Tow-Pro Liberty Trailer-Brake Controller
Innovative new trailer-brake controller puts an end to knocked knees.
Let's talk towing, but not from the "lb-ft of torque" or other truck capability perspectives that typically are the focus in a pulling heavy loads discussion. No. For this report, braking, specifically slowly and safely bringing a trailer to a full stop, is the topic we're covering here.
Although most of today's factory-installed, standard, and optional towing equipment in late-model pickups includes electronic trailer-brake control systems that are integrated into the dash, there are some new trucks and plenty of older rigs that do not have the built-in technology. Instead, the answer for those have-nots is aftermarket trailer-brake controllers: small devices that regulate voltage for a trailer's electric brakes, to increase or decrease gain.
As we're always interested in learning about new things—especially parts or systems that can improve capability (again, in this case, towing)—we were excited and curious by the announcement of REDARC's Tow-Pro "Liberty" electric trailer-brake controller. It's an affordable ($135) new device that's designed for reliable street and highway trailer braking.
Why It's Cool
In most instances, aftermarket controllers are usually affixed to the lower portion of a dash (to the left or right of the steering column, right around knee level). Although this is considered by most drivers to be the best location, it actually tends to be problematic because reaching down (and sometimes leaning forward to reach down) is required in order to make the adjustments, which can compromise safety. And, the mounting spot also can lead to knees accidentally banging against the controller and possibly changing the gain calibration.
The new Liberty controller changes all of this. The device features a compact head that can be installed remotely (literally anywhere), and the main module (the brain of the system) is hidden under the dash. The versatility results in a factory-like look with no more knee-knocking. Installing the unit away from the driver's knees also eliminates possible intrusion into the driver's leg space and potential interference with lower airbags in newer vehicles.
A wide selection of vehicle-specific plug-and-play accessories (such as switch inserts and wiring harnesses) are also available for a fast and easy installation.
Key Features and Active Calibration
The new brake controller incorporates several key features (many of them shared with the Tow-Pro "Elite" system, a higher-end setup that supports off-road trailering and 24-volt electrical systems which promotes smoother braking for users towing all different trailer types. Active Calibration is one of them. This feature allows Tow-Pro Liberty to self-calibrate as soon as it is installed on a vehicle, without requiring a trailer to be attached.
Making the Switch
Our 1995 Ford F-350 and 28-foot enclosed car hauler setup currently relies on the traditional electric trailer-brake-controller setup. Making gain adjustments with REDARC's new Tow-Pro Liberty definitely is on the docket for Project Big White. The move to a simple selector switch mounted in the dash will not only improve towing safety, it will finally put an end to all the blasted knee-banging, too.