ownerts manual - Featherlite Trailers

owner’s manual
Open TRAILERS
Thank You…
From Featherlite Trailers
Dear Customer,
Thank you for purchasing a Featherlite Trailer.
You are now part of tens of thousands in North America who enjoy Featherlite Trailers for their premium grade construction, innovative features and
custom interiors. Featherlite builds hundreds of different standard and customdesigned aluminum specialty trailers and transporters. For each and every one,
customer satisfaction is Featherlite’s passion and safety is top priority.
Featherlite knows the most important thing that goes into each and every trailer
is what you, our customer, put in it. That is why the features of all Featherlite trailers
are engineered with the customer and the cargo in mind.
Please know that Featherlite’s dedicated dealers and employees are here for you. Let
Featherlite know how we can be of service now and in the future.
Thanks again and best wishes!
Featherlite Trailers
P.S. Keep current on Featherlite’s innovative new trailers at www.fthr.com.
Thank you for choosing Featherlite!
Copyright 2013 by Featherlite, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted
in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage
and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright proprietor first obtained.
Featherlite, Inc.
MODEL OPEN TRAILERS
^ WARNING
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
instructions.
Featherlite, Inc.
800-800-1230 Phone
563-547-6100 Facsimile
Table of Contents
OPEN TRAILERS
1
3.1.2 Tow Vehicle...................................................... 23
3.2
COUPLING AND UNCOUPLING THE TRAILER ........... 24
3.2.1 Trailer with Ball Hitch Coupler ....................... 25
SAFETY INFORMATION.......................................... 1
1.1
SAFETY ALERT SYMBOLS AND SIGNAL WORDS ...... 1
1.2
MAJOR HAZARDS.................................................... 1
1.2.1 Improper Sizing of the Trailer to the Tow Vehicle.
........................................................................... 1
1.2.2 Driving Too Fast ............................................... 2
1.2.3 Failure to Adjust Driving Behavior When Towing
a Trailer ............................................................. 2
1.2.4 Improper Loading.............................................. 2
1.2.5 Trailer Not Properly Coupled to the Hitch........ 3
1.2.6 Proper Use of Safety Chains ............................. 3
1.2.7 Proper Connection of Breakaway Brake ........... 3
1.2.8 Matching Trailer and Hitch............................... 4
1.2.9 Worn Tires, Loose Wheels and Lug Nuts ........... 4
1.2.10 Weight And Load Distribution ........................... 5
1.2.11 Shifting Cargo ................................................... 5
1.2.12 Inappropriate Cargo ......................................... 5
1.2.13 Inoperable Brakes, Lights or Mirrors ............... 6
1.2.14 Hazards From Operation Of The Dump Body .. 6
1.2.15 Hazards From Operation Of The Tilt Deck ....... 7
1.2.16 Hazards From Modifying Your Trailer ............. 8
1.2.17 Trailer Towing Guide ........................................ 8
1.2.18 Safe Trailer Towing Guidelines ......................... 9
1.2.19 Safety Warning Labels on Your Trailer ........... 10
1.2.20 Reporting Safety Defects ................................. 11
2
3.2.1.a
3.2.1.b
3.2.1.c
3.2.1.d
Coupler)
3.2.1.e
3.2.1.f
3.2.1.g
3.2.1.h
3.2.2
2.1
2.2
TRAILER TIRE INFORMATION ................................ 12
STEPS FOR DETERMINING CORRECT LOAD LIMIT –
TRAILER................................................................ 13
2.2.1 Trailers 10,000 Pounds GVWR or Less ........... 13
2.2.2 Trailers Over 10,000 Pounds GVWR .............. 14
2.3
STEPS FOR DETERMINING CORRECT LOAD LIMIT –
TOW VEHICLE ....................................................... 14
2.4
GLOSSARY OF TIRE TERMINOLOGY ...................... 14
2.5
TIRE SAFETY - EVERYTHING RIDES ON IT ............. 17
2.5.1 Safety First–Basic Tire Maintenance .............. 17
2.5.2 Finding Your Vehicle's Recommended Tire
Pressure and Load Limits ................................ 18
2.5.3 Understanding Tire Pressure and Load Limits 18
2.5.4 Checking Tire Pressure ................................... 18
2.5.5 Steps for Maintaining Proper Tire Pressure ... 18
2.5.6 Tire Size ........................................................... 19
2.5.7 Tire Tread ........................................................ 19
2.5.8 Tire Balance and Wheel Alignment ................. 19
2.5.9 Tire Repair ...................................................... 19
2.5.10 Tire Fundamentals .......................................... 19
4
Before Coupling the Trailer to the Tow Vehicle37
Adjust Hitch Height........................................ 37
Prepare the Fifth Wheel Coupler .................... 38
Couple the Trailer to the Tow Vehicle ........... 38
Attach and Test the Breakaway Brake System 39
Connect the Electrical Cables ......................... 40
Uncoupling the Fifth Wheel Trailer ............... 40
LOADING THE TRAILER ....................................... 42
4.1
CHECKING TONGUE WEIGHT ................................. 43
4.2
LOADING A FLATBED TRAILER.............................. 44
4.2.1 Preparing the Trailer for Loading ................... 44
4.2.1.a
4.2.1.b
4.2.1.c
Loading a Rigid-deck Trailer.......................... 44
Loading a Manually Pivoting-deck (Tilt-Deck)
Trailer ............................................................. 45
Loading a Hydraulic Pivoting-deck (Tilt-Deck)
Trailer ............................................................. 45
4.2.2 Deck Prop ........................................................ 47
4.2.3 Hydraulic Components .................................... 48
4.3
LOADING A DUMP TRAILER .................................. 48
4.3.1 Prepare Trailer for Loading ............................ 48
4.3.1.a
4.3.1.b
4.3.1.c
4.3.1.d
Information on Passenger Vehicle Tires......... 19
UTQGS Information ....................................... 20
Information on Light Truck (LT) Tires .......... 20
Information on Special Trailer (ST) Tires ...... 21
4.3.1.e
4.3.2
4.3.3
2.5.11 Tire Safety Tips ................................................ 21
3
Adjust Gooseneck Hitch Height ..................... 31
Drop-Leg Jack(s) ............................................ 32
Before Coupling the Trailer to the Tow Vehicle32
Prepare the Ball Receiver and Gooseneck Ball33
Couple the Trailer to the Tow Vehicle ........... 33
Rig the Safety Chains ..................................... 34
Attach and Test the Breakaway Brake System 34
Connect the Electrical Cables ......................... 35
Uncoupling the Gooseneck Trailer
with
Drop-Leg Jack ................................................ 35
Trailer with Fifth Wheel Coupler or King Pin and
Drop-Leg Jack ................................................. 36
3.2.3.a
3.2.3.b
3.2.3.c
3.2.3.d
3.2.3.e
3.2.3.f
3.2.3.g
TIRE SAFETY INFORMATION ............................. 12
2.5.10.a
2.5.10.b
2.5.10.c
2.5.10.d
Trailer with Gooseneck Coupler and Drop-Leg
Jack .................................................................. 30
3.2.2.a
3.2.2.b
3.2.2.c
3.2.2.d
3.2.2.e
3.2.2.f
3.2.2.g
3.2.2.h
3.2.2.i
3.2.3
Before Coupling the Trailer to the Tow Vehicle26
Prepare the Coupler and Hitch ....................... 26
Couple the Trailer to the Tow Vehicle (Cequent
Coupler).......................................................... 27
Couple the Trailer to the Tow Vehicle (Demco
27
Rig the Safety Chains ..................................... 28
Attach and Test the Breakaway Brake System 28
Connect the Electrical Cables ......................... 30
Uncoupling the Ball Hitch Trailer .................. 30
COUPLING TO THE TOW VEHICLE .................. 22
Loading Bulk (Flowable Loads) Material ...... 49
Loading Fixed Loads ...................................... 49
Securing The Cargo ........................................ 50
Unload Bulk Material (Flowable Loads) Into A
Pile ................................................................. 50
Unload Bulk Material (Flowable Loads) Using
The Spreader Gate .......................................... 51
Hydraulic Components .................................... 52
Body Prop ........................................................ 52
5
CHECKING THE TRAILER BEFORE AND DURING
EACH TOW ......................................................................... 54
3.1
USE AN ADEQUATE TOW VEHICLE AND HITCH ..... 22
3.1.1 Trailer Information .......................................... 22
5.1
i
PRE-TOW CHECKLIST ............................................ 54
Table of Contents
OPEN TRAILERS
5.2
6
^ WARNING
MAKE REGULAR STOPS .........................................54
BREAKING-IN A NEW TRAILER ..........................55
This User’s Manual contains safety
information and instructions for your
trailer.
6.1
RETIGHTEN LUG NUTS AT FIRST 10, 25 & 50 MILES55
6.2
ADJUST BRAKE SHOES AT FIRST 200 MILES (AXLES
RATED 8000 LBS AND BELOW WITH HYDRAULIC BRAKES AND
ALL AXLES WITH AIR BRAKES) .........................................55
6.3
SYNCHRONIZING THE BRAKE SYSTEMS .................55
6.4
TIRE PRESSURE......................................................55
7
You must follow all safety precautions and
instructions.
ACCESSORIES...........................................................56
7.1
7.2
8
You must read this manual before loading
or towing your trailer.
ACCESSORY BATTERY ...........................................56
ELECTRIC-POWERED LANDING GEAR ....................56
“Portions of this manual were used with
the expressed authority of Dexter Axle,
but Dexter Axle is not responsible for the
accuracy of the information contained
herein.”
INSPECTION, SERVICE & MAINTENANCE .......57
8.1
INSPECTION, SERVICE & MAINTENANCE SUMMARY
CHARTS .................................................................57
8.2
INSPECTION AND SERVICE INSTRUCTIONS ..............58
8.2.1 Axle Bolts, Frame, Suspension, & Structure ....58
8.2.2 Trailer Structure...............................................59
8.2.2.a
8.2.2.b
8.2.3
Fasteners and Frame Members .......................59
Welds ..............................................................59
Trailer Brakes (Nev-R-Adjust® Forward Adjusting
Brakes) .............................................................59
8.2.3.a
8.2.3.b
8.2.3.c
Periodic Inspection .........................................60
Brakes, Electric ...............................................60
Brakes, Hydraulic (Vacuum, Air or Electric
Operated) ........................................................60
8.2.4 Trailer Brakes (Axles Rated 8000 lbs and Below
with Hydraulic Brakes and ALL Axles with Air Brakes)61
8.2.4.a
8.2.4.b
8.2.4.c
8.2.4.d
8.2.5
Initial Inspection .............................................61
Periodic Inspection .........................................61
Manually Adjusting Brake Shoes ...................61
Brakes, Hydraulic (Vacuum, Air or Electric
Operated) ........................................................61
Trailer Connection to Tow Vehicle ..................62
8.2.5.a
8.2.5.b
8.2.5.c
8.2.6
8.2.7
8.2.8
8.2.9
8.2.10
8.2.11
8.2.12
8.2.13
Coupler and Ball .............................................62
Gooseneck ......................................................62
Fifth Wheel Kingpin .......................................62
Landing Leg or Jack ........................................62
Lights and Signals ............................................63
Accessory Battery .............................................63
Tires .................................................................63
Hydraulic Cylinder Pin ....................................63
Wheel Rims .......................................................63
Wheel Liners (Simulators) ................................64
Wheel Bearings ................................................64
8.2.13.a
8.2.13.b
8.2.13.c
Standard Bearings ...........................................64
E-Z Lube® Bearings (Standard Equipment on
Axles Rated 8000 lbs. and Below) ....................65
Nev-R-Lube™ or Other Sealed Bearings ....65
8.2.14 Lug Nuts (Bolts) ...............................................65
9
TECHNICAL REFERENCE .....................................68
9.1
9.2
TRAILER LIGHTING ELECTRICAL CONNECTION ......68
HITCH SYSTEMS ....................................................69
ii
1 SAFETY INFORMATION
1.1
^ CAUTION
SAFETY ALERT SYMBOLS AND SIGNAL
WORDS
CAUTION – Hazards or unsafe practices
which could result in minor or moderate
injury if the warning is ignored.
This manual provides instructions for the operation
and care of Featherlite Horse, Livestock and
Enclosed Trailers. The instructions in this manual
must be followed to ensure the safety of persons,
horses and livestock, and satisfactory life of the
trailer. Safety precautions to protect against injury
or property damage must be followed at all times.
NOTICE
NOTICE – Practices that could result in
damage to the trailer or other property.
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.
1.2
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:
•
Our trailers are built with components produced by
various manufacturers. Some of these items have
separate instruction manuals. Where this manual
indicates that you should read another manual, and
you do not have that manual, call Featherlite, Inc. at
800-800-1230.
•
•
•
The safety information in this manual is denoted by
the safety alert symbol: ^
•
The level of risk is indicated by the following signal
words.
•
^ DANGER
•
•
Improper sizing the trailer for the tow vehicle,
or vice versa.
Excessive Speed: Driving too fast for the
conditions.
Failure to adjust driving behavior when towing
a trailer.
Overloading
and/or
improper
weight
distribution.
Improper or mis-coupling of the trailer to the
hitch.
Improper braking and steering under sway
conditions.
Not maintaining proper tire pressure.
Not keeping lug nuts tight.
1.2.1
DANGER – Immediate hazards which WILL
result in severe personal injury or death if
the warning is ignored.
Improper Sizing of the Trailer to the
Tow Vehicle.
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.
^ WARNING
WARNING – Hazards or unsafe practices
which COULD result in severe personal
injury or death if the warning is ignored.
R8 3/30/2017
MAJOR HAZARDS
Page 1
Section 1 – Safety Information
^ DANGER
•
Use of an under-rated hitch, ball or tow
vehicle can result in loss of control leading
to death or serious injury.
Make certain your hitch and tow vehicle are
rated for your trailer.
1.2.2
Driving Too Fast
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.
Driving too fast for conditions can result in
loss of control and cause death or serious
injury.
1.2.4
Adjust speed down when towing trailer.
Failure to Adjust Driving Behavior
When Towing a Trailer
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 this 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
R8 3/30/2017
•
•
^ WARNING
1.2.3
•
pressure wave created by passing trucks and
busses.
When encountering trailer sway, take your foot
off the accelerator, and steer as little as possible
in order to stay on the road. Use small “trimlike” steering adjustments. Do not attempt to
steer out of the sway; you’ll only make it worse.
Also, do not apply the tow vehicle brakes to
correct trailer swaying. The 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.
Page 2
Improper Loading
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, you must measure it 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). The GVWR and GAWR’s are listed on
the Certification / VIN label mounted on the front
left side of the trailer.
^ WARNING
An overloaded trailer can result in failure or
in loss of control of the trailer, leading to
death or serious injury.
Never load a trailer so that the weight on
any tire exceeds its rating.
Never exceed the trailer Gross Vehicle
Weight Rating (GVWR).
Never exceed an axle Gross Axle Weight
Rating (GAWR).
Section 1 – Safety Information
1.2.5
Trailer Not Properly Coupled to the
Hitch
It is critical that the trailer be securely coupled to
the hitch, and that the safety chains and emergency
breakaway brake lanyard are correctly attached.
Uncoupling may result in death or serious injury to
you and to others.
^ WARNING
Incorrect rigging of the safety chains can
result in loss of control of the trailer and
tow vehicle, leading to death or serious
injury, if the trailer uncouples from the tow
vehicle.
Chains must:
^ WARNING
• Fasten to frame of tow vehicle, not to
hitch or ball.
Coupler and hitch selection and condition
are critical for safe towing.
• Cross underneath hitch and coupler with
minimum slack to permit turning and to
hold tongue up, if the trailer comes
loose.
Uncoupling can result in death or serious
injury.
• Make sure the hitch and ball are rated for
the trailer.
• Make sure the hitch [ball size] matches
the coupler.
1.2.7
• Check the hitch ball for wear, corrosion
and cracks before coupling. Replace
worn, corroded or cracked hitch ball
before coupling to the trailer.
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 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.
• Make sure the hitch ball is tight to the
hitch before coupling the trailer.
^ WARNING
An improperly coupled trailer can result in
death or serious injury.
^ WARNING
Do not move the trailer until:
• The coupler is secured and locked;
An ineffective breakaway brake system can
result in a runaway trailer, leading to death
or serious injury if the coupler or ball hitch
fails.
• The safety chains are secured to the tow
vehicle; and
• The trailer jacks are fully retracted.
Do not tow the trailer on the road until:
Test the function of the breakaway brake
system before towing the trailer. Do not
tow the trailer if the breakaway brake
system is not working; have it serviced or
repaired.
• The trailer brakes are checked;
• The breakaway switch is connected to
the tow vehicle;
• The load is secured to the trailer; and
Connect the breakaway lanyard to the tow
vehicle -
• The trailer lights are connected and
checked.
NOT to the safety chain; and
NOT to the hitch, ball or support.
1.2.6
Proper Use of Safety Chains
Safety chains are provided so that control of the
trailer can still be maintained if the trailer comes
loose from the tow vehicle for any reason.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 3
Section 1 – Safety Information
1.2.8
Matching Trailer and Hitch
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
tightened to the proper torque.
^ DANGER
^ WARNING
Use of an under-rated hitch, ball or tow
vehicle can result in loss of control leading
to death or serious injury.
Metal creep between the wheel rim and lug
nuts (bolts) will cause rim to loosen.
Make certain your hitch and tow vehicle are
rated for your trailer.
Death or injury can occur if wheel comes
off.
Tighten lug nuts (bolts) before each tow.
1.2.9
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.
The proper tightening sequence and tightness
(torque) for lug nuts is listed in the “Inspection,
Service & Maintenance” chapter of this manual.
Use a calibrated torque wrench to tighten the lug
nuts.
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.
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 tightened to the proper torque after the first
10, 25 and 50 miles of driving and before each tow
thereafter.
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.
Failure to perform this check can result in a wheel
parting from the trailer and a crash, 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, 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.
^ WARNING
Lug nuts are prone to loosen after being
first assembled. Death or serious injury
can result.
Check lug nuts for tightness on a new
trailer, and after re-mounting a wheel at 10,
25 and 50 miles.
^ WARNING
^ WARNING
Improper tire pressure may cause an
unstable trailer. Blowout and loss of
control may occur. Death or serious injury
can result.
Inadequate lug nut torque can cause a
wheel to part while towing. Death or
serious injury can result.
Make sure lug nuts are tight before towing
trailer.
Make sure of proper tire pressure before
towing trailer. Inflate tires to pressure
indicated on the Certification / VIN label.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 4
Section 1 – Safety Information
1.2.10 Weight And Load Distribution
Proper loading of your trailer is essential for your
safety. Tire, wheel, axle or structural failure can be
caused by overloading.
^ WARNING
^ WARNING
An overloaded trailer can result in failure or
in loss of control of the trailer, leading to
death or serious injury.
An improperly distributed load can result in
loss of control of the trailer, and can lead to
death or serious injury.
Never load a trailer so that the weight on
any tire exceeds its rating.
Proper tongue weight is essential for stable
trailer handling.
Never exceed the trailer Gross Vehicle
Weight Rating (GVWR).
Distribute the load front to rear to provide
proper tongue weight.
Never exceed an axle Gross Axle Weight
Rating (GAWR).
Distribute the load evenly, right and left, to
avoid tire overload.
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.
In figure 1-1, the second column shows the rule of
thumb percentage of total weight of the trailer, plus
its cargo (Gross Trailer Weight, or “GTW”) that
should appear on the tongue of the trailer. For
example, a trailer with a gooseneck hitch, with a
loaded weight of 12,000 pounds, should have 2025% of 12,000 pounds (2400-3000 lbs.) on the
gooseneck. After loading, be sure to check that
none of the axles are overloaded.
Tongue Weight as a Percentage of Loaded
Trailer Weight
Type of Hitch
1.2.11 Shifting Cargo
Since the trailer “ride” can be bumpy and rough,
you must secure your cargo so that it does not shift
while the trailer is being towed.
^ WARNING
A shifting load can result in failure, or to
loss of control of the trailer, and can lead to
death or serious injury.
You must tie down all loads with proper
sized fasteners, ropes, straps, etc. to
prevent the load from shifting while
trailering.
1.2.12 Inappropriate Cargo
Your trailer may be designed for specific cargo, for
example, only for horses. If your trailer is designed
for specific cargo, only carry that cargo in the
trailer. Your trailer must not be used to carry
certain items, such as people, containers of
hazardous substances or containers of flammable
substances. A trailer not designed with living
quarters should only be used for transportation of its
intended cargo.
6-10% for
smaller utility
and cargo
trailers
Gooseneck Hitch
20–25%
Fifth Wheel Hitch
Tongue Weight Chart – Figure 1-1
R8 3/30/2017
Keeping the center of gravity low and
centered is essential to minimize the risk of
tip-over.
Percentage
10–15% for
large trailers
Ball Hitch (or Bumper Hitch)
Uneven left / right load distribution can cause tire,
wheel, axle or structural failure. Be sure your
trailer is evenly loaded left / right. Towing stability
also depends on keeping the center of gravity as low
as possible.
Page 5
Section 1 – Safety Information
1.2.14 Hazards From Operation Of The
Dump Body
^ WARNING
Your Featherlite trailer is not capable of
safely transporting flammable, explosive,
poisonous or other dangerous materials.
1.2.13 Inoperable Brakes, Lights or Mirrors
Be sure that the brakes (if equipped) and all of the
lights on your trailer are functioning properly before
towing your trailer. Electric brakes and lights on a
trailer are controlled via a connection to the tow
vehicle, generally a multi-pin electrical connector.
Check the trailer taillights by turning on your tow
vehicle headlights. Check the trailer brake lights by
having someone step on the tow vehicle brake pedal
while you look at trailer lights. Check the turn
signal lights by operating the turn signal lever in the
tow vehicle.
If your trailer has electric brakes, your tow vehicle
will have an electric brake controller that sends
power to the trailer brakes. Before towing the
trailer on the road, you must operate the brake
controller while trying to pull the trailer in order to
confirm that the electric brakes operate. While
towing the trailer at less than 5 mph, manually
operate the electric brake controller in the tow
vehicle cab. You should feel the operation of the
trailer brakes.
