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Old 07-21-2012, 09:45 PM   #1
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Question Brake Controller

I have a 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 w/tow package. Gonna be pullin' a 24' 6,000 lbs. TT. The truck is set-up for the installation of a brake controller. Do I need one? Is anyone out there not using one.

Opinions welcome...


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Old 07-21-2012, 10:08 PM   #2
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I would not even THINK about not having the trailer doing its own stopping, despite having a smaller trailer and a larger truck.

This would include the break-away braking feature in case of hitch failure.

You also lessen the chances of jack-knifing in the case of a panic stop situation.

Since you have the tow package, you have the truck pre-wired for the brakes. All you need is a controller, the truck-appropriate "pigtail" wiring harness, and possibly a relay or two and a fuse or two.

Given the GVW of the trailer and your state, I suspect brakes are a legal requirement for you, and you don't even wanna' THINK about what your insurance company will do (or possibly worse, WON'T do) if you don't enable a safety feature that you could have and didn't.

Don't leave home without it.


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Old 07-21-2012, 10:12 PM   #3
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I just did a search on this forum for more info. I think I'm gonna get the MAX Brake system. Looks great and the reviews here have agreed; it's a very good brake control system.


((I should've searched before I posted ))
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Old 07-22-2012, 05:42 AM   #4
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I got the MAX brake controller and love it... I wouldn't use anything else ever again
It is a bit pricey but worth it !!!
Voltage 3200 T.H. tugged by an 04 F250 CrewCab 6.0 4x4 "Bone stock motor" bilstein's w/air lift , Max Brake controller... yep its heavy... I just take my time
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:33 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jpriest View Post
I have a 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 w/tow package. Gonna be pullin' a 24' 6,000 lbs. TT. The truck is set-up for the installation of a brake controller. Do I need one? Is anyone out there not using one.
Most states require brakes on any trailer with a GVWR of about 2000 pounds or more. And of course the brakes have to work. The brakes won't work without a brake controller.

Bruce Wittmeier, my buddy from TheDieselStop.com, maintains a web page about brake controllers. BrakeControllerSelection

The MaxBrake you like is a very good one. It sounds similar to the OEM intregated brake controllers now availlable as an option on new pickups.
MaxBrake™ - Hydraulic over Electric Variable Brake Controller

I towed my 8,000-pound 5er all over the lower 48 states for 11 years and about 100,000 miles using an inexpensive Drawtite Activator II. That type is poo pooed by many, but it worked fine for me. Later I installed an Activator III in a 2009 Honda Odyssey to tow my cargo trailer. That one worked fine too. Now I have a 2012 F-150 with the optional Ford integrated brake control system (IBCS), which is wonderful with my 5,000-pound TT. Around Memorial Day weekend we towed that TT on a 4,000 mile odyssey to Tennesee, Ontario, and Michigan, then home. If the MaxBrake is that good, then you'll love it.

If Dodge offered an IBCS as an option in 2008, you might see if that one can be added to your truck. If it can, it will probably be almost as good as my Ford IBCS. But a quick check using Bing indicates it was probably not available from MOPAR until 2010 model year.
Grumpy ole man with over 50 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196S, and my tow vehicle is a 2012 F-150 EcoBoost SuperCrew.
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Old 07-22-2012, 09:26 AM   #6
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Thanks, Smokey! Always appreciate your input!
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Old 07-22-2012, 04:38 PM   #7
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We too love our Max Brake. Had the Jordan Ultima for 8 years and at the time it was the best controller out there. When he retired we decided on the Max Brake after much research. Best move we made. Updated software and flawless stopping for us and we pull a 38' triple slide Carriage.
That aside, while I still think max Brake is the way to go, just don't go anywhere without a controller! Hugs, Di
2015 1 ton auto single cab 2 wheel drive 3500 Ram Dually. Western Pearl Brown, 410 Aisin Trans, Pace Eds roll top cover. 1996/2015 3axle Carriage, BF Auto Level, TST Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Plug It Right Stabilizers.
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Old 07-22-2012, 04:42 PM   #8
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Using a Max Brake in our 2002 Ford diesel and the unit works far superior to any of the inertia based cheaper units.

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Old 07-22-2012, 06:08 PM   #9
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There are two answers to this and they are both the same (Well 3 but one is stupid)

Laws vary from state to state however at 6,000 pounds all 51 (yes 51) states require the trailer have brakes, no exceptions (the 51st is Washington DC, Technically not a state (Well the state of confusion perhaps, but I'm counting it as one for this discussion).

The other is civil liability laws, These vary from LA to The other 59 but again they too reqiure you have brakes on the trailer, to not have them is reckless and reckless is a half million hit in at least one case I know of (and there was not even contact between vehicles) so imagine if you rear end me.

The stupid answer is No If you don't mind fines, costs, civil liability, killing people (possibly) reining the brakes on the tow vehicle. and so on, as I said, the stupid answer

By the way, Texas, is, I think the most "Generous" state when it comes to how much you can tow w/o brakes legally, and that's only 4,000 pounds.

I might add for others, If you drive a motor home and pull a car,, Trailer laws apply to the car unless the state SPECIFICALLY has laws for cars in tow.

Michigan for example,, Defines a TRAILER as any vehicle WITH OR WITHOUT motive power towed in such a way the wehght does not rest on the towing vehicle,

A car on a tow truck, is carried by the tow truck

A car on a dolly, is carried by the dolly

A car on a trailer is carried by a trailer

A car towed 4 down, By this defination *IS* a trailer.

And thus needs brakes.

Home is where I park it!
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