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The first consideration when towing a trailer is to be sure that the tow vehicle has the correct towing capacity. This information is available from the vehicle hand book, or from the technical department of the manufacturer. Ensure that the tow-vehicle is well maintained and able to cope with the extra demands of towing a laden trailer. Check the basic safety related areas such as tyre pressures, which should be at the maximum permitted for the tyre (check on the side wall of the tyre or in the vehicle handbook for further information).


  • Ensure tow vehicles’ tow bar is in good condition, ie, structurally sound. Check that the ball head cup is well greased.
  • Raise the coupling head above the tow ball by means of the lowered telescopic operation jockey wheel.
  • Position the tow ball under the coupling head, then lower the coupling head onto the tow ball whilst holding the coupling head open. Some coupling head designs feature an automatic closing mechanism and do not need to be held open. Once the two are firmly engaged the coupling head handle will lock closed. As a precaution twist the coupling head and closely inspect it to be sure that the trailer is properly coupled. On certain coupling heads there are indicators which will show when the head is properly engaged on the ball.
  • Continue to wind up the jockey wheel until fully retracted and the top handle is very tightly locked. If a mechanical locking mechanism is provided ensure it is in place before travelling. Now loosen the main clamp and raise the jockey as high as possible in the clamp, re-tighten the clamp firmly, ensuring that the jockey wheel is well clear of the brake mechanisms. Auto retractable jockey wheels do not require a side clamp mechanism.
    WARNING If this procedure is not followed it is likely that the jockey wheel will unwind and come into contact with the ground when in transit, causing severe damage to the mechanism. This type of damage is NOT covered under warranty.
  • Check condition of the break-away cable, if damaged or not present replace immediately. Connect break-away cable to towing bracket on tow vehicle.
  • Connect the 13 pin electrical plug to the socket on the rear of the tow vehicle making sure the keyway in the socket and the slot in the plug are aligned. Check that all lights are operational. Also ensure that the trailer electrical lead is not allowed to drag on the ground, this will wear through the cable and render the lights inoperative.
  • Ensure that the hand brake is fully off. The handbrake, when off will lie in the horizontal position. Never travel with the handbrake applied.
  • All tyres both on the tow vehicle and the trailer must be correctly inflated to the maximum pressure recommended for towing. Never exceed the maximum pressure displayed on the side wall of the tyre.



Remove the ramp securing pins and slide the ramp onto the rear of the trailer. Locate ramps on the back of the trailer using the captive location mechanism provided on the back of the trailer. Once fully located the ramp will not accidentally fall off the rear of the trailer during loading. Drive or winch the vehicle onto the trailer. Return the ramps to their original positions, and secure with pins provided. Ensure ramp is held under tension to eliminate rattling where possible.


Release the deck-to-’A’ frame securing clamps and close the valve on the hydraulic pump. Pump the hydraulic ram until the rear of the trailer touches the ground. Drive or winch the vehicle onto the trailer. Release the hydraulic valve gradually, making sure no-one is under the trailer or in a position likely to result in injury by the lowering deck. Tighten the deck securing clamps.


To maintain towing safety it is vitally important the trailer is loaded correctly and that the towing height of the trailer is correct. When coupling an unladen trailer check to see that the ‘nose’ of the trailer is slightly higher (25-50mm) than the rear of the trailer. Also take account of the affect of any possible loads to be added to the tow vehicle when calculating this. If the trailer nose is too high or too low it is possible that handling difficulties will result. Never try to vary or adapt the trailer towbar or coupling. When loading a trailer it is absolutely vital that a POSITIVE nose weight is achieved. Loading cars of front engined design means that the car should be driven forwards onto the trailer until the tow vehicles suspension just starts to settle. (Rear engined cars must be reversed up onto the trailer.) Apply the same logic for machinery and equipment.


It is important to properly secure the load onto the trailer before towing. All Brian James Trailers are fitted with attachment points for load securing straps, which are the preferred method of load restraint. It is highly recommended that load securing straps with a safe working load of at least double the weight of the vehicle being secured, be used. This is in keeping with our policy of over specifying safety critical components. A minimum of two rear and two front straps is advised.



  • The addition of a trailer to your vehicle lengthens the total wheelbase, therefore when turning it is necessary to widen the turning circle to avoid hitting kerbs.
  • Remember that the addition of a trailer and its load will increase your stopping distance, so leave more room for braking.
  • Do not exceed the maximum towing weight for the tow vehicle.
  • Remember when reversing to steer the opposite way to the direction in which you require the trailer to travel.

