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Old 10-05-2017, 02:21 PM   #1
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Adjusting Trailer Brake Controller

I have been ignorantly towing our toad with a Mastertow dolly with no brakes. Took the word of the sales person at the RV place that it's perfectly safe and legal. When will I ever learn.

Now I have the parts on order from eTrailer to install the electric brake system on the dolly and our coach has integrated controller wiring from the dash to the seven pin connection to which I'm going to connect the Prodigy 3 controller we used on our previous travel trailer.

I'm just curious how you adjust the controller settings since I'll not likely feel the dolly brakes much behind a 24,000 lbs. coach. Or will I?
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Old 10-06-2017, 04:53 AM   #2
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oldSarge98-

Thank you for your service!

I can't speak to the adjustment (we tow four-down), but I can say that if a braking system is working and adjusted correctly you should feel it in the seat of your pants. Not a hard yank, but not nothing, either. You should also notice a reduced stopping distance.

As your coach is newer than 2011 you should find the Ford-provided connector for the controller attached to the left side of the steering column, under the dash. You probably bought one, but the correct Tekonsha adapter is this one. Using the adapter makes the installation on the coach end go quickly as it's completely plug-and-play (and preserves the factory connector for the next owner).
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:37 AM   #3
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Thank you for your service!
You are quite welcome, I was proud to serve such a great and wonderful country.
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you should feel it in the seat of your pants. Not a hard yank, but not nothing, either.
I was wondering exactly that, thanks.
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As your coach is newer than 2011 you should find the Ford-provided connector for the controller attached to the left side of the steering column, under the dash. You probably bought one . . .
I haven't yet looked for the connector but I have purchased one for my Chevy Silverado when the first on became defective. If one does not exist I'll purchase one and the holder so I can easily move it back to the truck if ever needed.

Thank you for the response. Have a great RV day!
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:44 AM   #4
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I disagree. With your 36' Class A, you should not feel anything braking a loaded dolly.
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:48 AM   #5
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That's the beauty of surge brakes, they sense the push against the hitch and apply the brakes until they don't.
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Old 10-06-2017, 09:03 AM   #6
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I disagree. With your 36' Class A, you should not feel anything braking a loaded dolly.
So is there a recommended process for adjusting the controller?

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That's the beauty of surge brakes, they sense the push against the hitch and apply the brakes until they don't.
That may be true but with electric brakes and a controller it will adjust the amount of braking not just "apply on surge" and I can actuate it manually if the situation requires. I have full view of the toad in my rear camera giving me a visual warning of potential problems. Neither of which is available with surge braking.
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Old 10-06-2017, 01:56 PM   #7
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I disagree. With your 36' Class A, you should not feel anything braking a loaded dolly.
Yes, I could be incorrect and you correct. Our coach GVWR is 20,500 pounds, so our 2,900 pound toad may represent a higher percentage of gross combined vehicle weight than the toad-and-dolly the OP tows behind his 24,000-pound coach. Also, although our toad has a proportional-controller braking system mounted in it, I may have it adjusted to be more sensitive than it could otherwise be, with the result that I can feel the toad braking from the coach's front seat. It's possible (even likely) that the Tekonsha P3 can be adjusted such that it can be effective without generating a toad braking sensation. We'll see what report the OP makes of his own experience(s).

On a related topic, our toad's braking system generally cuts in over 25 MPH. In stop-and-go traffic at or below that speed, I often get cut off as people "slide into" the prudent amount of space I've left between the coach and the vehicle ahead. I read a tip here on iRV2 that the Ford Tow/Haul mode downshifting could reduce stopping distance in such traffic. My experience confirms this. So, now I can accept the "sliders" with a little less worry that they've made it difficult for me to stop in time.
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Old 10-07-2017, 08:32 AM   #8
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IF you are going to do empty dolly towing then you would need two controller settings if you have electric brakes. More if you have more than one vehicle. I went surge for this reason. Each controller has its own settings so I cannot provide you guidance (P3 in MH and another brand in the F150).
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Old 10-07-2017, 09:11 AM   #9
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If you towing an empty dolly, leave the plug out. Then there will be no voltage to the brakes.
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Old 10-16-2017, 08:22 PM   #10
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the way i was taught and have always setup the brake controller (always a prodigy controller), from my tandem axle 16 and 18' flatbeds with 1 braked axle to my 40' 3 braked axle toy hauler to now the dolly with my wife's vw cc on it is with the tow vehicle in gear and foot on the brake pedal, hold the manual lever at full applied and adjust the gain wheel until you just feel the trailer pulling on the tow vehicle after releasing the brake pedal allowing some forward rolling. you however do not want lock up of the trailer wheels, be just shy of that. on my 5th wheel, it set them a little higher as it was a really heavy rig, with the dolly, i set it a bit lighter. you'll usually feel in the seat of your pants if the brakes are set to high because you won't be using much of your brake pedal. back it down some then, you don't want to smoke the brakes on the towed item.

i make a note of where my controller is set of the different things i tow and when i tow my flatbed or the dolly empty, i wind the gain wheel all the way down so there are no brakes and not locking up any tires. only took 1 lockup and trashing a tire to realize that!
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