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Old 10-06-2009, 11:08 PM   #21
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Re: Tow vehicles????

Yep, that's why your transmission has low gear settings. Riding the brakes can set you up for trouble.
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:36 AM   #22
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Re: Tow vehicles????


What I've found interesting is although we have brake controllers, there doesn't seem to be any among us who feels that they have it set correctly. I've got the Prodigy and I've followed the instructions ( once ), but I still don't have confidence that I'm at the right setting. Also, if you need to adjust the brakes on the trailer after 300 miles, presumably, you should also reset the brake controller.

I've approached that stop sign you mention ( well, one similar ) after a long decent with a boat trailer and wondered if I was going to stop. I geared down and I tried to stay off the brakes, but that Subaru Legacy, with brake discs the size of bottle caps just couldn't handle it. On another occasion, towing the tent trailer, I found myself stuck in the slow lane going down the Coquihalla to the snow shed. I had a semi doing 40 kph in front of me and cars whipping by at 120 kph in the middle and left lane. I couldn't accelerate to get into the middle lane and had no option but to apply the brakes. I glazed brand new brake pads with that one application and had to have them replaced.

Loved the Subaru, but that was it for that "tow" vehicle.

That was many years ago and maybe Subaru has improved the braking on their vehicles.

baglo
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Old 10-07-2009, 09:35 AM   #23
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Re: Tow vehicles????

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo

What I've found interesting is although we have brake controllers, there doesn't seem to be any among us who feels that they have it set correctly. I've got the Prodigy and I've followed the instructions ( once ), but I still don't have confidence that I'm at the right setting. Also, if you need to adjust the brakes on the trailer after 300 miles, presumably, you should also reset the brake controller.


baglo
Someone else that feels like me.
The instructions are obtuse... something about setting it so high you lockup-skid when applying the TV brakes at what? 20mph?

All I know is I like the brake set so that my TV is doing the main stopping and the trailer assists. You can apply the brakes and and then lift the peddle and not feel a thing.
Which may be bad thing for some people because not feeling anything may make you feel like its not working at all.
Every once in awhile going down the road I use the manual lever just to feel the braking drag coming from the trailer.. then I am ok that it is working.
If you set it higher it turns this around so that the truck assists the trailer. The trailer is pulling you back so that when you apply the brakes and lift the peddle before a complete stop you get a broadcasted "bump" right into your TV... brake, lift, bump, brake, lift, bump.
I have on occasion put on my brakes and used the brake control lever at the same time... like when I'm going down hill and a signal at the bottom turns red or sometimes just to add bit of drag when my down hill speed is getting up there.

Everyone will eventually find the seting what works for them

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Old 10-07-2009, 10:14 AM   #24
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Re: Tow vehicles????

Tekonsha's instructions are quite clear. I really like the P3 controller. At 25 mph you set up the trailer brakes so they pull hard and stop you, but still not lock up. The boost setting really should not be used with trailers lighter then the tow. Essentially, the trailer brakes should be providing enough power to stop the trailer, and no more. While not having the trailer brakes set as high as they should be is not an issue most of the time, because most tow vehicles can still stop ok with the extra weight, BUT should you ever require emergency braking you WILL NOT be able to provide adequate braking. This requirement for emergency braking is exactly what the setup instructions are meaning to do, allow the trailer to stop its own weight without locking up the brakes, or relying on the tow brakes to do the job.

It should really have nothing to do with someone finding a setting that 'works' for them, but one that makes you as safe as possible on the road.

Adjusting the brakes as recommended by the manufacturer is another thing to make sure is done according to schedule, as this too affects the braking performance.
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Old 10-07-2009, 01:49 PM   #25
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Re: Tow vehicles????

