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Old 05-16-2017, 02:59 PM   #1
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Towing an 04 T-2199

I've been digging, but thought I would just ask the folks that actually know.
I pull my trailer with a 2010 F-150 Super Crew 2wd and wanted an opinion on if I should shell out the money for a break controller.

I know the trailer's weight is 4080 pounds dry.

I'm thinking everyone's answer will be yes, but just thought I would ask.

Thanks in advance

John Byrum
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Old 05-16-2017, 04:47 PM   #2
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HI John,
This is an easy one, at least if you plan on driving in the great state of NJ. Functioning trailer brakes are required by law on any trailer over 3000 lbs. In my opinion, I wouldn't tow anything without trailer brakes. My truck has a tow capacity of 8000lbs and I tow a 2000 lbs trailer, with brakes.
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Old 05-16-2017, 05:33 PM   #3
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Hi John,

With a camper that large, and heavy, yes you want/need a brake controller.

Ford normally states a weight limit for non braked small trailers, which is usually around 2,000#, just I cannot find it right now in the manual.

Ford in their manual (2010 F150) states the truck brakes are only sized to handle the GVWR of the truck, not the GCWR. Page 263. Adding a 4 to 5,000# loaded trailer will be over the GVWR.

There is also a safety action that you can do if the trailer gets out of control from sway event which is to press the manual button on the brake controller and apply just the trailer brakes to help stall out the sway, and not the truck brakes. You can only do this from the brake controller.

You are for sure going to know the camper is back there from a towing standpoint. The nickname, towing a brick.... does fit. Your gas gauge will confirm that as it drops like a rock... And even with trailer brakes working, it will take longer then normal to stop the entire rig. Doing an emergency stop with no trailer brakes on a camper that big, will be an issue.

You really want to get the brake controller. Ideally look for one that has "proportional brake control" and not one that is "time based". The proportional ones do not cost a lot more then the timed based, but the performance of the proportional far outweighs the time based when the trailer is as big as your camper.

The Tekonsha Prodigy or P3 are good mid range controllers that are proportional. These Prodigy Brake Controller

Hope this helps

John
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Old 05-16-2017, 06:23 PM   #4
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Thank you so much for the information. I had a feeling that I needed one. Now I need to test and see if I need to upgrade to a load balancing hitch.
This is so much fun!!!


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Old 05-17-2017, 08:16 AM   #5
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Many states require trailer brakes over 1000#. Along with the fact trailer brakes really make a difference in over all breaking it will make you towing experience a lot less stressful. I have an old 1 ton Dodge dully diesel and I would not tow my T1700 with out the trailer brakes hooked up and it's rated 17,000#
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:29 AM   #6
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Well everyone convinced me. I ordered the Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control and the interface cable.
I read a post last night about how to test the trailer brakes, so as soon as the controller gets installed, that can be my next project


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Old 05-17-2017, 06:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnByrum View Post
Now I need to test and see if I need to upgrade to a load balancing hitch.
This is so much fun!!!
Hi John,

Now that you are past the brake controller, good for you. The P3 will do you well. Just may take a bit to set it up correctly and assuming the camper brakes work right too. They may be way out of adjustment and possibly have some wiring corrosion issues. All fixable.

Your camper is a unique 2004 only model. And the brochure does not list a dry tongue weight. I looked and the floor plan is not in the 2005 brochure, so it seems it may have been a 1 model year thing. My camper model was a 2 year thing...

By looking at the floor plan and using your listed "dry" weight, ( that is not in the brochure either, but your weight sticker inside the camper is what it weighed the day it left Sunline) I'm going to estimate when the camper is fully loaded to the GVWR of 5,500#, you might be in the 750# to 850# loaded tongue weight. The LP gas and battery weight adds, but the front pass through cargo hole and under the bed storage adds much more. That and the storage in the cabinets over the bed. Those 2 nice swivel rocker chairs in the back do not do much for offsetting the front loaded gear, so the loaded tongue weight can go up quickly. It will tow nice and stable, but the truck has to deal with the loaded tongue weight.

