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Old 03-03-2007, 09:02 AM   #1
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Normandy Park , Washington
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Brakes & Controllers

Please clarify for me.

If a trailer has electric brakes installed, and you have a 7 pin plug on your vehicle, will the brakes "auto-magically" work? Or, do you need a brake controller to tie everything together?



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Old 03-03-2007, 09:11 AM   #2
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A few have built in brake controllers, most do not. I installed a Prodigy unit in mine, it is one of the better units.



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Old 03-03-2007, 10:08 AM   #3
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Brakes & Controllers

Greetings Dan!

Originally Posted by Dan S
Please clarify for me.

If a trailer has electric brakes installed, and you have a 7 pin plug on your vehicle, will the brakes "auto-magically" work? Or, do you need a brake controller to tie everything together?


You didn't mention whether you are considering late model or Vintage, but if you are considering Vintage from the mid-to-late 1970s there can be another consideration regarding trailer brakes on Airstreams. Beginning in the mid-to-late 1970s, Airstream offered Excella Hydra-Vac Disc brakes on their trailers (so far as I have been able to determine these were never offered on Argosy even as an extra-cost option). If you consider a coach with these brakes, selection of the brake controller can be critical, and in addition to that a vacuum port must be supplied to connect the coach to your tow vehicle's vacuum (this can be a problem if your tow vehicle is diesel -- there is also a potential for issues with late model gasoline powered tow vehicles where the vacuum tap may pose issues with some of the engine electronics.

Due to issues such as sourcing vacuum, and the increasing difficulty in locating repair parts, many of these coaches have been converted to the more familiar Dexter or Kelsey-Hayes drum brakes.

Another issue to keep in mind if you are considering any Airstream product (including Argosy), is that Airstream used its own wiring pattern for the seven-pole connector that does not necessarily match today's industry standard. I know that both of my coaches needed to have their connectors re-wired before I could tow them with my tow vehicles all of which have been wired to the current industry standard. It isn't difficult to insall a new connector on the coach, but it can be an unpleasant surprise if you aren't prepared in advance.

Good luck with your search!

Kevin D. Allen
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Old 03-03-2007, 10:36 AM   #4
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Hi, Dan,

What Kevin said. But if you find a trailer that has the Airstream specific pattern, you can make up an adapter for less than $20 to go from the modern 7-pin square to 7-pin round pattern. I got the parts to do it from the local welding shop.

Very little magic occurs with Airstreams, and what does occur is usually due to where you are at the time. What tow vehicle do you have or are you considering?
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Old 03-03-2007, 10:46 AM   #5
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what I'll tow with

Thanks for the info.

I'm currently looking into Argosy Minuets (20). I don't wan to go larger than a 22 based on the fact there are just the two of us and I want to keep it as simple ($, size, towing...etc) as possible.

I currently have a Ford Ranger small V6 which I will replace. I spent a lot of time this last week at the Dealerships and on the web researching tows. Thus far, I've concluded:

I still need a truck for yard issues. Therefore, no Tahoe stye/type rigs.
I prefer the smaller trucks .i.e Tacoma's over the large F-150's from the size and economics stand point. My wife or I will commute in it 97% of the time and the other 3% will be to tow. Seems like overkill....untill you need it!

I like the Tacoma 4.0L V6 as well as the Nissan Frontier (same engine but more hp and torque)......but the Tundra would be nice if price were not an issue. I'm going to test drive the Tundra today. However, they seem to have grown in size and are getting very big like the F-150's?

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Old 03-03-2007, 12:17 PM   #6
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What I like about your follow-up post is that you are true to the facts. You need enough truck to do the job safely but you also realize you will tow less than 3 percent of the miles you travel. Many people don't realize that. Good luck.
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Old 03-03-2007, 04:10 PM   #7
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Typically you'll need a controller to run the brakes on a trailer.

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