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Need advice/info on trailer brakes and controllers

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by guido666, Dec 31, 2005.

  1. guido666

    guido666 1/2 ton status

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    I need to get a trailer to tow my rig. And I want to get one with brakes. I understand the brakes are electric on most of them and that you have to get an electronic controller to actuate them.

    Now, I'M NO IDIOT, so I don't need any info telling me stuff like "brakes are what stop the trailer" or other total newbie stuff. What I want to know is how do these electric systems work? Are they proportional or are they just on/off? How do the controllers work? What is required to install them (do they just hook to the brake pedal switch or something)?

    Lastly, if anyone could suggest a decent controller, list why, and give me an idea of how much I'm going to pay, I'd appreciate it. I've just never had the opportunity to see any of this stuff to examine it in person, so I'm going to be buying it blind.:rolleyes:
     
  2. perp

    perp 1/2 ton status

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    I run the Teknosha (sp?) Prodigy controller in both of my trucks and have been real happy with them. costs around $140 iirc, which is more than some others but you do get what you pay for and loose your breaks and you'll think $140 is REAL cheap. they are proportional (inertial/pendulum controled) and you can set the level of power to adjust for different weigh loads. easy to install and easy to use, especially with a never truck as they just plug in under the dash (no cut and splice mess). stay away from the hydraulic ones, a real pain in the ass if they leak fluid in the cab and they are a bitch to plumb in too. BTW, get a trailer with breaks on both axles if it is in your budget, your truck breaks will last forever.

    I haul LOTS of very heavy tile as well as trucks so i am speaking from experience, not just what i have heard
     
  3. perp

    perp 1/2 ton status

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    A picture of the one in my Chevy truck and another of my trailer (behind my other truck)

    truck 076.jpg

    truck 058.jpg
     
  4. guido666

    guido666 1/2 ton status

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    Well I definately don't have a "newer" truck. '79 Blazer will be the tow rig for now. How do they install?
     
  5. perp

    perp 1/2 ton status

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    You have to run a hot wire from the fuse box to the controller, a ground wire from the controller to the truck, a tap wire to your brake light switch from the controller (turns on the brake controller only when you step on brakes, so it doesn't surge when you hit bumps or go down hill), and run a Brake voltage wire from the controller to the trailer connector. If you can install a basic radio, you can do this one in about half an hour. very easy. two screws hold the controller to the dash
     
  6. JpEater

    JpEater 1/2 ton status

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    I agree on the Prodigy controller. Its a lot nicer than any other I have used. I found them on the internet the other day for anywhere from $89 to $105. I have about 12 or 13 reese controllers on my work trucks and hate every one of them. Im slowy switching them out to Prodigy.
     
  7. 6.2puller

    6.2puller 1/2 ton status

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    I agree with all of the above. My only comment to add would be that the brake fluid style controlers are not bad. I have one in my suburban. It was in it when I bought it and works great. I would have never bought one because of the horror stories everyone spreads about brake fluid in your cab. Well seriously how often do you thing a brake line inside the cab that can not be damaged by rocks etc is going to burst? Use new lines and a good rubber grommet where it goes through the firewall and you have a setup that will last longer than most trucks ever will. I don't think the brake fluid type is better or worse as far as performance than my prodigy in the 1ton. Mine is a K&H.

    I will agree that of the 4 controlers I have used over the years the protigy is the best electricaly controled unit. My C10 has a no name 20+ year old controler and it is not as responsive to load settings. It is very hard to set it for a light or empty trailer. It either wants to be on full bore or off. Kind of jumps you when you have been hauling an empty trailer for an hour+ on the freeway and then hit the brakes and the trailer locks up and screetches.
     
  8. 6.2puller

    6.2puller 1/2 ton status

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    Here is a basic wire diagram for an electric unit

    trailerbrakes.jpg
     

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