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ScottyGS

Ford F-150 Trailer Disconnect Issue

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There seems to be more and more F-150's out there on the forum.  I am creating this topic for all of us who have an F-150 and are experiencing or will experience the dreaded Trailer Disconnect Message.  This topic will hopefully help us 1.) Understand the issue and 2.) Find a way to lessen / live with it. To start a hearty THANK YOU to all those I have talked to about this, especially Steve / ScubaRX.

 

I also have a request for any who read this thread:

 

PLEASE LIMIT this discussion to the disconnect issue on the F-150 ONLY.  Many helpful people who know a lot more about trailer electronics than I do will undoubtedly want to help diagnose grounding issues etc.  For the F-150 that would send most folks down a very deep rabbit hole.   OK.. and thanks in advance for your help on this.

 

This is what I know / have been able to surmise about the situation:

IT's the TRUCK!   Not the trailer.  If you google F-150 and trailer disconnect you will get a huge amount of hits going back a very long time.  Ford must know about this and just not care about fixing it.

DON'T worry about your BRAKES! - All the lights and turn signals work fine even when the trucks computer tells you the trailer is disconnected.  AND THE BRAKES ARE WORKING TOO!   The good news..... no danger, but it still sure is annoying.  If you want to check this, use the manual brake controller to apply the brakes when the trailer is showing disconnected.  You can also go to the trailer status screen and see the gain when you apply the foot brake.   < I worried a long time about the brakes and now its nice to know that they are still there doing their job >

This is what I think we might be able to do about it:

I read that running a ground jump cable between trailer and truck might help.  That is if it is a grounding issue that is causing the trucks computer to think the trailer is disconnected.   I am thinking this would involve wire, connectors, screws and drilling some small holes.  Does anyone know how to do this?   Any help on placing a ground between the truck and trailer would be appreciated.  I will get er done and report back on the next trip.

Has anyone SOLVED this issue?  Either with the help of Ford or on your own?

I plan to address this with my local ford dealer, but frankly don't have much hope that they will have a solution.

Finally for those planning on buying an F-150 as an Ollie tow vehicle.  Everything else about the truck is great.  Lots of power. Nice ride. Tows great. And, the Pro Backup Assist helps very much for trailer newbs like me.   This is the only issue that drives me a bit crazy.

 

Thanks Everyone... Smooth Roads and Blue Skies!

 

Scotty

 

Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Thanks 3

Gregg & Donna Scott and Piper the Westie  -    The Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145     Western NC


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Scotty,

 

Wow!  Talk about timing.  You could not have hit it any better.

 

Last week I towed Twist over to the Oliver Rally.  This was the first time towing with my new 2017 Lariet 3.5 eco-boost.  In the pouring rain on the way over I "got the message".  Thought that it was a bit weird when I looked in the rear view mirror and saw that the marker lights were still on - just how could the trailer be disconnected if the marker lights were still on?  In any case, I pulled over at the next exit and could not find anything wrong.

 

During the rally I mentioned this to Jason and he thought that the problem could be related to the led lights simply not pulling enough current.  He also said that he thought there is a product sold that attaches between the trailer pigtail and the truck that helps take care of the problem.  I've not had a chance to take a look at this any further, but, if I find something I'll be back here in a flash.

 

I should also note that I never had this problem with my 2011 F-150.  But, it didn't have as much "stuff" on it as the new one does.  Also, I fully agree with you on the rest of the truck - sure is comfortable.

 

Bill


2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Bill,

 

I have a phone call schedule with Jason tomorrow about several issues I am having.  I will ask him about the product and see if I can locate it.  Stay tuned for what I learn.

 

Scotty

  • Thanks 1

Gregg & Donna Scott and Piper the Westie  -    The Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145     Western NC


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While I do not tow with an F-150, I had the same problem with my Audi Q7. Internet research says that, yes, it is is the LED lights not pulling enough current, and that this is common with European cars. I am surprised that it came up on an F-150, especially suddenly.

 

My solution was a CURT 57003 7-Way RV Blade LED Electrical Adapter. It solved my Trailer Lights Disconnected error message.

 

I later found a smaller version, the Tow Ready 20142 7-Way Flat Pin to 7-Flat Adapter.

