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
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
Looking up from the floor at the brake arm bracket.
I don't work for Jordan or have anything to do with them...Just a really happy customer.