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«Warning !^ WARNING This User’s Manual contains safety information and instructions for your trailer. You must read this manual before loading or ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

Big Tex Trailer Manufacturing, Inc.




This User’s Manual contains safety information

and instructions for your trailer.

You must read this manual before loading or

towing your trailer.

You must follow all safety precautions and


Big Tex Trailer Manufacturing, Inc.

950 I-30 East

Mt. Pleasant, Texas 75455

(903) 575-0300 Phone

(903) 575-5218 Facsimile

Table of Contents

Single Tire Trailers w/1,500-21,000 GVWR

1. General Safety Information

1.1. Safety Alert Symbols And Signal Words

1.2. Major Hazards

1.2.1. Improper Sizing Of The Trailer To The Tow Vehicle

1.2.2. Driving Too Fast

1.2.3. Failure To Adjust Driving Behavior When Towing A Trailer

1.2.4. Trailer Not Properly Coupled To The Hitch

1.2.5. Proper Use Of Safety Chains

1.2.6. Proper Connection Of Breakaway Brake

1.2.7. Matching Trailer And Hitch

1.2.8. Worn Tires, Loose Wheels And Lug Nuts

1.2.9. Improper Loading

1.2.10. Unsafe Load Distribution

1.2.11. Shifting Cargo

1.2.12. Inappropriate Cargo

1.2.13. Inoperable Brakes, Lights Or Mirrors

1.2.14. Hazards From Modifying Your Trailer

1.2.15. Safety Warning Labels On Your Trailer

1.2.16 Trailer Towing Guide

1.2.17. Reporting Safety Defects

1.3. Safe Trailer Towing Guidelines

2. Tire Safety Information

2.1. Steps For Determining Correct Load Limit – Trailer

2.1.1. Trailers 10,000 Pounds Gvwr Or Less

2.1.2. Trailers Over 10,000 Pounds Gvwr (Note: These Trailers Are Not Required To Have A Tire Information Placard On The Vehicle)

2.2. Steps For Determining Correct Load Limit – Tow Vehicle

2.3. Glossary Of Tire Terminology

2.4. Tire Safety - Everything Rides On It

2.4.1. Safety First–Basic Tire Maintenance

2.4.2. Finding Your Vehicle’s Recommended Tire Pressure And Load Limits.............. 25 2.4.3. Understanding Tire Pressure And Load Limits

2.4.4. Checking Tire Pressure

2.4.5. Steps For Maintaining Proper Tire Pressure

2.4.6. Tire Size

2.4.7. Tire Tread

2.4.8. Tire Balance And Wheel Alignment

2.4.9. Tire Repair

2.4.10. Tire Fundamentals Information On Passenger Vehicle Tires Utqgs Information Additional Information On Light Truck Tires

2.4.11. Tire Safety Tips

3. Coupling To The Tow Vehicle

3.1. Use An Adequate Tow Vehicle And Hitch

3.1.1. Trailer Information

3.2. Coupling And Uncoupling The Trailer

3.2.1. Various Coupler Designs

3.2.2. Trailer With Ball-Hitch Coupler Before Coupling The Trailer To The Tow Vehicle Prepare The Coupler And Hitch Couple The Trailer To The Tow Vehicle Rig The Safety Chains

Table of Contents (continued) Attach And Test Electric Breakaway Brake System Connect The Electrical Cables Uncoupling The Ball Hitch Trailer With Tongue Jack

3.2.3. Trailer With Gooseneck Coupler And Drop-Leg Jack Prepare The Ball Receiver And Gooseneck Ball Couple The Trailer To The Tow Vehicle Rig The Safety Chains Attach And Test The Breakaway Brake System Connect The Electrical Cables Uncoupling The Gooseneck Trailer With Drop-Leg Jack

4. Loading The Trailer

4.1. Tongue Weight

4.2. Checking Tongue Weight

4.3. Securing The Cargo

4.3.1. Distributing The Cargo (Open Trailer) Preparing The Trailer For Loading Loading A Rigid-Deck Trailer Loading A Pivoting-Deck (Tilt-Bed) Trailer