  • Thanks 4

David Stillman, Salt Lake City, Utah

2016 Oliver Elite II  Hull 164    |    2017 Audi Q7 tow vehicle. 

Travel and Photography Blog: http://davidstravels.net

 

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That is if it is a grounding issue that is causing the trucks computer to think the trailer is disconnected. I am thinking this would involve wire, connectors, screws and drilling some small holes. Does anyone know how to do this? Any help on placing a ground between the truck and trailer would be appreciated. I will get er done and report back on the next trip.

 

Not having a 150, I will not speak to their electronics, but having the same issue and correcting it 9000 miles ago, I will speak to the ground. This is especially the case if your using an Andersen, the sleeve in it seperates the metal parts and causes an intermittent ground situation, one of the things to pay attention to is timing, when you crest a rise or are in a down hill situation and there is a negative pressure situation on the coupler.

 

The easiest test for this fix is about $8 in parts from Home Depot, two alligator clips and a piece of wire 6', clip one end to the hitch frame on the truck and the other to the bottom of the bulldog where it curves together and there's a gap. This is how mine has been since last June and I've never had another problem. When not towing it's just wrapped around and clipped to back to the bumper.

 

Oh, the first 1200 miles of towing I never had a problem, it was a naked hitch, then I found I need a WDH and got the Andersen.

 

Let us know.

  • Thanks 1

Randy


One Life Live It Enjoyably


2017 F350 6.7L SRW CC LB


2015 Oliver Elite II Hull #69

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While I do not tow with an F-150, I had the same problem with my Audi Q7. Internet research says that, yes, it is is the LED lights not pulling enough current, and that this is common with European cars. I am surprised that it came up on an F-150, especially suddenly. My solution was a CURT 57003 7-Way RV Blade LED Electrical Adapter. It solved my Trailer Lights Disconnected error message. I later found a smaller version, the Tow Ready 20142 7-Way Flat Pin to 7-Flat Adapter.

+1 on Dave's answer. I've been using the 57003 Curt adapter for over 2 years. This is the part Jason was talking about and he saw us have to put it on at the factory to get the trailer connect complete to our Mercedes.

 

Yup, no FORD in our house but it's worth trying for $25 bucks for an easy fix.


Happy Camping,


null


Reed & Karen Lukens with Riffles our Miniature Poodle


2017 Oliver Legacy Elite II  Standard, Hull #200 / 2017 Silverado High Country 1500 Short Bed 4x4


Past TV - 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350 4Matic BlueTEC Diesel


Click on our avatar pic above to find the videos on our Oliver Legacy Elite II


 

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David, Randy, & Karen,

 

Thank you very much.  All good information on this problem.

 

We have two things to try:  1.) the 57003 Curt thingie   and 2.) the jumper wire.

 

I will try the jumper wire first and see if that does it.   Then move on to the 57003 (or smaller version) if need be.

 

Question on the 57003 - This goes between the trailer cable and the truck receptacle.  So, I assume that we would plug the cable side into the truck receptacle and then plug the trailer plug into the side with the spring loaded door.  Is that right?   There is no picture I can find that shows what is behind the door.

 

If this works on the F-150, then we can assume (there is that dangerous word again) that the issue is the Truck computer does not recognize LED lights.

 

Thanks again for you help.  Appreciate it very much.

 

Scotty


Gregg & Donna Scott and Piper the Westie  -    The Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145     Western NC


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Great thread! I have 7,000 miles with my F150 as TV and had never heard of the issue. Now, when it happens, I won't panic and disconnect/reconnect in the middle of the highway to try and solve it.  I can then revisit here for the solution.

 

BTW, I left my Ollie in Hohenwald after the rally and am headed up there to get it today. Now that I know there IS a problem, it will probably bite me this afternoon. Forewarned is forearmed.

 

 

 

 


Mike and Elizabeth Smith


Snow Lake Shores, MS


2016 Ford F150 3.5 EB, max tow (20,900  miles pulling Ollie since Sept 2016)


 


 

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Randy,

 

Interesting thought on the ground.  In my case, there doesn't seem to be a "problem" when it is dry - only when it was raining cats and dogs.  And, even then, the problem was sporadic.  I would have thought that the safety cables would take care of the grounding issue around the Andersen WDH, but you never know.  At least, thanks to you and DavidS we have avenues.

 

Bill


2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Randy,

 

Hate to be the bearer of bad news but........    At first it was only the rain with us too.   Then it was the bumps.   Then the turn signal faults started preceding the disconnect message.  If I could find a way to disable that damned bell chime sound I might just call it a day and live with it.