Quote:
Originally Posted by escape artist
Hi: All... Never really thought much about trailer brakes or controllers till we went to Letchworth St. Pk. in N.Y. In Warsaw N.Y. I could have lit up a smoke without flickin' a Bic on the trailer brakes. A 15% grade with a stop sign at the bottom!!! YEE HAW!!! Welcome to Warsaw. Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
Wow a 15% grade!! I'd probably suffered cardiac arrest. I stress at 7%. I was told to use a lower gear, and alternate tow and tug breaking on long downhill steep slopes to keep both brakes from overheating.
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Old 10-07-2009, 04:49 PM   #26
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Re: Tow vehicles????

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett
Tekonsha's instructions are quite clear. I really like the P3 controller. At 25 mph you set up the trailer brakes so they pull hard and stop you, but still not lock up. The boost setting really should not be used with trailers lighter then the tow. Essentially, the trailer brakes should be providing enough power to stop the trailer, and no more. While not having the trailer brakes set as high as they should be is not an issue most of the time, because most tow vehicles can still stop ok with the extra weight, BUT should you ever require emergency braking you WILL NOT be able to provide adequate braking. This requirement for emergency braking is exactly what the setup instructions are meaning to do, allow the trailer to stop its own weight without locking up the brakes, or relying on the tow brakes to do the job.

It should really have nothing to do with someone finding a setting that 'works' for them, but one that makes you as safe as possible on the road.

Adjusting the brakes as recommended by the manufacturer is another thing to make sure is done according to schedule, as this too affects the braking performance.
I agree with almost everything said here. If you are new to trailering don't take anything I have posted as something you should do. However I disagree with this: "BUT should you ever require emergency braking you WILL NOT be able to provide adequate braking." This is like saying if you drive a pickup with 2000 lbs of bricks in the back that you WILL NOT be able to provide adequate braking. It is a legal load and within manufactures spec but there is no prodigy in the sky that can get you to stop in the same distance as you could stop before the load. So the driver will compensate by going slower and with more distance between him/herself and the car in front of him/her... at least those drivers with the innate or taught understanding of kinetics and inertia. It is a matter of the awareness of the dynamic mass surrounding you. Your braking will always be adequate if you are safe.

A few of us don't need to follow the Prodigy instructions religiously and I was posting an alternative which I hoped would explain why there is not real baseline and why we tend to find "something that works" for our rig.

I would close with this thought: if you are new to this then just slow down and keep your distances and don't rely on trailer brakes to do it for you. This is the safest thing to do... and follow the prodigy instructions!

Cheers

Ron
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Old 10-07-2009, 05:05 PM   #27
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Re: Tow vehicles????

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandra L
Wow a 15% grade!! I'd probably suffered cardiac arrest. I stress at 7%. I was told to use a lower gear, and alternate tow and tug breaking on long downhill steep slopes to keep both brakes from overheating.
try this... 20% grade over potholes.
http://ronsalaska.blogspot.com/2009_07_24_archive.html
video about half way down

I was in 4wd low range (much lower than standard low gear).
Going down tightened me up big time.
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Old 10-07-2009, 06:20 PM   #28
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Re: Tow vehicles????

The hundreds of thousands of miles I have pulled trailers of all sizes, plus extensive driver training I have taken in this area, have all taught me different then your advice, Ron.

While you may tow up to the towing capacity of the vehicle, combined a payload capacity (including the tongue weight) up to the GVWR of the vehicle, this in no way means that you can, or are permitted to do it without the aid of properly adjusted brakes. The combined weight may be able to be pulled, but the tow (in most cases) will not be able to provide adequate braking. To take it to an extreme, a tractor unit pulling a trailer with 25,000 lbs weight would never be able to stop the trailer even though it is rated to tow that amount.

I really don't want to bicker over silly details, my intent is just to state facts as I learned them, so I will now leave this discussion to rest, and just let others decide what they feel is the safest way to go.
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:47 PM   #29
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Re: Tow vehicles????

Perhaps changing the wording to "should you ever require emergency braking you WILL NOT be able to provide maximum braking" ?
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Old 10-08-2009, 01:38 AM   #30
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Re: Tow vehicles????

Hi: All... There has to be an Escape clause here... because as Groucho Marx said " There ain't no Sanity Clause"!!! Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
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