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Old 08-18-2013, 11:28 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by AldeanFan View Post
If you're brakes are working properly you should be able to lock up all 4 wheels.

My Tundra with the Tekonsha P3 will lock up the trailer brakes on the Safari at about 4, but this is a much lighter trailer than yours.

My father had a F250 with the integrated brake controller when he pulled his 5th wheel and hated it, he said the trailer kind of slowed down but the truck did most of the stopping, sounds similar to your problem. He said this was a common complaint among Ford owners he talked to at the trailer park. I also didn't care for the settings available when I used his truck to pull the enclosed car trailer. My set up makes me feel much more confident, even though the Toyota truck is so much smaller than the Ford.

Considering the relatively low cost of a brake controller (around $150) you may want to consider trying a different controller to see if it makes a difference.
Sorry to disagree; the integrated trailer brake controller on my 2010 F150 blows any aftermarket brake controllers out of the water. I would think that unless it is faulty, the OP's controller is not the issue at all. The factory controller modulates output according to actual braking force being applied in the tow vehicle system & not according to inertia , timing or other surrogate measures like an aftermarket adding unit.

It sounds like the trailer brakes are not doing enough of the work in the OP's situation. I've had the same problem in the past myself. It isn't a lot of fun to call on the trailer for more braking force & find that it simply isn't there. At the end of a 10 mile long 11% grade highway, if your brakes aren't all smoking hot, they aren't doing their job. The hilly terrain is revealing how little work the trailer brakes are adding to the setup. Yes, the transmission should be doing some of the work too ... But these steep mountain grades very quickly expose any inadequacies in the trailer brakes that one may be oblivious to on less stressful highways on the flats.

Get the trailer brakes checked & fixed.

- evan
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Old 08-18-2013, 12:29 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Moflash View Post
In tow haul mode on late model F150-F350's when you tap the brake pedal going down hill it will downshift one gear for each tap and hold in that gear until you accelerate.It is meant to assist with transmission braking on hills and steep grades that is its purpose when used correctly.Try it when used correctly you will like it.
I don't own a Ford, so I can't speak to that function.

My GMC Duramax/Alli works quite well. A factory feature on my new rig is a manual shift mode. A toggle switch mounted on the shifter allows me to shift the tranny up or down at will.

The exhaust brake is a nice feature, too.

If second gear is too fast, try first.

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Old 08-18-2013, 08:02 PM   #31
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm going to have to do more investigative work.

After a couple of long days we've made it back home to flat eastern Canada. It was certainly an adventure pulling in the mountains. Obviously a set-up that seems to work well in the flats needs to be checked very carefully before venturing into the western 'hills'.

All the brakes are brand new - I swapped original brakes for new self adjusting units at our campground in Mammoth Lakes. The voltages and current seem to check out. I'll continue to monitor as the new brakes wear to the shape of the original drums.
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:08 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Moflash View Post
In tow haul mode on late model F150-F350's when you tap the brake pedal going down hill it will downshift one gear for each tap and hold in that gear until you accelerate.It is meant to assist with transmission braking on hills and steep grades that is its purpose when used correctly.Try it when used correctly you will like it.
I rather liked tow/haul mode for going down the hills. It worked very well with the trailer in tow - shifting smoothly to keep the rig at the set speed.

I did not like it however on long/steep up hill pulls. I found that it kept the transmission in too low a gear which caused the temperature to spike. Manually shifting to a lower gear did a better job of managing transmission temperature.

I also used tow/haul mode as well when I didn't have the trailer on for down hill descents. I found the shifts however were not at optimal revs and as a result were a little abrupt. A smoother ride was had by shifting down manually.
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:14 PM   #33
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Maxtow,

Couple of long shot ideas, and all of my braking background is from my EOH so these are untried by me ideas.

1. Often cited, use an infrared point and shoot thermometer to get temp readings on the trailer brakes. No idea what they should or could read, but the act of braking creates heat that must be dissipated by the drums. The absence of heat = not much braking, excessive heat = a different problem possibly.

