FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Answers to many of your frequently asked questions are answered below. Our production facility located in Indiana offers a full assembly production line from chassis up to allow a wide range of trailers to be built and offered for sale worldwide.
For over 15 years our company has built and sold mobile command trailers. With thousands of trailers being used by all types of businesses and municipalities our experienced staff can help you with your trailer needs. Contact one of our product managers for a specialty trailer quote.
What is needed to set up a command trailer on a site location?
SET UP IN LEVEL DRY, WELL DRAINED AREA
Delivery to site should be performed by an experienced driver with appropriate driver’s license. The delivery site for the mobile command trailer should be reasonably level, dry and well drained. As the site position is chosen it is important to allow space for access to the trailer. Will you need room for a generator trailer or truck? Will you need space to locate a water or waste pumper truck? If holding tanks are included with the new trailer there will be a bottom dump valve that will need to be accessed. Access may be needed by a truck each day as the mobile command trailer may need to be pumped out daily.
Will I need to have an electrical power source on site?
OF COURSE !
Most command trailers are powered with electricity. The shore line power cords may be divided into 20 amp, 30 amp, 50 amp or even cam style cords to provide the electricity for the trailer. It is recommended to provide each trailer with a minimum 30 amp power circuits. (A winter package with electrical heaters will require more electrical power) The dedicated circuit means there is no other power draw on the circuit. It normally is the site owner’s responsibility to supply power cables to the trailer and insure that the lines and the circuit to which they are connected have no other power draw on them.
What if I have an electrical problem with the trailer?
The most basic electrical problems in the command trailer are caused by lack of proper amount of power to the trailer. An air conditioner may start but will kick off a breaker after a short time without adequate electrical power. Be sure that each power cord is properly sized (gauge) for a) the distance it will run and b) the 20 amps it will draw. A light weight electrical cord will lose power the farther it is away from the power source. A generator is recommended for the mobile command trailer if the power source is more than 150 ft. from the trailer. If your diagnosis does not come back to a lack of power please call our office for additional guidance.
What additional utilities may I need to set up a trailer?
PROVIDE A CITY WATER CONNECTION
If the trailer is built with a restroom or a kitchen sink the trailer will need to have a garden hose with a minimum water pressure of 40 psi and a flow rate of 5 gallons per minute at the restroom trailer. There is a city water connection on the trailer provided below the mechanical room. A standard ¾” garden hose should be able to pressurize and provide fresh water for the toilet and sink.
TRAILER WITH AN ON- BOARD FRESH WATER TANK
If an on board fresh water tank is provided in the mechanical room of the trailer or built under the floor, a water pump will need to be turned on in order to draw the water from the tank. When the command trailer is equipped with an on-board fresh water tank, the water needed for toilet flushing or hand washing can be drawn from this tank.
Should I level the mobile command trailer?
Stabilizer jacks are provided with the command trailer but are not to be used to level the trailer. The stabilizer jacks (stab jacks are just to be used to help remove the bounce of the spring axles and rubber tires while in set up position. Use blocks to help bring the tires of the trailer into a level position.
Is air conditioning included with the trailer?
The trailer will normally include a roof mounted air conditioning unit that is ducted into each of the separate rooms. The air conditioning is powered with 110v and operated with a wall mounted thermostat. The thermostat is normally located at eye level and may include a locked cover over the controls. The desired temperature can be set with this wall thermostat and may also control a gas heater if installed. (If electric heaters are installed in the trailer they will be controlled with separate thermostats.)
Does the command trailer have brakes?
Yes, and it is very important to understand how to use the brakes. Your electric trailer brakes on your command trailer are basically the same as the brakes in your tow vehicle. Hydraulic pressure is used to expand the brake shoes in your tow vehicle, while an electric circuit is used to perform the same function on your Command Trailer. This electric circuit uses a combination of electromagnets and the rotation of the brake drum to accomplish the movement of brake shoes against the drum.
