Trailer Brakes and RAM Integrated Brake Controller

piet10

Active Member
We have a 2011 Greystone 29MK and a 2016 RAM Laramie 3500 Cummins with Integrated Brake Controller. The trailer brakes will not lock up even at the heaviest setting.

I have the truck set at heavy electric, at the highest setting at 10. When I do the tug test with manual activation of the controller, the brakes will not lock up. I have had the trailer brakes adjusted and inspected. With the dealer's diagnostic box connected to the trailer, the brakes lock up and the truck will not pull it. The diagnostic box shows the truck is delivering 10 amps at 9 volts to the trailer.

I have had the Integrated Brake Controller and the 7 pin connector replaced. No change in operation, at any speed. The EVIC display shows 100% brake operation when applying the brakes.

My 2012 2500 Laramie would lock the brakes at a light electric setting on 5.5.

I have the RAM factory techs talking to the dealer, but wanted to know if any of you have heard of this issue, and if I am missing something. My next service appointment is Tuesday morning.

Thanks for any insights.


Al
 

Rhyph

Well-known member
Weird!

On our 2014 Big Horn 3610RE we had the exact same concerns out of our 2014 3500 (both in sig), controller set heavy electric and 10 on gain. I complained and complained to both Dodge and Heartland, and I concluded that the brakes just simply sucked on the BH, and even with adjustments done by me, they still were not great. Could never get them to lock up, but I could slow the truck with them moderately ok.

Fast forward to now with our 2016 RW 420; I can lock up and drag my truck to a stop manually from 70 MPH with no problem having my gain set at 8.0 on heavy electric. When we get stuck in stop and go traffic, I have to back it down to a 7-7.5 or they get grabby and aggressive making for a not so smooth on and off the brake pedal situation.
 

Kbvols

Well-known member
I have the same issue with my greystone except my TV is a Chevy. I have adjusted the brakes, had them cleaned and ran new wiring between each axel. When I had my older truck and prodigy brake controller I could get the brakes to lock up. I believe the issue is the integrated controller. Interested to know what your dealer says.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Power247

Well-known member
This has been a hot topic on the different Ram truck forums since the integrated brake controller started being offered in '12. The consensus was that the RAM integrated brake controller seems to be very selective in what trailers it likes to be hooked up to.

Originally i had a '09 1500 with an aftermarket controller that would lock the brakes on our SOB camper when set on 7/10. When we looked at upgrading to our '12 2500 I was excited that it had the integrated controller... Until I hooked up the first time. Same SOB camper but even on 10 I could barely feel the trailer brakes. I could feel them some when using the manual override on the controller but they would never lock up. Dealer told me that it was 'smart' and could sense how much pressure was being sent and adjusted to keep from locking up the trailer tires. I figured BS but I never felt unsafe pulling so I never pursued. Then this spring we got our Pioneer. I hooked up to bring her home and the first time I hit the brakes driving through the parking lot I locked the trailer brakes. Had to back down to 7/10. So much for 'smart' brakes.

Greg
2012 | RAM 2500 | CCSB | Custom tuned by Double R Diesel
2016 | Heartland Pioneer | DS310
 

alexb2000

Well-known member
Assuming the wiring is intact, I see a difference in trailers and my Ford integrated controller based on the ground side of the trailer brakes. Most trailers daisy chain the ground along with the lights. My logic is if there is resistance on the ground wire the controller thinks more braking is being applied than actually is. The other thing that can happen is a lot of resistance in the ground wire on the trailer and so the ground goes through the hitch onto the truck side ground, also confusing the brake controller.

I always have half a dozen trailers around with brakes and my fix is to wire a quality dedicated ground wire, soldered and heat shrinked to all the brakes and then tie in at the trailer wiring junction box to the ground terminal. So far this has worked 100%.
 

cookie

Administrator
Staff member
I always have half a dozen trailers around with brakes and my fix is to wire a quality dedicated ground wire, soldered and heat shrinked to all the brakes and then tie in at the trailer wiring junction box to the ground terminal. So far this has worked 100%.
Good point. I've always been concerned about the size of the wires at the axles.
The brake wires start out at a heavier gauge wire but when they get to somewhere in the underbelly near the axles the wire is reduced to a much lighter gauge wire.

