Controlling the Brake Controller - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 09-11-2014, 08:16 PM   #1
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Controlling the Brake Controller

How do I set-up and control my brake controler? I followed the instructions and it seems to work okay, but I'm not sure. When I engage the controler manually I feel the trailer drag at about 1.5-1.7, there abouts. Is that the number I should put the controler at? Then, when climbing steep mountains the trailer felt like a huge load. When I looked at the controler it was at about 1.2 even though my foot wasn't on the brake. Was I trying to drag a trailer with it's brakes applied? When I stopped the trailer brakes were not hot. I'm confused.
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Old 09-11-2014, 09:10 PM   #2
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Forgive me, but your profile says "none." WHAT model Escape trailer are you trying to tow? Help us, help you...
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Old 09-11-2014, 09:18 PM   #3
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And, what brand and model of brake controller?
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Old 09-11-2014, 10:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by pkgman51 View Post
I followed the instructions and it seems to work okay, but I'm not sure. When I engage the controler manually I feel the trailer drag at about 1.5-1.7, there abouts. Is that the number I should put the controler at?
The trailer dragging means the brakes are functioning, but not that they are at the right level.

The instructions for most controllers say to coast at about 25 mph and fully apply the manual lever; the setting which causes the full manual application to just lock up the trailer wheels is the appropriate setting. It doesn't sound like this is what was done.

The idea is that when you fully apply the manual lever, it applies the same amount of trailer braking effort as during a hard stop, which should be enough for the trailer brakes to do the trailer's share of braking. With most digital controllers, the displayed number is the voltage applied to the trailer brakes, so "12" (when the manual is fully applied) is the maximum setting.

If you have a good feel for the behaviour of the tow vehicle, the confirmation that you have the controller setting right is that the pushing effort on the brake pedal required to slow down the rig with the trailer is about the same as the effort to slow down just the tug at the same rate without the trailer.

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Originally Posted by pkgman51 View Post
Then, when climbing steep mountains the trailer felt like a huge load. When I looked at the controler it was at about 1.2 even though my foot wasn't on the brake. Was I trying to drag a trailer with it's brakes applied? When I stopped the trailer brakes were not hot.
There's nothing about the controller's setting which will make the brakes drag, so difficulty towing the trailer uphill when you're not pushing the brake pedal is not going to be related to the controller, as far as I know. The brakes not being hot confirms they are not dragging.
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:20 PM   #5
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This is my story.

I've owned a 16' Scamp for 12+ years. Towed with a 2000 Ford F-150 and a Tokonsha p2 brake controller. Set it up according to the instructions. The trailer brakes always came on when applied, but I NEVER expected those brakes to slow down or stop the Ford and even at the highest level would I ever SKID the trailer tires.

Fast forward 12+ years. New truck with the brake controller on the dash, new Escape 5.0TA towing. When I hooked up for the first time, Dennis told me to set the dash controller to "6" and test it.

Works just like my previous combo. I would never expect my trailer brakes to "stop" both. As long as the trailer brakes are working for the trailer and the tug brakes work for the tug.. I'm a happy camper. My trailer is now close to TWO tons, do I expect those brakes to stop both tug and tow... no. YMMV
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:46 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
I would never expect my trailer brakes to "stop" both. As long as the trailer brakes are working for the trailer and the tug brakes work for the tug.. I'm a happy camper. My trailer is now close to TWO tons, do I expect those brakes to stop both tug and tow... no. YMMV
Right - as I said, the trailer brakes should do the trailer's share of braking. Applying the trailer brakes alone is just part of the setup procedure, not something you would ever do to stop the rig.

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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
... I NEVER expected those brakes to slow down or stop the Ford and even at the highest level would I ever SKID the trailer tires.
Obviously, if you apply just the trailer brakes, the trailer will pull back on the tug; that two-ton trailer has a lot of braking power, because it needs it to do its share. Not a good way to stop, of course, but it would slow down.

Again, the lockup thing is just part of the setup procedure, not something you would deliberately do or that would happen in normal brake application.
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
When I hooked up for the first time, Dennis told me to set the dash controller to "6" and test it.

Works just like my previous combo.
If by that you mean that the rig slows down the same way as without the trailer - same pedal effort for a given rate of braking - then you have the right setting.

In general, copying someone else's setting for even the same model of trailer won't necessarily be right, because the required setting depends on how much the trailer (with your stuff) weighs - perhaps Dennis understood how heavily Ten Forward would be loaded and what the corresponding setting would be. The setting for another trailer is not of much value at all.
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:54 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Forgive me, but your profile says "none." WHAT model Escape trailer are you trying to tow? ..
Forgive me but , What difference does it make?
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Mac View Post
Forgive me but , What difference does it make?
Anytime anyone asks a question, it's helpful if we know some detail. The OP is trying to setup a brake controller and is pulling a "trailer." We don't know what brand brake controller, what tug or what trailer. We can either be helpful in two or three posts or fifty.

Kinda like, I'm leaving on a trip tomorrow... what route should I take?
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:40 AM   #10
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I totally agree with Donna, the more information given, the better. I MUCH prefer that people fill out their user info, including location, trailer, tow vehicle, and first name (or whatever they like to be called). It does help a lot in how and what your response may be. The more information we are armed with, the more helpful we can be.

It feels weird conversing with an seemingly unknown entity.
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