Brake controller. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-19-2019, 09:54 PM   #1
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Brake controller.

Need to get a brake controller for my 2008 Ford Ranger 6 cylinder Supercab.

"Stealership" is telling me that I have to get a radio frequency controller because the 2008 Ranger has a problem with the brake switch wiring melting or some such thing. Think I am being fed a line. They say it isn't a recall thing since it only happens when you add a brake controller. Has anyone ever heard of this? Am thinking they just don't want to work on my older truck.
Also anyone have an opinion on the Takonsha Prodigy RF wireless controller? That is the one I am looking at. Easy install and available at Etrailer.com. It's certainly a better deal than the $900.00 the dealership quoted me even with the added 4 to 7way adapter, wire and 40 amp breaker. Had a $700.00 quote from another place. Even for a wired in controller that seemed steep.
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Old 06-19-2019, 10:11 PM   #2
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You are being fed a line. Get a second opinion.
Go to Uhaul or a trailer place if you don't want to tackle the job yourself.
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Old 06-19-2019, 10:41 PM   #3
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I would get several quotes including a local uitility trailer company. You don't need an RF controller, a wired controller will work just fine.
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Old 06-20-2019, 05:31 AM   #4
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I would request further proof of the problem from the dealership as I suspect that perhaps someone somewhere sometime really mucked up a brake controller install and the result was a short circuit and wire melting. And now the belief has morphed into it being a vehicle model issue. It would have to be a real brain-dead job because there is no way that could happen by properly connecting a P2 or P3 to the brake light circuit.

On the other hand, with the sophistication in vehicle electronics now-days, funny things can happen when some changes are made (i.e. the Subaru situation). But not wire melting, and I canít image a wired unit would be a problem if installed properly. The benefit of the wireless brake controllers is easier installation, and that means less install cost. Your quotes sure seem way high so keep looking around. Tekonsha is the best choice in after-market brake controllers (IMHO) and if I were going wireless, I would use the Prodigy RF model.
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Old 06-20-2019, 09:03 AM   #5
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If considering a wired brake controller, consider the Prodigy P3. I have been very happy with mine. Very helpful display info including diagnostic menu.
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Old 06-20-2019, 08:04 PM   #6
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Thanks folks for the input. I don't really have a problem with doing the install myself. It was more about convenience but I am done work in a week for the summer so will have at 'er. I had the whole back end suspension of my '97 Ranger ripped apart and rebuilt it in my garage, box off, after a mechanic told me to junk it due to rust (damn road salt) and quoted me ten grand to fix it just to get rid of me. Said it wasn't worth fixing. Maybe not for him but I loved that little truck. Got a few more years out of it, anyway. Was still going when I traded it.
The whole thing started when my husband took the truck to a local place that had previously quoted me, in person, $350-ish all in, only to be told $700 when he showed up. Big song and dance about fishing the wiring. I watched the install on etrailer's website and it is not rocket science, especially on a hoist. Went to U- haul and got quoted $500 and change, and only went to the "stealership" for sh*ts and giggles just to see where they would come in. First they thought they were doing a tow package on a 2019 Ranger which started the guy on this tangent about knee airbags and not mounting things under the dash, probably with the intention of upselling the RF controller. Changed their tune quick when I corrected the year but came up with the brake switch thing. Will probably still go with the RF and refit the other truck so it can transfer vehicle to vehicle if necessary. The hitch is bolt on so easy to remove and transfer. Did not camp last year after our tug got smashed and the '97 wasn't set up for the trailer. Not getting caught like that again. Have camper, WILL CAMP!! As soon as I have gotten the trailer roadworthy, that is. Doing a reno on that too!

Anyway Thanks again.
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Old 06-20-2019, 09:47 PM   #7
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Interesting note... There are no "knee airbags" on the 2019 Ford Ranger,
or any other Ford Ranger for that matter.
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:06 AM   #8
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does this Ford have a factory 7-blade connector? if it does, there should be a ford-standard jack under the left end of the dashboard where a bog standard brake controller plugs in.

if it only has a 4-pin connector for the trailer, then you'll need a 4 to 7 adapter, and will need to add a power relay and run a battery cable through that relay to the 7-blade, and you'll need to run a brake wire from the brake controller to the 7-blade. the brake controller will also need to tap the brake light switch, and get power too.

I second the emotion on the Tekonsha prodigy p3. but even their budget Voyager works adequately.
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Old 06-21-2019, 09:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
does this Ford have a factory 7-blade connector? if it does, there should be a ford-standard jack under the left end of the dashboard where a bog standard brake controller plugs in.

if it only has a 4-pin connector for the trailer, then you'll need a 4 to 7 adapter, and will need to add a power relay and run a battery cable through that relay to the 7-blade, and you'll need to run a brake wire from the brake controller to the 7-blade. the brake controller will also need to tap the brake light switch, and get power too.