To the OP, I would consider upgrading the brake wires from the underbelly where the reduction takes place right up to the magnets.

Peace
Dave
 

Doublegranch

Mountain Region Director
I have a 2016 Ram 3500 and have the same problem with my new 2017 Sundance...on 10 you can barely feel the brakes kick in on the RV.....Pulling my North Trail with the same Ram I would lock up the brakes at setting 5....
I am not convinced it is the wiring but the drums brakes on the Sundance. I will be replacing them with disc brakes soon.

But that said I have a friend with the same problem on his ford and has disc brakes!!!
 

alexb2000

Well-known member
Sometimes we make all of this WAY too complicated.

Are disk brakes better, sure, BUT you should be able to come to a smoking stop with any drum trailer brakes, period. Disks unless you have anti-lock are an incremental improvement.

We are talking about new/newish trailers with Dexter axles right? Are the drums adjusted or adjusting if you have automatic adjusters? Pull of a tire and have a look.

If they are adjusted then it is almost surely your wiring/controller.

The factory controllers all have fancy feedback mechanisms that rely on clean wiring, it gives better brake feel, but it comes at a reliance on good wiring. Disk brakes will solve it because you go to a hydraulic controller vs. magnets and thus eliminate the wiring, but if you don't want to spend the $3K, run dedicated 12GA fine stranded wires with crimped and soldered connections. MUCH CHEAPER and can be done for less than $50 and a few hours effort at most.
 

SNOKING

Well-known member
OK I will step it here and point out the RAM had a good IBC up through 2014 models. It 2015 the pulse width of the signal to the brakes was greatly reduced and people started complaining. RAM engineers are suppose to be working on a fix for this according to a friend I have who has a contact at RAM. The dealers and their support structure will tell you that the controller is working as designed and has no problem. This thread has some graphs showing the pulse width issue.

http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/28817052/srt/pa/pging/1/page/1.cfm

Graph 2013 RAM:
http://i1028.photobucket.com/albums/y346/Bob_Walchli/ITBM Scope shots/100 percent_zpscurxhkdl.jpg
Graph 2015 RAM:
http://i1028.photobucket.com/albums/y346/Bob_Walchli/ITBM Scope shots/60percent_zpsxymw53jh.jpg

You will find info like this also.
http://i1028.photobucket.com/albums/y346/Bob_Walchli/ITBM Scope shots/Chart1_zpsmw4vfceb.jpg

In the mean time people say that changing 2015-2016 IBC to heavy electric over hydraulic will help while we wait for RAM to fix this. Next week we are going to tow again, and I will be doing some testing. First disconnecting the truck and pulling the emergency pin to verify that brakes in fact are working well. Then I will be towing with IBC in heavy electric over hydraulic.

It is also noted that the heavier ones trailer is the more this problem shows itself. We towed our 12.4K SOB to Arizona last winter and the brakes worked well. I however had rewired the axles in a star configuration with #12 wire.

So stay tuned, as my friend checks with his RAM contact every couple weeks. For those that have a real concern/issue, then going to www.safercar.gov and filing a complain may help RAM along with fixing this issue.

Chris
 

danemayer

Moderator
Staff member
Are disk brakes better, sure, BUT you should be able to come to a smoking stop with any drum trailer brakes, period. Disks unless you have anti-lock are an incremental improvement.

We are talking about new/newish trailers with Dexter axles right? Are the drums adjusted or adjusting if you have automatic adjusters? Pull of a tire and have a look.

If they are adjusted then it is almost surely your wiring/controller.

There are plenty of people who have contrary experience with the drum trailer brakes - including the automatic adjusting ones.

And every person who has ever posted about upgrading to disc brakes has said it's night and day difference - not incremental.
 

Doublegranch

Mountain Region Director
I would love to test this idea of new wiring, but not sure how to proceed!!!
There are two wires coming off each brake, black and white, do you splice both or one?
If one, does it matter on the color? Would you run one wire from each wheel or from the two wheels on each side of the axles to the ground? I am up for saving a bunch of money if it really works!
 

alexb2000

Well-known member
There are plenty of people who have contrary experience with the drum trailer brakes - including the automatic adjusting ones.

And every person who has ever posted about upgrading to disc brakes has said it's night and day difference - not incremental.

