Towpro Elite vs Tekonsha P3

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 12:55
ThreadID: 131437 Views:5632 Replies:7 FollowUps:9
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I have a Tekonsha P3 but am looking to get the new Towpro elite so I can use manual mode on steep downhill tracks.

All looks good for the Towpro, but I have read two posts on forums that say the Towpro is not as responsive as the P3 in inertial mode.

Both people said that it was slow to react, especially at lower speeds

Has anyone moved from a P3 to a towpro with similar experiences?
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 13:41

Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 13:41

I have electric over hydraulic disk brakes on my Karavan.

I went from a Prodigy (not P2 or P3) to a Tow Pro with a change of vehicle. I am not particularly happy with the Tow Pro. Brake application seems to lag and then it comes on in a rush. If I hit a bump while applying brakes, especially on a corner and even with light braking, I often hear a trailer wheel lock.

I never had any problems like this with the Prodigy.

Before I ditch the Tow Pro I'm going to do a hub and brake maintenance job on the trailer and test it further. If no improvement I will change back to Prodigy, P2 or P3.


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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 15:49

Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 15:49
Thanks Frank, that is consistent with what I have read elsewhere, that lag then over compensating.

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Reply By: pop2jocem - Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 15:09

Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 15:09

If I am reading your inquiry correctly, you are looking to be able to operate your trailer brakes manually as in seperate to the vehicle brakes to give you better contol for steep descents.

I haven't had experience with both Towpro and Tekonsha such as Frank has, just the P3.

You are aware that the P3 has a manual overide slide control which will apply the trailer brakes separately to the vehicle??

If I'm getting this all arse up, which has been know to happen in the past, please ignore.

AnswerID: 595325

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 15:48

Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 15:48
Thanks Pop, no problem.

I am quite familiar with the P3 including the override.
However when going down a steep track it's not ideal taking one hand off the wheel.
The towpro addresses this with their dual mode system. You can change the mode to apply brakes to a preset level when the brake pedal is used like their old system.

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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 16:12

Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 16:12

With the Prodigy, P2 and P3 you can set a level of "boost" which makes the trailer brakes "lead" the vehicle brakes. Ie, with your foot on the brake pedal, brake lights on but no significant braking you can dial in a level of braking on the trailer. Then as you brake further the proportional braking in the controller adds to that it has already applied. It is excellent on tracks.

Additionally there is a lever for fully manual braking.

You might wonder why I changed to Tow Pro, given my rather glowing summary of the Prodigy family. It was because the main unit of the Tow Pro has NO mounting orientation limits and can be mounted remotely from the control knob. The Prodigy is a one-piece unit that has to face fore-and-aft and has tilt limits - although they are generous.

In the BT50 there is a lack of suitable mounting points for the Prodigy, whereas the Tow Pro's main unit could be, and is, tucked up under the dash with it's neat control knob mounted conveniently and unobtrusively without spoiling the looks of the interior trim.

I will change if I have to.


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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 16:20

Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 16:20

You have probably researched the operation of the Towpro a lot more than I have but doesn't the dual braking mode resemble what the Tekonsha does with the 3 levels of trailer braking sensitivity which operates just off the brake pedal. From memory their 3 options are to compensate for heavy or light trailers as compared to the tow vehicle, where the brake response level can be changed to allow the trailer to brake more or less heavily.

Mate please don't think I am just trying to start an argument, or sway you to one system or the other. I'm sure you will choose whichever suits your application the best. Just interested.


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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 16:41

Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 16:41
OOPS, sorry Frank, I didn't see your followup before rattling mine off.

I have the Tekonsha P3 and find it very suitable for my van. It looks like Boobook has a particular requirement in mind though.

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 16:41

Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 16:41
Pop it's all good.
The P3 ( and the Towpro in inertia mode) use inertial deceleration to determine how quickly the tow vehicle is braking. That is when it applies brakes the faster the braking, the more brakes.
The different setting levels and the sensitivity setting allow the P3 to apply more or less braking to the trailer FOR A GIVEN amout of braking. In other words for a given amount of deceleration ( braking), you may want the trailer to apply more or less braking to assist in stopping depending on the trailer brakes, the weight of the trailer etc. Too much and the trailer will pull up the tow vehicle, too little and it isn't helping stop enough. This is usually set up once for every vehicle, or when things change.
This is fantastic for normal on road braking and really is "set and forget". However this doesn't work very well on steep, slippery dirt tracks like in the high country. There isn't enough inertia to make the whole system work well and even on steep tracks often the trailer brakes are not applied.
The old redarc controllers worked very differently, their setting determines how much braking the trailer does, regardless of the amount of deceleration. Ie if you set it to 9, it will brake hard if you slam the brakes on or gently come to a stop. This is really bad for normal towing on road, BUT it is great for off road. If you are on a steep downhill slope you can set the brakes on the camper to help even at slow speeds.
As a result the Towpro supports both modes at the push of a switch. Hence my interest.
The reason for the question is that on the surface it appears that Redarc's Onroad inertia mode isn't as efficient as the P# design. That's what I want to determine.
FollowupID: 863996