I second the emotion on the Tekonsha prodigy p3. but even their budget Voyager works adequately.
No factory "Ford-standard jack" under the dash on the new Ranger or any old Ranger, even with the factory tow package.


The 2019 Ranger does come completely wired for the RV plug when you get the tow package, but it has four separate wires bundled in the left kick panel for the brake controller which are to be individually butt-spliced to the controller harness.


To add a brake control to a 2008 Ranger, you will need a power supply wire with a 30A breaker and a power wire back to the RV plug.
Plus a solid ground under the dash and a wire spliced into the downstream wire on the brakelight switch.



If you wish to charge the trailer battery, it will require another wire back to the RV plug with a 30A breaker and either a 30A switch or an Isolater.


Both power wires are best sourced to the main power cable terminal to the underhood fuse box or second choice directly to the positive terminal at the battery.



I believe all 2008 Rangers came with a 4-plug for trailer lights which must be adapted to the new RV plug at the bumper.
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:43 PM   #10
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Hope you found that "knee airbags" thing amusing, Floyd. I did. It amazes me the stuff these jokers come up with to try and con a person.

According to E-trailer I need to run 10 gauge from front to back, hook into a 40 amp breaker mounted to the side wall and then jump direct to the positive on the battery. At the back connect that wire and the four point harness to a 4 to seven adapter. That is for the RF controller. The wired in one is more involved with two wires, grounding, two breakers, wiring through a firewall grommet to the brake switch, wiring the under dash mounted controller etc. and again, hooking the whole shooting match into a 7 way connection mounted on the hitch. Like I said I am looking at the RF and wiring both our Rangers so we can pull the trailer with either if necessary.
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Old 06-21-2019, 02:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Macdonalds View Post
Hope you found that "knee airbags" thing amusing, Floyd. I did. It amazes me the stuff these jokers come up with to try and con a person.

According to E-trailer I need to run 10 gauge from front to back, hook into a 40 amp breaker mounted to the side wall and then jump direct to the positive on the battery. At the back connect that wire and the four point harness to a 4 to seven adapter. That is for the RF controller. The wired in one is more involved with two wires, grounding, two breakers, wiring through a firewall grommet to the brake switch, wiring the under dash mounted controller etc. and again, hooking the whole shooting match into a 7 way connection mounted on the hitch. Like I said I am looking at the RF and wiring both our Rangers so we can pull the trailer with either if necessary.
With a tow package, the 2019 Ranger is already wired for all Seven points including the charge line and backup lights It has a trailer module controlled by the ECM.
An important note is that the Ranger now comes with an AGM battery and the electronics on board control the charge line.


The 2008 is not difficult to wire and of course if you choose a P3 you can simply move it from truck to truck.


My advice is to save some money, wire the 2008 properly and use a good hardwired brake control.


For either application I like the convenience of the Hopkins Insight.
It sells for anywhere from $58 to $210...I paid $58 on E-Bay.
It is the most convenient and best operating Brake controller I have used so far.
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Old 06-21-2019, 02:55 PM   #12
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fyi, that 'relay' I mentioned is also called an isolator... the power side of the relay is in series between the battery and the 8-10 AWG charging wire to the trailer connector, while the 'coil' side of the relay is wired to ignition power and ground, such that the relay is 'on' when the ignition is on, this prevents the trailer from discharging the vehicle battery when its parked. I would use a relay rated for at least 40 amps, and I would also put a 40A fuse inline, close to the battery.

so... using Bosch standard relay designations... battery (+) to fuse, fuse to relay pin 30. relay pin 87 to trailer charging wire. relay pin 85 to ignition switched power, relay pin 86 to ground.
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Old 06-29-2019, 10:39 AM   #13
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For a relay in our tow charge circuit I used a starter relay, which allowed stud-mounted lugs instead of a relay socket.
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Old 06-29-2019, 11:13 AM   #14
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I have used the Tekonsha Prodigy RF brake controller for the last 4 years and it has worked flawlessly. Previously used it in a '97 Toyota 4Runner that only had a flat-4 wiring harness. I had to run a fused power wire directly to the battery in order to get 12 volt power for the 7-pin and did not wire in the reverse lights but not important to me. My current tow vehicle is a '17 Honda Ridgeline and came with 7-pin so very simple plug and play. The handheld unit that resides in the vehicle simply plugs into the 12v outlet. I have not permanently mounted it and find just laying it on the center console area works fine for my needs. It was very easy to install and set-up, both on the trailer end and vehicle end, and plenty sensitive and lots of adjustment for braking forces.
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Old 06-29-2019, 11:38 AM   #15
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Fuse vs breaker