^ WARNING
The major hazards from operation of the dump
body are:
• Overloading
• Improper weight distribution; both side to side
and front to back.
• Getting under a raised dump body.
• Not using or improperly using body props.
• Modifying or altering hydraulic components.
• Modifying or altering dump controls.
• Not dumping from a solid and level foundation.
• Not fully opening rear doors when dumping.
• Jerking the trailer or hydraulics to loosen the
load.
• Trailer coming near or contacting power lines
when body is raised.
The tow vehicle and trailer MUST be on a firm and
level surface before raising the dump body. Raising
the dump body while either the tow vehicle and/or
trailer are on a soft and/or uneven surface may
result in the tow vehicle and trailer overturning.
^ WARNING
A soft and/or uneven surface may result in
the tow vehicle and trailer tipping over
when the dump body is raised.
Raise the dump body ONLY if the tow
vehicle and trailer are both on a firm and
level surface.
^ WARNING
Failure to connect the tow vehicle lighting
and braking to the trailer will result in
inoperable lights and brakes, and can lead
to collision.
An overloaded trailer or improperly
distributed load can result in death or
serious injury.
Check that all the trailer lights and brakes
work before each tow.
An overloaded trailer can cause the
hydraulic system to malfunction, resulting
in the dump body falling.
If your trailer has hydraulic “surge” brakes, pull the
emergency breakaway brake lanyard to check the
operation of the surge mechanism.
A load that is improperly distributed in the
trailer can result in the trailer tipping over
when the dump body is raised.
Standard mirrors usually do not provide adequate
visibility for viewing traffic to the sides and rear a
towed trailer. You must provide mirrors that allow
you to safely observe approaching traffic.
NEVER use an auxiliary device to “help” the
hydraulic system raise the dump body.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 6
Do not alter or substitute any hydraulic components
on the trailer. The hydraulic system is designed
Section 1 – Safety Information
with each component being compatible with the
safe and reliable operation of the hydraulic system.
Under no circumstances should you alter the
hydraulic pressure or flow rate to the hydraulic
system. Doing so can result in death or serious
injury
^ WARNING
Risk of death by crushing.
Dump body can drop unexpectedly.
NEVER go under a raised dump body.
^ DANGER
Use body prop for maintenance.
NEVER alter or substitute any hydraulic
system component. Death or serious injury
may result.
1.2.15 Hazards From Operation Of The Tilt
Deck
An altered or component substituted
hydraulic system may malfunction,
resulting in the dump body falling without
warning.
NEVER alter or substitute any hydraulic
system component.
Verify that there are no overhead power lines near
the trailer before raising the dump body. You can be
electrocuted if the trailer comes near or contacts a
power line.
^ WARNING
^ WARNING
An overloaded trailer can cause the
hydraulic system to malfunction, resulting
in the tilt deck falling.
Risk of electrocution.
Dump body coming near or contacting
power lines may result in electrocution.
Electrocution can occur without contact.
NEVER use an auxiliary device to “help” the
hydraulic system raise the tilt deck.
Be sure there are no overhead power lines
over or near the trailer before raising dump
body.
The raised dump body MUST be supported by the
body props before entering the area under the dump
body for any reason. Empty the dump body before
using body props.
^ DANGER
Risk of death or serious injury.
NEVER support a loaded dump body by the
body prop.
Empty dump body before using body prop.
NEVER enter the area under the dump body
unless the empty dump body is supported
by the body props.
R8 3/30/2017
The major hazards from operation of the tilt deck
are:
• Overloading.
• Improper weight distribution; both side to side
and front to back.
• Getting under a raised tilt deck.
• Not using or improperly using tilt deck prop.
• Modifying or altering hydraulic components.
• Modifying or altering dump controls.
Page 7
Do not alter or substitute any hydraulic components
on the trailer. The hydraulic system is designed
with each component being compatible with the
safe and reliable operation of the hydraulic system.
Under no circumstances should you alter the
hydraulic pressure or flow rate to the hydraulic
system. Doing so can result in death or serious
injury
Section 1 – Safety Information
^ DANGER
1.2.17 Trailer Towing Guide
NEVER alter or substitute any hydraulic
system component. Death or serious injury
may result.
An altered or component substituted
hydraulic system may malfunction,
resulting in the tilt deck falling without
warning.
NEVER alter or substitute any hydraulic
system component.
The raised tilt deck MUST be supported by the
prop before entering the area under the tilt deck for
any reason. Empty the trailer before using prop.
^ DANGER
As you did when learning to drive an automobile,
find an open area with little or no traffic for your
first practice trailering. Of course, before you start
towing the trailer, you must follow all of the
instructions for inspection, testing, loading and
coupling. Also, before you start towing, adjust the
mirrors so you can see the trailer as well as the area
to the rear of it.
Crushing hazard.
NEVER enter the area under the trailer
unless the trailer is empty and supported
by the deck prop.
^ WARNING
Risk of death by crushing.
Drive slowly at first, 5 m.p.h. or so, and turn the
wheel to get the feel of how the tow vehicle and
trailer combination responds. Next, make some
right and left hand turns. Watch in your side
mirrors to see how the trailer follows the tow
vehicle. Turning with a trailer attached requires
more room.
Tilt deck can drop unexpectedly.
NEVER go under a raised tilt deck.
Use prop for maintenance.
1.2.16 Hazards
Trailer
From
Modifying
Your
Essential safety items and structural integrity can be
damaged by altering your trailer.
Before making any alteration to your trailer, contact
your dealer or Featherlite, Inc. at 800-800-1230 and
describe the alteration you are contemplating.
Alteration of the trailer structure or modification of
mechanical, electrical, hydraulic or other systems
on your trailer must be performed only by qualified
technicians who are familiar with the system as
installed on your trailer.
R8 3/30/2017
Driving a vehicle with a trailer in tow is vastly
different from driving the same vehicle without a
trailer in tow. Acceleration, maneuverability and
braking are all diminished with a trailer in tow. It
takes longer to get up to speed, you need more room
to turn and pass, and more distance to stop when
towing a trailer. You will need to spend time
adjusting to the different feel and maneuverability
of the tow vehicle with a loaded trailer. Because of
the significant differences in all aspects of
maneuverability when towing a trailer, the hazards
and risks of injury are also much greater than when
driving without a trailer. You are responsible for
keeping your vehicle and trailer in control, and for
all the damage that is caused if you lose control of
your vehicle and trailer.
Page 8
Stop the rig a few times from speeds no greater than
10 m.p.h. If your trailer is equipped with brakes,
try using different combinations of trailer/electric
brake and tow vehicle brake. Note the effect that
the trailer brakes have when they are the only
brakes used. When properly adjusted, the trailer
brakes will come on just before the tow vehicle
brakes.
It will take practice to learn how to back up a tow
vehicle with a trailer attached. Take it slow.
Before backing up, get out of the tow vehicle and
look behind the trailer to make sure that there are no
obstacles. Some drivers place their hands at the
bottom of the steering wheel, and while the tow
vehicle is in reverse, “think” of the hands as being
on the top of the wheel. When the hands move to
Section 1 – Safety Information
the right (counter-clockwise, as you would do to
turn the tow vehicle to the left when moving
forward), the rear of the trailer moves to the right.
Conversely, rotating the steering wheel clockwise
with your hands at the bottom of the wheel will
move the rear of the trailer to the left, while backing
up. If you are towing a bumper hitch rig, be careful
not to allow the trailer to turn too much, because it
will hit the rear of the tow vehicle. To straighten
the rig, either pull forward, or turn the steering
wheel in the opposite direction.
1.2.18 Safe Trailer Towing Guidelines
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Recheck the load tie downs to make sure the
load will not shift during towing.
Before towing, check coupling, safety chain,
safety brake, tires, wheels and lights.
Check the lug nuts or bolts for tightness.
Check coupler tightness after towing 50 miles.
Adjust the brake controller to engage the trailer
brakes before the tow vehicle brakes. Your
dealer can assist you by making this
adjustment.
Use your mirrors to verify that you have room
to change lanes or pull into traffic.
Use your turn signals well in advance.
Allow plenty of stopping space for your trailer
and tow vehicle.
Do not drive so fast that the trailer begins to
sway due to speed. Never drive faster than 60
m.p.h.
Allow plenty of room for passing. A rule of
thumb is that the passing distance with a trailer
is 4 times the passing distance without a trailer.
Shift your automatic transmission into a lower
gear for city driving.
Use lower gears for climbing and descending
grades.
Do not ride the brakes while descending grades,
they may get so hot that they stop working.
Then you will potentially have a runaway tow
vehicle and trailer.
To conserve fuel, don't use full throttle to climb
a hill. Instead, build speed on the approach.
Slow down for bumps in the road. Take your
foot off the brake when crossing the bump.
Do not brake while in a curve unless absolutely
necessary. Instead, slow down before you enter
R8 3/30/2017
Page 9
•
•
the curve and power through the curve. This
way, the towing vehicle remains “n charge.”
Do not apply the brakes to correct extreme
trailer swaying. The application of the trailer
brakes alone will tend to straighten out the
combination, especially when going downhill.
Make regular stops, about once each hour.
Confirm that
• the coupler is secure to the hitch and is
locked,
• electrical connectors are made,
• there is appropriate slack in the safety
chains,
• there is appropriate slack in the breakaway
switch pullpin lanyard,
• the tires are not visibly low on pressure,
and
• the cargo is secure and in good condition.
Section 1 - Safety Information
1.2.19 Safety Warning Labels on Your Trailer
Warning Labels and Locations – Gooseneck Trailer – Figure 1-2
Warning Labels and Locations – Bumper Pull Trailer – Figure 1-3
Warning Labels and Locations – Dump Trailer – Figure 1-4
R8 3/30/2017
Page 10
Section 1 – Safety Information
^ WARNING
To protect you and others against death or
serious injury, all of the labels shown must
be on the trailer and must be legible.
If any of these labels are missing or cannot
be read, call Featherlite, Inc. at 800-8001230 for free replacement labels.
You will need to provide us with the
number shown at the bottom of the label(s)
in order for us to send the correct one(s).
1.2.20 Reporting Safety Defects
If you believe that your vehicle has a defect that
could cause a crash or could cause injury or death,
you should immediately inform the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
in addition to notifying us.
If NHTSA receives similar complaints, it may open
an investigation, and if it finds that a safety defect
exists in a group of vehicles, it may order a recall
and remedy campaign. However, NHTSA cannot
become involved in individual problems between
you, your dealer, or us.
To contact NHTSA, you may either call the Vehicle
Safety Hotline toll-free at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1800-424-9153), go to http://www.safercar.gov; or
write to: Administrator, NHTSA1200 New Jersey
Ave., SE, Washington, DC 20590. You can also
obtain other information about motor vehicle safety
from http://www.safercar.gov.
Call 800-800-1230 to reach Featherlite, Inc.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 11
2 TIRE SAFETY INFORMATION
•
This portion of the User’s Manual contains tire
safety information as required by 49 CFR 575.6.
•
Section 2.1 contains “Trailer Tire Information”
Section 2.2 contains “Steps for Determining Correct
Load Limit - Trailer”.
Section 2.3 contains “Steps for Determining Correct
Load Limit – Tow Vehicle”.
Section 2.4 contains a Glossary of Tire
Terminology, including “cold inflation pressure”,
“maximum inflation pressure”, “recommended
inflation pressure”, and other non-technical terms.
Section 2.5 contains information from the NHTSA
brochure entitled “Tire Safety – Everything Rides
On It”.
This
brochure, as well as the preceding
subsections, describe the following items;
• Tire labeling, including a description and
explanation of each marking on the tires, and
information about the DOT Tire Identification
Number (TIN).
• Recommended tire inflation pressure, including
a description and explanation of:
• Cold inflation pressure.
• Vehicle Placard and location on the
vehicle.
• Adverse safety consequences of under
inflation (including tire failure).
• Measuring and adjusting air pressure for
proper inflation.
• Tire Care, including maintenance and safety
practices.
• Vehicle load limits, including a description and
explanation of the following items:
• Locating and understanding the load limit
information, total load capacity, and cargo
capacity.
• Calculating total and cargo capacities with
varying seating configurations including
quantitative examples showing / illustrating
how the vehicles cargo and luggage
capacity decreases as combined number
and size of occupants’ increases. This item
is also discussed in Section 3.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 12
2.1
Determining compatibility of tire and
vehicle load capabilities.
Adverse
safety
consequences
of
overloading on handling and stopping on
tires.
TRAILER TIRE INFORMATION
Trailer tires may be worn out even though they still
have plenty of tread left. This is because trailer
tires have to carry a lot of weight all the time, even
when not in use. It is actually better for the tire to
be rolling down the road than to be idle. During
use, the tire releases lubricants that are beneficial to
tire life. Using the trailer tires often also helps
prevent flat spots from developing.
The main cause of tire failure is improper inflation.
Check the cold tire inflation pressures at least once
a week for proper inflation levels. “Cold” means
that the tires are at the same temperature as the
surrounding air, such as when the vehicle has been
parked overnight. Wheel and tire manufacturers
recommend adjusting the air pressure to the trailer
manufacturer’s recommended cold inflation
pressure, in pounds per square inch (PSI) stated on
the vehicle’s Federal Certification Label or Tire
Placard when the trailer is loaded to its gross
vehicle weight rating (GVWR). If the tires are
inflated to less than the recommended inflation
level or the GVWR of the trailer is exceeded, the
load carrying capacity of the tire could be
dramatically affected. If the tires are inflated more
than the recommended inflation level, handling
characteristics of the tow vehicle/trailer
combination could be affected. Refer to the
owner’s manual or talk to your dealer or vehicle
manufacturer if you have any questions regarding
proper inflation practices.
Tires can lose air over a period of time. In fact, tires
can lose 1 to 3 PSI per month. This is because
molecules of air, under pressure, weave their way
from the inside of the tire, through the rubber, to the
outside. A drop in tire pressure could cause the tire
to become overloaded, leading to excessive heat
build up. If a trailer tire is under-inflated, even for
a short period of time, the tire could suffer internal
damage.
Section 2 – Tire Safety Information
High speed towing in hot conditions degrades
trailer tires significantly. As heat builds up during
driving, the tire’s internal structure starts to
breakdown, compromising the strength of the tire.
It is recommended to drive at moderate speeds.
Statistics indicate the average life of a trailer tire is
about five years under normal use and maintenance
conditions. After three years, replacing the trailer
tires with new ones should be considered, even if
the tires have adequate tread depth. Some experts
claim that after five years, trailer tires are
considered worn out and should be replaced, even if
they have had minimal or no use. This is such a
general statement that it may not apply in all cases.
It is best to have your tires inspected by a tire
supplier to determine if your tires need to be
replaced.
If you are storing your trailer for an extended
period, make sure the tires are fully inflated to the
maximum rated pressure and that you store them in
a cool, dry place, such as a garage. Use tire covers
to protect the trailer tires from the harsh effects of
the sun.
2.2
STEPS FOR DETERMINING CORRECT
LOAD LIMIT – TRAILER
Determining the load limits of a trailer includes
more than understanding the load limits of the tires
alone. On all trailers there is a Federal Certification
/ VIN label that is located on the forward half of the
left (road) side of the unit. This certification/VIN
label will indicate the trailer’s Gross Vehicle
Weight Rating (GVWR). This is the most weight
the fully loaded trailer can weigh. It will also
provide the Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR).
This is the most a particular axle can weigh. If there
are multiple axles, the GAWR of each axle will be
provided.
If your trailer has a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or
less, there is a vehicle placard located in the same
location as the certification label described above.
This placard provides tire and loading information.
In addition, this placard will show a statement
regarding maximum cargo capacity. Cargo can be
added to the trailer, up to the maximum weight
specified on the placard. The combined weight of
the cargo is provided as a single number. In any
case, remember: the total weight of a fully loaded
trailer can not exceed the stated GVWR.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 13
For trailers with living quarters installed, the weight
of water and propane also need to be considered.
The weight of fully filled propane containers is
considered part of the weight of the trailer before it
is loaded with cargo, and is not considered part of
the disposable cargo load. Water however, is a
disposable cargo weight and is treated as such. If
there is a fresh water storage tank of 100 gallons,
this tank when filled would weigh about 800
pounds. If more cargo is being transported, water
can be off-loaded to keep the total amount of cargo
added to the vehicle within the limits of the GVWR
so as not to overload the vehicle. Understanding
this flexibility will allow you, the owner, to make
choices that fit your travel needs.
When loading your cargo, be sure it is distributed
evenly to prevent overloading front to back and side
to side. Heavy items should be placed low and as
close to the axle positions as reasonable. Too many
items on one side may overload a tire. The best way
to know the actual weight of the vehicle is to weigh
it at a public scale. Talk to your dealer to discuss
the weighing methods needed to capture the various
weights related to the trailer. This would include the
weight empty or unloaded, weights per axle, wheel,
hitch or king-pin, and total weight.
Excessive loads and/or underinflation cause tire
overloading and, as a result, abnormal tire flexing
occurs. This situation can generate an excessive
amount of heat within the tire. Excessive heat may
lead to tire failure. It is the air pressure that enables
a tire to support the load, so proper inflation is
critical. The proper air pressure may be found on
the Certification / VIN label and/or on the Tire
Placard. This value should never exceed the
maximum cold inflation pressure stamped on the
tire.
2.2.1
Trailers 10,000 Pounds GVWR or
Less
Tire Information Placard – Figure 2-1
Section 2 – Tire Safety Information
1. Locate the statement, “The weight of cargo
should never exceed XXX kg or XXX lbs.,” on
your vehicle’s placard. See figure 2-1.
2. This figure equals the available amount of
cargo and luggage load capacity.
3. Determine the combined weight of luggage and
cargo being loaded on the vehicle. That weight
may not safely exceed the available cargo and
luggage load capacity.
may not safely exceed the available cargo and
luggage capacity calculated in Step # 4.
6. If your vehicle will be towing a trailer, load
from your trailer will be transferred to your
vehicle. Consult the tow vehicle’s manual to
determine how this weight transfer reduces the
available cargo and luggage capacity of your
vehicle.
The trailer’s placard refers to the Tire Information
Placard attached adjacent to or near the trailer’s
VIN (Certification) label at the left front of the
trailer.
Accessory weight
The combined weight (in excess of those standard
items which may be replaced) of automatic
transmission, power steering, power brakes, power
windows, power seats, radio and heater, to the
extent that these items are available as factoryinstalled equipment (whether installed or not).
2.2.2
Trailers Over 10,000 Pounds GVWR
Note: These trailers are not required to have a tire
information placard on the trailer and may not have
one installed.
1. Determine the empty weight of your trailer by
weighing the trailer using a public scale or
other means. This step does not have to be
repeated.
2. Locate the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight
Rating) of the trailer on your trailer’s VIN
(Certification) label.
3. Subtract the empty weight of your trailer from
the GVWR stated on the VIN label. That
weight is the maximum available cargo
capacity of the trailer and may not be safely
exceeded.
2.3
STEPS FOR DETERMINING CORRECT
LOAD LIMIT – TOW VEHICLE
1. Locate the statement, “The combined weight of
occupants and cargo should never exceed XXX
lbs.,” on your vehicle’s placard.
2. Determine the combined weight of the driver
and passengers who will be riding in your
vehicle.
3. Subtract the combined weight of the driver and
passengers from XXX kilograms or XXX
pounds.
4. The resulting figure equals the available
amount of cargo and luggage capacity. For
example, if the “XXX” amount equals 1400
lbs. and there will be five 150 lb. passengers in
your vehicle, the amount of available cargo and
luggage capacity is 650 lbs. (1400-750 (5 x
150) = 650 lbs.).
5. Determine the combined weight of luggage and
cargo being loaded on the vehicle. That weight
R8 3/30/2017
Page 14
2.4
GLOSSARY OF TIRE TERMINOLOGY
Bead
The part of the tire that is made of steel wires,
wrapped or reinforced by ply cords and that is
shaped to fit the rim.
Bead separation
This is the breakdown of the bond between
components in the bead.
Bias ply tire
A pneumatic tire in which the ply cords that extend
to the beads are laid at alternate angles substantially
less than 90 degrees to the centerline of the tread.
Carcass
The tire structure, except tread and sidewall rubber
which, when inflated, bears the load.
Chunking
The breaking away of pieces of the tread or
sidewall.
Cold inflation pressure
The pressure in the tire before you drive.
Cord
The strands forming the plies in the tire.
Cord separation
The parting of cords from adjacent rubber
compounds.
Cracking
Any parting within the tread, sidewall, or inner liner
of the tire extending to cord material.
Section 2 – Tire Safety Information
CT
A pneumatic tire with an inverted flange tire and
rim system in which the rim is designed with rim
flanges pointed radially inward and the tire is
designed to fit on the underside of the rim in a
manner that encloses the rim flanges inside the air
cavity of the tire.
Curb weight
The weight of a motor vehicle with standard
equipment including the maximum capacity of fuel,
oil, and coolant, and, if so equipped, air
conditioning and additional weight optional engine.
Extra load tire
A tire designed to operate at higher loads and at
higher inflation pressures than the corresponding
standard tire.
Light truck (LT) tire
A tire designated by its manufacturer as primarily
intended for use on lightweight trucks or
multipurpose passenger vehicles. May be used on
trailers.
Load rating
The maximum load that a tire is rated to carry for a
given inflation pressure.
Maximum load rating
The load rating for a tire at the maximum
permissible inflation pressure for that tire.
Maximum permissible inflation pressure
The maximum cold inflation pressure to which a
tire may be inflated.
Groove
The space between two adjacent tread ribs.
Gross Axle Weight Rating
The maximum weight that any axle can support, as
published on the Certification / VIN label on the
front left side of the trailer. Actual weight
determined by weighing each axle on a public scale,
with the trailer attached to the towing vehicle.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
The maximum weight of the fully loaded trailer, as
published on the Certification / VIN label. Actual
weight determined by weighing trailer on a public
scale, without being attached to the towing vehicle.
Hitch Weight
The downward force exerted on the hitch ball by
the trailer coupler.
Innerliner
The layer(s) forming the inside surface of a tubeless
tire that contains the inflating medium within the
tire.
Innerliner separation
The parting of the innerliner from cord material in
the carcass.
