Trailer brake controller/Sway control - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 05-20-2019, 08:22 AM   #1
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Trailer brake controller/Sway control

As part of the procedure to get a swaying trailer under control, the trailer brakes are applied using the manual switch/lever on the brake controller unit.

While gripping the steering wheel trying to keep the tow vehicle and trailer under control in a sway situation, can you activate the trailer brakes without compromising vehicle control by taking one hand off the steering wheel? I can’t.

If you have an aftermarket brake controller that allows activation without letting go of the steering wheel, I would be interested in hearing about it.

Thanks

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Old 05-20-2019, 09:20 AM   #2
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trailer brake controller

That's a job for what's her name. She knows how to operate the manual lever very well.
Jack
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:32 AM   #3
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Interesting question - no, I do not know of a controller that allows hands free application of trailer brakes as you suggest.



Our E21 is rock solid behind the Tacoma. I have deliberately tried to generate sway, and have not managed to make it misbehave even slightly. Has your E21 generated sway with your tow vehicle?
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:43 AM   #4
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Interesting question - no, I do not know of a controller that allows hands free application of trailer brakes as you suggest.



Our E21 is rock solid behind the Tacoma. I have deliberately tried to generate sway, and have not managed to make it misbehave even slightly. Has your E21 generated sway with your tow vehicle?

No sway issues of any type but Post #163 on this thread got me thinking about how I would apply the trailer brakes while keeping everything else under control.

Scrambled Egg (Our 19)

Today’s project is jury rigging a way to do just that.


Alexa. Apply the trailer brakes.
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:58 AM   #5
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I have, a long time ago, had a trailer get out of control with sway, and was probably lucky to get out of the mess alive. Much younger if not stupider then, the trailer was grossly mis-loaded in order to get a lift of lumber home. Hey, it was only 15k, what could go wrong?


In any case, the issue with sway is not an instantaneous transition into needing both hands on the wheel to control things. The problem is that after an initial disturbance, each sway gets worse until things are truly out of control. As long as you grab the manual lever as soon as you detect the instability, steering with one hand is unlikely to be difficult at all, and early application of the trailer brake will sort things more or less instantly. Ironically, applying TV brakes in the absence of trailer brakes might be the worst thing one can do.
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:59 AM   #6
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There aren’t many, or maybe any, options available. While it is indeed safer to operate with both hands on the wheel, there may come a time when it is necessary to use one hand. Practicing that, may be practical for saving life, limb, and property.

But intentionally inducing a trailer to pendulate, might be pretty dangerous. Probably best done by repeated, fast executed, consecutively and sharp right to left turns. But I’m not going to try it. Minus those actions, your Escape probably won’t sway. High winds and passing semi-trucks have all failed to budge my Escape. Knock on wood though, there is no anti-sway guarantee.
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Old 05-20-2019, 11:35 AM   #7
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I'm saying this from ignorance so take it for what its work. Perhaps setting your bias/gain (whatever it's called) to apply greater force on the trailer brakes so you can just lightly apply the brake peddle to stop the sway. That being said, I was once towing a trailer (no trailer brakes) with two cords of green firewood and a Suzuki Samari as the tow vehicle. While going down a long grade on I-5 near Weed, CA I lightly applied the brakes to reduce my decent. My trailer immediately started to jackknife. Fortunately, I chose to remove my foot from the brake and the trailer straightened out. Happy ending!
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Old 05-20-2019, 01:00 PM   #8
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John I wouldn’t set the gain higher then normal on the controller as this will cause the trailer to do most of the braking for the TV and thus overheat and prematurely wear out the trailer brakes.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:31 PM   #9
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John I wouldn’t set the gain higher then normal on the controller as this will cause the trailer to do most of the braking for the TV and thus overheat and prematurely wear out the trailer brakes.
I agree - incorrectly setting the gain is not a suitable for this concern.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:37 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by EdColorado View Post
As part of the procedure to get a swaying trailer under control, the trailer brakes are applied using the manual switch/lever on the brake controller unit.

While gripping the steering wheel trying to keep the tow vehicle and trailer under control in a sway situation, can you activate the trailer brakes without compromising vehicle control by taking one hand off the steering wheel? I can’t.
I've never had a sway situation with a trailer having a brake controller, but in theory...

Why would it be a problem to hold the steering wheel steady while applying the brake control? If you're trying to compensate for the trailer sway, don't... the best you can do is steer straight ahead. With every modern vehicle having over-boosted power steering, two fingers are enough for that.

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Originally Posted by EdColorado View Post
If you have an aftermarket brake controller that allows activation without letting go of the steering wheel, I would be interested in hearing about it.
Short of a foot pedal or voice command () that would need to be a steering wheel spoke button or wheel-mounted lever (such as the now-popular "shift paddles"), right? Those wheel-mounted controls are usually very difficult to use while actively steering unless your hands are essentially locked to one position on the wheel, so I don't think it would be much of an improvement. But more directly... I am very interested in brake control systems and automotive controls, and I've never heard of a steering-wheel-mounted trailer brake control.


If I ever had to do this, I would fix the unstable trailer rather than find a more clever brake control lever implementation.
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