Type of vehicle used to tow. - Page 7 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 02-28-2014, 09:25 AM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbailey View Post
Right... while engine braking you're not actually decellerating normally... I missed that point.

The brake controller only applies trailer brakes if the TV's brake lights are on? I didn't know that.

Theory is good, but experience is better...
Some mis-information here, with electric brakes the controller operates (1) when you vehicle brakes are applied or (2) when you manually push the controller's by-pass and the trailer brakes are activated. Brake lights have nothing to do with the controller.
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Old 02-28-2014, 11:47 AM   #62
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Jim, yes, saying "brake lights on" is short-hand, and not very accurate. You are correct that "TV brakes applied" is better wording.
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Old 02-28-2014, 04:10 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post

Diesels should cut off the fuel flow, or at least run just enough for low-speed idle, so there should be no fuel penalty to using engine braking; however, they don't have a throttle, so they have essentially no useful engine braking unless they have an added exhaust brake or internal compression release braking system. The machine-gun noise from big trucks is the result of a compression release braking system, commonly called a Jake brake (after Jacobs, an early manufacturer); pickup trucks typically have just an exhaust brake, if anything.
Brian, this is interesting to me. I got a diesel SUV for towing my Escape 21. I've been driving the SUV for about a half a year now, but won't be picking up the Escape 21 until mid April. When I take my foot off the accelerator, fuel consumption goes to zero, except when idling, as you predicted.

When I've been driving down long, steep grades (sans trailer) I've put the transmission into manual and downshifted to a gear where my speed remains constant rather than riding the brakes--engine braking if you will. It's seemingly worked with four passengers and gear for a weekend getaway so I just presumed things worked the same as with a gasser. Are you saying that a diesel doesn't provide engine braking?

Obviously I haven't had the opportunity to test this with a trailer yet but from what you're saying, I shouldn't be surprised if there isn't any engine braking with my diesel SUV, correct? If it matters, the vehicle in question is a 2012 VW Touareg TDI.
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Old 02-28-2014, 05:18 PM   #64
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To confuse matters worse, while in tow mode, the automatic transmission in my Dodge Ram seems to "brake" and slow me down on hill descents, while in normal mode on the FJ, while descending a hill, once I tap the brakes and release, the FJ remains at the same sped and the rpms increase while the engine "brakes" to keep it at that speed. I think todays modern transmissions are "learning" ones that help us drive.
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Old 03-01-2014, 03:44 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Some mis-information here, with electric brakes the controller operates (1) when you vehicle brakes are applied or (2) when you manually push the controller's by-pass and the trailer brakes are activated. Brake lights have nothing to do with the controller.
Jim, that is not true. Please read the installation instructions for you controller, or follow the wiring on your own installation. There are only four wires on a typical controller:
  1. power (normally black)
  2. ground (normally white)
  3. output to brakes (normally blue)
  4. input from brake switch (normally red)

The controller works when
either
you move the manual control
or
the signal from the brake switch is present.

The intent is to work when the tug brakes are on, as Jim suggested, but the practical way to do that is to monitor the tug's brake light circuit, which is controlled by that switch on the pedal assembly. So, if you push the pedal enough to trigger the tug's brake lights, the controller is activated... regardless of how hard (or if at all) the tug's brakes are applied.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbailey View Post
Jim, yes, saying "brake lights on" is short-hand, and not very accurate. You are correct that "TV brakes applied" is better wording.
It really is "brake light circuit on", but I hope that when the circuit is on your brake lights are on! Of course the brakes are supposed to be applied when you push the pedal, but it's pushing the pedal and tripping the switch that activates the controller, not the brakes actually applying. Touch lightly, and you can get the switch without enough force to apply the brakes.


This topic was supposed to be about the type of vehicle used to tow, and engine braking seems to me like a valid aspect of that choice; however, this brake controller behaviour will rarely vary with tug. The exception might be pickup trucks with integrated controllers, which run the trailer brakes from the computer logic controlling the tug's brakes. Even then, the trailer is not going to be braked unless the tug's brakes are applied... and the brake lights come on.
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Old 03-01-2014, 04:06 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by bpjod View Post
When I take my foot off the accelerator, fuel consumption goes to zero, except when idling, as you predicted.
Excellent I would expect that from VW, but did not know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bpjod View Post
When I've been driving down long, steep grades (sans trailer) I've put the transmission into manual and downshifted to a gear where my speed remains constant rather than riding the brakes--engine braking if you will. It's seemingly worked with four passengers and gear for a weekend getaway so I just presumed things worked the same as with a gasser. Are you saying that a diesel doesn't provide engine braking?

