Brake controller - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-27-2006, 12:21 PM   #1
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How difficult is it to intall a brake controller? I called Ford and they said I "simply" buy the controller and there is a pigtail connetor on the drivers side that it plugs into.....is it that easy and any recommendations on a good controller....it's for a 17' Boler.

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Dan
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Old 07-27-2006, 12:52 PM   #2
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Dan,
It seems that with most of the American trucks, the companies that manufacture them assume that you will want to tow. There is a harness in the truck that runs from front to back. You plug into the front wiring harness with a brake controller and then tie into the back with the type plug you need. I hope you have a truck that already has stuff ready to go. If so, its about an hour job.
It wasn't nearly that easy on my van. They had to wire the harness in in the front and connect the power source, figure a way to mount the connector in the back, tie into the wires there, and then, since I have such wonderful luck, the connector I had for the back (both 4 and 6 prong) was faulty and had to be returned and rewired.
Good luck!
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Old 07-27-2006, 02:19 PM   #3
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I called Ford and they said my 2001 Ranger already has a harness under the dash. I guess I simply need to plug-n-tow ?

It can't be that easy.
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Old 07-28-2006, 07:40 AM   #4
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I called Ford and they said my 2001 Ranger already has a harness under the dash. I guess I simply need to plug-n-tow ?

It can't be that easy.
Yes, it is just that easy if your tug is prewired. I purchased a Prodigy for my Ford and it came with the harness to plug into the Ford. Good to go! Okay, so once I had the trailer hooked up..had to set the brake controller...but even that was easy using the Prodigy instructions.
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Old 07-28-2006, 09:14 AM   #5
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Here is what my brother, Mr. Giant Tower (35 footer tugged by some Dodge Hemi Oregon redneck monster machine) said when I asked him about what controller to get:

"If you don't get a Prodigy, I will make my children move in with you"



Gee, I really LOVE my Prodigy!
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Old 07-28-2006, 01:24 PM   #6
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The wiring is easy for those of you with pre-wired trucks, unlike my van. Toyota, Nissan, Ford, GM, and Chrysler all pre-wire many of their pickup trucks, and perhaps some SUVs, but not the minivans.

In any case, regardless of wiring, the other issue is mounting the controller. With an acceleration-sensing proportional design such as the Prodigy (which is what I use), the controller must be mounted securely and in the correct orientation. In some vehicles, it can be hard to find a good spot. I mounted mine on a retractable cupholder/coinholder, and I have heard that some Ranger owners have done something similar.

I suggest a look at the installation instructions for a typical controller (e.g. Prodigy, see the owners manual/instructions)

Edit note: Added qualifier "many of" to "pickup trucks": not all are pre-wired for trailer lights or brakes.
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Old 07-28-2006, 02:26 PM   #7
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The wiring is easy for those of you with pre-wired trucks, unlike my van. Toyota, Nissan, Ford, GM, and Chrysler all pre-wire their pickup trucks, and perhaps some SUVs, but not the minivans.

In any case, regardless of wiring, the other issue is [b]mounting the controller. With an acceleration-sensing proportional design such as the Prodigy (which is what I use), the controller must be mounted securely and in the correct orientation. In some vehicles, it can be hard to find a good spot. I mounted mine on a retractable cupholder/coinholder, and I have heard that some Ranger owners have done something similar.

I suggest a look at the installation instructions for a typical controller (e.g. Prodigy, see the owners manual/instructions)
It just so happens that I just finished doing a brake controller in my fathers 2001 ranger v6. And guess what? No pigtail under the dash or plug at the rear.

But to be fair the hardest part of the job was jacking up the truck and crawling under to toute the wiring.

We placed the controller to the right of the on the console under the dash. Pulled the center console up ( lift the cup holders out, and pull out the rubber inserts and turn the 2 plastic ZUES fastener screws a 1/2 turn to the left) and lift out the console.

Then route 2 wires from the controller through a hole you need to drill under where the console is and route them down the left frame rail of the truck.

Make sure you keep them from the automatic shift linkage and use lots of plastic tie wraps along the way. They are cheap aqnd the best insurance a wire wont break or chaffe.

Wnem you get to the rear of the ranger wire it into the connector you buy for both lights and trailer brakes.

YOU CANNOT buy a pigtail that plugs into a 2001 Rannger for lights it just isnt made. Your truck should have a 4 prong connector for lights. Cut it off and use a 6-7 prong adapter for lights and brakes.

At the dash you will have one wire to the cold side of the brake light swith ( you will need a voltmeter to find it) and a wire to the ignition side of the switch, and one ground wire. Those 3 are the the only 3 under the dash and 2 to the rear and voila brakes are wired.

Hope this helps
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Old 07-29-2006, 08:30 PM   #8
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You are sure right about the vans don't have the easy to access harness! Just had a controller put in my van. I was going to mount the controller sorta out of the way, cause I have two sons with LONG legs and didn't want them hitting their knees. It was pointed out that I really need to leave it close enough that I could reach it in case I wanted to brake more than it was doing on its own. Remember that when you decide where to mount it.
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Old 07-30-2006, 03:57 PM   #9
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A lot depends on whether the truck was factory equipped with a tow package -- Not all 2001 Rangers are equipped to tow -- If you have the harness under the dash, then there will also be a brake wire in the rear somewhere (and Camping Adapter relays in the elec system for the trailer lights so they aren't on the same actual wires as the truck lights) -- You may need a connector of some sort to interface the Ford wiring with the controller wiring because Ford likely has to consider that there are a number of different controller manufacturers out there.

I dunno if the tow package includes a charge wire for the trailer battery, so I dunno if there will be a provision for a 6- or 7-wire trailer connection, but one of the two should be there.

My 1998 Ranger has the tow package, but at that time, no wiring for the brake controller was included -- Just the relays and the Flat-4 connector to be plugged into the rear wiring harness.

Enough time has elapsed that you guys with the 2001 models might be able to get the Service CD on EBay at a cheap price (mine was less than $10 a year or so ago; costs more like $300 for current model years) -- Same CD that the Ford shop uses -- It will take some time to figure out, but all the wiring is in there, as well as the fuses and relays.
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