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Old 10-08-2015, 09:12 PM   #1
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Do folks reduce brake gain in rain?

In an old thread I have read about the usual rain towing tips but no one mentioned brake gain. I seem to vaguely remember reading in the Ford owners manual that reducing the gain should be done in rain. Is this the forums consensus? If yes how much?
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Old 10-08-2015, 09:17 PM   #2
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Yes, a bit so it won't lock the wheels.
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Old 10-08-2015, 09:51 PM   #3
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Traditional test is to go about 20 mph in a safe area and push the manual lever on the brake controller (trailer brakes only) to full power. Adjust the gain and repeat until the brakes stop as quickly as possible without locking the tires.
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Old 10-08-2015, 09:52 PM   #4
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I reduce .5 in the rain.
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Old 10-08-2015, 10:30 PM   #5
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Definately Not!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LyleRussell View Post
In an old thread I have read about the usual rain towing tips but no one mentioned brake gain. I seem to vaguely remember reading in the Ford owners manual that reducing the gain should be done in rain. Is this the forums consensus? If yes how much?
No, No, No! Take it from someone who has towed everything, in every kind of weather. I grew up in a family owned trucking business. You always want the trailer to be pulling on the tow vehicle during braking. When the trailer is pushing the tow vehicle during braking, is when you have the "jack knifing" effect. This effect becomes greater the slicker the road conditions. If you ever find yourself in a braking condition on slick roads where the trailer is trying to jack knife, or pass the TV, there are two things that you should do. First, you should let off of the TV brakes. Second, you should engage the trailer brake controller fully. With the trailer at full braking, this should pull it back behind the TV and then once straight you can gradualy re-apply the TV brakes. Trust me, it works! People panic and they just can't let off of the brakes. I have never seen a accident that I did not think could have been avoided. After over 4 million accident free miles and 39 years of driving all across this nation, I guess that I will continue to believe this until I have one.
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Old 10-08-2015, 10:46 PM   #6
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What he said^^^.
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Old 10-09-2015, 01:50 AM   #7
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Another vote for post #5 ...
especially in the mountains, going down mountains, and even more so with snow or ice.
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Old 10-09-2015, 06:44 AM   #8
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Old 10-09-2015, 06:49 AM   #9
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In other words don't reduce gain. Use the trailer brakes on the gain controller instead??
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Old 10-09-2015, 07:20 AM   #10
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In other words don't reduce gain. Use the trailer brakes on the gain controller instead??
??? Use just trailer brakes? No.

With our TruControl, set the gain once and let it do it's job.

IMO.....The only time to use the trailer brakes alone, to stop sway and/or down hill....engage judiciously.

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Old 10-09-2015, 07:46 AM   #11
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Trailer brakes in Rain

I do not reduce my trailer brake adjustment for rain. However, i am very careful about using the exhaust brake, especially if I am in the very early part of a rainfall when the oil and rubber are still on the road surface and can be potentially quite slippery.

I have my trailer brakes set so they will lock up on gravel, not on hard surface. Also, I am one who uses brakes quite sparingly, having just replaced the front brakes for the first time on my TV, a 2008 Dodge 2500/Cummins Crew Cab, Long Bed 4x4 after 99,986 miles.

The OP's question is very important, but maybe can be edited to include, "How do we change our towing methods in rain?" My answer is to use extra caution, maintain extra following distance, slow down very early for potential stops, and if I find someone is following too closely, I also slow down which usually results in their passing me and no longer riding my tail.
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Old 10-09-2015, 07:48 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by msmoto View Post
i do not reduce my trailer brake adjustment for rain. However, i am very careful about using the exhaust brake, especially if i am in the very early part of a rainfall when the oil and rubber are still on the road surface and can be potentially quite slippery.

I have my trailer brakes set so they will lock up on gravel, not on hard surface. Also, i am one who uses brakes quite sparingly, having just replaced the front brakes for the first time on my tv, a 2008 dodge 2500/cummins crew cab, long bed 4x4 after 99,986 miles.

The op's question is very important, but maybe can be edited to include, "how do we change our towing methods in rain?" my answer is to use extra caution, maintain extra following distance, slow down very early for potential stops, and if i find someone is following too closely, i also slow down which usually results in their passing me and no longer riding my tail.
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Old 10-09-2015, 08:04 AM   #13
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Do folks reduce brake gain in rain?

