View Full Version : Prospective buyer electric brake question

07-09-2007, 05:00 PM
This is a question from a prospective owner. How critical is it to have electric brakes in place on tv when picking up a used TM. I will be looking at a possible purchase later this week while out travelling on a biz trip several hundreds of miles from home. Do I dare drive it far without electric brakes. What are the risk issues. Could I just drive slower for example? Comments please.

07-09-2007, 05:18 PM
Here in California it's illegal to tow trailers over a certain weight without operational brakes; I don't know about your state. If you are involved in an accident and you don't have the proper (working) brakes you would likely be held at least partially responsible.

I wouldn't do it.

07-09-2007, 05:57 PM
I agree with B&D, however, if you are using a TV that has substantial brakes (like a F250 truck), not driving in mountainous terrain, and pulling a smaller (2619) trailer that isn't loaded down, then I might be inclined to atleast bring it home without a brake controller.

Brakes will warp if they get too hot!

Also remember to disengage your Overdrive to save your tranny.

07-09-2007, 06:13 PM
A truck driver once asked me, "If you through an arrow up in the air, which end hits the ground first?" Naturally I said the tip or arrow head (the heavier end). He then proceeded to tell me, "That is what happens to the trailer I pull . . . if I have to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident" "I will watch the trailer go right by my window" (again, the heavier part of the tractor trailer). I would have the electric brake controller installed. We bought our unit from a private party in Wilmington, NC. I borrowed my niece's 2000 Tundra and had the electric brake control installed (in her truck) and it did make a big difference. At one point along I-95 I could see several vehicles parked in the brake down lane (about a mile up the road). As I got closer, the vehicles decided to pull out into my travel lane. I couldn't safely change lanes because other vehicles were in the passing lane. I ended up braking very hard in order to avoid rear ending the inattentive driver who was now directly in front of me. I should add that the driver decided to pull into my travel lane at the last minute. I was glad to have the electric brake control!


Doug W.
07-09-2007, 06:16 PM
If there is even the possiblity of rain, drizzle or wet roads, then you will want those trailer brake. If you have to make an emergency stop on a wet road, the trailer is liable to try and pass you. I personally would never tow a trailer of any real weight like the TM without brakes. You might as well play russian roulette with a revolver. You might get lucky and not have a problem, but why take the chance.

07-09-2007, 07:49 PM
Why would you do this? A couple hundred bucks, for the purchase and installation of a brake controller, is cheap, especially since you will have it done within a few days of getting home anyway. Buy a Prodigy, have it installed, and be done with it.


07-09-2007, 08:36 PM
I agree with everyone else. Why risk your life over a couple hundred dollars, when you'll probably spend at least that much on the gas for the TV...

It'd also be illegal to tow even the smallest TM in Wyoming without the brakes hooked up. You might not get caught, but if you got into an accident - even if you didn't get hurt - I wouldn't want to be the one arguing with the insurance company to try to get them to pay for things (even if it wasn't your fault and the TM did not contribute). Just another thing to think about...

07-10-2007, 07:25 AM
Get the brake controller installed. I towed my TM home from the dealer with a ton long bed 4x4. About 10 miles without a brake controller. IMHO that was 10 miles too far. NOT FUN.:( You can do it but as stated above it is illegal. It also places you one step closer to being in a situation you do not want to be in. Get the controller installed.:)

Scott O
07-16-2007, 09:10 PM
You may have made your decision already, but if your TV is "trailer ready" it is really easy to install the brake controller. Buy the controller (P3, Prodigy, or some such for around $100, get a custom wiring harness for your TV for $10, screw the controller into your TV with 2 screws, and connect. Done. By the way, when we bought our Starcraft tent trailer a year and a half ago, the dealer (Adventure RV in Anaheim CA) charged me $650 to do this. I have learned a lot since then. By the way, we pick up our '08 TM day after tomorrow...we are stoked!

07-21-2007, 08:58 AM
My TV died once at my in-laws. I towed my TM 2720 home with their 1989 Suburban. It was about 50 miles, all lightly traveled interstate. I had no problems. I shouldn't have towed it without brakes, but I did anyway.

I never had to make a panic stop. How good are you at predicting unpredictable emergencies?

07-21-2007, 12:57 PM
I purchased my Prodigy brake controller for my 4Runner from www.southwestwheel.com and it came with a direct plug in harness. Very simple installation and has worked well for my purposes. I just double-checked their website and they still offer the direct plugin harness with 2 Day FedEx shipping included for $124.95. What is new is that there is a $20 rebate available. So for $104.95 you could have a "plug and play" brake controller before you leave. Just a thought. There are a couple of pictures of my installation on the forum. Search on "4Runner Prodigy Install" or my user name.

09-19-2007, 12:08 PM
I am in the same boat you are in. Just purchased a 2004 2720SL and am driving from Florida to Maryland this weekend. I took Bill's advise and had a Tekonsha Prodigy installed on my wife's 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser beforehand. I am lucky in that a fellow coworker owns a 2720 so I was able to hook up to it and test it out and set the boost. Thing works great. Id suggest spending the money. You can get a cheaper controller if you like but I like the prodigy. Spent 330.00 installed. Was well worth it so far.