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Old 09-20-2003, 09:24 PM   #1
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Brake System Question

Greetings,

I have a question which will probably receive a different answer from everyone.

I have heard everything from Prodigy, to Jordan to Tekonsha.

Which is the best way to go? I do not want to skimp and simply want to buy the best product.

Josh
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Old 09-20-2003, 09:46 PM   #2
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Forum members have had different experiences. If you look at the poll that was conducted on what type of controller members have, you will see that the new Prodigy is in the lead. It could be because it levels itself rather than you have to set it like I have to do with my Hayes-Lemmerz unit. Mine was recommended by Andy of Inland RV for use with my hydra-vac disc brakes and works for me. Some like the Jordan unit. I would look closely at both of these units, decide what features appeal to you and how much money you want to put into it. Do a forum search on the Prodigy and Jordan to see responses by forum members on how they like each unit. Good luck.
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Old 09-20-2003, 10:12 PM   #3
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Two types of brake controlers. Proactive and reactive.

Proactive: The controler will apply the brakes liner to the brakes on the tow vehicle. These tend to be reguarded as the best method. The reason is the controler cannot be fooled into doing something the driver wasn't expecting. You give the tow vehicle soft braking the trailer gets soft braking, Hard braking the trailer gets hard braking. SImple as that. The trailer brakes react exactly the same way as the tow vehicle does.

Reactive: These controlers use a decelerometer or a step method to activate the brakes. On a decelormeter style they feel the tow vehicle decelerating they apply the brakes. The more deceleration they feel the more they apply. The step method increase braking on a time ramp and are triggered by the brake lights (stay away from these). The problem with either of these is they can be tricked. Sudden movement of the tow vehicle like a lane change where the driver has just touched the brakes (most better reactive controlers will not activate till they see brake lights) The trailer lockes and possibly jack knifes.

These are easier to install.


Proactive controlers:
Kelsey Hayes old style Hydraulic tied in. Not recomended to use with ABS. These have been around for 40+ years. Dificult to install but they work very well. The negative is most current controlers do have some nice diagnostic features that will tell you if they see a problem in the braking system. This is all mechanical with a Potentiometer set up.No diagnostics.


Jordan Ultima. Have a control cable that attaches to the brake peddle so they have the same results as the KH. Also has diagnostics. Very nice set up that is very predictable in it's operation.


Reactive:

Everything else.

The prodigy does seem to be the best. These are easier to install because all they require is the wires to be installed and to be leveled in some instances.


I use the old school KH. It was in my tow vehicle (actully both my trucks have them) when I bought them. They work great and no complaints.

I recieved my controler education from the fine folks in the forum. Some great information available if you spend a little time reading through the old posts.
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Old 09-20-2003, 10:37 PM   #4
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I just picked up my brand new (to me) 1966 Mercury. It is not ready yet to tow my bullet, and it has a brake controller that has a brake line that comes into it from the master cylinder. It also has a hugh lever that sticks out from the box that moves when I step on the brakes.

How would I check out this controller when I am ready to use it?

>>>>>>>>>>Action
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Old 09-20-2003, 11:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Action
I just picked up my brand new (to me) 1966 Mercury. It is not ready yet to tow my bullet, and it has a brake controller that has a brake line that comes into it from the master cylinder. It also has a hugh lever that sticks out from the box that moves when I step on the brakes.

How would I check out this controller when I am ready to use it?

>>>>>>>>>>Action
That's a Kelsey Hayes controler. Under the hood will be a resistor coil. The way to adjust is the under hoode coil is used for yoour rough adjustment. The knob on the box on the inside is your fine tune.

I pull a couple of different trailers. What I did is used a perment marker and made a refference mark for each trailer I used for the rough adjustment. The first time or tow you have to adjust for a different trailer can be frustrating. You don't need to move the edjuster on the reister coil as much as you would think.

Once you get it dial in it works great. You will feel Might even hear the slop taken up on the hitch) a slight bump as the trailer brakes activate and after that it feels just like the tow vehicle does with no trailer.

To check it use a meter and test at the plug on the back. Make sure you see smooth voltage increase as you have somebody press the brake peddle.

If it's not smooth the cover can be removed on the control box. Clean the metal stip on the lever and use a cotton swab with some rubbing alchol to lightly brush the resistor coil clean. Test again, should be fine.
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Old 09-20-2003, 11:17 PM   #6
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OH yeah I did see 3 coils mounted together by the windshield washer tank.

I am leaving on a trip tommorrow morning, so I will not ask how to work it just now as I don't have time to fool with it. But I am very curious on how to get it set up.

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Old 09-21-2003, 08:27 AM   #7
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Action,

When will get to see a few pics of your vintage lashup? I think my uncle had one of those Mercs when I was a kid, does it have the rear roll down window? I was wondering if you can still even buy the hydraulically connected brake controllers anymore? I saw one on an old Ford pickup at the salvage yard the other day, maybe it is worth buying and hanging on to.

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Old 09-21-2003, 12:42 PM   #8
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Kelsey Hayes

I have a hydraulic/electric controller for sale. Don't have the slide resistor anymore, it went with the truck. Make an offer.
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Old 09-24-2003, 10:37 AM   #9
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C,

A Pic! What a novel idea. I am on vacation right now. (I'm on a borrowed machine) When I get back I will get a pic or two put together. I will shoot a pic of the car and brake controller. The brake controller shown above looks much more modern than the one on my car. The one on my car is all metal. No plastic. It might be a period acessory too.

Yes it is a Breezeway. So the rear window does slide down behind the rear seat. It also has power side windows, power seats, and the Phoenix required option air conditioning.

>>>>>>>>>>>>Action
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