 

Let's hope one of these fix's works and we can move on to fixing stuff that breaks on the Oliver.    Sheeeesh!   It's like owning a boat.  There is always something.  :-)

 

Thanks again everyone,

 

Scotty

  • Thanks 1

Gregg & Donna Scott and Piper the Westie  -    The Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145     Western NC


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Question on the 57003 – This goes between the trailer cable and the truck receptacle.  So, I assume that we would plug the cable side into the truck receptacle and then plug the trailer plug into the side with the spring loaded door.  Is that right?   There is no picture I can find that shows what is behind the door.

 

Yes, you plug the cable into the truck, and then plug the trailer plug into the receptacle on the 57003.

 

On my vehicle the spring loaded door on the receptacle has a protrusion that locks the seven pin cable in place. The spring loaded door on the 57003 has a similar protrusion to lock the cable in place.

 

If I had it to do over again I would go with the Tow Ready 20142. The cable on the Camco 57003 is too long. To reduce the slack and prevent the connector box from hitting the ground I used cable ties to attach the excess cable to the trailer. I had already purchased the Camco 57003 when I found info on the Tow Ready 20142 online, and I am not shelling out another $25 for cable aesthetics.

  • Thanks 2

David Stillman, Salt Lake City, Utah

2016 Oliver Elite II  Hull 164    |    2017 Audi Q7 tow vehicle. 

Travel and Photography Blog: http://davidstravels.net

 

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Randy, Hate to be the bearer of bad news but……..

 

Pretty sure you meant Bill here

 

But now the plot thickens, turn signal faults and rain... you mean you get these fault indicators from the trailer? If so, to me that would indicate more than just a single ground issue. Did they happen in conjunction with the disconnect message or completely by themselves with nothing else? If the latter, then I might be more inclined to have Ford check the back/underside condition of the wiring harness to the 7 pin on the truck. If in conjunction with the disconnect it may just be acting as an early warning system to the ground issue.

 

Generally I would tend to think that if it isn't a constant sort of problem, the LED harness adapter would be my last step as I wouldn't think the truck would ever like the LEDs not just intermittently.

 

I love a good puzzle..


Randy


One Life Live It Enjoyably


2017 F350 6.7L SRW CC LB


2015 Oliver Elite II Hull #69

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Randy, I would have thought that the safety cables would take care of the grounding issue around the Andersen WDH, but you never know. At least, thanks to you and DavidS we have avenues. Bill

 

Sounded like good logic to me, so you got me out of the CLAM to see why not.

 

pah4az591op4tuibamys3y6wmo1im5z2.thumb.jpg.692608c7a3444f57a3f5c96a94113b89.jpg

 

9rjlt8ghayucf47ey0v4ne638jaro0sn.jpg.4b9a55404cccf2e5adb6faef0d670d7b.jpg

 

The hook itself on the end seems to be a good conductor but the links are not.

  • Thanks 1

Randy


One Life Live It Enjoyably


2017 F350 6.7L SRW CC LB


2015 Oliver Elite II Hull #69

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Yep... meant for Bill.  Sorry about that.

 

I ordered the Tow Ready 20142 and will try that.  For less than $25 from etrailer it seemed like a no brainer.   I will prep a jumper wire too just in case.

 

The turn signal fault is new... and happens just before the disconnect issue which leads me to believe its the same problem.  Might very well be a ground issue.  At least we have several fixes to try and a place to compare notes.

 

At the same time I am juggling the furnace issue, the IPN Remote issue, the broken screws on the window issue, and the loose rivet issue. (OK, the rivet thing is maintenance and the easiest thing to fix - but when you are on a roll .... pile on! )

 

Thanks everyone.


Gregg & Donna Scott and Piper the Westie  -    The Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145     Western NC


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Randy,

 

Ahh - the missing link thing.  My chain is a bit different than yours, but, I suspect that will make no difference.  However, I'm preparing to leave on a long weekend trip in the morning, so, don't have time to deal with it right now.  Besides, between you and ScottyGS if I wait long enough you two will have it figured out.

 

Gregg - thanks for getting on this thing and sorry for the troubles you seem to be having.  I did originally have a problem with my IPN remote because it was wired backwards.  Once the guys at the Mothership got that straight all has been well.  Finally, don't worry about the name thing - I too have had a recent problem along those lines.

