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Old 12-09-2018, 09:24 PM   #1
Oldchinahand's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 487
Engine brakes, Compression brakes, Jake brakes, et al.

So my email was hit today with the latest IRV2 newsletter. There is a thread there that interests me, but as these threads so often do, it quickly got off into the weeds and wandered there for six indeterminate pages.

It has never occurred to me that brake lights come on on many (most?) coaches when the compression/engine/jake brake engages. But that seems like a good thing to me. The only way I see to test ours, is to have SWIMBO follow me in our dinghy. Not practical right now. So throwing it out to THIS forum.

Out of those six pages, I've a few questions I'd like to get firm responses to before WE drift off into the weeds.

1. Freightliner chassis, Cummins engine. Do the brake lights come on when the exhaust brake engages?

2. If so, do the dinghy brake lights also come on when the exhaust brake engages?

3. If so, if you pull a trailer or dolly or with electric brakes, or have electrically activated towing brakes in your dinghy, do those electric brakes engage while the exhaust brake is engaged? Or, are these three types only activated when you step on your service brake pedal?

To question three, my thought is that brake light wiring is separate from towing brake wiring so towing brakes should only be activated by the service brakes. But who knows? I'm not back there when some clown cuts in front of me and slows down.

Fair Winds and Following Seas
Terry & Rosalina
2007 Winnebago Journey 34SE
Retired Navy Mustang & Navy Wife
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Old 12-10-2018, 07:49 AM   #2
2014 Journey 36M
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 32
1. 2014 Journey Freightliner/Cummins - yes coach brake lights illuminate when exhaust brake engages....spouse followed and verified.

2. Toad brake lights I'm sure do same since ours are wired to come on with coach brake lights, but haven't confirmed in test.

3. Can't address this one since I use AF1 air actuated toad brake system that only engages when coach brakes applied.
2017 Journey 40J
2014 Ford Edge; Demco baseplate
Blue Ox BX4325 tow bar; SMI AF1 toad brake
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Old 12-11-2018, 08:18 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 487
Thanks RmeDad, good to know brake lights are paired to exhaust brake. I like that.

In the interim, and just for general information to the forum, I have been playing with some long purpose made test leads and my multi meter. And a friend's utility trailer with electric brakes.

My rig is still running the OEM trailer wiring. Connecting the trailer, its brakes engage when the brake lights come on. I'm guessing electric brakes could be a problem with exhaust brakes constantly engaged on a long down grade.

Not an issue with our surge brake dolly.

Our Ranger is flat towed. OEM trailer wiring connects to its tailights.

We run the VIP electrically actuated tow brake. Although it receives a signal from from the service brake pedal, it pulls it's power separate from the brake lights. So not an issue there either.

Well. It has been a couple of interesting hours running to ground yet another arcane detail of these complex boxes we shepard down the road.

Fair Winds and Following Seas
Terry & Rosalina
2007 Winnebago Journey 34SE
Retired Navy Mustang & Navy Wife
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Old 12-16-2018, 06:52 PM   #4
Winnebago Camper
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: East Texas
Posts: 13
on our 2008 Journey, the brake lites on both coach & toad come on with the exhaust brake. On the trailer electric brakes, it has been wired for, and run from the rear 6 or 7 pin connector to under the dash, but it is not connected to a brake controller. If you want electric brakes, it must be connected to a controller under the steering wheel. Once this brake controller is installed, we have electric trailer brakes that are actuated by the RV braking system. We wonder if your friends trailer brakes may be connected with the brake light circuit. I think on most 6 or 7 pin connectors, the electric brakes will be will have their own pin and larger capacity wire (designed to be energized by a brake controller), separate from the light circuits. Or, if your VIP electrically actuated tow brake, is getting its signal from your brake lights, instead of a normal brake controller, then it would be your journey brake controller operates differently from the ones I am used to.
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Old 06-22-2019, 11:14 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: San Diego
Posts: 18
2005 Vectra here

Yes, coach and trailer brake lights come on when engine brake is active. I can see the 3rd brake light on the coach come on when looking at the rear view camera.

No, trailer electric brake controller does not activate when the engine brake is active (as long as it is wired into the supplied brake controller wiring from Freightliner anyway).

I wondered this myself when I was getting ready to tow my flatbed with my Jeep on it to the desert for the first time earlier this year after we picked it up in January. I called Freightliner and asked them and they said "no, the brake controller will not activate. It uses the brake light switch signal wire for it's signal. The coach/trailer brake lights are activated from a relay that gets signal from either the brake light switch on the pedal or from the engine brake circuit so it cannot feed back to the brake controller". I use a Prodigy brake controller that is connected to the factory harness plug with the pigtail kit from the guy on eBay. Works great!
John & Gina
2005 Winnebago Vectra 40AD Cummins ISL
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brake, brakes, engine

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