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Old 03-03-2010, 02:04 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Vancouver, BC Canada
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Integrated Trailer Brake Control: FORD

Hello, all. Perhaps some of you can help me figure this out: In April, I'll be towing a new-to-me 2005 F34RLTSS for the very first time, and I have to resolve an anticipated problem ASAP.

My tow vehicle is a 2010 Ford Superduty pickup with the factory installed integrated trailer brake control (ITBC). Although this is a very sophisticated controller when compared to most, the controller is only certified to work with electro-magnetic trailer brake systems. I'm told that electric over hydraulic systems (like my BrakeRite EHB) MAY operate properly, but that I should expect to be plagued with error messages telling me that no trailer is attached when I try to calibrate/manually operate the controller. These error messages are (reportedly) caused when the ITBC can't detect that the electric/hydraulic trailer brake system is on-line (unlike the electro-magnetic system that presents electrical resistance when the ITBC sends and receives a "ping"). In any case, an $80 wire-in adapter module is available from BrakeRite to solve the compatibility problem. Shadetree fixes are available, too, but by the time I gather parts and figure out the wiring, the $80 part makes more sense.

Anyway, has anyone else dealt with this problem? Do I have to install the add-on part for proper brake function or is it true that the brakes will work fine despite error messages being displayed?

Of course, I don't mind spending $80 on the part (even if only to negate harmless error messages), but I'd prefer to have New Horizons do the install when I visit the factory in May. Thanks for your advice! I hope to meet you at the Mountain Home rally.
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Old 03-24-2010, 12:33 PM   #2
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I don't know if this will work or not - I always like to "see" what the brake system is doing. So in our previous (standard brake systems) I have wired a yellow clearence light in sight of the rear view mirror. It glows in relation to the power to the brakes. With the new to us NH with electric over disk, we'll see.
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:35 AM   #3
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UPDATE: Without any modifications/adapter, the Ford integrated trailer brake controller seems to be working well with the electric/hydraulic brakes. I'll provide a further update when I've been on the road some time and after comparing notes with some old salts.
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:39 PM   #4
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Further UPDATE: 9,000 towing miles later, the Ford integrated trailer brake controller seems to be working fine with my electric/hydraulic brakes.
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Old 09-17-2010, 09:36 PM   #5
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Location: Lexington, MA
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We have been towing a 32 and now a 33 ft NH since 2006 with our 2006 Ford Superduty 1 ton pickup with no problems - over 30,000 miles. The only message we ever got was one telling us that the trailer brakes were not attached. Seems the plug was not seated correctly. Replugging it solved the problem and gave us great peace of mind to know that the truck was smart enough to tell us that there was a problem!!
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NW F33-RLSSS VIN #811
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Old 10-31-2010, 07:27 AM   #6
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My most recent experience with the Ford trailer controller is this. I got the message that the trailer was disconnected, so I stopped and attempted the Ed Dooks method of solving the problem (check the plug and re-plug the system). Unfortunately this did not take care of the problem and the message persisted. I cautiously drove the rest of the way home (200 miles on interstate) and took the trailer to Camping World to analyze what was going on. What they ended up finding after thoroughly checking for a problem with the plug and finally tracing each wire from the plug to the brakes is that I had two ground faults in the wires. They replaced the wires and all seems to be well.

It would be my guess that because these wires run under the trailer carriage that they are subject to wear and the influence of weathering. I can tell you that I rest a lot more comfortable knowing that the brakes are working on the trailer, just in case I have to stop suddenly. What I don't know is whether placing this wiring is a customary sort of maintenance issue facing trailers or whether my experience is unique.
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Old 11-01-2010, 01:11 PM   #7
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I don't know if this will assist you, but I recently had a similar problem with my rig, after towing for almost 5 years. Took truck & trailer to Horizons, and they diagnosed the problem as being like yours - and they solved it finally by gluing (or taping) a magnet somewhere over the brake line in the trailer. The brake controller works, they say, by detecting a magnet, and this solved the problem.

Hope this helps you.

Further info: I just looked for a while, and found the magnet - it's BIG - about 4" X 2" oval. Wires running from that down to the brake line and taped there. For further information, call Horizons and talk with Ken Olmar (spelling??) or Dan Miers.
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