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Old 04-18-2017, 04:58 PM   #1
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Tundra brake controller operation.....

Yesterday, as I was leaving my campsite, I checked the trailer brakes using the manual control on my built-in brake controller on the Tundra. I was going super slow and this is something I always do when I first drive off.

Nothing! Absolutely nothing! Other than the truck and trailer still moving forward.

Okay, truck brakes were still working. Fortunately I was in a large flat area, so I had plenty of room/time to fiddle with the brakes.

Got out to double check the connection between the trailer and the truck was still in place. Yep, it was. Scratching head in the drizzle trying to figure out what else to look at. Couldn't think of anything, so I got back in.

Kept using the manual controller as well as the truck brakes. Played around with the numbers (had it set at 5 originally).

The brakes finally started working after about 6-7 attempts.

However, it's now grabbing super hard. So much so that the truck tires sounded/felt like they were skidding across the dirt.

Yep, freak out time.

They grabbed quite a few times and then settled down.

So, what the heck was going on? I'm assuming I need ETI to look at the brakes. I'm freaked out this will happen in an area where I won't have room to fiddle with the system (such as leaving my house and pulling onto a busy road).

I called them at 8:30 this AM to try to set up a service appt for that and 2 other things (such as replacing the broken window). Still waiting for a call back, 6.5 hours later. Two messages and an email later.

Thanks

(Oh, and never mind my leaf springs on the truck making a ton of noise on Saturday when I wasn't pulling. If it's not one thing, it's another!)
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Old 04-18-2017, 05:05 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by NW Cat Owner View Post
Yesterday, as I was leaving my campsite, I checked the trailer brakes using the manual control on my built-in brake controller on the Tundra. I was going super slow and this is something I always do when I first drive off.

Nothing! Absolutely nothing! Other than the truck and trailer still moving forward.

Okay, truck brakes were still working. Fortunately I was in a large flat area, so I had plenty of room/time to fiddle with the brakes.

Got out to double check the connection between the trailer and the truck was still in place. Yep, it was. Scratching head in the drizzle trying to figure out what else to look at. Couldn't think of anything, so I got back in.

Kept using the manual controller as well as the truck brakes. Played around with the numbers (had it set at 5 originally).

The brakes finally started working after about 6-7 attempts.

However, it's now grabbing super hard. So much so that the truck tires sounded/felt like they were skidding across the dirt.

Yep, freak out time.

They grabbed quite a few times and then settled down.

So, what the heck was going on? I'm assuming I need ETI to look at the brakes. I'm freaked out this will happen in an area where I won't have room to fiddle with the system (such as leaving my house and pulling onto a busy road).

I called them at 8:30 this AM to try to set up a service appt for that and 2 other things (such as replacing the broken window). Still waiting for a call back, 6.5 hours later. Two messages and an email later.

Thanks

(Oh, and never mind my leaf springs on the truck making a ton of noise on Saturday when I wasn't pulling. If it's not one thing, it's another!)
Did you get anyone to check on all the "vehicle" lights on the trailer. It could be that the contacts in the vehicle plug in have somehow got dirty and the electrical connection is poor. Its unlikely that its the trailer brakes on their own. You could try cleaning both the vehicle side and the trailer side of the 7 pin connection?
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Old 04-18-2017, 05:09 PM   #3
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Did you have the brakes adjusted after they wore in?
We could tell the difference between before and after.
I was surprised to find one of mine took 10 clicks before it even started to touch.
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Old 04-18-2017, 05:15 PM   #4
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They are set too high when grabbing like that.

We have a Prodigy controller and I have to see "0.0" when hooking up to know that the brakes are connected.
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Old 04-18-2017, 05:20 PM   #5
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This is hubby
Did you have the brakes adjusted after they wore in?
We could tell the difference between before and after.
I was surprised to find one of mine took 10 clicks before it even started to touch.
It's doubtful adjustment is the problem. The OP indicates that they function intermittently, and at one point, really grabbed. I would go with the dirty connection theory previously posted, or a problem with the controller, either its electronics or a poor connection at the controller's harness.
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Old 04-18-2017, 05:27 PM   #6
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They are set too high when grabbing like that.

