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Old 12-20-2010, 07:55 PM   #1
Beach Boy
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Default Best Brake System?

I have a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 that I am thinking of using as a tow vehicle. It already has a 5 prong trailer plug built-in to the bumper.

My first question is can the installer use the existing 5 wires and add the two wires for the electric brakes? In your humble opinion, what is the best brake system for the money? Where did you have your system installed? What was the installation cost?

Did you buy the brake controller from the installer?
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:09 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beach Boy View Post
I have a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 that I am thinking of using as a tow vehicle. It already has a 5 pong trailer plug built-in to the bumper.

My first question is can the installer use the existing 5 wires and add the two wires for the electric brakes? In your humble opinion, what is the best brake system for the money? Where did you have your system installed? What was the installation cost?

Did you buy the brake controller from the installer?
Not sure what you are talking about because all TMs come with electric brakes.

If you are asking about the brake controller for the TV, a lot of us use the prodigy.
http://www.etrailer.com/Brake-Contro...sha/90885.html

You will need a plug like this installed on your TV.
http://www.etrailer.com/Wiring/Hopkins/HM48480.html

rying to adapt your current 5 terminal connector isn't a good choice IMO. It's just too easy to do it right and use the proper connector.
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Old 12-21-2010, 05:27 AM   #3
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I knew that I would have to junk my old 5 prong connection for a 7 prong. One of my questions was can the installer use the existing five wires and add two more.

I will need to use an installer. Has anybody used U-haul to add a brake controller? I live in Birmingham, AL but the nearest Camping World is 60 miles away. I need suggestions where to find installers.

What should I expect as a reasonable cost for the installation?
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Old 12-21-2010, 05:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beach Boy View Post
I knew that I would have to junk my old 5 prong connection for a 7 prong. One of my questions was can the installer use the existing five wires and add two more.

I will need to use an installer. Has anybody used U-haul to add a brake controller? I live in Birmingham, AL but the nearest Camping World is 60 miles away. I need suggestions where to find installers.

What should I expect as a reasonable cost for the installation?
We used the U=haul place in Daytona Beach, Fl in 1998 who was also a hitch dealer. everything is fine today 175000 miles and 12 years later. Since then I do all my own or have factory packages.
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:24 AM   #5
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Check yellow pages for hitch dealers and trailer sales. Might be a little less than U-haul.
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Old 12-21-2010, 11:54 AM   #6
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Personally, I would steer away from U-Haul. They rent trailers. They don't hire $25 per hour technicians to rent trailers. They hire low wage people that can move trailers around (generally). When they wire up a rental trailer, they often butcher the TV wiring in the process.

Trailer hitch installers tend to hire better quality techs IMO. If someone has a good experience with a U-Haul installation, the experience is people based. I would only recommend them if I knew that a particular U-Haul had a particular person working there that knows what he is doing. That isn't always the case.

If you do go to U-Haul, be sure to bring your own controller. The controllers that they sell are crap.
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Old 12-21-2010, 12:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beach Boy View Post
I knew that I would have to junk my old 5 prong connection for a 7 prong. One of my questions was can the installer use the existing five wires and add two more.

I will need to use an installer. Has anybody used U-haul to add a brake controller? I live in Birmingham, AL but the nearest Camping World is 60 miles away. I need suggestions where to find installers.

What should I expect as a reasonable cost for the installation?
The existing 5 wires are all good and they can just add the new ones. Any good RV dealer can do this, but the cost will probably vary regionally and among dealers. This should be a good time of year to get it done because they won't be as busy with installs for their own sales business as they will be in the spring.

I'd expect U-haul to be able to bolt on a hitch receiver (heck, that's the easy part of the job: a one guy-one wrench 30 minutes or less for most of us). But I'd expect Uhaul to be not so strong on weight distribution hitches or brake controllers where experience, installation adjustments, and a little advice can be real useful.
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Old 12-21-2010, 01:50 PM   #8
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The existing five wires should be good. You need to figure out what five wires you have, since there are a couple configurations. You certainly have these four.
o Left turn
o Right turn
o Ground
o Running lights / tail lights
The fifth wire may be backup lights, or electric brakes (but probably not if you don't have a controller). Both of these are part of the 7-wire hookup, so you will need to add whichever one you don't have.

Your current setup almost certainly does not have a battery charge line, so you will need to add that. When you do, make sure the wire goes all the way to the alternator or tow vehicle battery, is 10 gauge or larger, with an isolator (I prefer a relay isolator, not a diode isolator), and a fuse/circuit breaker.

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Old 12-21-2010, 02:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beach Boy View Post
I have a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 that I am thinking of using as a tow vehicle. It already has a 5 prong trailer plug built-in to the bumper.

My first question is can the installer use the existing 5 wires and add the two wires for the electric brakes? In your humble opinion, what is the best brake system for the money? Where did you have your system installed? What was the installation cost?

Did you buy the brake controller from the installer?
Here is some good info on trailer harness wiring:
http://www.etrailer.com/faq-wiring.aspx

You may want to contact your local Dodge dealer. There may be a factory (plug & play) trailer harness for that vehicle (maybe not too). Using a factory plug in harness is the easiest, cleanest, safest, most trouble free way to add a trailer harness.
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:08 AM   #10
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For a brake controller, avoid the cheaper "progressive" ones that automatically increase the trailer brakes the longer you hold the pedal. The Tekonsha P3 or Prodigy would be my choice if I was buying one today.
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