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Old 04-03-2012, 07:50 PM   #1
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How important is the electric brake control

We are about to pick up our 67 Caravel with electric brakes.
Our tow vehicle is a Mitsubishi 4wd LS Montero. Do I need to install an electric brake control unit? I am extremely experienced in towing race cars and boats, so this is not new to me but there is always something to learn.
The Mitz has a 4000# tow rating and it weighs 5200#s
If I must buy a control unit which is the best one for a single axle?
How difficult are they to wire to the car?

Van
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:57 PM   #2
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Can't speak for the US, but here in Canada, it's the law. And for very good reason: safety.

So do everyone a big favour and take a bit of time to get one installed. You'll be glad you did.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:01 PM   #3
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In most places, and possibly by federal law, if you are towing a trailer that grosses more than 2,000 lbs. you are required to have trailer brakes. Most boat trailers for boats of any size have hydraulic "surge" brake systems, but almost all travel trailers have electric brakes (some disc brake systems for trailers are electrically-actuated hydraulic brakes). You absolutely will need some sort of brake controller to run those brakes, and for safety and stopping assurance, especially in anything but flatlands, you'll want the trailer brakes to be doing their job.

Sorry, but I can't give you advice as to controllers - I'm totally ignorant about them, because my tow vehicle has a factory-installed one that reads master cylinder pressure and uses that as an input to the algorithm that supplies current to the trailer brakes .. but lots of folks are sure to chime in with advice about what works for them.

Oh, and welcome to the Forums and to the world of Airstreaming. There's a ton of information here, and lots of help, as you'll soon see!
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:05 PM   #4
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I would talk to the people at E trailer. They are very helpful in choosing the right controller for your needs. They took great care me and my Toyota Tundra and Sovereign.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:18 PM   #5
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CA requires trailer brakes when the trailer is over 1,500 lbs.

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/dl648/dl648pt12.htm

As for wiring...

It isn't very difficult. Some applications are plug in and go. My last one took me about 2 hours to wire up. That includes routing and wrapping wires.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:40 PM   #6
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Van,

Welcome to the forums!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vanster View Post
If I must buy a control unit which is the best one for a single axle?
How difficult are they to wire to the car?
I can't tell you which is the best one for a single axle trailer, but I can tell you that I have installed Tekonsha Prodigy controllers on 3 vehicles and have been happy with them.

On a modern tow vehicle you can probably get a wiring harness that plugs into an existing connector on the vehicle, but if not, wiring is quite simple. You only have to connect 4 wires: 12 Volts, ground, brake light (to tell the controller when you are braking) and the output to the electric brakes. The controller controls the electric brake current according to the vehicle deceleration, adjustable for your particular trailer and brakes. There is also a manual lever for situations where you want to apply the trailer brakes without applying the tow vehicle brakes.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:47 PM   #7
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Ditto on the Prodigy. Our experience with Tekonsha products have been favorable.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin245
Ditto on the Prodigy. Our experience with Tekonsha products have been favorable.
I use the tekonsha with my triple axle. It has always worked well for me. I had my local tire shop wire it up for me. Very clean, professional install and not expensive.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:07 PM   #9
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I would not tow a trailer of that size more than a block or two without operating trailer brakes and a trailer brake controller.

Brian
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:07 PM   #10
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P3 my favorite after market brake controller!
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:22 PM   #11
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Thanks to everyone. The votes are in and I will wire up my truck tomorrow.
Just think, 30 years of hauling a race car on a trailer, never thinking of about brakes on the trailer but spending hours re engineer brakes on a Lotus. (we were much younger)
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Old 04-04-2012, 06:00 AM   #12
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Vanster,
You tube has a bunch of videos up on how to hook up the controller.
That helped me a bunch with my new Chevy.
Regards,
Joe
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Old 04-04-2012, 06:42 AM   #13
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My 98 Dodge had a controller that just had a g force sensor that would trigger the trailer brakes by motion.. My 2012 Ram has it built into the truck brake system and reads pressure.. Both work well if set up right..

I live in the flat lands of Kansas and mostly run my trailer brakes set at #2 with 10 being the highest level.. BUT ANYWHERE in heavy traffic I turn it up to #6 that will almost drag the tires on the trailer if the brakes are applied hard..

One never knows when some fool will pull right in front of you.. !!!!

Don't gamble,, hook up your trailer brakes..

Sodbust
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:16 AM   #14
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The brake controllers now days ( both OEM and aftermarket) are marvels of modern engineering. Amazed the old ones even worked as they did...

Enjoy your brake controller!
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