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Old 10-27-2006, 02:09 PM   #1
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Tow Command and the Actibake system

Hi all,
My new F-250 comes with an integrated brake controller. Any one tow with this and the Actibrake system.
Does it work as well as the Prodigy?
Pluses and minuses appreciated.
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Old 10-27-2006, 02:25 PM   #2
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I pulled our Argosy Minute with F-250 thru the Colorado Mtns this summer.
I don't know about the Actibrake system.
I absolutely love the TC Module, Up hill, downhill, on the flats, the downhill speed control /brakeing system works great.
It worked better than my other controler.
Don
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Old 10-27-2006, 04:02 PM   #3
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I am totally new to towing and I am soooo glad I bought an F-250 with tow command with built in brake controler. When stopping I don't even realize the trailer is back there.

My dealer originally set it on 4.0 and I have since increased it to 4.5 and finally to 5.0 and it works marvelously. I like the engine braking from a practical standpoint, but it takes a little getting used to at first when the engine revs up.

I am very satisfied with my PSD and Tow Command and built in Brake Controler.

Oh, BTW you asked if it works as well as Prodigy...it is manufactured for Ford by Prodigy!
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Old 10-27-2006, 04:08 PM   #4
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Love it

I towed a 5th wheel prior to purchasing our Airstream. I used a Prodigy controller in my F150 and it worked great. I now have an F250 with the Tow Command system and I LOVE it. My airstream has a GVRW of 9100 lbs and tows like a dream. The engine braking on the F250 is the best. I live in a steep mountainous area and I really feel good when the truck senses the hill and automatically gears down to help keep the brakes cool.
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Old 10-27-2006, 04:31 PM   #5
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2airishuman has that setup. I don't think he'd settle for anything less than excellent. He's in Oregon at the Beverly Beach Bash and checks in from the road once in a while. We'll see what other folks have to say. I'm sure he'd share his experience -- I've PM'ed him.
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Old 10-27-2006, 04:43 PM   #6
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As some of you may know , I just took delivery of a 2007 25' Classic two weeks ago.I tow with a 2006 Ford F350 that I bought in June of this year. On the way home from the dealership I had problems with the brakes. The next day I called both the dealer and Active Technology the maker of the Airstream brake actuator to discuss the problem. I was told that the brake controller in my Ford and Actibrake software are incompatable but they had just developed new software in their heavy duty unit that was compatable and they would ship me a new unit on Monday( This was on Friday). I made the swap but it wasn't easy as the box between the A-frame has to be modified to accept the longer heavy duty unit. It also rquires adding a new wiring harnes that has to be spliced in to the Airstream wiring harness.I understand that the 2005 Fords worked just fine ? but Ford changed the software in 06 and that caused the problems.
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Old 10-27-2006, 09:28 PM   #7
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Does the safari have Disk brakes with the Actibrake system.
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Old 10-27-2006, 09:38 PM   #8
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No. You can add them on at a dealer on the Safari. I have read here that AS won't do it as an option on a new unit. The battery box holds the actibrake system on the Classics. On the Safaris the batteries are located in that box.
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Old 10-27-2006, 09:48 PM   #9
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My Safari has drum brakes
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Old 10-27-2006, 09:48 PM   #10
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OEM Safaris are still the fade-prone drum brakes. As Carol says, the factory will not put disks on a Safari while on the line -- only after the fact (either a proficient dealer or back at the factory).
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Old 10-29-2006, 11:36 PM   #11
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Well I towed the Trailer with the Actibrake systems and the Tow Command from West Yellowstone back to La Grande, OR over two days. It stopped fine. It does seem to lag a little behind the truck brakes. The manual describes how to set the gain setting on the controller but does not say what it does. Is it a boost function like the prodigy or setting the minimum voltage when I step on the brakes?
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Old 10-30-2006, 01:22 AM   #12
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Hi Michelle,

Until 2air’ checks in and comments, I thought you might like to hear some of his experience as posted in other threads here:

