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Towing in snow and ice

 
Old 02-11-2019, 09:01 AM
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Default Towing in snow and ice

We just towed home last night with the 49ft 17k loaded GN. I cant belive how nice the trailer and truck performed in the crap we were driving in. We only had one horse and a lighter than normal load due to just being a smaller show. Had to panic brake one time due to two cars going sideways in front of me on a long bridge. The truck went into antilock mode a bit, but was steerable and the trailer never even tried to come around, staying right behind the truck as I pulled hard right while braking. Not sure if the trailer brakes locked or not, but my guess is no due to how well it tracked. Maybe the brake controller(factory ITBC) helps keep them from locking up in this kind of situation?
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:35 PM
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IMO and experience If you set the brake controller up properly you will not "Lock" the brakes if over 25 MPH. Under that you need to learn to adjust the gain when in heavy traffic. As to tracking while emergency braking, it sounds like 2 things came in to play here.
1. You were loaded with a balanced load
2. your brakes are equally well adjusted and evn pressure was exerted on both sets of wheels.

This is not luck, this is good loading skills and proper trailer maintenance!

Good job staying safe.
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by TerryD64 View Post
IMO and experience If you set the brake controller up properly you will not "Lock" the brakes if over 25 MPH. Under that you need to learn to adjust the gain when in heavy traffic. As to tracking while emergency braking, it sounds like 2 things came in to play here.
1. You were loaded with a balanced load
2. your brakes are equally well adjusted and evn pressure was exerted on both sets of wheels.

This is not luck, this is good loading skills and proper trailer maintenance!

Good job staying safe.

I am pretty **** about the maintenance on the trailer. Safety and the fact that we haul live animals makes me insist on it. As for loading I do my best to balance it out fairly well, but only so much we can do as the horses do shift around some. I think I have to credit Bison Coach with building a trailer tracks well and loads easy. It's big but tows very nice!
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:06 PM
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There is some truth to the ITBC controlling the trailer brakes in an emergency. The entire braking system is tied together. In a Sway situation, some trailer braking is applied, and if ABS kicks in, it limits the amount of braking to the trailer. With an external brake controller, it only looks at brake pedal on/off and gradually applies more current to the brakes, so in light braking the trailer brakes could eventually lock up, where with the ITBC, the amount of brake force applied to the trailer mirrors the amount of brake force being applied to the truck. Light braking will not cause the trailer brakes to increase brake force, so it stands to reason that a panic stop that activates Anti-Lock would also prevent the trailer brakes from fully engaging.
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Old 02-21-2019, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by acdii View Post
There is some truth to the ITBC controlling the trailer brakes in an emergency. The entire braking system is tied together. In a Sway situation, some trailer braking is applied, and if ABS kicks in, it limits the amount of braking to the trailer. With an external brake controller, it only looks at brake pedal on/off and gradually applies more current to the brakes, so in light braking the trailer brakes could eventually lock up, where with the ITBC, the amount of brake force applied to the trailer mirrors the amount of brake force being applied to the truck. Light braking will not cause the trailer brakes to increase brake force, so it stands to reason that a panic stop that activates Anti-Lock would also prevent the trailer brakes from fully engaging.
You are saying the brake controller is smart enough to control trailer brakes during ABS function. Is there any documentation on this feature?

I have surge brakes which seem to work well enough so I havenít given thought to converting to electric. If there is an added safety feature with the controller that would be a consideration for modifying the brakes.
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Old 02-21-2019, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by BadAltitude View Post


You are saying the brake controller is smart enough to control trailer brakes during ABS function. Is there any documentation on this feature?

I have surge brakes which seem to work well enough so I havenít given thought to converting to electric. If there is an added safety feature with the controller that would be a consideration for modifying the brakes.
I have had to slam on the brakes to the point the ABS kicked in, and the trailer brakes did not lock up but the entire rig stayed straight. It was on a wet highway, we were doing 65-70 and traffic came to a standstill suddenly. If the trailer had gone full tilt on the brakes they would have locked and slid sideways. I can lock the trailer brakes with the controller from 30 MPH, so I know that they will lock at full tilt.
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Old 02-21-2019, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by BadAltitude View Post


You are saying the brake controller is smart enough to control trailer brakes during ABS function. Is there any documentation on this feature?

I have surge brakes which seem to work well enough so I havenít given thought to converting to electric. If there is an added safety feature with the controller that would be a consideration for modifying the brakes.
I had an accident one day that was the result of surge brakes. I created a hill towing a little hook hitch triaxle flatbed that was empty. I hit slush just over the hill which begged the truck momentarily and rapidly. The trailer brakes activated, the trailer came around and despite me punching the gas and trying to turn slightly away from the trailer, it spun the whole rig around 180 degrees on I-70. I ended up against the wall almost without much contact except the snow plow hardware which grazed the wall on the way around.

I waited for traffic to clear got to the right side away from the wall and got off the road. I then unhooked, drove around the trailer then used equipment chains and drug the trailer back around the right way and rehitched. I called OSP and they came out took a report patted me on the back, said good driving and let me off with no citation.

I was on duty on official business as a Police Officer picking up a 12k pound genset for the city. Oh the dumb things we do as young pups. By the way the truck was a 1996 f350 RC SB with a 460.
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Old 02-22-2019, 10:22 AM
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OK I think I have the answer to the ITBC.

Avoid towing in adverse weather conditions. The trailer brake controller 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 trailer brake controller is equipped with a feature that reduces output at vehicle speeds below 11 mph (18 km/h) so trailer and vehicle braking is not jerky or harsh. This feature is only available when applying the brakes using your vehicle's brake pedal, not the controller.
The controller interacts with the brake control system and powertrain control system of your vehicle to provide the best performance on different road conditions.
http://www.fordservicecontent.com/Fo...G1609146&div=f

So based on that last sentence, it does sound like it will reduce output in an ABS condition, but not in an ABS fashion.
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Old 02-22-2019, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by acdii View Post
OK I think I have the answer to the ITBC.



http://www.fordservicecontent.com/Fo...G1609146&div=f

So based on that last sentence, it does sound like it will reduce output in an ABS condition, but not in an ABS fashion.
Yes, the above implies that there may be reduced trailer braking in certain situations.

BUT

Ē
  • Avoid towing in adverse weather conditions. The trailer brake controller 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.Ē
On the other hand the second quote seems to contradict by saying trailer brakes may lock up in slippery conditions.

Makes me think that surge brakes may be better in slippery conditions because the tow vehicle deceleration is reduced when slippery which reduces surge brake forces.

Certainly, no ABS forces could be applied by electric trailer brakes.

It does not address sway control. Conceivably the trailer brakes could be activated during tow vehicle sway control functions which would help to straighten things out during a severe swerve. I suspect if this happens the guide would say so, but since it doesnít, I suspect there is no trailer braking during a swerve.

I think Ford could better describe the benefits and limitations of the brake controller.
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Old 02-24-2019, 11:37 AM
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The way I read it is that under "normal" braking conditions, they could lock up. It does sound contradictory, but when you read between the lines, they are correct. If just stopping normally, and since there are no ABS sensors on the trailer brakes, there is the potential that a wheel or wheels could lock when traction is reduced. OTOH if there is a panic stop situation where the trucks ABS brakes activate, then I think it is smart enough to not apply braking to the trailer. I also agree there should be more detail on the sway control function, and reading that doc I believe that it can apply braking as required to correct the sway since it mentions to not apply braking to the trailer to correct sway, which is the norm to stop sway.
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