Brake Controller Required?

Discussion in 'A-Frame PopUps' started by Willam Bond, Sep 24, 2021.

  1. TSQ

    TSQ Active Member

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    The inline devices such as the Curt Echo engage the trailer brakes whenever the vehicle brake lights turn on. As all active vehicle safety braking systems turn on the brake lights when they function the trailer brakes will also be engaged during vehicle initiated emergency braking maneuvers.

    I've seen more and more of the Curt devices and it makes me wonder - do you keep the app open on your phone when towing so you can manually apply the trailer brakes if required? I usually use my phone for mapping so I'd need a second device for the Curt Echo.

    If I was going wireless I'd lean towards the Tekonsha Prodigy RF.
     
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  2. MEGEDH

    MEGEDH New Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I use the Tekonsha Prodigy RF on my 2021 Toyota Highlander https://www.amazon.com/Tekonsha-902502-Prodigy-Proportional-Controller/dp/B08YZ3JV8N It works great and I have the added benefit of being able to use either of my vehicles since the brake controller is mounted on the Aliner frame.
     
  3. S4nsc

    S4nsc Member

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    I can confirm the 3rd Gen (‘16-current) Toyota Tacoma does not include a brake controller but is pre-wired with a plug under the dash. I plugged in a Redarc TowPro Elite, mounted the control knob and it works great.

    Surprised Ford didn’t at least pre-wire and make it plug and play.
     
  4. TSQ

    TSQ Active Member

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    I had a quick read through the ranger5g forum that Taz-pop mentioned and I'm pretty sure they do, at least the ones with the factory tow package: https://www.ranger5g.com/forum/threads/redarc-tow-pro-elite-install.1924/

    Also, if it the same place the OEM Ford version of the brake controller (which works with AEB) connects I fail to see why any other brake controller would not work with Automatic Emergency Braking.

    Also, the RedArc Liberty is cheaper than the Elite and will work with any 1 or 2 axle trailer.
     
  5. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    Tow package means different things.

    I have a 12-year old Ford Edge, with TOW PACKAGE. That mean a class 2 hitch, 4-pin wing plug, and better transmission cooling. No wiring for brake controller except for the one I strung up myself.

    I also have a pickup with nothing called a "tow package" but it has a class V hitch, 7-and 4-pin plugs, and builtin controller and actually tows pretty well.

    Glad some Ranger people are here to point you in the right direction. New technology is fun but there's sure a lot of it... :)
     
  6. Ger

    Ger Member

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    Okay, I’m a newbie to the pop up world, but…. my 2021 Coachmen Clipper came with electric brakes. My tow vehicle (Toyota Highlander) had a factory installed tow bar and a 4-way connector. The long and the short of it was that the 4-way connector did not have a wire / line to be able to actuate the trailer brakes, and I needed to install a brake controller in the TV. I bought a 7-way brake controller with all the connections from etrailer (they are absolutely AWESOME by the way) and my regular mechanic wired it up. I now have a brake control knob on my dashboard where I can dial in the amount of braking I need for my pop up. It also charges the trailer battery as well as doing the lights, brake lights and turn signals. From what I’ve read and researched these “adapters” seem to be able to allow a round 7-pin connector connect to a rectangular 4-pin connector but you don’t get all the functions of the 7-pin. If your trailer has electric brakes, you should have your TV upgraded to a 7-pin connector and add the brake controller as it will make for a safer ride.
     
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  7. wusthof

    wusthof Active Member

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    My mistake, sorry. I thought I saw pix of a Flex with the f150 controller. I had an oem trailer pkg installed on mine, but had to add my own controller. The tekonsha would be superior anyways, but the oem is a cleaner look in the cabin
     
  8. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    They might have them. But its usually an add on. Prep package, is just that, wires are there allready. Kind of like the auto start. Its allready built in new vehicals but you need them to program it to work.
     
  9. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Meaning the wiring is there for it.
     
