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Old 09-24-2013, 12:16 AM   #1
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Default fine tune on Brake control while driving?

Hi There,
I am new to TT, and a new owner of 189FDS. I am wondering after the brake control being properly set, do I need to fine tune it for the up hill vs down hill drive? Or city vs highway drive?

Thanks in advance for the advise.
Wei
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Old 09-24-2013, 06:18 AM   #2
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I set mine up per the instructions that came with the brake controller and leave it there.

IF ever additional braking on the trailer is necessary, one can always use the manual override ..... use the lever on the brake controller to apply more braking on the trailer.

Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 09-24-2013, 06:25 AM   #3
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I just test it with manual arm on controller rolling slow then use arm to stop entire vehicle with trailer brakes. Once that is established I'm good to roll. If the arm brake won't stop entire vehicle simply add more amperage on controller or less what ever the case may be. I still use the manual brake at times to ease the strain on the truck brakes. I mounted my controller so I can access it with ease using my left hand.
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Old 09-24-2013, 05:26 PM   #4
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You don't mention what trailer you have or what brake controller you are using, but...

With a medium to smaller trailer and a decent sized tow vehicle, once your system is "calibrated", you can usually leave it alone. Uphill, downhill, freeway or around town, the trailer's brakes will do their job and your tow vehicle, if properly sized, can "take up slack" the few times that maybe you could use some more umph in the braking department. You don't want the tow vehicle doing the lion's share of braking, but, you also don't want the trailer's brakes locking up around town...the manual lever can help with the oddball time you need a bit more brakes, but, most of the time you do fine. No need to make it more complicated if you don't have to. For 80 to 90% of the folks out there, a little trial and error yields a single setting that fits the bill and for the rare instance that you need a tad more, that's what the manual lever is for.

That "one setting" logic goes away when you start talking about big trailers and toy haulers. What setting is good for slowing that load down around town, won't do squat when descending a 5 mile long 7% grade. I tow a 5er that grosses a bit over 11,000 lbs. My truck is another 9,000 lbs+, so, a setting that will slow that 20,000 lbs. down doing 60 mph down a 7% grade will cause the tires to "chirp" when going through town at 35 mph on a flat street. I have a highway setting and an "around town" setting that I use. On my RAM's built-in controller, I use 6 on the freeway and 4 around town. Trial and error will tell you what is best for your rig and no two rigs are the same; tow vehicle brakes (age, type, and condition), type and brand of controller and size of trailer are so variable that there is no real "one size fits all" when it comes down to what you expect from your braking system and what feels most comfortable to you. If you go to a "two setting" process, you'll need to establish some procedure for remembering to change settings when necessary. For me, when on highways, I use the exhaust brake (diesel engine), so, getting on the highway, on goes the exhaust brake and the controller goes to 6. Once off the highway (under 45 mph), off goes the exhaust brake and controller to 4.



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Old 09-24-2013, 08:58 PM   #5
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Many thanks for all your replies. Now I got better ideas.

Mine is:
2014 Fun Finder X 189FDS
2007 Tacoma 4.0L TRD Off road
Tekonsha Voyager 9030 brake controller
e2 Round Bar Hitch
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:35 AM   #6
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One thing you might consider... You have a light trailer and light tow vehicle with some age on it. I am assuming that you no longer have the stock brake pads on the tow vehicle. A lot of us, when changing brake pads on our tow vehicles will tend to think of the "vehicle alone" and buy pads that are most convenient (good braking, less fade, minimal dust) and we buy best quality high end semi-metal (higher metal content) or ceramic pads. If ceramic in particular, those "best" pads have their own braking characteristics in order to obtain those "best" attributes and, while the actual braking may take a little getting used to (usually not a grabby), getting used to them is reasonably painless and quick. Now hook up your trailer; it will have the cheapest, dirtiest brake shoes available to the manufacturer to keep costs down and the "replacement" shoes that you can get aren't much better.

You should be able to find, for your setup, a single setting that will work. The Tekonsha Voyager is an extremely good inertial brake controller, but, if you can't find a single setting, and you are running ceramics on your Tacoma, you might consider "downgrading" your ceramic pads to a "more equal" semi-metal pad or even the stock pads to make the brakes of your tow vehicle more equal to your trailer's brakes for a more consistant feel between the two systems (equal "grab", equal fade, etc). Since your TV and TT are so compatible, and barring an electrical problem in getting current from the TV to the TT, it may be that the braking charecteristics between the two braking systems is causing you some issues (differing grabbiness combined with differing fade rates). On my truck, for instance, I run the MOPAR stock brake pads. They are dirty (what a mess on my wheels after a trip) and they fade, but, I've found that they are a perfect match, performance wise, with the brakes on my trailer. When I had ceramics on the truck (very clean!), the initial application of the brakes felt like the trailer was doing the braking (ceramic's initial grab is less), but, then as the heat built up and the ceramic pads came into their best, it felt like the trailer was pushing the truck (trailer's pads were fading as the ceramics got better at braking). Didn't like the feel, so, I went back to the MOPAR stock pads and now the truck and trailer feel like a single unit...the initial grab is equal, the fade is equal and I don't feel like the truck or the trailer is doing more work than the other. The only issue is the grabbiness at speeds of 35 mph and less and that is a weight issue that only a change to disc brakes on the trailer will cure (that is something I'm considering) since the truck has four wheel disc brakes and the trailer has four wheel drum brakes; you can't mitigate the inherent differences in response between all discs on one vehicle and all drums on the other.

First place to start, though, is to get the Tekonsha's manual back out and make sure that your initial settings are correct for your installation. At 25 mph, using the manual brake application lever, the wheels of the trailer should be just shy of locking up when full power is applied to the brakes of the trailer. If you can't get them to lock up or come pretty close with the adjustments available on the Voyager, then you need to look at the initial adjustment of the trailer's brake shoes...they may not have been adjusted right when assembled (probably not adjusted at all to be honest). It is even possible that you may have loose wire connection or bad ground to the wiring of the brakes themselves, either one wheel or several, if all the brakes are working properly you will have issues for sure. With that new of a trailer, it may even be beneficial to take it to your dealer for a "going over" of the brake system while still under warranty. Have them look at the wiring and have them readjust the brake shoes. That light of a trailer shouldn't require two settings to obtain good braking uphill, downhill, freeway or suburban streets.



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Old 09-25-2013, 08:52 PM   #7
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Thanks Don! I learn a lot from your comments.
Thanks again!
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Old 10-01-2013, 03:41 PM   #8
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Default Brake adjustment

I got tired of constant adjustment between highway and town on my Reese controller. I junked it and installed a Tekonsha.
End of frustration. I should have done this long ago.
Ted
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Old 10-26-2013, 05:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: fine tune on Brake control while driving?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2006wei
Hi There,
I am new to TT, and a new owner of 189FDS. I am wondering after the brake control being properly set, do I need to fine tune it for the up hill vs down hill drive? Or city vs highway drive?

Thanks in advance for the advise.
Wei
I am picking up my 189 FDS on 11/8. What are your thoughts so far. How does the Tacoma handle it. I have a Honda Ridgeline. It will do great towing, but I fear mileage will be brutal.

I agree with others, normally once you set it you are good to go. I have pulled popups up to now with a brake controller.
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