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Old 09-19-2011, 12:20 AM   #1
Flying Cloud STEVE
 
2010 25' FB Flying Cloud
Carrollton , Texas
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Need advice on brake controllers.

I just bought a new 25' Flying Cloud that I'm planning on pulling with a Tundra with the big 5.7 Liter V8. The dealer says he'll install a controller, the Tundra is pre-wired for one. Question is how will I know if it is a decent brake controller, or should I just trust them to not low ball me and give me the cheapest controller out there? Doesn't seem like this is an area to scrimp on. And suggestions on where best on the Tundra to have it installed? Everyone says by your right knee, but I'm 6'5" and I'm not wanting to sacrifice one millimeter of knee room.

I'd appreciate any advice from you savy long time pullers of big trailers. We'll be using this rig lots in the mtns, and I feel perhaps a bit undersized on my tow vehicle even though it is rated for 10,600 lbs. And if any of ya'll are towing a 25' FC with a similar Tundra, I'd love to know what kind of mileage you're getting.

Thanks for helping a newbie.
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Old 09-19-2011, 12:54 AM   #2
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Hi, my trailer came with a Tekonsha Voyager. It was free and installed free. It worked well, but years later I wanted something better and with a digital read out so I could set it by numbers instead of by feel. The Tekonsha Prodigy has had great reports, but the Tekonsha P-3 was the newest and greatest, so I replaced the Voyager with a P-3. They aren't really that expensive. Ask them what model they are planning on installing and ask for a P-3 even if you have to pay extra. [my opinion]
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:18 AM   #3
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Search for "brake controller" on this site: www.tundratalk.net

There are lots of photos of brake controller installations. Also, make sure the brake controller is compatible with the brakes on your Airstream. The Prodigy has been a reliable controller for years, but only works with electric brakes. If your Airstream has disc brakes, you may need a different model. However, Tekonsha is a good brand, and it is sold under several other names (I think ours is a Draw-Tite). However, the actual controller is identical, except for the logo and branding.

We have used a Tekonsha Prodigy since 2005, and it still works great. Also, we moved it from a 1978 Chevy pickup to our Tundra, in 2008; and it worked great in both vehicles.

The Tundra has a little cubby hole in the dash, near the gear shift (in the console). There's a little plastic pocket that pops out, and the Prodigy fits right in the hole. We didn't have to drill any mounting holes, and the wires route straight back to the brake controller connector that is behind the firewall cover behind the brake pedal. If you get the "Toyota harness" from Tekonsha, it's plug and play. I spent more time fiddling with routing the harness and trying not to break the tabs off of the little pocket (which we will probably never use again), than actually installing and hooking up the controller.

Personally, I'd purchase a controller and install it myself (it is so simple to do), and pocket the dealer markup. I think Prodigy's are a little under $100 right now on the Internet, maybe less. We paid about $75 for ours in 2005.

Note: I think the Tekonsha Voyager is a "time-delay" controller, which isn't quite as smooth as a Prodigy, which is "proportional" (I think the Prodigy contains electronic accelerometers). After the initial set-up, you won't even know the Airstream is behind you in normal braking.

In any case, I'd think this purchase through; because brake controllers last a long, long time. And, you don't want to be swapping out controllers after a couple of trips, because it doesn't work very well for you. The next model up, the Tekonsha P3, is only $20-30 more, I think, which is a small difference spread out over many years. (Just guessing at the price, I really don't know for sure.) However, if our Prodigy ever fails, I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one. We're very satisfied with the braking performance and reliability.
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:38 AM   #4
jay
 
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I have a Prodigy that I have had for about 6 years. It has been a great controller and I would not hesitate to purchase another or the newer replacement version.
as for placement, make sure it is easily accessible in an emergency for manual operation. I have only had to actuate my controller once in many years of towing but I would not have wanted to reach or fumble when I needed it.

Jay.
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:54 AM   #5
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F & S.

Go with a quality name brand.

It is a pretty straight-forward install and if you DIY you will have the experience to do an emergency change out or diagnosis at some time down the road.

I'm biased...

Bob
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Old 09-19-2011, 08:56 AM   #6
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A few comments from my experience; I considered the in-dash installation, and after seeing the pictures from others that took it on, I decided that taking apart the dash was something I was not comfortable in doing. So I went with the simple install under the dash. I purchased my unit through etrailer and watched the installation video. I have not ever come close to hitting it with my knee, but then again, I and not 6'5". Here is a picture.
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:34 AM   #7
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Warner Brake Controller

I’ve never seen the controller that I use referenced on Air Forums, so here I go.

