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Old 05-17-2018, 08:02 PM   #1
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Recommended Settings for trailer brakes

First time poster. I have a 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan and I just purchased a barely used 2018 Rockwood Freedom 2280. I had the electric brake controller installed but I'm wondering what the recommended braking % might be for the the controller? The trailer weighs around 2300 lbs and I pick it up this weekend. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:12 PM   #2
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Every combination is different. Start with a setting and see how it goes. Adjust as necessary.
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:17 PM   #3
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The instructions for my brake controller said for initial setting pull forward slowly and apply the brakes by using the slider on the controller. Adjust the gain so the trailer wheels give maximum stopping without sliding. After driving it for a bit you will feel if it is set right or needs to be fine tuned.
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:26 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum.

Good answers, I also test the brakes this way at the beginning of every trip to make sure they work.
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:27 PM   #5
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It would help if you posted the brand and model of BC.
There is no set number since it varies between trailers.
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:30 PM   #6
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If you have a place to test it, cool.
We just set mine at halfway and it worked great. I could not feel the extra weight slowing down. Starting out and going up hills was another matter ;(
My slider works as a manual brake control and is spring loaded to the off position. My setting control is a dial/wheel.
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:29 PM   #7
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Not sure which controller you have. You may have two or three controls or settings. First, if you have a manual pendulum you will have to set that. If it is a newer controller it probably does not have a manual pendulum to deal with. Next you may have a boost setting. This setting controls the initial braking. On my controller there are 3 levels. If the trailer is significantly lighter than the TV you set on the lowest. If the trailer is significantly heavier you set it on the highest. Lastly is the gain or voltage output. This should be set like stated earlier at the highest setting where the trailer brakes do not lock up. Unless you have disc brakes you probably will not have trailer brakes that will lock up at the highest setting. A least that if how I do it and it works for me.
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burgesja View Post
First time poster. I have a 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan and I just purchased a barely used 2018 Rockwood Freedom 2280. I had the electric brake controller installed but I'm wondering what the recommended braking % might be for the the controller? The trailer weighs around 2300 lbs and I pick it up this weekend. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks
Read the OWNERS MANUAL for your brake controller. It will tell you how to set it.
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Old 05-18-2018, 01:28 PM   #9
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What Doug says. Adjust it to 50%, start going down a parking lot, or street, slide the emergency stop slider to max. If the trailer is not slowing down the TV, move it up to 60%, then do same. 70% afterwards. Mine is an integrated BC and have a gain of 8 out of 10. Works on my 8000 # Rockwood.
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Old 05-18-2018, 02:43 PM   #10
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The consensus here is adjust by "feel." I agree.
My routine:
  • When getting started on a new trip, I use the manual controller to verify the brakes are working - and to dry and warm them a bit. Condensation can accumulate in the drum, and it's good to use the brakes to dry themselves and generate a bit of heat in the drum and brake shoe lining.
  • Once underway, the controller setting may need to be adjusted based on several variables: traction and day-to-day drift of braking force.

On dirt, I notice that the brakes are working with a bit less traction, so I sometimes have to back off the setting just a bit. On dry pavement and at highway speeds, the trailer tires have more traction and can do a bit more of the work.

And by day-to-day drift, I notice that sometimes the trailer seems to be doing more of the braking than my TV. The trailer brakes tug at the truck. Other times, I don't notice the trailer brakes at all. If a short manual application doesn't dry and warm them so they perform properly, an adjustment is in order. I usually do a brief manual application of trailer brakes only before making any adjustments. That's often all it takes to make them work as they should.

So I find I have to fiddle with them a bit to get things just right.

Drum brakes are obsolete (generally speaking). They are prone to poor braking when damp, and they overheat more easily. And electric drum brakes are no substitute for hydraulic drum brakes. They work, but only kinda-sorta. Electro-magnetic attraction is a poor substitute for a direct hydraulic connection. But they are considerably better than nothing.

I believe that a higher quality brake controller might improve performance in my system...which was installed as part of a package deal when I bought the trailer. It works well enough, but, as I said, I need to fiddle with it.
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Old 05-18-2018, 03:02 PM   #11
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I remember when I brought my bran new pop up home. Double checked the brake adjustment because I didnt trust the factory assemblers. Yup one wheel was off. Then i set my controller. Had to set it up with a lot of input for it to work at all but soon as the brakes wore in I had to set it at a much lighter setting. I have a better stopping distance while towing than without the trailer.
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Old 05-19-2018, 07:33 AM   #12
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settings always change with road conditions and weather and load
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Old 05-19-2018, 07:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soft 17 View Post
I remember when I brought my bran new pop up home. Double checked the brake adjustment because I didnt trust the factory assemblers. Yup one wheel was off. Then i set my controller. Had to set it up with a lot of input for it to work at all but soon as the brakes wore in I had to set it at a much lighter setting. I have a better stopping distance while towing than without the trailer.
Agree contact "Dexter Axle" for thier booklet on proper "Burnishing of Brakes" since this has had little use I would read the booklet and start from scratch! Youroo!!
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Old 05-19-2018, 08:35 AM   #14
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Iím towing a 2016 Rockwood Premier (3200 lbs) with my Nissan Pathfinder. I use a Prodigy P2 brake controller and set it between 5.5 & 6.0. There are many factors to consider. The manual says to set the brake at a point just before brake lock-up.
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Old 05-19-2018, 08:41 AM   #15
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I set mine up by driving 15 mph and engaging brake manually by engaging lever to its stop. If brakes lock up and tires skid, I reduce gain and repeat. Electric brakes work best when warmed up a bit.

As previously stated, lots of factors affect setting. I usually have to reduce gain by 50% when I transition from asphalt to dirt when I tow. Weight is also a big factor. When water tanks are full, gain is increased a bit and vice-versa.

ALWAYS CHECK YOUR BRAKES BEFORE YOU TOW! Reason: in my opinion electric brakes are NOT as reliable as hydraulic brakes. I lost my brakes when I had a wire chafe and short out-very scary. I've once had no brakes because my plug wasn't properly seated into my tow vehicle and checking them before I hit the main road saved the day.
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Old 05-21-2018, 01:30 PM   #16
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does anyone have any ideas as to how long the trailer brakes last? I have 30,000 miles on a duel wheel trailer which is 12 ft by 7 foot. It is used to haul Harleys and normally I am traveling with just one bike which weighs about 800 lbs . Total weight of cargo including bike is about 2,000 lbs.
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:53 PM   #17
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does anyone have any ideas as to how long the trailer brakes last? I have 30,000 miles on a duel wheel trailer which is 12 ft by 7 foot. It is used to haul Harleys and normally I am traveling with just one bike which weighs about 800 lbs . Total weight of cargo including bike is about 2,000 lbs.
They last a long time but you will need to periodically adjust the brakes at the drum. When it is time to replace the brakes its cheaper to just replace the whole backing plate with everything already installed.
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