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Best 2008 Chevrolet Silverado Trailer Brake Controller Options

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Best 2008 Chevrolet Silverado Trailer Brake Controller Options

Speaker 1: Today we're going to be taking a look at the best brake controllers available for the 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 2500, and 3500. Now, these brake controllers have been chosen for a few different reasons. Ease of use is the most important. We really like one that's not too hard to use, but also our experience with them here in the shop, we have our favorites, and then also our customers. We like to look at all of your guys' feedback and see which one's working the best for you, which one you like the most, and then present them to you so you know which one's going to be the right one for your situation.Now, all of the brake controllers that we're going to look at today are proportional controllers. It's a newer technology available, and it really is just a lot better than what the time delayed systems used to be.

Basically, with the time delayed system it was pre-programmed when your brakes would engage, so you hit the brake in your vehicle, there might be a pause before the brakes on your trailer actually engage. With the proportional controller, we don't have to worry about that. If we hit our brakes on our truck, our brakes are going to start being applied, and they're going to be applied in proportion to how we're braking in our truck. So when we hit the brakes hard, they're going to apply the brakes more heavily. If we hit the brakes lightly, it's going to sense that and it's going to apply the brakes more lightly.

So not only do we have a safer towing configuration with the proportional controller, but it takes some wear and tear off of our truck and off of our trailer because they're doing equal shares of the work in braking, one's not doing more than the other.Now, we've chosen the four controllers we're going to talk about today basically from our experience here at etrailer using and installing them, but also based off of all the customer reviews that we get from them. These are all very highly rated brake controllers. They're all very easy to use, and again, all of them get really good reviews, so we've got a good selection here you'll be able to pick from and determine which one is going to be the exact right one for your application.The first two controllers we're going to talk about are going to be dash mount style controllers, so very traditional look, mounted on your dash within reach of the driver. This is going to be the Tekonsha Prodigy P3. This is by far the most popular brake controller that we carry, and it's also the one we recommend the most to our customers.The second one we have here is a more cost effective option.

This is called the Curt TriFlex. Now, the TriFlex typically is going to be for the budget minded customer or somebody that uses it just every now and then, kind of an occasional use situation. It has the same features that we get in the P3, they're just slightly lower in the advancement that they have. So you're going to have a dial knob here to help you raise and lower the gain. We've got our boost mode here, manual override lever here, and this is going to give us a digital display.

