Brake Controller recommendations?

Discussion in 'Road Safety Systems' started by wapwap, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. wapwap

    wapwap New Member

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    We're still in learning mode here. I've looked underneath and believe our PUP has electric brakes - it's got all the described items listed on other threads here for electric brakes. The TV has the necessary round plug for the trailer pigtail. The dealer failed (yet again! [:(!] ) to mention the need for a brake controller to make things work correctly. We managed our first trip safely (and unknowingly [:!] ) without one, but want to get one installed before we go too far again. We're pretty much done for the season except Camp Backyard because of other commitments. So I've got a few questions. I've read on here about the Prodigy, the Odyssey, and a P3 controllers. I don't know anything about these, so does anyone have any recommendations? Are they easy to install or should we have our local shop do it? Is there anything else I should know/watch for with electric brakes? [?:~{] We're both usually the DIY types, but don't do a lot with our vehicles. We've got a Chevy Silverado 1500 Z71 for the TV. Thanks!
     
  2. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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  3. Sushidog

    Sushidog Active Member

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    I installed my Tekonsha Primus by myself easily with no special harness. It works great, is easy to set-up, and only cost me about $75.

    Chip
     
  4. mercman

    mercman Go Ahead, Be That Happy Camper!

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    I just put a Prodigy P2 in my tundra. No complaints at all and slightly cheaper than the P3. Since your truck has a factory tow package it is probably prewired for the brake controller. You can get a adaptor that will simply plug straight into the truck into the controller. A simple "plug and play" with no splicing installation. Check your truck owners manual for the location of the plug. If your prewired, it a simple DIY,
     
  5. smoreking

    smoreking Member

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    I have a prodigy that was ordered from etrailer.com and they also had a link to an installation video on that site so I could order everything I needed and see where to plug it in on my specific truck.
     
  6. bheff

    bheff Well-Known Member

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    P2 and be happy!

    Had you bought a ford HD the brake controller is built in.
     
  7. screwballl

    screwballl Stimulus Package

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    I wouldn't stress too much about the brake controller unless you absolutely feel the need to. Your camper weighs close to the same as mine and mine has no brakes, but is towed safely with vehicles close to the same weight and power.

    I am not saying it is not important, just less important than it would be for a smaller TV (tow vehicle).
     
  8. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    I tow a trailer that is WAY below my 2011 RAM's tow weight rating and I would never tow anything anywhere without trailer brakes. Pay no attention to what your state says about needing or not needing them for trailers of certain weight. Get brakes. They could make the critical difference between a close call and disaster.
     
  9. screwballl

    screwballl Stimulus Package

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    I look at it as circumstantial:

    The only time I have ever needed or suggested trailer brakes is:
    1) with a full size vehicle and trailer weighs 4000 lbs or more GVWR, OR

    2) their TV was something smaller like a minivan or small SUV.

    In the original posters situation, the brakes are just a precaution/option, but not absolutely needed, especially on such light trailers as our pups behind a full size vehicle. We are talking about 1200-2500 lbs behind vehicles that weigh around 5000 lbs or more. Yes it is there, yes it can be used but that is your choice, not a requirement and the additional safety in this case is minimal.
     
  10. wapwap

    wapwap New Member

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    The trailer has brakes already installed (didn't know it when we bought it). And we found the wiring that was in the glove box. DH bought the truck before we met and wasn't sure what it was for, good thing he kept it and located it like he put it there yesterday! The max weight of the trailer is about 1/2 the towing capacity of the truck. We particularly wanted it to be that way. We've also found the location to plug in the controller. Now we're deciding which one to get. We're leaning towards the P2.

    I have to agree with Tripod, especially now that we have DS we want smooth travels. But if something comes up we'd rather have a close call than a disaster. And getting the controller for the brakes (especially since they are already on the camper) will make us more comfortable in that aspect. Not to mention that the State of Wisconsin requires brakes on trailers over 3,000 pounds and we're almost there when unloaded.
     
  11. Sushidog

    Sushidog Active Member

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    Do you think this guy needs brakes? [:D]

    [​IMG]

    Chip
     
  12. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    I didn't say it was a requirement, screwball. As for the additional safety being "minimal," that minimal amount may be the difference that makes a difference. Having brakes is simple, relatively inexpensive and essentially a "no brainer." Read some studies about the difference in stopping distances (wet and dry pavement) that brakes can make, even with light trailers.
     
  13. austinado16

    austinado16 Proud Starcraft Owner

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    Completely agree with unstable_tripod. Get the brakes working. It makes a big difference, even if you're towing with a Suburban.

    Prove it to yourself; go find a stretch of straight road, and do some reasonably hard stops, with, and then without, the trailer brakes working. Pick a point on the road where you apply the brakes each time, and do each test at the same speed. Compare how much road you use up without trailer brakes, as compared to with them. Now consider that this was a planned braking event where you were 100% in control of the circumstances. Imagine how it would go in a real braking situation where you needed to get the whole she'bang stopped before you ran into the back of some innocent family sitting at a traffic light, or who had to stop suddenly themselves.

    Here's another scenario: Imagine the trailer starts to sway while you're blasting down the road. Maybe it's how you loaded it this time, maybe it's some crazy cross-wind you're towing in, maybe you just got passed by a big rig doing 80mph, or maybe you blew a tire. Either way, you feel the tail of the truck start to pull, look in the mirror, and there goes the trailer...side-to-side. If you don't have trailer brakes, you've got about a 50/50 chance of not having a yard sale right there on the highway. In fact, your only hope is to gently let off the power, hold the steering wheel completely straight, and wait (and hope) for the trailer to calm down. If you've got a brake controller, this is instantly an non-event.....you simply grab the manual brake apply lever, swing it fully "on" and the trailer immediately snaps back in line.

    $100 for a brake controller is cheap compared to the potential outcome without it. Amertise that over how many years of trips you'll take with it, and it's pretty easy to understand that the thing will "cost" you about a penny per trip to own and use.
     
  14. screwballl

    screwballl Stimulus Package

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    I wasn't trying to argue either and I apologize if it came off that way. I just don't see the need when you have a heavy truck and reasonably light trailer. My pup loaded is in the 2500-3000 lb range, my TV is 5100 lb curb weight (probably closer to 5500 when loaded), and has a max tow rating of 8700 lbs. Again, I believe it is all circumstantial and your preference. If you choose to use it then fine, that is your choice.

    To answer the original poster since they stated a desire to use it still, my 91 Suburban (3/4 ton) had a P2 that worked excellent when needed.
     

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