Tom
Bought and installed a Tekonsha P-3 for the 155.  
Didn't really need one here in the flats (FL) but going to the mountains this week.
First one I've had, any clues on dialing it in?

I've been playing with the power settings and and can feel when the trailer brakes kick in.
Should you be feeling it, or set it just below that level?

Tom
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Notactingmyage
I also have a Tekonsha p3 in my Explorer.  The instructions that came with it say to initially set the power at level "6" and adjust from there depending on trailer weight.  There is a video on their website or youtube that shows the procedure.  Essentially you adjust it up to the point at which it just starts to lock up the wheels when you apply the brakes at 25 mph on a flat paved dry surface.  Then you back it off slightly (reduce the power level number) so it doesn't lock up the wheels.  This setting is likely to be unique for different trailer and tow vehicle combinations.  I do feel the trailer brakes slightly when the setting is correct.  The feel is less at higher speeds and more at lower speeds.  I had mine set too high at one time and it caused the trailer brakes to grab and jerk the rig when coming to a stop at a stoplight, and it would lock up the wheels easily on gravel.
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Tom
Thanks notacting -
That's kind of what I expected.  
I did follow the initial instructions, then backed it down quite a bit.  
I think what you described is pretty close to where I ended up.
We'll find out soon, leaving tomorrow.  
[smile]
Tom

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Nathan & Jen
On a flat straight road get up to 25 mph let off the accelerator pedal and coast hit the manual slide lever to activate the trailer brakes. You want the brakes to gently slow you down and not lock up the wheels..
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James Amos
On our 177 SE you do not need to worry about the brakes grabbing or locking up even on gravel at slow speed as there is not enough Breaking there to do that. That's with controller set on max. All the other trailers I have will lock up at slow speeds on gravel especially. These brakes are very inadequate. We have pulled this trailor over 500 miles and they should be broken in by now. I have read several other posts of people haveing complained about the same issue
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Nathan & Jen
James. Try adjusting the trailer brakes. My guess is yours are a little on the loose side
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James Amos
I will take it into the brake shop and report back
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mikes
500 miles is not near enough to break in trailer brakes, unless you're very seriously working at it. I just completed a 1200 mile trip after my axle upgrade, using the trailer brakes when I could using the brake controller manual control to slow both the car and trailer (including in the mountains), and the shoes were only worn over <50% of their surface. It's going to take quite a bit more to get them fully bedded to the drums and at full capacity.

On the original axle, it would easily lock up the brakes on dirt roads (after a couple of thousand miles), especially if the controller was set to provide "boost."
Mike
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James Amos
It seems a little odd to me that you would buy a brand new unit take it out on your first trip and have ineffective brakes. I certainly would not buy a new car and expect to have to drive it 5000 miles before the brakes were up to par. I understand what you're saying about the brake shoes not being worn to match the drums. When I jacked up the wheel and turned the tire by hand I noticed a definite drag of something rubbing in there ,so I don't think I'd want to adjust them out any further at this time . I will give these brakes sometime and mileage to break in and then have the brakes readjusted and see how they perform after that. Hopefully they will improve with time. Thanks for all of your good insight.
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mikes
Quote:
Lippert Components has found through extensive brake testing that the break-in period for our drum brakes can range from 20 to 50 brake applications. Brakes can be seated in by applying approximately 8-10 volts to the coach brakes at an initial speed of 40 mph and allowing the truck/coach combination to slow down to 20 or 25 mph
- Lippert Electric Brakes Owner's Manual

Quote:
your trailer brakes should be burnished-in by making 10-12 full stops from approximately 20 m.p.h.  This allows the brake shoes and magnets to slightly “wear-in” to the drum surfaces.
- Dexter Electric Brake manual

Note that first, the above is just the bare minimum to have reasonable braking. Full break-in, where the shoes are fully fitted to the drums and the brakes can operate at full efficiency, takes much more. Second, drums take much more time to fully break in than the disc brakes most people are familiar with on modern cars.

Federal Mogul has this to say:

Quote:
An effective burnish cycle to seat the friction materials into the opposing rotor and drum surfaces requires approximately 200 stops. The 200 stops is consistent with the burnish procedure in the FMVSS 105. As a practical matter for installers, 200 stops probably will not happen since few installers have all day to make that number of stops. Therefore, we recommend the following burnish procedure:
(then describes basically the same procedure as above)

The referenced Federal regulation (FMVSS 105) says:
Quote:
S7.4.1.1 Burnish. Burnish the brakes by making 200 stops from 40 mph at 12 fpsps (the 150 lb control force limit does not apply here). The interval from the start of one service brake application to the start of the next shall be either the time necessary to reduce the initial brake temperature to between 230 °F. and 270 °F., or the distance of 1 mile, whichever occurs first. Accelerate to 40 mph after each stop and maintain that speed until making the next stop.


Note that the full burnish procedure is 200 full stops from 40 mph, while the minimum procedures are only 20 stops of slowing down by 20 mph. the "12 fpsps" is the rate of deceleration, about 0.4g, which is more braking than most people normally stop with. And my guess is people towing trailers are typically even more cautious and brake sooner and with less force. From a British study of driver's braking behavior: 

Quote:
In a test involving 23 drivers over 300 miles of European driving , the average of the maximum decelerations observed on a number of different test routes varied between .21 g and .34 g, the mean being .26 g.



So, you can see why new brakes can't be fully broken-in in just a few hundred miles of highway driving and a few miles around town.

Mike
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James Amos
Mike's thanks for that valuable information. Funny I just got through reading that how to in the Lippert manual when I noticed your post. So we will do all that stuff and will be reporting back. Hopefully these brakes will improve much.
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Tom
Well, back from the mountain trip.  Fun with the brake controller, it helped.

On the trip out the brakes went bump-bump-bump every time applied, but they've smoothed out a bit since.  
May take the drums off and check them / turn them if needed.  

Thanks for the help.  
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