This technique requires a lot of practice to become competent.


UK TOWING SPEEDS - Built up areas: 30mph (48km/h), Single carriageway: 50mph (80km/h), dual carriageways and motorways: 60mph (96km/h)

MOTORWAYS - A vehicle towing a trailer is not permitted to use the right hand lane except where the carriage way is two lanes wide.

NUMBER PLATES - A trailer being towed on the public highway must be fitted with a rear number plate, the same colour and the same number as the tow vehicle.

PASSENGERS - A trailer must not be used to carry passengers.

Jockey Wheels

Before coupling, ensure that the trailer’s handbrake in on, the tow vehicle’s tow ball is aligned with the coupler and that coupler’s locking mechanism is unlocked.





















The lifespan of a battery will vary based on several factors, these include duration of use, temperature, and application. The two most common causes of premature battery failure are incorrect application, and insufficient charge.

All of our batteries carry a standard limited one-year warranty from date of delivery against defects in workmanship and/or materials unless stated otherwise.

However batteries can fail for reasons not covered by warranty. Some of these are as follows:

What Voids the Warranty:

  1. Abuse, misuse, improper installation, improper maintenance and modifications.
  2. Physical damage, including broken or melted terminals.
  3. General wear and tear.
  4. Unserviceable due to improper charging.
  5. Failure due to overcharging, deep cycling, sulphation and undercharging are not covered.
  6. Voltage less than 10.5V (battery fully discharged).

Abuse, misuse, improper installation

The warranty does not cover batteries that have been incorrectly used or installed.

Physical Damage

The warranty does not cover any physical damage that occurs to the battery case or terminals due to improper fitment, from being dropped, or if any connectors are hammered on to the terminals. Connectors that are not properly fastened, may cause the battery to fail rapidly.

Further to this, improper terminal connection can cause electrical arcing between the terminal and the connector, resulting in the lead portion of the terminal melting. It is also paramount that the battery terminals are never shorted (no conducting object should be placed across the terminals), as this will cause the terminals and the conducting object to get very hot, very quickly.

This intense heat can then act as a source of ignition for any flammable items near the battery, as well as any of the gases that are naturally emitted from the battery. This is not a manufacturing fault.

If in the unlikely event your battery is damaged when it arrives with you, please let us know within 24 hours of receiving your delivery. Any claims made after this time may not be accepted.

General wear and tear

When a battery is charged and discharged, material from the battery plates (active mass) is in motion, through the electromechanical reaction that produces electricity. Every time a battery goes through a charge-discharge cycle, a small amount of this active mass is lost from the plates. Due to so many factors impacting on the life of a battery, it is impossible to stipulate a minimum or maximum life expectancy.

Every battery has a finite number of cycles that it can go through before it loses its active mass, and in turn, its capacity. High usage will often put a battery through this finite number of cycles over a much shorter amount of time, causing a battery to show the above symptoms after only a couple of years. This is not a manufacturing fault.

When a battery is subject to a deep discharge, and/or a rapid rate of recharge, the above process is accelerated. A battery that is deep discharged regularly, will rapidly lose its active mass, and capacity. The loss of active mass, and therefore capacity due to over/excessive cycling is not a manufacturing fault.

Improper Charging

If a battery is charged at an excessive voltage or current, it can overheat, and the electrolyte will start to evaporate. Overcharging will cause the active mass in the plates of the battery to rapidly breakup, and battery performance will be permanently affected, as will the cyclic life of the battery. This is normally quite obvious to spot when examining the battery. This is not a manufacturing fault.

Sulphation occurs when a battery is allowed to stand in a discharged state for an excessive amount of time. When a battery voltage drops below a certain level, a chemical reaction known as sulphation takes place. In most cases this voltage is at or below 12.06V. Sulphation is normally irreversible, and can permanently impair performance of the battery, causing reduced performance and premature failure. Sulphation can be seen as a fine white/grey coating on the plates.

This damage can be caused if a battery is stored for long periods without charging, or installed in applications that are not frequently used. Over time, sulphation will build up on the plates, and hinder the performance of the battery. As sulphation is easily avoided by simply keeping your battery charged, this is a non-manufacturing fault.

