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Old 05-18-2017, 07:10 PM   #1
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Total noob brake controller question

I think I just got in over my head with my new flatbed car hauler (RWD sports car so it must be put on flat bed) that I . I did not realize all I was going to need. Of course, I knew about the hitch, the ball, the tongue weights, the GVTR, and much more. One other important thing I knew to get on the trailer was electric brakes. My 2013 Fleetwood Expedition has the tow package, the wiring and all the usual things needed for towing. However, I was thrown for a loop when picking it up and discussion turned to the brake controller. I went with a friend who drove his truck. The trailer dealer and my friend were talking about the use of it and I realized I had no idea what they were talking about. Now, I'm finding out that that is something I should surely have.

Here's where I need help. I've searched Amazon and see several brake controllers, but how do I know what I need? Also, a lot of them say plug and play, but I see nothing to plug and play, so is this a hard install? When it comes to vehicle electrics and wiring, I do my best to stay away. I know the basics, but it is also just enough information to be dangerous and screw something up. Other thoughts on what I should do?

(Sorry I posted in wrong forum initially)
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Old 05-19-2017, 06:07 AM   #2
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Virtually all of the electric brake controllers do the exact same thing. Some are more adaptive some are just plain functional some have widgets, bells and whistles while others don't. Personally I use a Prodigybrake controller and it works just fine.

As far as wiring goes. All of them wire the same way. There is a 12 volt constant wire, a wire that travels back to the electric brakes on your trailer, a ground wire and a wire that's activated when the brake light switch is energized by stepping on the brake pedal.

It's that simple.
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:41 PM   #3
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You might check with Fleetwood. You might have the wiring described already in your coach with a plug on the end to plug into the brake controller. It could be wired to your hitch plug already.
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Old 05-25-2017, 11:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angelbones View Post
I think I just got in over my head with my new flatbed car hauler (RWD sports car so it must be put on flat bed) that I . I did not realize all I was going to need. Of course, I knew about the hitch, the ball, the tongue weights, the GVTR, and much more. One other important thing I knew to get on the trailer was electric brakes. My 2013 Fleetwood Expedition has the tow package, the wiring and all the usual things needed for towing. However, I was thrown for a loop when picking it up and discussion turned to the brake controller. I went with a friend who drove his truck. The trailer dealer and my friend were talking about the use of it and I realized I had no idea what they were talking about. Now, I'm finding out that that is something I should surely have.

Here's where I need help. I've searched Amazon and see several brake controllers, but how do I know what I need? Also, a lot of them say plug and play, but I see nothing to plug and play, so is this a hard install? When it comes to vehicle electrics and wiring, I do my best to stay away. I know the basics, but it is also just enough information to be dangerous and screw something up. Other thoughts on what I should do?

(Sorry I posted in wrong forum initially)
Check out ETrailer.com. They have a ton of great how to videos. They make a video on installing just about everything they sell.
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Old 05-25-2017, 02:52 PM   #5
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It's always better to spend a little more and get a controller that uses a pendulum to detect deceleration forces and apply the brakes "proportionally". They are the next step up from the time-based brake controllers.
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Old 05-25-2017, 05:30 PM   #6
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angelbones-

You'll find the Tekonsha P3 is popular. Here is a link to it on etrailer.

You will need to find the brake controller connector (if any) under the dash, and make sure its wiring is connected to the correct pin at the rear. If you need some help with either, you may want to call Fleetwood and get the "where do I look?" info from them.

Finally, you'll want to order a cable to connect the controller to the coach brake controller connector. etrailer sells them, too.
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Old 05-26-2017, 06:48 AM   #7
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I went to the RV mechanic yesterday and we were both sure it was pre-wired but it turns out it's not. Now I have to go back next week to get the whole thing wired. Very frustrated and not happy with the expected 4 hours of labor, but when it comes to wiring I have no choice.
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Old 05-26-2017, 08:26 AM   #8
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bones-

Not to dis your RV technician, but I would be surprised if your coach's Freightliner chassis did not come pre-wired for a trailer brake controller.

Here are four links to iRV2 threads related to the topic:

Trailer Brake Controller
Freightliner Brake Controller Harness??
Where is the Brake Light Switch?
Electric Brake Controller on DP?

and here is a link to a Google search of iRV2 posts with the terms "Fleetwood," "Freightliner," "XC" and "brake controller" in them.

Have you called Freightliner with your VIN and asked them?

When you find the plug under the dash (and you should be able to), and if you discover there are no sources for a matching pigtail other than making one yourself (per this post), and you don't have the correct tools, if you are willing to buy the parts I'll assemble the pigtail for you. Call it a "public service."

I like to see people use the "plug-and-play" wiring their manufacturers provided, then hid.
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Old 05-26-2017, 11:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angelbones View Post
I went to the RV mechanic yesterday and we were both sure it was pre-wired but it turns out it's not. Now I have to go back next week to get the whole thing wired. Very frustrated and not happy with the expected 4 hours of labor, but when it comes to wiring I have no choice.
Call Fleetwood Customer Service. They are awesome with help. They can tell you if your coach came with the wiring, which I am willing to bet it did. I had some questions on the 12 volt to the 7 way pin on the rear on my American Coach. They even sent me a wiring diagram.
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Old 05-26-2017, 12:56 PM   #10
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It is almost surely partially wired for a controller, but finding the existing wires for connecting a brake controller is sometimes more trouble than running new ones.

It is probably not pre-wired to the level of "plug & play", i.e. just plug in a connector somewhere.
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Old 05-29-2017, 05:07 AM   #11
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bones-

This iRV2 post has a picture of a pigtail from a 2013 Dutch Star, which I believe uses a similar Freightliner chassis.
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