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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-18-2003, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
 
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O/T - Trailer Brake Controller - Inertia/Electric?

It's time to buy a trailer brake controller for my new tow rig (2000 F-350 SuperDuty, 5.4L V8). I will be pulling a large dual axle vehicle hauling trailer with either a Cherokee or my CJ on the trailer. I looked at controllers the other day, and found that there are two styles - inertia activated and electrical. The inertia style apparently senses a change in grade, so when you are going downhill (and presumably when you hit the brakes) the trailer brakes are automatically activated to prevent the trailer from surging forward and pushing the truck. The electrical style activates when you apply the brake, in turn activating the trailer brakes.

Can anyone give me any reason NOT to use the inertia style setup?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-18-2003, 11:50 AM
 
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Re: O/T - Trailer Brake Controller - Inertia/Electric?

</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
Can anyone give me any reason NOT to use the inertia style setup?

[/ QUOTE ]

No, but I can give you plenty not to use the electric-timer, trailer brake eating, worthless. piece of junk controllers. [img]images/graemlins/cussing.gif[/img]

Just buy a good one don't go with the cheap ones you'll be much happier.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-18-2003, 12:31 PM
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Re: O/T - Trailer Brake Controller - Inertia/Electric?

</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
Can anyone give me any reason NOT to use the inertia style setup?


[/ QUOTE ]

I have the electric controller and it works very nicely. A friend HAD an inertia type and his never worked correctly. He was forever replacing components. He ended up scraping it and buying an electric one and never has had a problem with it. I would recommend the electric ones. They can be adjusted, I'm not sure if the inertia type can be or not.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-18-2003, 12:33 PM
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Re: O/T - Trailer Brake Controller - Inertia/Electric?

Add me to the list of people who hate the (as in2mud put it) [img]images/graemlins/bs.gif[/img] electric-timer, trailer brake eating, worthless. piece of junk controllers.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-18-2003, 12:38 PM
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Re: O/T - Trailer Brake Controller - Inertia/Electric?

</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
Add me to the list of people who hate the (as in2mud put it) [img]images/graemlins/bs.gif[/img] electric-timer, trailer brake eating, worthless. piece of junk controllers.

[/ QUOTE ]1. Can we be a little more blunt?
2. I'm interested in this thread...
3. And what the consensus is...
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-18-2003, 12:50 PM
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Re: O/T - Trailer Brake Controller - Inertia/Electric?

I have an F-350 and a dual axle trailer (4 brakes and 7000 gross). I have an electric brake controler and I have used it for 4 years with no problem. I probably put about 5k a year on the trailer hauling the jeep and firewood through the mountains of western MD. I think the people who don't like them don't know how to set them up or drive hauling a trailer like they drive without one. The contoler is a Power Stop and I got it from Nothern. Gravy to install.

Inertial is tough to set up/ install. It has to be level and calibrated and that varies on what you are hauling. When you slam on the brakes your nose dips down and the trailer nose comes up. Add some hills and a turn and this can change quite a bit.

When you need to stop well don't go cheap, whatever you do!
post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-18-2003, 01:42 PM
 
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Re: O/T - Trailer Brake Controller - Inertia/Electric?

Sorry Leve for being so blunt, and because you asked I'll explain my reasoning and experiences with them both.

First on the electric-timer, trailer brake eating, worthless. piece of junk controllers, AKA solid-state controllers. The way they work is by tieing into the brake light switch which enables them when you press the brake pedal then they apply a gradual increased voltage to the trailer's brakes using a time delay circuit. The problem with them is, although you can adjust how aggressive they are(how fast the voltage increases) thats all you get so when when you hit the brake pedal it's always the same no matter if you need a slow stop or a panic stop it's always the same. So in a slow stop they give you to much braking and increased trailer brake wear and in a panic stop it's not enough on some you can even feel the pulse of the increased voltage. I've also seen lots of them that leak voltage through when your not even pressing the brake pedal putting a slight drag on the trailer brakes all the time killing gas mileage and hence trailer brake eating. The only good things about them is they are cheap and easy to mount.