One important thing to remember when installing a brake controller. NEVER use a fuse in the brake controller power line! Use a breaker of the correct amperage for your situation. A breaker will reset if tripped but once a fuse is blown you will not get your power back without replacing the fuse. A automatic resetting breaker will restore your power without having to stop as soon as it cools down. Imagine losing you brakes in heavy traffic or on a long downgrade when you have been riding your brake pedal. Safety first... to last.
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Old 06-29-2019, 01:10 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomcat316 View Post
For a relay in our tow charge circuit I used a starter relay, which allowed stud-mounted lugs instead of a relay socket.
While there are continuous duty relays that LOOK like starter relays, don't substitute a starter relay for a continuous duty version. The starter relay is not designed to be energized continuously, and the coil will overheat & eventually fail.
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Old 06-29-2019, 01:37 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Macdonalds View Post
Need to get a brake controller for my 2008 Ford Ranger 6 cylinder Supercab.

"Stealership" is telling me that I have to get a radio frequency controller because the 2008 Ranger has a problem with the brake switch wiring melting or some such thing. Think I am being fed a line. They say it isn't a recall thing since it only happens when you add a brake controller. Has anyone ever heard of this? Am thinking they just don't want to work on my older truck.
Also anyone have an opinion on the Takonsha Prodigy RF wireless controller? That is the one I am looking at. Easy install and available at Etrailer.com. It's certainly a better deal than the $900.00 the dealership quoted me even with the added 4 to 7way adapter, wire and 40 amp breaker. Had a $700.00 quote from another place. Even for a wired in controller that seemed steep.
I would not say youíre being fed a line as much as the dealership has misidentified or misrepresented the problem. I just installed a wired brake controller and aftermarket cruise control on my 2011 E150 van. Both instructions warned not to connect their devices directly to the break switch in 1989 and later Ford E and F series trucks equipped with antilock brakes. I would assume this could apply to Rangers too. I am not sure exactly what the issue is but suspect it is because this switch is connected directly to the computer and cannot supply sufficient current (Amps) to the brake controller or, in my case, the cruise control too. You should check with your local Ford dealerís service department to see if this is an issue with your Ranger.

The recommended fix from the cruise control manufacturer was to add a 12 volt relay operated by the brake switch to isolate it from the other devices; however, my van had a prewired connector behind the dash just for a brake controller that had the brake switch signal in the correct sense for both the brake controller and cruise control, which made these installations much simpler.
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Old 06-29-2019, 01:46 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
does this Ford have a factory 7-blade connector? if it does, there should be a ford-standard jack under the left end of the dashboard where a bog standard brake controller plugs in.

if it only has a 4-pin connector for the trailer, then you'll need a 4 to 7 adapter, and will need to add a power relay and run a battery cable through that relay to the 7-blade, and you'll need to run a brake wire from the brake controller to the 7-blade. the brake controller will also need to tap the brake light switch, and get power too.

I second the emotion on the Tekonsha prodigy p3. but even their budget Voyager works adequately.
My E150 had no trailer wiring connector and, so far as I know, no factory towing package (I did buy it used, could someone have removed it, but I doubt it), but DID have the brake controller connector behind the dash. I suspect it is cheaper for the factory to include this on all their wiring harnesses vs. having to inventory different wiring harnesses for every variation.
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Old 06-29-2019, 03:22 PM   #19
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Curt Echo Blue Tooth Brake Controller

I paid about $180 for a blue tooth Curt Echo Brake Controller for my Subaru Outback to control the brakes on my 2005 Scamp. Another $50 to install receiver next to hitch. Works like a charm on my phone but uses a bit of data. Very pleased and recommend highly!!! Good luck!
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Old 06-29-2019, 03:52 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Megala M View Post
I paid about $180 for a blue tooth Curt Echo Brake Controller for my Subaru Outback to control the brakes on my 2005 Scamp. Another $50 to install receiver next to hitch. Works like a charm on my phone but uses a bit of data. Very pleased and recommend highly!!! Good luck!
1. What happens if my phone dies or the Bluetooth connection is lost?

Once Echoô is configured, the unit will stay on the last saved setting even if the phone dies or the Bluetooth connection is lost. If Bluetooth is disconnected, the unit will continue to function on the last saved setting, but the manual override function will be lost.

Just hope the Bluetooth connection isn't lost when you need to manually activate the trailer brakes to help stop sway.
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