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Old 06-26-2019, 10:42 AM   #1
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Brake controller

Will be towing a 16' Bambi with an Audi Q5 about 100 miles to leave the trailer for a year, the drive is mostly freeway. Is a brake controller necessary and has anyone installed it themselves?
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Old 06-26-2019, 11:30 AM   #2
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If you are very careful about leaving adequate distance between you and the vehicle in front, you MAY be able to get away with it as the Bambi is light. But, you will definitely know it is there when you go to brake.

Rather than install a brake controller inside the vehicle, this is what I used when I tow with the Cayenne, which is essentially the same platform as your Audi. No ugly, nuisance controller at your knee when driving, and when not in use, the RF control unit just unplugs and goes in the glove box. Very simply to install as well.

https://www.etrailer.com/Brake-Contr...sha/90250.html
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Old 07-18-2019, 04:26 PM   #3
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Well, I’ve never towed a 16 Airstream per say but I highly recommend a brake controller. If someone tells you you can’t have one in your car they simply don’t know what they are talking about and they shouldn’t be the people you listen to for advice. Any modern Porsche, Audi, BMW, Merc has this ability at the module (back right in an X5). All that’s needed is a harness to come up to the front for the controller. I made my own for my X5. Not hard. 4 wires. Any car stereo place I’m sure could do it after the towing module is installed.

My mount is a Belkin IPhone mount that removed the swivel iPhone mount from. Then used a piece of conduit strap to mount the controller bracket upside down. This particular controller doesn’t need to be level, just straight fore to aft. The mount is VERY secure in the cup holder. When I’m not towing, it sits in the garage and the wiring harness tucks under the dash.
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Old 07-18-2019, 04:37 PM   #4
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Hi

Yes you should have a brake controller.

Yes you can get one installed on your vehicle.

No it's not rocket science. I'm quite sure there is a shop in your area with the skills to install any of a number of available controllers.

Bob
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Old 07-18-2019, 05:01 PM   #5
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Colorado says any trailer over 3,000 # has to have brakes. (Interestingly, I didn’t see anything about a controller, though...)

Oregon doesn’t require any trailer brakes, but says if so equipped they must be maintained in good working order. I presume that would mean usable — implying a controller.
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Old 07-18-2019, 10:30 PM   #6
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CURT 51180 Echo Mobile Electric Brake Controller

I've been using the CURT 51180 Echo Mobile Electric Trailer Brake Controller with my 2019 BMW X3 factory hitch and 2019 sport 16 rb. It works using Bluetooth to your phone but also stores settings on the device. It's been really reliable, no install needed and easily changeable from car to car.

You can find it on amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/CURT-51180-Co...-1-spons&psc=1
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:13 AM   #7
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Try to be legal and safe.
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:32 AM   #8
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Welcome Aboard....👍

Yes👍...then you will be ready for your first 101mi trip. 🤔

Bob
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thewarden View Post
If you are very careful about leaving adequate distance between you and the vehicle in front, you MAY be able to get away with it as the Bambi is light. But, you will definitely know it is there when you go to brake.

Rather than install a brake controller inside the vehicle, this is what I used when I tow with the Cayenne, which is essentially the same platform as your Audi. No ugly, nuisance controller at your knee when driving, and when not in use, the RF control unit just unplugs and goes in the glove box. Very simply to install as well.

https://www.etrailer.com/Brake-Contr...sha/90250.html
I use the same one with my Cayenne and GMC.
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Old 07-19-2019, 07:29 AM   #10
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Any motor vehicle can be equipped with an electric brake controller. Factory wiring is irrelevant. The installer may need to run wiring directly from the battery to the controller and then to the 7 pin harness, but thatís the way it was done for decades.
The RF controllers allow you to avoid the wiring hassles.
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Old 07-19-2019, 08:38 AM   #11
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we use the Tekonsha P3 Brake Controller
it works very well

also, ensure you get sway control and weight distribution

that is what works on our Q5 with an AS Sport 22FB
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:07 AM   #12
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That RF controller mounted on the trailer sure seems like it would be a good investment for this trip and for future use. The way I read the law quoted above is that yes, you need the controller. The Audi, of course has great brakes and is a great TV. But the trailer still needs it’s own brakes adjusted for that trailer, to assure keeping it in line during a hard stop. And to be legal.
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thewarden View Post
...Rather than install a brake controller inside the vehicle, this is what I used when I tow with the Cayenne, which is essentially the same platform as your Audi. No ugly, nuisance controller at your knee when driving, and when not in use, the RF control unit just unplugs and goes in the glove box....
+1

We are using the Tekonsha Prodigy RF Electronic Brake Controller with our 2019 Nest and 2009 BMW X5 35d.

https://smile.amazon.com/Tekonsha-90...-1-spons&psc=1

It works great. And there was nothing to be installed in the X5. I just mounted the controller on the trailer’s tongue with the 4 included self tapping screws. Plugged the trailer into into the Prodigy. And Plugged the Prodigy into the X5. The Prodigy is controlled by the hand held unit that plugs into a 12v lighter socket. When the X5 is running the Prodigy passes the 12v to the trailer for charging batteries, running the fridge, etc.. And the brake controller becomes part of the trailer not the tow vehicle.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:06 AM   #14
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There is a high likelihood that with reasonable care, you can move your trailer with no brakes. Do not load it with gear. Do not tow with any liquid or other waste in tanks. Do not exceed 50 mph. Follow at three to four times the normal distance. Travel at even more reduced speed when going down any grade. Those are the type of modified use tactics that would be required to accomplish your task. Good brakes on your tow vehicle are a given.

NOW, DO NOT TOW WITHOUT BRAKES. Such an action should only be considered in an emergency. Delivering a coach for storage is not such an emergency.

Towing without brakes is not legal nor worth the risk. You should also use a properly installed and adjusted weight distribution and sway control hitch. Until you have your rig hitch lash up is tuned to ideal performance you should hold your speed below 60 mph. The other requirement is trailer lights. That function needs a 7 pin umbilical connector that provides power, turn signal/brake light operation and main light control from your tow vehicle. Test that function before you leave the dealer. Some vehicles do not recognize LED lighting. They need an inline adapter that simulates incandescent bulb resistance for the electronics to recognize proper connectivity. It fits in the 7 pin socket and the umbilical cable plug.

Alternatives - 1) Have the dealer make delivery to your storage facility. 2) Rent a vehicle that is properly equipped - Enterprise commercial group can help. 3) Hire a commercial hauler to deliver your trailer to storage. 4) Delay taking delivery until your vehicle is properly equipped to tow. 5) Store the trailer at the dealer's lot until you can safely move it.

The RF brake control is easy to install. There is a hand unit that is a transmitter for setting the control and activating the brakes manually in an emergency. It must be properly set to function correctly, so test the manual operation before leaving the dealer. The RF control box is mounted on the trailer tongue. The trailer umbilical plugs into it and the cable from the box plugs into the tow vehicle. An accelerometer in the control box activates the trailer brakes when the tow vehicle slows or stops the rig.

So as everyone says, do not tow without brakes. Pat

Edit - looks like I was slow to the party and many points have been made above. One addition - You can buy on-line and install yourself for much less. Or you can buy from the dealer and it is their responsibility to make it all work. Or you can buy on line and pay the dealer their labor rate to install. Some will give you a flat rate.
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