Obviously I haven't had the opportunity to test this with a trailer yet but from what you're saying, I shouldn't be surprised if there isn't any engine braking with my diesel SUV, correct?
I'm saying that there would be little effective engine braking without an exhaust brake or compression release brake - there still would be some, due to the significant drag of turning that engine. If it is highly effective, one of those braking devices is likely included. I know that diesel pickups routinely now include an exhaust brake; I don't see anything indicated in the VW online specs, but I'm not sure that they would mention it. Since variable-geometry turbochargers can be controlled to work as exhaust brakes, I wouldn't be surprised if the feature were not listed.

I suppose as long as it is sufficiently effective at an acceptable engine speed, then it doesn't matter how it is achieved The 8-speed transmission would be nice, allowing a choice of close to the desired level of engine braking.
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Old 03-01-2014, 04:18 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
To confuse matters worse, while in tow mode, the automatic transmission in my Dodge Ram seems to "brake" and slow me down on hill descents, while in normal mode on the FJ, while descending a hill, once I tap the brakes and release, the FJ remains at the same sped and the rpms increase while the engine "brakes" to keep it at that speed.
Truck transmission controls now routinely include something like a "tow/haul" mode; one of the changes that can make is that when this mode is engaged, the transmission shifts down for engine braking. This is the case for my Ford-chassis motorhome: if I engage tow/haul, it will engine brake whenever I brake (although it will not use high engine speeds and is only a 4-speed transmission, so it doesn't always have the opportunity to help). The same vehicle also downshifts for engine braking if the cruise control is engaged, if the speed exceeds the set point, even without the brake pedal applied. This can be handy on steep hills, since the column-mounted shifter is awkward to use.

My Toyota automatic transmission includes what Toyota calls "Grade Logic" - which sounds like what Jim is seeing in the FJ - which downshifts for engine braking if the brakes are applied and speed does not decrease, which corresponds to maintaining speed down a hill. In the Sienna, it disengages when power is applied (as you do when you reach the bottom and push the gas pedal to keep up speed), or when the shifter is manually moved (such as to "4" and back to "D"). That's in the Sienna owner's manual, but many owners are not aware of it.

With transmissions configured for engine braking, the torque converter lockup clutch will stay engaged (eliminating torque converter slip and making engine braking more effective) when in engine braking mode.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I think todays modern transmissions are "learning" ones that help us drive.
Yes, transmission control systems are now commonly "adaptive", which means they "learn" our driving patterns and adapt to them. The engine-braking feature can be provided without the adaptive feature as long as the transmission has sufficiently sophisticated controls, and I think they're all computer-controlled now.


Transmission controls which make engine braking easy and effective are definitely a feature I would look for in a tow vehicle.
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Old 03-01-2014, 04:20 PM   #68
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Brian, when I manually hit the controller button on the side to stop sway by applying the trailer brakes only, do the tow vehicle brake lights come on? I assume the trailer brake lights do illuminate when the manual button is utilized?
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Old 03-01-2014, 04:31 PM   #69
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Brian, when I manually hit the controller button on the side to stop sway by applying the trailer brakes only, do the tow vehicle brake lights come on? I assume the trailer brake lights do illuminate when the manual button is utilized?
This has been the subject of debate in other forums. When you use the manually controller lever or button, the controller will provide power to the trailer brakes (on the blue wire), which won't make the trailer brake lights come on. Some controller documentation says that the controller will apply power out to the brake switch wire (the red one, which is normally used as an input). That generally should make the tug's brake lights, and thus the trailer's brake lights, come on. This might not work in some vehicles (and I recall someone checking and finding that it did not work in theirs), depending on the brake switch wiring, but if it does work that seems desirable to me.


Nice integration of trailer braking (and brake lights) with the tug would be a feature that might affect tow vehicle selection; unfortunately, it is not common - in-dash integrated brake controllers seem to be found only on full-sized pickup trucks... and not even most of them.
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Old 03-01-2014, 04:34 PM   #70
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Your brake lights on the tow and trailer do not activate when you use the manual lever. See the user manual for the Prodigy. The warning is in the section on setting up the Prodigy.
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