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Old 10-12-2015, 12:27 PM   #1
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Brake Controller Change Out

Hi,

We need to change out the Roadmaster brake controller that came with our motorhome. The previous owner had a Toad and we need to pull a 12" cargo trailer with electric brakes.

The M/H is a 1997 Tiffin Allegro Bus on a Freightliner chassis.

Does anyone know if this M/H came with a factory installed brake controller socket in 1997.

The existing rear connector is a round 4 pin and of course we need a 7 pin connector.

I'm usually pretty good at working on our coach, however, I have no idea how the Roadmaster works.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

J R
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Old 10-12-2015, 04:39 PM   #2
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Roadmaster makes several different toad brake units, but none of them are really a controller in the sense that a trailer requires. Some of toad brakes have no external control at all - just an indicator light on the coach dash (my Roadmaster Brakemaster system is like that). If you could identify the type and model of brake system, you could probably get an install manual for it and learn more. For practical purposes, though, you will be adding a brake controller rather than replacing one.

I don't think your '97 was set up for a controller, but I suggest calling Freightliner Custom Chassis customer service and ask about it. Have the last 6 digits of you VIN handy. 1-800-FTL-HELP
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Old 10-12-2015, 05:46 PM   #3
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Hi Gary,

I went back outside to the coach and took a closer look at the red LED indicator light on the dash, it's a Roadmaster Brakemaster 9000. After a quick Google search, I can see how it is installed.

If I'm thinking correctly, I may just need to run the trailer brake wire and tap into the existing light and turn signal wires in the rear of the coach. If so, finding those wires under the dash to hook up the controller will be the trick.
I'll keep my fingers crossed when I call Freightliner in the morning.

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

J R
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Old 10-13-2015, 11:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hooptie00 View Post
Hi Gary,

I went back outside to the coach and took a closer look at the red LED indicator light on the dash, it's a Roadmaster Brakemaster 9000. After a quick Google search, I can see how it is installed.

If I'm thinking correctly, I may just need to run the trailer brake wire and tap into the existing light and turn signal wires in the rear of the coach. If so, finding those wires under the dash to hook up the controller will be the trick.
I'll keep my fingers crossed when I call Freightliner in the morning.

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

J R
Roadmaster makes several braking systems in the 9000 series. The 9100 and 9160 are for motorhomes with either air or air over hydraulic systems. They simply tap into the coach air brake system.

The 9060 system is for motorhomes with hydraulic brakes. This system has it's own compressor and storage tank, and requires a proportioning valve be installed in the motorhome hydraulic brake line.

The Roadmaster systems don't use current from the brake and tail lights to activate the brake system. It uses the power from this circuit only as a signal that the brakes in the coach are being applied.

The actual braking is accomplished by supplying air from the coach braking system or the Roadmaster compressor (on gas models) to an air cylinder attached to the brake pedal in the towed vehicle.

Electric brakes may take more power to operate than can be supplied by the brake/tail light circuit. Generally they require between 10 and 16 amps (or more) depending on the number of axles and size of the brakes.

https://www.etrailer.com/question-12234.html

The brake/tail light circuit is generally only a 14 gauge wire. While it can technically handle the current required for the brakes it is also powering the brake and tail lights for both the motorhome and the trailer. Should you blow the fuse on the circuit you will not only loose braking power on the trailer you will also loose brake and tail lights on both the motorhome and the trailer.

The brake power circuit is generally a 10 gauge wire on a separate circuit to eliminate the problem previously described. With a separate circuit there will be no loss of brake and tail lights even if the fuse for the trailer brakes blows.


The electric brake circuits on both the motorhomes we've owned and on our Ford truck all use a 10 gauge supply wire on a dedicated circuit.
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Old 10-13-2015, 12:56 PM   #5
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I forgot to add in my previous post the LED on the dash is powered by the brake light circuit in the towed vehicle. The wire runs from the LED to the back of the coach. When the towed vehicle is attached it hooks to a wire tapped into the cold side of the brake light switch.


When the air cylinder pushes the brake pedal the circuit to the brake lights (and LED) is energized. The LED in the coach illuminates to let you know the system is working. It also comes in handy if you make an error attaching the cylinder in the towed vehicle. If it doesn't light when you step on the brakes you know the brakes in the towed vehicle aren't being applied. If something happens that the brakes stay applied after you release the pedal you'll also know.
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Old 10-13-2015, 04:50 PM   #6
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Hikerdogs and Gary gave you excellent information. You do need a brake controller for electric trailer brakes, a wire from the brake light switch won't cut it.
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Old 10-13-2015, 05:00 PM   #7
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The brake pedal switch or brake lights can be used to trigger the electric brake controller, but the actual power to operate the trailer brakes needs a heavier duty source, usually wired direct to the battery or an ignition-switched power lead. The controller will have multiple 12v feeds - one for the brake switch sensing and another for the 12v power that will actually be sent to the trailer brakes. Probably needs a 20A or 30A source (suitably fused). This will all be in the controller install instructions.

Your Tiffin has air brakes, so it does not have the Brakemaster 9060 model that was described earlier in this thread. Instead it sent chassis brake air pressure direct to the slave cylinder ion the toad via a tap into the air brake lines. The red light on the dash is just that.
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Old 10-13-2015, 08:48 PM   #8
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Brake Controller Change Out

On my bus, if I'm remembering correctly the wiring harness is on the passenger or curb side frame rail near the back of the coach.
To find the harness you can follow the wire from the four way plug into the harness at the frame rail. Determine the colors and read the numbers off the wires. FL codes every wire with a number.
You will need to find the same wires under/ in your dash to hook a brake controller for electric brakes. You will also need to wire in a 6 or 7 way receptacle that matches your trailer plug at the rear of the coach.



1997 Tiffin Allegro Bus 37', Cat 3126
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Old 10-13-2015, 11:34 PM   #9
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Thank to all who took the time to provide the necessary information.

I am ok with wiring a Prodigy 2 controller, did one on the last coach, a 1994 Fleetwood Class C. Knowing its just an install and not removal of an unknown system make it a lot easier.

It's always nice to know that if I run into a problem, this website is a great resource.

J R
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