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Old 03-17-2018, 02:23 PM   #1
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Trailer Brake Controller setting.

Ok, before I go on, I know what I am asking depends on many variables peculiar to my set up. So I am not looking for a 100% specific answer, but rather some insight and advice from, ideally, anyone with the same/very similar set up to mine, or from those of you much more experienced than me.

Here is the situation: in just over a week we will be picking up our first ever travel trailer and bringing it home (a 2 1/2 hour drive) from the dealer. My truck has a factory trailer brake controller that needs to have the type of trailer brakes selected, and a gain number set. Everything I have read about this recommends the ďdrive at about 15-20mph and squeeze the manual trailer brake lever to see if the trailer brakes slow and stop the rig. If not, up the gain by 0.5 steps until you get the stopping power without locking up the trailer brakesĒ.

That sounds easy enough, except that in our situation, there is nowhere at the dealership, or surrounding it, that provides an empty straight piece of road to do this safely.

Therefore I am going to have to set a gain level as a starting point and wait till we get home to do the fine tuning - problem is - what would that starting point be???

So the questions are:

1 - what would be the most appropriate brake type (light electric or heavy electric)?
2 - what would a good starting point for a gain setting be?

Details of what Iím working with:

TV - 2017 Ram 2500 diesel, crew cab, 4x4, single rear wheel
TT - Rockwood Signature 8324BS. GVWR 10290# (dry weight 8717#)

Sorry for being so long winded, but I guess the more info I can give, the better chance of an answer. Thx in advance for any ideas.
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Old 03-17-2018, 02:27 PM   #2
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Old 03-17-2018, 02:30 PM   #3
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I would start on a low setting & as I drive down the road apply it manually. If I don't feel a tug I up the gain until I do. That's it. This is my normal routine with all my trailers every time I hook up. Based on what you said above you don't have any other option.
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Old 03-17-2018, 02:43 PM   #4
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My 2014 factory tow setting was perfect... LIGHT ELECTRIC...no need to change it of course my trailer is 5000#

however, play with your U-connect dash panel to read about basic settings... and how to change them...

any parking lot 100 yds long is all you need to fine tune the brakes... if they engage and slow your TV, (and you will feel it) then that is good... if not crank it up a bit... start low and go higher... if you are going 35 or 45 (dry pavement) and have to stop at a light then your RAM brakes will do the job by themselves if completely out of whack...

every brake setup is different on differeing TV and trailer/brake combos... you will quickly figure it out if you need more brakes or maybe less on the U-connect settings
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Old 03-17-2018, 02:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vladivar View Post

Therefore I am going to have to set a gain level as a starting point and wait till we get home to do the fine tuning - problem is - what would that starting point be???

So the questions are:

1 - what would be the most appropriate brake type (light electric or heavy electric)?
2 - what would a good starting point for a gain setting be?

Details of what Iím working with:

TV - 2017 Ram 2500 diesel, crew cab, 4x4, single rear wheel
TT - Rockwood Signature 8324BS. GVWR 10290# (dry weight 8717#
It depends on how the definition of "light electric / heavy electric" is determined. With the numbers you give for the trailer, I would say "heavy electric". The owners manual for the T/V should cover what the manufacturer considers the limits for "light" or "heavy".
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Old 03-17-2018, 02:44 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by 05CrewDually View Post
I would start on a low setting & as I drive down the road apply it manually. If I don't feel a tug I up the gain until I do. That's it. This is my normal routine with all my trailers every time I hook up. Based on what you said above you don't have any other option.
I agree, a little info for you mine is set a 7.0, being my trailer is heavier then my TV I want the 5er to slow me. You kinda have it right when you get home, but it is best to find a gravel road, set it high enough to lock your brakes at 20 is fine. Then back off until you don't lock up anymore might take 3 or 4 times, then you will be set. Every controller is different, it's easy to do. Make sure before you leave that when you move the slide all the way over your wheels lock, if not have them adjusted before you pull it home, have a safe trip
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Old 03-17-2018, 03:09 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by 05CrewDually View Post
I would start on a low setting & as I drive down the road apply it manually. If I don't feel a tug I up the gain until I do. That's it. This is my normal routine with all my trailers every time I hook up. Based on what you said above you don't have any other option.
I do this as well I have 3 trailers with brakes all vastly different brake settings and two of the trailers depend on the load.

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Old 03-17-2018, 03:12 PM   #8
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For built-in controllers..........

Hook up. Ease forward.......doesn't have to be more than a foot or two. Foot off of pedal except to get momentum barely going.

Squeeze the tabs together......when trailer stops, note the setting.

Shouldn't take more than a couple of feet, and can be done on the way out......which direction you're headed anyway.
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Old 03-17-2018, 03:14 PM   #9
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Factory installed controllers pretty much follow the Tekonsha Prodigy formula where there are two adjustments. The "gain" which is pretty self explanatory. Crank it up, more braking power. Adjust this by doing the slow speed stop test using the manual lever Set it so when the lever is pushed to max, the trailer brakes pull everything to a stop without locking up wheels.