Your electric brakes are wired to the towing vehicle through the electrical pigtail. When attached and when the brake truck controlled is adjusted, they distribute even braking power to both the towing vehicle and the command trailer.
Make sure to test the brakes on your portable command trailer and adjust them as necessary, per the instructions of the brake controller manufacturer. Proper adjustment of the brakes can help to avoid dangerous swaying or jack-knifing on slippery pavement, or during an emergency stop.
It is very important to achieve the proper balance between the brake action of both the command trailer and tow vehicle. Both sets of brakes were designed to stop only the vehicle on which they were installed. If one set of brakes is asked to absorb the load of the other also, excess heat is formed, which increases brake lining wear. If the tow vehicle’s brakes are used alone, the weight of the command trailer pushing on the back of the tow vehicle can cause jack-knifing. The correct method of brake synchronization has the command trailer brakes being applied with a slight lead over the tow vehicle’s brakes. Make sure this proper balance is achieved when the controller is installed and adjusted.
Before taking your command trailer on a trip, check for proper brake action on a short road test. Apply the brakes several times at different speeds and pressure. If wheel lock-up occurs, the brake shoe adjustment is too tight. If no command trailer brake action is occurring, brake shoe adjustment is too loose. Do not exceed a speed of 25 mph during this road test. Warning: The breakaway switch is intended for emergency use only. Do not use the switch as an emergency brake for the trailer when it is parked.
How do I hitch my tow vehicle to the trailer?
To ensure safe towing, make sure you have a suitable vehicle, and hitch for your command trailer. It is the trailer owner’s responsibility to correctly match the combination of tow vehicle and command trailer. Contact a hitch specialist, who can help you match your tow vehicle and hitch, and equip you with a properly installed brake controller.
Make sure the ball on your hitch matches the coupler size on the command trailer.
Use the jack to raise the coupler high enough for the hitch ball to slip beneath.
Release the coupler-locking device (raise the lever).
Back your tow vehicle into mounting position for your command trailer.
When properly aligned lower the command trailer coupler onto the ball
Continue raising the jack until it is fully raised.
Latch the coupler-locking device (It is very important to lower the lever and insert a pin in the lock hole).
Connect the safety chains by crossing the chains beneath the coupler and attach them to the tow vehicle.
Allow enough slack for turning, but no dragging (Tip: if chains are too long, simply twist them).
Connect the electrical plug on the command trailer to the plug on the tow vehicle. Check to make sure that all running, directional, and brake lights are functioning.
Load properly approximately 60% in front of the axles (a 10-15% of the trailer and load weight on the
Hitch is the goal), balance the load side to side, and secure it (you don’t want it getting loose). Don’t overload, go by
acceptable payload ratings or you may void the warranty.
Take a trial run and familiarize yourself with the handling characteristics of your tow vehicle and command trailer.
Can I use my command trailer in freezing weather?
Yes, but be aware that if your trailer has any plumbing lines or tanks that may contain water, room heat and the “winter heat pad system” must be kept on or the trailer will need to be “winterized for storage”.
How do I winterize my command trailer?
If a command trailer will be stored in freezing temperatures it should be winterized to prevent damage to the plumbing system and components. Freezing damage can harm any component of the system, including the water tanks, toilets, urinals, pumps, or command trailer piping.
Before you begin to prepare the command trailer for cold weather storage, a brief explanation of the plumbing system will help you to understand the operation of the command trailer.
The plumbing is divided into two separate systems. The fresh water system consists of those items which are used to deliver water for your use, while the waste water system is made up of the drains and tanks which store and remove water that has been used on the command trailer. Both systems and components require some “winterization”.
If your new command trailer was built with an on- board fresh water holding tank then the plumbing system has the dual ability to be self- contained with on-board storage, or use facilities provided by an external pressurized source. In either case, the components of the command trailer plumbing system operate like those in your home. Components of the plumbing system consist of strong, lightweight, corrosion resistant materials that provide long life and easy cleaning. By following the instructions outlined here, you can expect efficient operation with a minimum of command trailer maintenance.