Voltage less than 10.5V

It is worth noting that under normal operating conditions a battery cannot become discharged on its own (unless left for a long period of self-discharge). A battery is considered to be 100% discharged when showing a resting voltage of 10.5V and is 100% charged when showing a voltage of 12.73V +.

Sulphation occurs when a battery is allowed to stand in a discharged state for an excessive amount of time. When a battery voltage drops below a certain level, a chemical reaction known as sulphation takes place. In most cases this voltage is at or below 12.06V. Sulphation is normally irreversible, and can permanently impair performance of the battery, causing reduced performance and premature failure. Sulphation can be seen as a fine white/grey coating on the plates.

A battery showing a resting voltage of less than 10.5V will have become discharged due to a lack of charging - this is not a manufacturing fault.

Pre-assembly process

At Brian James Trailers all batteries are checked with a voltmeter and recharged if a voltage below 12.60V is displayed. A Battery Life Notice label (P-LAWL-1510-P-N) is attached to the battery as well as a sticker showing the tested voltage (P-LAWL-1500-P-N).



Safely restraining the transported load is a basic safety requirement of using a trailer on the public highway. Several Brian James Trailers vehicle transport trailer ranges feature a specialised design allowing the wheels of a vehicle to be strapped over their circumference. Other strap systems can also be used, including a classic ‘chocker’ wheel strap and direct strap. This section deals  with the circumference wheel strap in more detail.


Any mechanically sound and correctly rated strapping system can be used to provide the required restraint. Brian James Trailers has experience in providing this equipment for over four decades. Our products have developed new ideas as well as methods migrated from commercial transport operators. You can be sure that a Brian James Trailers approved accessory will have all of the required characteristics designed to operate safely and effectively, while protecting both vehicle and trailer from damage.


Safe and effective installation of the circumference type wheel strap relies on even distribution of pressure to create a downward vertical load on the vehicle tyre. In turn this arrangement as shown in the diagram to the right is able to prevent vehicle movement forward and rearward ensuring the safest performance possible. Please note the correct installation method shown as using an incorrect method may cause damage to the deck panel and potentially risk the restraint becoming loose.



A vertical load beyond the design limits of the deck material will lead to fatigue and fracture of the deck material. AVOID installing the hooks as shown above.



The correct installation provides an evenly distributed force on all components and therefore limits wear and tear, as well as ensuring safe restraining forces are applied to the vehicle.



  • The winch is not built for lifting purposes, or to be used for lifting, supporting or transporting people.
  • Check for any signs of damage, including ratchet operation, if in doubt do not use.
  • Never allow children or anybody unfamiliar with the winch operation to operate it
  • Never exceed rated capacity. Do not use winch with cable fully unwound. Keep at least three turns of cable on spool.
  • Operate with hand power only. Do not operate with any form of motor.
  • Secure load correctly. A winch is not designed as a primary restraint and should be only used in conjunction with load securing devices e.g. straps, chains etc.
  • Maintain firm grip on handle; do not allow to spin freely when unloading. This can spin violently causing personal injury. AL-KO Type 900 winches with a removable handle do feature an auto-brake for safety. Free spool can only be achieved when the handle is removed.
  • If winch is of a braked type ensure when using brake facility winch is in neutral position, or handle is removed.
  • Do not use winch handle as a convenient means of manoeuvring the entire trailer or to lift anything.
  • If winch handle is detachable, ensure handle is attached securely to drive-shaft and that the handle clip is engaged into the groove on the shaft.
  • Periodically lubricate the mechanisms with a light machine oil e.g. WD40 and check the cable for any signs of fraying. If cable damage is found, then cable should be replaced.
  • If any parts need replacing, our aftersales department carry a comprehensive range of spares for overnight delivery.