5. Checking The Trailer Before And During Each Tow

5.1. Pre-Tow Checklist

5.2. Make Regular Stops

6. Breaking-In A New Trailer

6.1. Retighten Lug Nuts At First 10, 25 & 50 Miles

6.2. Adjust Brake Shoes At First 200 Miles

6.3. Synchronizing The Brake Systems

7. Inspection, Service & Maintenance

7.1. Inspection, Service & Maintenance Summary Charts

7.2. Inspection And Service Instructions

7.2.1. Axle Bolts, Frame, Suspension, & Structure

7.2.2. Trailer Structure Welds

7.2.3. Trailer Brakes Brake Shoes And Drums Manually Adjusting Brake Shoes Brakes, Electric Brakes, Hydraulic (Vacuum, Air Or Electric Operated)

7.2.4. Trailer Connection To Tow Vehicle Coupler And Ball Gooseneck Fifth Wheel Kingpin

7.2.5. Landing Leg Or Jack

7.2.6. Lights And Signals

7.2.7. Tires

7.2.8. Wheel Rims

7.2.9. Wheels, Bearings And Lug Nuts Unsealed Bearings (Hubs) Lug Nuts (Bolts)

General Safety Information



An Owner’s Manual that provides general trailer information cannot cover all of the specific details necessary for the proper combination of every trailer, tow vehicle and hitch. Therefore, you must read, understand and follow the instructions given by the tow vehicle and trailer hitch manufacturers, as well as the instructions in this manual.

Our trailers are built with components produced by various manufacturers. Some of these items have separate instruction Our trailers are built with components produced by various manufacturers. Some of these items have separate manuals. Where this manual indicates that you should read another manual, and you do not have that manual, call Big Tex instruction manuals. Where this manual indicates that you should read another manual, and you do not have Trailers at (903)575-0300 for a free copy.

that manual, call Your Company Name Here at Your Company Telephone Number for a free copy.

The safety information in this manual is denoted by the safety alert symbol: ^!

The level of risk is indicated by the following signal words.

–  –  –

1.2. MAJOR HAZARDS Loss of control of the trailer or trailer/tow vehicle combination can result in death or serious injury. The most

common causes for loss of control of the trailer are:

–  –  –


Trailers that weigh too much for the towing vehicle can cause stability problems, which can lead to death or serious injury. Furthermore, the additional strain put on the engine and drive-train may lead to serious tow vehicle maintenance problems. For these reasons the maximum towing capacity of your towing vehicle should not be exceeded. The towing capacity of your tow vehicle, in terms of maximum Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) and maximum Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) can be found in the tow vehicles Owner’s Manual.

–  –  –

With ideal road conditions, the maximum recommended speed for safely towing a trailer is 60 mph. If you drive too fast, the trailer is more likely to sway, thus increasing the possibility for loss of control. Also your tires may overheat, thus increasing the possibility of a blowout.

–  –  –


When towing a trailer, you will have decreased acceleration, increased stopping distance, and increased turning radius (which means you must make wider turns to keep from hitting curbs, vehicles, and anything else that is on the inside corner). Furthermore the trailer will change the handling characteristics of your towing vehicle, making it more sensitive to steering inputs and more likely to be pushed around in windy conditions or when being passed by large vehicles. In addition, you will need a longer distance to pass, due to slower

acceleration and increased length. With these caveats in mind:

• Be alert for slippery conditions. You are more likely to be affected by slippery road surfaces when driving a tow vehicle with a trailer, than driving a tow vehicle without a trailer.

• Anticipate the trailer “swaying.” Swaying can be caused by excessive steering, wind gusts, roadway edges, or by the trailer reaction to the pressure wave created by passing trucks and busses.

• When encountering trailer sway take your foot off the gas, and steer as little as possible in order to stay on the road. Use small “trim-like” steering adjustments. Do not attempt to steer out of the sway; you’ll General Safety Information only make it worse. Also do not apply the tow vehicle brakes to correct trailer swaying. On the other hand, application of the trailer brakes alone will tend to straighten out the combination, especially when going downhill.