The thinking behind my statement is that once the tire locks, it locks, maximum braking, I can do that with any of my trailers, but I keep them adjusted and wired correctly. Of course when drum brakes get really hot that is another issue, however we still have every semi on the road with drum brakes, they couldn't be that bad. That said the only trailer I've had with disks was my Baja twin axle boat trailer, worked great and less maintenance, but I wouldn't say they panic stopped any shorter since just like drums the tires locked.
 

alexb2000

Well-known member
I would love to test this idea of new wiring, but not sure how to proceed!!!
There are two wires coming off each brake, black and white, do you splice both or one?
If one, does it matter on the color? Would you run one wire from each wheel or from the two wheels on each side of the axles to the ground? I am up for saving a bunch of money if it really works!

Generally the white is the ground and the one most suspect since it also supplies ground to the lights and is spliced a half dozen times or more. I cut the white about a foot out from each wheel, then (important) make sure all white wires you cut are back together in a daisy chain otherwise your lights won't work. I use 12 Gauge fine stranded auto wire and run a wire down each side of the frame bring it up to the trailer wire terminal block, put a couple of ring terminals on, connect back to the same white terminal as the lights, and that's it. The black wire is dedicated to the trailer brakes, so if it is in good shape, sized appropriately, etc. then you can leave it.

Other methods may work, but I crimp AND solder, then heat shrink all connections.

May not help, but it's worth a try, and cheap.
 

Doublegranch

Mountain Region Director
Thanks for the information....I will call my Ram service mgr in the morning and see if there is a pending flash for the brake controller as mentioned in a previous post. I am still suspect about the wire issue as I had the RV tested at a dealership and the volts were at the max when they tested it without my truck. No test was done with the truck. I am getting scheduled for disc brakes in Oct...so this may be a moot issue.
 

SNOKING

Well-known member
Thanks for the information....I will call my Ram service mgr in the morning and see if there is a pending flash for the brake controller as mentioned in a previous post. I am still suspect about the wire issue as I had the RV tested at a dealership and the volts were at the max when they tested it without my truck. No test was done with the truck. I am getting scheduled for disc brakes in Oct...so this may be a moot issue.

Disc brakes will not fix the issue with 2015+ RAMS for heavy trailers, your may be ok however. Chris
 

Doublegranch

Mountain Region Director
Chris:
The 2017 Sundance 3100CK is 13,500 GVWR...I don't think this fits into the "heavy" category... I am open to all suggestions as my only goal is for the brakes to work properly as they did on my North Trail using the same 2016 Ram 3500...
 

SNOKING

Well-known member
Could you elaborate more please?

My friend note in the earlier post tow a MS that is heavy and is the one talk with a RAM insider that he met at May Madness (An annual RAM truck event with factory reps attending), he is very concerned about the lack of stopping power with his electric over hydraulic brakes. So the shorten pulse width effects drum and electric over hydraulic brakes.

Also as I noted above it is reported that with drum brakes switching to electric over hydraulic setting in the 2015+ improves but does not cure the brake issues.

I though mine was OK until I got the new trailer. Reports of braking issues are spread to wide to blame it on trailers. However there have been complaints about the auto adjusting brakes like I have. That is why I am going to pull the pin and test the brakes that way. You do not want the trailer pulled into the truck while pulling the emergency brake pin. I am concerned as we leave for Arizona is a few weeks. Chris
 

Bones

Well-known member
My friend note in the earlier post tow a MS that is heavy and is the one talk with a RAM insider that he met at May Madness (An annual RAM truck event with factory reps attending), he is very concerned about the lack of stopping power with his electric over hydraulic brakes. So the shorten pulse width effects drum and electric over hydraulic brakes.

Also as I noted above it is reported that with drum brakes switching to electric over hydraulic setting in the 2015+ improves but does not cure the brake issues.

I though mine was OK until I got the new trailer. Reports of braking issues are spread to wide to blame it on trailers. However there have been complaints about the auto adjusting brakes like I have. That is why I am going to pull the pin and test the brakes that way. You do not want the trailer pulled into the truck while pulling the emergency brake pin. I am concerned as we leave for Arizona is a few weeks. Chris

Thanks Chris. I have noticed sometimes it would seem the trailer stops well and sometimes it doesn't.
 
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