  • All new Brian James Trailers feature, galvanised steel, aluminium and BZP plated steel components. 
  • Materials and processes are designed to protect the structure of the trailer from corrosion. Eg: the formation of Iron Oxide on the steel.
  • Galvanising is achieved by dipping the raw steel components into a bath of Zinc, at a high temperature.
  • The resultant Zinc coating on the steel is unlike any painted surface and will protect the steel for many years.
  • Galvanising is however primarily a protective coating first and foremost. When new can appear reflective and bright, however after time will naturally change to a darker / blotchy appearance. During winter months when the roads are heavily salted there can be a noticeable hastening of this process.
  • Combined with general road grime and soot this can cause a new trailer and its associated fixtures and fittings including aluminium and BZP plated components to change appearance.
  • Road salt or corrosive cleaning products left on the trailer will have no detrimental effect on the structure of the trailer in the long term, but may cause it and its components to begin to look weathered. In order to preserve the appearance of a new trailer as far as possible, it is advisable to rinse the trailer with clean water before leaving it to stand, especially during winter months.
  • This is particularly advised when leaving a trailer inside a building, as there will be no natural rinsing from rain water.
  • White patches of a powdery substance called Zinc Oxide may appear if the trailer is not prepared in this way.
  • The effect can also arise on aluminium and BZP components. No detrimental operational effect will result from not taking care of the trailer according to these recommendations, this is purely an aesthetic issue. Brian James Trailers will not accept liability for changes of surface appearance relating to galvanising, aluminium components or BZP plated components.



  1. After first 1,000 miles (1,500 km)
  2. Every 6,000 miles (10,000 km) or 12months thereafter.


The ‘working life’ of the trailer-coupling damper (fitted inside the main coupling body) will be considerably reduced if the trailer is used with poorly adjusted brakes.

The warranty on parts and labour is invalidated if the brake system is incorrectly serviced or if the trailer is used with poorly adjusted brakes.

PLEASE NOTE Failure of the damper results in a strong ‘snatching’ effect under light braking.


Trailer brake servicing must be carried out by a competent person familiar with trailer braking systems. Before adjusting the brakes, always rotate the wheel(s) in a forward direction.

Lift the trailer using suitable jack and safe, secure stands to support the chassis.

Release the handbrake completely and ensure it is strapped for safety (must not be able to be applied during service).

When servicing brakes and adjusters always use a quality Molybdenum Disulphide grease lubricant on threads and moving parts. Note: Always rotate the drum as if the wheel was turning in a forward travel direction.


STAGE 1 Adjusting brakes.

TOOLS 17mm ‘cranked’ ring and open spanner; WD40 light oil.

Spray WD40 or similar light oil into the area of the brake adjuster nut on the brake back plate. This will ensure that the adjuster turns freely. 
Adjust the shoes on each brake to the point at which the drum will not turn freely. The adjuster is then used to release the brakes to the point where the drum turns freely, with the brakes just on the point of contact.

STAGE 2 With each of the brakes individually adjusted release the handbrake mechanism temporary restraint. CAUTION The brake system should be completely intact and operational before this stage. With the handbrake down check the ‘free movement’ between the actuator lever and the drawtube in the coupling. The lever should move approximately 2mm before the brake system begins to apply tension. Adjust the fasteners on the main brake transmission rod to achieve the required tolerance. IMPORTANT Over tension in the main brake transmission rod will mean that the road wheel brakes are applied when travelling. This will cause very high brake temperatures and lead to failure of wheel bearings. It may in extreme circumstances, lead to fire.

STAGE 3 Safety check. Ensure that all lock nuts and safety features are 
fully checked.


Adjusting brakes.

TOOLS 17mm ‘cranked’ ring and open spanner; flat blade screwdriver; WD40 light oil.

Before adjusting the brakes, always rotate the wheel(s) in a forward direction.

Remove plastic plug from the adjustment hole in the brake back plate.

Spray WD40 or similar light oil into the area of the brake adjuster through the brake back plate. This will ensure that the adjuster turns freely.

Release the brake linkage from the balance bars in the centre of the trailer axle. Check for free play in the cable, which in a correctly adjusted brake will be 5 to 8mm.

Using a flat blade screw driver rotate the adjuster screw, accessed through the adjuster hole in the brake back plate. Rotate in the direction of arrows as indicated to increase or decrease adjustment. Check the free play at the end of each Bowden cable until all are set equally within the 5-8mm range. Re-apply the cable to the brake balance bar linkages. Test the operation of handbrake by applying the brake several times.


  1. Replace and re-tighten road wheels to recommended torque settings.
  2. Road test trailer to ensure safe and proper operation of the brakes before carrying a load.
  3. Should any aspect of the procedure or result be unsatisfactory please contact Brian James Trailers, or one of our reputable agents for further advice.


NOTE Use trailer jockey wheel to lift and lower trailer to avoid injury.

