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got my trailer brake controller installed :) #4488824
08/14/17 10:07 PM
08/14/17 10:07 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,123
Houston, Texas
motor_oil_madman Online content OP
motor_oil_madman  Online Content OP
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,123
Houston, Texas
I bought a tekonsha P3 trailer brake controller for my truck. You literally just plug it in to the existing plug that's under the dash. The trailer is only like 4,000 pounds I think, but I'd say it makes a difference. It was set to max straight out of the box and I took a short 20mph drive down my street and back just to see what it would do on the max setting and the trailer pretty much stopped the truck at that setting. lol

I'm pretty sure the brakes would be toast if I left it like that, so I read the manual and it said to start off at 6 and that seems like a good setting. I only brake a little bit harder than I would if the trailer wasn't back there. It did say you're supposed to use that lever at the bottom to max out the brakes and set it just before the tires lockup, but I'm not about to go locking up my tires and end up with a flat spot or something. How many of you guys have a brake controller? Do you ever use that lever at the bottom? I don't see how one could have time to reach down and grab it if they're about to run into someone.


2007.5 dodge cummins 6.7 liter. Chevron Delo400 15w40. 7000 mile or 250-300hr intervals.

Re: got my trailer brake controller installed :) [Re: motor_oil_madman] #4488829
08/14/17 10:15 PM
08/14/17 10:15 PM
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 166
Texas
PumpPusher Offline
PumpPusher  Offline
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 166
Texas
I've got the same one. I've never used the lever in normal operation. It's more to grab the trailer brakes a little to straighten you out from a jack knife as it starts like on the big trucks.

Re: got my trailer brake controller installed :) [Re: motor_oil_madman] #4488847
08/14/17 10:33 PM
08/14/17 10:33 PM
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 9,463
out there
spasm3 Offline
spasm3  Offline
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 9,463
out there
I have used the lever once to stop sway when i had a 16ft tt behind a ford escape. Not enough wheelbase.

I also use the lever to check the brakes before each trip. the prodigy brake controller is a good one, you made a wise choice.


13 elantra 72k 5w30 QSUD
03 chevy avalanche 80k synpwr 5w30
17 mazda cx-5 7300 miles m1 0w30
Re: got my trailer brake controller installed :) [Re: spasm3] #4488857
08/14/17 10:47 PM
08/14/17 10:47 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,123
Houston, Texas
motor_oil_madman Online content OP
motor_oil_madman  Online Content OP
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,123
Houston, Texas
Originally Posted By: spasm3
I have used the lever once to stop sway when i had a 16ft tt behind a ford escape. Not enough wheelbase.

I also use the lever to check the brakes before each trip. the prodigy brake controller is a good one, you made a wise choice.


Yeah I just ordered it off the internet. $128.00 for the controller and wiring harness. The local trailer places wanted like $200.00


2007.5 dodge cummins 6.7 liter. Chevron Delo400 15w40. 7000 mile or 250-300hr intervals.

Re: got my trailer brake controller installed :) [Re: motor_oil_madman] #4488908
08/15/17 01:30 AM
08/15/17 01:30 AM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,160
Saskatchewan, Canada
Johnny2Bad Offline
Johnny2Bad  Offline
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,160
Saskatchewan, Canada
I sometimes use the lever right at the end of a stop, say 5 mph or less. Keeps the trailer nice and straight, and it's a little easier on your hitch assembly. Used that way you have plenty of time to place your hand on the controller.


'57 FL Straight 50 wt
'90 Miata 1.8L w/Rotrex Supercharger [Mobil1 0W-40]
'96 Ram 1500 [3.7L Mobil1 0W-20 / 1L 15W-50]
'01 PT Cruiser [Mobil1 0W-40]
Re: got my trailer brake controller installed :) [Re: motor_oil_madman] #4488990
08/15/17 06:16 AM
08/15/17 06:16 AM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,065
MA.
Camprunner Offline
Camprunner  Offline
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,065
MA.
Same model here .. The lever is useful in several ways first I usually use it just after I start moving to heat up the trailer brakes a bit. Second I now and then use it coming to a stop to check the trailer brakes to see how they are working and how much bite they have. And third I use it going down the highway if my camper starts to sway and it won't seem to stop! Just slide the control lever and it will make the camper go straight.

Re: got my trailer brake controller installed :) [Re: motor_oil_madman] #4489012
08/15/17 06:46 AM
08/15/17 06:46 AM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,699
Southeast
meep Offline
meep  Offline
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,699
Southeast
The P3 is also nice in that it ramps up the brake load and doesn't just slap them on and off. It's a smoother braking unit than the one I had before.