"one of the main reasons i purchased an 05 superduty was the built it controller and having the protection of a ford factory warranty with it. the favorable reviews i read were the same one you and others likely read.
however......and this was a BIG surprise once i had the truck. if you look in the owners manual regarding the integrated brake control, there is a big box warning that says it is only to be used with electric-drum brakes, and not with electric over hydralic or other systems.......i had to reread this again in disbelief but it's there in english....... take a look for yourself…
finally while i was touring at jackson center one of their folks was able to speak with an engineer at ford. and he confirmed that the system would work fine with the airstream factory disc system, with one exceptiion. while at a complete stop using the dash lever to apply trailer only brakes wouldn't work but during movement it would work fine as would the rest of the system."
2air’ post of 04-07-2005 in message thread "Which Brake Controller"

And just last month:

"i've had no problems with the tow command system or the integrated brake control'r....
in fact it works so well i'm worried that in 20,000 miles of towing i've not had to touch the system for anything since the initial setup..."
2air’ 09-14-06 message thread "Brake controllers, Prodigy and more…"

BTW… I’ve had my 2006 Silver F-250 PSD for two months now and just love it!

Cheers,
Bill
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Old 10-30-2006, 10:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecatsandi
Well I towed the Trailer with the Actibrake systems and the Tow Command from West Yellowstone back to La Grande, OR over two days. It stopped fine. It does seem to lag a little behind the truck brakes. The manual describes how to set the gain setting on the controller but does not say what it does. Is it a boost function like the prodigy or setting the minimum voltage when I step on the brakes?
Hi Michelle,
The gain setting adjusts the output voltage to the trailer brakes. I usually run mine about 6.5 as I have a heavy Airstream (9100 gvwr). Generally the lighter you trailer the lower your gain would be. I am attaching a link to an inspection bulletin about the Ford TC that you may find interesting. It also explains how to properly calibrate the gain for your trailer.

Steve
http://www.cvsa.org/resourcecenter/d...tin2005-01.pdf
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Old 10-30-2006, 12:00 PM   #14
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hi michelle

sorry to read about your accident. i'd missed this while traveling. someone at the rally had the pictures....ouch.

thanks silvergate for finding my old posts on the actibrake/towcommand. there is more on the issue in the thread he notes but that is for the 2005 truck model...

i really do like it and after doing the proper set up (enough boost to lock up the brakes...then back it off just a little) it has worked really well.
took me an hour or 2 of 'smokin-em' on a vacant road to complete the set up.

my gain is set at 7.5 after a year at 7.0 but that's for a 11.5k trailer
and i'd rather eat brake pads than someones rear bumper....

the tsb slowolf referenced is worth reading and downloading and printing.

carry it with you.

the tsb explains far better than my attempts,
the issue of manual application at rest and other features of the system.
like no voltage manually at a full stop, progressing up as speed builds...

the integrated brake controller also works with antilock features of the truck brakes...

i was unaware of the software issue on 06 superduties or the actibrake 'box' changes, but craftsman seems to have that clearly explained.

many of the 'pluses' are related to how disc brakes work, resist fade are progressive and have fewer parts to maintain.
drum brakes work fine on trailers and have for years but discs are just better.

on the minus side the main issue is having a system that not many service folks understand.
you will need to use up to date service folks and learn ALL about the system yourself....


the tranny downshift and gear hold feature of the towcommand is really nice
but doesn't activate the trailer brakes...keep that in mind on steep down hill passes and big curves.

i crossed the rockies at eisenhower tunnel last week...lots of elevation change and traffic and twisties pulling my 34.
it all worked great and the brakes/controller worked such that i was relaxed and enjoyed the ride.

if you have any issues with setup or usage or driver feedback feel free to pm me but
you should also expect and insist that the a/s dealer service AND ford dealer service help you...including test drives...

you have spent too much money and with so much at stake, INSIST they help you...that's what customer service is, right?

best of luck with your new setup and travels...

that's all for now i'm on the road to warmer climates...

cheers
2air'
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