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Ford's Tow Command System

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  #16  
Old 04-17-2007, 04:15 PM
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utahtom utahtom is offline
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The Tow Command is great
FWIW When I don't have the boat on the trailer, I can stop (with 12 wheel brakes) quicker than any Porsche and more blue smoke than a Greatful Dead concert

Last edited by utahtom; 04-17-2007 at 05:05 PM.
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  #17  
Old 04-22-2007, 12:05 AM
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drbond--Tow Command has nothing to do with the engine rpms. Did you mean the Tow/Haul on the transmission lever?
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  #18  
Old 04-22-2007, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mud Doc
drbond--Tow Command has nothing to do with the engine rpms. Did you mean the Tow/Haul on the transmission lever?
I think he's talking about going down a steep grade in Tow/Haul. Touch the brakes. The Transmission will down shift and the RPM will JUMP way up there!
The first time you do it you'll say "SO THAT"S WHAT TOW/HAUL IS ALL ABOUT!!"
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  #19  
Old 04-22-2007, 10:47 PM
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Question for "glsurratt", I am looking for disk brakes for my 5er but am concerned about operation with the Tow Command. Are your brakes electric over hydraulic on your 19k trailer? I just ordered an '08 SD with the Tow Command. There is a note in the ordering info that states the controller will only work with electric brakes (magnet and shoe type).
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  #20  
Old 04-23-2007, 05:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phredE
Question for "glsurratt", I am looking for disk brakes for my 5er but am concerned about operation with the Tow Command. Are your brakes electric over hydraulic on your 19k trailer? I just ordered an '08 SD with the Tow Command. There is a note in the ordering info that states the controller will only work with electric brakes (magnet and shoe type).
If your trailer is an 05 or later, the 08 Ford IBC should work just fine. If it doesn't there is also an adapter that can be mounted in the trailer system to make them compatible, but I've never heard of anybody needing one.
Early in the Tow Command story, there were two problems.
(1) The integrated brake controller sent a signal back to the trailer and looked for an echo back so it could tell you if there was a problem with the trailer system ("Trailer disconnected").
Early disk brake systems failed to respond correctly to these signals from the IBC, causing an incompatibility.
(2) IBC's installed before March 05 will not apply brakes on any system until speed is over 15 mph. This was corrected in later systems, but Ford has a TSB saying the behavior is normal and directing dealers not to replace the IBC in early Fords.
FWIW, I run my IBC set on 7 for the triple axle disk brakes, where I had to use 10 on my old magnetic brakes. It smokes all 6 tires if required.
Also, on my system (Dexter), there is a very slight but noticeable lag in the trailer brakes. I think it is because they use a hydraulic pump to apply the brakes and it takes a fraction of a second for the pump to "spin up" to apply pressure. The delay is normally nothing to worry about, but the first time you panic stop, you'll find yourself wondering what the h*^ happened to the trailer brakes - don't worry - they'll be there!
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  #21  
Old 05-18-2007, 08:12 AM
Mark Oomkes Mark Oomkes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glsurratt
Early in the Tow Command story, there were two problems.
(1) The integrated brake controller sent a signal back to the trailer and looked for an echo back so it could tell you if there was a problem with the trailer system ("Trailer disconnected").
First off, I have 2 Tow Commands, both on '05's and love them. One came with the truck, the other was added because my sales rep was (he still is, just not my rep anymore) an idiot. They are great, no more herky, jerky at lights with a heavily loaded trailer and high brake setting, no more locking the brakes at low speeds. Ford did this one right. However:
Warning

I am having issues with both of these trucks with certain trailers. I own a landscape management, so I have numerous trucks and trailers. I can hook up a trailer to an older truck with a aftermarket brake controller and have no problems, brakes work as advertised. I hook it to one of my 2 with TC and I will get intermittent "Trailer Disconnected" or "Check Trailer" along with the accompanying beep almost constantly. I took the plug apart on one of the trailers, looked the wiring over, and everything is as should be, at least according to the diagram on the truck side plug. When I rewire a truck side plug--after it becomes corroded--I always run a ground wire to the frame at the back of the truck so not only is the trailer grounded through the hitch (which doesn't always work) but also has a wire through the plug from the trailer frame to the truck frame. I just had one of these trucks into the dealer for a FICM and had them check the TC while it was there, they cleared all codes and checked it on their simulator and said it was working fine.