The only real way to know the loaded tongue weight is to weigh the tongue with a scale. They sell a portable one called a Sherline Tongue scale. This one Sherline Trailer Tongue Weight Scale - Sherline Products. Many places now sell that scale. I have one many other forum members do to. This gives you real world info at home when you are loading the camper.

The other way is go to a truck scale, and for about $10 to $15 weight it there. And here you can weigh the entire camper too. If you get to this, ask away as there is method on how to weigh the camper and check the WD hitch setup too.

This is the 2010 Ford towing guide. On page 29 it lists the Ford standard truck receiver. Does your have the Factory Tow Package? Hope it does as they is part of transmission coolers, 7 wire harness, reciever etc. Go here and then 2010 RV & Trailer Towing Guides | fleet.ford.com

There should be a sticker on the back of the receiver that calls out, weight carrying and weight disturbing. Page 29, states 500# max for weight carrying and 1,130# of weight distributing.

Odds are very high you are going to be over the 500# max weight carrying limit when you load the camper with gear. And most times, folks who camp end up filling the truck bed with camping stuff. Firewood, bikes, chairs you name it, adding even more weight in the back of the truck beyond the camper tongue weight.

Once the camper is loaded and the truck loaded, odds are very high you will need a WD hitch. The truck will ride a lot better and be more responsive in steering under wet and slippery conditions. You will need to still watch the truck rear axle weights, but the WD hitch will help that too. Check your receiver sticker to confirm, but I think you are over the limit without the WD hitch.

There are many WD hitches and many with an anti sway control devices as an integral part of the hitch. If you need help on which one, we are glad to help with one that will fit your camper and the truck. Features and the ability for future upgrading to a larger camper all play into the decision. And they affect the pricing too.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:27 PM   #8
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It is a common practice around here either to have those trailer brake for those capacities.
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Old 05-18-2017, 05:50 AM   #9
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I forgot what your TV was but if it was a factory installed tow package you may have a connection under the dash for a plug and play connection. Many came with all the wiring in place but no controller my 2011 Tacoma actually came with the harness to mate the truck wiring to the controller it had a connector that fit the truck wiring and open end to connect to what ever controller you decided to use.
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Old 05-18-2017, 07:02 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by mainah View Post
I forgot what your TV was but if it was a factory installed tow package you may have a connection under the dash for a plug and play connection. Many came with all the wiring in place but no controller my 2011 Tacoma actually came with the harness to mate the truck wiring to the controller it had a connector that fit the truck wiring and open end to connect to what ever controller you decided to use.


My controller and pre-fab wiring harness would be delivered on Friday.
I actually neglected to look and see if my F-150 has the open connection under the dash before I placed the order.
I'm quickly finding out that owning a Travel Trailer is a lot more involved than I could have ever known. I decided to purchase one in hopes that my wife and I will enjoy using it and to visit my children scattered across the country.
We started out with pulling a trailer behind my motorcycle full of camping gear, but quickly found out that we are getting a little too old for tent camping


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Old 05-18-2017, 10:23 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by JohnByrum View Post
My controller and pre-fab wiring harness would be delivered on Friday.
I actually neglected to look and see if my F-150 has the open connection under the dash before I placed the order.
I'm quickly finding out that owning a Travel Trailer is a lot more involved than I could have ever known. I decided to purchase one in hopes that my wife and I will enjoy using it and to visit my children scattered across the country.
We started out with pulling a trailer behind my motorcycle full of camping gear, but quickly found out that we are getting a little too old for tent camping


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All F-150s built from like 1997 and up should have the plug in somewhere up there. It probably isn't as easy to find as you'd think, they don't make it easy to get to. The truck probably came with a little bag new that contained a pigtail for that, a wiring diagram, and possibly a 7 to 4 way adapter. You used to buy the brake controller, hardwire it up to that pigtail, and then plug it in. I like the one piece harnesses they have now because there are no connections to fail.