We have a Prodigy controller and I have to see "0.0" when hooking up to know that the brakes are connected.
I've had them set at 5.0 for other trips and didn't experience any problems, including going down there. I kept lowering the number when they were grabbing and then went slowly back up to 4.0 when they stopped grabbing.

I'll check the connection cable to see if it's dirty. Yes, I did check that the lights were working before I drove off. Least the tail and turn signals. There wasn't anyone around that I could ask to check the brake lights.
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Old 04-18-2017, 05:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by wetzk View Post
This is hubby
Did you have the brakes adjusted after they wore in?
We could tell the difference between before and after.
I was surprised to find one of mine took 10 clicks before it even started to touch.
I have absolutely no idea what this means!

When do brakes get adjusted? Worn in? Yep, clueless about this.

Trailer picked up on Black Friday 2016. Brand new trailer. I've probably put appx 2000 miles on it since then.

Thanks
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Old 04-18-2017, 05:38 PM   #8
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I've had many issues with the connection in the past with all my trailers (horse etc) its been dirty or a lose connection - some lights work some don't. i often tape it in so it wont loosen up.
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Old 04-18-2017, 05:45 PM   #9
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Could be a problem with your brake controller. I have a tekonsha p3 and know they had a run of bad ones. Mine was acting similar to that last year where it seemed ok but every 5-6 applications the the brakes and it would grab super hard then go back to normal without any adjustments.
Funny you mentioned it, I'm in a tundra as well. Hopefully not a trend
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Old 04-18-2017, 05:53 PM   #10
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Could be a problem with your brake controller. I have a tekonsha p3 and know they had a run of bad ones. Mine was acting similar to that last year where it seemed ok but every 5-6 applications the the brakes and it would grab super hard then go back to normal without any adjustments.
Funny you mentioned it, I'm in a tundra as well. Hopefully not a trend
Is this a built-in controller? I don't know what brand Toyota used in our truck.

Did you take it in to the Toyota dealer to get looked at/fixed? Now I'm wondering if I need to take it back in to get looked at.

Thanks
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Old 04-18-2017, 06:12 PM   #11
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Mine is not integrated, didn't pick up on that right away from the original post, so not sure what tulle they use. Might want to do some snooping on the tundra forums. There's a wealth on knowledge there as well.
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Old 04-18-2017, 06:36 PM   #12
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I had this happen some time ago and the connection between the tow and trailer was not good. Be sure that the cap of the tow unit comes down and the rubber flap (indicated) overlaps the the trailer plug to ensure a good and steady connection. Also, check the reading on your controller. When my became slightly disconnected that one time (still had lights but no brakes), an error message ("c"??) flashed and then went off. Your controller may be different.
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Old 04-18-2017, 06:39 PM   #13
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I have absolutely no idea what this means!

When do brakes get adjusted? Worn in? Yep, clueless about this.

Trailer picked up on Black Friday 2016. Brand new trailer. I've probably put appx 2000 miles on it since then.

Thanks
You should have been given a little book about Dexter axles. In it on page 13 it describes how to adjust the brakes after they have seated.
On page 18 and 19 it describes what can happen. You may have weak or no brakes until the pads heat up then become harsh. I'd get the brakes adjusted first as you do need it.
Then check elsewhere.

It's not hard to do. The hardest part is getting the wheel up so you can spin it.
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Old 04-18-2017, 07:24 PM   #14
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Hi Laura, sorry to hear about your brakes. You mentioned drizzling (rain) where you discounted from your trailer and possibly water or debris got in it ? by the time you got home was it working ok ? intermittent issues mostly are a result of a bad or dirty connection at the 7 pin connector. Try blowing out both connectors, clean and lube with dielectric grease . It also would not be a bad idea having a 7 pin maintenance kit handy. As far as trouble shooting there are videos on you tube showing trouble shooting brake controllers. I would be surprised if it is your trailer unless you pulled your emergency cord Haha. Any way I wish you luck.