So can someone tell me what causes the truck to 'think' the trailer is disconnected?
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  #22  
Old 05-18-2007, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Oomkes
So can someone tell me what causes the truck to 'think' the trailer is disconnected?
You basically answered your own question. The FMC TBC has a very good and sensitive diagnostic system built in. Generally when it finds a problem like you are experiencing, it is a loose wire on the trailer or more commonly a bad ground on the trailer. Grounding through the trailer ball is a **** poor system and the FMC TBC will detect when there is a minimal or no ground situation. Your trailers get used and abused in there everyday work, make sure all wire connections are tight on the trialer and that good grounds are installed on the trailer side and connect to the connector on the trailer side.

Hope this helps
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  #23  
Old 05-18-2007, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Oomkes
First off, I have 2 Tow Commands, both on '05's and love them. One came with the truck, the other was added because my sales rep was (he still is, just not my rep anymore) an idiot. They are great, no more herky, jerky at lights with a heavily loaded trailer and high brake setting, no more locking the brakes at low speeds. Ford did this one right. However:
Warning

I am having issues with both of these trucks with certain trailers. I own a landscape management, so I have numerous trucks and trailers. I can hook up a trailer to an older truck with a aftermarket brake controller and have no problems, brakes work as advertised. I hook it to one of my 2 with TC and I will get intermittent "Trailer Disconnected" or "Check Trailer" along with the accompanying beep almost constantly. I took the plug apart on one of the trailers, looked the wiring over, and everything is as should be, at least according to the diagram on the truck side plug. When I rewire a truck side plug--after it becomes corroded--I always run a ground wire to the frame at the back of the truck so not only is the trailer grounded through the hitch (which doesn't always work) but also has a wire through the plug from the trailer frame to the truck frame. I just had one of these trucks into the dealer for a FICM and had them check the TC while it was there, they cleared all codes and checked it on their simulator and said it was working fine.

So can someone tell me what causes the truck to 'think' the trailer is disconnected?
If you find out let me know.
I did figure this out on my twin axle trailer it works perfect but on any triple axle trailer it will work fine for about 30 miles then it starts beeping and keeps beeping on and off untill I hook up to the other trailer . Seems it must talk to the trailer somehow and with the triple axles is too many wheels to keep up with. I just replaced the trailer cord and the 1st axle brakes with brand new system and will tow this weekend and see if that helped. I plan on doing the other two when I get time.
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  #24  
Old 05-18-2007, 05:24 PM
Mark Oomkes Mark Oomkes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackhat620
You basically answered your own question. The FMC TBC has a very good and sensitive diagnostic system built in. Generally when it finds a problem like you are experiencing, it is a loose wire on the trailer or more commonly a bad ground on the trailer. Grounding through the trailer ball is a **** poor system and the FMC TBC will detect when there is a minimal or no ground situation. Your trailers get used and abused in there everyday work, make sure all wire connections are tight on the trialer and that good grounds are installed on the trailer side and connect to the connector on the trailer side.

Hope this helps
I think the controller is bad. I have hooked this truck up to 5 different trailers and it has given me the same error on all of them. My 350 has also been hooked up to all 5 and I only get the disconnected message on 1. Another 350 with aftermarket has also been hooked to all 5 and worked fine.

Guess what I did all morning.

I am thinking the sensitivity is the problem on the one trailer that I am having issues with on both TC's. The weird thing is, when I use a circuit tester, it works fine, no check trailer, nothing. Hook it to a trailer and BAM. The other strange thing is when I disconnected any of the trailers the display was flashing the red trailer icon and the gain number. My 350 just goes blank.

Thanks for the advice. If the sensitivity is the case, they need to dumb it down so it isn't, because this is ridiculous. Had I known, I would've stuck with an aftermarket, but I liked it so much in my 350 I added to my 550.
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  #25  
Old 05-18-2007, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Oomkes
I think the controller is bad. I have hooked this truck up to 5 different trailers and it has given me the same error on all of them. My 350 has also been hooked up to all 5 and I only get the disconnected message on 1. Another 350 with aftermarket has also been hooked to all 5 and worked fine.

Guess what I did all morning.

I am thinking the sensitivity is the problem on the one trailer that I am having issues with on both TC's. The weird thing is, when I use a circuit tester, it works fine, no check trailer, nothing. Hook it to a trailer and BAM. The other strange thing is when I disconnected any of the trailers the display was flashing the red trailer icon and the gain number. My 350 just goes blank.

