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Old 03-04-2009, 09:14 PM   #1
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So 96 GMC truck I bought came equipped for fifth wheel towing, with this Kelsey brake controller, any input on how good, and where can one get instructions on it?
I kinda played with it and changed settings, so now will have to wait till I get hitch in it to try it out, but thought it would be nice to have some idea of the settings and how good a unit are they?


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Old 03-05-2009, 05:53 AM   #2
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That is a really really old inertia type controller. IMHO they are not worth bothering with. They work and that is about all you can say about them. there is a pendulum inside that as you brake swings to add braking force. Not a very good system compared to today's modern electronics. One side will have a lever that needs to be pointed straight down. The rest of the setup is done with a trailer attached. Basically you manually apply brakes and adjust until the trailer holds you on flat ground with the truck in gear. Once you start driving there are some more things you need to do. But, like I said before they are not worth the time. Simply scrap it and buy a good new controller. will be worth every penny of the investment.
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Old 03-05-2009, 06:53 AM   #3
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Okay, thanks for the info, now another question I have, is there a factory harness or plug in point for a brake controller on a 1996 GMC?

I will go and look under the dash and see how this one is, but at first glance I thought this one was wired in, but am curious if the factory ever made a spot to be able to just plug them in.
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Old 03-05-2009, 08:13 AM   #4
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You can try it when you hook up to the trailer, but with it unhooked you will need a "test-box" which most RV/traielr shops have. They can test it to see of it has the correct outputs.

But with the age, I'd probably replace it. I don't think GMC had a plug and play connecter back then, so you will need to wire it in using the existing wires.

If you do not feel confortable doing it, Any compontent hitch place can do the work in a short time.

Lots of people use and like the Prodigy and it works most of the time. Personally I do not like the Prodigy as it is still an inertia based controller. They added some electronics, a boost function and a ramp up feature.

There are a couple of units out that hook directly into the brake hydraulic lines that work great...but a bit pricey.

I use a Jordan 2020 which is no longer produced. It provided the most bang for the buck an was a fully proportional unit like the hydraulic units. The inertia units are not fully proportional.

Now we have given you even more to think about.

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Old 03-05-2009, 08:46 AM   #5
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Well again thanks for the input, I would have no problem installing one I am sure, as for the prodigy I have heard a lot like them, but a friend has a simple Draw-Tite and likes it, but again it is like you say inertia.

So will have to see what looks good, I have been meaning to check power at the plug in for the fifth wheel and the one at the back for the trailer plug, to make sure they are even working and hooked up correctly.
That is why I started looking now, got time before summer time.
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Old 03-05-2009, 09:08 AM   #6
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A "simple Draw Tite" may well be a time-based brake controller. It applies the trailer brakes according to a time ramp you've set, which means that if you have it set for in-town, you don't have enough brake on the highway, or if you have it set for the highway, it locks up the trailer brakes and/or jerks around town. A time-based controller is a non-starter for me - been there and done that.

I use the same out-of-production Jordan Ultima 2020 as Ken, but if you're not willing to spring for a hydraulic over electric fully proportional controller, at least get a quality inertial controller such as the Prodigy or even an inertial Draw Tite, if you must.

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Old 03-05-2009, 09:36 AM   #7
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Rusty and I both had a similar experience with a Prodigy on a wet street and some 14,000# of 5er pushing you, truck brakes are fine and no trailer brakes until it has time to ramp up. When the truck is sliding on wet pavement, the controller does not sense any deceleration...thus no brakes until the controll works through the ramp up and boost algorithms. Adds considerably to the pucker factor if you are heading toward a red traffic signal.

That was the last trip the Prodigy made with me.

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Old 03-05-2009, 03:00 PM   #8
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partsman01:

I have this same brake controller on my truck. Mine is a model 81741A. It was installed in my truck in February of 2000.

The instruction manual for it is a small booklet of 16 pages. If you would like a copy of it, send me a PM with your email address and I'll be more that happy to scan and email it to you.
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Old 03-05-2009, 04:17 PM   #9
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Thanks for the info and offer, I found a link that has the instructions, it is:

http://www.hayesbc.com/PDFs/81...truction%20Sheet.pdf
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