I use the squeeze bar mostly to test the brakes - have never had sway issues; I also use a friction bar if the run will be of any distance.

It is a very good idea to set the max to prevent from skidding the tires. In my experience, trailer brakes are not consistent like a car, and at different temps they act differently. And the thing is, if one starts to lock, you won't notice from the cab until you see the smoke in the rearview. So I do advise watching them, especially in the local roads after coming off the highway - that's when mine are more likely, and checking it then to dial back the limit. That gives a good starting point.

My last trailer would lock the wheels, usually preferring one over the other 3. I had to rewire it to get them to brake evenly. My current single axle will not, and I'm not sure if it's because there's more weight over that single axle than what the brakes can handle, or if the wiring has some resistance in this one as well.

-m


2018 F150
2015 crv (wifey!)
Re: got my trailer brake controller installed :) [Re: motor_oil_madman] #4489019
08/15/17 06:52 AM
08/15/17 06:52 AM
Joined: Sep 2016
Posts: 1,418
Minnesota
bioburner Offline
bioburner  Offline
Joined: Sep 2016
Posts: 1,418
Minnesota
I like the setting to grab a bit more than the vehicles to keep things straight and I can feel them working while towing. Probably why the tow vehicles have original brakes even after 150k+.
I have the prodidigy in the 99 Ford controlling the brakes on a 14k lb. 5th wheel trailer. Works very well. Still like the Insight better because its readout is on the dash and the thumb control is where I can use it without reaching under the dash



97 Ford E350 D,99 F350 dually D
13 Scion Xb
12 Ford Transit Connect
06 Nissan Xterra
03 K1200 BMW
07 Kawasaki KLR650
13 Madass
Re: got my trailer brake controller installed :) [Re: motor_oil_madman] #4489204
08/15/17 10:59 AM
08/15/17 10:59 AM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,040
Utah
CKN Offline
CKN  Offline
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,040
Utah
I had one for several years and it was moved from one vehicle to another. These are great brake controllers.

I traded in my Silverado-and the only reason I didn't uninstall it is because of the great job my Son did in installing it-many yards of black tape!

I now have a factory controller in my Sierra and to be perfectly honest it doesn't work as well as the prodigy.

However- from what I read it's very difficult to bypass a factory controller and install an after market one.

Re: got my trailer brake controller installed :) [Re: motor_oil_madman] #4489231
08/15/17 11:28 AM
08/15/17 11:28 AM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 842
SD - South Dakota
meborder Offline
meborder  Offline
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 842
SD - South Dakota
Something to be aware of with the P3 is the fact that it is always learning how you stop to try and match the trailer braking to your braking style.

While this is good in theory, in practice it doesn't always work out the way one thinks.

For people like me who drive far more conservatively with a trailer than they do without, the P3 will be too aggressive with the trailer brakes because it has learned your driving style without the trailer.

The work around is to unhook the controller while not towing, or put it on a switch so you can turn it off while not towing so it doesn't learn your driving style while not towing.

As to the setting, I like to set the trailer brakes such that they stop the full weight of the trailer and stopping while towing takes the same or less braking effort than not towing. Minor adjustments while towing are usually needed to compensate for cold and warm brakes. I usually have to adjust mine up a couple clicks to start and then back it down again when they warm up after the first stop or two. Usually take it down another click or two if I'm towing in town as they warmer they get the better they work.

I use the slide to drag the brakes after hooking up so they don't jerk me out of the seat and lock up at the first stop.

4,000 lbs is more than enough to justify trailer brakes and is enough to make them mandatory in nearly every state. If you consider that a vehicles brakes are designed to work up to the GVWR of the vehicle (almost verbatim from the ford owners manual), unless you are driving a one-and-a-quarter dually, your vehicle probably doesn't have 4,000 lbs of cargo capacity to stop the trailer.


Too many cars using too many different oils to list in 150 characters.
Re: got my trailer brake controller installed :) [Re: motor_oil_madman] #4489247
08/15/17 11:49 AM
08/15/17 11:49 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 357
CT
CrAlt Offline
CrAlt  Offline
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 357
CT
Originally Posted By: motor_oil_madman
It did say you're supposed to use that lever at the bottom to max out the brakes and set it just before the tires lockup, but I'm not about to go locking up my tires and end up with a flat spot or something. How many of you guys have a brake controller? Do you ever use that lever at the bottom? I don't see how one could have time to reach down and grab it if they're about to run into someone.


