Prodigy Brake Controller Installation - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-10-2007, 01:57 PM   #1
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Hi All,

Tomorrow morning, I have scheduled for Quality bumper to install a Class 3 tow hitch receiver (which, like the Nissan OEM tow hitch receiver, becomes Class 4 capable up to 6,000 lbs. with the addition of a Class 4 weight distribution
hitch... in our case, we were planning to get an Equalizer wdh/sway control rated to 6,000 lbs. if any used trailer we find doesn't come with one already), the trailer tow kit wiring, the ball mount, 2 " ball and Prodigy brake controller and harness all for $464, which is $20 less than the Nissan dealership wanted for only the tow hitch receiver and wiring installation. Geez!

My question is--are we being premature in purchasing the Prodigy brake controller, since we haven't found our TT or fifth wheel yet? I figured we would need one either way and someone suggested that purchasing one now would at least allow us to "test tow" any trailer that we are interested in (a fifth we couldn't really test tow until we get a fifth wheel hitch). We are leaning toward a used Bigfoot TT or Fifth wheel (these seem roomy enough to meet our needs and would fit our budget better than buying anything brand new) and want to be ready to go.

Also, are the actual trailer brakes going to be included on the trailer as part of the standard components or is that something we have to buy separately too? Are the Bigfoot brakes electric (I notice Prodigy doesn't work with hydraulic brakes)?

Opinions/suggestions please?

Thank you!
Val
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Old 07-10-2007, 03:22 PM   #2
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I figured we would need one either way


Unless you get a used one without brakes, but in the size/range you are looking at, I seriously doubt you will find one WITHOUT them.
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Old 07-10-2007, 04:44 PM   #3
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Hi All

Also, are the actual trailer brakes going to be included on the trailer as part of the standard components or is that something we have to buy separately too? Are the Bigfoot brakes electric (I notice Prodigy doesn't work with hydraulic brakes)?

Opinions/suggestions please?

Thank you!
Val
Yes, trailer brakes will be included, it is probably illegal to tow trailers of this weight in most if not all areas of North America without brakes.

Yes, Bigfoot uses electric brakes for trailers of the size you are considering. It is possible, but unlikely that you will find a trailer that has been converted to hydraulic brakes.

The Prodigy is a good controller, should work fine for you.

Steve.
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Old 07-10-2007, 05:47 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input, y'all! I noticed that Tonkesha has a Prodigy model that is just a little more expensive and works with both hydraulic and electric brakes (it's the P model). Wow... all these gadgets!
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Old 07-10-2007, 06:29 PM   #5
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Don't forget there is a $20 rebate on Prodigy until August. Unless your installer is keeping it, which might be why they were $20 cheaper.
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Old 07-10-2007, 06:34 PM   #6
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Don't forget there is a $20 rebate on Prodigy until August. Unless your installer is keeping it, which might be why they were $20 cheaper.
Thanks Greg, I printed out the coupon just in case...
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:43 PM   #7
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Don't worry about the "hydraulic" brake comment regarding the Prodigy. In this case, they mean hydraulic brakes (just like a car) run by a controlling device on the trailer, which in turn gets an electric signal from the tow vehicle just like any all-electric brake setup. The Prodigy gets confused by the way some of these systems respond, so Tekonsha warns that it may not work.

The reason not to worry is that this electric-over-hydraulic setup, while very nice, is so expensive that there may not be an under-25' trailer in the world with this feature. In the worst case you would just have to trade the Prodigy for another controller, and all the wiring would stay the same. Don't worry, be happy...
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Old 07-10-2007, 11:38 PM   #8
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Don't worry, be happy...
Ah, thank you for that reminder... when venturing into new territory, I can be overly cautious at times and always want to know the WHY (which you are great about explaining, thank you, Brian)!

I will go with the basic Prodigy model and be doggone happy about it!

Val
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Old 07-11-2007, 03:21 PM   #9
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Just got back from Quality Bumper--they did a very nice job and made the installation look like it came from the factory by using protective black housing on all the wiring. They installed the brake controller bracket in the best spot they could find as low as possible on the dash so that the screw holes would not be visible should we ever decide to remove it. When the bracket is angled up all the way, I just barely brush against the controller box when I have my foot on the gas pedal, and the controller box comes out of the bracket when not in use, so then one doesn't notice it at all.

I got the higher-end brake controller (the P3) with a very user-friendly LED display for less than what the regular Prodigy goes for, because I saw a cheaper price online and asked them to match it, which they did, plus there's a $20 mail-in rebate on Tekonsha products right now. So for $40 more than the Nissan dealer was going to charge for just the tow hitch receiver and 7 pin wiring, I got both, plus the brake controller and wiring and a ball and ball mount good for up to 5,000 lbs. by itself, so if we find a trailer that weighs no more than 5000 lbs, we can take it home with what we've got and add an Equalizer later!

I don't know what other Quality Bumper locations are like, but for anyone living in the Phoenix, AZ area, I am happy with Joe, Alex and technician Rich at the 12th Ave and Grand location. I asked a lot of questions particularly since I had read on several Nissan Frontier forums that aftermarket tow hitch and wiring installs could mean having some trailer running light issues later, but these guys knew what they were doing and were polite, professional and patient. They plugged a test panel into the 7 pin receiver to make sure that everything was in working order, and they didn't mind letting me watch the installation, which helped me better understand where everything is located and how it works.

Thanks to everyone on this forum who provided guidance and input!
Val
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