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Old 05-11-2012, 08:13 PM   #1
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Brake controller for dolly

I just bought a new Stehl dolly with electric brakes to pull behind the MH. Now I will need a controller. The place I bought it was trying to sell me a time-delay, but I thought a proportional would be better. The guy said the proportional was too hard to set up and not needed, the time delay was plenty. I would appreciate thoughts and experiences for various brands and types of controller from you folks.
ALSO: this dolly has a battery system for the break-away system, do I need a 12-volt line to keep that charged, or will it pick up power from the controller or something?
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Old 05-12-2012, 03:45 AM   #2
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chuck,
i use a dexter proportional controller with my stehl dolly. it works fine.
check the wheel alignment on your stehl dolly.
i didn't use my new dolly for 18 months after i bought it. it wore 2 tires out in the first 600 miles on our first trip.
come to find out that it had 3/4'' tow in.
stehl would not talk to me or the 2 truck alignment shops that i took it to for alignment. both shops said that it was probably misaligned from the factory, that hitting potholes, curbs and so on would result in toe out.
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Old 05-12-2012, 04:07 AM   #3
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Your 2 posts remind me of why I bought a simple, all welded dolly with
surge brakes. (that does exactly the same thing as yours)
Your dollies are too expensive and complicated. IMHO......

.
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:33 PM   #4
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Dan L -- thank you for the head's up. I want to check further, but when I did a quick measurement this evening, it looks to me like I have about a 1/2" toe OUT, with the front measuremtnt 1/2" wider than the rear measurement. But that is without the dolly attched to the MH, and no load on it. Would that have made a difference in your experience with the toe-in problem?
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Old 05-13-2012, 01:13 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckinKC View Post
Dan L -- thank you for the head's up. I want to check further, but when I did a quick measurement this evening, it looks to me like I have about a 1/2" toe OUT, with the front measuremtnt 1/2" wider than the rear measurement. But that is without the dolly attched to the MH, and no load on it. Would that have made a difference in your experience with the toe-in problem?
there is no suspension on the dolly so weight does not effect the toe.
the camber is effected somewhat by weight. you want a small amount of negative camber unloaded.
thats way too much toe out. 1/16'' toe in is about right. it will eat up tires at $100+ each. 6 ply trailer tires are expensive and not easy to find. .
imho your dolly has either been damaged by hitting pot holes, curbs, etc. or it was defective from the factory. it probably came that way from the factory. mine did.
good luck in dealing with the stehl factory. 866-831-2519.
they would not talk to me or either of the truck alignment shops.
if you cannot return it to the dealer, the alignment needs to be adjusted.
a truck alignment shop in san jose, ca. had to heat my box axle in order to get it right. the wiring in the box axle was overheated and had to be replaced. another truck alignment shop in reno could not bend it enough cold. it ate another set of tires between reno and san jose.
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckinKC View Post
I just bought a new Stehl dolly with electric brakes to pull behind the MH. Now I will need a controller. The place I bought it was trying to sell me a time-delay, but I thought a proportional would be better. The guy said the proportional was too hard to set up and not needed, the time delay was plenty. I would appreciate thoughts and experiences for various brands and types of controller from you folks.
ALSO: this dolly has a battery system for the break-away system, do I need a 12-volt line to keep that charged, or will it pick up power from the controller or something?
We have a different brand dolly (Roadmaster) but I believe the proportional controller is the only way to go. We have a Tekonsha Prodigy proportional controller and it takes less than 30 seconds to "set it up" for the load being towed.

A proportional controller uses an inertia sensor in conjunction with the brake light signal to determine when and how much power to send to the trailer/dolly brakes. The controller can be set for a maximum voltage so the brakes don't lock.

A timed controller applies the brakes at a preset rate after a preset time delay. That means the brakes are applied at the same rate whether you are traveling at 5 mph or 55 mph. It doesn't care if you are going up or down hill they are always applied at the same rate.

The official method to get the maximum braking on a prpoprtional controller is to turn the dial to increase voltage to the brakes until the brakes lock on a panic stop then back off until they no longer lockup. In reality all you have to do is allow enough current to the brakes to effectively stop the load. When we have the car on the dolly we generally set the maximum voltage to 6 volts. This takes all of 5 seconds. When the dolly is empty we turn the controller to the minimum or off. Once you learn how much voltage it takes to effectivly stop your loaded dolly you can always set it to that point before starting out.

We switch our controller between the motorhome and our Ford truck. It takes less than 2 minutes to do the transfer. When using it on the truck we pull a 4 wheel trailer with a 10,000 lb capacity. We set the voltage around 3 volts when the trailer (2,100 lbs) is empty. With a 5,000 to 6,000 load we set it to 6-8 volts.

I've used several controllers over the years pulling an assortment of 2 and 4 wheel trailers and car dollies. I would never go back to a time delay controller.
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Old 05-14-2012, 05:59 PM   #7
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Maximum voltage would lock the brakes, would it not?
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Old 05-15-2012, 12:46 PM   #8
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Maximum voltage would lock the brakes, would it not?
It depends on the size and weight of the trailer. The controller can handle up to a 4 axle trailer. That means it could weigh almost 30,000 lbs. While you couldn't pull it with most motorhomes it could be towed with a Super C or other similar vehicles.

For all practical purposes maximum voltage would lock up the brakes on any trailer that could be towed by a gas powered motorhome and most diesel pushers.
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:27 PM   #9
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Got it. I have Prodigy 2 and use it with my Roadmaster tow dolly. Works good while towing Corolla set on 5.0, otherwise I get some lock-up.
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