Ford TBC Fault – What Truck Owners Need To Know

Ford has always been a fan favorite when it comes to heavy-duty pickup trucks. But like all car brands, it has its fair share of problems. Is the TBC fault code flashing on your dash? Then you have come to the right place.

We did our research to help you diagnose the situation and do the correct action.

When the TBC fault code is flashing on your dash, it indicates that there is a faulty or no connection with your trailer wiring.

This can affect the functioning property of your stoplights and turn lights on the trailer. Ford suggests that you call your local mechanic to fix this problem.

Remember that the TBC fault code error might signal a slightly different issue due to the number of pickup trucks that Ford manufactures. To read more about this, head on to the rest of the article!

Local Ford Car and Truck Dealership. Ford sells products under the Lincoln and Motorcraft brands IX - Ford TBC Fault - What Truck Owners Need To Know

What Is TBC on Ford Trucks?

Local Ford Car and Truck Dealership. Ford sells products under the Lincoln and Motorcraft brands IX

The TBC or trailer brake controller is a controller that assists vehicles hauling trailers [as the name implies]. This gives the driver a smoother and more secure experience when hauling trailers.

TBC comes standard with most of the truck models that Ford manufactures. TBC fault codes, however, do not signify the same thing on every model. Make sure you find the correct fix according to your Ford truck model.

The TBC should automatically engage whenever the driver steps on the truck's brakes. However, there might be instances where this assist system does not function as expected. That is when the TBC fault code should appear on your dash monitor.

What Are Proportional Brake Controllers and Time-Delayed Brake Controllers?

There are two categories for brake controllers, proportional and time-delayed. Proportional brake controllers are the most common, and they are most likely the kind installed on your truck right now. Let's take a closer look at the two and see what differentiates them from each other.

Proportional Brake Controllers

As the name implies, proportional brake controllers relay the amount of braking force that you apply to your vehicle and mimic that to the trailer you're towing.

Proportional brake controllers also automatically sense when your vehicle is slowing down or coming to a stop. This automation provides an additional layer of safety and security for the vehicle and the trailer.

There are a lot of positive takeaways and some negative ones when you're using proportional brake controllers. These include:

  • Quick response time for sudden and emergency braking
  • A smoother driving experience
  • Considerably less wear and tear for the tires and other parts of the vehicle.
  • Much more efficient and safer than other types of brake controllers
  • It can be expensive and more complex to install compared to other types of brake controllers

Time-delayed Brake Controllers

How a time-delayed brake controller works is that when you apply pressure on the brakes, the controller receives a signal and relays it to your trailer's brakes at a pre-determined rate. The driver usually sets this rate and can be adjusted to personal preference or depending on the vehicle used to tow the trailer.

As the name implies, time-delayed brake controllers have a slight delay when the vehicle's brakes are engaged, depending on how it was set by the driver. Time-delayed brake controllers are also known as user-controlled electronic brake controllers.

The takeaways of using a time-delayed brake controller include:

  • Cheaper and easier to install compared to proportional brake controllers
  • It can be mounted in any way, depending on the needs of the trailer
  • It can cause more wear and tear on the vehicle
  • Brake pulsing issues can arise if not correctly utilized

Dual Mode Electronic Brake Controller

The F350 Ford with a trailer parked along the preserved island

Some electronic brake controllers are built that can function as a proportional brake controller and a time-delayed brake controller. This type of controller allows the driver to override the default proportional setting when the situation requires it.

As a rule of thumb, with dual-mode brake controllers, proportional mode is best for cruising on the highway where conditions are normally stable.

When you go off the beaten path and the road requires greater control and finesse, it is best to use the time-delayed or user-controlled brake controller mode.

What Does TBC Fault Mean?

As mentioned earlier, the TBC fault code flashing on your dash signals there is a connection issue with your trailer wirings that can visually affect the functionality of the stop lights or turn lights on your trailer. Driving with this fault code can be very dangerous for you and the surrounding vehicles.

TBC Fault Ford on F350

Campsite with a large Arctic Fox 5th Wheel and a Ford F350 truck.

When this lights up on your F350 dash, and it refers to the TBC, that signifies that there is an issue regarding the grounding to the trailer.

Fixing this issue can be pretty straightforward. After you've confirmed that there is an issue with your vehicle's TBC, go ahead and inspect each individual connection. Check for things like looseness, wear and tear, and corrosion.

Once the source of the issue has been located, try to replace them immediately by buying the parts yourself, or you can call your local mechanic to do the job for you. The latter is Ford's recommended action, but it will cost a little more. 

TBC Fault on Ford F250

 Fifth Wheel RV Recreation Vehicle 5th Slides Out Pulled By Diesel Truck Towing Camper Trailer

The effect of a faulty TBC on the Ford F250 is slightly different from that of the F350. When there is a TBC problem on your F250, it signifies that there is a bad fuse on the infrastructure of your vehicle.

This can cause your engine to not start because of the loss of connection. This can be pretty dangerous in certain situations. Make sure to immediately mend this problem before it can cause further damage to your vehicle.

To locate the fuse, check the fuse box near the left side of the steering wheel. Next, you can open the fuse box using simple home tools like a screwdriver or, in some cases, a prybar.

Once the fuse box is open, you will discover a few fuses connecting to different ports. Check the back panel that you just pulled open, as it often includes a schematic diagram of all the fuses inside the fuse box.

The next step is to check each fuse if you're unsure which one has caused the problem. Check for any irreg+ularity within the strip of the fuse. Once you've found the fuse of concern and it is broken, immediately replace them and reconnect the fuse box.

If the problem still persists, you may need to bring your Ford F250 to your local mechanic.

Importance Of Setting Up The Trailer Brake Controller Correctly

Ford sign on steering wheel close up. Ford is the most popular car on the aftermarket in Poland

The TBC is often automatically engaged in all Ford trucks. In normal cases, the amount of pressure you apply to your vehicle's brakes is the same braking force applied to what you're towing.

However, you can also modify this depending on the weight of the trailer you're towing, road conditions, or even just out of personal preference.

Your truck's center console is where you can access the TBC box - normally at the right of the wheel. You can manually turn the TBC feature on or off and determine the voltage transfer to the TBC itself.

However, be careful when setting the TBC to your liking. Too little power, and you risk hurting your ability to break instantly or abruptly. Too much power, on the other hand, can place your tires on lock and cause too much wear.

You can also know how much power you have set your TBC to. Go to your LCD productivity screen and navigate to Truck Apps and then go to Trailer Display.

Assuming a trailer is attached to your vehicle, the display will show you how much power your Ford will transfer, given the current setting. This is also known as "gain setting."

For further information on how to best set your TBC settings, consult your vehicle's manual. Ford makes a list of combination settings to give you the best and safest trailer towing experience.

To Sum It Up

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TBC fault codes can be dangerous when left unchecked. It is best to know everything there is to know before hitching a trailer to your Ford pickup truck. This will provide you with a smooth and hassle-free experience when towing.

Also, get to know more about the type of brake controller you have or will purchase. There will always be pros and cons but at the end of the day, prioritize your safety over economic advantage.

If you found this post helpful, be sure to check out some of our other posts:

My Ford Expedition Blinker Is Blinking Fast—Why And What To Do?

How Do I Disable Ford Double Honk?

What Size Tool Box Fits A Ford Ranger?

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