On my 2001 BMW X5 towing a 2002 ASCL 31’ CanAm RV installed a “Warner Brake Controller”; it has been trouble free in the 10 years and 35,000 miles I have towed.

The controller mounts directly on top of the brake pedal. It is spring loaded, hinging at the bottom where it is about 1” thick; at the top it is about 1 ½” thick. “Toeing” it at the top allows applying only the trailer brakes while “heeling” it at the bottom only applies the X5 brakes; so I have total flexibility in controlling the assembly without ever having to think about a separate controller mounted on the instrument panel (and cluttering the aesthetics of the X5). In an emergency I don’t have to give any thought to braking other than just mashing hard on the brake pedal, although through habit I always “toe” the brake pedal before/while I apply the brakes.

The wiring runs from the battery, through an auto resetting breaker, through the firewall, down the brake pedal arm to the controller, from the controller back up the brake pedal arm to the left rocker, along the left rocker to the back of the X5 where it “pins” into the 7 pin connector.
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Old 09-19-2011, 12:46 PM   #8
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First, I would ask the Toyota dealer what brand and model of controller he would be installing.

For what it's worth, I have the Prodigy and am very pleased after using for about 12,000 miles.
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:33 PM   #9
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Nice setup. I also bought a 25' Flying Cloud yesterday and will be pulling it with a '11 Tundra CrewMax with the 5.7.

I've got my walk thru and delivery scheduled for 10/4. My schedule just doesn't let me make the trek back to San Antonio from Houston until then.

They're putting in a Reese Digital brake controller and an Equiliser hitch. Are you adding a WD hitch?

Anyone have any feedback on the Reese Digital controllers?

Did you get the front bed model? If so do you have any mods planned for the bed? At 6'5" that is pretty small for you. It's barely big enough for me at 6'.

When are you scheduled to pick it up?
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Old 09-19-2011, 10:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix
The Prodigy has been a reliable controller for years, but only works with electric brakes. If your Airstream has disc brakes, you may need a different model.
I don't think that's correct. I have a P3 and there is a setting that allows one to chose between "electric" and "hydraulic" so I'm thinking that It would be fine with hydraulic discs.
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Old 09-19-2011, 10:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phbarnhart View Post
I don't think that's correct. I have a P3 and there is a setting that allows one to chose between "electric" and "hydraulic" so I'm thinking that It would be fine with hydraulic discs.
You are both correct.

The earlier model Prodigy did not have an option for discs but the newer P3 does.
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:24 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by azflycaster
You are both correct.

The earlier model Prodigy did not have an option for discs but the newer P3 does.
Well that explains it!
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:20 AM   #13
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I just bought one of those shown on Steamy1's post. My '98 Dodge Ram was wired for 7 er whatever trailer brakes.
I bought the jumper to fit the wiring block to the controler...yeah, plugged right in, and to the controler.
The guy said don't install it where it blocks the vehical's diagnosis plug in as most end up doing.
I installed mine at the bottom of dash using the bracket shown using one factory screw hole and one I made. (quite sturdy) on the left side. I don't come near it and far form any cup holders too. ~Had the buggar installed in twenty minutes..sweet! Do it yourself if you have a wiring block to hook to...google it..my search spoke of a blue block and it was there.
I bought this pricey model and like it, but the guy said it didn't need to be installed within 20 degrees of level like the cheaper model did. But somewhere in the user manual it mentioned hill detection. lol, I ignored it and mounted at bottom edge of dash using the mount that swivels level or towards me.
Programmed proper boost for size trailer/set power around 6.7 and was golden. lol, now where's that hill?
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:50 AM   #14
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Well yeah...I had to look it up. I do have a Tekonsha P-3.
Correcting~ It says the front of the P-3 must be horizontal. And must be parallel to direction of travel.. for installation purposes.
But then it says~ "The P-3 will automaticlly acquire the proper level setting." and "It will also automaticlly adjust as you travel up or down hills."
Figure that one. The guy who sold me the unit did say it can be installed as Steamy1 has done. I put mine on the bottom justin case.

Mine was 180.00 + the price of the jumper which I think was 25.00 er so.
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