RV Trip Planning Discussions

Go Back   iRV2 Forums > TRAVEL TRAILER, 5th WHEEL & TRUCK CAMPER FORUMS > Trailer Towing and Tow Vehicles Discussion
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on iRV2
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 09-22-2019, 09:51 AM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 9
Brake controller questions

Brand new trailer owner here. When I bought my trailer, the dealer through in a brake controller since my truck did not come with one. It is a Reese Brakeman Compact ($40ish). At the time I bought my trailer, I didn't really know much about towing, or brake controllers, etc.....

I assume with brake controllers, it's like anything else....you get what you pay for.

Advice? Any reason to upgrade?

Also, while I have watched some YouTube video on brake controller settings and adjustments, I don't seem to have a grasp of "how do I know when it's right". Towing home felt like it wasn't working at all. On our first outing I dialed up the power and it felt better, but was almost at max and my brain seemed to think that was too much. How did you find your sweet spot?

I tow a 4500# fully loaded rv (cat scale weighed) with a 2016 Chevy Colorado gasser. I have run my towing numbers including payload and am below the 15% limit of maximum.

SATBman is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 09-22-2019, 07:28 PM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 56
Originally Posted by SATBman View Post
I assume with brake controllers, it's like anything else....you get what you pay for.

Advice? Any reason to upgrade?
Yes, dial it until it feels right. You do not want the trailer stopping your tow vehicle or trailer pushing you either. Not scientific but I liked about 60% stopping power by the tow vehicle. Does the trailer try to lift your truck backend? More trailer brake. Does the trailer brake lock up in a hard stop? Less trailer brake.

For your lighter weight trailer the lesser brake controller is satisfactory. Higher end controllers have added features, such as brake hold, motion sensor, etc...beneficial with larger trailers.
Shop the features and if you think they would benefit your towing, buy it. They are not expensive for "peace of mind".

DbleDutch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2019, 07:36 PM   #3
Senior Member
tuffr2's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Palm Coast Florida
Posts: 6,490
Agree with the above post.

To reiterate a bit.

I like to also set my factory installed brake controller to about '6'. In testing I squeeze the brake controller with out using the trucks brakes going about 35 mph. I like to feel the trailer brakes slow down the truck by about 20% or a little bit.

There is no science that I know of, just feel.
tuffr2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-25-2019, 10:04 AM   #4
Moderator Emeritus
SmokeyWren's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Midland County, Texas
Posts: 4,119
Originally Posted by SATBman View Post
I don't seem to have a grasp of "how do I know when it's right". ... How did you find your sweet spot?
Trailer all hooked up ready to tow. Deserted dry pavement. 20 MPH. Slam on the brakes as in an emergency stop. If the trailer brakes lock up, the gain setting is too high. If they don't lock up, the setting may not be high enough.

You want the gain setting as high as it will go without the trailer brakes locking up. It will probably take 4 or 5 test stops to dial it in. And you may need to change it depending on the load on the trailer. With my Ford OEM integrated trailer brake controller (ITBC), towing a 7x14' enclosed cargo trailer, I use a gain setting of 5 when the trailer is lightly loaded and 6 when loaded for bear.

But depending on tow vehicle and brake controller, your gain setting will probably different than mine. Way back when, with a different tow vehicle, trailer, and controller, I used a gain setting of 8. So load the trailer and tow vehicle ready for the road, then do the stopping tests to determine your best gain setting.
Grumpy ole man with over 60 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196-S, and my tow vehicle is a 2019 F-150 Lariat 3.5L EcoBoost SuperCab with Max Tow (1,904 pounds payload capacity).
SmokeyWren is offline   Reply With Quote


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Electric brake controller vs. Electric over hydraulic brake controller Appy Trailer Towing and Tow Vehicles Discussion 1 08-23-2017 12:21 PM
Bounder: Location of Brake Controller Plug to install aux controller Heavy-13 Fleetwood Owner's Forum 2 04-30-2015 01:58 PM
Brake Controller with Exhaust Brake? Born2RV Toads and Motorhome Related Towing 9 03-23-2011 06:25 PM
Exhaust Brake and Brake Controller in Motorhome? Born2RV Trailer Towing and Tow Vehicles Discussion 3 03-21-2011 11:17 AM
Brake buddy versus Brake controller? Born2RV Toads and Motorhome Related Towing 14 10-15-2009 08:48 AM

» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:13 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.