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Old 11-15-2011, 10:19 PM   #1
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Elec. brake gain setting

Towing with a 2011 Silverado 2500HD with the 6.6 Durmax diesel. Got the trailering package and trying to figure out what gain setting to use on the brake controller.

I've settled on 3.0 when on the highway with no grades and driving mostly straight at a steady speed. When I get off the highway I set it at 5.0 but I'm just flying blind here.
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Old 11-15-2011, 11:11 PM   #2
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For better or worse, I have mine set on 10. I have a 2009 2500 HD and a 2008 27FB. I just kept moving it up by trial and error until it felt "right". I was looking for a similar brake feel compared to my prior TV.

I don't think I have ever locked the trailer tires with this setting but over the course of nearly three years I have had a couple of instances where I was on the brakes pretty hard. I could tell that the trailer brakes were well engaged in that situation but it was short of locking up the tires. I'm not 100% sure but I do believe that I COULD lock the tires if I got on the brakes as hard as I could. I just try and avoid those situations.

I try and avoid towing in really slick conditions (ice, snow, heavy rain) but in those cases I might dial it back just a bit to minimize the chance of locking up the wheels in a quick stop. YMMV.

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Old 11-15-2011, 11:21 PM   #3
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Generally what you're looking for on gain is what gets you right to the edge of lockup with 100% brake application with the manual control. Less gives up some potential braking, and more is counter-productive.

In my (meager) experience it's an iterative process, and I had to readjust a bit after a brake adjustment as well.
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:22 AM   #4
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Hi, you might try is what my P-3 instructions say to do. Warm up your brakes by driving a few miles and stopping normally. Then adjust your brake controller so that at 25 MPH, when you manually apply your trailer brakes, all of your trailer brakes lock up. Then adjust your brake controller just low enough to where your trailer brakes won't skid at 25 MPH. Now your all set.
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, you might try is what my P-3 instructions say to do. Warm up your brakes by driving a few miles and stopping normally. Then adjust your brake controller so that at 25 MPH, when you manually apply your trailer brakes, all of your trailer brakes lock up. Then adjust your brake controller just low enough to where your trailer brakes won't skid at 25 MPH. Now your all set.
This is the same process I use on my 2010 Chevy 2500HD with the factory brake controller. I have used this process on my previous SOB and my recently purchased 2002 AS 25. I have been using a setting of 6 on the factory brake controller. I believe brake controller bias setting is directly effected by how tight you brakes are adjusted.
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Old 11-16-2011, 09:48 AM   #6
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Still a bit confused

Thanks for those replies, I'm still a bit confused.

So the electric brake controller in my truck is supposed to allow me to control the trailer brakes as I use the brake pedal in my truck, I get that part.

When I'm just driving down the highway and not on the brakes will my trailer brakes ever engage if I don't step on the pedal or use the manual slider on the brake controller? In other words if I set the gain as high as it will go, will the trailer brakes drag while driving?

I guess the reason I was driving with a low setting was a misguided feeling that perhaps the trailer would roll easier at a low setting - I think I need to go back and read the manual :-)
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Old 11-16-2011, 09:56 AM   #7
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I followed the instructions in the manual as well and am happy with the results. Ours ended up being set to to 6.5 (if I recall correctly). I don't adjust for driving conditions/speeds.

The goal is to have the trailer brakes lead the truck's very slightly so that everything stops in a straight line. Having it set too high means you will be wearing out your trailer brakes early and will make for some hard stops.

As far as I know, if your truck has sway control (I think most of the late model SRW witrh stabil-a-track have it) then the only time that the trailer brakes will activate without pressing the brake pedal will be if the truck detects that the trailer is swaying.

Also, keep in mind that in slippery conditions you want to turn the exhaust brake off so that the truck will not slow down without any trailer brakes being applied.
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by xo1rider View Post
When I'm just driving down the highway and not on the brakes will my trailer brakes ever engage if I don't step on the pedal or use the manual slider on the brake controller? In other words if I set the gain as high as it will go, will the trailer brakes drag while driving?

I guess the reason I was driving with a low setting was a misguided feeling that perhaps the trailer would roll easier at a low setting - I think I need to go back and read the manual :-)
No, they don't activate until you hit the pedal, regardless of the gain setting. It's not a continuous current - that would actually burn out the brakes pretty quickly.
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xo1rider
Thanks for those replies, I'm still a bit confused.

...When I'm just driving down the highway and not on the brakes will my trailer brakes ever engage if I don't step on the pedal or use the manual slider on the brake controller? In other words if I set the gain as high as it will go, will the trailer brakes drag while driving?...
The electric brake controller senses the service brakes are active from the brake light circuit then uses its internal accelerometer to sense how hard the tow vehicle is slowing and then sends a proportional voltage to the trailer brakes. The purpose of the gain setting is to synchronize the results so that in a panic stop the trailer brakes will apply with maximum effort short of skidding, in a light or moderate stop lesser effort is applied.

Before the days of ABS, many controllers were physically plumbed into a brake line coming off the master cylinder providing a voltage directly proportional to the pressure in the brake lines. I believe someone now makes one that can be plumbed into the brake line on a vehicle with ABS. The majority currently on the market use some form of pendulum or its electronic equivalent to sense how hard it thinks you are trying to stop.

If your trailer brakes ever engage when you don't have your foot on the brake there is a malfunction or the pin has come out of the breakaway switch.
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