 

Bill


2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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The Towready looks great :) Here's a clamp to fit around the door and hold everything in place. Grab a few, they come in handy

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BUQOAY/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I3O4GK5QN3L5SH&colid=DVETVI1ZF5E8

 

Then here's a pic of our old school Curt with the clamp holding it together. It really gives you a good sense of knowing that the 7 pin can't come loose.

 

IMG_20170517_185425.thumb.jpg.9c6817b67d5d32822d11f142b05629dd.jpg

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Happy Camping,


null


Reed & Karen Lukens with Riffles our Miniature Poodle


2017 Oliver Legacy Elite II  Standard, Hull #200 / 2017 Silverado High Country 1500 Short Bed 4x4


Past TV - 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350 4Matic BlueTEC Diesel


Click on our avatar pic above to find the videos on our Oliver Legacy Elite II


 

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If you haven't seen this post on the F150 forum already then it might help.

 

Also, Ford has a TSB on trailer brake connection problems, #45236, which might be relevant.

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Snowball • LE2 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Gregg -

 

Any update on the Towready 20142?   Hopefully it has solved at least one of the problems you have been having.  I'm leaving on a Western trip in a few weeks and would appreciate any feedback that you can give.

 

Bill


2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Hey Bill... and Everyone,

 

OK.. I have had the trailer back at Ford.  They checked everything out and found nothing. NADA. No codes indicating problems and they checked the wiring at the plug and all looks good.  Yeah Right.

 

I have received the Towready from eTrailer but have already put the trailer back up at storage.  So, I wont be able to check it until next trip.  Not sure when that will be.  I will have to bring her home at least sometime in July to Wax.  So, unfortunately for now I have nothing to report.

 

I will try the Towready and if that does not do the trick then will run a jump ground wire.

 

Good Luck,

 

Scotty

 

 

  • Thanks 1

Gregg & Donna Scott and Piper the Westie  -    The Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145     Western NC


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I had these problems for many years with both a 2010 F-150 and a 2015 F-150. Since the problem followed the vehicle change, I assumed that the issue was with the Ollie. I performed every troubleshooting technique I could find including replacing ALL ground wires in the Ollie, adding a ground between the trailer frame and the truck chassis, adding extra grounds from the individual brakes to the Ollie trailer ground, and getting the Ford dealer to run Service Bulletin # SSM 45236 (which, by the way, has since been superseded by SSMs 45508 and then 45803). All resistance and capacitance tests were OK. I even replaced the brakes with self-adjusting brakes and still no help, although the self-adjusting feature is really nice.

 

I experienced many exasperating years of basically running around with little to no braking and not knowing if they would work or not when needed, not to mention the nuisance "trailer disconnected" messages and chimes that greeted me at every stop. On a whim one day, I changed the trailer setting in the F-150 from "electric brakes" to "electric over hydraulic brakes". VOILA! Good braking action and NO nuisance messages in the last 20,000 miles or so!

 

Simple 1-minute fix that worked for me!

 

P.S: About the time I got the 2010 F-150, I changed the third brake lights over from incandescent to LED and I believe it was about then that the troubles started. As pondered in other posts here, does the Ford brake controller have problems with the LEDs? It might explain why the "electric over hydraulic" setting worked for me.

  • Thanks 1

Aubrey and the two wingmen, Woodstock & Rascal


Oliver #032, "El Huevito"


Ford F-150 4x4


El Juevito's Travels

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Here's a short primer on trailer ground problems. I _seriously_ doubt that your Olivers have this issue but you should check anyway. Maybe there is a QC problem on the Ollie that the F150 is seeing due to some extra sensitivity in its computer system...?

 

Most trailers have really cheaply made lights that ground through the frame to the ball coupler. Each light has a ground wire or terminal that supposedly connects to the frame through the mounting screw. When new, they work, maybe, but adding corrosion and moisture causes high resistance and then the light quits. On every trailer I have owned, 9 out of 10 light issues are bad grounds. The fix is to install quality sealed lights, add separate ground wires for each light, run them to a terminal strip, waterproof it with liquid electrical tape, and connect to a main ground wire. Voila, no more light problems for many years.

 

Some trailers have a frame ground wire that goes to the harness plug. Your Ollies should, the white wire:

 

IMG_4080.jpg.bc98455aa8096c36578459cf80a5d62d.jpg

 

Do not try to get a good ground through the ball or chains, that is a lost cause and completely the wrong approach. Make your ground through the connector and wires instaed of through metal.

