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TexasTurner

Trailer Brake Setting Dodge Ram

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TexasTurner

Sorry if this has been asked before, I couldn’t find the answer on the forum. I just got a new tow rig, 2019 Dodge Ram 1500. Unlike my last Ram this one actually has trailer brakes. I am towing a Malibu 21 MLX and was curious as to what my trailer brake setting should be, there are four options: light electric, heavy electric, light electric over hydraulic, and heavy electric over hydraulic. I seriously have no idea which one to pick or how to set the amount of braking applied, i.e. 4.5, 10.0, 12.0 etc...

The other interesting thing happened a few months ago. I drove a loaner 2019 Ram 1500 while I was getting my truck worked on. I hauled my boat to storage with the loaner (with trailer brakes) and the brakes kept locking up when I was backing into the storage building. I am hoping that this doesn’t happen with this truck. Is there something I need to add or do before backing the trailer? I keep seeing something about wiring up something to the back up light, a reverse lockout key etc. I have no idea what those are or why I would need to do that for a 2018 Boat and 2019 truck. 

Any help would be appreciated!!

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oldjeep
Posted (edited)

99% chance that your trailer has surge brakes.  The brake controller isn't going to do anything. 

As for the backing up issue, the truck should already be wired properly to actuate the brake lockout solinoid. So test the wiring on the trailer. 

Edited by oldjeep

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Pnwrider

You can set it to whatever you want, won’t make a difference with surge brakes. That said if you do tow a trailer with electric brakes, I usually start around 3.5 on my ram and adjust if needed. 

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Sixball

Yeper, unless you have the seven pin trailer plug you wont do anything with the settings.

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oldjeep
48 minutes ago, Sixball said:

Yeper, unless you have the seven pin trailer plug you wont do anything with the settings.

Huh?  All my trailers have 7 pin plugs, and no electric brakes. 

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mackie12

@oldjeep you can have a 7 pin and only use four of the actual pins. If the vehicle does not have a 4 pin receiver plug or the owner does not have a 4-7 adapter you can go with just a 7 pin.

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oldjeep
Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, mackie12 said:

@oldjeep you can have a 7 pin and only use four of the actual pins. If the vehicle does not have a 4 pin receiver plug or the owner does not have a 4-7 adapter you can go with just a 7 pin.

No kidding.  Re-read what I posted - it was a response to the nonsense that sixball posted ;)

Edited by oldjeep

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Hemmy
Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, TexasTurner said:

Sorry if this has been asked before, I couldn’t find the answer on the forum. I just got a new tow rig, 2019 Dodge Ram 1500. Unlike my last Ram this one actually has trailer brakes. I am towing a Malibu 21 MLX and was curious as to what my trailer brake setting should be, there are four options: light electric, heavy electric, light electric over hydraulic, and heavy electric over hydraulic. I seriously have no idea which one to pick or how to set the amount of braking applied, i.e. 4.5, 10.0, 12.0 etc...

The other interesting thing happened a few months ago. I drove a loaner 2019 Ram 1500 while I was getting my truck worked on. I hauled my boat to storage with the loaner (with trailer brakes) and the brakes kept locking up when I was backing into the storage building. I am hoping that this doesn’t happen with this truck. Is there something I need to add or do before backing the trailer? I keep seeing something about wiring up something to the back up light, a reverse lockout key etc. I have no idea what those are or why I would need to do that for a 2018 Boat and 2019 truck. 

Any help would be appreciated!!

Was the trailer still plugged into the vehicle when you backed it up into the storage unit.  If it is not plugged in, the override for the surge brake won't work.  The override for the surge brake is controlled by the tow vehicles backup lights.

Edited by Hemmy

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mackie12

@oldjeep........sorry, early for me here.....haven't had coffee yet...

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TexasTurner
49 minutes ago, Hemmy said:

Was the trailer still plugged into the vehicle when you backed it up into the storage unit.  If it is not plugged in, the override for the surge brake won't work.  The override for the surge brake is controlled by the tow vehicles backup lights.

It was still plugged in. I never had that problem on my 2016 Ram without trailer brakes. The 2019 Ram loaner with trailer brakes locked up in reverse. I still haven’t had time to test my new 2019 Ram with trailer brakes to see if it will lock up in reverse. I am hoping I can play with it before I’m stuck dealing with it on the boat ramp. 

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TexasTurner
12 hours ago, oldjeep said:

99% chance that your trailer has surge brakes.  The brake controller isn't going to do anything. 

As for the backing up issue, the truck should already be wired properly to actuate the brake lockout solinoid. So test the wiring on the trailer. 

How would I test the wiring on the trailer? 

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oldjeep
4 minutes ago, TexasTurner said:

How would I test the wiring on the trailer? 

You would need a 12 volt power source to actuate the lockout solonoid manually. 

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PMBST

On my 2019 Ram 1500, I have to disable the rear parking sensor for it to unlock the surge brakes.

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Hemmy
21 minutes ago, TexasTurner said:

It was still plugged in. I never had that problem on my 2016 Ram without trailer brakes. The 2019 Ram loaner with trailer brakes locked up in reverse. I still haven’t had time to test my new 2019 Ram with trailer brakes to see if it will lock up in reverse. I am hoping I can play with it before I’m stuck dealing with it on the boat ramp. 

Worst case scenario, make sure you have the lockout key and a clamp to clamp the key in place if you are not able to check it beforehand.  