I have their older version. The IQ.
I set it up just like they say in the manual. You don't lock up the wheels and drag them for 100's of feet. Just push it until you just start to hear them scratching.
With my open car trailer I have to reset it loaded vs empty.If I leave it at the loaded value it will lock up the breaks.
With it set up right I have never had the need to reach down and hit the lever. Even it FULL STOP situations everything stayed under control.


'16 Wrangler JK PYB 5w20 / MO 349
'77 Corvette JG HR2 10w30 / AC PF454
'83 Trans-Am JG HR2 10w30 / AC PF454
'91 Dodge D150 QSGB 10w40 / AC PF13
Re: got my trailer brake controller installed :) [Re: meborder] #4490621
08/16/17 09:36 PM
08/16/17 09:36 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,123
Houston, Texas
motor_oil_madman Online content OP
motor_oil_madman  Online Content OP
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,123
Houston, Texas
Originally Posted By: meborder
Something to be aware of with the P3 is the fact that it is always learning how you stop to try and match the trailer braking to your braking style.

While this is good in theory, in practice it doesn't always work out the way one thinks.

For people like me who drive far more conservatively with a trailer than they do without, the P3 will be too aggressive with the trailer brakes because it has learned your driving style without the trailer.

The work around is to unhook the controller while not towing, or put it on a switch so you can turn it off while not towing so it doesn't learn your driving style while not towing.

As to the setting, I like to set the trailer brakes such that they stop the full weight of the trailer and stopping while towing takes the same or less braking effort than not towing. Minor adjustments while towing are usually needed to compensate for cold and warm brakes. I usually have to adjust mine up a couple clicks to start and then back it down again when they warm up after the first stop or two. Usually take it down another click or two if I'm towing in town as they warmer they get the better they work.

I use the slide to drag the brakes after hooking up so they don't jerk me out of the seat and lock up at the first stop.

4,000 lbs is more than enough to justify trailer brakes and is enough to make them mandatory in nearly every state. If you consider that a vehicles brakes are designed to work up to the GVWR of the vehicle (almost verbatim from the ford owners manual), unless you are driving a one-and-a-quarter dually, your vehicle probably doesn't have 4,000 lbs of cargo capacity to stop the trailer.


So I can just max out the setting and see if they lockup going like 5mph? Then back off? I have it set to 7.5 now and I find that it only goes up to like 2.5 when driving around, maybe 3.5 if I'm harder on the brakes.


2007.5 dodge cummins 6.7 liter. Chevron Delo400 15w40. 7000 mile or 250-300hr intervals.

Re: got my trailer brake controller installed :) [Re: motor_oil_madman] #4490843
08/17/17 08:01 AM
08/17/17 08:01 AM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,699
Southeast
meep Offline
meep  Offline
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,699
Southeast
^^^ yes, exactly. it will give you a procedure in the manual. Drive 5-10 mph, squeeze the bar. If they lock, lower the max. repeat. It's a great safety measure. You don't want your trailer to lock and sway in a panic stop.


2018 F150
2015 crv (wifey!)
Re: got my trailer brake controller installed :) [Re: motor_oil_madman] #4491062
08/17/17 12:19 PM
08/17/17 12:19 PM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 842
SD - South Dakota
meborder Offline
meborder  Offline
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 842
SD - South Dakota
I set mine so that they don't lock up on a gravel road. I drive about 25 mph and hit the slider letting the trailer stop the truck without hitting the vehicle brakes at all.

I have found that setting them just below the locking threshold on gravel is about the right setting for just about all conditions. I've never found them to feel inadequate when set that way, and often I end up turning it down a bit from there.

I've found this greatly reduced tire lock at intersections which have sand or gravel on them as well.

As to seeing low numbers on the controller while driving, it is just telling you that you don't drive like an idiot with your trailer smile you can set it to max, and if you don't ever stop hard you will only ever see low numbers displayed on the controller. What you are trying to accomplish is that the trailer brakes won't lock in a hard stop. Should the need arise to stop in a hurry, you want the trailer wheels to keep rolling so that it doesn't try to pass you when you stop.

If they are set right, you will occasionally lock them up on pavements that are really slick or covered in sand/rock. It happens. As long as I'm not locking them all I don't worry much about it. They generally don't lock up for more than a second before you realise it and can let up for a second to correct. They are just trailer tires. You want them set tight enough to work.

Last edited by meborder; 08/17/17 12:21 PM.

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