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Old 04-18-2017, 07:59 PM   #15
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For all my tow vehicles I readjust the settings as I travel. At take off I'll see where it engages then readjust the setting. In town it may need to go up a notch, on the hiway, may put it back down a notch. These electro-mechanical systems are tuned as you go depending on the pad temp and speed. If both pads are adjusted the same, it will just require a flick of the controller to make you confident and comfortable with your tow stopping requirement. It is almost never a set and forget with a dual axle trailer.
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Old 04-18-2017, 08:13 PM   #16
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Most likely a combination of 7 pin plug not fully plugged in and brakes needing adjustment.

Have had to push in plug fully on occasion, but the grabbing is a symptom of brakes being out of adjustment. On our maiden trip home one wheel started to skid when coming to stop. Adjustment issue. Now today in AZ one wheel again is skidding and brakes feel grabby. Saw skid mark on the driveway of the honey & jam joint in Pine.

It only takes one brake shoe needing adjustment to make all feel grabby.
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Old 04-23-2017, 02:14 AM   #17
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I had this happen some time ago and the connection between the tow and trailer was not good. Be sure that the cap of the tow unit comes down and the rubber flap (indicated) overlaps the the trailer plug to ensure a good and steady connection. Also, check the reading on your controller. When my became slightly disconnected that one time (still had lights but no brakes), an error message ("c"??) flashed and then went off. Your controller may be different.
To prevent our trailer pigtail connector from coming out we use one of these multi-clamps. It securely holds the cap of the tow unit down over the rubber flap on the trailer plug. This one is from the Little House Customs sales web site. (They cater mostly to Casita trailers).

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Old 04-23-2017, 06:24 AM   #18
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To prevent our trailer pigtail connector from coming out we use one of these multi-clamps. It securely holds the cap of the tow unit down over the rubber flap on the trailer plug. This one is from the Little House Customs sales web site. (They cater mostly to Casita trailers).
You should definitely not have to use something like this. This is just a bandaid for a bad situation. I tow different trailers almost daily, and have for many years, and never used something like this. I did on a truck years ago have to replace the truck plug because the cover was not holding the plug in properly. I have also had to change the plug on the trailer quite a few times, especially on various construction trailers.
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Old 04-23-2017, 07:47 AM   #19
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You should definitely not have to use something like this. This is just a bandaid for a bad situation. I tow different trailers almost daily, and have for many years, and never used something like this. I did on a truck years ago have to replace the truck plug because the cover was not holding the plug in properly. I have also had to change the plug on the trailer quite a few times, especially on various construction trailers.
We use something similar. It's not a bandaide it's like insurance.
You probably will never need it but you pay for the policy year after year don't you? Same with the little strap, we may never need it but it's cheap and makes us feel more secure, just like insurance.
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Old 04-23-2017, 07:57 AM   #20
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We use something similar. It's not a bandaide it's like insurance.
You probably will never need it but you pay for the policy year after year don't you? Same with the little strap, we may never need it but it's cheap and makes us feel more secure, just like insurance.
But it just is not needed. If the connection is in proper working condition there is just no need. Do a check of all the trailers and tow vehicles you come across to see how many do this. I have heard of it once before, but have never seen it. Don't shoot me, as all these folks think the same way too.

Besides, how would you use something like that, wrap around the bumper or just attach it to the vehicle plug cap?

BTW, I do not see it at all like vehicle insurance, which is primarily there for public liability, and secondly to cover you in the case of an accident. It would be more like adding a hasp to your trailer door, you know, just in case.

Anyway, folks should do what they like. I just wanted to make the point was that if you feel it is needed, that proper maintenance and repair would be the better route to take.
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