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Old 04-07-2013, 10:15 AM   #15
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My fathers truck had that but my 2005 Excursion doesn't.

Glad to hear it works.

Joe
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:04 PM   #16
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Going to check out that Max Brake.
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:53 AM   #17
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1. Keep RPM's up as Max performance for a gas engine is at 3000RPM. it will give Max cooling and efficiency.
2. There is 3 types of brake controllers. One works of enercia and truck needs to slow down to operate properly. Its best in most braking situations but lack efficiency in hills. The timed brake controllers work well in the hills and on small trailers and with small delay are very effective. I used both types and i knew the difference. Still use the proportional unit type and it serves me well. The 3rd type as described above would operate like both types and be the best.
But braking will disappear in long downgrades using the brakes anyway and engine braking is a must and keep brakes as emergency only. So downshift and let the engine Rev up. The downhill RPM's should be the same as uphill one's.
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:29 AM   #18
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Mine is a Draw Tite Activator. Hitch Dealer put that in when I bought last hitch. Not sure how good it is or not.
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:50 AM   #19
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Mine is a Draw Tite Activator. Hitch Dealer put that in when I bought last hitch. Not sure how good it is or not.
I towed an 8,000-pound 5er over 100,000 miles over 10 years with a DrawTite Activator II trailer brake controller. It's a simple inexpensive time-delay controller that works fine after you learn to live with the adjustable time delay.

After I sold the tow vehicle in the fall of 2010, I wound up with my deceased brother's 2003 F-150 with 4.6L 2V engine, and had to tow a 7,000 pound cargo trailer from Midland to Phoenix. So I added a tranny cooler and Activator II brake controller and made the trip. Brake controller worked fine, but the 4.6L 2V engine with 3.55 axle wasn't enough tow vehicle for that trailer. So I ordered the 2012 F-150 EcoBoost with a lot more power for dragging that trailer

So now I use the built-in Ford integrated trailer brake controller (ITBC) in my F-150, and it's a lot better than the Activator II. But there's nothing wrong with the Acitvator II if you know how to drive a tow vehicle.
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:58 AM   #20
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The problem I had with time-based controllers is that, if you set them to give optimum braking in low-speed stop-and-go traffic, you have insufficient trailer braking at high speeds. Conversely, if set up for the highway, the trailer brakes want to jerk and lock up in low speed stop-and-go conditions. In the hierarchy of effectiveness and ease of use, I'd rank controller types as (with 3 being best):

1. Time-based
2. Inertial (accelerometer or pendulum)
3. Brake sensing such as MaxBrake or the out-of-production Jordan Optima 2020

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Old 04-11-2013, 10:46 AM   #21
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The problem I had with time-based controllers is that, if you set them to give optimum braking in low-speed stop-and-go traffic, you have insufficient trailer braking at high speeds. Conversely, if set up for the highway, the trailer brakes want to jerk and lock up in low speed stop-and-go conditions. ...Rusty
Awww, Rusty! Do you have problems walking and chewing gum a the same time?

The Activator II has two knobs right in front of you. One knob is to adjust the braking power. That one you set for the weight of your trailer, and forget until you change trailer weight. If your trailer brakes are locking up under any condition, you don't have that knob adjusted correctly. Adjust it so the brakes power on and pull on the trailer, but not enough power to lock up the trailer brakes with that weight of trailer. So with the same RV trailer, you rarely need to mess with that knob after you get it adjusted.

The other knob adjusts the time delay. It's a simple matter to adjust that knob on the fly for the current conditions. However, with the power knob set correctly, I never needed to adjust the time delay knob. The trailer brakes worked fine whether at 62 MPH on the interstate or stop-and-go city traffic in downtown Dallas.
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Old 04-11-2013, 10:48 AM   #22
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I'm not talking about the Activator II - I'm talking about the time-based controllers I used in the past with the delay (i.e., time required to ramp from no braking to maximum braking) and gain (maximum output) adjustments - the gain would require adjustment to set maximum braking level for the highway versus city conditions. I haven't had a time-based controller since the late 1990s, and wouldn't have one on a bet. I'd rather have surge brakes.

