175 18" Electric 7-pin round or 4-pin flat 1500 lbs
Outback 1680 175 18" Electric 7-pin w/12v line 2000 lbs
Sofitel 1760 150 16" Electric 7-pin w/12v line 2000 lbs
Bixby 1850 155 16" Electric 7-pin w/12v line 2000 lbs

  4pinNo 4-pin connector. Only OK on Escape & Nomad, but 7-pin is better.  

 

A flat 4-pin connector handles brake lights and turn signals. The round 7-pin style adds 3 new wires, but for our trailers we only need one additional wire hooked up, which is the 12 volt battery line. This both provides power to electronic brakes on Bixby, Outback, and Sofitel, but it also charges the battery while towing all of our trailers.  The T@G XLs (Nomad and Escape) don't require brakes per California law.  We're not even sure why Nomad came from the factory with electric brakes!

For these two trailers only, you can use a 4 pin flat connector, but you will lose the ability to trickle charge the trailer battery from your tow vehicle while towing. We have an adapter that will let you hook these two trailers up using a 4-pin connector if needed.

To Add a 7-pin to your Tow VehicleHere is the 7-pin connector I recommend you install on your vehicle if you don't already have one. The nice thing about this is that you plug in your existing 4-pin to the back of this if you have one, and then wire up the additional 12V line. If you're not handy with electrical/auto work, most auto shops or U-Haul can do this for you for about an hour's worth of work to mount it and run the wiring up to the battery. Now you have both a 4-pin and a 7-pin on the front available. You haven't lost your ability to tow vehicles with the smaller 4-pin flat connector. Nice! If you don't have a 4-pin connector already you can obviously expect the auto shop or U-Haul to have to spend a little more time tapping into the brake, turn signal, and running light lines.

Electric Brakes - Normally your tow vehicle would need to have a brake controller wired in and mounted to your dashboard, which is intrusive, ugly and expensive! To avoid that, we've paid the big bucks and installed the Tekonsha Prodigy RF Trailer Mounted Brake Controller. This means all you need to do is plug the remote controller into a cigarette lighter plug in your vehicle, and you're good to go! There is no need for you to invest in installing an electronic brake controller.

 

Newer Cars - If you have a brand new car, it is recommended that you do not tow a trailer until your vehicle has been driven at least 2,000 miles to give your motor some time to 'break in' before towing. Towing a trailer places an additional load on your vehicle's engine, transmission, brakes, tires and suspension.  Unless it's an EcoDiesel, then no break-in period is needed!

Wiring and hitch installation: You can print out this PDF and take it to your hitch installer or anyone doing wiring on your tow vehicle to help explain the requirements of our trailers.  It's actually less complicated than they will think, not more!