Reply By: Member - Jim B8 - Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 07:33

Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 07:33
I had a prodigy P3 on the Iveco, towing a 3.5 ton van, and I wasnt happy with its response. I learnt to drive on dirt roads, so I am a light user of the brakes pedal. No matter what setting I tried, boost or not, it just would not send back enough signal to the van brakes, and the truck had to stop both, in effect.

I had the loom, connections checked out, in the end I fitted a Redarc Tow Pro unit, and it was instantly fixed, awesome brakes on the van. I have since sold the Iveco and bought a Mazda, and the first add on will be the Tow Pro. Of course, the van will be sold as well, and a lighter unit will replace it. Dont know how that will effect the Redarc unit, time will tell.

Maybe my old unit had a drama with its accelerometer? No idea. It wasnt settings as I tried them all ha ha.
Just some background info, I am aware you were querying manual mode, and I dont have any feedback on that, sorry
AnswerID: 595353

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 07:46

Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 07:46
That is interesting Jim. Most feedback I have seen is the other way for inertia mode, and I am happy with my P3 in that respect.

Not sure if they all react differently or as you say your unit has a faulty sensor.???

Your feedback is very welcome, while I want to buy a redarc for the manual mode, it is its performance in the mode you described that I am interested in.
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Reply By: Member - Jim B8 - Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 07:56

Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 07:56
yes, I think it may have been driving style, I "feather" the brakes, modern vehicles are more expecting a "stomp"?
With my driving style, the redarc was streets in front.
AnswerID: 595355

Reply By: Sigmund - Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 13:02

Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 13:02
This is my two bob's worth ...

The inertia braking setting on my original-model TowPro didn't impress me. Not active enough on the blacktop. So I run it at a manual setting all the time. It's only once locked up in a year of use, and that was last week on wet bitumen. No idea why.

One thing I was told that may be relevant to testing, and that is to make sure the brakes have warmed up a bit first.
AnswerID: 595365

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 14:20

Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 14:20
That is consistent with what I am reading. Good term.

I wonder if the elite fixes this.
FollowupID: 864031

Reply By: rotor138 - Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 19:46

Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 19:46
I have never towed a caravan until this weekend as we bought our first. I have the Towpro on my vehicle and on auto I can feel it pulling us up. At first I had it on 5 and that felt a bit harsh and sudden so dropped it to 4 and it seems to be quite smooth. Maybe a change in settings needs to be made?
AnswerID: 595382

Follow Up By: TomH - Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 20:51

Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 20:51
The problems start when you are going slow on bush tracks and dont have the forward motion to activate the accelerometer and so the brakes dont come on as well and thats when you have to use the manual control.

A vastly different situation to what you are talking about which is whether you have the unit set to have the brake set "On" with the van braking slightly ahead of the tug as you found or "Off" as in the car stopping the van. I preferred just slightly on so I didnt get a nice view of the rear of the van as it went past me in a panic stop. Also helps when going down hill to pull it into line if wobbling a bit

You will find these things out with experience.
FollowupID: 864060

Reply By: MarkHugh - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 09:43

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 09:43
G'day Boobook,
We have a 200 and have chosen a Towpro over a Tekonsha simply for ease of installation in the dash. In our case, only the control knob is visible. There is oodles of space behind the centre console for the control unit. We tow an AOR Quantum Plus, so about 2000kg. Yes, it is a bit slow to react and can come on with a rush but this is usually an indicator it is set a tad too aggressively. In any case the Tvan will be less affected. Possibly the Tekonsha is the better unit but, having used both, there is not enough in it for us to have the Tekonsha taking up space and forming just another hard object for my knees to contact in an accident, or to interfere with the knee airbag, if you have it placed low.
PS Nice thread photo.
Cheers Mark
AnswerID: 595475

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