Intended outboard sidewall
The sidewall that contains a white-wall, bears white
lettering or bears manufacturer, brand, and/or model
name molding that is higher or deeper than the
same molding on the other sidewall of the tire or the
R8 3/30/2017
outward facing sidewall of an asymmetrical tire that
has a particular side that must always face outward
when mounted on a vehicle.
Page 15
Maximum loaded vehicle weight
The sum of curb weight, accessory weight, vehicle
capacity weight, and production options weight.
Measuring rim
The rim on which a tire is fitted for physical
dimension requirements.
Non-pneumatic rim
A mechanical device which, when a non-pneumatic
tire assembly incorporates a wheel, supports the
tire, and attaches, either integrally or separably, to
the wheel center member and upon which the tire is
attached.
Non-pneumatic spare tire assembly
A non-pneumatic tire assembly intended for
temporary use in place of one of the pneumatic tires
and rims that are fitted to a passenger car in
compliance with the requirements of this standard.
Non-pneumatic tire
A mechanical device which transmits, either
directly or through a wheel or wheel center
member, the vertical load and tractive forces from
the roadway to the vehicle, generates the tractive
forces that provide the directional control of the
vehicle and does not rely on the containment of any
gas or fluid for providing those functions.
Section 2 – Tire Safety Information
Non-pneumatic tire assembly
A non-pneumatic tire, alone or in combination with
a wheel or wheel center member, which can be
mounted on a vehicle.
Normal occupant weight
This means 68 kilograms (150 lbs.) times the
number of occupants specified in the second
column of Table I of 49 CFR 571.110.
Occupant distribution
The distribution of occupants in a vehicle as
specified in the third column of Table I of 49 CFR
571.110.
Open splice
Any parting at any junction of tread, sidewall, or
innerliner that extends to cord material.
levelers, roof rack, heavy duty battery, and special
trim.
Radial ply tire
A pneumatic tire in which the ply cords that extend
to the beads are laid at substantially 90 degrees to
the centerline of the tread.
Recommended inflation pressure
This is the inflation pressure provided by the
vehicle manufacturer on the Tire Information label
and on the Certification / VIN tag.
Reinforced tire
A tire designed to operate at higher loads and at
higher inflation pressures than the corresponding
standard tire.
Rim
A metal support for a tire or a tire and tube
assembly upon which the tire beads are seated.
Outer diameter
The overall diameter of an inflated new tire.
Overall width
The linear distance between the exteriors of the
sidewalls of an inflated tire, including elevations
due to labeling, decorations, or protective bands or
ribs.
Rim diameter
This means the nominal diameter of the bead seat.
Pin Weight
The downward force applied to the 5th wheel or
gooseneck ball, by the trailer kingpin or gooseneck
coupler.
Rim type designation
This means the industry of manufacturer’s
designation for a rim by style or code.
Rim width
This means the nominal distance between rim
flanges.
Ply
A layer of rubber-coated parallel cords.
Ply separation
A parting of rubber compound between adjacent
plies.
Pneumatic tire
A mechanical device made of rubber, chemicals,
fabric and steel or other materials, that, when
mounted on an automotive wheel, provides the
traction and contains the gas or fluid that sustains
the load.
Production options weight
The combined weight of those installed regular
production options weighing over 2.3 kilograms (5
lbs.) in excess of those standard items which they
replace, not previously considered in curb weight or
accessory weight, including heavy duty brakes, ride
R8 3/30/2017
Rim size designation
This means the rim diameter and width.
Page 16
Section width
The linear distance between the exteriors of the
sidewalls of an inflated tire, excluding elevations
due to labeling, decoration, or protective bands.
Sidewall
That portion of a tire between the tread and bead.
Sidewall separation
The parting of the rubber compound from the cord
material in the sidewall.
Special Trailer (ST) tire
The "ST" is an indication the tire is for trailer use
only.
Section 2 – Tire Safety Information
Test rim
The rim on which a tire is fitted for testing, and may
be any rim listed as appropriate for use with that
tire.
Tread
That portion of a tire that comes into contact with
the road.
Tread rib
A tread section running circumferentially around a
tire.
Tread separation
Pulling away of the tread from the tire carcass.
2.5
TIRE SAFETY - EVERYTHING RIDES ON
IT
The National Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) has published a brochure (DOT HS 809
361) that discusses all aspects of Tire Safety, as
required by CFR 575.6. This brochure is
reproduced in part below. It can be obtained and
downloaded from NHTSA, free of charge, from the
following web site:
http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/TireSafety/rides
onit/tires_index.html
Treadwear indicators (TWI)
The projections within the principal grooves
designed to give a visual indication of the degrees
of wear of the tread.
Vehicle capacity weight
The rated cargo and luggage load plus 68 kilograms
(150 lbs.) times the vehicle’s designated seating
capacity.
Vehicle maximum load on the tire
The load on an individual tire that is determined by
distributing to each axle its share of the maximum
loaded vehicle weight and dividing by two.
Vehicle normal load on the tire
The load on an individual tire that is determined by
distributing to each axle its share of the curb
weight, accessory weight, and normal occupant
weight (distributed in accordance with Table I of
CRF 49 571.110) and dividing by 2.
Weather side
The surface area of the rim not covered by the
inflated tire.
Wheel center member
In the case of a non-pneumatic tire assembly
incorporating a wheel, a mechanical device which
attaches, either integrally or separably, to the nonpneumatic rim and provides the connection between
the non-pneumatic rim and the vehicle; or, in the
case of a non-pneumatic tire assembly not
incorporating a wheel, a mechanical device which
attaches, either integrally or separably, to the nonpneumatic tire and provides the connection between
tire and the vehicle.
R8 3/30/2017
Wheel-holding fixture
The fixture used to hold the wheel and tire
assembly securely during testing.
Page 17
Studies of tire safety show that maintaining proper
tire pressure, observing tire and vehicle load limits
(not carrying more weight in your vehicle than your
tires or vehicle can safely handle), avoiding road
hazards, and inspecting tires for cuts, slashes, and
other irregularities are the most important things
you can do to avoid tire failure, such as tread
separation or blowout and flat tires. These actions,
along with other care and maintenance activities,
can also:
•
•
•
•
Improve vehicle handling
Help protect you and others from avoidable
breakdowns and accidents
Improve fuel economy
Increase the life of your tires.
This booklet presents a comprehensive overview of
tire safety, including information on the following
topics:
• Basic tire maintenance
• Uniform Tire Quality Grading System
• Fundamental characteristics of tires
• Tire safety tips.
Use this information to make tire safety a regular
part of your vehicle maintenance routine. Recognize
that the time you spend is minimal compared with
the inconvenience and safety consequences of a flat
tire or other tire failure.
2.5.1
Safety First–Basic Tire Maintenance
Properly maintained tires improve the steering,
stopping, traction, and load-carrying capability of
your vehicle. Underinflated tires and overloaded
vehicles are a major cause of tire failure. Therefore,
Section 2 – Tire Safety Information
as mentioned above, to avoid flat tires and other
types of tire failure, you should maintain proper tire
pressure, observe tire and vehicle load limits, avoid
road hazards, and regularly inspect your tires.
2.5.4
2.5.2
•
•
Finding
Your
Vehicle's
Recommended Tire Pressure and
Load Limits
Tire information placards and vehicle certification
labels contain information on tires and load limits.
These labels indicate the vehicle manufacturer's
information including:
•
•
•
•
Recommended tire size
Recommended tire inflation pressure
Vehicle capacity weight (VCW–the maximum
occupant and cargo weight a vehicle is
designed to carry)
Front and rear gross axle weight ratings
(GAWR– the maximum weight the axle
systems are designed to carry).
Both placards and certification labels are
permanently attached to the trailer near the left
front.
2.5.3
Understanding Tire Pressure and
Load Limits
Tire inflation pressure is the level of air in the tire
that provides it with load-carrying capacity and
affects the overall performance of the vehicle. The
tire inflation pressure is a number that indicates the
amount of air pressure– measured in pounds per
square inch (psi)–a tire requires to be properly
inflated. (You will also find this number on the
vehicle information placard expressed in kilopascals
(kPa), which is the metric measure used
internationally.)
Manufacturers of passenger vehicles and light
trucks determine this number based on the vehicle's
design load limit, that is, the greatest amount of
weight a vehicle can safely carry and the vehicle's
tire size. The proper tire pressure for your vehicle
is referred to as the "recommended cold inflation
pressure." (As you will read below, it is difficult to
obtain the recommended tire pressure if your tires
are not cold.)
Because tires are designed to be used on more than
one type of vehicle, tire manufacturers list the
"maximum permissible inflation pressure" on the
tire sidewall. This number is the greatest amount of
air pressure that should ever be put in the tire under
normal driving conditions.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 18
Checking Tire Pressure
It is important to check your vehicle's tire pressure
at least once a month for the following reasons:
•
Most tires may naturally lose air over time.
Tires can lose air suddenly if you drive over a
pothole or other object or if you strike the curb
when parking.
With radial tires, it is usually not possible to
determine underinflation by visual inspection.
For convenience, purchase a tire pressure gauge to
keep in your vehicle. Gauges can be purchased at
tire dealerships, auto supply stores, and other retail
outlets.
The recommended tire inflation pressure that
vehicle manufacturers provide reflects the proper
psi when a tire is cold. The term cold does not relate
to the outside temperature. Rather, a cold tire is one
that has not been driven on for at least three hours.
When you drive, your tires get warmer, causing the
air pressure within them to increase. Therefore, to
get an accurate tire pressure reading, you must
measure tire pressure when the tires are cold or
compensate for the extra pressure in warm tires.
2.5.5
•
•
•
•
•
•
Steps for Maintaining Proper Tire
Pressure
Step 1: Locate the recommended tire pressure
on the vehicle's tire information placard,
certification label, or in the owner's manual.
Step 2: Record the tire pressure of all tires.
Step 3: If the tire pressure is too high in any of
the tires, slowly release air by gently pressing
on the tire valve stem with the edge of your tire
gauge until you get to the correct pressure.
Step 4: If the tire pressure is too low, note the
difference between the measured tire pressure
and the correct tire pressure. These "missing"
pounds of pressure are what you will need to
add.
Step 5: At a service station, add the missing
pounds of air pressure to each tire that is
underinflated.
Step 6: Check all the tires to make sure they
have the same air pressure (except in cases in
which the front and rear tires are supposed to
have different amounts of pressure).
If you have been driving your vehicle and think that
a tire is underinflated, fill it to the recommended
cold inflation pressure indicated on your vehicle's
Section 2 – Tire Safety Information
tire information placard or certification label. While
your tire may still be slightly underinflated due to
the extra pounds of pressure in the warm tire, it is
safer to drive with air pressure that is slightly lower
than the vehicle manufacturer's recommended cold
inflation pressure than to drive with a significantly
underinflated tire. Since this is a temporary fix,
don't forget to recheck and adjust the tire's pressure
when you can obtain a cold reading.
2.5.6
Tire Size
To maintain tire safety, purchase new tires that are
the same size as the vehicle's original tires or
another size recommended by the manufacturer.
Look at the tire information placard, the owner's
manual, or the sidewall of the tire you are replacing
to find this information. If you have any doubt
about the correct size to choose, consult with the
tire dealer.
2.5.7
Tire Balance and Wheel Alignment
To avoid vibration or shaking of the vehicle when a
tire rotates, the tire must be properly balanced. This
balance is achieved by positioning weights on the
wheel to counterbalance heavy spots on the wheeland-tire assembly. A wheel alignment adjusts the
angles of the wheels so that they are positioned
correctly relative to the vehicle's frame. This
adjustment maximizes the life of your tires. These
adjustments require special equipment and should
be performed by a qualified technician.
2.5.9
2.5.10 Tire Fundamentals
Federal law requires tire manufacturers to place
standardized information on the sidewall of all tires.
This information identifies and describes the
fundamental characteristics of the tire and also
provides a tire identification number for safety
standard certification and in case of a recall.
2.5.10.a Information on Passenger Vehicle Tires
Please
refer
to
the
diagram
below.
Tire Tread
The tire tread provides the gripping action and
traction that prevent your vehicle from slipping or
sliding, especially when the road is wet or icy. In
general, tires are not safe and should be replaced
when the tread is worn down to 1/16 of an inch.
Tires have built-in treadwear indicators that let you
know when it is time to replace your tires. These
indicators are raised sections spaced intermittently
in the bottom of the tread grooves. When they
appear "even" with the outside of the tread, it is
time to replace your tires. Another method for
checking tread depth is to place a penny in the tread
with Lincoln's head upside down and facing you. If
you can see the top of Lincoln's head, you are ready
for new tires.
2.5.8
the tread can be repaired if they are not too large,
but punctures to the sidewall should not be
repaired. Tires must be removed from the rim to be
properly inspected before being plugged and
patched.
P
The "P" indicates the tire is for passenger vehicles.
Next number
This three-digit number gives the width in
millimeters of the tire from sidewall edge to
sidewall edge. In general, the larger the number, the
wider the tire.
Next number
This two-digit number, known as the aspect ratio,
gives the tire's ratio of height to width. Numbers of
70 or lower indicate a short sidewall for improved
steering response and better overall handling on dry
pavement.
Tire Repair
The proper repair of a punctured tire requires a plug
for the hole and a patch for the area inside the tire
that surrounds the puncture hole. Punctures through
R8 3/30/2017
Page 19
R
The "R" stands for radial. Radial ply construction of
tires has been the industry standard for the past 20
years.
Section 2 – Tire Safety Information
Next number
This two-digit number is the wheel or rim diameter
in inches. If you change your wheel size, you will
have to purchase new tires to match the new wheel
diameter.
Next number
This two- or three-digit number is the tire's load
index. It is a measurement of how much weight
each tire can support. You may find this
information in your owner's manual. If not, contact
a local tire dealer. Note: You may not find this
information on all tires because it is not required by
law.
M+S
The "M+S" or "M/S" indicates that the tire has
some mud and snow capability. Most radial tires
have these markings; hence, they have some mud
and snow capability.
Speed Rating
The speed rating denotes the speed at which a tire is
designed to be driven for extended periods of time.
Note: You may not find this information on all tires
because it is not required by law.
U.S. DOT Tire Identification Number
This begins with the letters "DOT" and indicates
that the tire meets all federal standards. The next
two numbers or letters are the plant code where it
was manufactured, and the last four numbers
represent the week and year the tire was built. For
example, the numbers 3197 means the 31st week of
1997. The other numbers are marketing codes used
at the manufacturer's discretion. This information is
used to contact consumers if a tire defect requires a
recall.
This number is the greatest amount of air pressure
that should ever be put in the tire under normal
driving conditions.
2.5.10.b
UTQGS Information
Treadwear Number
This number indicates the tire's wear rate. The
higher the treadwear number is, the longer it should
take for the tread to wear down. For example, a tire
graded 400 should last twice as long as a tire graded
200.
Traction Letter
This letter indicates a tire's ability to stop on wet
pavement. A higher graded tire should allow you to
stop your car on wet roads in a shorter distance than
a tire with a lower grade. Traction is graded from
highest to lowest as "AA","A", "B", and "C".
Temperature Letter
This letter indicates a tire's resistance to heat. The
temperature grade is for a tire that is inflated
properly and not overloaded. Excessive speed,
underinflation or excessive loading, either
separately or in combination, can cause heat buildup and possible tire failure. From highest to lowest,
a tire's resistance to heat is graded as "A", "B", or
"C".
2.5.10.c Information on Light Truck (LT) Tires
Please refer to the following diagram.
Tire Ply Composition and Materials Used
The number of plies indicates the number of layers
of rubber-coated fabric in the tire. In general, the
greater the number of plies, the more weight a tire
can support. Tire manufacturers also must indicate
the materials in the tire, which include steel, nylon,
polyester, and others.
Maximum Load Rating
This number indicates the maximum load in
kilograms and pounds that can be carried by the
tire.
Maximum Permissible Inflation Pressure
R8 3/30/2017
Page 20
Tires for light trucks have other markings besides
those found on the sidewalls of passenger tires.
Section 2 – Tire Safety Information
LT
The "LT" indicates the tire is for light trucks or
trailers.
Max. Load Dual kg (lbs) at kPa (psi) Cold
This information indicates the maximum load and
tire pressure when the tire is used as a dual, that is,
when four tires are put on each rear axle (a total of
six or more tires on the vehicle).
Max. Load Single kg (lbs) at kPa (psi) Cold
This information indicates the maximum load and
tire pressure when the tire is used as a single.
Load Range
This information identifies the tire's load-carrying
capabilities and its inflation limits.
Max. Load Dual kg (lbs) at kPa (psi) Cold
This information indicates the maximum load and
tire pressure when the tire is used as a dual, that is,
when four tires are put on each rear axle (a total of
six or more tires on the vehicle).
Max. Load Single kg (lbs) at kPa (psi) Cold
This information indicates the maximum load and
tire pressure when the tire is used as a single.
Load Range
This information identifies the tire's load-carrying
capabilities and its inflation limits.
2.5.11 Tire Safety Tips
Preventing Tire Damage
2.5.10.d
Information
Trailer (ST) Tires
on
Special
•
•
Please refer to the following diagram.
Slow down if you have to go over a pothole or
other object in the road.
Do not run over curbs or other foreign objects
in the roadway, and try not to strike the curb
when parking.
Tire Safety Checklist
•
•
•
•
•
•
Tires designated for trailers only have other
markings besides those found on the sidewalls of
passenger tires.
ST
An "ST" is an indication the tire is for trailer use
only. “ST” tires are design for carrying heavy loads
at lower speeds.
The Tire and Rim Association Standard indicates
that for operation at speeds up to 65 mph, no
change in maximum cold tire inflation pressure or
load is required. Recommended speed may vary and
the owner should check ratings for the specific tire
installed on the trailer.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 21
Check tire pressure regularly (at least once a
month), including the spare.
Inspect tires for uneven wear patterns on the
tread, cracks, foreign objects, or other signs of
wear or trauma.
Remove bits of glass and foreign objects
wedged in the tread.
Make sure your tire valves have valve caps.
Check tire pressure before going on a long trip.
Do not overload your vehicle. Check the tire
information placard or owner’s manual for the
maximum recommended load for the vehicle.
3 COUPLING TO THE TOW VEHICLE
This manual provides instructions for the operation
and care of Featherlite Open Trailers. The
instructions in the manual must be followed to
ensure safety and satisfactory life of the trailer.
Safety precautions to protect against injury or
property damage must be followed at all times.
This section of the manual is organized into the
following subsections:
• Using an adequate tow vehicle and hitch
• Coupling the trailer to the tow vehicle
• Loading the trailer
• Checking the trailer for safety before each tow
• Breaking in a new trailer
• Synchronizing the brakes
• Uncoupling the trailer
^ DANGER
Use of an under-rated hitch, ball or tow
vehicle can result in loss of control leading
to death or serious injury.
Make certain your hitch and tow vehicle
are rated for your trailer.
3.1.1
Trailer Information
The “Trailer Certification (VIN) Tag” location
figure shows the location of the Certification /
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) tag on your
trailer. See figure 3-1 or 3-2.
Trailer Accessories
Featherlite offers trailers with a wide range of
accessories. Instructions for safe use of these
accessories are located in separate instruction
manuals, some of which are provided by the
accessory manufacturer.
Section 7 of this manual contains instructions
regarding the use of some accessory items, such as:
• Accessory Battery
• Electric-powered hydraulic landing gear
Your Featherlite trailer has been built using parts
from various component manufacturers. Where this
manual indicates that you should read another
manual, and you do not have that manual, call
Featherlite at 1-800-800-1230 for assistance.
3.1
Gooseneck Certification (VIN) Tag Location –
Figure 3-1
USE AN ADEQUATE TOW VEHICLE AND
HITCH
If the tow vehicle or hitch is not properly selected
and matched to the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
(GVWR) of your trailer, you can cause an accident
that could lead to death or serious injury. Tow
vehicle and hitch manufacturers are the appropriate
source of competent advice.
If you already have a tow vehicle, know your
vehicle tow rating and make certain the trailer’s
rated capacity is less than or equal to the tow
vehicle’s rated towing capacity.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 22
Bumper Pull Certification (VIN) Tag
Location – Figure 3-2
The trailer Certification (VIN) tag contains the
following critical safety information for the use of
your trailer:
Section 3 - Coupling To The Tow Vehicle
MANUFACTURER:
manufacturer
Name
of
trailer
DATE OF MANUFACTURE: Month and year
the trailer was manufactured.
GAWR: The Gross Axle Weight Rating is the
maximum gross weight that an axle can support. It
is the lowest of axle, wheel, or tire rating.
Sometimes the tire or wheel rating is lower than the
axle manufacturers rating, and will then determine
GAWR.
GVWR: The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is the
maximum allowable gross weight of the trailer and
its contents. The gross weight of the trailer includes
the weight of the trailer and all of the items within it
(such as cargo, water, food and other supplies).
GVWR is sometimes referred to as GTW (Gross
Trailer Weight), or MGTW (Maximum Gross
Trailer Weight). GVWR, GTW and MGTW are all
the same rating.
The sum total of the GAWR for all trailer axles may
be less than the GVWR for the trailer, because
some of the trailer load is carried by the tow
vehicle, rather than by the trailer axle(s). The total
weight of the cargo and trailer must not exceed
the GVWR, and the load on an axle must not
exceed its GAWR.
PSIC: The “pounds per square inch-cold” is the
tire pressure (Kilopascals / Pounds per Square Inch)
measured when Cold.
VIN: The Vehicle Identification Number.
VEHICLE TYPE: Trailer plus the model number
of the trailer.
Certification Statement: “This trailer meets all
the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards in
effect on the date of manufacture shown above.”
There are two additional weights that are not
provided on the Certification (VIN) tag that are
important, and that should be put somewhere on the
trailer. These are the “empty weight” and
“maximum cargo weight”.
The “empty weight” is sometimes put on the
Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (Title) but may
R8 3/30/2017
Page 23
not be accurate for your particular trailer, due to
accessories, optional equipment, etc. The best way
to determine empty weight is to weigh the entire
trailer on a “Certified” scale at a truck stop. This
requires detaching the trailer and leaving the entire
trailer on the scale. Furthermore, it is desirable to
weigh the tongue weight. This can be done by reattaching the trailer to the tow vehicle, after getting
the empty weight, and then just weighing the trailer
axles(s). Subtracting the axle weight from the
empty weight gives you the tongue weight.