Put simply, the problem with a time delay controller is, for a given setting, it delivers the same amperage to the trailer brakes for a full-bore, OMIGOD, highway stop as it does for a gentle stop at a stop sign. Not enough for one; too much for the other. It has no way to sense the driver-demanded rate of deceleration. It just senses that the brake lights are on.

And, no, I've towed trailers for awhile. I don't think coordination has anything to do with what I described.

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Old 04-11-2013, 10:55 AM   #23
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Now I'm curious, if using the integrated or maxbrake controller, will that render ABS type braking to the trailer in an emergency stopping situation if the tow vehicle system is engaged?

Joe
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Old 04-11-2013, 11:01 AM   #24
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Now I'm curious, if using the integrated or maxbrake controller, will that render ABS type braking to the trailer in an emergency stopping situation if the tow vehicle system is engaged?
No, the MaxBrake ties in at the master cylinder, upstream from the ABS cycling valves and pump.

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Old 04-11-2013, 08:21 PM   #25
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Well I am the first to admit, I have no idea which controller to get. Each time I got a new rig, hitch or truck, our local dealer sold me a controller based on "their" decision of what would work good.

I know my old one had an adjustable knob, this newer one just has a sliding tab on it but I do not think there is an adjustment I can make.

As I was at a few dealers and talking hitches with them some farm the work out to a local pro shop that all they do is hitches. That is who put in my last one so I presumed it was a good one.

Now, you guys all have me thinking I should get this Max Brake. I want something simple, easy, dependable. You know, set it and forget it type of thing. Last thing I need is a 18k lb unit giving me problems with braking.
BTW GREAT INFORMATION!! Thanks!! Jim

Side Note, I just went to their web site of our local dealer
coucilhitch.com Seems the only controllers they carry are the one I have now and the Prodogy P2 and Prodogy P3 controllers.
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:22 PM   #26
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Well, after a lengthy discussion with the folks at Council Hitch, I ended up buying the Draw-Tite activator lll
Proprotional vs Time Delay. Pro's & Con's Guys at CH gave me the 5 minute talk on the variations and basically recommended I go with this Draw Tite activator lll.
This company is this areas leader in hitches with strong reputation. I hope I like it as much as they tell me I will..
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:03 AM   #27
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Well, after a lengthy discussion with the folks at Council Hitch, I ended up buying the Draw-Tite activator lll ...
I suspect you'll like it just fine after you learn to adjust it. It has three adjustments that Draw-Tite calls output, sync, and manual.

Output is how much juice goes to the brakes = how hard the brakes are applied. You'll need to adjust output based on the weight of the trailer - and road conditions such as wet and slick road surface vs. dry and sticky road surface. Mine was usually set on 4 for dragging an 8,000 pound 5er on dry pavement. If the trailer brakes ever lock up, you need to reduce the juice one or two numbers.

Sync is how fast the trailer brakes respond when you touch the brake pedal. That's almost a set it and forget it adjustment. I had mine set so there was only a fraction of a second delay from the time the brake light came on until the trailer brakes were applied. Set it to suit yourself, not anyone else.

Manual is a slider lever that allows you to work the trailer brakes without stepping on the brake pedal. In over 10 years of towing with an Activator II, I don't remember ever using that manual control - other than to be sure it worked.

On most trips with a loaded trailer, you won't need to adjust the brake controller. But if a sudden rain shower turns the dry pavement into a thin layer of slicky goo, you may need to drastically reduce the output to prevent the trailer brakes from locking up when you apply the brakes.

And if you tow a utility trailer somewhere empty and return with a heavy load, or vice versa, then you'll need to reset the output because of the difference in weight of the trailer. In a short time, you'll learn the output you need for various trailers and their loads. But at first, read and apply the instructions in the Activator III User's Manual.

Enjoy!
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