• Check rearview mirrors frequently to observe the trailer and traffic.

• Use lower gear when driving down steep or long grades. Use the engine and transmission as a brake.

Do not ride the brakes, as they can overheat and become ineffective.

• Be aware of your trailer height, especially when approaching bridges, roofed areas and around trees.

1.2.4. TRAILER NOT PROPERLY COUPLED TO THE HITCH It is critical that the trailer be securely coupled to the hitch ball, and that the safety chains and emergency break-away brake cable are correctly attached. Uncoupling may result in death or serious injury to you and to others.

–  –  –

1.2.5. PROPER USE OF SAFETY CHAINS If your trailer comes loose from the hitch for any reason, we have provided safety chains so that control of the trailer can still be maintained

–  –  –

1.2.6. PROPER CONNECTION OF BREAKAWAY BRAKE If equipped with brakes your trailer will be equipped with a breakaway brake system that can apply the brakes on your trailer if your trailer comes loose from the hitch ball for any reason. You will have a separate set of instructions for the breakaway brake if your trailer is so equipped. The breakaway brake system, including battery, must be in good condition and properly rigged to be effective.

–  –  –

1.2.8. WORN TIRES, LOOSE WHEELS AND LUG NUTS Just as with your tow vehicle the trailer tires and wheels are important safety items. Therefore, it is essential to inspect the trailer tires before each tow.

If a tire has a bald spot, bulge, cut, cracks, or is showing any cords, replace the tire before towing. If a tire has uneven tread wear, take the trailer to a dealer service center for diagnosis. Uneven tread wear can be caused by tire imbalance, axle misalignment or incorrect inflation.

Tires with too little tread will not provide adequate frictional forces on wet roadways and can result in loss of control, leading to death or serious injury.

Improper tire pressure causes increased tire wear and may reduce trailer stability, which can result in a tire blowout or possible loss of control. Therefore, before each tow you must also check the tire pressure.

Remember, the proper tire pressure is listed on the Certification / VIN label, normally mounted on front left side of the trailer, and should be checked when tires are cold. Allow 3 hours cool-down after driving as much as 1 mile at 40 mph before checking tire pressure.

–  –  –

The tightness of the lug nuts is very important in keeping the wheels properly seated to the hub.

Before each tow, check to make sure they are tight.

–  –  –

The proper tightness (torque) for lug nuts is listed in Section in the “Inspection and Service Instructions” chapter of this manual. Use a torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts, use the crisscross star pattern on page

72. If you do not have a torque wrench, use a lug wrench (from your tow vehicle) and tighten the nuts as much as you can. At the first opportunity, have a service garage or trailer dealer tighten the lug nuts to the proper torque.

Lug nuts are also prone to loosen after first being assembled. When driving a new trailer (or after wheels have been remounted), check to make sure they are tight after the first 10, 25 and 50 miles of driving and before each tow thereafter.

Failure to perform this check can result in a wheel separating from the trailer and a crash, leading to death or serious injury.

–  –  –

The total weight of the load you put in or on the trailer, plus the empty weight of the trailer itself, must not exceed the trailer's Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). If you do not know the empty weight of the trailer plus the cargo weight, you must weigh the loaded trailer at a commercial scale. In addition, you must distribute the load in the trailer such that the load on any axle does not exceed the Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR). If your trailer is equipped with a Tire & Loading Information Placard, mounted next to the Certification / VIN label, the cargo capacity weight stated on that placard is only a close estimate. The GVWR and GAWR’s are listed on the Certification / VIN label mounted on the front left side of the trailer.

–  –  –

1.2.10. UNSAFE LOAD DISTRIBUTION Improper front / rear load distribution can lead to poor trailer sway stability or poor tow vehicle handling. Poor trailer sway stability results from tongue weights that are too low, and poor tow vehicle stability results from tongue weights that are too high. Refer to Chapter heading “Loading the Trailer” for more information.

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