Knowing the empty weight now allows you to
calculate the “maximum cargo weight”. Simply
subtract the empty weight from the GVWR shown
on the Certification / VIN tag.
While you’re at the scale it is also a good idea to
weigh the towing vehicle, with driver, in the typical
towing scenario. This will provide you with the
total “combination vehicle weight”, which can then
be compared to the allowable Gross Combined
Weight Rating (GCWR) provided by the tow
vehicle manufacturer, as discussed below.
3.1.2
Tow Vehicle
When equipping a new vehicle or an older vehicle
to tow your trailer, ask the vehicle dealer for advice
on how to outfit the towing vehicle. Discuss the
following information and equipment with the
vehicle dealer.
Overall Carrying and Towing Capacity of
Vehicle: Vehicle manufacturers will provide you
with the maximum towing capacities of their
various models, as well as the GCWR. No amount
of reinforcement will give a 100 horsepower, 2,500
pound truck the towing capacity that a 300
horsepower, 5,000 pound truck has.
Towing Hitch: The towing hitch attached to your
tow vehicle must have a capacity equal to or greater
than the load rating of the trailer you intend to tow.
The hitch capacity must also be matched to the tow
vehicle capacity.
Suspension System: A tow vehicle equipped with
a factory installed “Towing Package” likely comes
equipped with heavy duty springs, heavy duty tires
and other suspension components which are able to
serve the size and weight of the trailer that the
vehicle is rated to tow. However, the addition of
Section 3 - Coupling To The Tow Vehicle
additional equipment may further improve the tow
vehicle performance. These may include adjustable
air shocks, helper springs, etc.
Brake Controller: The brake controller is part of
the tow vehicle and is essential in the operation of
the electric brakes on the trailer. If your trailer has
electric brakes it requires a brake controller be
installed at the driver’s position. The brake
controller is not the same as the safety breakaway
brake system that is installed on the trailer.
Side View Mirrors: The size of the trailer that is
being towed and your state law regulations
determine the size of the mirrors. However, some
states prohibit extended mirrors on a tow vehicle,
except while a trailer is actually being towed. In
this situation, detachable extended mirrors are
necessary.
Check with your dealer or the
appropriate state agency for mirror requirements.
Heavy Duty Flasher: A Heavy Duty Flasher is an
electrical component that may be required when
your trailer turn signal lights are attached to the tow
vehicle flasher circuit.
Electrical Connector: An Electrical Connector
connects the light and brake systems on the trailer
to the light and brake controls on the towing
vehicle.
Heavy Duty Engine Oil Cooling System: The
tow vehicle engine works harder when a trailer is
being towed. Depending on the size of the trailer,
you may need to install a separate engine oil cooler.
Inadequate cooling may result in sudden engine
failure. Ask the tow vehicle dealer if it is necessary
to install a heavy duty cooling system.
Automatic Transmission Oil Cooler: The
automatic transmission of a towing vehicle handles
more power when a trailer is being towed.
Inadequate cooling will shorten transmission life,
and may result in sudden transmission failure. Ask
the tow vehicle dealer if it is necessary to install a
separate oil cooler for the automatic transmission.
Fire Extinguisher: It is sensible to have a fire
extinguisher in the tow vehicle.
Emergency Flares and Emergency Triangle
Reflectors: It is wise to carry these warning
devices even if you are not towing a trailer. It is
R8 3/30/2017
Page 24
particularly important to have these when towing a
trailer because the hazard flashers of your towing
vehicle will not operate for as long a period of time
when the battery is running both the trailer lights
and tow vehicle lights.
3.2
COUPLING
TRAILER
AND
UNCOUPLING
THE
A secure coupling (or fastening) of the trailer to the
tow vehicle is essential. A loss of coupling may
result in death or serious injury. Therefore, you
must understand and follow all of the instructions
for coupling.
The following parts are involved in making a secure
coupling between the trailer and tow vehicle:
Coupling: That part of the trailer connecting
mechanism by which the connection is actually
made to the trailer hitch. This does not include any
structural member, extension of the trailer frame, or
brake controller. (per SAE J684)
Hitch: That part of the connecting mechanism
including the ball support platform and ball and
those components that extend and are attached to
the towing vehicle, including bumpers intended to
serve as hitches. (per SAE J684)
Safety chains: Chains are permanently attached to
the trailer such that if the coupler connection comes
loose, the safety chains can keep the trailer attached
to the tow vehicle. With properly rigged safety
chains, it is possible to keep the tongue of the trailer
from digging into the road pavement, even if the
coupler-to-hitch connection comes apart.
Trailer lighting (and braking) connector: A
device that connects electrical power from the tow
vehicle to the trailer. Electricity is used to turn on
brake lights, running lights, and turn signals as
required. In addition, if your trailer has a separate
braking system, the electrical connector will also
supply power to the trailer brakes from the tow
vehicle.
Breakaway switch: If the trailer becomes decoupled from the towing vehicle, the breakaway
switch lanyard, attached independently to the tow
vehicle hitch, will pull a pin in the emergency
electrical breakaway switch on the trailer. The
breakaway switch is activated by a separate battery
Section 3 - Coupling To The Tow Vehicle
supply in the trailer such as to energize the trailer
brakes independently of the towing vehicle. It is
important to check the state of charge of the
emergency breakaway battery before each trip.
Simply pull the pin out of the switch by hand and
then try to pull the trailer. If you feel a significant
drag force the brakes are activated. Be sure to reinsert the pin in the breakaway switch. Also be sure
to allow enough slack in the breakaway brake
lanyard such that the switch will only activate (pin
pulls out) if the coupler connection comes loose.
Jack: A device on the trailer that is used to raise
and lower the trailer tongue. On larger trailers the
jack is sometimes called the “landing gear.”
3.2.1
Trailer with Ball Hitch Coupler
A ball hitch coupler connects to a ball that is
located on or under the rear bumper of the tow
vehicle. This system of coupling a trailer to a tow
vehicle is sometimes referred to as “bumper pull.”
A ball hitch trailer may be fitted with a tongue jack
that can raise and lower the coupler. The tongue
jack is mounted to the A-frame (front, or tongue)
part of the trailer. By rotating the jack handle
clockwise, the jack will extend and raise the tongue
of the trailer. Figure 3-3 shows a trailer with a ball
hitch coupler.
^ WARNING
An improperly coupled trailer can result in
death or serious injury.
Do not move the trailer until:
• The coupler is secured and locked;
• The safety chains are secured to the tow
vehicle; and
• The trailer jacks are fully retracted.
• Do not tow the trailer on the road until:
• The trailer brakes are checked;
• The breakaway switch is connected to
the tow vehicle;
• The load is secured to the trailer; and
• The trailer lights are connected and
checked.
Trailer with Ball Hitch Coupler – Figure 3-3
Couplers
Featherlite Trailers are produced with a variety of
coupler devices. One of the sections below will
pertain to your trailer.
•
•
•
Bumper pull (Ball Hitch) Coupler
Gooseneck Ball Hitch Coupler
Gooseneck Fifth Wheel Coupler
If the coupler on your trailer does not resemble one
of the couplers shown in the figures, see the
separate coupler instructions. If you do not have
separate coupler instructions, call Featherlite, Inc. at
800-800-1230 for assistance.
Be sure the Ball Hitch coupler is suitable for the
size and weight of the trailer. The load rating of the
coupler and the necessary ball size are listed on the
trailer tongue. You must provide a hitch and ball
for your tow vehicle, where the load rating of the
hitch and ball is equal to or greater than that of your
trailer. Also, the ball size must be the same as the
coupler size. If the hitch ball is too small, too large,
is underrated, is loose or is worn, the trailer can
come loose from the tow vehicle, and may cause
death or serious injury.
THE TOW VEHICLE, HITCH AND BALL
MUST HAVE A RATED TOWING CAPACITY
EQUAL TO OR GREATER THAN THE
TRAILER Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).
IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT THE HITCH BALL BE
OF THE SAME SIZE AS THE COUPLER.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 25
Section 3 - Coupling To The Tow Vehicle
^ WARNING
IF THE HITCH BALL IS TOO SMALL, IS
UNDERRATED, IS LOOSE OR IS WORN, THE
TRAILER CAN COME LOOSE FROM THE
TOW VEHICLE, RESULTING IN DEATH OR
SERIOUS INJURY.
A loose hitch ball nut can result in
uncoupling, leading to death or serious
injury.
Make sure the hitch ball is tight to the hitch
before coupling the trailer.
The ball size and load rating (capacity) are marked
on the ball; hitch capacity is marked on the hitch.
3.2.1.a Before Coupling the Trailer to the Tow
Vehicle
3.2.1.b Prepare the Coupler and Hitch
•
•
Be sure the size and rating of hitch ball match
the size and rating of the coupler. Hitch balls
and couplers are marked with their size and
rating.
•
^ WARNING
•
Coupler-to-hitch mismatch can result in
uncoupling, leading to death or serious
injury.
Make sure the hitch and ball are rated for
the trailer coupling.
Make sure the hitch [ball size] matches the
coupler.
•
Lubricate the hitch ball and the inside of the
coupler with a thin layer of automotive bearing
grease. Using the jack, raise the coupler above
the ball height.
The trailer can be equipped with two different
types of couplers. See figures 3-4, 3-5 and 3-6
to determine the type of coupler on your trailer.
Open the coupler locking mechanism. Ball
couplers have a locking mechanism with an
internal moving piece (ball clamp) and an
outside handle, wheel, or latch. See figures 34, 3-5 and 3-6.
•
•
Wipe the hitch ball clean and inspect it visually
and by feel for flat spots, cracks and pits.
^ WARNING
•
A worn, cracked or corroded hitch ball can
fail while towing, and may result in death or
serious injury.
In the open or unlatched position, the
coupler is able to drop fully onto the hitch
ball.
See the coupler instructions for details of
placing the coupler in the open or
unlatched position.
Slowly back up the tow vehicle so that the hitch
ball is near or aligned under the coupler, if the
trailer jack has raised the coupler.
Check the hitch ball for wear, corrosion and
cracks before coupling the trailer.
Replace worn, corroded or cracked hitch
ball before coupling the trailer.
•
•
•
Rock the ball to make sure it is tight to the
hitch, and visually check that the hitch ball nut
is solid against the lock washer and hitch frame.
Wipe the inside and outside of the coupler
clean and inspect it visually for cracks and
deformations; feel the inside of the coupler for
worn spots and pits.
Be sure the coupler is tight to the tongue of the
trailer. All coupler fasteners must be visibly
solid against the trailer frame.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 26
Latched and Unlatched Position (Cequent) –
Figure 3-4
Latched and Unlatched Position (Demco) –
Figure 3-5
Section 3 - Coupling To The Tow Vehicle
3.2.1.c Couple the Trailer to the Tow Vehicle
(Cequent Coupler)
•
•
•
•
Using the jack, lower the trailer tongue until the
coupler fully engages the hitch ball. If the
coupler does not line up with the hitch ball,
adjust the position of the tow vehicle.
Engage the coupler locking mechanism. In the
engaged position, the locking mechanism
securely holds the coupler to the hitch ball.
Insert a pin or lock through the hole in the
locking mechanism.
Be sure the coupler is all the way on the hitch
ball and the locking mechanism is engaged. A
properly engaged locking mechanism will allow
the coupler to raise the rear of the tow vehicle.
Using the trailer jack, test to see that you can
raise the rear of the tow vehicle by 1 inch, after
the coupler is locked to the hitch.
•
•
Latched Position – Figure 3-6
There is no need to insert a pin into the hole
(A). With the handle down it is securely locked.
This hole is used for security only.
Be sure the coupler is all the way on the hitch
ball and the locking mechanism is latched. A
properly engaged locking mechanism will allow
the coupler to raise the rear of the tow vehicle.
Using the trailer jack, test to see that you can
raise the rear of the tow vehicle by 1 inch, after
the coupler is locked to the hitch.
NOTICE
NOTICE
The tongue jack can be damaged by
overloading. Do not use the tongue jack to
raise the tow vehicle more than 1 inch.
The tongue jack can be damaged by
overloading. Do not use the tongue jack to
raise the tow vehicle more than 1 inch.
If the coupler cannot be secured to the hitch
ball, do not tow the trailer. Call Featherlite, Inc.
at 800-800-1230 or your dealer for assistance.
If the coupler cannot be secured to the hitch
ball, do not tow the trailer. Call Featherlite, Inc.
at 800-800-1230 or your dealer for assistance.
•
•
Lower the trailer so that its entire tongue weight
is held by the hitch, and continue retracting the
jack to its fully retracted position.
3.2.1.d Couple the Trailer to the Tow Vehicle
(Demco Coupler)
•
•
Using the jack, lower the trailer tongue until the
coupler fully engages the hitch ball. If the
coupler does not line up with the hitch ball,
adjust the position of the tow vehicle.
Lower the trailer to the ball (do not lift handle),
while the coupler is going over the ball the
handle will lift up automatically and lock over
ball as it is lowered.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 27
Lower the trailer so that its entire tongue weight
is held by the hitch, and continue retracting the
jack to its fully retracted position.
Section 3 - Coupling To The Tow Vehicle
^ WARNING
3.2.1.e Rig the Safety Chains
Incorrect rigging of the safety chains can
result in loss of control of the trailer and
tow vehicle, leading to death or serious
injury, if the trailer uncouples from the tow
vehicle.
Chains must:
• Fasten to frame of tow vehicle, not to
hitch or ball.
• Cross underneath hitch and coupler with
minimum slack to permit turning and to
hold tongue up, if the trailer comes
loose.
3.2.1.f Attach and Test the Breakaway Brake
System
Safety Chain Arrangement – Figure 3-7
•
•
Visually inspect the safety chains and hooks for
wear or damage. Replace worn or damaged
safety chains and hooks before towing.
Rig the safety chains so that they:
•
•
•
•
Cris-cross underneath the coupler so if the
trailer uncouples, the safety chains can hold
the tongue up above the road. See figure 37.
Loop around a frame member of the tow
vehicle or to holes provided in the hitch
system (but, do not attach them to an
interchangeable part of the hitch assembly)
Attach hooks up from underneath the hole
(do not just drop into hole); and
Provide enough slack to permit tight turns,
but not be close to the road surface to drag.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 28
If the coupler or hitch fails, a properly connected
and working breakaway brake system will apply
electric brakes on the trailer. The safety chains will
keep the tow vehicle attached and as the brakes are
applied at the trailer’s axles, the trailer/tow vehicle
combination will come to a controlled stop.
The breakaway brake system includes a controller,
battery, and a switch with a pullpin, and lanyard.
Read and follow the instructions here as well as the
instructions that have been prepared by the
breakaway brake manufacturer.
The breakaway brake system may be fitted with a
“charging” capability that draws power from the
tow vehicle. If the electrical system on your tow
vehicle does not provide power to the breakaway
brake battery, you must periodically charge the
battery to keep the breakaway brake system in
working order.
Section 3 - Coupling To The Tow Vehicle
^ WARNING
An ineffective breakaway brake system can
result in a runaway trailer, leading to death
or serious injury if the coupler or ball hitch
fails.
Test the function of the breakaway brake
system before towing the trailer. Do not
tow the trailer if the breakaway brake
system is not working; have it serviced or
repaired.
Connect the breakaway lanyard to the tow
vehicle Breakaway Brake Connection – figure 3-8
•
•
•
•
NOT to the safety chain; and
Visually inspect the breakaway system for
broken or missing parts. Repair or replace
worn, damaged or missing parts before towing
trailer.
Connect the pullpin lanyard to the tow vehicle
so that the pullpin will be pulled out before all
of the slack in the safety chains is taken up (see
Breakaway Brake Connection figure 3-8). Do
not connect the pullpin lanyard to a safety
chain or to the hitch ball or hitch ball assembly.
This would keep the breakaway brake system
from operating when it is needed.
To test the breakaway brake battery, remove the
pullpin from the switch and attempt to pull the
trailer forward. You should feel the trailer
resisting being towed, but the wheels will not
necessarily be locked. If the brakes do not
function, do not tow the trailer until brakes, or
battery, are repaired.
Immediately replace the pullpin.
The
breakaway brake system battery discharges
rapidly when the pullpin is removed.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 29
NOT to the hitch, ball or support.
Do not tow the trailer with the breakaway brake
system ON because the brakes will overheat which
can result in permanent brake failure.
^ WARNING
Failure to replace the pullpin can result in
ineffective brakes, leading to loss of
control, serious injury or death.
If you do not use your trailer for three or more
months, or during winter months:
•
•
Store the battery indoors; and
Charge the battery every three months.
Replace the breakaway brake battery according to
the intervals specified by the battery manufacturer.
Section 3 - Coupling To The Tow Vehicle
•
3.2.1.g Connect the Electrical Cables
Connect the trailer lights to the tow vehicle's
electrical system using the electrical connectors.
•
Check all lights for proper operation.
•
•
•
•
Clearance and Running Lights (Turn on
tow vehicle headlights).
Brake Lights (Step on tow vehicle brake
pedal).
Turn Signals (Operate tow vehicle
directional signal lever).
Check electric brakes for proper operation
using brake controller mounted in the cab.
If your trailer has electric brakes, your tow vehicle
will have an electric brake controller that sends
power to the trailer brakes. Before towing the
trailer on the road, you must operate the brake
controller while trying to pull the trailer in order to
confirm that the electric brakes operate. While
towing the trailer at less than 5 m.p.h., manually
operate the electric brake controller in the tow
vehicle cab. You should feel the operation of the
trailer brakes.
Failure to connect the tow vehicle lighting
and braking to the trailer will result in
inoperable lights and brakes, and can lead
to collision.
3.2.1.h Uncoupling the Ball Hitch Trailer
Follow these steps to uncouple your ball hitch
trailer from the tow vehicle:
•
•
Trailer with Gooseneck Coupler and
Drop-Leg Jack
A gooseneck coupler on the trailer connects to a
gooseneck ball that you must have installed in the
bed of the tow vehicle. This system of coupling a
trailer to a tow vehicle permits the tow vehicle to
turn to sharper angles than are permitted by a
bumper hitch system. A gooseneck coupler consists
of a tube in an inverted “U” shape and a gooseneck
ball receiver. Figure 3-9 shows a trailer with a
gooseneck coupler.
Trailer with Gooseneck Coupler – Figure 3-9
You must provide a gooseneck ball and support
structure that is marked with a rating that meets or
exceeds the GVW Rating of your trailer and
matches the size of the gooseneck ball receiver. If
the gooseneck ball is too small, is underrated, is
loose or is worn, the trailer can come loose from the
tow vehicle, and may lead to death or serious injury.
Check that all the trailer lights and brakes
work before each tow.
•
•
3.2.2
We have utilized a Gooseneck ball receiver that is
suitable for the size and weight of the trailer. The
load rating of the coupler and the necessary ball size
are listed on the gooseneck.
^ WARNING
•
•
Before extending jack, make certain the ground
surface below the jack pad will support the
tongue load.
Rotate the jack handle (or crank) clockwise.
This will slowly extend the jack and transfer
the weight of the trailer tongue to the jack.
Block trailer tires to prevent the trailer from
rolling, before jacking the trailer up.
Disconnect the electrical connector.
Disconnect the breakaway brake switch
lanyard.
Disconnect the safety chains from the tow
vehicle.
Unlock the coupler and open it.
THE TOW VEHICLE, SUPPORT STRUCTURE
AND GOOSENECK BALL MUST HAVE A
RATED TOWING CAPACITY EQUAL TO OR
GREATER THAN THE TRAILER Gross Vehicle
Weight Rating (GVWR).
IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT THE GOOSENECK
BALL BE OF THE SAME SIZE AS THE
GOOSENECK BALL RECEIVER.
IF THE GOOSENECK BALL IS TOO SMALL, IS
UNDERRATED, IS LOOSE OR IS WORN, THE
R8 3/30/2017
Page 30
Section 3 - Coupling To The Tow Vehicle
TRAILER CAN COME LOOSE FROM THE
TOW VEHICLE, RESULTING IN DEATH OR
SERIOUS INJURY.
The gooseneck ball size and load rating (capacity)
are marked on the ball; hitch capacity is marked on
the hitch.
^ WARNING
Coupler-to-hitch mismatch can result in
uncoupling, leading to death or serious
injury.
Make sure the hitch and ball are rated for
the trailer coupling.
Coupler Height Adjustment – Figure 3-10
Make sure the hitch [ball size] matches the
coupler.
Coupler
3.2.2.a Adjust Gooseneck Hitch Height
It is your responsibility to have the height of the
receiver adjusted to match the height of the
gooseneck ball in your tow vehicle. Proper
gooseneck ball receiver height adjustment is
required to provide clearance between the bottom of
the trailer and sides of the tow vehicle bed, to
obtain level running of the trailer and to permit
equal weight distribution on the axles. Your
Featherlite dealer is able to perform the gooseneck
ball receiver height adjustment to match the trailer
to your towing vehicle.
Coupler With Two Set Screws
• Loosen the jam nuts and set screws (A) on the
rear side of the coupler. See figure 3-10.
• Extend or retract the coupler as needed, but do
not exceed the maximum extension in figure 311.
• Tighten setscrews to the torque listed in figure
3-11.
• Tighten jam nuts to 80-90 lb/ft of torque.
• Check tightness after 50 miles of towing.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 31
20 K
30 K
Maximum
Extension
9 inches
7 inches
Setscrew
Torque
162 lb. ft.
190 lb. ft.
Coupler Extension and Torque – Figure 3-11
A sleeve may be installed on the coupler to keep the
coupler from retracting under heavy load
conditions. See your Featherlite dealer.
Coupler With Load Bearing Pin
• Loosen the jam nuts and set screws (A) on the
rear side of the coupler. See figure 3-12.
• Remove retaining pin (B) and load bearing pin
(C).
• Extend or retract the coupler as needed up to a
maximum of 8 inches from the fully retracted
position.
• Fully insert load bearing pin (B) through one
set of holes in coupler and outer tube. NEVER
use the set screw or any other device as a
replacement for the load bearing pin (B).
