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I am in the process of rebuilding a wagon. It has been modified and had auto tires on it. The issue is the rear axle is the front axle from an auto and it is really old. I would like to plumb into those brakes and use them but I am not sure what kind of rabbit hole I might end up with trying to get parts etc. due to the age. The front axle is the original wooden axle with the ends cut off and axle stubs put on. I can easily change these out to a more modern set of wheels, hubs and brakes that I have.

My question out of all of this is have any of you used a wagon with only front brakes? I am not looking to stop the horses just hold it in place while people get off and on, maybe hold back on hills, etc.

Or do I need to just bite the bullet and get the rear brakes working?



Klaus Karbaumer says 2017-08-10 17:37:57 (CST)

Todd, I have no mechanical skills and have never even attempted to anything like you are suggesting.
Brakes I would only use on the rear axle, never on the front, that might end in straining the wagon tongue too much when braking and turning to one side at the time or when the horses are swerving to one side.
All my vehicles, even the forecarts have brakes. You always want to help the horses when going downhill in not having to hold back the entire load!

1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Andy Daniel says 2017-08-11 08:17:01 (CST)

I have found that old auto axles work best for wagons. Anything after 1970 models require a vacuum booster on the master cylinder. The newer one make very hard to mash with little results. I run brakes on all four wheels on my wagons.

1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Todd NE WY says 2017-08-11 09:57:59 (CST)

Thanks Klaus you confirmed what i pretty much figured. I was just taking a long shot at being able to just skip messing with the rear axle.



1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Todd NE WY says 2017-08-11 12:39:33 (CST)


I am pretty sure this rear axle is older than 1970. It still has the bolt on dust cap over the end of the spindle.


1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

G.D.Rose says 2017-08-11 21:23:45 (CST)

Just a thought, I seen this on a wagon with rubber tires. The gentleman set up a brake system on this wagon just like they are on the old wooden spoke wagon. The brake shoes were made of iron instead of wood.

1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2017-08-12 23:00:03 (CST)

I just don't have brakes on anything that work. they can hold it back on a downhill slope or they can outrun it. Thought about putting a lock on one wheel but never got around to it.

1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dan in Illinois says 2017-08-16 20:46:08 (CST)

Been using a friends wagon to break a pair of 3 year old draft uses. He insisted I use it because it has 4 wheel brakes. Made a believer out of me as we can hold those mules in a bad situation. Glad we had it a couple of times. If someone would let me email them pics to post I would. They were hungry when we got them but they're growing now. Have a lot to learn about mules, they are sure different than my percheron mares.

1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dan in Illinois says 2017-08-16 20:57:13 (CST)

Trying the picture thing

1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2017-08-16 23:58:42 (CST)

the only thing that has anything that resembles brakes that I use is a Adams Road Grader. With it you just lower the blade and move more dirt.

1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dan in Illinois says 2017-08-17 15:30:24 (CST)

Trying to put mule pic on here the greys are my percherons with my daughter hauling hay. KC I bet they didn't run off with the grader.

1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2017-08-17 22:51:39 (CST)

No they don't run too far, the Belgium mules 15 hands 4 head breast threw dirt about 10 ' to the side for about 200' before I got the blade far enough into the ground to slow them to a trot. I would like to have a video of that ride. those 4 head could move alot of dirt but they quit running after 7 days of road work, all i had to say was easy boys and they would walk.

1 month ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dan in Illinois says 2017-08-20 21:19:56 (CST)

It's amazing what sweat does for their minds and attitudes. Back to the post has anyone had disc brakes on a wagon?

30 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Scott S says 2017-08-21 21:30:21 (CST)

My one wagon has 4 wheel disk brakes. There is a locking mechanism on the pedal can which can be set like a parking brake. The system works well. Added some friction brakes to rubber tires to one wagon just like the old wagons had. Used a old brake handle I found where a old wagon had melted away. Works ok, not nearly as strong but doesn't ever run out of brake fluid.

29 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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