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oldjeep
52 minutes ago, PMBST said:

On my 2019 Ram 1500, I have to disable the rear parking sensor for it to unlock the surge brakes.

Hmm, I wouldn't say for sure that my 2018 doesn't act the same way.  I turned it off when towing because I didn't like the beeping everytime I put it in reverse. 

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TexasTurner
8 hours ago, Hemmy said:

Worst case scenario, make sure you have the lockout key and a clamp to clamp the key in place if you are not able to check it beforehand.  

I looked for the lockout key today. I don’t know that I have one and if I do, I have no idea where it is located. 

That was going to be the backup plan if I ever had trouble. 

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TexasTurner
8 hours ago, PMBST said:

On my 2019 Ram 1500, I have to disable the rear parking sensor for it to unlock the surge brakes.

I hope the solution is that simple! Maybe I’ll have time to test it out later this week. 

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kerpluxal
Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, TexasTurner said:

I looked for the lockout key today. I don’t know that I have one and if I do, I have no idea where it is located. 

That was going to be the backup plan if I ever had trouble. 

a c-clamp works in a pinch.. lol.. been there ;) 

Edited by kerpluxal

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kerpluxal
Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, TexasTurner said:

It was still plugged in. I never had that problem on my 2016 Ram without trailer brakes. The 2019 Ram loaner with trailer brakes locked up in reverse. I still haven’t had time to test my new 2019 Ram with trailer brakes to see if it will lock up in reverse. I am hoping I can play with it before I’m stuck dealing with it on the boat ramp. 

The Ram with trailer brake controller vs Ram without is not going to make a difference...

  1. Surge Brakes (most boat trailers) the brakes engage with hydraulics like a car brake. There is brake actuator in the tongue of the trailer. This actuator is based on movement, when you apply brakes in truck, the trailer moves forward on tongue, the actuator applies brake from this movement (hence the name surge brake). 
    1. So when you are backing up, you are applying pressure to the actuator which is enabling the brakes.
    2. Surge brakes work off the signal of the backup lights. This signal is coming from the vehicle when you put in reverse, you also see your backup trailer lights turn on as well. The solenoid in the trailer is activated when tow vehicle back up lights are turned on and locks out the actuator.
  2. Electric brakes on trailers require a controller that gets its current from the brake lights. The controller is the one you are referring to and when you apply brakes, the switch that activates your brake lights sends a signal to the controller, then the controller sends the signal to the brakes on the trailer and trailer brake lights.
    1. Electric brakes engage in forward and reverse but only when you apply brakes.
    2. Electric brakes are purely electrical and have not fluids in them

So in a nutshell surge brakes are activated by tongue pressure and are  wired to your back up lights to lock the actuator out so the brakes cannot be applied by tongue pressure when backing up. Electric Brakes receive a signal from the brake controller which is wired to your brake lights and activate any time you apply brakes.

Please let me know if this helps.

 

 

Edited by kerpluxal

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UWSkier

Does your trailer have a 5-way flat connector?  Do you have the appropriate 5-way adapter for your truck?  Seems screwy the brake lockout wouldn't work if you have the correct adapter.  The brake lockout solenoid uses the trailer reverse lights wire, which should come on with the reverse lights in your truck.  I suppose Ram could have done something screwy and disabled that function with the reverse sensors enabled but I'm not sure why they would.  Maybe to prevent yahoos from putting blindingly bright auxiliary reverse lights on their trucks?

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Sparky450
1 hour ago, UWSkier said:

Does your trailer have a 5-way flat connector?  Do you have the appropriate 5-way adapter for your truck?  Seems screwy the brake lockout wouldn't work if you have the correct adapter.  The brake lockout solenoid uses the trailer reverse lights wire, which should come on with the reverse lights in your truck.  I suppose Ram could have done something screwy and disabled that function with the reverse sensors enabled but I'm not sure why they would.  Maybe to prevent yahoos from putting blindingly bright auxiliary reverse lights on their trucks?

My 2014 and 2018. Both. Trailer brakes deactivate when truck is put in reverse. Never had a problem. 

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Padge

My 18 Supra with boatmate trailer is having same issue. I’ve checked my plug at the truck and it’s getting power. It will be the center pin. Next is to check the actuator on the trailer.  If you have swing away tongue, the actuator is actually right where it breaks away. Could be a loose wire or bad actuator.  You can get on boatmate’s website and go to manuals, then get a wiring diagram for the trailer. 

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asnowman
oldjeep
Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, asnowman said:

Or you could just install the Lockout cap.  It goes in place of the plastic MC cover cap and you just twist it to lock out the brakes  This price is a little crazy, but that is what I run on my trailer for emergencies

https://www.amazon.com/UFP-Dexter-Brake-Lockout-Cap/dp/B006UH5ZSY

 

5156ID58N5L.jpg

Edited by oldjeep

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TexasTurner
16 hours ago, UWSkier said:

Does your trailer have a 5-way flat connector?  Do you have the appropriate 5-way adapter for your truck?  Seems screwy the brake lockout wouldn't work if you have the correct adapter.  The brake lockout solenoid uses the trailer reverse lights wire, which should come on with the reverse lights in your truck.  I suppose Ram could have done something screwy and disabled that function with the reverse sensors enabled but I'm not sure why they would.  Maybe to prevent yahoos from putting blindingly bright auxiliary reverse lights on their trucks?

I have both the 7 way round connector and 4 way flat connector on the truck. I am using the 7 way cable that was standard with the trailer. 

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