Best 2012 Ford F-350 450 and 550 Cab and Chassis Brake Controller Options

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Best 2012 Ford F-350 450 and 550 Cab and Chassis Brake Controller Options


Speaker 1: Today we're gonna be taking a look at the best brake controllers available for the 2012 Ford F-250, 350 and 450 Super Duty's. Also the F-350, 450 and 550 cabin chassis models.Now all the brake controllers that we're gonna 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 a proportional controller, we don't have to worry about that. If we hit our brakes on our truck, our brakes are gonna start being applied, and they're gonna be applied in proportion to how we're braking in our truck.

So when we hit the brakes hard, they're gonna apply the brakes more heavily. If we hit the brakes lightly, it's gonna sense that, and it's gonna 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 gonna talk about today basically from our experience here at E-Trailer 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's gonna be the exact right one for your application.The first two controllers we're gonna talk about are gonna be dash mount style controllers. So very traditional look, mounted on your dash within reach of the driver. This is gonna 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 gonna be for the budget minded customer, 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 they're gonna 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 gonna give us a digital display. This digital display is kind of an LCD, so it's gonna 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 owners 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 customers, 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 gonna 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 inline with the direction of travel. It's a little more limited than what we get out of the P3. This is designed to work with most electric over hydraulic systems, however it's not gonna work with all of them.The TriFlex is gonna 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 gonna 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 gonna be up and down buttons. We have our boost mode here, very easily selectable, and we've got our menu. Now the menu's gonna 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 gonna work with all electric over hydraulic systems.And overall, the ease of use of the P3 and the feedback that you're gonna get from the screen, this is gonna give you an actual troubleshooting kind of a feedback, not just codes. This is gonna 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. 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.While we're towing a trailer, the display really stands out above what you're gonna see with the Curt TriFlex. It indicates to you which boost mode you're in. It's gonna 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 towing 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 gonna talk about is kinda two categories. We have the TowPro Elite here. This is gonna be more of an alternative mount style. You can see this is actual, your manual override, your power setting, everything's done right here. And this can be very easily mounted onto your dashboard, or in some of the mount panels available that are designed to fit the knockouts on your dash.This brake controller's 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 gonna be left with on top.What we're picking up additionally with the TowPro 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 gonna see on a traditional, proportional brake controller without the user control mode, 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 will not brake 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 TowPro Elite really comes in handy. We're able to leave our adjustment setting wherever we want.Now when in user control mode, the TowPro 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 gonna happen. We don't have to worry about it automatically coming on and acting like an anchor, potentially getting us stuck. Whereas when we get on a steeper hill with a heavier load, 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 24 volt electrical systems as well as the 12 volt.Now the next one we're gonna talk about is gonna 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 gonna 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 12 volt power outlet so we can plug this in. This acts as our brake controller. We've got our manual override. We've got our boost selection. And we can adjust our gain up and down, so it makes it very simple.The features you're gonna get out of the Prodigy RF system are very, very similar to what we 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 etrailer.com.Now let's kinda wrap up what we've talked about. I know there's a lot of information. Basically in my mind, the Curt TriFlex is gonna be for that occasional user. Just every now and then, you just need the brake controller to apply the brakes, keep everything safe.Once you got to the P3, you're probably using it a little bit more often. You're gonna appreciate the feedback that you're getting from that display, and just the overall good feel that you're gonna get out of it.For the off road guys, the TowPro Elite's the way to go if you're gonna have a trailer in the sand, in the mud, in the rocks, things like that. That's gonna 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, 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 a really good option for you.Now the way this works out is for the brake controllers, they're all gonna have their unique plug. And in the cab of our Ford, it's gonna have a unique plug. We're able to take this, plug it directly into our factory brake controller port, and then you'll see, simply gonna match up with whichever brake controller we choose. We've got our Curt style here, the Tekonsha uses a slightly different plug, but as you can see, it'll slide right in there.The only real difference we'll have is gonna be with the TowPro Elite. It's gonna have a plug that'll go into our Ford plug. Then we're gonna have four bare wires. We just want to match those up with the wiring pigtail that comes with the TowPro, and use the supplied button connectors to get those connected together. So pretty straightforward.Now most of the Super Duty and cabin chassis models we're talking about today are probably already gonna have a seven pull round on the back. That's something that's required for these brake controllers to work. Now if you already have a four pull flat, you can just install part number ETBC7, that's our electronic brake controller installation kit. If you have no wiring at all, there's a few of them out there that don't have any wiring at all, you'll want to start by adding a four pull wiring harness, and then adding that ETBC7 kit. It's gonna give you all the connections that you need.That'll complete our look at the best brake controllers available for the Ford F-250, 350, 450 Super Duty, and the F-350, 450 and 550 cabin chassis.


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