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Old 06-25-2010, 11:39 AM   #1
EAKlebe
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Default Priority to buy accessories?

I've searched but found no information (perhaps my search strategy is defective also). It seems that most owners have replaced the tires, some have "upgraded" to 15" tires using a lift kit, there are constant references to weight distributing hitch and also to brake controllers.

Is there any consensus on the relative priority of acquisition?
I have discovered that the tires on my 1999 3023 definitely need to be replaced, so that is number one. Although the trailer just passed the safety inspection in Maryland and the tires LOOK very good with very little tread wear, I am leery of them. I guess the question is, should I go for the lift kit and upgrade to 15" tires, or is that not really that important for a trailer that will be used for relatively short distance trips (i.e. less than 500 miles)?

I kind of believe that a brake controller is the next priority because I anticipate driving up and down the roads in West Virginia.

Since I am NOT very good at backing up a trailer, and since my co-pilot doesn't seem to be able to understand that one should make large gestures to indicate direction to go, I am determined to get a backup camera system.

FYI my tow vehicle is a Ford F150 V8 4WD.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:53 AM   #2
OneMoBear
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You're going to get some opinions on those tires and a brake controller and I'll leave that to the pros.

As for the backing issue, I'll just say that during those times, Gene and I communicate much better than we did 10 years ago when we bought our Bounder. You might try cheap little CB radios first . . .

Malinda
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:56 AM   #3
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Wow! You are out there without a brake controller? In other words, with no brakes on your trailer??? Yes, that is your next acquisition, and a necessary one! First, it is required by law - your trailer MUST have its own brakes. It is for your own safety, as well as your family's safety. Your F-150 is not able to stop that trailer in anywhere near the same same distance as it can stop without the trailer. And that is your goal - same or very similar stopping distance. This applies in all terrain, not just the hills of West Virginia. And finally, you are a danger to other vehicles if your trailer has no brakes.

After you've got that, we can all argue about whether the next step is tires or a WDH. I lean toward a WDH myself, but I'm sure we'll get some discussion.

Now, go out and get a Tekonsha Prodigy controller, for about $100 or a little more. Don't try to save a little money by buying a cheaper controller - some of them are downright dangerous. I strongly suggest that you go into the section titled TM Info You Won't Find Anywhere Else at the top of this forum. Scroll down until you find a tutorial by RockyMtnRay about choosing a brake controller. Read it and absorb it. We'd like to keep you (and your family) around for a while.

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Old 06-25-2010, 03:32 PM   #4
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I believe someone previously said that you won't need to wonder if you need a WDH, that if you need one you'll know it. We don't have one and have no plans to get one . . . just our thoughts on it.

Malinda
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Old 06-25-2010, 04:49 PM   #5
EAKlebe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneMoBear View Post
You're going to get some opinions on those tires and a brake controller and I'll leave that to the pros.

As for the backing issue, I'll just say that during those times, Gene and I communicate much better than we did 10 years ago when we bought our Bounder. You might try cheap little CB radios first . . .

Malinda
I have considered the little radios, I actually have a set which we used to use to find each other in Groceries and supermarkets....HOWEVER, I could never get her to understand that she didn't have to push the CALL button prior to every transmission.....
Also, the backup camera would certainly useful for those times when I go off by myself.
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:06 PM   #6
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As stated earlier, trailer brakes if installed must be operational in every state I know of. The Prodigy is the only controller I would recommend. Some vehicles already have the wiring harness connections installed. If not some dealers sell plug and play kits for specific vehicles.

Then I would replace the tires if they are 1999 vintage. Just make sure the load rating is adequate for your loaded trailer. Remember if you add a WDH later you will add load to the trailer axle.

As far as backing up any trailer teach your spotter to always be where they can see you in your outside rear mirror. If possible back up turning into the drivers side it is easier. If you can't see your spotter or are not sure of clearances stop and look yourself. I try never to blame the spotter for coming too close to anything because I am the driver. These concepts helped us travel for two years in a 38 foot toyhauler. Only clipped one stop sign in a campground.
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bill View Post
Wow! You are out there without a brake controller? In other words, with no brakes on your trailer??? Yes, that is your next acquisition, and a necessary one! First, it is required by law - your trailer MUST have its own brakes. It is for your own safety, as well as your family's safety. Your F-150 is not able to stop that trailer in anywhere near the same same distance as it can stop without the trailer. And that is your goal - same or very similar stopping distance. This applies in all terrain, not just the hills of West Virginia. And finally, you are a danger to other vehicles if your trailer has no brakes.

After you've got that, we can all argue about whether the next step is tires or a WDH. I lean toward a WDH myself, but I'm sure we'll get some discussion.

Now, go out and get a Tekonsha Prodigy controller, for about $100 or a little more. Don't try to save a little money by buying a cheaper controller - some of them are downright dangerous. I strongly suggest that you go into the section titled TM Info You Won't Find Anywhere Else at the top of this forum. Scroll down until you find a tutorial by RockyMtnRay about choosing a brake controller. Read it and absorb it. We'd like to keep you (and your family) around for a while.

Bill
No the trailer does, of course, have brakes and the inspection station said that the brakes were fine. However, I did notice that stopping distance was quite a bit farther. I have already read the mentioned thread which was VERY informative. However, I also happened to come across this controller:
http://www.brake-controller.com/brak..._features.html which is not that much more than the Tekonsha, but appears to be better. But perhaps it is overkill?
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:59 PM   #8
Joseph
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Default Get the brakes working on that TM!

1. Brakes. Get the TM brakes working with your F-150 first and pronto.

2. Tires. Get load range "D" 14's if you cannot do the lift kit and 15's

3. WDH. For a F-150. Yes. A WDH wouldn't hurt me none either...

4. Once you get the safety items on and working THEN get your camera...
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Old 06-25-2010, 07:08 PM   #9
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One thing to check on any brake controller is the requirement to install it level. The devices contain a small pendulum or accelerometer that must be level to operate correctly. I don't know the unit linked above but one advantage of the Prodigy is that once calibrated it operates correctly even when installed off level. When I had one in my Trailblazer with our former 3124 the shape of the dash required the Prodigy to be at a pretty steep angle. Worked like a charm. Check the level requirement on any controller you are considering.
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:22 PM   #10
EAKlebe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterP View Post
One thing to check on any brake controller is the requirement to install it level. The devices contain a small pendulum or accelerometer that must be level to operate correctly. I don't know the unit linked above but one advantage of the Prodigy is that once calibrated it operates correctly even when installed off level. When I had one in my Trailblazer with our former 3124 the shape of the dash required the Prodigy to be at a pretty steep angle. Worked like a charm. Check the level requirement on any controller you are considering.

Aha! I thought all the newer proportionals were "no moving parts"....thanks for the heads up....I'll be sure to check on that.
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