2. Any chance to use your TV on a different trailer and more importantly use a different TV on your trailer to exchange w/o doing any parts swapping to cross check the systems?

Good luck.

Gary
It was pretty obvious which brakes were doing most of the work - I didn't need an infrared thermometer...

I have a tire pressure monitor system. It showed a much more significant temperature rise on the TV front tires as compared with the trailer tires. The rear tires of the TV were somewhat in between.
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:18 PM   #34
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Drums aren't worth much and discs are, admittedly, expensive. But much superior. Short of better brakes, then:

Les Adams on where to start with drum brakes

Bearkiller on brake inspection

John Barca on TT drum brake inspection

John Barca on brake wiring upgrade

John Barca on DEXTER self adjusting brakes

I would also post on a FORD forum with what is found in re the TT brakes (any shortcomings fixed) and do some testing on dry pavement and gravel roads as to wheel lockup. Get a helper to view one or other sides of TT at low speed testing.

.

.
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Old 08-19-2013, 01:33 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by MaxTow View Post
Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm going to have to do more investigative work.

After a couple of long days we've made it back home to flat eastern Canada. It was certainly an adventure pulling in the mountains. Obviously a set-up that seems to work well in the flats needs to be checked very carefully before venturing into the western 'hills'.

All the brakes are brand new - I swapped original brakes for new self adjusting units at our campground in Mammoth Lakes. The voltages and current seem to check out. I'll continue to monitor as the new brakes wear to the shape of the original drums.
Hmmm.

When I swapped out the old manual Dexter brakes for the NevR-Adjust ones, I noticed that they had a lot less braking power than the old ones. (OTOH all four brakes were contributing a more balanced share of the load).

Right after Installation, I had to turn up the brake controller gain to 9 from 7.5 to get some reasonable effect. After a few thousand clicks of towing, the brakes seem much stronger now & I can reduce the brake controller back to around 7.5.

I suspect they just needed a breakin period to be properly effective. Perhaps that is what has happened to you. The mountain terrain has just made that more noticeable.

-evan
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Old 08-19-2013, 02:30 AM   #36
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Hi, of course you already know this, but new brakes need time and miles to seat in. Also your drums should have been machined too. My original brakes are still good, but after several years of use and a bearing repack, I had my drums machined on both the lining and magnet surfaces. Both need a better contact point.
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Old 08-20-2013, 06:28 AM   #37
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My understanding is that possibly the "25" models and definitely the "27" and longer models are towed by "Some Unknown Driver" at what speeds and how stiff a truck from the factory to the dealership.

The trailers sent to the South and North West have had a lot of miles put on by a non-owner whose only goal is to get there quickly for a turn around which might not be in the best interest of seating brakes or stress on the rivets or the rest of the suspension.
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Old 08-20-2013, 07:39 AM   #38
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A few comments here, trying to help you figure out the reasons for inadequate braking. First, generally speaking, going UPHILL in a lower than needed gear won't heat up your transmission nearly as much as in a too high a gear.

Second, have you checked your trailer brakes on a smooth dirt road? An old pro once told me this: a good, hard packed dirt road will produce a coefficient of friction about 80% that of good pavement. So, he argued, to test and adjust your trailer brakes, take the loaded rig down a good dirt road at about 35 mph and apply ONLY trailer braking force by using the "squeeze handle / slider" (or whatever it's called) on your brake controller, eventually applying full trailer braking force. By slowly increasing the amount of "gain" produced by the controller, you should be able to get to the point where the trailer's brakes will begin to lock and the tires to slide. The notion is that this means that on pavement, you should come just short of locking the brakes ... and so will not risk losing control in a max-braking scenario. I do this religiously every season, just to make sure that my OEM brake controller is "talking" correctly to the trailer brakes. Give this a try before you do anything else. If you can't lock the brakes on a dirt road at moderate speed, even with the gain control all the way up, you may not have enough braking force. (Be ready to release the brakes IMMEDIATELY, of course, if you do get lockup, so the trailer doesn't start to slide off course!)