• Install retaining pin (C) on load bearing pin
(B).
• Tighten setscrews (A) to 75-100 lb/ft of torque.
• Tighten jam nuts to 75-100 lb/ft of torque.
• Check tightness after 50 miles of towing.
Section 3 - Coupling To The Tow Vehicle
Drop-Leg Jack Arrangement – Figure 3-13
3.2.2.c Before Coupling the Trailer to the Tow
Vehicle
•
•
Coupler Height Adjustment - Figure 3-12
^ WARNING
Be sure the size and rating of the gooseneck
ball match the size and rating of the receiver.
Gooseneck balls and receivers are marked with
their size and ratings.
Wipe the gooseneck ball clean and inspect it
visually and by feel for flat spots, cracks and
pits.
^ WARNING
Improper gooseneck height adjustment can
result in overloaded tires, blowout and loss
of control, leading to death or serious
injury.
A worn, cracked or corroded gooseneck
ball can fail while towing, and may result in
death or serious injury.
Check the gooseneck ball for wear,
corrosion and cracks before coupling the
trailer.
Adjust the gooseneck receiver so that the
trailer runs level.
Replace worn, corroded or cracked
gooseneck ball before coupling the trailer.
3.2.2.b Drop-Leg Jack(s)
A trailer having a gooseneck hitch will have one or
two drop leg jacks for raising and lowering the
gooseneck ball receiver. Because several drop leg
jack mechanisms are available, the general
instructions below may vary slightly from the jack
manufacturer’s instructions. If the trailer jack on
your trailer does not resemble the jack shown in the
figure 3-13, follow the jack instructions provided by
the jack manufacturer.
•
Rock the ball to make sure it is tight to the ball
support, and visually check that the gooseneck
ball nut is solid against the lock washer and ball
support frame.
^ WARNING
A loose gooseneck ball can result in
uncoupling, leading to death or serious
injury.
Make sure the gooseneck ball nut is tight
before coupling the trailer.
•
R8 3/30/2017
Page 32
Wipe the inside and outside of the receiver
clean and inspect it visually for cracks; and feel
Section 3 - Coupling To The Tow Vehicle
•
•
•
•
•
the inside of the receiver for worn spots and
pits. If any of these conditions exist, have the
receiver replaced before coupling the trailer.
Lubricate the inside of the gooseneck ball
receiver with automotive bearing grease.
Be sure the receiver is tight to the trailer. All
receiver fasteners must be visibly solid against
the trailer frame.
Release the jack handle or crank from its holder
(see “Drop Leg Jack” figure 3-13).
Rotate the handle/crank clockwise to raise the
bottom surface of the gooseneck to be above
the top of the gooseneck ball.
If the tow vehicle has a tailgate, lower it.
3.2.2.d Prepare the
Gooseneck Ball
•
•
Ball
Receiver
•
•
NOTICE
The drop leg jack can be damaged by
overloading. Do not use the drop leg jack
to raise the tow vehicle more than 1 inch.
and
Release the lock plate on the gooseneck ball
receiver. With the spring-loaded lock plate
locking pin in the OPEN position, rotate the
lock plate to a position that allows the
gooseneck ball to enter the receiver (see
“Gooseneck Ball Receiver and Height
Adjustment” figure 3-10).
Slowly back up the tow vehicle so that the
gooseneck ball is aligned under the gooseneck
ball receiver.
Move the spring-loaded lock plate locking pin
to the CLOSED position. Be sure the locking
pin is holding the lock plate.
Be sure the receiver is all the way on the
gooseneck ball and the lock plate is engaged.
A properly engaged locking mechanism will
allow the coupler to raise the rear of the tow
vehicle. Using the trailer jack, test to see that
you can raise the rear of the tow vehicle by 1
inch.
If the gooseneck ball cannot be secured to the
receiver, do not tow the trailer. Call Featherlite,
Inc. at 800-800-1230 or your dealer for assistance.
•
•
^ WARNING
No one must be under the trailer or coupler
during the coupling.
•
Death or serious injury can occur if the
trailer drops.
•
After testing to see that the receiver is properly
secured and locked to the ball, retract the jack
to its fully retracted position.
Return the drop legs to their upper positions.
The drop legs are held in the lowered position
with a plunger pin. Rotating the plunger pin
while pulling it outward will cause it to come
out of engagement with the drop leg and the leg
will rapidly rise. See figure 3-14.
If the tow vehicle is equipped with a tailgate,
raise it.
Pick up the trailer wheel blocks.
^ CAUTION
3.2.2.e Couple the Trailer to the Tow Vehicle
•
•
Rotate the jack handle counter-clockwise. This
will retract the jack causing the gooseneck ball
receiver to drop down so it can fully engage the
gooseneck ball and transfer the weight of the
trailer tongue to the towing vehicle hitch. If the
receiver does not line up with the ball, raise the
receiver again and adjust the position of the tow
vehicle. Then lower the receiver over the ball.
When the drop leg base is no longer resting on
the ground, the towing vehicle hitch is holding
all of the weight of the trailer tongue.
Close the lock plate on the gooseneck ball
receiver.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 33
The drop legs are heavily spring loaded in
the lowered position. They will rapidly
return to the upper position when
released and can inflict serious bruises,
scrapes or pinching.
Keep your feet, shins and hands well
clear of the drop legs and drop leg bases
when releasing the drop legs.
Section 3 - Coupling To The Tow Vehicle
^ WARNING
Improper rigging of the safety chains can
result in loss of control of the trailer and
tow vehicle, leading to death or serious
injury, if the trailer uncouples from the tow
vehicle.
• Fasten chains to safety chain receivers
on the hitch, not to ball.
• Have sufficient slack to permit turning
and to keep gooseneck on bed of tow
vehicle, if the trailer comes loose.
Drop Leg Jack Mechanism – Figure 3-14
3.2.2.f Rig the Safety Chains
•
•
•
Visually inspect the safety chains and hooks for
wear or damage. Replace worn or damaged
safety chains and hooks before towing.
Rig the safety chains so that they attach to the
“safety chain receivers” on the tow vehicle. If
you are not certain of the hitch provisions for
receiving safety chains, contact the hitch
manufacturer or installer. Do NOT attach the
safety chains to the gooseneck ball or its
support; and
Rig the safety chains so they have sufficient
slack to permit turning, but not too much slack
– the safety chains must keep the gooseneck on
the tow vehicle bed if the trailer uncouples.
See figure 3-15.
3.2.2.g Attach and Test the Breakaway Brake
System
If the coupler or hitch fails, a properly connected
and working breakaway brake system will apply
electric brakes on the trailer. The safety chains will
keep the tow vehicle attached and as the brakes are
applied at the trailer’s axles, the trailer/tow vehicle
combination will come to a controlled stop. See
figure 3-16.
The breakaway brake system includes a breakaway
brake controller, battery, and a switch with a
pullpin, and lanyard. Read and follow the
instructions here as well as the instructions that
have been prepared by the breakaway brake
controller manufacturer.
Breakaway Brake Connection – Figure 3-16
Safety Chain Arrangement – Figure 3-15
The breakaway brake system may be fitted with a
charging facility that draws power from the tow
vehicle. If the electrical system on your tow vehicle
does not provide power to the breakaway brake
battery you must periodically charge the battery on
the trailer to keep the breakaway brake system in
working order.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 34
Section 3 - Coupling To The Tow Vehicle
•
•
•
•
Visually inspect the breakaway brake system
for broken parts.
Connect the pullpin lanyard to the tow vehicle
so that the pullpin will be pulled out before all
of the slack in the safety chains is taken up (see
“Breakaway Brake Connection” figure 3-16).
Do not connect the pullpin lanyard to a safety
chain, safety chain receiver, or to the gooseneck
ball or its support. This would keep the
breakaway brake system from operating when it
is needed. Contact the hitch manufacturer or
installer if you are not certain of the hitch
provisions for the breakaway brake connection.
To test the breakaway brake battery, pull out
the pullpin from the switch and attempt to pull
the trailer forward. You should feel the trailer
resisting being towed, but the wheels will not
necessarily be locked. If the brakes do not
function, do not tow the trailer until brakes, or
battery, are repaired.
Immediately replace the pullpin.
The
breakaway brake system battery discharges
rapidly when the pullpin is removed.
^ WARNING
•
•
Store the battery indoors; and
Charge the battery every three months.
Replace the breakaway brake battery according to
the intervals specified by the battery manufacturer.
3.2.2.h Connect the Electrical Cables
Connect the trailer lights to the tow vehicle's
electrical system using the electrical connectors.
•
Check all lights for proper operation:
•
•
•
•
Clearance and Running Lights (Turn on
tow vehicle headlights).
Brake Lights (Step on tow vehicle brake
pedal).
Turn Signals (Operate tow vehicle
directional signal lever).
Check electric brakes for proper operation
using the controller mounted in the cab.
If your trailer has electric brakes, your tow vehicle
will have an electric brake controller that sends
power to the trailer brakes. Before towing the
trailer on the road, you must operate the brake
controller while trying to pull the trailer in order to
confirm that the electric brakes operate. While
towing the trailer at less than 5 m.p.h., manually
operate the electric brake controller in the tow
vehicle cab. You should feel the operation of the
trailer brakes.
An ineffective or inoperative breakaway
brake system can result in a runaway trailer
leading to death or serious injury if the
coupler or hitch fails.
Connect the breakaway lanyard to the tow
vehicle; and NOT to the safety chain, safety
chain receiver, gooseneck ball or
gooseneck ball support.
Test the function of the breakaway brake
system before towing the trailer. Do not
tow the trailer if the breakaway brake
system is not working. Have it serviced or
repaired.
^ WARNING
Failure to connect the tow vehicle lighting
and braking to the trailer will result in
inoperable lights and brakes, and can lead
to collision.
Do not tow the trailer with the breakaway brake
system ON because the brakes will overheat which
can result in permanent brake failure.
^ WARNING
Check that all the trailer lights and brakes
work before each tow.
3.2.2.i Uncoupling the Gooseneck Trailer
with Drop-Leg Jack
Failure to replace the pullpin can result in
ineffective brakes, leading to loss of
control, serious injury or death.
R8 3/30/2017
If you do not use your trailer for three or more
months, or during winter months:
Follow these steps to uncouple your gooseneck
hitch trailer from the tow vehicle:
Page 35
Section 3 - Coupling To The Tow Vehicle
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Block trailer tires to prevent the trailer from
rolling, before jacking the trailer up
Disconnect the electrical connector.
Disconnect the breakaway brake switch
lanyard.
Disconnect the safety chains from the tow
vehicle.
If the tow vehicle has a tailgate, lower it.
Move the spring-loaded gooseneck receiver
lock plate locking pin to the OPEN position
(see “Gooseneck Ball Receiver and Height
Adjustment” figure).
Rotate the lock plate to a position that permits
the gooseneck ball to exit the receiver.
Before releasing dropleg jack, make certain
ground surface below jack base will support the
trailer tongue load.
Rotate the drop leg plunger pin handle so that
the plunger pin is released from the drop leg
(see “Releasing Drop Leg Mechanism” figure).
Push down on the drop leg base with your foot
to place a drop leg to the desired lowered
position.
Rotate the plunger pin handle so that the
plunger pin is attempting to engage the drop leg
(see “Drop Leg Jack Mechanism” figure)
Slowly raise your foot, permitting the drop leg
to rise. The plunger pin will engage a hole in
the drop leg.
^ CAUTION
•
•
•
•
•
Release the handle (or crank) from its holder
and engage it with the jack shaft (see “Drop
Leg Jack Mechanism” figure 3-14).
Rotate the handle (or crank) from its hold and
engage it with the jack shaft.
Rotate the handle (or crank) clockwise to
slowly extend the jack and transfer the weight
of the trailer tongue to the jack.
On two speed jacks, pushing the handle shaft
toward the gearbox can perform rapid
extension. This shifts the gearbox into a high
speed mode.
When the drop leg base contacts the ground,
shift the gearbox into low speed mode by
pulling out on the handle shaft until it locks
into low gear.
NOTICE
Do not use high speed to lift the trailer, the
drop leg jack mechanism can be damaged.
High speed is used only to rapidly move
the drop leg base into contact with the
ground.
After the jack(s) are extended and the gooseneck
ball receiver is well clear of the gooseneck ball, to
permit driving the tow vehicle away, disengage the
handle from its shaft and return to its holder.
Keep your feet, shins and hands well
clear of the drop legs and drop leg bases
when releasing the drop legs.
•
If the drop legs are not set at the same
level, one of the drop leg jacks can be
overloaded and can be damaged.
Continue to extend the jack(s), making sure that the
ground is providing stable and level support for the
trailer.
The drop legs are heavily spring loaded in
the lowered position. They will rapidly
return to the upper position when
released and can inflict serious bruises,
scrapes or pinching.
•
NOTICE
Be sure the plunger pin is fully engaged. Push
it in by hand if necessary. The bent part of the
plunger pin handle must be touching the
plunger pin housing.
If your trailer has two drop leg jacks, lower
them both to the same level, following the
above instructions.
3.2.3
Trailer with Fifth Wheel Coupler or
King Pin and Drop-Leg Jack
A fifth wheel coupler on the trailer connects to a
kingpin that is installed on the trailer. A fifth wheel
coupler on the tow vehicle connects to a king pin
installed on the trailer. See figures 3-17 and 3-18.
A fifth wheel coupler includes a flat load-bearing
plate with a slot, and a mechanism inside the slot
that “grips” the kingpin.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 36
Section 3 - Coupling To The Tow Vehicle
Featherlite has selected a fifth wheel coupler that is
suitable for the size and weight of the trailer. You
must provide a kingpin and kingpin plate that match
the fifth wheel, and that is rated for the Gross
Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of your trailer.
^ WARNING
A loose fifth wheel or kingpin can result in
uncoupling, leading to death or serious
injury.
Make sure the fifth wheel and kingpin are
tight before coupling the trailer.
•
Trailer with King Pin –Figure 3-17
Be sure the brake line, electrical line, and any
other lines are clear of the coupling area.
3.2.3.b Adjust Hitch Height
It is your responsibility to have the height of the
king pin or fifth wheel adjusted to match the height
of the fifth wheel or king pin in your tow vehicle.
Proper height adjustment is required to provide
clearance between the bottom of the trailer and
sides of the tow vehicle bed, to obtain level running
of the trailer and to permit equal weight distribution
on the axles. Your Featherlite dealer is able to
perform the coupler height adjustment to match the
trailer to your towing vehicle.
Fifth Wheel Coupler – Figure 3-18
3.2.3.a Before Coupling the Trailer to the Tow
Vehicle
•
•
Be sure the size and rating of the fifth wheel
and kingpin match.
Wipe the kingpin clean and inspect it visually
and by feel for flat spots, cracks and pits.
Check the condition of the kingpin mounting in
the bed of the tow vehicle.
•
•
•
•
•
Loosen the jam nuts and set screws (A) on the
rear side. See figure 3-19.
Extend or retract the king pin or fifth wheel as
needed, but do not exceed 8 inches maximum
extension.
Tighten setscrews (A) to 75-100 lb ft of torque.
Tighten jam nuts to 75-100 lb/ft of torque.
Check tightness after 50 miles of towing.
^ WARNING
A worn, bent, cracked or corroded kingpin
can fail while towing, and may result in
death or serious
Check the kingpin and kingpin plate for
wear, bending, cracks or corrosion before
coupling.
Replace worn, bent, cracked or corroded
kingpin before coupling the trailer.
•
•
•
Be sure the fifth wheel mechanism operates
freely.
Lubricate the fifth wheel plate surface with a
light coat of Lithium-base, waterproof grease.
Be sure the fifth wheel and kingpin fasteners
are tight and any welds are solid.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 37
King Pin Height Adjustment – Figure 3-19
Section 3 - Coupling To The Tow Vehicle
3.2.3.c Prepare the Fifth Wheel Coupler
•
•
•
•
Be sure the locks are open (see “Fifth Wheel
Checks” figure 3-18).
If the tow vehicle is equipped with a tailgate,
lower it.
Block the trailer wheels, front and rear.
Make certain that trailer fifth wheel plate is
slightly above the kingpin plate on the tow
vehicle.
3.2.3.d Couple the Trailer to the Tow Vehicle
•
•
Back tow vehicle up close to the trailer,
centering the kingpin in the slot of the fifth
wheel.
STOP before engaging the coupling.
^ WARNING
Fifth Wheel Checks – Figure 3-20
•
•
•
No one must be under the trailer or coupler
during the coupling.
^ WARNING
Death or serious injury can occur if the
trailer drops.
•
•
•
•
Adjust the height of the trailer, using the jack,
so that the fifth wheel plate just touches the
kingpin plate.
Slowly back up the tow vehicle, keeping the
kingpin centered in the slot of the fifth wheel.
Continue backing up until the fifth wheel locks
firmly on the kingpin.
Visually check to confirm that the fifth wheel
locks are properly locked onto the kingpin by
performing the three checks illustrated in the
“Fifth Wheel Checks” figure 3-20.
Attempt to pull forward as an initial test of the
closing of the fifth wheel locks.
An improperly coupled fifth wheel can
come loose, resulting in death or serious
injury.
Do not tow the trailer until all of the visual
checks are met.
• Adjustment nut against fifth wheel.
• Secondary lock behind yoke.
• Fifth wheel against kingpin plate.
Raise The Drop-Leg Jack
A trailer having a fifth wheel coupler will be
outfitted with one or two drop leg jacks for raising
and lowering the fifth wheel coupler. Because we
use several drop leg jack mechanisms, the general
instructions below may vary slightly from the jack
manufacturer’s instructions. If the trailer jack on
your trailer does not resemble the jack shown in the
figures, follow the jack instructions provided by the
jack manufacturer.
•
R8 3/30/2017
Check 1 – The adjustment nut must be seated
against the fifth wheel.
Check 2 – The secondary lock must be behind
the yoke.
Check 3 – The fifth wheel must be in contact
with the kingpin plate, with no space.
Page 38
Rotate the jack handle counter-clockwise. This
will slowly retract the jack and transfer the
weight of the trailer tongue to the towing
vehicle. When the drop leg base is no longer
resting on the ground, the towing vehicle hitch
is holding all of the weight of the trailer tongue.
Section 3 - Coupling To The Tow Vehicle
•
•
•
Continue retracting the jack to its fully retracted
position.
Return the drop legs to their upper positions.
The drop legs are held in the lowered position
with a plunger pin. Rotating the plunger pin
while pulling it outward about ¾ inch will
cause it to come out of the engagement with the
drop leg and the leg will rapidly raise. See
figure 3-21.
Raise the tailgate.
Pick up the trailer wheel blocks.
Breakaway Brake Connection – Figure 3-22
The breakaway brake system may be fitted with a
charging facility that draws power from the tow
vehicle. If the electrical system on your tow vehicle
does not provide power to the breakaway brake
battery, you must periodically charge the battery to
keep the breakaway brake system in working order.
•
Drop Leg Jack Mechanism – Figure 3-21
•
^ CAUTION
•
The drop legs are heavily spring loaded in
the lowered position. They will rapidly
return to the upper position when
released and can inflict serious bruises,
scrapes or pinching.
Keep your feet, shins and hands well
clear of the drop legs and drop leg bases
when releasing the drop legs.
•
3.2.3.e Attach and Test the Breakaway Brake
System
If the coupler fails, a properly connected and
working breakaway brake system will apply electric
brakes on the trailer. See figure 3-20
The breakaway brake system includes a breakaway
brake controller, battery and a switch with a pullpin
and lanyard. Read and follow the instructions here
as well as the instructions that have been prepared
by the breakaway brake controller manufacturer.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 39
Visually inspect the breakaway brake system
for broken parts.
Connect the pullpin lanyard to the tow vehicle
(see “Breakaway Brake Connection” figure 320). Do not connect to kingpin or its support.
To test the breakaway battery remove the
pullpin from the switch and attempt to pull the
trailer forward. You should feel the trailer
resisting being towed, but the wheels will not
necessarily be locked. If the brakes do not
function, do not tow the trailer until brakes, or
battery, are repaired.
Immediately replace the pullpin.
The
breakaway brake system battery discharges
rapidly when the pullpin is removed.
Section 3 - Coupling To The Tow Vehicle
^ WARNING
^ WARNING
An ineffective breakaway brake system can
result in a runaway trailer, if the fifth wheel
hitch fails, leading to death or serious
injury.
Failure to connect the tow vehicle lighting
and braking to the trailer will result in
inoperable lights and brakes, and can lead
to collision.
Test the function of the breakaway brake
system before towing the trailer. Do not
tow the trailer if the breakaway brake
system is not working; have it serviced or
repaired.
Check that all the trailer lights and brakes
work before each tow.
3.2.3.g Uncoupling the Fifth Wheel Trailer
Connect the breakaway lanyard to the tow
vehicle-
Follow these steps to uncouple your fifth wheel
hitch trailer from your tow vehicle.
NOT to the kingpin or its support.
Do not tow the trailer with the breakaway brake
system ON because the brake will overheat which
can result in permanent brake failure.
^ WARNING
•
•
•
•
•
Failure to replace the pullpin can result in
ineffective brakes, leading to loss of
control, serious injury or death.
•
•
If you do not use your trailer for three or more
months, or during winter months:
•
•
^ CAUTION
Store the battery indoors; and
Charge the battery every three months.
The drop legs are heavily spring loaded in
the lowered position. They will rapidly
return to the upper position when
released and can inflict serious bruises,
scrapes or pinching.
Replace the breakaway brake battery at intervals
recommended by the battery manufacturer
3.2.3.f Connect the Electrical Cables
•
Connect the trailer lights to the tow vehicle's
electrical system using the electrical
connectors. Check all lights for proper
operation:
• Clearance and Running Lights (Turn on
tow vehicle headlights).
• Brake Lights (Step on Tow vehicle brake
pedal).
• Turn Signals (Operate tow vehicle
directional signal lever).
Check brakes for proper operation: While towing
the trailer at less than 5 m.p.h., manually operate
the electric brake controller in the tow vehicle cab.
You should feel the operation of the trailer brakes.
R8 3/30/2017
Block trailer tires to prevent the trailer from
rolling before jacking the trailer up.
