trailer brakes

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by yardguy28, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    i have a 7' x 14' tandem trailer i purchased about a month ago.

    they set me up with the tekonsha p3 brake controller.

    never had a trailer with brakes and i'm not sure what i should be looking for when "dialing" in the settings.

    i've tried different settings since i've had it but it still seems to lock up the tires when i feel it shouldn't.

    any help or advice would be helpfull.
  2. unkownfl

    unkownfl LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,837

    First off from a dead stop if you squeeze the controller tabs it should lock up the brakes.

    IRRITECH LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 999

  4. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    i did read that, which i had already read with the paper insert with the box the brake box came in. but it was a nice refresher.

    i guess what i'm looking to get out of this thread is ideas on around where my numbers should be and what should i feel or not feel during a normal day of driving.

    from what that link says i should feel unified braking between the trailer and truck. i really don't feel the trailer trying to stop at all. feels the same stopping with or without the trailer even hooked to the truck.

    if i set my settings high enought that i can feel the trailer actually braking thats when i get what i think is unnecessary lock up of the wheels.

    my current setting is boost 1 and my number is set at 4.2. my voltage has been 14.59 ever since they installed it.
  5. ecurbthims

    ecurbthims LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 493

    theres no "magic number " ,everyones truck,trailer and equipment weigh different ,and your vehicles brakes condition will effect how much braking you need for your trailer .If your not really feeling any change between no trailer and with trailer ,I would have to say you have things pretty good .
  6. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    thank you very much,

    this is the kind of information i need to know. this is the first trailer i've had with brakes. to be honest the only reason i even have them working is because the trailer company i purchased the trailer from said by law you have to have the "box".

    i pulled the trailer for about a week or 2 before i had the time for them to install the "box". during that week or 2 i did notice a few times when i almost thought i wasn't going to stop in time. but now that i have the brakes theres nothing like that. in fact i'm finding some times i have been locking the tires up when they shouldn't be locking up. which is why i'm asking.

    i might have it set at the proper setting now. but i thought i would ask around.
  7. bearmtnmartin

    bearmtnmartin LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 342

    my voltage has been 14.59 ever since they installed it.

    If that is what the read out shows then you are getting full line voltage to the brakes. Perhaps they wired it wrong.
    Electric brakes are always a little hokey. Always seem to be locking up or not stopping the trailer. I have Curt controllers with some type of pendulum now that do a pretty good job of sensing the load on the trailer. Much better than the cheapo style with time delay that give a 2 second delay and then snap your neck off. Still a little bush league compared to air or hydraulic.
  8. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,137

    I would have my controller at 3+ for loaded and 1.5-2.0 empty, and as the brakes wore down the settings were higher.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Basically, to get a good starting point, if your locking up the trailer then just bump it down.

    When I installed my cheap red-line controller, the book for it said set the dial and roll up to 20 mph.

    Then engage the controller manually and you should feel the trailer slowing you down, but not locking the tires.

    At that point just drive and tweak it up and down from there.

  10. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,819

    This is good advice, and is right on IMO.

    I was always taught that the trailer brakes should engage just before the trucks did. That way the trailer isn't always "bumping" into the receiver's hitch pin, or putting undo strain against the adjustable tongue in the trailer's coupler, but the truck should always feel like it does when stopping without any cargo or trailer.

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