Second adjustment can be more difficult to understand. It's a "Boost" setting that tells the controller how much initial power to send to the brakes to overcome the slight delay in braking action. Low, Boost #1, or "Light" is the lowest setting. Next would be for medium and lastly the #3 setting for the heaviest you tow. This setting, at least for me, should be adjusted to what feels best for your circumstance. If you look in the manual it often refers to a proper setting for weight, sometimes for the number of axles, but in the end it's what you feel in your backside when you step on the brakes that's going to be best for you.

More often than not I will hear someone say "when I try to stop with the lever only it doesn't seem to want to stop the trailer". Ask them about the "Boost Setting" and you get "what's that and how do I set it?"

Read the vehicle manual or controller manual if an add-on. Either should give the operator a better understanding of what a proper adjustment is.

BTW, it may be necessary to make adjustments due to road conditions. Slick roads due to heavy rain, frost, or even ice, might need to have the braking backed off and then be sure to leave lots of stopping distance.
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Old 03-18-2018, 12:46 AM   #10
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How far away from the factory are you picking it up?

I picked mine up 15 minutes or so from the factory so the brakes never set in. I had to set it to max (10) on the drive home. Two trips later you could feel the brakes grabbing harder and yanking in the truck and it’s at a 4
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Old 03-18-2018, 06:39 AM   #11
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You will learn to sense this.

If it feels like the trailer is pulling on the TV, that is too much trailer braking, dial it back.

If it feels like the trailer is pushing the TV, that is too little trailer braking, dial it up.

You should not sense the trailer at all when braking.

Over time, the correct setting can change. Keep trying to sense your trailer and adjust accordingly.
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Old 03-18-2018, 12:42 PM   #12
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What eye95 said. You can do it during a trip.
Said another way, after the brakes are "broken in" when properly adjusted the braking with or without your trailer in tow should be the same. Same brake pedal pressure, same deceleration rate and same stopping distance whether towing or not towing.
This has proven good for me with two different F-150s and an F-250 towing three different trailers a (7K# bumper pull, a 9.5K# 5er and a 14K# 5er).
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Old 03-18-2018, 12:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
You will learn to sense this.

If it feels like the trailer is pulling on the TV, that is too much trailer braking, dial it back.

If it feels like the trailer is pushing the TV, that is too little trailer braking, dial it up.

You should not sense the trailer at all when braking.

Over time, the correct setting can change. Keep trying to sense your trailer and adjust accordingly.
Exactly! Read the manual then find a side street in the first few blocks from the dealer and play with the setting(s). You will definitely sense what the setting should be - pulled or pushed are wrong.
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Old 03-18-2018, 01:20 PM   #14
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I have the same truck as the OP and tow a 13K GVW 5th wheel with 12" brakes.

Settings: Heavy Electric #8.5

The RAM controller is unique, under about 25mph it cuts the breaking voltage in half to avoiding skidding the tires. It also does some unique things to keep the pin planted to the rear of the hitch, thus avoiding the normal start up "clunk".

Don't forget to use the tow/haul mode and the engine brake. You may want to consider locking out 6th., especially in the hills. In normal driving you will rarely use the brakes over 30mph as the engine brake will do all the stopping. Many transporters report first brake service beyond 250K, the tradeoff is excessive rear tire wear.

Enjoy the finest tow rig on the planet.
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Old 03-18-2018, 01:27 PM   #15
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3 am is a good time to try it. You might even try a commercial area or large big box or mall parking area. 3 am because most of the drunks are back home or in the hospital and no traffic yet.
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Old 03-18-2018, 03:20 PM   #16
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3 am is a good time to try it. You might even try a commercial area or large big box or mall parking area. 3 am because most of the drunks are back home or in the hospital and no traffic yet.
I could just use the street in front of my house. Everyone driving through think the posted 25 mph speed limit is just a suggested speed.
Police figure " no accidents, no patrol".
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Old 03-18-2018, 04:16 PM   #17
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Frank G is correct about the Ram controller. You cannot set it like the others by driving slowly and adjusting the sensitivity until the brakes slow the vehicle.
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Old 03-20-2018, 03:39 PM   #18
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You will learn to sense this.

If it feels like the trailer is pulling on the TV, that is too much trailer braking, dial it back.

If it feels like the trailer is pushing the TV, that is too little trailer braking, dial it up.

You should not sense the trailer at all when braking.

Over time, the correct setting can change. Keep trying to sense your trailer and adjust accordingly.
X2

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Old 05-14-2020, 07:07 AM   #19
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For what it's worth my TT is about 8K and I have my RAM brake controller set on Heavy Electric 5.5
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Old 05-14-2020, 02:40 PM   #20
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From the Ram manual, under 10k is light, over 10k is heavy. I am 24 feet and 5600 pounds on trailer. I run light weight and 6.0. You can adjust on the fly in lighter traffic, or pull over in a closed store parking lot.
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