  10. davido

    davido Well-Known Member

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    Tow packages can include any of the following:

    • HD or higher efficiency / capacity radiator.
    • External transmission cooler, or higher efficiency cooler integrated with radiator.
    • Wiring within the fusebox for trailer lights, brakes, power.
    • Charge line from the fusebox leading aft to the hitch.
    • Trailer hitch (Class 2, 3, 4, or 5)
    • Trailer 7-way connector (other connectors may be present additionally, or instead of the 7-way)
    • Tow mode (possibly firmer transmission shifts, altered shift patterns, maybe other things)
    • Active sway control
    • Brake controller plug
    • Brake controller (built-in)
    • Heavier-duty suspension
    • Air suspension
    • Different mirrors.
    • Approval from the manufacturer to tow up to some limit without voiding the warranty.
    As you can see there is a wide range of options that may constitute a tow package. Minimally, I would assume a hitch and an electrical connector.

    Examples:

    2015 Ford Explorer Sport with tow package: HD radiator (includes transmission cooler), fuse panel wiring for towing circuit, tow mode button (alters shift patterns), active sway control (part of the traction control system), a plug where a brake controller can be connected, a hitch (integrated with the unibody frame), and a 7-way plug. Rating: 5000/500.

    2009 Chevy Traverse LTZ with tow package: Tow mode, higher-efficiency radiator, 7-way plug, hitch, under-dash plug where a brake controller can be connected. Rating: 5000/600. Fuse panel wiring for towing circuits.

    1995 Ford Bronco XLT 5.8L with tow package: Enhanced front suspension, hitch, plug under dash for brake controller, 7-way connector, external transmission cooler. Rating: 7000/700 (I use a weight distribution hitch because even 500 pound tongue weight causes a little more sag in back and lift in front than I like). Fuse panel wiring for towing circuit.

    2011 Chevy Silverado (Zombie Apocalypse Edition, IIRC): Transmission cooler, tow mode, hitch (class 4), 7-way connector, integrated proportional brake controller (proportional to brake pressure... really nice). Rating: (can't remember for sure but I think it's something like 17000/1200). Mirrors that pull out to get a better view around wide trailers. Fuse panel wiring for towing equipment.

    So these tow vehicles I've used in the past five years have sort of a broad range of features associated with tow package. The most common packages seem to include: (1) Increased permissible towing capacity (2) A hitch. (3) A trailer wiring connector. (4) Transmission cooler. (5) fuse panel wiring for towing circuit. (6) A plug into which a brake controller may be connected. That's what is common between all the tow vehicles I've used in recent years.
     
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  11. Sotovoce

    Sotovoce Active Member

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    This was our experience when we got the 2016 Tacoma, but we didn't need a new brake controller. We just moved the Tekonsha Prodigy P2 from the car.
     
  12. TimAZ

    TimAZ New Member

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    I agree about the Prodigy RF, it’s a good system for many reasons. One feature that isn’t obvious comes in to play when the TV has a hybrid or full electric drive. These systems have regenerative braking where they harvest energy to recharge the drive batteries instead of wasting it as heat in brake rotors. The Prodigy controller has a gain setting that can be adjusted to “dial-down” the trailer brakes so more of the energy is available to the TV regen system. This makes a significant difference in fuel economy on long trips.
     
  13. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    The new Ranger is a COMPLETELY different animal from the prior model, so this probably does NOT apply, but here is my experience.

    I had a 2000 Ranger V6 5 speed 4x4. Great little truck BTW... Anyway, I didn't own, but rented a pop up camper for a trip to Padre Island National Seashore. Getting up and going I really didn't notice the trailer back there. I mean I could tell there was some weight, but nothing obnoxious, no sway or anything.

    I ended up in a sitaution coming back taking TX 35 back coming up toward Alvin when one of those small town traffic lights that had been green probably for the last 3 days decided to change VERY rapidly on me, I grabbed gears, and got on the brakes, only to realize the trailer was pushing me. I ended up with the truck in the intersection, only the camper behid the stop line.

    So with that being said, if your Ranger does not have a factory trailer brake controller, get one and add it. You will regret not having it.
     
  14. Susan Premo

    Susan Premo Well-Known Member

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    How do you install it? I see a wire that has clear plastic like sleeve over it, it's attached to the aliner but I don't know where to place this wire, should I post a picture? It's dark now, so if you need a photo I'll post one tomorrow .
     
  15. MEGEDH

    MEGEDH New Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Are you talking about the ‘trailer emergency break away cable’ ? That attaches to your tow vehicle. If the trailer disconnects from the tow vehicle that cable trips the sensor and locks up the breaks of the trailer so it doesn’t cause additional collisions. Here is a YouTube video that explains it further.
     

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