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For you who tow trailers - Brake controllers?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ebbsspeed, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 4,844

    Ebbsspeed
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I've got a 16' tandem axle trailer that I use to haul cars and parts, and one of the axles has electric brakes on it. My pickup doesn't have a controller, and I'm looking for recommendations as to what's good, what's not. Just trying to make it safer for me and the other folks that I meet on the road.
     
  2. AAFD
    Joined: Apr 13, 2010
    Posts: 585

    AAFD
    Member
    from US of A

    I always used Reese electric brake controllers. I think the last one I bought was under $50, easy hookup.
     
  3. Hotrod1959
    Joined: Nov 3, 2007
    Posts: 676

    Hotrod1959
    Member

    Prodigy brand gets high marks from me. A little more but worth it in the long run.
     
  4. Big_John
    Joined: Mar 28, 2006
    Posts: 327

    Big_John
    Member
    from Upstate NY

    Tekonsha Prodigy.

    Easy to install, and very adjustable for the trailer loading and conditions.
     
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  5. edcodesign
    Joined: Mar 30, 2007
    Posts: 3,670

    edcodesign
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I use a Tekonsha, works fine pulling my camper.
     
  6. johnboy94
    Joined: May 31, 2007
    Posts: 75

    johnboy94
    Member

    Tekonsha prodigy p3.

    Get a good controller, the family in front of you will thank you, (or atleast not sue your ass off) I used to think they were all the same till I had one crap out in the mountains while dragging a 30' goosneck loaded.

    Johnboy
     
  7. RidgeRunner
    Joined: Feb 9, 2007
    Posts: 819

    RidgeRunner
    Member
    from Western MA

    Bought a Tekonsha Voyager from a buddy that had it left over when he swaped trucks. No problems with it the last 5 years on my truck towing 3 different race cars on 3 different trailers in different combinations.

    Another buddy is using a Tekonsha [don't remember the model] with his tow rig/race car trailer combination, no problems with it.

    Wiring on all the trailers........ now that's another story.............

    Ed
     
  8. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 3,947

    Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Member

    Another vote for Tekonsha Prodigy. They're very easy to install and adjust. They also have a real comfortable spring loaded manual paddle which enables you to reach down and drag the trailer brakes w/o the tow vehicle brakes. This is extra handy when hauling a heavy load down hill-less chance of your trailer coming around on you..
     
  9. JF
    Joined: May 15, 2008
    Posts: 511

    JF
    Member
    from Utah

    I would use a Warner! If your trying to stay traditional.... Best ever made! :rolleyes: ok sorry...
    I'd have to go look in my truck to see what brand it is. and its cold out there right now.

    btw this Warner is for sale cheap if ya want it ;)
     

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  10. I've had several Tekonshas ove the years. Had one go bad, and they sent me a new one--no charge.
     
  11. 32-3 WINDOW
    Joined: Nov 23, 2005
    Posts: 1,696

    32-3 WINDOW
    Member
    from utah

    prodigy p3 is what ive always used an never had a problem
     
  12. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 4,844

    Ebbsspeed
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    WOW, that's some controller! But my tow rig isn't traditional, so I guess I'm free to use newer technology. Looks like Tekonsha is the overwhelming choice, so I'll check into them.

    Thanks all!!
     
  13. vintage6t
    Joined: Jul 30, 2007
    Posts: 322

    vintage6t
    Member
    from CT

    Also check your state laws, depending on your trailer rating they may require brakes on both axles.
     
  14. fms427
    Joined: Nov 17, 2006
    Posts: 864

    fms427
    Member

    Prodigy! Definately run brakes on a trailer that big. If your truck is a later model GM, controllers plug righht into the wiring harness - easy !
     
  15. I make my living from trailers, I agree with the rest of the guys, Tekonsha Prodigy is the way to go on brake controllers. What's really cool is that you can unplug it and use it in another vehicle if you want. It can be mounted just about anywhere. I've stuffed mine in a little pouch in the dash board of my Express van. You should place it where you can easily see it and within arms reach so you can adjust it.
    Depending on your tow vehicle, there should be a bundle of wires under the dash color coded to attach to the brake controller. Often times there is a wiring harness in a plastic bag stashed on new vehicles. Follow the manufactures recommendation on what to do. The Prodigy unit comes with a yellow tag that shows the wiring hook ups.
    Most of the late model vehicles come prewired for the trailer connnector. If prewired, it should be about a twenty minute install.
     