Third, just because self-adjusting brakes are installed doesn't say anything about the state of adjustment right after they are installed. You need to hand-adjust the brakes just after installation ... I've personally never seen new axles (self-sdjusting or not) that came from the factory correctly adjusted. Once set up, the self-adjusters will HELP keep the brakes properly set for no-drag, ready-to-engage clearance, but they still want regular manual attention. And remember: they only adjust when you back up and apply the brakes relatively firmly. (We trailer folk tend not to back up too much and to apply the brakes gently, lest all that cupboard "stuff" move around and cause a big mess!)

Then too, if you intend to do a lot of mountain towing, you might want to consider a 3/4 ton tow vehicle. They have MUCH larger brake rotors, etc. and do a much better job of dissipating any extra kinetic energy that might build up if your speed starts to creep up. And remember that the energy you have to dissipate goes up with the SQUARE of your speed ... so increasing your speed from twenty miles an hour to forty causes the energy to go up by a factor of four.

Personally, even though I've got a 3/4 ton diesel and a relatively small trailer (23' Safari), I still consider the following on every big downhill (e.g. in the Rockies, and sometimes even in Eastern mountains): 1.) go over the top SLOW. Sometimes I'm going down in second gear at fifteen miles an hour; 2.) the primary way of keeping speed down is to start out slow and use a very low gear and engine braking; 3.) my tow vehicle's disk brakes are the second factor upon which I rely - sometimes you do have to use them, and mine are VERY capable; and 4.) trailer brakes are a distant third or fourth in slowing me down, but they're still important, so I check em' regularly.

Finally, do consider an infrared thermometer. I use mine EVERY TIME I pull off the road to stop for a rest break ... I check all the brake disk / drum temperatures and all of the tire temperatures. It takes only about a minute, and I KNOW which brake units are working, which ones are working harder than others, and whether any tire is running hot. No guesswork. Gives a lot of peace of mind.

Good luck with figuring this all out!
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Old 08-20-2013, 01:44 PM   #39
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Not Sure

As a new A/S owner I wasn't real sure about the trailer brakes. It seemed like they weren't locking up on full application. I don't have a Ford, rather a sweeeeet 2013 Chev Silverado 2500HD. I had my A/S dealer make sure the brakes were properly adjusted on my last service appointment.
I use tow/haul and the jake brake whenever towing and I can feel the trailer brakes when they are applied, but for the most part rely on the trans brake when descending mountain grades. A few months ago in the Sierra Nevada mountains I had no trouble at all.
With this TV it doesn't even seem like there is anything back there.....
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Old 08-25-2013, 04:29 PM   #40
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bigmikeeb,

OK, the Dmax and its trans do a good job. But if you're "wasn't real sure about the trailer brakes" then MAYBE you're missing out on getting the full contribution of the trailer brakes. I'd like to be as certain as possible that all of my equipment is doing the best it can. We don't get a lot of 2nd chances at stopping. Coming down a known grade and having the situation that allows driver input, trans gear selection and call for engine braking is all good. But its that unplanned moment when the brakes will be tested and you want every thing working to its potential.

I hope the OP finds his satisfaction point also with his brakes too.

Gary
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:33 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, of course you already know this, but new brakes need time and miles to seat in. Also your drums should have been machined too. My original brakes are still good, but after several years of use and a bearing repack, I had my drums machined on both the lining and magnet surfaces. Both need a better contact point.
I think this is the next step...the brakes appear to be getting a little stronger with more use - but still not what I would like.
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:38 PM   #42
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A few comments here, trying to help you figure out the reasons for inadequate braking. First, generally speaking, going UPHILL in a lower than needed gear won't heat up your transmission nearly as much as in a too high a gear.
Typo on my part. I found Toy/Haul mode was selecting too high a gear on some of the steep climbs, so fell back to manual selection of the gear. By selecting a lower gear, the transmission temperatures were better regulated.

My first trip with the rig into really big mountains. It was only on a couple of occasions where the temperatures climbed out of nominal. The climb out of death valley CA at 46C (115F) was memorable. I liked the sign that recommended turning off the AC for the next 20 miles.

I followed the suggestion...
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