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Old 04-30-2018, 06:39 AM   #1
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Do I need a brake controller?

I've only towed the car hauler trailer with the Miata about 100 miles. I've adjusted all 4 brakes on the trailer and have the 7 pin plug from the trailer plugged into the corresponding receptacle on the back of the motorhome. The total weight of the trailer, car, and contents in the 2 storage boxes is less than 4,000 pounds.
Someone in the campground stopped by to inspect the car/trailer and happened to ask what type of brake controller was I using and my response was, I wasn't using a brake controller. The discussion ended but the question is lingering and I haven't found anything on the "net" that give me a definitive answer, "do I need a brake controller or not"?
The objective is to err on the side of safety, so with that being said, let's hear from those who know about brake controllers in this specific situation. Thanks!
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Old 04-30-2018, 06:45 AM   #2
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In most states, if the combined load of the trailer and contents exceeds 3,500 lbs, you need brakes (that work) on the trailer. Same holds true if you're flat towing a car/truck.

Installing the brake controller is the easy part, the tough part is finding the brake controller wire loom under your dash. In most cases, the chassis builder carefully and thoroughly hides that wire loom making it virtually impossible to find. Only due diligence get the job done.
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Old 04-30-2018, 06:49 AM   #3
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If the trailer has brakes then yes you need a brake controler for brakes to operate.
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Old 04-30-2018, 06:51 AM   #4
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You say you adjusted the brakes on the trailer, but how are they activated? Are they electric, hydraulic, air ? Plugging the 7-pin connector in does nothing if the trailer is expecting a signal on the E-brake wire and you have no controller.
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Old 04-30-2018, 07:01 AM   #5
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You say you adjusted the brakes on the trailer, but how are they activated? Are they electric, hydraulic, air ? Plugging the 7-pin connector in does nothing if the trailer is expecting a signal on the E-brake wire and you have no controller.
the brakes are electric.
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Old 04-30-2018, 07:01 AM   #6
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Gary, even though that isn't much weight behind your coach, if it was me I would get a brake controller. That trailer has brakes so you may as well use them.

On newer coaches the install takes about 10 minutes because the wiring is a simple plug-n-play up by the steering column. Not sure on your coach.
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Old 04-30-2018, 07:03 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LJowdy View Post
In most states, if the combined load of the trailer and contents exceeds 3,500 lbs, you need brakes (that work) on the trailer. Same holds true if you're flat towing a car/truck.

Installing the brake controller is the easy part, the tough part is finding the brake controller wire loom under your dash. In most cases, the chassis builder carefully and thoroughly hides that wire loom making it virtually impossible to find. Only due diligence get the job done.
What brand brake controller do you use for your enclosed trailer?
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Old 04-30-2018, 07:05 AM   #8
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Gary, even though that isn't much weight behind your coach, if it was me I would get a brake controller. That trailer has brakes so you may as well use them.

On newer coaches the install takes about 10 minutes because the wiring is a simple plug-n-play up by the steering column. Not sure on your coach.
THANKS Joe. Not sure Freightliner/Newmar was that forward thinking back on 2002 when they put mine together
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Old 04-30-2018, 08:57 AM   #9
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Tizzyfit, I use a Prodigy but just about every one of the 'better" controllers will work just fine.
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Old 04-30-2018, 09:05 AM   #10
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I've made an appointment for next Thursday morning to have the necessary wiring and brake controller installed. The basic verbal quote is 4 hours labor and parts.
THANK YOU to all who replied to my question. As is the case with some of us "senior citizens", sometimes the obvious escapes us. After towing the Mazda PU for 6 years with the brake buddy and no controller, it never occurred to me the trailer would require a brake controller and why the folks that built the trailer didn't mention it shall remain a mystery.
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Old 05-01-2018, 05:38 AM   #11
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Your brake buddy didn't need a controller. If memory serves me correctly the brake buddy gets a radio wave signal from a transmitter in the coach
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