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Old 07-26-2013, 02:29 PM   #1
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Question Initial brake controller gain setting

Patience with a novice please. No towing experience. Just bought a new Ford f150. Will be getting my AS Flying Cloud 25FB in a week. My Ford manual suggests starting out with a break control gain setting of 6. Any advice on this?
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:45 PM   #2
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Take the vehicle slowly out to a straight country road using setting 6 from Ford. Then back it down to 3 and run up to 15 to 20 mph and push on the trailer brake hand control and see if you feel the trailer brakes. The idea is to get close to the wheel lockup point on the empty trailer. Keep increasing the number and trying again. If you hear the tires skid. Go down a half or a full number.

When the trailer is loaded for camping, the increased weight will help keep the tires from skidding on dry pavement. But may not if the speed is close to hydroplaning of the tires.
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:55 PM   #3
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To what Switz said, while you're driving to someplace convenient for testing (and around Palestine, you won't have to drive far!) manually apply the brakes several times before you apply them as part of the test. I've found that the gain setting I need for good operation of electric drum brakes is significantly lower when the brakes are "warm" than when I first start out for the day.

If you're getting a brand new trailer, or one with brand new brake shoes at least, retest when you have a few hundred miles on the brakes, you may find that the sweet spot on the gain setting has changed a bit.
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:26 PM   #4
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Ditto on what DKB said !
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:30 AM   #5
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Thanks folks. Part of my concern (remember the novice part) is that I will have to get the AS out of Fort Worth. I despise driving freeways I'm not accustomed to under the best of conditions, much less towing a trailer for the first time. Oh well, guess I will figure it out.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:43 AM   #6
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If you have a friend with lots of towing experience, ask could ask them to join you on the initial trip to offer suggestions or even drive if necessary.

Also, you might want to double check the Ford owners manual to see if there is some amount of mileage to have on the truck before towing the first time.
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:05 AM   #7
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Very easy and simple way to adjust controller is to go to a flat empty parking lot. Manually apply trailer brake control adjusted all the way up to hold trailer and vehicle stopped. Put TV in gear and let off brake on TV still holding controller manually on. Adjust controller to the point it creates enough drag to barely hold you stopped. Then test drive. You should be adjusted very close. There is no EXACT adjustment for the brakes. May have to turn 1 number up or down to get it comfortable for you. I pull campers for a living and I am hooking up to different trailers every day and this is the easiest and quickest way I have found to adjust my brake controller. Hope this helps. If you need more help PM me and I will try to go into more details.
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willb43 View Post
Patience with a novice please. No towing experience. Just bought a new Ford f150. Will be getting my AS Flying Cloud 25FB in a week. My Ford manual suggests starting out with a break control gain setting of 6. Any advice on this?

The Ford Brake Controller works very well & is much better than the usual add-on Brake controllers I've used in the past. It modulates the output according to how much brake pedal pressure you use & adjusts from highway speeds to slow city crawls effortlessly.

If you start at ~ 6 you may notice relatively little braking effect from the trailer but there is no harm in that. ( I run mine around 8 with my new self-adjusting Dexters.) There is no harm in experimenting. As you increase the braking value on the trailer brakes, you will start noticing a more marked tug from the trailer. At higher values, if you brake harder the rear wheels may lock up at low speed telling you that the setting is too high.

There may be a lot of changes happening to the brakes as you break the trailer in & you may need to adjust the settings a fair bit at first until things settle in.

Enjoy.

-evan
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willb43 View Post
Thanks folks. Part of my concern (remember the novice part) is that I will have to get the AS out of Fort Worth. I despise driving freeways I'm not accustomed to under the best of conditions, much less towing a trailer for the first time. Oh well, guess I will figure it out.
The route from Vogt RV back to Palestine isn't too bad as long as you time it right. NE on 121 and then take 820 south (slightly weird interchange, but the weird part is at low speed.) in SW Fort Worth you'll see signs for 287, it's a left exit off 820 for 20 East and 287 then 287 splits off to the right a few miles later. This route is usually not bad in the early afternoon. There is often some lane-changing action where 287 merges into 820 but if you stay in either of the lanes that com in from 820, those are the lanes that split off to the east.
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:52 AM   #10
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Thank to all for the information. Makes me feel a bit more confident.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:09 PM   #11
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Just curious, when you apply the trailer brakes only using the brake controller, and without using the TV brake pedal, do the trailer brake lights come one?

I haven't checked this, but if the brake lights don't come one, you probably don't want to do any fiddling around with the brake controller in traffic. Stopping or slowing without brake lights might lead to a rear-end collision. Although, it probably isn't a good idea to set up your electric brakes in traffic anyway.

Just thinking out loud (or rather, on the keyboard)...
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:12 PM   #12
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That is why I said to find a big empty parking lot. Yes the trailer brake lights come on because you are applying power to the brake circuit through the controller.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panheaddale View Post
That is why I said to find a big empty parking lot. Yes the trailer brake lights come on because you are applying power to the brake circuit through the controller.
For a 3rd-party brake controller, I'm not sure that's true. You'd need a connection from the light circuit to the brake activation circuit, which would probably pulse the brakes when your turn signals or hazards were flashing unless it was wired just right.

Now, for the factory brake controllers, I have no idea. It would be easy for vehicle engineers to set this up, but I don't think aftermarket brake controllers have the connectivity. I realize that the OP is asking about his Ford integrated brake controller, so if that's specifically what you're talking about, I'm sorry for the interruption.
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Old 07-28-2013, 01:05 PM   #14
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I have checked a couple of different brands of aftermarket brake controllers and all the ones I checked the brake lights came on when activating the trailer brakes manually.

I checked after someone on another forum asked if his brake controller was malfunctioning since it made the brake lights come on when activated.
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