  16. Cyclone GT
    Joined: May 13, 2008
    Posts: 115

    Cyclone GT
    Member


    x2 :D
     
  17. ZZ-IRON
    Joined: Feb 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,964

    ZZ-IRON
    Member
    from Minnesota

    Had a Tekonsha controller on my 2003 Chev Z71 used the Chevy factory trailer harness to hook it up made trips to CT, NJ, NC, OH, WY,MT worked just fine with 24 foot tandem open trailer

    I also use a weight distribution system i wouldn't go anywhere with it, i remember the rock and roll trips before i bought the WDS
    your trailer is stable on curves and bumps all kind of terrain it was a great acquisition for a safe trip

    When i sold the Z71 the Tekonsha went on 98 Dodge hard wired it sold that truck with the controller

    With the trouble free Tekonsha the 2010 Dodge Hemi got a new Tekonsha Prodigy it preformed well on the maiden voyage to South Dakota
     
  18. A Rodder
    Joined: Jul 13, 2008
    Posts: 2,477

    A Rodder
    Member

    The voyager is a pain to adjust, it is mechanicallly inertia activated, the prodigy is down electrically.

    The voyager is a light display that changes colors depending on adjustment, if you are color blind forget it, unless you are the cheapest ass around forget it as well, lol.

    The prodigy has a digital display in numbers and is way easier to adjust, the P3 is the newest and coolest from tekonsha, it reacts exactly the same as the prodigy (or P2
    as it is now called) but has an lcd display and has some onboard diagnostics of the trailer brake wiring.

    The biggest difference is using these two controllers is this: On the prodigy, when you change the power output on the controller it DOESN'T tell you what you are setting it at, you need to be stopped and engage the manual overide fully to see what you have the max output at. Or just make a couple of stops and see if you need to go up or down a little. As far as the P3, the LCD display will tell you what you are setting the power output at while your setting it, regardless if you are actually stopping. THIS is the biggest difference in actually towing with these controllers. The several different color backlit displays are cool but don't make it work any better.

    My business is this business, IF you don't want to step up for the p3 skip the prodigy and get the primus IQ, it is practically the same as the prodigy but in a different case.

    Out of 20 of these I sell, about 4 are P3, 14 are Primus IQ, and maybe 2 prodigy.

    What year make and model of truck do you have? Maybe we can walk you thru on installing it!

    Joe
     
  19. willowbilly3
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 4,356

    willowbilly3
    Member Emeritus
    from Sturgis

    These are what I use and work great for one axle. I'm having a little trouble getting it to work on 2 7000# axles.
    I find the digital controllers to be quite lacking. If you have them set tight enough for an emergency stop in traffic, they slide the tires when you don't need heavy trailer braking.
    I also have a couple of the older Wagner ones that plumbed into the brake hydraulics and they modulate the trailer brakes according to brake pressure. They are still the best system IMHO but undoubtedly wouldn't work on newer turcks with ABS.
     
  20. willowbilly3
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 4,356

    willowbilly3
    Member Emeritus
    from Sturgis

    These are what I use and work great for one axle. I'm having a little trouble getting it to work on 2 7000# axles.
    I find the digital controllers to be quite lacking. If you have them set tight enough for an emergency stop in traffic, they slide the tires when you don't need heavy trailer braking.
    I also have a couple of the older Wagner ones that plumbed into the brake hydraulics and they modulate the trailer brakes according to brake pressure. They are still the best system IMHO but undoubtedly wouldn't work on newer trucks with ABS.
     
  21. Troostr
    Joined: Oct 25, 2009
    Posts: 59

    Troostr
    Member
    from Artesia NM

    another vote
     
  22. bwilli2
    Joined: Apr 9, 2010
    Posts: 2

    bwilli2
    Member

    I went with a BrakeSmart controller. Expensive, but 100% proportional and reacts instantly. It uses a pressure sensor inline with your brakes, so the instant you hit your pedal it is applying the trailer brakes exactly as hard as you are pressing on the pedal. (Adjusted to your gain settings.) It's something of a two part system. The pressure sensor in the brake system and the head/control/display unit in the cab.

    The BrakeSmart head unit can also double as a gauge indicator pack. You can connect your various temperature/boost sensors to it for a single display.