Disconnect the electrical connector.
Disconnect the breakaway brake switch
lanyard.
If the tow vehicle has a tailgate, lower it.
Make certain that ground surface below jack
base will support trailer tongue load.
Rotate the drop leg plunger pin handle so that
the plunger pin is released from the drop leg.
See figure 3-21.
Push down on the drop leg base with your foot
to place a drop leg to the desired lowered
position.
Page 40
Keep your feet, shins and hands well
clear of the drop legs and drop leg bases
when releasing the drop legs.
•
•
•
Rotate the plunger pin handle so that the
plunger pin is attempting to engage the drop
leg. See figure 3-21.
Slowly raise your foot, permitting the drop leg
to rise. The plunger pin will engage a hole in
the drop leg.
Be sure the plunger pin is fully engaged. Push
it in by hand if necessary. The bent part of the
plunger pin handle must be touching the
plunger pin housing.
Section 3 - Coupling To The Tow Vehicle
•
If your trailer has two drop leg jacks, lower
them both to the same level, following the
preceding instructions.
NOTICE
If the drop legs are not set at the same
level, one of the drop leg jacks can be
overloaded and can be damaged.
•
•
•
•
Release the handle (or crank) from its holder
and engage it with the jack shaft.
Rotate the handle (or crank) clockwise to
slowly extend the jack and transfer the weight
of the trailer tongue to the jack.
On two speed jacks, pushing the handle shaft
toward the gearbox can perform rapid
extension. This shifts the gearbox into a high
speed mode.
When the drop leg base contacts the ground,
shift the gearbox into low speed mode by
pulling out on the handle shaft until it locks
into low gear.
NOTICE
Opening Fifth Wheel Locks – Figure 3-23
Do not use high speed to lift the trailer, the
drop leg jack mechanism can be damaged.
•
High speed is used only to rapidly move
the drop leg base into contact with the
ground.
•
•
•
•
•
Continue to extend the jack(s), making sure
that the ground is providing stable and level
support for the trailer.
Turn the crank two or three turns to take some
of the weight of the coupling. Do not raise the
fifth wheel off the kingpin plate.
After the jack(s) are extended enough to permit
driving the tow vehicle away, disengage the
jack handle from its shaft and return it to its
holder. Do NOT drive the tow vehicle yet!
R8 3/30/2017
Open the fifth wheel locks by:
Page 41
•
•
pulling the release handle, or
using a separate pipe release handle to
engage the solid stud on the secondary
lock. See figure 3-23.
Slowly drive the tow vehicle away from the
trailer.
Raise the tow vehicle tailgate.
4 LOADING THE TRAILER
Improper trailer loading causes many accidents and
deaths. To safely load a trailer, you must consider:
•
•
•
•
Overall load weight;
Load weight distribution;
Proper tongue weight; and
Securing the load properly.
^ WARNING
An overloaded trailer can result in failure or
in loss of control of the trailer, leading to
death or serious injury.
Never load a trailer so that the weight on
any tire exceeds its rating.
To determine that you have loaded the trailer within
its rating, you must consider the distribution of
weight, as well as the total weight of the trailer and
its contents. The trailer axles carry most of the total
weight of the trailer and its contents (Gross Vehicle
Weight, or “GVW”).
The remainder of the total weight is carried by the
tow vehicle hitch. It is essential for safe towing that
the trailer tongue and tow vehicle hitch carry the
proper amount of the loaded trailer weight,
otherwise the trailer can develop an undesirable
sway at towing speeds, or the rear of the towing
vehicle can be overloaded. Read the “Tongue
Weight” section that follows.
The load distribution must be such that no
component part of the trailer is loaded beyond its
rating. This means that you must consider the
rating of the tires, wheels and axles. For tandem
and triple axle trailers, you must make sure that the
front-to-rear load distribution does not result in
overloading any axle.
Towing stability also depends on keeping the center
of gravity as low as possible. Load heavy items on
the floor and over the axles. When loading
additional items, be sure to maintain even side-toside weight distribution and proper tongue weight.
The total weight of the trailer and its contents must
never exceed the total weight rating of the trailer
(Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, or “GVWR”).
Never exceed the trailer Gross Vehicle
Weight Rating (GVWR).
Never exceed an axle Gross Axle Weight
Rating (GAWR).
Tongue Weight
It is critical to have a portion of the trailer load
carried by the tow vehicle. That is, the trailer
tongue must exert a downward force on the hitch.
This is necessary for two reasons. First, the proper
amount of tongue weight is necessary for the tow
vehicle to be able to maintain control of the tow
vehicle/trailer system. If, for example, the tongue
exerts an upward pull on the hitch, instead of
pushing down on it (because the trailer is
overloaded behind its axle(s)), the rear wheel of the
tow vehicle can lose traction or grip and cause loss
of control. Also, even if there is some weight on
the tongue, but not enough weight on the tongue,
the trailer can become unstable at high speeds.
Remember, the faster you go, the more likely the
trailer is to sway.
If, on the other hand, there is too much tongue
weight, the tow vehicle is prone to jack-knife.
Furthermore, the front wheels of the tow vehicle
can be too lightly loaded and cause loss of steering
control and traction, if the front wheels are driving.
In addition to tow vehicle control, tongue weight is
necessary to insure that the trailer axle(s) do not
exceed their Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR).
In the following table, the second column notes the
rule of thumb percentage of total weight of the
trailer plus its cargo (Gross Vehicle Weight, or
“GVW”) that should appear on the tongue of the
trailer. For example, a trailer with a gooseneck
hitch, with a loaded weight of 12,000 pounds,
should have 20-25% of 12,000 pounds on the
R8 3/30/2017
Page 42
Section 4 – Loading The Trailer
tongue. That is, the example trailer would have
2,400 to 3,000 pounds on its tongue.
Tongue Weight as a Percentage of Loaded
Trailer Weight
Type of Hitch
^ WARNING
Percentage
An unrestrained trailer can fall off its
support, resulting in serious injury or
death.
10–15% for
large trailers
Ball Hitch (or Bumper Hitch)
Block trailer wheels, front and rear, before
checking tongue weight.
6-10% for
smaller utility
and cargo
trailers
For most trailers it is easier to go to a truck stop
where there is a “certified” scale. Pull the trailer
onto the scale and decouple it from the tow vehicle,
leaving just the trailer on the scale. Get a “ticket”,
which lists the total trailer weight. Re-connect the
trailer to your tow vehicle and the drive the tow
vehicle wheels off the scale, just leaving the trailer
axles on the scale. Get a second “ticket”, which lists
the trailer’s axle weight. Simple subtract the axle
weight from the total weight to determine the hitch
weight.
Gooseneck Hitch
20–25%
Fifth Wheel Hitch
^ WARNING
An improperly distributed load can result in
loss of control of the trailer, and can lead to
death or serious injury.
Proper tongue weight is essential for stable
trailer handling.
It is also desirable, while you are at the scale, to
weigh the entire combination vehicle. This result
should be less than the Gross Combined Weight
Rating (GCWR) for your towing vehicle. Some
scales allow you to get individual axle weights also.
If this is possible, get the tow vehicles front and rear
axle weights to make sure they are in the same
proportion as the tow vehicle alone, and that the
rear axle is not overloaded.
Distribute the load front to rear to provide
proper tongue weight.
Distribute the load evenly, right and left, to
avoid tire overload.
Keeping the center of gravity low and
centered is essential to minimize the risk of
tip-over.
4.1
CHECKING TONGUE WEIGHT
To check the tongue weight, the tow vehicle and
trailer must be on level ground, as they will be
when the trailer is being towed.
For lighter trailers the recommended method of
checking tongue weight is to use an accessory
called a “tongue weight scale.” The following
tongue weight scales are available from your
Featherlite dealer. (The 2000 lb. capacity model is
most commonly useful.)
Capacity
1,000 lbs.
2,000 lbs.
5,000 lbs.
R8 3/30/2017
If a tongue weight scale is not available from your
dealer, call Featherlite, Inc. at 800-800-1230 for
assistance.
Part Number
014009.0001
014009.0002
014009.0005
Page 43
You are responsible to secure your cargo in such a
way that it does not shift within the trailer, while the
trailer is being towed. The “ride” inside a trailer
can be very bumpy and rough.
^ WARNING
A shifting load can result in failure, or to
loss of control of the trailer, and can lead to
death or serious injury.
You must tie down all loads with proper
sized fasteners, ropes, straps, etc. to
prevent the load from shifting while
trailering.
Section 4 – Loading The Trailer
4.2
^ WARNING
LOADING A FLATBED TRAILER
Couple the trailer to the tow vehicle before loading.
The tongue of a bumper pull trailer can rise during
loading, before the cargo is properly distributed.
Depending on the exact model of your Featherlite
trailer, the cargo carrying portion may be designed
for carrying such things as:
•
•
•
•
•
Damaged or loose “D”-rings can break,
allowing cargo to become loose inside the
trailer. Loose cargo can shift the center of
gravity, and result in loss of control of the
trailer.
Inspect “D”-rings, and test them for
looseness before loading cargo.
Do not use a damaged or loose “D”-ring to
secure cargo.
A car
Snowmobiles
All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)
Motorcycles
Farm Equipment, Tractors, etc.
4.2.1.a Loading a Rigid-deck Trailer
Do not transport people, containers of hazardous
substances, cans or containers of flammable
substances. However, fuel in the tank of an off-road
vehicle, or a car or motorcycle, etc., may be carried
on of your trailer.
^ WARNING
Open trailers have either a rigid-deck or a pivoting
deck, depending on the exact model. This
subsection describes loading a rigid-deck trailer.
Before loading a rigid-deck trailer, couple the trailer
to the tow vehicle and make sure the rigid-deck is
level. Do not load or unload the trailer when the
deck is not level.
Never transport people on your Featherlite
trailer. Besides putting their lives at risk,
the transport of people may be illegal.
1. Make sure the top of the ramp (or ramps) is
secure to the trailer, and the bottom is resting
on firm ground. Pockets may be provided to
hold the ramp to the frame of the trailer.
^ WARNING
^ WARNING
Other than the fuel in the tanks of vehicles
loaded on the trailer, your Featherlite trailer
is not capable of safely transporting
flammable, explosive, poisonous or other
dangerous materials.
Load can suddenly move or topple, which
can result in death or serious injury.
4.2.1
Do not load or unload your open trailer
unless it is prevented from tipping and is
on firm and level ground.
Preparing the Trailer for Loading
Before loading your open trailer, inspect the floor of
the trailer.
Open trailers may be fitted with “D”-ring holddowns, and/or a track system that can be used to
secure the cargo. Inspect the “D”-rings and track
system for looseness or signs of bending before
loading the cargo onto the trailer.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 44
2. Load the cargo onto the trailer with
approximately 60% of the cargo in the front
half of the trailer.
3. Secure the cargo to the trailer using appropriate
straps, chains and tensioning devices.
Since the trailer “ride” can be bumpy and rough,
you must secure your cargo so that it does not shift
while the trailer is being towed.
Section 4 – Loading The Trailer
^ WARNING
^ WARNING
Shifting cargo can result in loss of control
of the trailer, and can lead to death or
serious injury.
Loading a pivoting-deck trailer before
retracting the deck catch pin can crack the
catch pin, which can cause loss of cargo or
loss of control of the trailer. Death or
serious injury may result.
Tie down all loads with proper sized
fasteners, ropes, straps, etc.
4. Return the ramp(s) to their stowed position(s),
and secure them so that they will not move
during transit.
Before loading the trailer, retract the deck
catch pin.
If the deck catch pin becomes bent, do not
straighten it. Replace the deck catch pin
before towing the load.
4.2.1.b Loading a Manually Pivoting-deck (TiltDeck) Trailer
Some open trailers are equipped with a pivotingdeck instead of with ramps. The pivoting feature
allows for easier loading and unloading. See figure
4-1.
3. Load the cargo onto the trailer with
approximately 60% of the cargo in the front
half of the deck. As the cargo is moved
forward on the deck, the deck will pivot down
into the driving position.
4. Extend the deck catch pin into the deck to lock
the deck into the driving position (see
“Pivoting-Deck Trailer” figure 4-1). Ensure
that the catch engages the hole in the pivoting
deck.
^ WARNING
Pivoting Deck Trailer – Figure 4-1
The pivoting-deck trailer is fitted with a springloaded catch that keeps the trailer in the driving
position. After the trailer is loaded and the cargo is
secured with hold downs, be sure the spring-loaded
catch has locked the trailer into “driving position.”
1. Couple the trailer securely to the tow vehicle
before attempting to unlock the deck and load
the trailer.
2. Unlock the deck and pivot it to the Loading
position (see “Pivoting-Deck Trailer” figure).
Before loading the cargo, be certain the deck
catch pin is retracted.
An unlocked pivoting deck can result in
loss of cargo or loss of control of the
trailer, which can result in death or serious
injury.
Before towing the trailer:
• Lock the pivoting deck in the driving
position.
• Double-check that the catch engages the
hole in the pivoting deck.
5. Secure the cargo onto the trailer using
appropriate straps and tensioning devices.
Since the trailer “ride” can be bumpy and
rough, you must secure your cargo so that it
does not shift while the trailer is being towed.
4.2.1.c Loading a Hydraulic Pivoting-deck (TiltDeck) Trailer
Some open trailers are equipped with a
hydraulically operated pivoting-deck. The pivoting
feature allows for easier loading and unloading.
See figure 4-2.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 45
Section 4 – Loading The Trailer
Hydraulic Pivoting Deck Trailer – Figure 4-2
1. Couple the trailer securely to the tow vehicle
before attempting to pivot the deck and load or
unload the trailer.
2. Open the box on the front of the trailer and
move both valves (A) to the open position.
Shut-Off Valves – Figure 4-3
Wireless Remote – Figure 4-5
3. Move pump switch (B) to the on position and
wait at least one minute before attempting to tilt
trailer deck.
If using the pendent, connect the pendent cable to
the connector on the side of the box. Press button
(C) for up or button (D) for down.
Pump Switch – Figure 4-4
4. The trailer is equipped with a wireless remote
and a pendent to control the tilt deck. If using
the wireless, press 1 for up and 2 for down. The
other buttons have no function.
Pendent – Figure 4-6
5. Tilt trailer deck until rear of trailer touches the
ground. The tires on the front axle may come
off the ground, this is normal. Do not raise all
four tires off of the ground.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 46
Section 4 – Loading The Trailer
Since the trailer “ride” can be bumpy and
rough, you must secure your cargo so that it
does not shift while the trailer is being towed.
^ WARNING
Shifting cargo can result in loss of control
of the trailer, and can lead to death or
serious injury.
Rear Of Trailer – Figure 4-7
6. Load the cargo onto the trailer with
approximately 60% of the cargo in the front
half of the deck.
7. Press button 2 on the remote or the down
button to fully lower the trailer deck to the
travel position.
8. Move pump switch (B) to the off position.
Tie down all loads with proper sized
fasteners, ropes, straps, etc.
4.2.2
Deck Prop
The deck prop supplied as part of the trailer is to be
used only when the trailer deck is empty. The
purpose of the deck prop is a back-up to the
hydraulic system and will hold the empty trailer
deck in a raised position while performing
maintenance on the hoist, trailer body, or the trailer
itself.
Remove lock pin (A) and pin. Pivot deck prop
down over socket (B). Lower deck until prop is
supporting deck.
Pump Switch – Figure 4-8
9. Move both valves (A) to the off position. Both
valves must be in the off position before
towing.
Deck Prop Pin – Figure 4-10
Shut-Off Valves – Figure 4-9
10. If using the pendent, disconnect cable. Stow
pendent or wireless remote and close box lid.
11. Secure the cargo onto the trailer using
appropriate straps and tensioning devices.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 47
Deck Prop – Figure 4-11
Section 4 – Loading The Trailer
DO NOT use the deck prop to support a loaded
trailer.
DO NOT perform maintenance under a raised
trailer deck without first blocking the empty trailer
deck up with the deck prop.
^ DANGER
^ DANGER
NEVER alter or substitute any hydraulic
system component. Death or serious injury
may result.
An altered or component substituted
hydraulic system may malfunction,
resulting in the trailer deck falling without
warning.
NEVER alter or substitute any hydraulic
system component.
Crushing hazard.
NEVER enter the area under the trailer
unless the trailer is empty and supported
by the deck prop.
Always have the hydraulic system repaired or
maintained by a qualified technician.
^ WARNING
4.3
LOADING A DUMP TRAILER
Risk of death by crushing.
4.3.1
Trailer deck can drop unexpectedly.
NEVER go under a raised trailer deck.
Use deck prop for maintenance.
4.2.3
Hydraulic Components
Do not alter or substitute any hydraulic components
on the tilt deck trailer. The hydraulic system is
designed with each component being compatible
with the safe and reliable operation of the hydraulic
system. Under no circumstances should you
alter the hydraulic pressure to the hydraulic
system. Do not adjust flow control valves (A).
Prepare Trailer for Loading
Payload Capacity:
Check if the trailer has
“payload” decals on the sides. If not, then determine
the payload, or Cargo Capacity, by subtracting the
empty weight of the trailer from the GVWR given
on the Certification / VIN tag. Determine the
density of the material to be loaded and dumped so
that you will know, approximately, how much
material may be safely loaded, carried, and dumped.
^ WARNING
Trailer, hitch or dump body can fail.
You or others can die or be seriously
injured.
Load in trailer must not exceed the payload
capacity – It must be evenly distributed.
Couple the trailer to the towing vehicle before
loading. This is essential for bumper pull trailers
because the tongue can rise during loading. To
measure the tongue weight you will have to decouple the trailer after it is loaded.
Flow Control Valves – Figure 4-12
Be sure the trailer is located on firm, level ground.
Attempting to load on uneven ground may cause the
trailer to overturn, which can result in serious injury
or death.
Inspect the trailer for corrosion or damage.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 48
Section 4 – Loading The Trailer
^ WARNING
Verify that the dump body is fully lowered.
Close and properly latch the tailgates.
If the trailer is damaged, do not load the trailer.
Take the trailer to your Featherlite dealer for repairs
before using it to carry cargo.
Other than the fuel in the tanks of vehicles
loaded on the trailer, your Featherlite trailer
is not capable of safely transporting
flammable, explosive, poisonous or other
dangerous materials.
4.3.1.a Loading Bulk (Flowable Loads) Material
^ WARNING
1. Flowable loads will assume an even weight
distribution within the trailer.
2. Couple the trailer to the tow vehicle.
3. Check the dump body for damage.
4. Close and fasten doors.
5. Level (evenly distribute) the load within the
trailer from front to back and from side to side.
6. All flowable loads that may blow out while
driving must be covered with a tarp. Secure
tarp to trailer.
RAISED DUMP BODY CAN DROP OR TIP
OVER SUDDENLY. YOU AND OTHERS
CAN DIE OR BE SERIOUSLY INJURED.
YOU MUST:
• Have trailer on level, firm ground before
dumping.
• Keep others away while dumping.
• Stay at controls until dump body is
down.
^ WARNING
NEVER LEAVE THE SCENE WHEN DUMP
BODY IS LIFTED.
An overloaded or improperly distributed
load can result in death or serious injury.
• Lock hoist controls after use.
An overloaded trailer can cause the
hydraulic system to malfunction, resulting
in the dump body falling.
• Have dump body down before moving
trailer.
• Use body-prop and have dump body
empty before getting under raised dump
body.
A load that is improperly distributed in the
trailer can result in the trailer tipping over
when the dump body is raised.
• If the hoist does not lift the load: Manually reduce the load - obtain
service from a qualified hydraulics
technician.
^ WARNING
NEVER ASSIST THE HOIST. (i.e., with a
jack, crane, heavy equipment, etc.
Failure to close and latch the rear doors
creates a driving hazard which can result
in death or serious injury.
• If the load does not leave the dump
body:
The rear doors MUST be closed and
latched before towing trailer.
• Lower the dump body and manually free
the load.
4.3.1.b Loading Fixed Loads
• Never attempt to free a load from a raised
dump body.
Do not transport people, containers of hazardous
substances, or cans of flammable liquids.
However, fuel in the tank of a tractor, skid-steer
loader, generator, etc. may be carried in the dump
trailer.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 49
1. Fixed loads that are to be carried or dumped
should be loaded evenly throughout the trailer.
Too much load in the front portion will strain
and possibly overload the hydraulic hoist. Too
much load in the rear will lead to reduced
trailer sway stability at highway speeds.
2. Inspect the “hold-down” openings or “D” rings
for any cracks or kinks.
3. Clear the area around the dump trailer
Section 4 – Loading The Trailer
4. Load the equipment or material. If loading
ramps are used, the operator must be
experienced and skilled to perform the loading.
5. Secure the equipment with proper sized straps,
chains and tensioning devices.
6. Close and latch doors.
4.3.1.c Securing The Cargo
Since the trailer cargo is subjected to longitudinal
(front / back) and lateral (side / side) forces you
must secure all cargo that is not flowable, so that it
does not shift while the trailer is being towed.
^ WARNING
Shifting cargo can result in loss of control
of the trailer, and can lead to death or
serious injury.
Rear doors will be damaged if not locked
open before raising dump body.
Lock doors in the open position before
raising dump body.
5. Unlock and open the hydraulic control box on
the trailer tongue and locate the dump body
control. Position yourself in a safe location
clear of the dump body. Check for overhead
power lines and other obstructions before
raising dump body. The control box cover
should be locked when the dump trailer is not
being used.
^ WARNING
Risk of electrocution.
Tie down all non flowable loads with proper
sized fasteners, ropes, straps, etc.
Dump body coming near or contacting
power lines may result in electrocution.
Electrocution can occur without contact.
Cover all flowable loads that may blow out
with a tarp.
4.3.1.d Unload Bulk Material (Flowable Loads)
Into A Pile
1. Read and understand the hoist operating
procedure before dumping the load.
2. Be sure the trailer is on level ground, both left /
right and front / back. Attempting to unload on
uneven ground may cause the trailer to
overturn, which can result in serious injury or
death.
3. Clear the area around the dump trailer.
^ CAUTION
Loaded materials can exert pressure
against the rear gates. This may cause
the gates to swing out with force when
unlatched, causing serious injury.
