Trailer brake gain question
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    Trailer brake gain question

    My truck came equipped with a trailer brake controller and I'm about to buy an 18 foot car hauler type trailer. When I pick up the trailer for the first time should I put in some gain ahead of time? Like a 1 or 2 setting or leave it on 0 while empty and towing it home? I've read how and watched videos on how to set it and you need to be driving with the trailer to do it. The trailer dealer is on a very busy highway and I doubt I can do the setup until I get near my house. When normally towing I'll have about a 3,000 lb tractor on it.
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    If there is any paved parking area when you pick up the trailer then I think it should be enough room to adjust the gain. I usually set it for just short of locking up the trailer tires with a full squeeze of the brake control override.
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    There are various how-to instructions online for setting your brake controller to the trailer. The gist of it is that you want the trailer to be able to stop the tow vehicle from like 15 mph (flat ground, paved) without locking the trailer tires when you use the controller switch alone. What setting you use will obviously vary with each trailer but also with the current weight of cargo on the trailer. An unloaded trailer doesn't need as much gain as a loaded one or you'll be skidding the tires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff B View Post
    If there is any paved parking area when you pick up the trailer then I think it should be enough room to adjust the gain. I usually set it for just short of locking up the trailer tires with a full squeeze of the brake control override.
    That’s exactly what I do also - only have to roll forward around 10’-20’ and mash it. If he needs to back up a couple times so be it.

    Either that or leave it at zero until you find the first big parking lot and adjust it then.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmylh View Post
    My truck came equipped with a trailer brake controller and I'm about to buy an 18 foot car hauler type trailer. When I pick up the trailer for the first time should I put in some gain ahead of time? Like a 1 or 2 setting or leave it on 0 while empty and towing it home? I've read how and watched videos on how to set it and you need to be driving with the trailer to do it. The trailer dealer is on a very busy highway and I doubt I can do the setup until I get near my house. When normally towing I'll have about a 3,000 lb tractor on it.

    A good point to start out with is around 5 or 6 or about the mid point of the available settings. Every controller is a little different. Each trailer is also different, so there is no specific setting. DO NOT set it to zero as you will have NO braking. Second thing to remember is that a loaded trailer requires a higher setting. Usually you can bump it up about 2 points when loaded until you can figure out what works best for you. Another thing you need to watch out for:::: I bought a new 20ft aluminum car hauler trailer in 2014. No brakes. I had to "burn in" the brakes to get them to work. That required me to use max gain and drive around with a load on it while applying the brakes manually often for about a half hour.

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    For my F-150 and 18' Gatormade car hauler w/4 wheel brakes, I set it at 2 unloaded and 7 loaded with the 2032r and attachments.

    The advice above is sound, you'll need to find your own settings, but there's mine for reference.
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    Looking at the original post, I believe that you already know how to set a brake controller.

    Your question is that since there is no safe spot to perform the setting when you pick up the new trailer, you want advice on whether to leave the controller at zero, or to dial in some specific setting before driving off the lot into heavy traffic to pull your new trailer home.

    And my advice is to leave it at zero.

    If you dial in some arbitrary number, it may be too high, and you run the risk of locking up your trailer brakes the first time you stop in heavy traffic, and that may lead to being rear ended or causing an accident. I'd prefer that not happen, if I were in your place.

    Enjoy the new trailer!
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmylh View Post
    My truck came equipped with a trailer brake controller and I'm about to buy an 18 foot car hauler type trailer. When I pick up the trailer for the first time should I put in some gain ahead of time? Like a 1 or 2 setting or leave it on 0 while empty and towing it home? I've read how and watched videos on how to set it and you need to be driving with the trailer to do it. The trailer dealer is on a very busy highway and I doubt I can do the setup until I get near my house. When normally towing I'll have about a 3,000 lb tractor on it.
    Since you are bringing it home empty and I am going to guess you have a truck that can handle the size of trailer you can put minimal gain in it and then adjust it on the way home. What does the trailer weigh empty? For that size, I am going to guess around 2 to 2.5k depending on what it is made of. Your truck brakes should handle that but you will have increased braking distances. I have adjusted many a trailer gain on the fly, really no big deal.
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    Thanks for the input so far guys. I have a 2013 Chevy Avalanche with the factory towing package. This will be my first trailer owned other than boat trailers I've had in the past. At least the first trailer with brakes anyway. I've towed U-hauls before but they don't count since they have their own built in brake systems.

    The trailer I'm getting is a "Down to Earth" (brand name here) 18 ft car hauler. Has two 3500 lb axles with brakes on both. The bed is PT wood. The website doesn't give a weight of the trailer so I'm guessing around 2k lbs.
    Last edited by jimmylh; 12-10-2017 at 06:08 AM.
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    With my 2016 f250 and 20’ empty car trailer, I have to have the brake controller set at 0 or the trailer wheels will lock . With a light load I set it at 1 or 2.
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