Jordan Brake Controller - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-17-2003, 09:32 PM   #1
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Jordan Brake Controller

I've had three different brake controllers. The Tekonsha Mark 12 was my last one, a conventional pendulum type that hooks up to the brake light circuit. As most know, brake light circuit begins the braking sequence while the pendulum senses deceleration and attempts to modulate the power to the trailer brakes to generate a proportional braking effect. Unfortunately, the the pendulum works in the wrong direction, generating what is called positive feedback. If the controller isn't tuned up exactly right, this can cause a runaway effect, locking up the trailer brakes. According to comments on newsgroups, later models, like the Tekosha Prodigy have gone far in controlling this tendency. Still, I went looking for a better way...

The ideal solution is to provide braking that tracks that being supplied by the towing vehicle. The only controller I know of that does this and works with conventional 12v electrical trailer brakes is the Jordan. It is highly regarded on the newsgroups.

Awhile ago I posted a link to an outfit (http://www.bestbrakecontroller.com/ )that was selling the Jordan brake controller for about $125, delivered. This is quite a bit under the factory price, so I bought one and installed it.

The Jordan installs similarly to others except that there is no connection to the brake light circuit. The amount of desired braking needed is determined by the amount of movement of the towing vehicle's brake pedal arm as sensed by a small cable that connects from the arm to the controller. Making this connection is a minor pain in the neck (more or less, depending on how cramped your under dash area is) and does require drilling holes on the lower dash area to support the controller and cable bracket. The cable connection activates a linear potentiometer that feeds brake pedal movement info to the controller. Three wires complete the hookup: Positive and negative battery and brake. Not getting into the brake lighting circuit greatly simplifies installation on some rigs.

From what I've read on this site, many of you would have little trouble installing the Jordan. Final adjustment is simple and quick.

There are only two controls on the controller: A large red pushbutton provides manual activation similar to that found on other brands. The second control is a small knob that adjusts the maximum amount of power that can be applied to the brakes. The manufacturer's site is http://www.jordanbrake.com/ . The one above is faster and easier to navigate.

Ok, if you've read this far, you must be ready for the punch line.

We have a '93 GMC 3/4 ton truck pulling a 21' Bigfoot. I haven't had it weighed yet but, based on weight certificates and what we've added, estimate it's close to 4200-4400 lbs, loaded for travel. So, how does it all work?

The Jordan is an absolute pleasure to use. Long gone are the fears about unexpected brake lockup on hard stops and the constant tinkering to adjust for different terrain. It is trivial to adjust so that braking tracks that of the towing vehicle. In fact, if it wasn't for the big white thing following behind my truck, it would be hard to tell it's there. Since I initally installed it, we've gone nearly 3000 miles around the Northwest going up and down from sea level to 8,000 feet. Trailer braking and control has quite simply become a non-issue, as smooth, natural and hassle free as if we were towing nothing.

Here's a couple of pictures:

Side view of the controller, much like others

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3eefce187e5ddJordon3-s.jpg/>

Looking up from the floor at the brake arm bracket.

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3eefcd96ea21aJordon2-s.jpg/>

I don't work for Jordan or have anything to do with them...Just a really happy customer.

Bill
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Old 06-18-2003, 12:29 AM   #2
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The best brake controller I have used was on a 69 Chev pickup we bought used to tow a 21 ft Streamline. The controller hooked into the brake line of the truck. It worked flawlessly except it developed a hydraulic leak after a time. Since it was no longer being made of supported with parts, I replaced it with the pendulum type. Those are OK, but just not as smooth.

A friend of mine bought a controller that is timer based. The longer you hold your foot on the brake pedal, the more braking current is supplied to the trailer brakes. I tried it and thought it was terrible. But I understand these are still being sold.

