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Old 01-28-2014, 06:29 PM   #1
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Brake control necessary for a 2013 Volvo XC70?

Our new Volvo will be towing our new 16' AS Sport. We had the tow package added at the Volvo factory when we picked it up in Sweden, which includes the hitch and 7-pin connector. According to Volvo owners manual, we have DSTC with TSA but seems that the TSA trailer assist only activates when the DSTC senses issues with braking. We can't get a straight answer from our Volvo dealer if we need the added brake control like Prodigy RF brake control. Our AS dealer didn't know either. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
We towed the AS home on Saturday without issue but don't know how safe it is to operate without the added brake control.
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:12 PM   #2
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Hi John. You need a brake controller and a weight distribution hitch regardless of what ever all those acronyms mean. There is a new saying, " When in America, do as the Americans do". We have a similar saying in Canada, especially in Quebec. You also need some additional mirrors so you have a fighting chance of seeing your neighbours. That is one nice Airstream you have. Don't let anybody tell you that is subject to depreciation. Jim
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:33 PM   #3
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You could test the 7 pin connector with a test light or voltmeter. From the wiring diagram, locate the pin for the brake controller and check to see if there is current when someone steps on the brake pedal. That will tell you if you have working brakes. No current, no brakes. However, the TSA must use the brake circuit to engage the brakes to react to sway that is detected. I'd think that you'd need a brake controller for normal braking, and the TSA may engage independently when triggered. The TSA must have some sort of modulation, though. It can't be just on or off, or it could lock up the trailer brakes when it engages. Interesting problem.
If you want some help, PM me - I'm in the Chicago area and wouldn't mind looking at it.
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:58 PM   #4
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Most new cars have trailer sway control built into the electronic stability control system. If they sense the trailer is pushing the car back and forth they will actuate the cars brakes individually so as to damp the sway. They don't do anything to the trailer's brakes.

You need to add a brake controller to actuate the trailer brakes.
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Old 01-28-2014, 08:44 PM   #5
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Most new cars have trailer sway control built into the electronic stability control system.
Which cars are those? Do you have any links so we can read about this?
The only thing I have ever seen in writing about built in sway control has been for Ford trucks, and what it says in that manual is if you get a "sway" alert, you need to make corrections to the trailer, possibly even installing an antisway bar, to safely continue to tow the trailer.
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Old 01-28-2014, 09:25 PM   #6
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My Chevy Truck (2013 Silverado 2500 Duramax) has it too. Don't know about others...
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Old 01-29-2014, 08:11 AM   #7
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Thanks for the input. We've opted for the Prodigy RF brake control and ordered it from etrailer. Think that this will do the trick.
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:32 AM   #8
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Which cars are those? Do you have any links so we can read about this?
The only thing I have ever seen in writing about built in sway control has been for Ford trucks, and what it says in that manual is if you get a "sway" alert, you need to make corrections to the trailer, possibly even installing an antisway bar, to safely continue to tow the trailer.
I think most all new(ish) vehicles have this. For sure Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Escape.
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:52 AM   #9
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I think most all new(ish) vehicles have this. For sure Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Escape.
They sure don't seem to be making it well known. To me, it would be a big selling point of a new tow vehicle, but every search comes up with virtually nothing.
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Old 01-29-2014, 12:03 PM   #10
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Here's a youtube video discussing this (albeit briefly) in the GM trucks:

Stabilitrak in the 2014 GMC Sierra Pickup Truck - YouTube
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Old 01-29-2014, 12:26 PM   #11
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My last three BMW vehicles have had Trailer Stability Control, as BMW calls it, integrated into the vehicle. It was developed by Bosch with BMW. Bosch is also supplying systems to Ford, I saw an announcement about the F150 that referenced the Bosch system. The systems I have had sense vehicle yaw and compare it to the steering angle sensor to see if the vehicle is yawing more than it should, then apply vehicle brakes (only) and reduce engine power to restore stability. The second generation GM system now applies trailer brakes as well as vehicle brakes, before reducing engine power. This seems quite a step forward to me. SAE published a paper on the relative benefits of vehicle braking, automatic trailer braking, and combination braking, in handling unintended trailer sway. I don't have a copy but some posters might.

Perhaps worth reinforcing that these systems combat unintended sway, they don't prevent it. Proper hitch and trailer setup is as important as ever; these are more akin to ABS braking systems in that they get you out of trouble and situations that with careful preparation you may never get into.

I towed with two separate BMWs (X5 and X3) with this system and never saw the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) light come on due to trailer sway. That same light came on when the traction control intervened, or when the DSC system intervened on snowy roads, so I suspect that it would have lit up when the TSC activated if it had done so. I think the system was sitting there in the background just in case.
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Old 01-29-2014, 12:31 PM   #12
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Which cars are those? Do you have any links so we can read about this?
Bosch's announcement from 2005:

Robert Bosch LLC. - Media Center

Current BMW system (showing a European hitch, but the same electronics):

BMW Technology Guide : Trailer stability control

GM and Ford both announced first generation systems back in 2005 on their SUVs. This is the announcement of the Chev Silverado second generation system:

Trailer Sway Control Standard on all Chevrolet Silverados
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Old 02-03-2014, 06:19 AM   #13
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Well we attempted to install the Prodigy RF brake control yesterday that we got a great deal from ETrailer. Mounted it to the right side of trailer frame. Was afraid to drill in left hand side due to wiring running through there. Mounting was simple. Should have known that the rest of the process would not be so easy.
We can't seem to pair the handheld device with the controller. Handheld won't get past n.c. Following pairing instructions to the letter. Will call prodigy tech support later today. Not sure if it's the prodigy itself or wiring issue on Volvo or Airstream. Pretty frustrating however. Glad that we have time before the season begins to get this fixed.
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:48 AM   #14
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I am looking at a 2007 Volvo XC90. Did ou have to get the Volvo wiring harness to install the prodigy in the vehicle?
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