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Old 08-05-2010, 01:26 AM   #1
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1979 Argosy 27
YYC , Alberta
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Do I have a brake issue?

Quickly, we got our Argosy earlier this year.

Had no problem with previous tow vehicle 2007 Yukon Denali XL, but life dictated we downgrade a bit to a 2007 Yukon XL.

Tekonsha brake controller, everything ran (and braked) smooth on the Denali the 4 or 5 times we towed with it the last few months.

Sold that truck, got the new one. Just moved (and had to rewire) the same brake controller into the truck.

So checked everything on the new truck. Got the "C" for connected, and manually was able to lock up the trailer brakes from the brake controller. Also, on all these stops, saw voltage on the brake controller when pushing down brake pedal.

On the first actual trip last weekend with the new truck, noticed the few times I had to come to a full stop, that the trailer seemed to lurch forward each time, not stopping smoothly at all. Weird sensation, never had that with last truck.

Just got the feeling that something wasn't right for the trailer to not be stopping smoothly, almost as if the truck coming to a stop was all that was slowing down the trailer. But the brake controller seemed to be working fine putting power through and the trailer brakes work manually through the controller.

Am I missing something...just seems to me that maybe when I push down the brake pedal, that I am not actually getting the brakes on the trailer to also engage. Even though it shows as connected, as power going through, and, the trailer brakes work manually.

All that said we did have some issues with the connection from the trailer to the truck plug. When first connected the plug with the new truck, no lights came on except backup lights. Got truck checked and the connector there was ok. The next day, plugged in again and everything ran except trailer running lights. After getting back, a tip here made me check the license plate light that I had just changed the last trip out, and sure enough, that was it. Pulled bulb and running lights were back. At the same time, I had to replace the fuse in the truck for running lights...that license plate light blew 2 fuses I put in there, so obviously a bad connection at the running lights.

Would that same issue blown a fuse regarding trailer brakes?

I know there are a few fuses in the truck regarding trailer brakes and trailer power...I just assume that if one of them is blown, that something wouldn't work, either the brake controller or the trailer brakes themselves, but as said, they appears to be working.

Anyways, long story short, trailer doesn't brake smooth when coming to a stop, almost as if the trucks own slowing down is the only thing stopping the trailer, not actual trailer brakes (which do work manually).

Could it be a blown fuse, or am I missing something else or just dreaming up something that isn't there?

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Old 08-05-2010, 04:56 AM   #2
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The functions that that go from the tow vehicle to the trailer are separately fused in the tow vehicle. That being said, it sounds like your problem may be where the trailers umbilical connects to the tow vehicle. Try cleaning the contacts on the tow vehicle side.


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Old 08-05-2010, 06:29 AM   #3
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On the brake controller, there should be a gain control. Probably a dial or round button on the side (that's where mine is). Have you tried adjusting that? If the brakes work when you activate them manually on the controller, they most likely need some additional gain when you use the brake pedal.

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Old 08-05-2010, 09:32 AM   #4
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You don't blow fuses with a bad connection. You blow fuses with a Short.

It sounds like the connection within the plug or receptacle have loosened and may be cross connected. Those connection are very poor at best and if installed by someone that has little or no idea of what they are doing can be a major problem. I would open both and check them. I prefer to solder each connection after setting them with the screws. These connections are very close together and ca short easily.
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:27 AM   #5
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I don't know the difference between a Yukon and a Denali, but from the context I expect your new truck is a lot lighter than the older one. On our brake controller there are different settings from differences in weight between tow vehicle and trailer. You may have to reset your controller for a lighter vehicle.

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Old 08-05-2010, 10:47 AM   #6
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I had a Tekonsha Prodigy in my Excursion and used one for 7 years. I agree with Chris (Minno), it sounds like you need to adjust your brake controller for your new tow vehicle. It sounds like you need more brake gain. Take your TV and Airstream out on a lightly traveled, level road and adjust your controller to get the right amount of gain. Should be a simple adjustment.
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:54 AM   #7
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When there have been wiring changes, and the brakes work manually, but not from the pedal, the usual culprit is the wire from the brake switch to the controller. Be sure it is connected properly, and connected to the proper place.
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Old 08-05-2010, 12:03 PM   #8
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1979 Argosy 27
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Thanks all for the response.

The tow vehicle end is fine..I had that checked when I had the original issue after plugging in last week. Fiddled with it a few times while out camping to try and get running lights on.

The trailer plug is fine mentioned, had no issue with the trailer connections earlier in the month with the old TV. Also double checked that this past weekend while out camping, while trying to figure out the running lights issue.

I have played with the gain control on the brake controller, although I guess not formally set it up the way I did with my last truck. When I was out the past weekend and felt things weren't slowing, I did quickly give the knob a turn upwards while driving. But now that I think about it, I never formally did the "locking of the brakes test" through the brake pedal on the new TV. The Denali is a couple hundred pounds heavier I think, but not a lot.