Now, this digital display is kind of an LCD, so it's going to have the numbers with the lines. What we found with the Curt TriFlex is, if you have any kind of errors with the trailer or with your vehicle, it comes up in a code, and you need that owner's manual to reference back to to know what that code means.Now, with the Curt TriFlex, we found that it does get good reviews from our customer, however it doesn't rank quite as highly as what the P3 does. It has a more compact size, which can be appealing to folks, especially since it's going to be mounted on the dash. As far as mounting options go, we can move it up and down in either direction. We've got 90 degree plus or minus, and we want to be sure it's in line with the direction of travel. It's a little more limited than what we get out of the P3, and this is designed to work with most electric over hydraulic systems, however it's not going to work with all of them. Now, the TriFlex is going to work for up to four axles, so it's got enough power output to handle that, and overall it's a good cost effective brake controller.Now, with the P3 we're going to get all the same features we just talked about with the TriFlex, it just seems like it's built more solidly, and it's easier to use. We've got our manual override lever down here. Our gain adjustment, or the power output adjustment's going to be up and down buttons. We have our boost mode here, very easily selectable, and we've got our menu. Now, the menu's going to allow you to change the display color. It allows you to go into the help mode, switch from electric to electric over hydraulic, so this is going to work with all electric over hydraulic systems, and overall, the ease of use of the P3 and the feedback that you're going to get from the screen . This is going to give you an actual troubleshooting kind of a feedback, not just codes. This is going to tell you what's going on . really ranks highly with us here in the shop, and especially with our local customers, and also through the reviews. You'll see that that does come in handy and is very helpful.Now, the P3 can be mounted 360 degrees, so we're not limited at all in how we can mount this, with the exception we need to have it in the direction of the line of travel. Now additionally, the P3 is going to give you programmable modes. This comes in really handy if you have multiple drivers or multiple trailers, so instead of going through and getting it all set up properly, you can just select the appropriate mode for your application. Now, while we're towing a trailer, the display really stands out above what you're going to see with the Curt TriFlex. It indicates to you which boost mode you're in. It's going to indicate to you the amount of braking going out to your trailer. All in all, this is just something you really see seasoned towers with, who have been telling for a while, have opted to go with this, or if you're just looking for the best info, for it to give you the best info on the market, or the easiest to read display.The next thing we're going to talk about is kind of two categories. We have the Tow-Pro Elite here. This is going to be more of an alternative mount style. You can see this is actually your manual override, your power setting. Everything's done right here, and this can be very easily mounted on your dashboard or in some of the mount panels available that are designed to fit the knockouts on your dash. Now, this brake controller has been designed to work for up to three axles. This portion of it is going to mount underneath your dashboard, so this is really all you're going to be left with on top. What we're picking up additionally with the Tow-Pro Elite is the ability to go off road with it, leave it connected to our trailer, and have full control over it with its user control mode.Now, when off road, the difference you're going to see you in a traditional proportional brake controller without the user control mode will be, let's say you're going down a hill. That deceleration that's going to be sensed by the brake controller will apply the brakes on your trailer. It can apply the brakes when you don't necessarily want them to be applied, kind of digging into the softer ground and things like that. You do have the option of turning your gain all the way down, so turning your brake controller essentially off so it won't operate those brakes, but if your trailer starts pushing you down a slick hill or something like that, you have to get it dialed back up for those brakes to work. That's where the Tow-Pro Elite really comes in handy. We're able to leave our adjustment setting wherever we want.Now, when in user control mode, the Tow-Pro Elite allows you to fine tune your braking for each situation. Every time you hit the brakes, regardless of what the sensor inside the brake controller feels, it applies the brakes to what you have set on the dial. So if we don't want any braking force at all, we'll turn the knob down to zero. We hit our brakes, nothing's going to happen. We don't have to worry about it automatically coming on and acting like an anchor, potentially getting us stuck, whereas then when we get on a steeper hill with a heavier load, it starts to push us, then we can get the braking power we need immediately with or without the felt deceleration.This has also been designed to work with all electric over hydraulic systems. There's no large brake controller on the dash, which is something I really like. Again, we can mount it at any angle, and this is one of the few on the market that'll work with 24V electrical systems, as well as the 12V.Now the next one we're going to talk about is going to throw you for a loop a little bit. This is actually a brake controller that you don't mount on your vehicle at all. What this does, this mounts to the trailer. This is going to be ideal for companies that have one or two trailers that they pull with multiple vehicles, or if you constantly get new vehicles and you're replacing vehicles, you don't want to buy brake controllers each time a new car comes in. The only thing the vehicle is going to need is a 12V power outlet so we can plug this in. This acts as our brake controller. We've got our manual override, got our boost selection, and we can adjust our gain up and down, so it makes it very simple.The features you're going to get out of the Prodigy RF system are very, very similar to what we've talked about with the Curt TriFlex. Now, the RF has been designed to work with up to three axles. It has not been designed to work with electric over hydraulic brakes, however, so that's something you want to keep in mind. Also, the mounting angle, once we mount this on our trailer, we've only got a mounting range of about 5 degrees plus or minus, so it's critically important when using this system that you have the appropriate ball mount installed in your vehicle to keep your trailer level. We have plenty of those available right here at let's kind of wrap up what we've talked about. I know there's a lot of information. Basically in my mind, the Curt TriFlex, again, it's going to be for that occasional user, just every now and then, you just needed a brake controller to apply the brakes, keep everything safe. Once you go to the P3, probably using it a little bit more often. You're going to appreciate the feedback that you're getting from that display and just the overall good feel that you're going to get out of it. For the off road guys, the Tow-Pro Elite's the way to go if you're going to have a trailer in the sand, in the mud, in the rocks, things like that. That's going to prevent the brakes from coming on when you don't want them or not coming on when we need them. And then as far as the RF goes, a lot of fleet companies, a lot of commercial companies go with a setup very similar to this, or if you've got kind of a community trailer, you might have four or five trucks that drag around the same trailer, it's really good option for you.Now, the way your Silverado is designed, behind the parking brake there are four wires that are basically taped up to another piece of wire there. You're able to pull those down. There's a little sheet connected to it, you want to refer to that sheet, that's going to tell you what each color is, and basically you just connect it using the provided butt connectors directly to the pigtail provided. Now, each plug's a little bit different. You can see this is what the Tekonsha plug looks like, designed to plug right in the back of the controller. The Tow-Pro has its own style plug, little bit larger, plugs in there. And the Curt, as you see again, just a simple plug in. We just have to tie these four wires into the already existing wires underneath the dash.Now, one thing to keep in mind, some of the brake controller plugs that you're going to find under your dash don't have the power already hooked up, very similar to your 7-way plug on the back of the vehicle. That 7-pole power port might not be active yet, so what you'll need to do, you can see this one's actually labeled aftermarket 12V trailer power feed. Looks like they've got that one connected here. We got our other one connected here. That's going to come from down in this area, and typically these are just taped off. This one would've been taped off right here, you can see the factory tape that was holding it. So you just need to make sure those are connected. If they're not, you're not going to have power going to your brake controller.Now, in typical applications, your Silverado is going to have a working 7-pole on the back. There can be a few exceptions to that. Some of them just have a plug. On the back of that plug or kind of that cover, you can pull that plug off, add in part number HM40975. That'll give you an active and working 7-pole plug back there. Or if you happen to have a 4-pole flat, you'll need to pick up part number ETBC7. That's the electronic brake controller installation kit. BaSically it'll give you everything you need to make the proper connections. And that will complete our look at the best brake controllers available for the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 2500, and 3500.

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