Lift the coupling handle in the direction of the arrow. Some coupling designs such as the AL-KO type shown opposite will remain open. Having positioned the coupling above the towball now lower the trailer onto the towball until the ball engages into the head and is fully coupled. AL-KO coupling heads have a green indicator button to prove full coupling engagement.


Pull the handle up as far as it will go and lift it from the towball. With larger nose loads, coupling and uncoupling can be made easier by using the jockey wheel to assist lifting.


AL-KO recommends the fitment of a safety ball, this simple plastic ball fits inside the coupling head (whilst unhitched from the towball). Used in conjunction with a security device, the safety ball is locked into the coupling area, ensuring thieves cannot hitch your trailer to a smaller diameter towball or hook. This also acts as a very visual theft deterrent


A small amount of standard grease should be applied to the towball to maintain a reduced friction environment.


Trailer and towball heights. Reference to Directive EC 94/20, Annexe VII, Section 2. Height ranges allowed in the directive as being compliant. TRAILER TOWING VEHICLE GROUND LEVELDimensions in mm. Loaded condition.



Dimensions in mm. Loaded condition.



  • Fit the correct tyres.
  • Tyres must be in good condition.
  • Tyre pressures must be correctly maintained using an accurate tyre pressure gauge.
  • Do not overload.
  • Check your tyres regularly for any signs of damage and remove from the tread any potential penetrations such as trapped stones. Drive the combination at reasonable (‘comfortable’) speeds – within the speed limits.
  • Rapid manoeuvres must be avoided, e.g. sudden overtaking or lane changing. Good driving practice, with or without a trailer, includes intelligent anticipation of such moves.
  • Respect the car and trailer manufacturer’s recommendations at all times.




The tyre rack is designed to accommodate a wide range of different tyre sizes, and provides the ideal way to transport tyres and wheels safely whilst maintaining ease of operation of your Brian James Trailer.

IMPORTANT care must be taken when securing tyres, NEVER pull away or drive without first safely securing tyres with the appropriate tie-down straps.

The tyre rack is designed to hold the wheels between two parallel support bars, care should be taken to locate the tyre correctly. Always make sure the tyre tread area rests flat across the support bars as shown


  1. Position the tyre(s) between the two blue looped straps, making sure the straps are pushed up close to the tyre/wheel sides.
  2. Attach the blue ratchet cross over strap to the middle of the first side loop strap, make sure the hook locates securely into the metal fixing bracket.
  3. Position the strap over the top of the tyres, slide the two wide ‘strap protectors’ over the leading edge of each outer tyre.
  4. Secure the ratchet end of the strap into the middle of the second cross over loop strap, make sure the hook locates securely into the metal fixing bracket.
  5. Tighten the strap with the ratchet until secure, reverse the process to remove.
  6. Always use Brian James Trailers strap system.


To prevent theft, wheels and tyres can be locked in position. The locking system is made up of a high tensile steel cable and padlock. Follow the instructions to secure tyre/wheels as described. 
*Security cable also adds a second layer of cover, in the unlikely event of the main wheel strap working loose.


To prevent theft, wheels and tyres can be locked in position. The locking system is made up of a high tensile steel cable and padlock. Follow the instructions to secure tyre/wheels as described. *Security cable also adds a second layer of cover, in the unlikely event of the main wheel strap working loose.


  1. Slide the looped part of the cable through the hole in the outer top section of the tyre rack frame, make sure the small back plate is on the OUTSIDE of this hole.
  2. Pull the cable straight across and feed through the centre of the tyres/wheels.
  3. Feed the cable through the hole in the far outer top section of the tyre rack frame.
  4. Secure the cable (loop end) with a suitable padlock.




When using loading ramps P-RAMP-9300-A-N or P-RAMP-9310-A-N careful attention must be paid to the maximum rated weight capacities the ramp can carry which are determined by the weight of the vehicle being loaded in conjunction with its wheelbase/track length.

IMPORTANT care must be taken when using these ramps, NEVER exceed the specified weight capacity. Load capacity information is displayed on the information label on the side of each ramp.


  • The ramp always needs to be properly connected to the trailer.
  • The foot of the ramp must be even on a solid ground.
  • Always check the ramps are clean from stones and rubble.
  • The loading angle of the ramps should never exceed 30% gradient (16.5°).
  • When loading a steel track machine, rubber matting must be used to protect the ramps.