Do not stand directly behind gates when
unlatching.
4. Open the rear doors, and make sure they are
securely hooked to the sides of the trailer using
the hold back door chains.
R8 3/30/2017
NOTICE
Page 50
Be sure there are no overhead power lines
over or near the trailer before raising dump
body.
^ WARNING
A soft and/or uneven surface may cause
the tow vehicle and trailer to tip over when
the dump body is raised.
Raise the dump body ONLY if the tow
vehicle and trailer are both on a firm and
level surface.
6. Standing well clear of the dump body, push the
“UP” button on the control device until the
dump body reaches approximately the halfway
point of its dumping angle. Never leave the
control device when operating the dump body.
7. Discontinue pushing the “UP” button and walk
to the rear of the trailer so you can estimate if
there is enough space for the remainder of the
load to be safely dumped. If not, then you need
to lower the dump body (by depressing the
“DOWN” button) and pull the trailer forward
and then repeat the previous step.
8. Standing well clear of the dump body, raise the
dump body to the three quarter point of the
maximum dump angle. Stop the lift and walk to
Section 4 – Loading The Trailer
the rear to check to see if there is enough space
for continued dumping.
9. Repeat the process until the load has been
completely dumped.
10. If the load has not completely dumped DO
NOT drive forward and stop quickly to “shock”
the load out of the dump body. Also, DO NOT
“jerk” the control button up and down to
dislodge the load. The proper procedure for a
stuck load is to lower the dump body and
dislodge the material by hand.
11. Secure the rear doors prior to moving forward.
4.3.1.e Unload Bulk Material (Flowable Loads)
Using The Spreader Gate
1. Read and understand the hoist operating
procedure before operating the dump body.
2. Clear the area around the dump trailer.
3. Park the tow vehicle and trailer on a firm and
level surface both left / right and front / rear.
Attempting to unload on a soft or uneven
surface may cause the trailer to overturn, which
can result in death or serious injury.
4. For spreading material, the surface in which the
tow vehicle and trailer will travel MUST be
firm and level.
5. Set the metering chains at the desired number
of links to control the opening distance of the
spreader gate. Be sure to set both chains at
equal length.
^ CAUTION
Loaded materials can exert pressure
against the spreader gate. This may
cause the spreader gate to swing out with
force when unlatched, causing serious
injury.
Stand away from the trailer to unlatch
spreader gate.
6. Unlatch spreader gate.
7. Unlock and open the hydraulic control box on
the trailer tongue and locate the dump body
control. Position yourself in a safe location
clear of the dump body. Check for overhead
power lines and other obstructions before
raising dump body.
^ WARNING
Risk of electrocution.
^ WARNING
Dump body coming near or contacting
power lines may result in electrocution.
Electrocution can occur without contact.
A soft and/or uneven surface may cause
the tow vehicle and trailer to overturn when
the dump body is raised or while spreading
material.
Be sure there are no overhead power lines
over or near the trailer before raising dump
body.
Raise the dump body ONLY if the tow
vehicle and trailer are both on a firm and
level surface.
^ DANGER
Crushing hazard.
^ WARNING
NEVER support a loaded dump body by the
body props.
An overloaded trailer or improperly
distributed load can result in death or
serious injury.
Unload the dump body before using body
props.
NEVER enter the area under the dump body
unless the empty dump body is supported
by the body props.
An overloaded trailer can cause the
hydraulic system to malfunction, resulting
in the dump body falling.
A load that is improperly distributed in the
trailer can result in the trailer overturning
when the dump body is raised.
R8 3/30/2017
8. Press and hold “Up” button to raise the dump
body. Release the button when the body has
reached approximately the halfway point of its
dumping angle, or if the load begins to shift
Page 51
Section 4 – Loading The Trailer
rearward. Never leave the dump body control
when operating the dump body.
Hydraulic Components
Do not alter or substitute any hydraulic components
on the dump trailer. The hoist system is designed
with each component being compatible with the
safe and reliable operation of the hoist system.
Under no circumstances should you alter the
hydraulic pressure or flow rate to the hydraulic
system. Doing so can result in death or serious
injury.
^ WARNING
Fully raising the loaded dump body may
result in the tow vehicle rear wheels
loosing traction.
Do not fully raise a loaded dump body or
place the entire load at the rear of trailer.
9. Return the dump body control to the hydraulic
control box. Watch for and avoid obstructions
such as tree limbs, overhead lines, potholes,
etc. and SLOWLY drive the tow vehicle and
trailer ahead to spread the material.
10. DO NOT drive forward and stop quickly to
“shock” the load out of the body. DO NOT
“jerk” the control button up and down to
dislodge the load. The proper procedure for a
stuck load is to fully lower the dump and
dislodge the material by hand.
11. You may need to raise the dump body higher
after a portion of the load has been spread to
place the remaining material at the rear of the
dump body.
12. Return the dump body control to the hydraulic
control box. Watch for and avoid obstructions
such as tree limbs, overhead lines, potholes,
etc. and SLOWLY drive the tow vehicle and
trailer ahead to spread the material.
13. DO NOT drive forward and stop quickly to
“shock” the load out of the body. DO NOT
“jerk” the control button up and down to
dislodge the load. The proper procedure for a
stuck load is to fully lower the dump and
dislodge the material by hand.
14. You may need to raise the dump body higher
after a portion of the load has been spread to
place the remaining material at the rear of the
dump body.
15. Stop tow vehicle after all material has exited
the dump body.
16. Press and hold “Down” button to lower the
dump body. Release the button when the dump
body is fully lowered. Return dump body
control, close and lock the lid on the hydraulic
control box
17. Close and latch rear gate.
R8 3/30/2017
4.3.2
Page 52
Always have the hoist system repaired or
maintained by a qualified technician.
^ DANGER
NEVER alter or substitute any hoist system
component. Death or serious injury may
result.
An altered or component substituted hoist
system may malfunction, resulting in the
dump body falling without warning.
NEVER alter or substitute any hoist system
component.
4.3.3
Body Prop
The body prop supplied as part of the trailer is to be
used only when the dump body is empty. The
purpose of the body prop is a back-up to the
hydraulic system and will hold the empty dump
body in a raised position while performing
maintenance on the hoist, trailer body, or the trailer
itself.
DO NOT use the body prop to support a loaded
dump body.
DO NOT perform maintenance under a raised
dump body without first blocking the empty dump
body up with the body prop.
Section 4 – Loading The Trailer
^ DANGER
Crushing hazard.
NEVER support a loaded dump body by the
body props.
Unload the dump body before using body
props.
NEVER enter the area under the dump body
unless the empty dump body is supported
by the body props.
^ WARNING
Risk of death by crushing.
Dump body can drop unexpectedly.
NEVER go under a raised dump body.
Use body prop for maintenance.
^ WARNING
Risk of death by crushing.
Make sure the dump body is empty.
DO NOT manipulate the body prop if a
person is near the control.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 53
5 CHECKING THE TRAILER BEFORE AND DURING EACH TOW
5.1
PRE-TOW CHECKLIST
•
Before towing, double-check all of these items:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Tires, wheels and lug nut tightness (torque) (see
the “Safety Information” section of this
manual).
Tire Pressure. Inflate tires on trailer and tow
vehicle to the value indicated on the
Certification / VIN label.
Coupler secured and locked ball (see the
“Coupling to the Tow Vehicle” section of this
manual).
Safety chains properly rigged to tow vehicle,
not to hitch or ball (see the “Coupling to the
Tow Vehicle” section of this manual).
Test Tail, Stop, and Turn Lights.
Test trailer brakes.
Safety breakaway switch lanyard fastened to
tow vehicle, not to safety chains (see the
R8 3/30/2017
Page 54
•
•
•
•
5.2
“Coupling to the Tow Vehicle” chapter of this
manual).
Cargo properly loaded, balanced and tied down
(see the “Loading The Trailer” of this manual).
Tongue weight and weight distribution set-up.
Doors and gates latched and secured.
Fire extinguisher.
Flares and reflectors.
MAKE REGULAR STOPS
After each 50 miles, or one hour of towing, stop
and check the following items:
•
•
•
•
•
Coupler secured.
Safety chains are fastened and not dragging.
Cargo secured.
Cargo door latched and secured.
Check tires for signs of abnormal wear and
loss of air pressure.
6 BREAKING-IN A NEW TRAILER
6.1
RETIGHTEN LUG NUTS AT FIRST 10, 25
& 50 MILES
Wheel lugs can shift and settle quickly after being
first assembled, and must be checked after the first
10, 25 and 50 miles of driving. Failure to perform
this check may result in a wheel coming loose from
the trailer, causing a crash leading to death or
serious injury. Refer to the “Inspection, Service &
Maintenance” section for the proper tightening
sequence and torque value for the wheel lugs nuts
(bolts).
To adjust the trailer brakes, see section 8.2.3.c,
“Manually Adjusting Brake Shoes,” for
instructions.
6.3
Trailer brakes are designed to work in
synchronization with the brakes on the tow vehicle.
When the tow vehicle and trailer braking systems
are synchronized, both braking systems contribute
to slowing, and the tongue of the trailer will neither
dive nor rise sharply.
^ WARNING
^ WARNING
Lug nuts are prone to loosen after being
first assembled. Death or serious injury
can result.
If trailer and tow vehicle brakes do not
work properly together, death or serious
injury can occur.
Check lug nuts for tightness on a new
trailer, and after re-mounting a wheel at 10,
25 and 50 miles.
6.2
Road test the brakes in a safe area at no
more than 30 m.p.h. before each tow
ADJUST BRAKE SHOES AT FIRST 200
MILES (AXLES RATED 8000 LBS AND
BELOW WITH HYDRAULIC BRAKES AND
ALL AXLES WITH AIR BRAKES)
To insure safe brake performance and
synchronization, read and follow the axle/brake and
the brake controller manufacturers’ instructions.
6.4
TIRE PRESSURE
Check tire pressures on both the trailer and tow
vehicle. Inflate to the value indicated on the trailer
Certification/VIN label located on the left front
side.
^ WARNING
Brakes that are out of adjustment can
result in death or serious injury.
Brakes must be adjusted at the intervals
specified.
Brake shoes and drums experience a rapid initial
wear. The brakes must be adjusted after the first
200 miles of use, and each 3,000 miles thereafter.
Most axles are fitted with brake shoes that must be
manually adjusted. Read your axle and brake
manual to see if your brakes must be adjusted
manually or if they adjust automatically. If you do
not have the axle and brake manual, call Featherlite,
Inc. at 800-800-1230 for assistance.
R8 3/30/2017
SYNCHRONIZING THE BRAKE SYSTEMS
Page 55
7 ACCESSORIES
This section provides some basic information for
the safe operation of several accessories. For many
accessories, such as generators and LP appliances,
the manufacturer of the accessory has also provided
instructions. You must read and follow these
instructions before using the accessory. If you are
uncertain whether you have all of the instructions,
call Featherlite, Inc. at 800-800-1230 before
operating the accessory. The following accessories
are described in this section:
•
•
Accessory Battery
Electric-powered Landing Gear
Many accessories introduce the risk of fire and
carbon monoxide poisoning. If you have an
accessory on your trailer, make sure you have a fire
extinguisher charged and ready before operating the
accessory. Check the fire extinguisher at least once
a month. If the fire extinguisher is discharged even
partially, it must be recharged. Follow the fire
extinguisher manufacturer’s instructions for
recharging the extinguisher after use.
7.1
ACCESSORY BATTERY
Your trailer may be outfitted with an accessory
battery that operates lighting, electric landing gear,
slide-outs or other accessories. An accessory
battery may be kept charged either by the tow
vehicle or by the generator or shore power.
A disconnect switch may be provided to disconnect
the accessory battery when you do not plan to be
using the trailer for an extended period, such as
seasonal storage. If there is no disconnect switch,
then remove the cables from the battery terminals.
The accessory battery must be kept in a charged
condition during storage. The battery could freeze
and break if it becomes discharged.
7.2
ELECTRIC-POWERED LANDING GEAR
The landing gear (also known as the jack) on your
trailer may be powered with an electric motor. The
landing gear is operated up or down using controls
located near the landing gear.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 56
If the motor does not operate, such as when the
battery is fully discharged, the landing gear can be
operated manually with a socket wrench.
8 INSPECTION, SERVICE & MAINTENANCE
8.1
INSPECTION, SERVICE & MAINTENANCE SUMMARY CHARTS
You must inspect, maintain and service your trailer regularly to insure safe and reliable operation. If you cannot
or are unsure how to perform the items listed here, have your dealer do them. Note: In addition to this manual,
also check the relevant component manufacturer's manual.
Featherlite Trailer Inspection and Service Intervals
Manual
Item
Service Required
Service Interval
Section
Reference
Before
Each
Use
Every
3 Mo’s
Every
6 Mo’s
Every
Year
•
Axle Attachment Bolts
Check by Featherlite dealer.
8.2.1
Breakaway Brakes
Check operation.
3.2.1.e,
3.2.3.c
Breakaway Battery
Fully charged, connections clean
8.2.3.c
•
Breakaway Switch
Test operation, connections clean
8.2.3.c
•
Brakes, all types
Check operation.
8.2.3
•
3.2.2.d,
•
Shoes and Drums, hydraulic Adjust (Axles rated 8000 lbs and below only)
8.2.5.c
First 200 mi., ea. 3,000 miles
Shoes and Drums,
pressure actuated
8.2.5.c
First 200 mi., ea. 3,000 miles
air Adjust
•
Check for scoring and wear.
Brakes, Electric
Magnets
Controller (in tow vehicle)
Inspect for wear and current draw.
Manufacturer
6 months or 6,000 miles
6 months or 6,000 miles
Check for correct amperage and modulation.
Manufacturer
Check fluid level & replenish. Check for leaks/sticking.
8.2.3.e
Master Cylinder
Inspect for cracks, leaks, kinks.
8.2.3.e
Brake Lines
Verify operation/inspect.
Brakes, Hydraulic
Vacuum Actuated
12 months or 12, 000 miles
Check gauge for proper vacuum of 18 In. Hg.
Air Pressure Actuated
Inspect for cracks, leaks, kinks.
Electric Actuated
Verify operation/inspect.
12 months or 12,000 miles
8.2.3.d
•
12 months or 12,000 miles
Manufacturer
12 months or 12, 000 miles
Check for cracks, pits, flats. Replace w/ball & coupler having 8.2.4.a
GVW. Grease. Check locking device & replace when worn.
•
Gooseneck Coupler and Ball Check for cracks, pits, flats. Replace w/ball & coupler having 8.2.4.b
GVW. Grease. Check locking device & replace when worn.
•
Fifth Wheel and Pin
Grease. Replace when worn.
8.2.4.c
•
Jack, Drop Leg
Grease gears at top.
8.2.5
Hydraulic Cylinder Pin
Grease pivot pin
8.2.9
Coupler and Hitch Ball
R8 3/30/2017
Page 57
•
•
Section 8 – Inspection, Service & Maintenance
Featherlite Trailer Inspection and Service Intervals
Manual
Item
Service Required
Service Interval
Section
Reference
Lights and Signals
Check for proper operation. Verify connection is clean 8.2.6
and tight.
Before
Each
Use
Every
3 Mo’s
Every
6 Mo’s
Every
Year
•
Structure
Trailer body
Wash as needed to remove salt and liquid de-icer
8.2.2
•
Hinges, doors and dividers Inspect. Repair or replace damaged, worn or broken parts.
Frame members
Inspect all frame members, bolts & rivets.
8.2.2.a
Repair or replace damaged, worn or broken parts.
Welds
•
Inspect all welds. Repair as needed.
8.2.2.b
Check tire pressure when cold. Inflate as needed.
8.2.8
•
Tires
Rotate tires.
•
Every 5,000 miles
Inspect treads & sidewalls thoroughly. Replace tire when 8.2.8
treads are worn or a sidewall has a bulge.
•
Wheel Bearings (Hubs)
Standard Bearings
Check for free running and lubricate.
8.2.11.a
Every 12,000 mi. or 1 yr
E-Z
Lube®
Bearings Check for free running and lubricate.
(Standard Equipment on
Axles Rated 8000 lbs. and
Below)
8.2.11.b
Every 12,000 mi. or 1 yr.
Nev-R-Lube™ Bearings
Check for free running.
Manufacturer
Every 12,000 mi. or 1 yr.
Lug Bolts and Hub
Check and tighten.
8.2.12
Check for tightness before every use.
Check torque; After first 10, 25 & 50
miles; After any impact; Annually; & At
start of towing season
Inspect for cracks & dents. Replace as needed.
8.2.10
After any impact or 1 yr.
Rims
8.2
8.2.1
INSPECTION
INSTRUCTIONS
AND
SERVICE
Axle Bolts, Frame, Suspension, &
Structure
When jacking and using jack stands, place them so
as to clear wiring, brake lines, and suspension parts
(springs, torsion bars, etc.). Place jacks and jack
stands inside of the perimeter strip on the
supporting structure to which the axles are attached.
^ WARNING
Worn or broken suspension parts can
cause loss of control and injury may result.
Have trailer professionally
annually and after any impact.
R8 3/30/2017
To perform many of the inspection and maintenance
activities, you must jack up the trailer. Figure 8-1
indicates the general areas where jacks and jack
stands may be applied.
inspected
Page 58
Section 8 – Inspection, Service & Maintenance
^ WARNING
Broken or damaged fasteners or welds can
cause injury or damage to trailer and
contents.
Inspect trailer before each use and repair or
replace all damaged parts.
Jacking Points for Trailer – Figure 8-1
^ WARNING
8.2.2.b Welds
Never crawl under your trailer unless it is
on firm and level ground and resting on
properly placed and secured jack stands.
8.2.2
Trailer Structure
Wash the entire trailer thoroughly immediately after
exposure to road salt and liquid deicer. The salt
and liquid deicer will corrode and pit the aluminum.
All welds can crack or fail when subjected to heavy
loads or movement of cargo that was not properly
tied to prevent movement. Any time that you know
or suspect that the trailer has been subjected to
heavy loads or movement of cargo, immediately
inspect the welds and fasteners for damage. To
prevent severe damage to your trailer, inspect all of
the welds for cracks or failure at least once a year.
^ WARNING
8.2.2.a Fasteners and Frame Members
Inspect all of the fasteners and structural frame
members for bending and other damage, cracks, or
failure. Repair or replace any damaged fastener and
repair the frame member. If you have any questions
about the condition or method of repair of fasteners
or frame members, get the recommendation of, or
have the repair done by, your dealer.
Do not attempt to repair a cracked or
broken weld unless you have the skills and
equipment to make a proper repair.
Improper weld repair will lead to early
failure of the trailer structure and serious
injury or death.
Go to your Featherlite dealer.
The various fastener types used on your trailer are:
•
•
•
Bolts, which are used mainly for attaching door
and gate hinges to the trailer body;
Buck Rivets, which are used to attach the sides
and roof panels of the body to each other, and
to the frame of the trailer; and
Huck Bolts may be at various locations on the
sub-frame. See figure 8-2. Huck bolts are not
user serviceable. If you detect a loose huck bolt
fastener, do not tow the trailer. Call your dealer
for instructions.
^ WARNING
Broken or damaged fasteners or welds can
cause injury or damage to trailer and
contents.
Inspect trailer before each use and repair or
replace all damaged parts.
8.2.3
Trailer
Brakes
(Nev-R-Adjust®
Forward Adjusting Brakes)
Trailers equipped with Nev-R-Adjust® forward
self-adjusting brakes require no manual brake
adjustment.
During travel, the brakes automatically rotate an
adjuster assembly to close the gap caused by lining
wear. This eliminates the need for manual brake
adjustments.
Typical Huck Bolt Locations – Figure 8-2
R8 3/30/2017
Page 59
Section 8 – Inspection, Service & Maintenance
^ WARNING
8.2.3.a Periodic Inspection
Properly functioning brake shoes and drums are
essential to ensure safety. You must have your
dealer inspect these components at least once per
year, or each 12,000 miles.
Check emergency breakaway brake system
BEFORE each tow.
8.2.3.b Brakes, Electric
Two different types of electric brakes may be
present on the trailer: an emergency electric
breakaway system, which acts only if the trailer
comes loose from the hitch and the breakaway pin
is pulled. The other brake is an electric braking
system that acts whenever the brakes of the tow
vehicle are applied.
Tow Vehicle Operated Electric Brakes
The electric brakes that operate in conjunction with
the tow vehicle brakes must be “synchronized” so
that braking is properly distributed to the tow
vehicle brakes and the trailer brakes. For proper
operation and synchronization, read and follow the
axle/brake and the brake controller manufacturers’
instructions.
Breakaway Battery
This battery supplies the power to operate the trailer
brakes if the trailer uncouples from the tow vehicle.
Be sure to check, maintain and replace the battery
according to the battery manufacturer’ instructions.
Breakaway Switch
This switch causes the breakaway battery to operate
the electric brakes if the trailer uncouples from the
tow vehicle.
The lanyard for the pull pin is connected to the tow
vehicle, and the switch is connected to the trailer.
To check for proper functioning of the switch,
battery and brakes, you must pull the pin from the
switch and confirm that the brakes apply to each
wheel. You can do this by trying to pull the trailer
with the tow vehicle, after pulling the pin. The
trailer brakes may not lock, but you will notice that
a greater force is needed to pull the trailer.
R8 3/30/2017
If electric breakaway brakes do not operate
when trailer is uncoupled from the tow
vehicle, death or serious injury can occur.
Page 60
Magnets for Electric Brakes
To make certain an electrically-operated braking
system will function properly, you must have your
dealer inspect the magnets at least once a year, or
each 12,000 miles. See the brake manual for wear
and current inspection instructions.
8.2.3.c Brakes, Hydraulic (Vacuum, Air or
Electric Operated)
If your trailer has hydraulically-operated brakes,
they function the same way the hydraulic brakes do
on your tow vehicle. The hydraulic braking system
must be inspected by a dealer, at least as often as
the brakes on the tow vehicle, but no less than once
per year. This inspection includes an assessment of
the condition and proper operation of the wheel
cylinders, brake shoes, brake drums and hubs.
