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Towing 2nd Gen Dodge Ram Towing Questions


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  #1  
Old 08-07-2013, 06:05 PM
letsgo19 letsgo19 is offline
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Default trailer brake controller

My 1998 2500 ram came with a brake controller.I"ve never used one before.So in what situation are they most useful,and do I need to adjust it for my towing needs?Thanks.I trailer a 3000 lb boat.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:01 PM
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The brake controller is suppose to relay your brake applications to the trailer brakes, which in turn, applies the trailer brakes, so the trailer is not "pushing" the truck on stops. There are two kinds, the better examples are progressive which means, if adjusted properly, will apply the trailer brake in proportion to the pressure you apply in the truck. The not so good models, kind of guess how much and when to apply brake pressure. So, as a result you get a jerky un-reliable braking performance at the trailer. Makes backing operations a real headache. You say yours came with the truck so a good chance it is a OEM brake controller, but perhaps not. If it is OEM that would be good, but there are a couple very good aftermarket brake controllers. You will know if it is OEM, because the unit itself will be recessed into the dash and most likely the display will be on your dash display. To adjust, generally you set it for a mid point number, travel on a level flat and dry surface at approximately 20mph and then manually apply the trailer brakes from the controller. If the trailer brakes lock up, then you need to reduce the power number until the trailer brakes no longer lock-up. If they do not lock-up, increase the power until they lock-up, then back off the power slightly. Properly adjusted, you will get maximum braking to the trailer without locking them up.
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Last edited by Hermes1; 08-07-2013 at 08:05 PM. Reason: Content
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:13 PM
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Could you go into a little more detail? LOL! JK, Bruce. Great info man!
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Old 08-08-2013, 03:34 AM
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Trailer brake controllers are for electric brakes. Your boat trailer most likely has surge brakes which don't require a controller, if it has any brakes at all.

Some newer higher end boat manufacturers are starting to put sealed electric brakes on their trailers.
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Old 08-08-2013, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by PaulMys View Post
Could you go into a little more detail? LOL! JK, Bruce. Great info man!
Geez Paul, that was the Readers Digest version. But since you asked.... four score and seven years ago.

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Trailer brake controllers are for electric brakes. Your boat trailer most likely has surge brakes which don't require a controller, if it has any brakes at all.

Some newer higher end boat manufacturers are starting to put sealed electric brakes on their trailers.
Good point, it has been so long since I was towing boats, I forgot about this important point and have not followed the boat trailer technology.
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Old 08-08-2013, 01:29 PM
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Thanks for the replys and great write upHow do I tell if my trailer brakes are surge or electric?I think my dealer told me the trailer brakes engage when I apply truck breaks.
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Old 08-08-2013, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by letsgo19 View Post
Thanks for the replys and great write upHow do I tell if my trailer brakes are surge or electric?I think my dealer told me the trailer brakes engage when I apply truck breaks.
If your trailer has surge brakes, there is no electrical connector to the trailer, other than a 4-pin for lights and signals. With surge brakes, the brakes are activated by a connection through the hitch, if I recall correctly. If your trailer has electrical brakes it will have what is called a 7-pin Bargeman plug which will mate with your truck electrical connection. The 7-pin plug has the wiring for the brake controller as well as lights.
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Old 08-08-2013, 02:35 PM
letsgo19 letsgo19 is offline
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Thanks,ya my trailer only has the 4 pin connector.
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