Trailer brakes

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Trailer brakes

Postby citylights » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:03 pm

I built my 1600# teardrop trailer to tow with my Toyota FJ, so I didn't worry much about trailer brakes with such a large, well braking tow vehicle.

Well my 4WD FJ gets 15 mpg, while my Subaru cross trek gets 28 mpg. I was thinking for long pavement camping trips, where I do not plan to go offroad, I might tow with my cross trek.

I have a dexter 3500lb axle that came with brake mourning plates. What do you recommend for adding a brake system? Do I need a brake controller?

I found these. Good or not?

http://www.amazon.com/Trailer-Electric-Brake-Assembly-right/dp/B0098M5LUK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430434587&sr=8-1&keywords=Electric+trailer+brake

http://www.amazon.com/5-hole-Bolt-Circle-Brake-Axles/dp/B001IN5KUI/ref=pd_bxgy_auto_img_y
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby asianflava » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:13 pm

A brake controller makes a huge difference. Get a Tekonsha, I have the P5 which is accelerometer based. The harder you have to stop, the more it applies brakes to the trailer. It's not an on/off switch.
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby Padilen » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:16 pm

My CT has trailer brakes I towed it home 40 miles without a brake controller. I thought why do I need one? Well they are suppose to apply the trailer brakes similar to how you push on the brake pedal. So trailer brakes shouldn't instantly lock when you apply brakes. So I bought and yet to install a POD brake controller.
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby KCStudly » Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:14 pm

citylights wrote:Do I need a brake controller?


Is there any other practical way to apply electric brakes? :thinking: A breakaway kit by itself, maybe, but then you are not reaping the benefits of having brakes unless something goes way wrong.

Am I missing something here?

Start by checking your TV. Many newer trucks have tow packages that include brake controllers or are pre-wired/fit for easy installation of same.
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby citylights » Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:46 pm

KCStudly wrote:
citylights wrote:Do I need a brake controller?


Is there any other practical way to apply electric brakes? :thinking: A breakaway kit by itself, maybe, but then you are not reaping the benefits of having brakes unless something goes way wrong.

Am I missing something here?

Start by checking your TV. Many newer trucks have tow packages that include brake controllers or are pre-wired/fit for easy installation of same.


Wire the electric brakes to the tail lights and adjust them so that they don't lock the tires up when activated. You get braking assist by the trailer.
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby KCStudly » Fri May 01, 2015 6:58 am

Ah. My Ford Escape would probably freak out if I tried that. The way they have integrated the electrical system these days the brake light circuit can't even fire an extra light bulb let alone provide enough juice to apply trailer brakes. Had to add one of those trailer light relay modules, and that failed after just one towing season.

I have just recently been reminded by Sheddie and will pass it along to you, "do it right, do it once", add a brake controller. :thumbsup:
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby Padilen » Fri May 01, 2015 7:59 am

KCStudly wrote:Ah. My Ford Escape would probably freak out if I tried that. The way they have integrated the electrical system these days the brake light circuit can't even fire an extra light bulb let alone provide enough juice to apply trailer brakes. Had to add one of those trailer light relay modules, and that failed after just one towing season.

I have just recently been reminded by Sheddie and will pass it along to you, "do it right, do it once", add a brake controller. :thumbsup:

Yep- the new "electronic brains" hate it when you try to customize!
I wonder if this kind of thing lead the manufactures ( at least Dodge)to add the tow wiring harness to trucks. But to get the hitch you still have to buy the tow package.
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby Dale M. » Fri May 01, 2015 8:28 am

citylights wrote:
KCStudly wrote:
citylights wrote:Do I need a brake controller?


Is there any other practical way to apply electric brakes? :thinking: A breakaway kit by itself, maybe, but then you are not reaping the benefits of having brakes unless something goes way wrong.

Am I missing something here?

Start by checking your TV. Many newer trucks have tow packages that include brake controllers or are pre-wired/fit for easy installation of same.


Wire the electric brakes to the tail lights and adjust them so that they don't lock the tires up when activated. You get braking assist by the trailer.


Aaaaah...Simply, NO......... Electric brakes need proportional controller, by hooking the up to brake lights they will either be fully engaged or not..... So if you d it this way, you will probably lockup trailer brakes every time you even touch brakes....

If this scheme worked everybody would do it, and there would be no need to for companies selling proportional brake controllers.....

Brake away kit is not a controller, its independent, its there so if you lose connection between TV and trailer (hitch failure) it locks trailer brakes engaged and has to hold trailer immobile at least 15 minutes (time is specified in Calif DMV codes, you state may vary) ....

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby Rocky5000100 » Fri May 01, 2015 8:46 am

asianflava wrote:A brake controller makes a huge difference. Get a Tekonsha, I have the P5 which is accelerometer based. The harder you have to stop, the more it applies brakes to the trailer. It's not an on/off switch.


You mean P2 or P3? I don't think the P5 exists :wink:

I just installed a P2 and it's great.
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby SteveE » Fri May 01, 2015 9:49 am

Rocky5000100 wrote:
asianflava wrote:A brake controller makes a huge difference. Get a Tekonsha, I have the P5 which is accelerometer based. The harder you have to stop, the more it applies brakes to the trailer. It's not an on/off switch.


You mean P2 or P3? I don't think the P5 exists :wink:

I just installed a P2 and it's great.



I second the p2.
I have used it for years and by far the best controller out there.
Very smooth trailer braking.

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby citylights » Fri May 01, 2015 2:26 pm

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby Padilen » Fri May 01, 2015 5:25 pm

I bought this one.
Tekonsha 80500 Pod Electric Brake Control https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004I9XYIE/re ... qvb13K5W8B
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004I9XYIE/re ... qvb13K5W8B
I also have the old style unused in its box from 20 years ago.
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby twinight » Fri May 01, 2015 5:44 pm

I'm using the Reese version of the non proportional time-delay brake activator.
http://www.amazon.com/Reese-Towpower-74643-Brakeman-Digital/dp/B000KKLLX0/ref=pd_sbs_auto_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1TQG6ZD3QXWTHD6AX2QZ
It does the job, but if you set it for effective braking at speed, you might get some lockup at very slow speeds (stop lights)
Set it up for slow speeds and you don't feel it working at high speeds. It's a compromise, but it does the job when the goal is safety.
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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby catinmoon » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:32 am

hi, can we go back to "trailer brakes 101" for someone who doesn't really understand how they work? I am confused as to where the trailer brakes go, and what the different types (not brands, but approaches to brakes) are and the advantages/disadvantages. This thread has lots of good information, but I'm needing some baseline information so I can better understand the discussion. I am wondering how to figure out if I can add brakes for those long downhill grades in the west. thanks for any info, or send me to another thread if it's out there.

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Re: Trailer brakes

Postby Dale M. » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:54 am

This site has a lot of information put together that will introduce you to and give youy better understanding of trailer brakes...

https://www.curtmfg.com/trailer-brakes-controllers

Essentially to put brakes on trailer you will have to have a axle that has a flange that brake backing plates bolt to and next item is brake drums/hubs that work with backing plate assembly... If your axle does not have flanges you can either replace axle or possibly have flanges added to axle...

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Flanges are available to add, but real question is whether axle can accept flanges and brake assemblies....

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