Brake Controller - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-03-2008, 01:43 PM   #1
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Trailer: Trillium 13 ft
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Hi all:

We're considering adding electric brakes to our 13-foot Trillium. Naturally, if we did this, we'd need a brake controller. I was wondering if anyone had any favorites based on their experience and, equally important, if there are any brands to avoid. Are there other issues to consider too?

I did a search and came up with some information, but not as much as I would have hoped.

I'm new at all this, so don't hesitate to state the obvious -- it might not be obvious to me.

Thanks in advance,
Gary
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Old 05-03-2008, 02:10 PM   #2
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Trailer: 1991 17 ft Bigfoot / 2005 GMC Sierra
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Hi Gary,

This site may be useful to you:
http://www.etrailer.com/faq_brakecontroller.aspx
We put in a Tekonsha Prodigy proportional brake controller in our 07 Mazda truck, I was wary of the time-delay brake controllers - in my small truck I wanted instant brakes, I was told less wear and tear on my vehicle.
To get the controller and to change my 4pin harness to a 7pin I was charged $500.00 - I live in BC.
I sure more seasoned RVers will have more information for you.
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Old 05-03-2008, 03:54 PM   #3
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Old 05-03-2008, 04:44 PM   #4
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Trailer: 2006 (25B21RB) 21 ft Bigfoot / Dodge 2500 Diesel
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Gary,

I have owned 3 brake controllers, I keep selling them when I sell my vehicle and then buying another. Tekonsha is a good brand and was and still is the brand I use in all of my vehicles. My first controller was Tekonsha's cheapest entry level controller. A bit of a pain to set up (manual leveling) and I didn't care for the led green to yellow to red indication of it working, but none the less worked. I have now upgraded to the second generation of proportional brake controller (their newest) the Tekonsha P3 - TE90195. I really like it.

The Tekonsha Prodigy and the P3 are both proportional brake controllers. They are called proportional brake controllers because they apply power to the trailer brakes in proportion to vehicle's deceleration. The Tekonsha Prodigy has been out for a while and is a very popular controller. Neither model require manual leveling. Avoid the ones requiring manual leveling.

Dean
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Old 05-03-2008, 06:22 PM   #5
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If you are handy, you can get a Prodigy from EBay for less than $100, get the wires, circuit breaker and break-away switch for another $50-75, do the work yourself and have a lot of money left over for beer.
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:45 PM   #6
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... do the work yourself and have a lot of money left over for beer.
I'd suggest with todays volatile economic conditions of rapidly increasing malt and oil prices, it might be wise to allocate the initial portion of those savings to buy enough gas to actually get somewhere to camp, reserving the remaining savings for beer.
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Old 05-05-2008, 05:18 AM   #7
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Prioritize!

Buy your hops and malt first then camp on what's left over.
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Old 05-05-2008, 08:20 PM   #8
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I went through this over the winter with our Scamp 13 and Subaru Outback. Brake installation on the trailer was easy, wiring was easy after I decided how to route the wires and make the connections, hooking up the breakaway battery and switch was straightforward as well. As for the controller, I installed a Prodigy. Probably the hardest part was locating the wire to activate the brakes on the brake light switch. The Subaru has four wires going to that switch in cramped quarters and no simple way to tee in to it. Luckily, I had access to a factory schematic, so I found the magic wire, removed a little insulation and tee'd in with a solder connection (not a believer in the plastic quick-splice connectors). Beyond that, the only challenge was running the brake wire to the back of the car. I was able to get it under the plastic trim along the door sills, so it's pretty much invisible now and well protected. I also installed a power line to the trailer the same way, both wires #10, both connected to circuit breakers at the battery. It was just about a day's work on the car part after getting everything together, so $500 might be fair at today's prices, assuming you get a good job. Personally, I'd do it myself again without a second thought. Good luck!

Parker
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:02 PM   #9
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Gary, thanks for asking the question. Parker, thanks for the insight. I too am in a similar position as Gary; wanting to add brakes to our newly acquired Trillium 13' but being new to the game.

I'm quite handy and my son is very experienced at adding and removing minor and major portions of cars and their components (his fourth project is currently living in the garage - my Subaru Forrester is outside in the elements...). Reading Parker's observations and comments certainly bolsters my confidence.

Dave
(first the foam though...)
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Old 05-06-2008, 06:09 AM   #10
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Gary, thanks for asking the question. Parker, thanks for the insight. I too am in a similar position as Gary; wanting to add brakes to our newly acquired Trillium 13' but being new to the game.

I'm quite handy and my son is very experienced at adding and removing minor and major portions of cars and their components (his fourth project is currently living in the garage - my Subaru Forrester is outside in the elements...). Reading Parker's observations and comments certainly bolsters my confidence.

Dave
(first the foam though...)
Dave,

One key thing I forgot to mention.....our axle already had flanges for the brakes. If that were not the case, an entire axle replacement, with brakes already installed, is the way to go. That's also the way to go if your axle is old and tired.

Parker
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Old 05-06-2008, 04:13 PM   #11
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If anyone has difficulty locating the correct wire for a particular vehicle, call the Tekonsha tech support people. They have all the schematics and know which wires are best (Some obvious Ford wires will interfere with ABS if used).
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