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-   -   Brake controller questions (http://www.irv2.com/forums/f45/brake-controller-questions-462477.html)

SATBman 09-22-2019 09:51 AM

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.

DbleDutch 09-22-2019 07:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SATBman (Post 4966976)
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".

tuffr2 09-22-2019 07:36 PM

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.

SmokeyWren 09-25-2019 10:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SATBman (Post 4966976)
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.


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