Any trailer that weighs over 750kg requires trailer brakes by law. The Tow-Pro Elite Brake Controller by Redarc seemed a good fit. But was it right for the job?
Tow and Throwing: Redarc Tow-Pro Elite Install & Review
Those of you who regularly follow my Instagram page (@4wd_addiction) will know that I have recently received my new Trackabout Off-road Camper trailer.
Any trailer that weighs over 750kg requires trailer brakes by law. In this case the camper is fitted with 12” electric brakes and the tow vehicle must be fitted with a trailer brake control system.
My GU Patrol had an older brake controller fitted but after a short time towing the camper it became very apparent that this existing controller wasn’t going to cut it! Especially during the extensive amount of off-road work I plan on doing.
After doing my usual pre purchase research, I concluded that the only way to go was the Redarc Tow-Pro Elite system.
Redarc Tow-Pro Elite Features
The Redarc Tow-Pro Elite Electric Brake Controller offers two types of operation; proportional mode, for highway use and user controlled mode, for off-road use.
What does this all mean? Put simply in proportional mode the unit senses how hard the tow vehicle is braking and applies the trailer brakes at the same level. Perfect for highway situations.
User controlled mode allows the driver to set the desired amount of trailer braking depending on the situation. Whenever the tow vehicle brakes, theElectric Brake Controller will brake the trailer to the preset level straight away.
For example, descending a steep rocky hill you may want the trailer to brake strongly to stop it pushing the tow vehicle down the hill. While on a sandy beach you would select only very light braking (if any), so that the trailer will not dig down and cause you to become bogged.
It’s also worth noting that Redarc are an Aussie company who manufacture their products in South Australia. You just can’t beat Aussie build quality, and that definitely applies for this Electric Brake Controller!
You can definitely DIY this install if you are confident in your abilities but brakes are an incredibly important system, if you are unsure, it’s worth getting the experts to take care of this one.
I installed the Redarc Tow Pro Elite Electric Brake Controller myself because I’m confident with 12V systems; if you’re new to vehicle mods, leave this one to the pros!
My installation utilised the existing wires from the old Electric Brake Controller, I did not have to run wire to the trailer plug or tap into a brake signal source. If you are installing an electric brake controller for the first time, take into account you will need to perform these extra steps.
Identify the location where you want to mount the remote control knob and the main unit.
I selected the unused double switch spot on the GU’s dash as it’s easily reached for quick access to brake level adjustment and manual override (activating trailer brakes without braking the vehicle).
Dismantle the dash to gain access to the switch blanking plate. Remember to check that there is enough space behind the dash to accommodate the remote knob assembly.
Using the drill guide provided with the Tow-Pro Elite Elite Electric Brake Controller, drill out the blanking panel and mount the remote knob in position.
Refit the blanking panel to the dash and run the RJ45 cable to the location you selected to mount the main unit. Remember it must be firmly mounted to a surface that cannot move.
Securely mount the main unit in a suitable location.
In my case, I opted to mount the main unit behind the driver’s side kick panel.
Remove the trim required to gain entry to your desired mounting location.
Check that the RJ45 cable to the remote control knob will reach your chosen mounting location.
Securely mount the main unit in position and ensure that it cannot move. Any movement will affect braking performance.
Solder the Redarc wiring harness as per the provided wiring diagram.
As I am reusing the existing trailer brake wiring, it’s simply a case of soldering the Redarc Tow-Pro Elite Electric Brake Controller harness into the existing wires.
Ensure that any existing wiring is the correct gauge for the Tow-Pro Elite. Also check that the circuit breaker or fuse you intend to use is correctly rated for the Electric Brake Controller. If its not, you will need to replace this too.
After all wires are soldered and sealed with heat shrink, connect the main unit to the wiring loom.
Test the operation of the unit as described in the instruction manual.
If all tests are successful, reassemble the vehicle trim and go for a drive. The Tow-Pro Elite Electric Brake Controller will begin to “learn” its orientation and perform its “Active Calibration”. After calibration is complete the Tow-Pro Elite is ready for use.
Fast-forward a couple of months; I’ve now been using the Redarc Tow-Pro Elite Electric Brake Controller for a couple months. It’s seen a fair amount of highway work and a lot of off-road action.
I’ve dragged the trailer up and down the low range tracks of the Snowy Mountain NP in Victoria and up through the winding roads of the Sapphire Coast in NSW.
You know what? It hasn’t missed a beat. The Tow-Pro Elite just quietly goes about its work, half the time you forget it’s there.
Most of the time, I’ve had it set to proportional braking. Even on windy dirt roads proportional mode does the trick.
I’ve switched to “user controlled” mode a few times for the harder low range tracks. It really is a great feature that allows you a lot more control over your braking.
For example, on steep downhill descents it’s really helpful to be able to turn up the trailer brakes to avoid picking up too much speed. The trailer naturally tries to push the 4×4 down the hill, but with light vehicle breaking and harder trailer braking, you are able to keep everything in check.
The elegance of the design really sets the Tow-Pro Elite apart from its competitors. The single knob control works beautifully and can be easily installed into any vehicle without being too obtrusive.
It just works. And it works very well. In fact, I wouldn’t want to tow in a vehicle fitted with anything else.
Full Disclosure: I purchased the Tow-Pro Elite electric brake controller with my own money; this review isn’t paid for or sponsored in any way. If it sucked, I’d tell you!