    It was overkill for my application, but I figured if I got it now, I could tow anything I wanted with it.

    The inertia activated controllers by necessity 'lag' just a little as your tow vehicle has to start slowing down for them to detect/react and apply the trailer brakes. They also have mounting constraints due to the internal sensors. Neither of which is a major issue unless you're towing particularly sensitive cargo. (Livestock.)

    All of that said, the Tekonsha Prodigy is an excellent controller and was my 2nd choice. I'd not hesitate to pick up a Prodigy. They install easily, and seems like you can pick them up everywhere.

    I helped a buddy swap out his previous controller for a Prodigy (5th wheel travel-trailer towing) and he is amazed at the improvement.
     
  23. Deuce Roadster
    Joined: Sep 8, 2002
    Posts: 9,520

    Deuce Roadster
    Member Emeritus

    [​IMG]

    Another vote for the Prodigy. I have a P2 ... :D

    I installed a Prodigy in my new 1990 Silverado in 1990. Ran it for 6 years and pulled it and installed it in my new 1996 Silverado. In 2004 ... I sold the 1996 and bought a 2004 Silverado. I went and bought a new Prodigy. The buyer of my 1996 had a trailer and wanted the Prodigy left in it ( paid me for a new Prodigy :) ... just to leave the old one in the 1996. ) In 2009 ... I bought another new Silverado and I wanted upgrade to the P2 ... so I bought new Prodigy P2. Works GREAT and easy to install. I bought the trailer to use in my part-time Fireworks business ... :D

    [​IMG]

    I also suggest you having sway contols and weight equalizers on your trailer.

    [​IMG]

    My brother also has a Prodigy brake controller in his Chevrolet ... works great also pulling his Hallmark double axle trailer axle.

    .
     
  24. I've been looking too, this topic is right on time for me. Anyone know what the big fuse is for in the trailer brake wiring package in a 2002 Z71 ? The owners manual shows how to wire the controler to the factory wire bundle but nothing about that big fuse.
     
  25. A Rodder
    Joined: Jul 13, 2008
    Posts: 2,477

    A Rodder
    Member

    The ease of installation is directly related to the year make and model.

    To the above question, that fuse goes in the fuse box under the hood on the driver side in "stud #1" it provides a constant 12v power to the rear factory 7 way plug mounted to the factory hitch on your truck.

    For rvs and trailers with batteries it will keep the charged while driving. For enclosed trailers that don't have on batteries it will give power for you dome/ loading lights.

    P3. Is the best choice. Half of the time we go camping my wife leaves ahead of me towing our trailer and she has all the confidence in the world using it.

    As said above post regarding brakes not good enough at speed but then locks at low speeds. Your are probably using a solid state or timed brake controller as opposed to the proportional controllers we have been preaching about.

    Joe
     
  26. 1950ChevySuburban
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 6,206

    1950ChevySuburban
    Member Emeritus
    from Tucson AZ

    I've seen a couple of 2009 Chevys come in without the factory harness installed. Had to wire them olde~style.
    Another vote for the Prodigy.
     
  27. Deuce Roadster
    Joined: Sep 8, 2002
    Posts: 9,520

    Deuce Roadster
    Member Emeritus

    True, True and TRUE ...

    My 2009 Silverado LTZ did not have the factory brake harness installed.
    And it has the factory TOWING PACKAGE. :confused:

    Had to wire the Prodigy the old style way. NOT DIFFICULT ..
    but just time consuming.

    :D
     
  28. A Rodder
    Joined: Jul 13, 2008
    Posts: 2,477

    A Rodder
    Member

    07 and up new body style GM. S don't have a plug in style. They butt connect to wires that are stubbed out under the dash. So hardwire is correct but you don't have to run any wires. The power wire for the controller is not hooked to the battery from the factory by the way.
    Joe
     
  29. RPM
    Joined: Feb 5, 2005
    Posts: 204

    RPM
    Member

    We have used the Prodigy with no problems. Just traded to an 011 Silverado and it has a built in controller.
     
  30. KoolKat-57
    Joined: Feb 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,878

    KoolKat-57
    Member
    from Dublin, OH

    Prodigy for all of the reasons stated before me.
    My '09 Silverado had the wiring tied to the steering column under the dash, double sided trim taped it to the dash, worked great for a novice, very logical operation and adjustment!
     

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