Trailer Brakes

Submitted: Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 10:07
ThreadID: 14273 Views:1901 Replies:6 FollowUps:2
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Hi Fellow Forumites,
I am in the process of changing from a light camper trailer to a caravan (offroad of course).

I will probably require a braking system to cope with the extra weight. I have heard of Tekonsha units and was wondering:

a)just how much do these units cost?

b)Are Tekonsha the best unit or are there other brands to consider?

c) Where in Sydney do i go and talk to someone about them?

thanks for any feedback
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Reply By: Peter McGuckian - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 10:39

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 10:39
Wayne,

I have used a Hayes-Lemerz brake controller in my old 60 series and have used a Tekonsha Voyager in my GU Patrol. I tow an Ultimate camper. The Tekonsha works best. Very simple and reliable. Cost was about $130.

Peter
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AnswerID: 65924

Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 10:53

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 10:53
Hi Waynepd,

I have the Hayes Lumerz Energise III electric brake contoller. It is a true "motion sensing" unit plus has manual overide. I believe they are around ~$150, but I have had mine for several years so not sure about exact cost.

When buying a brake controller, there are two main types, the "time" based and "motion sensing". Additional features are manual overide (must have IMHO).

A time based controller simply applies a proportion of brake percentage for first ~2 seconds (not sure of exact time) and then increase brake effort regardless of vehicle speed or rate of slow down. They have a setup wheel to adjust the relative proportion of brake % (a heavier van needs more % than a lighter one, or when on different surfaces - bitumen/gravel). These units are very simple and relaible, but IMHO do not offer the correct amount of braking for different conditions.

Motion sensing, like the Hayes Energise III, has a sensor that measures the rate of decelleration. If only gently applying the brakes, only a small force is applied. if a panic stop, maximum braking is applied. If stopped at lights but foot still on brake, only minimum brake % applied. Additionally, this unit has a hand overide so the electric brakes can be applied independently of the vehicle brakes, great if the van gets the wobbles up, simply apply only the van brakes and it straightens instantly.

Also, it has the gain control (pretty sure all units have) to adjust the proportion of brake effort.You only need to set this up once each trip to proportion the brake effort as it varies depending on the weight in the van (is very easy to do). When going from bitumen to gravel, I find I have to adjust the gain control as otherwise the van wheels lock up a bit early.

As for the Tekonsha, while I have heard of this brand, I do not know what type it is or what features it has. I have had the Energise III for several years and it has also worked very well (think it has 5 years warranty) and can thoroughly recommend it from experience.

Cheers

Captain
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AnswerID: 65926

Follow Up By: Peter McGuckian - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 11:29

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 11:29
The Tekonsha units - Voyager and Prodigy - are motion sensing units and have manual override. I have found the Tekonsha easier to setup and less prone to wheel lockup. It also has a neat facility of only lighting up to green when the circuit to the brakes is complete.

Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 11:35

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 11:35
Hi Peter

The green light would be a handy feature, shows you have remebered to plug the van in! I do a manual brake test to check I have a circuit, but a loss of green light would also show up if the plug comes out enroute.

I have never had a problem setting the gain control, find it very easy on the energise III, but if you have had both, you would know:)

Cheers

Captain
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FollowupID: 326787

Reply By: Rosscoe - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 10:58

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 10:58
I use a Hayman Reece in my 2004 Pajero NP Diesel (came out of my 2001 NM petrol when I sold it). I tow a 16 ft off-road (dirt-road, really) caravan. Works fine. Easy to use and adjust. Cost about $300 from memory. Recommend whatever you install, to run heavy cable (min 6mm) to the trailer connector.
AnswerID: 65927

Reply By: The Banjo - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 11:35

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 11:35
I bought a Tekonsha prodigy in SA for $300 - was quoted about $280 in Brisbane.
Check em out at www.tekonsha.com..........I thought I'd heard enough to establish that Tekonsha were the main global players in el brakes. Don't know about the others, but Tekonsha seems to have a ridgy lifetime warranty.
AnswerID: 65932

Reply By: andysgu - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 20:10

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 20:10
l could give you some where in Melb but Syd wouldnt have a clue try one of the big caravan accesorie dealers if you get a good one they will fit it and test it on your caravan and show you how to use it properly.
AnswerID: 66026

Reply By: Waynepd (NSW) - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 21:42

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 21:42
Well as usual, you guys have come through again.....thanks for the thoughts i will research based on these comments....
AnswerID: 66063

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