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Teach Me About Trailer Gain


vaporbluebu

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I bought a travel trailer last year and the previous owner said he used 6.5 gain when towing it which is what I have used, but I know nothing about it. How do you decide what setting to use. Are their advantages/disadvantages to using higher or lower gains? Thanks in advance.

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Posted (edited)

You just fiddle with it until you find a setting you like the feel of.    Also, unless the guy had the exact same truck and brake controller - his gain settings are not going to be exactly like yours.  There is no real universal standard that I have ever heard of.

Edited by oldjeep
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The way I do it on all my trailers is roll down road at about 10MPH and manually trigger the brakes (TBC).  If it's soft on the braking, I adjust (+) and if it's harsh, I adjust (-) until I find the setting I want.  You don't want the brakes to lockup but you also want to use the trailer brakes more than the trucks.  My last F250 never got above 6 but my GMC 3500HD has seen the 8.5 setting on some loads.  It depends on the load and the trailer. 

I just bought a new 20' flat deck trailer with brakes on one axle and when it's empty my GMC is set to 8 while my F150 is set at 7.  Once a load goes on that trailer, the number decreases as the amount of pressure needed to engage the brakes decreases.   Since most TBCs are 1-10, think of it as increments of 10% of gain.  If you're set at 6.5, then 65% foot pressure braking force is required to engage the brakes on your TT.  If you manually slide the TBC controller, does it lockup the trailer?  If so, decrease to 6 and try it again until the load comes to a stop but doesn't lockup.  

Some trailers are more sensitive than others.

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2 hours ago, wedge88 said:

If you're set at 6.5, then 65% foot pressure braking force is required to engage the brakes on your TT.

It is probably more like 65% duty cycle PWM sent to the brakes.

When my flat bed is empty the setting is very low or it will lock the brakes.  When it is heavy I have to turn the controller way up so it can actually assist with the stop.

The newer integrated Ford controllers have a procedure outlined in the Owner Manual for setting the controller.

Also note that your settings will have to change as your brakes wear down.

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This is a conversation I am comstshaving with employees. 
 

IMO when braking a person should never feel the trailer brakes being applied. A person should also never feel the pull vehicle being pushed. 
if you feel the vehicle is being pushed. Then turn them up. If the trailer is holding the tow vehicle back. Then lighten the gain. 
Likewise, if a trailer is stopping the truck, you are probably burning the trailer brakes. If the trailer is pushing the truck, then you are going to burn the truck brakes. All brakes should ideally work in unison. 

Ram trucks have different 4 basic settings on them in the control panel. 
IIRC 

1. Light electric 2. Heavy Electric 3 and 4 have something to do with hydraulic. I do t have any electric over hydraulic, so I don’t use them. 

I have had trailer brakes burn out so much because employees think they need to feel the trailer brakes stopping the trucks. Or they think they need to manually operate them everyone time they hit the truck brakes. 

Modern brake controllers on these new trucks work amazing compared to the old time delay style. From the time delay style I thought I was in heaven when the Prodigy came out. 

Since everyone’s driving style is different. Then so will your break setting. 

This is just one persons opinion. And we all know what opinions are like. Everybody has one  

 

https://www.curtmfg.com/trailer-brakes-controllers

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3 hours ago, Sparky450 said:

This is a conversation I am comstshaving with employees. 
 

IMO when braking a person should never feel the trailer brakes being applied. A person should also never feel the pull vehicle being pushed. 
if you feel the vehicle is being pushed. Then turn them up. If the trailer is holding the tow vehicle back. Then lighten the gain. 
Likewise, if a trailer is stopping the truck, you are probably burning the trailer brakes. If the trailer is pushing the truck, then you are going to burn the truck brakes. All brakes should ideally work in unison. 

Ram trucks have different 4 basic settings on them in the control panel. 
IIRC 

1. Light electric 2. Heavy Electric 3 and 4 have something to do with hydraulic. I do t have any electric over hydraulic, so I don’t use them. 

I have had trailer brakes burn out so much because employees think they need to feel the trailer brakes stopping the trucks. Or they think they need to manually operate them everyone time they hit the truck brakes. 

Modern brake controllers on these new trucks work amazing compared to the old time delay style. From the time delay style I thought I was in heaven when the Prodigy came out. 

Since everyone’s driving style is different. Then so will your break setting. 

This is just one persons opinion. And we all know what opinions are like. Everybody has one  

 

https://www.curtmfg.com/trailer-brakes-controllers

I agree with this opinion :biggrin:

That's how I've set up brakes for years 

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