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Old 07-09-2013, 10:35 PM   #1
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Columbus 320rs brakes/vehicle gain setting

We have had our 2013 Columbus 320rs for approximately six months. We have made two very short trips and one of approximately 800 miles since taking delivery. Our TV is a 2013 F-350 dually diesel with a 5300 pound payload. During the 800 mile trip I figured out that I really did not have very little if any trailer brakes. The Ford dually really made it hard for me to determine that the brakes were not working. We have had three other travel trailers which were larger bumper pulls and I could easily skid the tires on them while adjusting.

After dropping the trailer off at our dealer, the drums were removed and everything was covered in grease with the seals blown. Someone between Lippert and Columbus filled them with grease. Yes, I did see all of this myself. Lpppert sent my dealer all new brake assemblies and they put new seals in along with inspecting and repacking my wheel bearings. I am now a much happier camper. I have brakes and before unhitching, I pulled my breakaway pin and the trailer will not move.

My question after all this rambling is that this is the first fifth wheel I have owned that is this heavy. I would like to know from anyone on here that has a later model Ford 250/350 with the factory trailer brake system what do you have your gain setting on? Also, any comments comparing smaller trailers (28 feet or smaller) to the 320 as to braking would be appreciated.
I guess I'm having a little difficulty in transitioning to the much larger fifth wheel. Thanks to all for any replies and to all the information I have gained from this site.
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Old 07-10-2013, 07:36 AM   #2
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I can't answer your question about the ford. But my brand new sabre is going back to the dealer Monday for the same problem. Grease all over brakes. No brakes.
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Old 07-10-2013, 07:49 AM   #3
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Mmnun, I have a Chevy 2500hd so I cannot speak about a Ford but I can comment on the light vs. heavy question. I had a 19ft. 4500lb. Trailer that I used a gain of 6 and I could lock up the brakes. With my 320 I use a gain of 10 but the brakes do not luck up. I do feel though that I get good braking from the 320 so I am happy.
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:01 AM   #4
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Go 20 miles an hour then coast then apply trailer brake only via the manual slider control. When you move the slider control it will tell you what number it is at. This will give you an idea of how much brake power your trailer has all by itself. When you apply brakes via foot pedal you get truck and trailer brakes. You can also set your brake control to a minimum number and feel what no trailer brakes is like. It's something you need to play with on your own so you get a feel for trailer only, truck only, and last both truck and trailer brakes. I have a 2006 dually and have mine set at 7. I also have a 320rs.

Another practice you should be doing is the tug test after you hook into the 5th wheel plate with your trailer's king pin and hook up the wires/break away cable. Tug test = move brake control slider all the way full on so trailer brakes are fully activated. Put truck in drive and try to move trailer a bit. If your 5th wheel jaws are NOT fully latched, you will pull king pin out of jaws. Tug test is a good practice to get into every time you start off driving again. Bad hookup or people messing with your king pin release lever at a campsite, rest stop, etc. will make for a dropped trailer and a very bad day. Tug test is also confirming your trailer brakes are strong.
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:16 AM   #5
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I have done all of the above. Just trying to get a feel for fifth wheel versus smaller bumper pull. Thanks for the input. Oh, I always do a test pull.
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:49 AM   #6
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I have mine set a 7 on F250. I agree on the 15/20 mph test. I think Ford recommends starting with a gain of 4 and adjust as needed.
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:34 AM   #7
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I have a 2013 320RS and had the same brake issues you have. Originally thought the brake controller was bad, and Ford dealer replaced the controller. Later on, Columbus dealer found two shorts in trailer brake system and two blown grease seals. Unit never had brakes when it left the factory. Brakes were fixed and life is good. I pull the 320RS with a 2012 F-250 and brake controller setting is 7 1/2 or 8. Recently adjusted the brakes so I know I have lots of brake left and the rig stops real good without locking up the trailer tires.
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:39 AM   #8
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my 05 Ford is the first I have owned with the factory trailer brake control. Previously I used a Prodigy P2. I noticed immediately that the Ford brake control does not engage as hard. I have mine set to 10 and it will NOT lock up the brakes no matter the braking condition. The P2 would at a much lower setting.

The P2 also engaged more trailer braking on a hill.
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeeplj8 View Post
my 05 Ford is the first I have owned with the factory trailer brake control. Previously I used a Prodigy P2. I noticed immediately that the Ford brake control does not engage as hard. I have mine set to 10 and it will NOT lock up the brakes no matter the braking condition. The P2 would at a much lower setting.

The P2 also engaged more trailer braking on a hill.
Have you tried the 15/20 mph test?
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:33 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by BuckeyeChuck View Post
Have you tried the 15/20 mph test?

yes. The bottom line is that the Ford control will not engage as firmly as the P2. I assume that since this is voltage related, the Ford controller does not (is not capable) of sending as much voltage as the P2.
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