One exception I know if is the 2002-05 Explorer and Mountaineer- the plug in for the controller is back behind the glovebox, so in order to mount the controller on the driver's side, you have to use the factory pigtail and actually extend it to get the wires long enough. My grandpa had this setup. Hopefully yours is more easily found. If you have that pigtail and wiring diagram, the diagram should tell you where it is. Otherwise, an internet search for your year and model should help point you there.
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Old 05-18-2017, 10:30 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
You really want to get the brake controller. Ideally look for one that has "proportional brake control" and not one that is "time based". The proportional ones do not cost a lot more then the timed based, but the performance of the proportional far outweighs the time based when the trailer is as big as your camper.
I checked and it looks like the one that I have is time-based (Curt Venturer). I am hoping it will be sufficient for a small TT.

Thanks,
Tommie
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Old 05-18-2017, 11:05 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Sunline Fan View Post
All F-150s built from like 1997 and up should have the plug in somewhere up there. It probably isn't as easy to find as you'd think, they don't make it easy to get to. The truck probably came with a little bag new that contained a pigtail for that, a wiring diagram, and possibly a 7 to 4 way adapter. You used to buy the brake controller, hardwire it up to that pigtail, and then plug it in. I like the one piece harnesses they have now because there are no connections to fail.



One exception I know if is the 2002-05 Explorer and Mountaineer- the plug in for the controller is back behind the glovebox, so in order to mount the controller on the driver's side, you have to use the factory pigtail and actually extend it to get the wires long enough. My grandpa had this setup. Hopefully yours is more easily found. If you have that pigtail and wiring diagram, the diagram should tell you where it is. Otherwise, an internet search for your year and model should help point you there.


Wow. Now that you mention it, I've had tat cable in the glove box for 7 years and forgot all about it. Now I will have 2 of them.


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Old 05-18-2017, 09:57 PM   #14
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I checked and it looks like the one that I have is time-based (Curt Venturer). I am hoping it will be sufficient for a small TT.

Thanks,
Tommie
Hi Tommie,

I looked yours up. This one, the instructions https://assets.curtmfg.com/masterlib..._51110_INS.PDF

That is not a bad controller, it will work and it will stop the camper. When I first started out using a brake controller, we just bought our first popup. The dealer had both a time based, (Reese Activator) and the Tekonsha Prodigy on the shelf. At that time the cost difference was $10 bucks... I was green as grass on brake controllers then and the dealer really never told me the real difference. He said either will work fine. it's my choice. Well... maybe they will.

On the popup, the issue was real slow speeds and high way speeds needed different adjustments. On the highway, I need more aggressiveness in the braking. So you tweak it up and it gets good. Then when in town doing stop and go or in the campground, that needed aggressiveness would lock up the trailer wheels real fast. So you end up fiddling with it, constantly. I could never find a sweet spot to make both high and low speed work the way I wanted.

Since you have the controller, for sure try it and use it. Your tow vehicle and trailer combo may work better then mine.

I looked in the manual of your Venture, it says this:

Quote:
Periodic adjustment of the sync and output controls may be necessary to correct for changing road conditions, trailer loading, brake wear and / or driver preference.
That is the issue I had. We can help you try and get yours to work the best it can be, and it may be OK for you. If it drives you nuts after a while... you can upgrade later when that time comes.

The brake pedal switch tells the controller you are going to brake when you press the pedal. It does not matter how hard you press, just that you touched it. That then sends a signal to the camper brakes in a "timed response" How much power it sends and how aggressive the time ramp up to that power are 2 adjustments you have to tweak. One is called "Output" for the power amount (limit) and the other "Sync" for the speed of the time ramp to get to the amount of output power on the Venture.

You need enough power to the trailer brakes so the truck is not stopping the camper. You can feel the camper pushing the truck, you want the two to stop as one combo. The aggressiveness is how fast all this happens. Too slow and the truck stops the trailer. Too fast and the trailer is trying to stop the truck.

The proportional controllers use a different concept. Many brands do it with different hardware, but the amount to trailer braking is proportional to the aggressiveness of the truck stopping. If you stomp on the truck brakes, the trailer will get a proportional hard stomp too. If the truck has a light braking, the trailer will get a proportional light braking, all automatically.

When you get to this and need help, let us know. We have many here on the forum who have been through this before to offer help.

Thanks

John
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