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Old 11-20-2012, 03:59 PM   #1
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brake controller preferences for F-350-35LKSA?

I joined this site back a few years when we had a MH. I've checked in at IRV2 even after we sold the MH and now am happy to once again have something to chat about.
Over this past weekend we purchased a 2002 Kountry Star 35LKSA 5er. This is the 3rd Newmar we've had over the years but the 1st 5er of any kind.
The 35LKLSA is dual axle, dry weight of 12,660.
We had nothing to tow it with so today I bought a 1995 F-350 dually, 7.3 Powerstroke, AT, KT Performance 6-pos chipset. Very clean, previous owner a diesel mechanic at the dealership and is in impecable mechanical condition.
There is no brake controller in the truck so I get to choose. What better input for that decision than to ask here of preferences. Any recomendations for or against any particular brand or series feedback?
Thank you.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:44 PM   #2
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There are several very good controllers. MaxBrake, has very favorable reviews. The Jordan 2020 is out of production. It was hard to accurately adjust, and had an internal part problem according to users.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:06 PM   #3
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Good old Takonsha 9030 is a popular option. What brakes on it?
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:11 PM   #4
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X2 for the Max Brake

A short history on brake controllers- (as I remember it)
My parents had a small single axle pull trailer back in the mid 50’s. The brake controller was a pressure operated variable 6V resister pad about brake pedal size and 1/2in thick. It was strapped to the brake pedal with HD rubber bands. This was truly a PROPROTIONAL controller i.e. Pressing the brake pedal compressed the resister and the voltage to the Rv brakes would increase. No computer or anything, just a pressure operated high amperage variable resister.
The next generation of brake controllers tapped a small hydraulic line into a brake line at the master cylinder and was snaked into the cab and connected to a small slave cylinder in the brake controller body. This slave cylinder was connected to a variable 12V resister. There again a truly proportional system. This was the system of choice for 20-25 years until Anti-Lock brakes were introduced, when the vehicle manufactures wouldn’t allow you to tap into the brake hydraulic systems. The controller manufactures came up with the problematic pendulum (inertia) type and time constant controllers.
I also had one of these time constant death traps! When you applied the TV brakes the controller slowly ramped up to max in applying the RV brakes. This means that when you were gradually slowing down the longer you had the TV brakes applied the harder the RV brakes were applied, then release the brakes and apply them again. Conversely under a panic stop the TV brakes were doing all the stopping while the RV brakes were gradually increasing.
Also about this time there was a Jordan Ultma 2020. This was operated by a small diameter shielded cable that one end was connected to the brake pedal arm and the other end connected to the controller body that moved a variable resistor to vary the voltage to the brakes. This was again a truly PROPROTIONAL brake controller, i.e. apply the brakes when going forward, reverse or even stopped and voltage was applied to the RV brakes. I understand that the Jordan was sold and the new owners stopped producing them. I had a Jordan for about 6 years and it worked perfectly (required no constant re-adjustment) until one time on 5w hook up for some unknown reason it smoke tested itself.
The MaxBrake has a pressure transducer connected into a Hyd. Brake line. This is again a truly proportional brake controller! Press the brake pedal and the voltage to the brakes increases even when you are stopped or are backing. The small volume of brake fluid displaced by the transducer is approved for use with TV Anti-lock brakes. The Max Brake controller is available mail order only, I am not aware of any RV dealer that stocks them.
I did make a change to the instructions- Max Brake supplied a steel brake line that went between the adapter “T” and the Transducer. To me that presented two potential problems, 1- bending the steel line without kinking it, 2- vibration of the relative heavy transducer could cause the 8 inch long steel line to work harden with the potential of a resulting fracture. I had a local hydraulic hose company fabricate a length of hydraulic brake hose with the proper crimped on end fittings. I then attached a small piece of 1/8”aluminum to the firewall pinch weld and used a small “U” bolt to attach the transducer to the bracket. On my truck there are two power brake lines alongside the Master Cylinder that the transducer could also be attached to using cable ties.
It is my personal opinion that if you ever use a brake controller where the output voltage is truly proportional to the hydraulic brake pressure like a Max Brake you will never go back to a inertia/pendulum type of controller!
BTW- I am under the impression that the Brake Smart (very similar in operation to the MaxBrake) is no longer in business.
As far as I know other than the Max Brake all o f the brake controllers available today are either inertia (pendulum) operated or are time constant operated.
Max Brake is available only by mail order. http://www.plugitright.com/ and http://www.maxbrake.com/
Disclaimer- I have NO financial or other interest in “Plug-it-right” or “Max Brake”.
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:56 PM   #5
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Buy the best brake controller you can, and that would be the MaxBrake, you can buy cheaper but not better.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:43 AM   #6
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I have a 2008 F450 with factory brake controller. Our 5er is 14k loaded. Just not sure the truck and trailer has the same stopping power as our 97 Dodge with a Prodigy brake controller with a 10k loaded trailer. settwecould have locked the trailer brakes up just over 3/4 power on the Dodge and have never even been close to lock up at full power with the Ford system, Do i need to adjust the brakes to have more trailer brake power?
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:10 AM   #7
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You should always make sure the brakes are adjusted
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:47 PM   #8
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We've used our Max Brake for over 4 years and we are fulltimers. Wouldn't have any other controller. Di
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:50 AM   #9
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Thanks all for the inputs on controller preferences. I will invetigate each a bit further. We have till spring before we pull anywhere so some time to decide.
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:48 PM   #10
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I used the Prodigy with my 35LKSA until I purchased a truck with the Integrated Brake Controller. It worked out very well.
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:56 PM   #11
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If the factory integrated trailer brake controller isn't available (as in the OP's case), I'd highly recommend the MaxBrake. It's not the cheapest, but it's the best.

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Old 11-26-2012, 05:04 PM   #12
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To the best of my knowledge the Dodge intergrated controller is an Inertia type controller, as for Ford and GM one is Inertia and one is truly a proportional controller by brake hydraulic pressure.

Maybe somebody on this subject knows for sure which one is witch.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richardcoxid View Post
To the best of my knowledge the Dodge intergrated controller is an Inertia type controller, as for Ford and GM one is Inertia and one is truly a proportional controller by brake hydraulic pressure.

Maybe somebody on this subject knows for sure which one is witch.
Can't speak for GM but the integrated controller in my '06 Ford is truly proportional with a sensor on the master cylinder that reads how hard you're braking, it also has adjustable bias for heavier or lighter trailers. Works very well.
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlyFox View Post
I have a 2008 F450 with factory brake controller. Our 5er is 14k loaded. Just not sure the truck and trailer has the same stopping power as our 97 Dodge with a Prodigy brake controller with a 10k loaded trailer. settwecould have locked the trailer brakes up just over 3/4 power on the Dodge and have never even been close to lock up at full power with the Ford system, Do i need to adjust the brakes to have more trailer brake power?
Some electric brake systems are not designed to "lock-up", especially with heavier trailers. Our 10,550#GVW 5er could lock the brakes, our present 15,500#GVW 5er will not unless on a gravel road.
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