We don't adjust for rain. Occasional adjustments are required between trips otherwise it is set-it & forget-it.
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:39 AM   #14
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I check trailer brakes every time I start to drive away, but I seldom ever change the gain. Sometimes very slight seasonal adjustment to account for temperature or humidity change seems necessary.
Whenever I start to drive forward, I do a couple of checks.
First, I squeeze the hand control on the brake actuator and the release the foot brake. If it holds the entire rig, all is good.
Then, I start the truck moving forward and squeeze the hand control on the brake actuator again. If the trailer brakes alone stop the entire rig without locking up and sliding or jerking and snatching me to a sudden uncomfortable stop, all is OK.
Sometimes the adjustment is so fine, it is just a gnat's hair between stopping good and locking up and sliding.
Every time I stop along the way, I do a "sniff test" and a "hot bearing" test.
Sniff test- Do I smell brakes? No. Everything is OK. Yes. Reduce trailer brake gain a tad.
You'll know in the long run if all is good. Lots of brake dust on the tow vehicle wheels? Not enough trailer brake/too much tow vehicle brake.
Trailer brakes worn out after 1 season? Too much trailer brake/not enough tow vehicle brake.
Hot bearing test- I reach toward the bearing, not touching it t first because if it is hot it can burn you, with the back of my hand like checking bath water for a baby. Not hot? Everything is OK. Hot? I don't know. I've never found a hot one, but I imagine it means you need grease or bearings.
All these procedures should be repeated every time I start and every time I couple up a different trailer or different tow vehicle.
I guess these checks have somewhat become "second nature" to me.
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Old 10-09-2015, 12:08 PM   #15
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My experience is that if your brakes are locking up under any conditions, the gain is set too high.
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Old 10-09-2015, 12:12 PM   #16
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Very good advise TheDuke, Msmoto, m.hony! Nothing can be added.....well except this.

Friction can be your friend or your downfall.

Brakes are for stopping, but too much brake can cause too much friction and the contact point between tire surface and road surface goes away.

Then vehicle velocity and road surface friction are very important to keeping control of both TV and trailer.

Follow the advise of the previous posts. Adjust your trailer brakes on dry surface just enough to slow down trailer but not enough to cause the tires to skid.

In wet weather slow down. Also, I have been taught to very lightly drag the brakes occasionally on the entire rig to displace water from the braking surfaces to prevent fade and lockup.

Hopefully you will never have to pick a piece of your vehicle seat out of your rear and aluminum out of your vehicle window for as long as you travel!

I believe all that have commented are saying the same thing.

Happy trails
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Old 10-09-2015, 12:45 PM   #17
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One thing I would like to point out is that there is no "one size fits all" answer to this question. There are too many variables. There are so many that any single, always do, yes or no, answer may be no better than doing nothing. In fact in many cases it may be worse than doing nothing. These variables pop into my mine:
Type of brakes
Ratio of trailer weight to TV weight
Type of brake controller.
road surface
rain intensity
Speed
Going up hill or downhill.
Tread pattern of TV and TT tires
Driver skill, experience, and knowledge
Etc, etc, etc.

The solution in any given situation, if you are concerned, is to cautiously test the brakes and find a setting that works well. Do not assume that the next time it rains, the same solution will be the best.

This is my solution: I don't mess with the brake setting. instead I drive in a manner and at a speed appropriate for the road, weather conditions, and my abilities. I always do my best to not overestimate the latter.

My advice:
If you think you may want to mess with the brakes in the rain, drive at a slower speed instead.

Always remember that the safest way to slow down if you are concerned about traction is to first manually activate the trailer brakes.

Ken
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Old 10-09-2015, 01:13 PM   #18
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The Duke has it right. Keep the trailer brakes pulling back on the tow vehicle at all times. Jackknifing concerns can be addressed in two additional ways. Decrease the amount of lift on your torsion bars while towing in the rain and/or increase the amount of cargo weight over the rear axle of the tow vehicle. The worst thing you can do is tow with an empty pick-up bed, pull up tight on the torsion bars further reducing weight on the rear axle, then reduce your trailer braking. That's the perfect combination for "See you all over the road" rather then "See you down the road".
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Old 10-09-2015, 01:23 PM   #19
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One other thought on this subject. In consideration of those occasions when applying only the trailer brakes is mandatory, you should sit in the drivers seat and repeatedly make emergency type grabs for your brake controller. Do it over and over again until it becomes automatic without having to look or feel around for your slide bar (or whatever). Kind of like drawing a six shooter from a holster.
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Old 10-09-2015, 01:47 PM   #20
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Yes. I set the gain lower for rainy days. And I set the gain up a little for city driving on dry roads. And maybe set it down a little for a 20 mile downgrade. Not worried about the trailer pushing the truck. Am worried about locking the trailer brakes on a curve and having it sliding sideways.
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