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Old 09-12-2016, 03:33 PM   #1
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Wireless Brake Controller

Hello!

I am new to this forum as well as Airstream ownership - we pick up our trailer and head out for our first adventure in a few days!

We have a new 2017 Audi Q7 with the Audi Tow Package. The dealer is telling me I will need a wireless brake controller as well as a lamp out indicator? I am not sure I am clear on why I need either of these, and assumed the hitch connector transferred all of the info needed, but maybe not. I know next to nothing about any of this, so wanted to reach out for advice. Thanks!
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Old 09-12-2016, 04:25 PM   #2
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You definitely need a brake controller. Not being framiliar with the Audi Tow Package & if it includes a brake controller, you have two options for a simple solution. 1. Find out if you already have one.
2. Have one installed

Wireless is BS and expensive and I would not trust a wireless brake controller.
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Old 09-12-2016, 04:46 PM   #3
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Wireless is a good idea for non critical and for connections that are difficult to make otherwise.

I would be amazed that folks would offer a wireless controller for brakes. Too risky in my view. I have experience in wireless machine control; my rule of thumb was to use wireless where if the system fails no damage would be done. Stopping a tow vehicle with a trailer that looses the trailer brakes by surprise is more than a terrible thing.
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Old 09-12-2016, 04:58 PM   #4
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Tekonsha's wireless brake controller works very well and reliably. Best solution out there for those of us who don't want a brake controller permanently wired into the vehicle and present when not towing. The handheld will alert you to most faults including loss of signal, etc.
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Old 09-12-2016, 06:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrjkq View Post
You definitely need a brake controller. Not being framiliar with the Audi Tow Package & if it includes a brake controller, you have two options for a simple solution. 1. Find out if you already have one.
2. Have one installed

Wireless is BS and expensive and I would not trust a wireless brake controller.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgschwend View Post
Wireless is a good idea for non critical and for connections that are difficult to make otherwise.

I would be amazed that folks would offer a wireless controller for brakes. Too risky in my view. I have experience in wireless machine control; my rule of thumb was to use wireless where if the system fails no damage would be done. Stopping a tow vehicle with a trailer that looses the trailer brakes by surprise is more than a terrible thing.
With many new tow vehicles that are not factory equipped with brake controllers, your options are:
1-Get an RF brake controller.
2-Get another tow vehicle.
Some can tolerate a wired brake controller, but many cannot.
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Old 09-12-2016, 06:32 PM   #6
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Interested in this thread. Have a Porsche Macan and trying to figure out the break controller details.

Sitting back and reading :-)

Tara
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Old 09-12-2016, 08:08 PM   #7
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I use a Redarc Tow Pro in my Audi tow vehicle. The Redarc product is very compact and will tuck up under a dash with only a small dial showing in the cabin. It is not available in NA, I ordered mine from Australia.

https://www.redarc.com.au/tow-pro-el...ake-controller
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Old 09-13-2016, 11:50 AM   #8
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I just set up the tekonsha prodigy rf controller on my Mercedes gl320. The system uses inertia to activate the brake signal, so the rf is only needed for status alerts and manual control. One issue I have discovered is that my vehicle has sway control built in. This means that the gl is trying to use the trailer brakes to control sway, but it isn't involved with the trailer's brakes. So I still may end up going the hard wire route some day to try and take advantage of this feature.
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Old 09-13-2016, 12:28 PM   #9
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SGandMT,

We were considering getting an Airstream, but we decided to get an Oliver, which we pick up next week. In any case, I have been reading this forum since we were deciding. It is a great community, with a lot of helpful ideas.

While many people use trucks as a TV, we wanted an SUV for the non-towing part of our lives. We recently bought a 2017 Audi Q7 for our TV. It is a great car, and people who tow with it are very happy with the vehicle. It can pull 7700 lbs.

Several things about the Audi. If you got the Towing Package option, it is supposed to include pre-wiring for a brake controller. However from what I read on Audi forums, this pre-wiring is hidden under a dash panel, at least for pre-2017 models. Best description I have seen is here. http://www.audiworld.com/forums/q7-d...rness-2846156/
Since you have to wire it in (no harness is available), I am going with the Tekonsha Prodigy RF Wireless Brake Controller. Everyone I have talked to says it works great.

I have done a lot of reading, and I have not heard of a lamp out indicator. A Google search of that with Audi Q7 does not find anything.

Now here is the IMPORTANT thing. On page 98 of the Audi Q7 owners manual, it says:
Never install a "weight distributing" or "load equalizing" trailer hitch on your vehicle. The vehicle was not designed for these kinds of trailer hitches. The hitch attachment can fail, causing the trailer to tear loose from the vehicle.

You can find lots of discussion on the Audiworld or AS forums.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...ml#post1634654

There is an RV shop in Ontario Canada called Can-Am that welds piece on that permits use of a WDH. I have seen one, and it really affect ground clearance under the vehicle. Apparently any good welding shop can copy their design.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...-132319-2.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...es-134504.html

Good luck with your new Flying Cloud!

David
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Old 09-13-2016, 12:41 PM   #10
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If a vehicle is not set up to use a brake controller or be able to use a brake controller and can't use a WD hitch, then the solution is not to tow with that vehicle.
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Old 09-13-2016, 11:36 PM   #11
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Thanks, David. This is what I had read in the manual, as well. Spoke with a member of this Forum who is an Audi service mgr. and he put my mind at ease. We will pack sensibly and doubt we will be even close to the limits anyway.

Enjoy your Oliver! Had not heard of one, but Googled it and they look cool!
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Old 09-14-2016, 06:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avionstream View Post
If a vehicle is not set up to use a brake controller or be able to use a brake controller and can't use a WD hitch, then the solution is not to tow with that vehicle.
One of our customers purpose-bought a Toureg with a tow package and a tow capacity of 7000 pounds to tow a travel trailer. After nearly a month of back-and-forth between VW, Tekonsha, Reese, and the trailer manufacturer, VW finally admitted it was not really designed to tow North American travel trailers, with their "high tongue weights". They expect those 7000 pound trailers to have tongue weights of 100-150 pounds, like in Europe.
While we all finally got the man and his trailer on the road, it was not a fun experience for any of us.
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Old 09-14-2016, 07:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
I just set up the tekonsha prodigy rf controller on my Mercedes gl320. The system uses inertia to activate the brake signal, so the rf is only needed for status alerts and manual control. One issue I have discovered is that my vehicle has sway control built in. This means that the gl is trying to use the trailer brakes to control sway, but it isn't involved with the trailer's brakes. So I still may end up going the hard wire route some day to try and take advantage of this feature.
Yes, the brakes are controlled by inertia, but the handheld remote also controls the level of braking force (voltage) applied. Just like any other hardwired brake controller.
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