Tiny House Trailer Towing Equipment Needed
What Towing Equipment Will I Need to Pick Up My Tiny House Trailer?
A. Brake Controller:
You’ll need a ute or suitable car fitted with an electric brake controller. This is what a brake controller looks like (below). An auto electrician installs it in your towing vehicle. Because your trailer will weigh between 840-990kg, which is more than what a typical car or ute can tow “unbraked” (maximum is usually ~750kg as “unbraked” even for a Toyota Landcruiser for instance), the towing vehicle will need to be fitted with one of these brake controllers, which then allows your vehicle to tow up to it’s maximum “braked” towing capacity.
All the companies mentioned below are for your convenience only. We are not recommending them, nor do we receive any “affiliate” or “kick back” fees if you buy something from them. That’s just the way we roll.
B. 70mm Tow Ball
Just so you know, a 50mm tow ball is associated with an ATM (Aggregate Trailer Mass) of 3500kg. A pintle hook and 70mm tow ball are associated with an ATM of 4500kg. Most likely you’ll need a 70mm tow ball for your trailer, which will likely be rated to an ATM of 4500kg. You can find a 70mm tow ball here or from any caravan parts supplier as a special order: Huntsman website:
C. Tow Ball Mount
Tow Ball Mount: The following image shows a Tow Ball Mount, which the tow ball above goes into. Unfortunately the tow ball mount is not as easy to come by as you might think. You can give Huntsman Products or SuperCheap Auto or another car parts supplier a call and see if they can order one in for you. Or a more direct way is to find a Hayman Reese parts supplier in your area (http://www.haymanreese.com.au/contact) and ask for part number 21314.
Please know that a Tow Ball Mount for a 50mm ball will not work with a 70mm ball, because the shaft is too narrow. The Tow Ball Mount for a 70mm ball below can be a special order item for most caravan parts suppliers, but easily gotten with a bit of time. Will run >$200, so just expect that.
D. Unregistered Vehicle Permit
If we have not registered the vehicle on your behalf (we can only provide registration in Victoria) you will need an Unregistered Vehicle Permit (UVP) to tow the trailer on the road, because it will be unregistered when you pick up the trailer. An UVP is legally required when travelling on the roadways with a vehicle that is unregistered. If you are taking the trailer directly to get it registered you do not need to get an UVP. However, even though this is the case, we would recommend that you get the UVP anyway because it gives you 3-party insurance cover while you are returning home with your trailer and it is relatively inexpensive (less than $30). We would also recommend you get an UVP in Victoria and one from your home state. Here’s the link to Victorian Unregistered Vehicle Permit Applications.
We’ve heard and learned from past clients that not all insurance companies will insure your trailer. Insurance companies give various reasons for this and there seems to be no consistency between them. Sometimes the length is too long for them, other times they seem not to understand their own policies and so default to “no”. Other times if you mention “tiny house trailer” they get nervous and also default to “no.” We have heard from past clients some insurance companies that do provide insurance for your trailer and these include GIO and YOUI. In all cases, you will need the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) which is stamped on your trailer and should also appear on your final invoice as a 17 digit number/letter combination. As an example only, this is not your VIN: 6T9T22V86MAL68042. Use the VIN number when speaking to your insurer If they ask about the manufacturer of the trailer, please let them know that Fred’s Tiny Houses Pty Ltd is the manufacturer and we are registered as a low volume trailer fabricator with the identifier: “L68”. You’ll notice that “L68” also appears in our VIN’s. It seems strange that NSW would have its own state system for identifying trailer fabricators, but we’ve learned that they do and we are identified in their NSW system as, “FRE”.
The shackles you will receive will be appropriate to the weight rating for your trailer. These shackles can be either :”Bow Shackles” (image shown below suitable for a 4500kg rated trailer) or “D-shackles”. The red pin on this bow shackle image below is 1/2 inch (or 12.7mm) in diameter. For 4500kg rated trailers, please check that your tow bar will accept a 1/2” (or 12.7mm) diameter pin. If your tow bar will not accept this size pin you will need to buy a suitable (smaller) bow shackle or D-shackle to fit your particular tow bar.
Unless otherwise specified, your trailer plug will be a 7-Pin Round (large) as shown below.