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Old 04-18-2016, 09:00 AM   #1
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F350 built in brake controller, seems weak

Hi guys,

I've been towing with my 2012 F350 for 3 years or so now. I've always felt the trailer brakes were pretty weak. I have been searching for a while this morning but can't find any info here on whether there is a way to increase the signal from the controller to the trailer brakes. While driving I can pinch the manual brake levers all the way and it tugs a little but not a lot. When stopping on a hill I have to apply quite a bit of brakes to get it to stop well. It seems there should be more contribution from the trailer. I have the controller set to full at 10 and I have properly adjusted the brakes on the trailer twice a year. I have yet to pull the drums to check for contamination. I'll be doing that next but I'm afraid the controller isn't sending enough of a signal to the trailer.

Is this a common problem? Are there ways to increase the signal if that is indeed the issue?

Thanks,
Darren
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Old 04-18-2016, 03:04 PM   #2
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The Ford controller gives little assist under 10 MPH. This is to reduce jerking.

Of course, check the brakes. The silly grease fittings on the end of the axle often cause grease to get on the brakes. I don't use them.

Some information on brake magnet testing here: Testing Trailer Brake Magnets for Proper Function | etrailer.com
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Old 04-18-2016, 03:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lynnmor View Post
The Ford controller gives little assist under 10 MPH. This is to reduce jerking.

Of course, check the brakes. The silly grease fittings on the end of the axle often cause grease to get on the brakes. I don't use them.

Some information on brake magnet testing here: Testing Trailer Brake Magnets for Proper Function | etrailer.com
Thanks for the info. Even at 40 mph when applying heavy brakes it doesn't seem like the trailer is braking much. I don't have much to compare it to though. I'll check for contaminates like grease on the pads and check the magnets.
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Old 04-18-2016, 03:31 PM   #4
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My 2015 F350 is set on 4 and seems to work great
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Old 04-18-2016, 03:51 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by snickers104 View Post
My 2015 F350 is set on 4 and seems to work great
How much does your trailer weigh? Curious so I can compare. Mine is 8,000 pounds loaded.
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Old 04-18-2016, 04:00 PM   #6
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11500 fully loaded....we run about 10500
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Old 04-18-2016, 05:05 PM   #7
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Ford service manager told me they do run a little under voltage compared to aftermarket and said aftermarket is better. If you have any wear or any type of voltage drop you will notice it on the ford.
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Old 04-18-2016, 05:30 PM   #8
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11500 fully loaded....we run about 10500
Ok, so there is definitely something wrong with my setup. I'll dig in.
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Old 04-18-2016, 05:31 PM   #9
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Ford service manager told me they do run a little under voltage compared to aftermarket and said aftermarket is better. If you have any wear or any type of voltage drop you will notice it on the ford.
Good to know. I'd hope I would have decent brakes set at 10 though but not the case. Maybe I'll get lucky and find grease all over the shoes. We'll see.
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Old 04-18-2016, 06:39 PM   #10
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Could also measure the current at each wheel. My 3500 seemed weak too so I checked the brake mechanicals then verified the current. I believe mine were supposed to be around 3 amps each. They were just under that when measured at each wheel.

Eventually I replaced the entire brake assembly on each wheel and saw no difference. My rig weighs 9400lbs on a scale. The tekonsha prodigy p2 manual says it should lockup the wheels at 25 mph.

I tried that test once and my sticks and alum skin trailer made a hellacious noise but didnt skid. That was good enough for me.

Let us know what you find
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Old 04-18-2016, 07:01 PM   #11
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Could also measure the current at each wheel. My 3500 seemed weak too so I checked the brake mechanicals then verified the current. I believe mine were supposed to be around 3 amps each. They were just under that when measured at each wheel.

Eventually I replaced the entire brake assembly on each wheel and saw no difference. My rig weighs 9400lbs on a scale. The tekonsha prodigy p2 manual says it should lockup the wheels at 25 mph.

I tried that test once and my sticks and alum skin trailer made a hellacious noise but didnt skid. That was good enough for me.

Let us know what you find
Yeah, there is no way it will lock up the brakes at any speed. I've even pegged the manual override while driving 25mph and it gave a little tug but not much.
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Old 04-18-2016, 07:21 PM   #12
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First thing to do, is get set up to tow then pull the e-brake pin and try to tow it. If the trailer moves, there is something wrong with the trailer brakes. The e-brake throws full amps of the battery(s) at the trailer. Just don't leave the pin out too long.
Once you do this, you will know if the problem is the trailer or the IBC.

You can also place VA meter in line with the e-brake line--the amps should be near 12 amps for 4 wheels--another check to see if magnets are taking full power.
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Old 04-18-2016, 07:46 PM   #13
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The Ford controller works just fine, that service manager is probably the one that specified 15 quarts of oil in my 13 quart engine.

Many trailers cannot brake hard enough to slide the tires on pavement. New brake shoes take a long time to seat and work correctly, much longer than the good asbestos linings used in the past. The correct setting will have the trailer not pushing or holding back the truck, it should be "invisible."

Just so you know, the setting is not directly related to the trailer weight. With all the different brake sizes, magnet strengths and friction materials, there is no way to compare your setting to another rig unless it is exactly the same as yours. For example, my travel trailer is set to 6.5 and my snowmobile trailer with the tiny 7" brakes, requires 8.0.

One more thing, the wire size used on most trailers for the brakes is small and creates too much voltage drop. If everything checks out, consider replacing the wire if more braking is desired.
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Old 04-18-2016, 08:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digz View Post
Ford service manager told me they do run a little under voltage compared to aftermarket and said aftermarket is better. If you have any wear or any type of voltage drop you will notice it on the ford.

nope nope nope
he is wrong.
They put out tons of amps.

there is a plug in device they can attach to your 7 pin outlet to check the whole shooting match.
if you squeeze the manual full brake and only get a a soft pull back...you have issues agreed
triple the thought to pull the emergency pull and see if the trailer moves.

i bet the wires to your brakes are using the Scotch locks or similar device to mechanically connect the trailer brake wiring to the axle brakes wiring.
if so , open them up and check the connections, bet its marginal at best and needs to be connected better.
check your trailer plug and see if the wires are corroded

you have great advice, and 90% bet is the trailer side.
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