 

You should check this wire for continuity to the frame using the ohms function of your digital multimeter, and also to a ground bus, like the one in the rear upper cabinet, street side, behind the breaker panel. I don't know if there are others, I suspect yes.

 

IMG_1803.thumb.jpg.c6b5b8c77dbff076749290829284bd6a.jpg

 

Use a long length of 12 AWG automotive wire with aligator clips, to reduce error caused by wire resistance. Don't cobble together a bunch of short small gage test leads! Just buy a 30 foot spool at the parts store if you need to. NAPA sells it by the foot. Keep it intact in your spares kit for future troubleshooting. Check the matching socket of your truck, to the battery negative post. Anything more than a few tenths of an ohm, above the resistance of the test lead itself, indicates a problem.

 

Oliver uses seperate grounds to all loads and this is good. But you should verify that they are intact and working before getting too involved in the truck part of the equation! Eliminate the obvious before progressing to the wierd stuff! Always!

 

If you want to add a seperate ground circuit to the trailer, it can't hurt. I used the small winch disconnect Anderson clips, rated at 50 amps, plus 6AWG wire on an old suburban, to add both a big ground and a dedicated charge wire. I wanted to ensure that full amperage was getting from the alternator to the twin trailer batteries. That was an old tech truck and it should not be needed on a medern tow vehicle designed for towing!

 

https://powerwerx.com/anderson-sb-connectors-sb50-50amp

 

Good luck, everybody.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Junior BirdMan,

 

thanks very much.  Will try changing that setting and report back to the group as soon as we hit the next road trip.  If anyone else try's this please report back your results.

 

thanks again,

 

Scotty


Gregg & Donna Scott and Piper the Westie  -    The Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145     Western NC


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In my case I'm more inclined to believe that the "problem" is associated with the F-150 computer having difficulty "seeing" the LED lights.  I reached this belief because the Oliver marker lights stay on and have never even flickered when the "trailer disconnect" message appears on the dash screen.  Yes, I'm aware that it is possible for the F-150 computer to simply detect a slight ground or other voltage problem and it would be so slight that I might not even be able to see these lights flicker.  But, so far, I've checked all the ground connections that I can find and all are/were tight.  I've plugged and unplugged the pig tails to include shaking them around.  I've cleaned and re-greased these same pig tails.  All this plus the things that Gregg has done simply led me in this direction.  I truly suspect (hope) that the Towready will take care of the problem.  Like Gregg I will not be towing Twist for another few weeks, but, will report back here the results of the next step which for me is to test the Towready.

 

John - that sure is a nasty looking jumble of wires at that grounding buss.

 

Bill


2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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I received the Tow-Ready 20142 yesterday and immediately took the trailer out for a test drive with it after resetting the F-150 brake setting back to electric brakes (I'd been using the "electric over hydraulic" setting and having luck with that, albeit at reduced braking ). No help and the "trailer disconnected" message came back and came on whenever stopping or manually applying the trailer brakes. As per my previous post, there is absolutely NO chance that grounding is the issue and everything works just fine when connected to a friend's GMC SUV.

 

I'll have to give up and see if the latest Ford SSM# 45803 will help - hopefully sometime this week.


Aubrey and the two wingmen, Woodstock & Rascal


Oliver #032, "El Huevito"


Ford F-150 4x4


El Juevito's Travels

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JBM,

 

Thank you for the update.  Really appreciate your taking the time to let us all know about the Tow Ready.  I have the Tow Ready but as the trailer is in storage about an hour away have not tested it.  I have already switched over the setting to "electric over hydraulic" brakes.

 

I will try that setting first without the tow ready to see how things go.  When you say "albeit reduced braking", what exactly do you mean.  does the truck send a "weaker"signal to the electric brakes causing them to be less effective?   Is there a safety concern using this setting?

 

I have to admit that I don't really have a feel as to how much braking the trailer is doing vs. the truck. Inexperience induced :-)    I have been told that if you don't have any trailer brakes you WILL KNOW IT.    But not sure I will be able to sense reduced vs. full.

 

Thanks again.  I will be bringing her home for a waxing in July so will have an update then.

 

Thanks,

Scotty

 

 

 

 

 

 


Gregg & Donna Scott and Piper the Westie  -    The Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145     Western NC


CTDEGAMDMANHNJNYNCPASCTNVAxlg.jpg

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