Brake controller for Ford Freestar - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-01-2006, 10:42 PM   #1
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Have just purchased a ford Freestar to pull my Trillium 4500 and have a question regarding connecting a brake controller. In the past, I have connected a wire to the cold side of the stoplight switch as per the contoller manufacturers instructions.
I do not have the factory trailer package therefore no trailer brake wiring and my owners manual states that connecting anything to the stoplight wiring will adversly affect the ABS system.
Anybody out there have any comment on this? Is anybody else using a Freestar or Windstar as a tow vehicle? If so, how did you connect the brake controller?
Al Nelson
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Old 04-02-2006, 06:45 AM   #2
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Al,

I got useful info by calling the Tekonsha 800 number. Had to leave a message and a gal named Amber returned my call. Try 1-800-STOPYOU or 517-767-4142, You can also email.

http://www.tekonsha.com/
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Old 04-02-2006, 05:05 PM   #3
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Hi Al, what brand of contoller are you using? I have an older Jordan Mk 2 that I used on my 90 GM and now use it on my 00 and it`s wired to the brakelight wire.....works fine....both trucks have ABS....Benny
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Old 04-02-2006, 08:21 PM   #4
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My Toyota has ABS and a Cequent (Tekonsha) Prodigy wired to the brake light switch, with no problems; however, I do remember reading a warning about certain vehicles. It may be that a safe connection is possible with the Freestar, but only by connecting to a specific wire (other than the one you might expect).

By the way, the Toyota had four wires to the brakelight switch, so there's more going on there than one might expect. I tapped the one which had the right behaviour, which matched the expected colour coding.

I really doubt that the "factory" wiring is actually any different from the factory; it's much more likely only a dealer-installed feature. Even with the optional wiring, a brake controller connection is probably not provided - my guess is that it is only for the lights, but that's only my guess. If this were my situation, I would check with my dealer, to see how they install whatever they provide or if they have any information.
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Old 04-02-2006, 08:57 PM   #5
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Good news Al.

In the past we have added an extra switch to the brake pedal and run the brake controller off of that. Some of the new computer controlled braking systems do not want you adding any load to the on-board braking systems. I hope this will help you figure out what to do.



Harv in Colo.
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Old 04-03-2006, 12:55 AM   #6
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Quote:


Good news Al.

In the past we have added an extra switch to the brake pedal and run the brake controller off of that. Some of the new computer controlled braking systems do not want you adding any load to the on-board braking systems. I hope this will help you figure out what to do.



Harv in Colo.
Thanks for the replys folks, I havn't got a contoller yet, The weather here in Winnipeg is not quite warm enough to work on the van yet, just trying to do a little planning for when it does warm up. Adding a second switch doesn't seem like a bad idea, would eliminate any possibility of screwing up something. This van also has a burned out bulb warning system and I don't want to conflict with that either. It was much simpler in the old days, what with all the on board computers, airbags, ABS etc., you have to be pretty careful how you connect new systems. Haven't been to the dealer yet, am going there next week to get some wiring diagrams. I was hoping that someone else may have already done one of these vans.
Al
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Old 04-03-2006, 07:18 AM   #7
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Al,

It's my understanding that with some vehicles you have to be really, REALLY careful about what you add and where. Some of the computer feedback systems now work on minute voltage drops; in the tenths of volts, and when you tap off of a brake light all kinds of bad things could happen to a variety of systems that don't even appear to be brake-related.

I'd suggest that you contact your Ford dealer and see how they recommend you install a brake controller for your Freestar. If you don't have them do it, at least you'll have their recommendation.

Roger
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Old 04-08-2006, 12:37 AM   #8
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Al,

It's my understanding that with some vehicles you have to be really, REALLY careful about what you add and where. Some of the computer feedback systems now work on minute voltage drops; in the tenths of volts, and when you tap off of a brake light all kinds of bad things could happen to a variety of systems that don't even appear to be brake-related.

I'd suggest that you contact your Ford dealer and see how they recommend you install a brake controller for your Freestar. If you don't have them do it, at least you'll have their recommendation.

Roger
Went to my Ford Dealer today, their verdict, DO NOT use an electric brake controller on ford vans. I guess I bought the wrong vehicle.
Al
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Old 04-08-2006, 08:02 AM   #9
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Went to my Ford Dealer today, their verdict, DO NOT use an electric brake controller on ford vans. I guess I bought the wrong vehicle.
Al
Maybe - maybe not....

How about using the wire that will be running the stoplights on the trailer to activate the brake controller? This should be OK, as these days you are supposed to use a device that isolates the load of the trailer lights from the tow vehicle lighting system.

-- Dan Meyer
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Old 04-08-2006, 08:47 AM   #10
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Try a couple of different Ford dealers as well. There is a wealth of knowledge out there that is not equally shared among dealerships.

Roger
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Old 04-08-2006, 03:41 PM   #11
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stylin concepts sells this
adapter kit for the freestyle, so it is possible to use a controller.

Do some more looking around. and perhaps contact ford directly, not through a dealer.
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Old 04-08-2006, 04:05 PM   #12
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Try some of the after market suppliers that do off road and all the fancy accessories. They install brake controllers on all makes of vehicles and probably know more than there dealers do about that sort of thing. I installed my own controllers and charging circuits for many years but now many of the vehicles come already wired when I get them with the tow package.
I had a after market shop install the last couple of units while they were installing my running boards etc. Its worth a try!
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Old 04-08-2006, 09:09 PM   #13
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I agree with Dan. The purpose of the brake light connection is to signal the controller when the tow vehicle brakes are being applied, and the output side of an isolator would provide that information. Remember, most converters put out combined brake and turn signals (because that's what boat, utility, and RV trailers usually require) but to feed the controller you need a separate brake signal.

I cannot believe that a brake controller cannot be added to an Ford passenger van, including the Freestar; I can believe that someone at a dealership is wrong. I would try another dealership, and/or online owner groups for more information.

I notice on the Ford website that the Freestar has an available trailer towing wiring harness (presumably for just the lights), Ford of Canada shows the van towing a large boat on their website and mentions towing packages for Class I / 2000 lb and Class II/ 3500 lb, the Ford U.S. site shows a Class II towing package with battery, cooling, and tires upgrades, and the Ford Hauling and Towing online guide includes the Freestar. The Interactive Guide is somewhat frustrating to use, but when I reached the right point I was shown specs sheets for the Freestar confirming capacities of Class I (2000 lb) or Class II (3500 lb), depending on option package. The guide lists the type of electrical connection for each truck and SUV, but omits the Freestar, which is classed as a "car" in the towing guide.

I'm sure Ford requires use of trailer brakes for 3500 lb of trailer (probably for more than 1000 lb); do they expect everyone to have surge brakes on their trailer?

You might try contacting Can-Am RV in London, Ontario. I personally disagree with their practices regarding violation of vehicle load limits; however, they do present themselves as towing experts and recommend use of the Freestar for towing.
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Old 04-08-2006, 10:57 PM   #14
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You could also try posting to the newsgroups such as alt.trucks ford

I did an advanced Google groups search for Ford + "brake controller" and got 746 hits, here is a link to the results:

Google groups advanced search results

PS, I tried Freestar instead of Ford and had 0 hits....

Roy
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