Hands On Review: RedArc Tow Pro Liberty Trailer Brake Controller

Hands On Review: RedArc Tow Pro Liberty Trailer Brake Controller

by Stephan Edwards

Towing a trailer behind your overland rig provides a level of comfort, convenience, and versatility that many other camp set-ups lack. But a trailer also adds some complexity. Safety is the number one concern for towing both on road and off. RedArc's Tow-Pro Liberty is among the most advanced trailer brake controllers on the market. I purchased a Tow-Pro Liberty with my own money (no promotional consideration here), so let's see how it works, how it installed, and how it performs.

 

Redarc TowPro Liberty

 

My Rig

Recently I bought a truck to build as both a stand-alone overland platform, as well as a tow rig for our 18-foot Chalet hard-sided pop-up camper. My wife Julie and I have been living on the road off-and-on since early March of this year. The camper gives us a comfortable home base for long work days, and the 2001 Nissan Frontier Supercharged operates as our adventure rig for exploring more remote landscapes. In future posts on the Notebook I'll chronicle the gradual build-out of the Nissan. For now, the first upgrade was to add a trailer brake controller to actuate the hydraulic braking system on the camper.

Nissan Frontier and camper in UtahMy Nissan Frontier and Chalet camper somewhere in the deserts of Utah.

The RedArc Tow-Pro Liberty is the latest innovation in brake controller technology that features inertia sensing technology perfect for hauling day to day or towing on highway conditions, with vehicle specific wiring harnesses available for an easy self installation. 

Rugged reliability meets everyday ease-of-use

This proportional brake controller measures the vehicle braking force and applies the trailer brakes to match, ensuring a smooth braking application and no push or pull on the vehicle when braking. Suitable for 12-volt systems, the Tow-Pro Liberty from RedArc self calibrates for easy setup and install, and is compatible with both electric and electric-over-hydraulic brakes.

Featuring a 3-axis accelerometer means the main unit can be installed in any position or orientation discreetly, meaning no clumsy knee-knocking of your brake controller in your vehicle dash.

Tow Pro Liberty

Perfect factory look with no more knee knocking

The Tow-Pro Liberty comes with a manual override function via the discreet dash mounted remote head unit, allowing you to quickly and safely avoid trailer sway at the tap of a button.

Add a brake controller with a factory look and feel to your vehicle dash that not only gives you the smooth automatic braking experience when towing on the highway, but also ensures the safest and most innovative technology for you and your family on the road. 

RedArc recommends that the Tow-Pro Liberty be installed with the universal pig tail wiring harness, or utilizing one of our range of vehicle specific brake controller wiring harnesses and switch inserts to allow a quick and easy installation specific to major vehicle makes and models.

Tow-Pro Liberty

My Install Experience

It's important to note up front that the $139.00 Tow-Pro Liberty itself does not come with a wiring harness. You need to order this component separately depending on which vehicle you have. RedArc does not offer a "plug and play" harness for the older generation Nissan Frontier, so I needed to order the universal harness instead. 

Neatly packaged in sustainable materials, RedArc makes installing the Tow-Pro Liberty a snap with clear step-by-step instructions. In terms of tools and supplies for installing the universal wiring harness, you'll need 12 gauge wire, a range of electrical connectors, a wire stripping and crimping tool, a screwdriver and some screws, as well as a drill and drill bits for ease of mounting.

Tow-Pro Liberty


The great advantage of the Tow-Pro over traditional brake controllers is that because of its advanced electronics it can be mounted in essentially any orientation. This means you can install the module wherever you have room under your dashboard out the way of your knees. The device is quite compact, but on my Nissan the area under the dash is packed really tightly, so I elected to install the module in a more "traditional" location under the dash, albeit away from interference with my legs.
 

Tow Pro LibertyThe Liberty installed under my dash in the Nissan - later, I tidied up the wires with some zip ties. I barely notice it's there!

The wiring harness has only four wires: 12 volt power, negative ground, stop light signal wire, and the wire that connects to the trailer brakes via the towing harness. Thankfully on the Frontier, a large grommet in the firewall allowed access for the power wire to be run and easily connected directly to the battery. I included a 30 amp in-line fuse-breaker as recommended by RedArc. The other wires required some splicing with both the Nissan's factory harness, as well as the trailer wiring harness, but it was straightforward. If electrical work is not your thing, a local shop should be able to wire up the Tow-Pro in under an hour.

Lastly, I drilled a hole for the dash-mounted rotary knob and button that controls the functions of the brake controller. All in, it took me about 90 minutes to install the Tow-Pro Liberty. If you're using one of RedArc's vehicle-specific wiring harnesses, installation will go even faster, as there won't be any cutting and splicing to do.

How did it work?

The Tow-Pro Liberty's accelerometer self-calibrates right away after only a few stop-and-go trips down the road. The simple rotary knob adjusts the amount of braking force applied to the trailer's brakes, and from the driver's seat, it's easy feel the changes in real time. If your trailer happens to get a little wayward on you, a press of the knob will manually engage the trailer brakes independent of your vehicle's brakes, quickly shutting down dangerous trailer sway.

In all, the operation of the Tow-Pro Liberty is seamless. The best compliment I can give it is that I don't even notice it's there. From the factory-look control knob and compact module, to its over the road operation, the Liberty just works.

Final Thoughts

Nissan FrontierThe Frontier has turned out to be a capable (if a tad thirsty) tow vehicle thanks in part to the Tow-Pro Liberty.

One thing to keep in mind with any trailer brake controller is that it may take a little bit of trial and error to find the right power setting for your particular rig and trailer. I prefer to start off with less braking force, and work my way gradually up until braking feels balanced across both the tow rig and the trailer.

Be sure to retain the Liberty's instruction manual, as the LED lights in the control knob will flash in a variety of colors and sequences to indicate calibration, functions, and a range of possible fault codes. Without the guide to these flashing lights in the manual, you'll be at a loss to understand what they mean.

If you're looking to tow in more rugged terrain, be sure to check out RedArc's Tow-Pro Elite - it has extra braking modes and settings specifically for towing off road. Ease of use and installation is the same as the Liberty.


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Overlander Life
Overlander Life

by Stephan Edwards

Show us your Overlander-inspired builds.
State of the "Industry". How the Overland Supply chain broke and where we are now
State of the "Industry". How the Overland Supply chain broke and where we are now

by Patrick Rich

You may have noticed the world has been a little strange the last few years. The global supply chain problems that are affecting everyday life are certainly felt by the overlander - from increased gas prices, to out-of-stock items.  So what happened? What is the current state of the industry? And what does the future hold?
Liquid Assets: Managing Fuel and Water Supplies
Liquid Assets: Managing Fuel and Water Supplies

by Stephan Edwards

Managing fuel and water supplies are crucial and related concerns for planning wilderness travel both for short and long distances. Their importance is obvious, but the actual details are often hard to get a handle on. 

KNOW THE TOP 6 PROBLEMS THAT RUIN TRIPS?

Learn how to avoid them and keep your trek on track.

You’ll receive follow-up emails from Overlander. You can cancel at any time and your information will not be shared.