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  1. #1
    My Boats:
    39 CIGARETTE/42Outerlimits/38 CIGARETTE/40 Fountain
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Brake Controller

    I just bought a 2008 ford F-450 and I'm having a problem with the factory brake controller. I have electric over hydraulic brakes on the trailer and when I step on the brakes the brake actuator on the trailer only stays on for a few seconds. A friend told me that there is a part that you add into the wiring at the actuator that changes the signal to the brake controller. He also said the factory set up is for electric brakes only, any help would be appreciated thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2000

    I don't know anything about the OEM Ford brake system, but electric over hydraulic is the best I have ever had. What does Ford say? Knowing them, "they don't know" hehehe. But is sound like it is not working properly. I will google it.


    try here....
    Last edited by enticer; 03-29-2009 at 11:24 AM.

  3. #3
    My Boats:
    Pair o' 700's in a 36
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Detroit, MI/Lake Havasu, AZ
    According to my Tow command guide in my truck, it says the factory brake controller part of the tow command system is designed for electronic brakes (1-4 axles), and will not work with Hydraulic-Surge (obviously) or electric over hydraulic.

    In the 2006 F250/350/450 Owner's Guide, the Tow Command System is referred
    to as the "Integrated trailer brake controller." Here are the instruction
    for this device (I cannot post the pictures here, go get the manual to see
    them - page 157):

    Integrated trailer brake controller (if equipped)

    Your vehicle may be equipped with a fully integrated electronic Trailer
    Brake Controller (TBC). When used properly, the TBC helps ensure smooth and
    effective trailer braking by powering the trailer's electric brakes with a
    proportional output based on the towing vehicle's brake pressure.

    The Ford TBC can only be used with trailers having electric-actuated drum
    brakes (one to four axles) and not hydraulic surge or
    electric-over-hydraulic types. It is the responsibility of the customer to
    ensure that the trailer brakes are adjusted appropriately, functioning
    normally and all electric connections are properly made.

    The TBC user interface consists of the following:

    1. +/- (GAIN adjustment buttons): Pressing these buttons will adjust the TBC's
    power output to the trailer brakes (in 0.5 increments). The GAIN setting can
    be increased to a maximum of 10.0 or decreased to a minimum of 0 (no trailer
    braking). Pressing and holding a button will raise or lower the setting
    2. Trailer connection indicator: This lamp indicates trailer electrical
    connection status.
    . When a successful trailer connection is detected, the indicator will
    be green.
    . If the electrical connection is lost, the indicator will flash red. If
    the connection is lost while the vehicle is stationary, the indicator will
    turn off after 30 seconds. If the connection is lost while the vehicle is
    moving, the indicator will flash until the ignition is turned off, then on
    . If no electrical connection is detected after the ignition is turned
    on, pressing a GAIN adjustment button will display the GAIN setting. Sliding
    the manual control will display the GAIN setting, OUTPUT bar graph and light
    the trailer indicator red.
    3. GAIN setting display: Shows the current GAIN setting. This will
    illuminate when a trailer is connected, flash if the trailer becomes
    disconnected, or remain off if no trailer is connected.
    4. OUTPUT bar graph: When the vehicle's brake pedal is pushed, or when the
    manual control is activated, green bar indicators will illuminate to
    indicate the amount of power going to the trailer brakes relative to the
    brake pedal or manual control input.
    5. Manual control lever: Slide the control lever to the left to activate
    power to the trailer's electric brakes independent of the tow vehicle's
    brakes (see the following Procedure for adjusting GAIN section for
    instructions on proper use of this feature). If the manual control is
    activated while the brake is also applied, the greater of the two inputs
    determines the power sent to the trailer brakes.
    .. Stop Lamps: Activating the TBC manual control lever will illuminate both
    the trailer brake lamps and the tow vehicle brake lamps (presuming proper
    trailer electrical connection). Pressing the vehicle brake pedal will also
    illuminate both trailer and vehicle brake lamps.


    The GAIN setting is used to set the TBC for the specific towing condition
    and should be changed as towing conditions change. Changes to towing
    conditions include trailer load, vehicle load, road conditions
    and weather. The GAIN should be set to provide the maximum trailer braking
    assistance while ensuring the trailer wheels do not lock when braking.
    Locked trailer wheels may lead to trailer instability.