(It is important to note that if your command trailer was manufactured during the fall or winter months the factory has anti- freeze placed in the water lines to protect them from freezing. The anti-freeze liquid can be recognized by its pink color. This anti-freeze should be flushed from the system after trailer is heated and before each time the trailer is placed into service).
WINTERIZATION – The winterization of the command trailer can be accomplished by “adding anti-freeze to the plumbing system” OR by “draining and blowing the water out of the system”.
INSTALLING ANTI-FREEZE IN A COMMAND TRAILER
The first common method to winterize the command trailer is to remove the water and replace the fresh water system with an RV trailer brand anti-freeze. (This is available at any large retailer or RV dealer).
Level the command trailer to help system drainage. Confirm you have a proper electrical source to the trailer.
DRAIN EXISTING WATER OUT OF COMMAND TRAILER SYSTEM
Begin this process by first draining as much water out of the on board fresh tank and water lines as possible. The fresh water tank will have a drain located on the bottom of the tank which allows the water to be drained into the waste holding tank below the floor or if allowed, to drain to the ground outside.
- If your command trailer has a water heater, first confirm the electric is turned off to the water heater so you don’t burn up the heating element in water heater when water is removed from your command trailer.
- Turn the water pump switch on.
- Open all faucets. (Can begin with faucet or toilet farthest from water supply)
- Run water until all water is drained from the fresh water tank and water lines. This water will be drained into your command trailer waste water tank.
- Drain the waste water tank to remove as much water and waste from the command trailer as possible.
- If the water heater has a drain, open and drain out water, then close the water supply valve and open the bypass valve to allow antifreeze to flow bypass the water heater. If there is no drain (which is common with small water heaters) the water heater will need to be removed or filled with antifreeze.
ADD ANTI-FREEZE TO COMMAND TRAILER WATER SYSTEM
An RV anti-freeze (propylene glycol)is recommended for your command trailer. To add anti-freeze to the command trailer plumbing system it can be drawn from the existing on board water tank by dumping anti-freeze in the tank or by drawing from an individual container. It will take several gallons to be added to the system.
- After anti-freeze is dumped into the command trailer fresh tank, turn on the water pump and open all of the fixtures until the pink anti-freeze flows out. (Can begin with faucet or toilet farthest from water supply)
- Close each faucet as the pink solution flows freely from it. This also includes the water line to the toilet.
- Perform this process with every command trailer sink and toilet.
- Confirm anti-freeze is in every p-traps for the toilets, flushing urinals (if applicable) and sinks. An amount of anti-freeze left in waste tank will prevent the command trailer waste tank from freezing.
DRAIN & BLOW OUT WATER
To use the compressed air method to winterize the command trailer, begin with the steps above to drain the existing water out of the system.
- In order to clear the fresh water lines with air you will need an air compressor and a fitting to attach to the fresh water lines. Connect the air hose to the city fill connection.
- If the command trailer has an on board fresh water tank, open the fresh tank fill valve and let the compressed air clear the fresh tank supply line. Once the water has cleared this line, close the valve.
- Open the city fill valve. Then go to each of the sinks, toilets and urinals and let them run until only dry air comes out. It may be helpful to begin with the fixture farthest from the air supply. It may take several tries of opening the command trailer toilets & sinks until only air comes out and water has been removed.
Even though the water may have been removed from the fresh water system, you will still need to add anti-freeze to any P-traps where water may be trapped in the waste water system. This includes sinks, toilets or urinals.
Be sure to read the literature supplied with command trailer plumbing components, such as the pump, for troubleshooting tips. Also remember that it is possible for an electrical problem to cause water system problems. Lack of power to the pump can be caused by a variety of reasons. If you are unsure of how to locate and/or repair a plumbing problem, it is best to have a qualified plumber handle the job.