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Old 02-18-2013, 05:39 PM   #1
Vince & Virginia
 
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1969 21' Globetrotter
Riverside , California
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 166
Brake Troubleshooting - Voyager

Due to the mishandling of my beloved Suburban by our middle child, we now have a new (to us) tow vehicle - a 2001 Chevy Silverado 2500HD crew cab (white). It came with a Tekonsha Voyager already installed, presumably by the previous owner. (This was a Carmax purchase.)

We hooked up the "Towster" to our new "Yeti" for the first time yesterday and took it to a local parking lot to work with the dual cam sway control and adjust the braking. It all leveled out nicely and the lights all work properly. The brakes however, are a problem.

The Voyager LED indicator light seem to respond appropriately - green, with the trailer hooked up, orange/red when adjusting the level, orange/red when applying the manual level and the brake pedal. However, no reaction from the trailer brakes that we can detect. The trailer received a new axle and brakes in 2002, and we used it (with the suburban) as recently as this last November. Usually, we can hear the brakes - kind of a metallic clunk - when applied at slow speeds. (Our previous brake controller was a Reese Digital Brakeman.)

Since our test run yesterday, I cleaned all the connections on the umbilical and used some dielectric grease to ensure a good connection. I got out my voltmeter and checked for a current. When stepping on the brake pedal, I got over 14v on the umbilical wire that would connect to the trailer brakes. I put a compass near the trailer hubs and pulled the breakaway cable on the trailer and the needle swung sharply, so that seems good. I then hooked up the umbilical to the trailer. Using both the manual lever and the brake pedal, I can hear the electric hummm at the hubs, but the compass needle doesn't swing and there's no sense/sound of activated brakes.

Perhaps I fixed the problem with cleaning the connections, but this different brake controller requires us to be rolling to activate? (In our original parking lot test, adjusting the gain/level and using the manual lever got us zip.) Could there be something wrong with the Voyager, despite a 14v reading? What else can I test?

I've been looking at the Prodigy, but I don't want to sink the money yet, if there's really another problem that needs fixing first.

Thanks!
Virginia
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:30 PM   #2
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1969 21' Globetrotter
Riverside , California
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Bump!
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"The Towster" 1969 Globetrotter 21' (Silver)
"The Yeti" 2001 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 8.1 Allison Crew Cab (White)
"The Boat" Old Town Canoe Discovery 174 (Green)
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:03 PM   #3
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Salem , Oregon
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Hi, you probably don't want to hear this, but spend the money and buy a Tekonsha P-3 brake controller. The fact that you have several set-up choices and actual numbers to reference, instead of the LED changing colors, it is much easier to use and know where you stand. My first brake controller was a Tekonsha Voyager, and it worked fine, but I like my Tekonsha P-3 much better.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:23 AM   #4
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Have you checked the umbilical wiring? Brake current might not be going to the brakes. I hear there are several different standards for wiring the connectors.
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:25 PM   #5
Vince & Virginia
 
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1969 21' Globetrotter
Riverside , California
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Success!

Well, I went ahead and ordered a Tekonsha P3 (since I wanted one anyways). Got a great price of $109 ($10 shipping) from adventurerv.net. The original Voyager was in an odd spot, directly under the steering column. To adjust or activate, I would have to reach waaaaay down under the dash which would bring my eyes below the level of the dashboard. Not good. With all the extra length already on the wiring harness, I removed the ashtray (we don't smoke) and fished the wires up the back, attached the removable bracket and voila! I backed the truck up to the trailer, installed the umbilical between the two and it all checked out fine. Great interface.

Today, we hooked the two up for a road test, and even before we left the driveway, I could tell we now had brakes. What a relief!!

Hitting the road for some winter camping next friday!

Virginia
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Virginia (SoCal Silver Sister)

"The Towster" 1969 Globetrotter 21' (Silver)
"The Yeti" 2001 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 8.1 Allison Crew Cab (White)
"The Boat" Old Town Canoe Discovery 174 (Green)
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Old 02-23-2013, 06:12 PM   #6
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I have a Voyager. It isn't as nice as the P3, but it actually works fine once you get it setup right. Thing is, without the numeric readouts, it's harder to get setup from trailer to trailer.

I always have my wife squeeze the manual brake lever while I listen by the axles to hear the "hum" before we ever disembark.

The instructions say to set the strength to where you can lock the wheels up at 25mph on dry pavement by manually activating full strength. That's how I set mine up for power, then adjust the gain to where the trailer comes in slightly stronger than the truck.

It works fine once set up, but it's not the friendliest of controllers to set up.

I've been meaning to upgrade, just haven't done it. I just fiddle with it for a mile or so, get it working fine, and I'm done.

I liked the one that had the cable that hooked to your brake pedal lever, but I think they went out of business. I like how the newer trucks have them set up inside the master cylinder so they work off pressure (which the brake position one was trying to crudely replicate).

In the end, hard to beat a P3 bang for the buck. I'll probably get one.

Cheers,
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