You must check the fluid level in the master
cylinder reservoir at least every three months. If
you tow your trailer an average of 1,000 miles per
month in a hot and dry environment, you must
check the brake fluid level once a month. The
brake fluid reservoir is located on the tongue of the
trailer or near the gooseneck. Fill with DOT 4
brake fluid.
Vacuum-Operated Hydraulic
When towing a trailer, the vacuum gauge, which is
located inside the cab of the tow vehicle, must
indicate 18 In. Hg. (inches of mercury) or more at
all times.
^ WARNING
Vacuum gauge in tow vehicle must be at or
above 18 In. Hg. If not, brakes may be
rendered inoperable and unsafe. Low
vacuum will cause damage to the brake
system.
Section 8 – Inspection, Service & Maintenance
Air Pressure-Operated Hydraulic
Air/hydraulic braking systems are typically used
when the tow vehicle has a diesel engine. The tow
vehicle has an air compressor that routes the air to
an air/hydraulic mechanism, which sends brake
fluid to the wheel cylinders.
The air pressure gauge in your tow vehicle indicates
the current air pressure. See your tow vehicle
manual for the proper air pressure.
manual adjustment. The following steps apply to
adjust most manually adjustable brakes. Read your
axle and brake manual to see how to adjust your
brakes.
•
•
•
•
Electrical-Operated Hydraulic
Electric/hydraulic braking systems, which are
mounted on the trailer, use a small electricallydriven pump to generate hydraulic pressure, which
operates the brake cylinders. Like electrical brakes,
an electric/hydraulic braking system is operated by
an electrical signal from the tow vehicle.
8.2.4
Trailer Brakes (Axles Rated 8000 lbs
and Below with Hydraulic Brakes
and ALL Axles with Air Brakes)
•
•
•
•
8.2.4.a Initial Inspection
^ WARNING
8.2.4.d Brakes, Hydraulic (Vacuum, Air or
Electric Operated)
Brakes that are out of adjustment can
result in death or serious injury.
Brakes must be adjusted at the intervals
specified.
The brake shoes must be adjusted after the first 200
miles of use, and each 3,000 miles thereafter.
Most axles are not fitted with a brake mechanism
that will adjust the brakes. Brakes must be adjusted
manually. It is critical that the brakes be adjusted at
the specified intervals. Brakes that are out of
adjustment can cause a collision, which may result
in death or serious injury.
8.2.4.b Periodic Inspection
Properly functioning brake shoes and drums are
essential to ensure safety. You must have your
dealer inspect these components at least once per
year, or each 12,000 miles.
8.2.4.c Manually Adjusting Brake Shoes
Some braking systems are not automatically
adjusted by hard stopping. These brakes require
R8 3/30/2017
•
Jack up the trailer and secure it on adequate
capacity jack stands.
Be sure the wheel and brake drum rotate freely.
Remove the adjusting-hole cover from the
adjusting slot on the bottom of the brake
backing plate.
With a screwdriver or standard adjusting tool,
rotate the starwheel of the adjuster assembly to
expand the brake shoes. Adjust the brake shoes
out until the pressure of the linings against the
drum makes the wheel very difficult to turn.
Note: Your trailer maybe equipped with drop
spindle axles. See axle manual for your axle
type. You will need a modified adjusting tool
for adjusting the brakes in these axles. With
drop spindle axles, a modified adjusting tool
with about an 80 degree angle should be used.
Rotate the starwheel in the opposite direction
until the wheel turns freely with a slight drag.
Replace the adjusting-hole cover.
Repeat the above procedure on all brakes.
Lower the trailer to the ground.
Page 61
If your trailer has hydraulically-operated brakes,
they function the same way the hydraulic brakes do
on your tow vehicle. The hydraulic braking system
must be inspected by a dealer, at least as often as
the brakes on the tow vehicle, but no less than once
per year. This inspection includes an assessment of
the condition and proper operation of the wheel
cylinders, brake shoes, brake drums and hubs.
You must check the fluid level in the master
cylinder reservoir at least every three months. If
you tow your trailer an average of 1,000 miles per
month in a hot and dry environment, you must
check the brake fluid level once a month. The
brake fluid reservoir is located on the tongue of the
trailer or near the gooseneck. Fill with DOT 4
brake fluid.
Vacuum-Operated Hydraulic
When towing a trailer, the vacuum gauge, which is
located inside the cab of the tow vehicle, must
Section 8 – Inspection, Service & Maintenance
indicate 18 In. Hg. (inches of mercury) or more at
all times.
^ WARNING
Vacuum gauge in tow vehicle must be at or
above 18 In. Hg. If not, brakes may be
rendered inoperable and unsafe. Low
vacuum will cause damage to the brake
system.
The coupler handle lever must be able to rotate
freely and automatically snap into the latched
position. Oil the pivot points, sliding surfaces, and
spring ends with SAE 30W motor oil. Keep the
ball pocket and latch mechanism clean. Dirt or
contamination can prevent proper operation of the
latching mechanism.
When replacing a ball, the load rating must match
or exceed the GVWR of the trailer.
Air Pressure-Operated Hydraulic
8.2.5.b Gooseneck
Air/hydraulic braking systems are typically used
when the tow vehicle has a diesel engine. The tow
vehicle has an air compressor that routes the air to
an air/hydraulic mechanism, which sends brake
fluid to the wheel cylinders.
The air pressure gauge in your tow vehicle indicates
the current air pressure. See your tow vehicle
manual for the proper air pressure.
Electrical-Operated Hydraulic
Electric/hydraulic braking systems, which are
mounted on the trailer, use a small electricallydriven pump to generate hydraulic pressure, which
operates the brake cylinders. Like electrical brakes,
an electric/hydraulic braking system is operated by
an electrical signal from the tow vehicle.
The gooseneck receiver on the trailer connects to a
hitch-mounted ball on the towing vehicle. The
receiver, ball and hitch transfer the towing forces
between the tow vehicle and the trailer. Before
each tow, coat the ball with a thin layer of
automotive bearing grease to reduce wear and
ensure proper operation; and check the locking
device that secures the receiver to the ball for
proper operation.
If you see or can feel evidence of wear, such as flat
spots, pitting or corrosion, on the ball or receiver,
immediately have your dealer inspect them to
determine the proper action to prevent possible
failure of the ball and receiver system.
When replacing a ball, the load rating must match
or exceed the GVWR of the trailer.
8.2.5.c Fifth Wheel Kingpin
8.2.5
Trailer Connection to Tow Vehicle
8.2.5.a Coupler and Ball
The coupler on the trailer connects to the ball
attached to the hitch on the tow vehicle. The
coupler, ball and hitch transfer the towing forces
between the tow vehicle and the trailer. Before
each tow, coat the ball with a thin layer of
automotive bearing grease to reduce wear and
ensure proper operation; and check the locking
device that secures the coupler to the ball for proper
operation.
If you see or feel evidence of wear, such as flat
spots, deformations, pitting or corrosion, on the ball
or coupler, immediately have your dealer inspect
them to determine the proper action to prevent
possible failure of the ball and coupler system. All
bent or broken coupler parts must be replaced
before towing the trailer.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 62
Before each tow, inspect the fifth wheel and
kingpin for wear, and coat the contact surface of the
fifth wheel plate with water-resistant Lithium-base
grease. If you see evidence of wear on the fifth
wheel or kingpin, immediately have your dealer
inspect them to determine the proper action to
prevent failure of the fifth wheel and kingpin
system.
8.2.6
Landing Leg or Jack
If a grease fitting is present, you must use a grease
gun to lubricate the jack mechanism. Grease the
gears in the top of hand-cranked jacks once a year,
by removing the top of the jack and pumping or
hand packing grease into the gears.
Section 8 – Inspection, Service & Maintenance
8.2.7
^ WARNING
Lights and Signals
Before each tow, check the trailer taillights,
stoplights, turn signals and any clearance lights for
proper operation.
Worn, damaged or under-inflated tires can
cause loss of control, injury and damage.
Check tires before each tow.
^ WARNING
8.2.10 Hydraulic Cylinder Pin
To avoid collisions, taillights, stoplights
and turn signals must work.
^ DANGER
8.2.8
Accessory Battery
Crushing hazard.
Your trailer may be outfitted with an accessory
battery that operates lighting, electric landing gear,
slide-outs or other accessories. An accessory
battery may be kept charged either by the tow
vehicle or by the generator or shore power. See the
manual for the accessory battery.
NEVER enter the area under the trailer
unless the trailer is empty and supported
by the deck prop.
Lubricate the hydraulic cylinder pin (A) every 6
months.
A disconnect switch may be provided to disconnect
the accessory battery when you do not plan to be
using the trailer for an extended period, such as
seasonal storage. If there is no disconnect switch,
then remove the cables from the battery terminals.
The accessory battery must be kept in a charged
condition during storage. The battery could freeze
and break if it becomes discharged.
8.2.9
Tires
Before each tow, be sure the tire pressure is at the
value indicated on the Certification / VIN label.
Tire pressure must be checked while the tire is cold.
Do not check the tire pressure immediately after
towing the trailer. Allow at least three hours for a
tire to cool, if the trailer has been towed for as much
as one mile. Replace the tire before towing the
trailer if the tire treads have less than 2/32 inch
depth or the telltale bands are visible.
A bubble, cut or bulge in a side wall can result in a
tire blowout. Inspect both side walls of each tire for
any bubble, cut or bulge; and replace a damaged tire
before towing the trailer.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 63
Lube Hydraulic Cylinder Pin – Figure 8-3
8.2.11 Wheel Rims
If the trailer has been struck, or impacted, on or
near the wheels, or if the trailer has struck a curb,
inspect the rims for damage (i.e. being out of
round); and replace any damaged wheel. Inspect
the wheels for damage every year, even if no
obvious impact has occurred.
Never install aftermarket wheels or lug nuts on
your trailer. Use only original equipment wheels
and lugs nuts. Aftermarket wheels and lug nuts
may not meet the load carrying requirements,
pressure capacity and offset as the original
equipment.
Section 8 – Inspection, Service & Maintenance
•
8.2.12 Wheel Liners (Simulators)
Your trailer may be equipped with wheel liners
(simulators). See figure 8-4. To remove the liners
to access the wheel lugs:
1. Locate the two removable jam nuts (1). These
nuts will have a crimp mark on every other hex
and are 180 degrees apart.
2. Remove the jam nuts. Do not use power tools
on jam nuts.
3. Remove the hub cover (2), wheel liner (3),
spacers (4) and stud extenders (5).
•
E-Z Lube® or other grease fitting lubricated
bearings - Bearings are lubricated by grease and
are identified by a grease fitting on the end of
the axle.
Nev-R-Lube™ or other sealed bearings – The
bearings are sealed are require no routine
lubrication.
Refer to this manual and the axle manufacturers
information for inspection and service information.
8.2.13.a Standard Bearings
Bearing Lubrication – Grease
To install the liners:
1. Install stud extenders (5) 180 degrees apart and
tighten to 30 lb. ft. of torque.
2. Install spacers (4), wheel liner (3), hub cover
(2) and jam nuts (1). Tighten jam nuts to 30 lb.
ft. of torque.
Disassemble, inspect and re-pack the wheel
bearings every 12 months or 12,000 miles,
whichever occurs first.
If a trailer wheel bearing is immersed in water, it
must be repacked after each immersion.
If your trailer has not been used for an extended
amount of time, have the bearings inspected and
packed more frequently, at least every six months
and prior to use.
Wheel Simulator – Figure 8-4
Standard Wheel Bearing – figure 8-5
8.2.13 Wheel Bearings
A loose, worn or damaged wheel bearing is the
most common cause of brakes that grab.
To check your bearings, jack trailer and check
wheels for side-to-side looseness. If the wheels are
loose, or spin with a wobble, the bearings must be
serviced or replaced.
Follow the steps below to disassemble and service
the wheel bearings.
•
•
Your trailer will be equipped with one of the
following types of wheel bearings:
•
Standard – Bearing are lubricated by grease or
oil.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 64
•
After removing the grease cap, cotter pin,
spindle nut and spindle washer (items 7-10 in
“Standard Wheel Bearing” figure 8-5), remove
the hub and drum to inspect the bearings for
wear and damage.
Replace bearings that have flat spots on rollers,
broken roller cages, rust or pitting. Always
replace bearings and cups in sets. The inner
and outer bearings are to be replaced at the
same time.
Replace seals that have nicks, tears or wear.
Section 8 – Inspection, Service & Maintenance
•
Lubricate the bearings with a high quality EP-2
automotive wheel bearing grease.
Every time the wheel hub is removed and the
bearings are reassembled, follow the steps below to
check the wheel bearings for free running and
adjust.
•
•
•
•
Turn the hub slowly, by hand, while tightening
the spindle nut, until you can no longer turn the
hub by hand.
Loosen the spindle nut just until you are able to
turn it (the spindle nut) by hand. Do not turn
the hub while the spindle nut is loose.
Put a new cotter pin through the spindle nut
and axle.
Check the adjustments. Both the hub and the
spindle nut should be able to move freely (the
spindle nut motion will be limited by the cotter
pin).
E-Z Lube® Bearing – Figure 8-6
8.2.13.c Nev-R-Lube™
Bearings
or
Other
Sealed
Bearing should be inspected every 12 months or
12,000 miles, whichever occurs first. Refer to the
axle manufactures manual for information on
checking wheel end play and clearance. See figure
8-7.
Bearing Lubrication – Oil
If your trailer is equipped with oil lubricated
bearings, check the oil level every 6 months or
6,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
The oil can be filled through the oil fill hole in the
hub or cap. Fill to the level indicated on the hub or
cap.
8.2.13.b E-Z Lube® Bearings (Standard
Equipment on Axles Rated 8000 lbs. and
Below)
Bearings should be lubricated every 12 months or
12,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
Use only LITHIUM COMPLEX NLGI
CONSISTENCY #2 GREASE. Other types of
grease may not be compatible.
These hubs and bearings have been lubricated at the
factory. The bearings can be periodically lubricated
without removing the hubs.
Remove the rubber plug and attach a grease gun to
the grease fitting. Apply grease until new grease
comes out around slotted spindle nut. Wipe off any
excess and reinstall the rubber plug.
R8 3/30/2017
Page 65
Nev-R-Lube™ Bearing Shown – Figure 8-7
8.2.14 Lug Nuts (Bolts)
Lug nuts are prone to loosen right after a wheel is
mounted to a hub. When driving on a remounted
wheel, check to see if the lug nuts are tight after the
first 10, 25 and 50 miles of driving and before each
tow thereafter.
Lug Nut Tightening (Torque)
Being sure wheel mounting nuts (lug nuts) on
trailer wheels are tight and properly torqued is an
important responsibility that trailer owners and
users need to be familiar with and practice.
Inadequate and/or inappropriate wheel nut torque
(tightness) is a major reason that lug nuts loosen in
service. Loose lug nuts can rapidly lead to a wheel
separation with potentially serious safety
consequences.
Section 8 – Inspection, Service & Maintenance
•
•
•
•
•
Be certain you have a clear understanding of
the specific wheel maintenance responsibilities
your
vehicle
manufacturer
requires
/recommends you, as the owner, must perform
in order to insure your wheel equipment is
safely maintained. Check the lug nut tightness
the first 10, 25 and 50 miles of driving and
before each tow thereafter. Refer to the owner’s
manual and speak with your dealer if you have
any questions about proper tightening practices.
The only way to be certain you have checked
the tightness or torqued the lug nuts to the
proper value is with a torque wrench. Fourway wrenches, ratchets, and similar tools can
be useful for short-term emergency repairs but
are not appropriate tools for accurately
checking lug nut torque. You must use a
torque wrench to accurately indicate the torque
that you are applying to the lug nut.
Keep a record of the date and approximate
mileage when you check the lug nut torque.
Note any lug nut that has lost torque.
Investigate the reason(s) if the lug nut torque is
not maintained after more than one re-torque
application, because this indicates there is
something wrong with the lug nuts, nut studs,
wheels and/or hubs and should be corrected.
Contact your dealer or vehicle manufacturer
immediately if you experience any persistent
lug nut loosening or any other lug, wheel or
axle problems.
In the event of a wheel separation incident,
notify the vehicle manufacturer and dealer.
Seek prompt professional assistance in
assessing the trailer and its gear, and retain, but
don’t re-use involved lugs, wheels and studs.
Don’t repair or service the trailer yourself.
Contact a trained technician.
^ WARNING
Metal creep between the wheel rim and lug
nuts (bolts) will cause rim to loosen.
Death or injury can occur if wheel comes
off.
Tighten lug nuts (bolts) before each tow.
Tighten the lug nuts to the proper tightness to
prevent wheels from coming loose. Refer to the
steps that follow and the axle manufacturer’s
information. Use a calibrated torque wrench to
tighten the lug nuts. Over-tightening may result in
breaking the studs or permanently deforming the
mounting stud holes in the wheels.
Remove all excess paint, oil and grease from
mounting surfaces.
Start all lug nuts by hand to prevent cross threading.
Tighten lug nuts in sequence shown in “Lug Nut
Sequence of Tightening” figure 8-8.
Never install aftermarket wheels or lug nuts on
your trailer. Use only original equipment wheels
and lugs nuts. Aftermarket wheels and lug nuts
may not meet the load carrying requirements,
pressure capacity and offset as the original
equipment.
Never install aluminum wheels on hubs/studs that
were designed for steel wheels. The stud length
required for aluminum wheels is greater than that
required for steel wheels.
^ WARNING
Aftermarket wheels may part from the
trailer, resulting in death or serious injury.
Lug nuts are prone to loosen after being
first assembled. Death or serious injury
can result.
Never install aftermarket wheels or lug nuts
on your Featherlite trailer.
Never install aluminum wheels on
hubs/studs that were designed for steel
wheels.
Check lug nuts for tightness on a new
trailer, and after re-mounting a wheel at 10,
25 and 50 miles.
R8 3/30/2017
^ WARNING
Page 66
Section 8 – Inspection, Service & Maintenance
^ WARNING
Information or torque values stamped on
lug nuts supersedes the information listed
in this manual.
Lug Nut Sequence of Tightening – Figure 8-8
Lug Nut Torque
Stud size
1st stage
2nd Stage
3rd Stage
1/2 Inch
35 lb ft
65 lb ft
100 lb ft
9/16 Inch
45 lb ft
90 lb ft
130 lb ft
5/8 Inch
70 lb ft
140 lb ft
200 lb ft
5/8 Inch Flanged
100 lb ft
200 lb ft
300 lb ft
3/4 Inch Flanged
135 lb ft
270 lb ft
400 lb ft
Lug Nut Torque – Figure 8-9
Lug nuts are prone to loosen right after a wheel
is mounted to a hub. When driving on a
remounted wheel, check to see if the lug nuts are
tight after the first 10, 25 and 50 miles of driving
and before each tow thereafter.
Metal creep between the wheel rim and lug
nuts (bolts) will cause rim to loosen.
^ WARNING
Death or injury can occur if wheel comes
off.
Tighten lug nuts (bolts) before each tow.
Lug nuts are prone to loosen after being
first assembled. Death or serious injury
can result.
Check lug nuts for tightness on a new
trailer, and after re-mounting a wheel at 10,
25 and 50 miles.
R8 3/30/2017
^ WARNING
Page 67
9 TECHNICAL REFERENCE
9.1
TRAILER LIGHTING ELECTRICAL CONNECTION
The electrical wiring on your Featherlite trailer has been designed and built in accordance with all the Federal
Motor Vehicle Safety Standards that were in effect when the trailer was produced.
The figure below illustrates the wiring code that has been adopted for several types of electrical lighting
connectors.
Trailer Lighting Electrical Connection – Figure 9-1
R8 3/30/2017
Page 68
Section 9 – Technical Reference
9.2
HITCH SYSTEMS
The various components of trailer fastening systems may be referred to in terms of “Class” depending on their
load rating. The rating of hitch systems on tow vehicles also considers whether the hitch only carries the
tongue weight (for example, a ball hitch, which is also referred to as a Weight Carrying Hitch), or if it distributes
the tongue weight to all of the tow vehicle wheels (also referred to as a Weight Distributing Hitch).
Your hitch or hitch ball may carry a “class” rating instead of a pound rating. This chart may be used to cross
reference hitch/ball classification with trailer weight and tongue weight.
Hitch Classification
Class
Type of Hitch
Maximum
Towed Weight
Maximum
Tongue Weight
Class 1
Class 1
Class 2
Class 2
Class 3
Class 3
Class 4
Weight Carrying Hitch
Weight Dist. Hitch
Weight Carrying Hitch
Weight Dist. Hitch
Weight Carrying Hitch
Weight Dist. Hitch
Weight Dist. Hitch
up to 2,000 pounds
up to 2,000 pounds
up to 3,500 pounds
up to 3,500 pounds
up to 5,000 pounds
up to 7,500 pounds
up to 10,000 pounds
up to 200 pounds
up to 300 pounds
up to 300 pounds
up to 500 pounds
300 to 500 pounds
up to 750 pounds
up to 1,000 pounds
R8 3/30/2017
Page 69
Featherlite Apparel
Great looks! Great feel! Great price!
Call Toll Free: 800-800-1230 | Shop Online: www.featherlitewear.com
Apparel availability subject to change
Repair Parts & Accessories
Local dealers! Local sales! Local service!
Repair Parts can be obtained from the Featherlite dealer serving your area. Call your local dealer for parts &
accessories for your trailer or contact our corporate office and ask for Dealer Information.
Call Toll Free: 800.800.1230 | Web: www.fthr.com (search dealer locator)
toll free 800.800.1230 | fax 563.547.6100 | email salesinfo@fthr.com
web www.fthr.com | address Hwy. 63 & 9, PO Box 320, Cresco, IA 52136
Proud Member
Featherlite manufactures:
Horse Trailers
Livestock Trailers
Open Car Haulers
Custom Interiors
Concession Trailers
Motorcycle Trailers
Snowmobile Trailers
Enclosed Car Haulers
Living Quarters Trailers
Display Trailers
Semi Livestock Trailers
Vending Trailers
Hospitality Trailers
Kitchen Trailers
Utility Trailers
Truck Beds
Transporters
Living Quarters
Dry Freight Trailers
Specialty Trailers
Drop Frame Vans
Part #041400.0000
Revision 7 3/06/2012
Download PDF
Similar pages