    Procedure for adjusting GAIN:

    Note: This should only be performed in a traffic free environment at speeds
    of approximately 20 - 25 mph (30 - 40 km/h).
    1. Make sure the trailer brakes are in good working condition, functioning
    normally, and properly adjusted. See your trailer dealer if necessary.
    2. Hook-up the trailer and make the electrical connections according to the
    trailer manufacturer's instructions.
    3. When a trailer with electric brakes is plugged in, the trailer connection
    indicator will illuminate green on the TBC and the GAIN setting display will
    4. Use the GAIN adjustment (+/-) buttons to increase or decrease the GAIN
    setting to the desired starting point. (A GAIN setting of 6.0 is a good
    starting point for heavier loads.)
    5. In a traffic-free environment, tow the trailer on a dry, level surface at
    a speed of 20 - 25 mph (30 - 40 km/h) and squeeze the manual control lever
    6. If the trailer wheels lock-up (indicated by squealing tires), reduce the
    GAIN setting; if the trailer wheels turn freely, increase the GAIN setting.
    Repeat Steps 5 and 6 until the GAIN setting is at a point just below trailer
    wheel lock-up. If towing a heavier trailer, trailer wheel lockup may not be
    attainable even with the maximum GAIN setting of 10.

    Explanation of instrument cluster messages:
    The TBC interacts with the instrument cluster message center. These
    messages, accompanied by a single chime, will be displayed when the TBC
    determines a malfunction in the trailer connection, TBC system, or in the
    trailer. These messages are listed below:

    TRAILER DISCONNECTED (if equipped with message center) or CHECK TRAILER (if
    equipped with mini message center): This message is displayed when a trailer
    connection was determined and then a disconnection, either intentionally or
    unintentionally, has been sensed during a given ignition cycle. This message
    is also displayed during manual activation without a trailer connected.
    TBC FAULT: This message is displayed in response to faults sensed by the
    TBC. In the event this message is seen, please take your vehicle to an
    authorized dealer for diagnosis and repair. The TBC may still function, but
    performance may be degraded.
    TRAILER FAULT: The TBC is capable of determining certain faults in the
    vehicle wiring and trailer wiring/brake system. These faults do not mean
    there is anything wrong with the TBC. This message is displayed when one of
    the following faults has occurred:
    . Short circuit on the electric brake output wire: If the TRAILER FAULT
    message is displayed with no trailer connected, the problem is with the
    vehicle wiring from the TBC to the 7-pin connector in the bumper. If the
    message is only displayed with a trailer connected, the problem is related
    to the trailer wiring; consult your trailer dealer for assistance.
    . Trailer brake overload: The trailer's brakes are drawing too much
    current; consult your trailer dealer for assistance.
    Note: Your TBC can be diagnosed by your authorized dealer to determine
    exactly which trailer fault has occurred; however, if the fault is with the
    trailer this diagnosis is not covered under your Ford warranty.

    Points to Remember:
    . Remember to adjust gain setting before using the TBC for the first
    . Readjust GAIN setting on the TBC (according to procedure above)
    whenever road, weather and trailer or vehicle loading conditions change from
    those that existed when the gain was initially set.
    . The sliding lever on the TBC should be used only for manual activation
    of trailer brakes to assist with proper adjustment of the GAIN. Misuse, such
    as application during trailer sway, could cause
    instability of trailer and/or tow vehicle.
    . Avoid towing in adverse weather conditions. The TBC does not provide
    anti-lock control of the trailer wheels. Trailer wheels can lock-up on
    slippery surfaces, resulting in reduced stability of trailer
    and tow vehicle.
    . The TBC interacts with the brake system of the vehicle, including ABS,
    in order to reduce the likelihood of trailer wheel lockup.Therefore, if
    these systems are not functioning properly the TBC may
    not function at full performance.
    . When the vehicle is turned off, the TBC Output is disabled and the
    display is shut down. Reactivation of the ignition from 3 (OFF) to 4 (ON)
    will awaken the TBC module.

  4. #4
    My Boats:
    Pair o' 700's in a 36
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Detroit, MI/Lake Havasu, AZ
    Well a buddy of mine has some good news.... He has an 09 F450, and he tows with electric over hydraulic. He said you need to find a compatible braking actuator.

    Such as this one:

  5. #5
    My Boats:
    39 CIGARETTE/42Outerlimits/38 CIGARETTE/40 Fountain
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Thanks for the info but I just bought a new actuator what I'm looking for is supposedly a black box that goes between the brake act. and wire harness.

  6. #6
    My Boats:
    Pair o' 700's in a 36
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Detroit, MI/Lake Havasu, AZ
    From what I understand, the 2008 and newer ford trucks with the tow command system are compatible to use electric over hydraulic, only when an appropriate actuator is used.

    I read somewhere that titan brake rite kit comes with a converter to work with the Ford Tow Command system... maybe titan will sell you just the converter?

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