Thanks for the advice. If the sensitivity is the case, they need to dumb it down so it isn't, because this is ridiculous. Had I known, I would've stuck with an aftermarket, but I liked it so much in my 350 I added to my 550.
I would say that the F350 with FMC TBC that only shows a problem with one trailer is working fine, and the issue is with the trailer. One other note on the 05 F350, the early release FMC TBC had some software issues that caused little gremlins to pop-up with certain trailers and also would not let you lock the trailer brakes with the manual lever when sitting stopped. FMC used different software on the later released TBC system to eleminate the problem.

On your F550 if it is showing bad on all trailers then i would say it is a problem with the FMC TBC.
Which truck did your dealer put the TBC analyzer on?

You really can only fully test the FMC TBC with the dealer simulator that they can run diagnostics with.
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  #26  
Old 05-19-2007, 07:59 AM
Mark Oomkes Mark Oomkes is offline
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The '05 550 is the one that I had installed afterward. Stupid (former) sales rep didn't tell me about it when I ordered it, otherwise I would have.

Not that I doubt a dealership's diagnostics capabilities, but they did test it, it showed it was fine, just like when I use a circuit tester. Of course, this is the same dealer that took just under a year to find 4 bad injectors after I told them I'm not taking the truck back until you fix it. So, I'm going to go with my diagnostics\simulator. And try a different dealership.
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  #27  
Old 05-19-2007, 02:37 PM
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I haven't had my '05 with the tow command and torque shift for long, and I've only pulled my gooseneck maybe a couple hundred miles, but I'm very impressed. I've pulled trailers a whole lot of miles over the last 26 years, but I've never driven a truck that handles a trailer as well as this one.

Before I got my gooseneck hitch in, I pulled two different (borrowed) bumper trailers (quite a bit) and with both of them, my tow command was constantly beeping and sending the "check trailer" message. Both were older trailers, the first you always have to mess with the lights to get them working, but the second is always kept in good repair and the lights and brakes worked fine on it. I was really worried that the problem was with the truck somehow, but wanted to try it with my trailer before I started trying to track it down. Glad I did it, because it's performed flawlessly with my gooseneck. Just makes me wonder if the tow command system is just extra sensitive to small shorts and/or imperfect grounds in trailer wiring.
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  #28  
Old 05-19-2007, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drbond
Just took me some time to get used to the high RPM's when it starts to work. Just let it do it's thing, and you will be happy.
BondoŠ
Actually what I think he means is the Tow Command does not start working until the truck has forward motion. As soon as the door locks clunk down, is when the Trailer Brakes will start operating. Until then, no trailer brakes. I think they changed that in the '06 model year. On my '05, I can not use trailer brakes until I am in forward motion and the locks go down - about 5 MPH? That sucks that I can not lock the trailer brakes to test my 5th wheel hookup. When I hooked up my old '92 F250 & Prodigy, I'd hook up the 5er, slightly raise the landing gear and pull forward holding the manual lever. If I was hooked up correctly, the trailer would follow, if not, trailer would stay still and the truck would go forward. That's the safe way to test if you are hooked with a 5er. Can not do it with my '05.
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  #29  
Old 05-20-2007, 08:27 PM
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Update to my tow command.

Seems to be a speed thing with mine. Drove 240 miles and It started when I left before I hit the hiway and started doing it when I came off toll road . Didn't make a beep for the intire trip on the toll road. I'm still going to order complete brakes for the last 2 axles and repack bearings . Mine did have the Dexter axles that you can greese with a greese gun and the guy that had this trailer before me got carried away with it on one wheel . Shoes where full of greese .

I was so hoping it was fixed . I soldered the wires and made sure all were in good shape. I did realize one thing is when I dissconnected trailer I never shut truck off and on the way home it kept doing it . There was no trailer there to be dissconnected lol. So once its active it must stay that way untill you cycle the key. I'm pretty sure its my trailer because it only does it with the triple axle . My dual axle works great all the time. The only other thing it could be that its too sensitive for tripple axles.

The next tow which will be next weekend I'm going to dissconnect the last axle wires and see if it still does it. This way it will think its just a dual axle and see if it goes beep or not.
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  #30  
Old 05-28-2007, 01:43 PM
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Best money I ever spent. Best brake controller I have ever owned. Hands Down!
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