Braking System

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kozmosis

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Aug 27, 2006
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I recently purchased a Kiwi by Jayco and am pulling it with a 1995 Ford Bronce with a rebuilt 351.  The Bronco was my father in laws and he has passed, and not being very mechanically inlined, how do I set the brake system so that it is calibrated correctly.  I do not know what kind it is, but I do know that turning the dial on the side loosenens and tightends the brakes.

Is there a proper way of setting it other than trial and error?
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Isn't there anythng that indicates the make and model of the brake controller?  Usually manuals can be found online if te brand is known.

There are usualy two adjustments - one that increases "aggresiveness", which is how soon the brakes come on after you press the tow vehicle brake pedal, and Power or Volume, which is the amount of braking applied at the trailer wheels. In essence it sets the proportion of trailer braking to tow vehicle braking.

Generally, you want the volume to be such that the trailer slows down but is not pulling back or draging the tow vehicle to a stop. If you feel the trailer braking, it is probably braking too much and will soonwear the trailer brakes out because they are stopping both the trailer and the tow vehicle. Adjust the controller power/volume until you feel the brake drag, then back off a bit until you no longer feel a pronounced drag.

Aggressiveness is more a matter of preference, but generally the trailer brakes should come on within a second or two of pushing the tow vehicle pedal. The only "wrong" setting is having the trailer brakes come on instantly with a lot of power, jerking the tow vehicle backwards. Or perhaps, delayed too long, so you aren't getting much asist from the trailer brakes at all.
 

John From Detroit

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There is a fairly good chance that the brake controller on most any tow vehicle is a Tekonsha.. Alas, I don't know how to set those.

I do know how to set the cotroller on my motor home  But since I'm pulling a car instead of a trailer it's not a Tekonsha.

Look on the controller for any words or model numbers and post them here, Then we can help
 

Bob Buchanan

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kozmosis said:
I do not know what kind it is, but I do know that turning the dial on the side loosenens and tightends the brakes.

Is there a proper way of setting it other than trial and error?

If that knob does what you describe, it is the "gain" control. As Gary mentions, you want the trailer brakes to brake the trailer and the truck brakes to brake the truck. Neither should assist the other. So that is the setting you are looking for. Finding that setting should never be done a hard surface such as concrete or asphalt. Find a gravel driveway to do this.

The idea is to back off the gain, then increase until the brakes lock -- but "just" lock on the gravel. If you do this on a hard surface you will have too much gain. Another benefit of the gravel is that you will have to drive a ways to find a good location. That will warm the brakes. Never do final adjusting when the brakes are cold.

BTW, this is the same method used to adjust the USGear toad braking gain on my MH. And is the method I used when pulling a TT and the a 5th Wheel.

Another thought. It would be a good idea to jack each wheel of the trailer up and also adjust the brakes themselves -- or have that done. The method generally used there is to adjust the brakes until they just drag -- then back off a bit until they don't drag. If the rig has been sitting -- or if they have never been adjusted it is probably a good idea. One way to tell if your trailer brakes need adjusting is to have someone view the rig while adjusting the gain in the truck. If one wheel locks before another -- your trailer brakes need adjusting. You must do that then before the proper gain in the truck can be obtained.
 

John From Detroit

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BOB, you sound like someone I need to talk to.

(The same method is used to adjust the US GEAR....)

I know the manual says to increase gain so it just locks on a gravel road, but does not lock on pavement.

But the question is how fast and how hard do I brake the MH, Do I get her up to oh, say 10 mph and stand on them or just normal braking? or normal Heavy braking (trying not to make cabnets pop open, even if I now have all cabnets which can do so secured
 

Bob Buchanan

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John In Detroit said:
BOB, you sound like someone I need to talk to.

(The same method is used to adjust the US GEAR....)

I know the manual says to increase gain so it just locks on a gravel road, but does not lock on pavement.

But the question is how fast and how hard do I brake the MH, Do I get her up to oh, say 10 mph and stand on them or just normal braking? or normal Heavy braking (trying not to make cabnets pop open, even if I now have all cabnets which can do so secured

Hey John . . .

That's the beauty of US Gear unified braking -- it's both proportional and progressive. So if you adjust the gain (proportionality) at, say, 15 mph, that setting and it's effect will be the same later when/if you brake 60 mph. If you brake hard, you get "progressively" harder braking in the toad. However, the MH is braking that much harder as well (but proportional to the toad). So it shouldn't matter.

I adjust mine at about 15-20mph -- which is the same speeds I adjusted my trailer and 5th wheel brakes. I back off, then increase until I can "feel" the toad braking. I then back off again"very" slowly until I can't feel it any more. I never want to "feel" the toad braking unless I'm going down a steep grade and the brakes on the MH go south. :) Then from the rig cab control unit I will increase the gain all the way and fully apply the power assisted toad brakes.
 

Lowell

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If you have access to a digital camera, take a picture of the brake controller and attach it to your next post.  Most likely, someone will recognize the brand and model.
 
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