I had seen the Jordan info, perhaps in Trailer Life magazine and decided when I need to replace my controller, I would seriously consider the Jordan. Thanks for the the recommendation.
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Old 06-18-2003, 11:01 AM   #3
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Loren,

Sounds like your old system used hydraulic pressure to control voltage to the trailer brakes. And I've heard of hydraulic trailer brake systems where there is an actual hydraulic connection between the trailer and towing vehicle. Either, it seems, would give the kind of precision control that's needed. The Jordan feels like I'd imagine those older systems would be like.


Bill
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Old 06-18-2003, 09:03 PM   #4
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Jordan controller

I have the Jordan Ultima 2020 installed on my Nissan Pathfinder, my first electric brake controller. I installed myself and it works well with my Trillium 4500.

Rick
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Old 06-18-2003, 11:19 PM   #5
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:wave I am wondering about having ABS and using a Jordan after seeing the cable hookup in your photos.

I have to say up front that my only experience with controllers is with the old 'DrawTight' timed controllers (not good) pulling boat trailers and the Prodigy with my Casita (sweet).

With ABS you are supposed to press the brake hard in an emergency and let the system keep the tires from locking up.

In the Prodigy I use, the electronics sense the deceleration and reduce the current to the trailer brakes. This keeps the trailer brakes from locking up in theory. Luckily I havenít had to do an emergency stop, so I am working on what Tekonsha says about the Prodigy.

With the Jordan directly connected to the break pedal, how do the trailer breaks behave when you jam on the brakes in an emergency. :conf

Are they going to lock up while ABS is controlling your tow vehicle's breaking system?

What do you folks with more experience than I have think?
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Old 06-19-2003, 11:32 AM   #6
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Mark,

When tuning up the Jordan, you adjust the gain knob to just short of trailer brake lockup while towing at 20-25 mph and manually applying the trailer brakes. From there, you can fine tune to your preference and general road conditions. Since your trailer doesn't have ABS, all you can do is set up for good braking at the trailer end while your ABS handles things at the tow vehicle end.

Since no trailer I've ever heard of has ABS, pulling a trailer with a tow vehicle so equiped may somewhat nullify the advantages of such a system. But, if the trailer brake system is set to not lock, and you haven't gotten into some reduced traction area, you should still be able to jam on the brakes with impunity.

As tow vehicle-trailer combinations nearly always sacrifice some safety and stability, we have to compensate by taking it easier, slower, and leaving a little more space in front of us for emergencies...and those clueless souls who keep pulling into your safety zone.

Bill
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Old 06-19-2003, 09:16 PM   #7
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Bill,
Makes sense.
Thanks
Mark
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Old 06-21-2003, 08:34 PM   #8
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Love my Jordan

Hello,
I recently just installed a Jordan Ultima on my 2001 Chev Blazer and went to Rice, TX last week to pick up our new 17' Casita. This controller is a dream to use and adjust. Everything the orginal poster said is correct. I have used the other electronic kinds but they pale in comparison to the Jordan!
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Old 06-22-2003, 01:22 PM   #9
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Thanks for the info, Bill. and thanks for the yep it worked info, Gene.

I found a decal on my trailer yesterday, said Electric Brakes, hid behide the spare tire.
so I guess that means I need one of these controlers?
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Old 06-22-2003, 06:34 PM   #10
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Dear Thomas and Janifer,

Some time ago, before we wised up to the desirability of molded fiberglass trailers, we looked at a 16' Scamp a local fellow was selling. It hadn't been taken care of well, so we didn't buy it. While we were looking it over, I checked under the frame and noticed the trailer brake wires coming out of each drum. That reminded me to inquire about the brake controller he was using. He said, "Huh? I don't have brakes on this trailer." I pointed out the wires, and he was flabbergasted. "Sonofagun", he says, "I've pulled this thing all around the West with my '88 Buick and never knew it had brakes!"

You could likely pull a 14' Surfside a long way with an average sized vehicle and not feel much of the bump and grind a larger trailer would produce. But, guaranteed, a decent controller would make you feel much more secure, and provide better stopping.

Best wishes,

Bill

Best wishes, and good luck...

Bill
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