I guess in all this I just assumed that if the brake controller shows a connection and voltage on the display when brakes are pressed AND that manually braking the trailer through the brake control works, that the entire setup is working.

Although, as per the last post from Jammer, maybe I am assuming too much. You're saying it is possible for the brakes to put power to the back to show voltage when pushing the brake pedal down, and the trailer brakes themselves to work manually from the controller...but with all that seemingly ok, bad trailer brake controller wiring may mean that pushing the brake pedal doesn't actually activate the trailer brakes?

Had the same place install this one as did the last one earlier this year. 2007 Yukons (XL and Denali XL) have the tow package, but even with the plug and play cable, the Tekonsha still has to be hardwired into the battery so there shouldn't be any complexity to that, that they would screw up..everything should connect through the Tekonsha wiring harness, no?

Guess I'll have to go down to the trailer storage and hook up this weekend and do some more testing to see if pushing the brake pedal actually activates the brakes on the trailer.
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Old 08-05-2010, 12:16 PM   #9
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If you have electric brakes, you may have to just connect the plug and have someone press the brake pedal and put your head next to the wheels because you should be able to hear the magnets energize. If you don't, check again by jacking up one side and see if operating the truck pedal stops the tire from rotating. Then, if not, check brake adjustment (a good idea anyway). Since you write the manual lever on the controller works the trailer brakes, an adjustment may not be an answer, but the other tests with the brake pedal should help.

If you have a different brake system, jacking up and see if the wheels stop rotating still would be informative.

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Old 08-06-2010, 01:28 AM   #10
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I think the instructions say to adjust the Prodigy when your brakes warm up a little. I know that our Airstream's brakes are a little grabby the first couple of stops. Also, when we switched from Hal (our old 78 Chevy Crewcab 454) to a 2008 Tundra, I changed the "boost" setting, so that the brakes would engage a little sooner. You might try playing with that, too.

Perhaps a quick review of the Prodigy user manual or quick step guide would also provide some other suggestions on customizing the settings to your new TV.
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Old 08-07-2010, 10:53 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
I think the instructions say to adjust the Prodigy when your brakes warm up a little.
I adjusted the Prodigy when we got the trailer according to the instructions. The recommended settings for different weight combinations of tow vehicle and trailer didn't quite fit our rig, so the first one I tried seemed to activate the trailer brakes too soon, so I went to the other adjustment and haven't changed it since.

I know some change settings depending on whether they are in slow traffic or at highway speeds, rain or snow, mountains or flatland. Maybe I'm too dumb to know the difference, but it seems to work fine all the time.

I don't remember what the instructions say, but it makes sense to wait for the brakes to warm up and expand a little.

I also test the trailer brakes from time to time. Using the manual control, when going fairly slow, I engage the trailer brakes only to make sure they are working. It also makes sense to adjust the brakes frequently. I don't think the electric brakes are very good, so frequently adjusting them it more critical than adjusting hydraulic brakes. Better yet, change to self adjusting brakes—it's safer and easier. Mine just arrived yesterday and hopefully they self install. I will lay them against the wheels and hope to see the old brakes in their place tomorrow.

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Old 08-07-2010, 05:17 PM   #12
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IF u didn't run through the calibration phase (locking 'em up) do that.

IF u have access to or know some1 else with another tow vehicle set up,

take the trailer for a spin with someone else's mule.

Originally Posted by lbrownah View Post
...or am I missing something else or just dreaming up something that isn't there?
hard to know if u r dreamin'...

but after this much FIDDLEn with the controller and electric side...

it might be useful to INSPECT inside a hub or 2...

parts fail/break/move/wear and produce the same symptoms.

no way 2 know it's not the bits inside without looking.

one could raise wheels and spin them and apply the brakes via the safety pin or truck/7 pin.

this MIGHT help locating which hub to check first.

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 08-21-2010, 01:54 AM   #13
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Just to follow up. I could hear them engage with the wheels. I did the "lock up" calibration, but still had the issue. However, after playing with the boost on the controller (thanks for that suggestion), the sensation I was feeling was lessened.

The boost was set to "1", and as I said, was fine on the Denali. In thise case taking boost off seemed to help.

Hoping all is well...taking a 1.5 week trip to the Pacific coast and back, through the mountains and back, starting next week.

Thanks for all the assistance in this tread, guys and gals.
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Old 08-21-2010, 12:08 PM   #14
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Interesting that taking boost off helped.. I would've thought that you had the opposite issue, that you needed "more" stopping power, as you felt a "push" when coming to a stop. I wonder if you actually had MORE stopping power to the trailer, and as you let up the brakes, the hitch "slop" is coming undone, letting the truck move forward away from the trailer.

I second a quick visual of the brakes that 2air suggestted, I had some broken springs when I first bought my trailer, and just thought the braking was poor.

Regardless, if it all seems fine, then that is great! (I like boost 2 with my Argosy / Sequoia setup).

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