Now for the inertia activated style they also tie into the brake switch but instead of using a timer they use a pendulum that senses the stopping motion and it swings giving a true proportional voltage to the trailer's brakes depending on the type of stop. When they are properly adjusted the trailer will decelerate at the same speed as the tow vehicle. This adds up to increased braking efficiency and reduced brake wear on both the tow vehicle and trailer. They also have a very smooth braking action. The downside of them (if you can call it that in caparison) is they are harder to install most need to be leveled to be able to calibrate them right. They also tend to be bigger and more expensive but they are worth it IMHO.

As far as brands I've had the best luck with the Tekonsha models. I hope this explains things better for everyone but this is just from my personal experience with them.


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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-18-2003, 02:12 PM
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Re: O/T - Trailer Brake Controller - Inertia/Elect

We have 2 trailers at work, one is pulled by full size chevy van pulling a 7K# Bobcat, it uses electric brakes and everyone hates them...for the same reasons listed above, adding that once they come on full they tend to be grabby.

To pull the 11K# backhoe we use a Dump truck using the "surge" brakes...Everyone likes this set up...pull the beast and you forget its back there during braking.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 07-18-2003, 04:49 PM
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Re: O/T - Trailer Brake Controller - Inertia/Electric?

I can speak to the Tekonsha inertia brake controllers. I am sorry that I do not recall the exact model.

I had one in my Yukon pulling an 1800# trailer with a 3000# Jeep and full of camping gear.

I liked it. Mine had 2 thumb wheels that needed to be set before towing. I adjusted them every time I hooked up. It was just part of the pulling out process.

One was level. You pulled to a stop on level flat place (with your foot on the brake) you would turn the thumb wheel until the green LED started to show any red/yellow. At this point you would back the thumb wheel off (just a little bit) until you had an all green LED, and you were on to the next step.

The next one was the Gain. This changed how hard the trailer brakes worked.... Empty trailer I could dial them back so that they did not brake hard and lock up the trailer tires. Heavy load I had them cranked up just incase of an emergency stop.

It was possible to have then set incorrectly but that is driver error not controller error. Bouncing was never an issue unless my foot was already on the brake pedal. When pulling a sizable trailer you always know it is back there. The bounce was never a big issue; it was more the trailer just letting me know that it is back there.

I also had the slider control where I could trigger the trailer brakes without the truck brakes. I did not use this function very often but I liked having it.

I would recommend the Tekonsha systems.


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post #10 of (permalink) Old 07-18-2003, 06:00 PM
 
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Re: O/T - Trailer Brake Controller - Inertia/Electric?

i used to pull with an inertia brake controller. it was terrible. i was always adjusting it and if you started going down hill it would sometimes put the brakes on. when you unloaded the trailer, you had to adjust it. it never seemed to work properly. i hated pulling with it.

then i bought a Draw-tite Activator II electronic controller. it is absolutely wonderful! you set the agressiveness once (how fast the brakes come on) and leave it alone. then, you can adjust the braking strength and the digital readout displays a # between 1 and 10. with my 18' car trailer unloaded, i turn the controller down to 2, with a load on, i set it at 2.5. if i'm backing something up, i'll usually turn it down to 1.5. if i'm backing something up in the dark and use the brake lights on the trailer for back-up lights, i'll turn it down to 0 or 1.

the way i set it up is so that on any normal stop, the brakes on the trailer stop both the truck and the trailer. that leaves the brakes on the truck for any emergency stopping. if i need to, in a panic (and i have done it) i can reach down and turn the brake controller up to send more power to the trailer.

i love it. it is consistent, reliable, and very easy to use. you don't have to have it mounted level or rely on any kind of pendulum. i love it.

did i say i loved it...i do

matt
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