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Where to put the brake controller?

Discussion in 'Tow Rig Forum' started by 96firephoenix, October 12, 2017.

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    1. 96firephoenix

      96firephoenix Active Member

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      So this is not a new thread asking where the connector to plug in the controller. I already know that it's behind the glove box in my 2002 4-door SUV - I've looked and seen it there.

      I'm curious to know where people mount the controller in the cabin. Obviously it needs to be within reach (and preferably view) of the driver's seat, but knee space is at a premium for me.

      Has anyone put it on the underside of the steering column? Is that a good or bad spot for it?

      I've taken everybody's advice and ordered a Tekonsha, but since everyone's advice was a few years old (saw threads as old as 08), I went with the Primus IQ, which is an updated version of the favored Prodigy.

      My thinking is that since the Primus unit has a cradle that it mounts to and can be removed easily, I can install the bracket and pop the controller out, but that doesn't really help, since the bracket would still be there.
       
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    3. thebrakeman

      thebrakeman Well-Known Member

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      The Tekonsha P2 is the same as the old Prodigy (which I still have, 14 years and still going!). Only difference is blue characters instead of red. P3 is the same as P2, but with a more user-friendly LCD screen with words instead of diagnostic codes and dots. Both can be mounted from -90 to +90 degrees (screen-up to screen-down, and anywhere in-between).

      Primus IQ uses the same sensor tech, but is more limited in mounting orientation. Must be mounted 0 to +70 degrees (screen straight out toward you, to nearly-vertical). I understand the manual apply is more of an old-school slider bar, versus the rotating lever on the Prodigy/P2.

      Anyway, to your original question, I have mine located near my left knee, below the headlight switches. The only time I hit the thing with my leg is if I try to get in after my wife has been driving (she's 5'0"). Some people prefer it on the right side, but I didn't have room in my '06.

      I don't think I would want it right under the steering wheel, as that's out of site.
       
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    4. 96firephoenix

      96firephoenix Active Member

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      After getting the unit in-hand, and playing around with a few different locations, I think I"m pretty limited on options. Unfortunately, I'm tall (and oddly proportioned) enough where my knees are within a brake-controller's-thickness of the dashboard...

      So I think my options are going to be too low on the dash (like down by the OBD port), or else back to my thought of the trim under the steering wheel. I might try the left knee by the light switch, but since I"ve got a manual, that's a high-traffic area. Short of carving a hole in the dash somewhere with a dremel and fabbing a mount for it, I'm not sure I'm going to find a place I like.

      I'm curious your concerns about it being out of sight though - I'd prefer it to be in view as well, but that's just my preference... I've not had a fancy brake controller with digital readout. The only other controller I"ve used was 80s vintage and had a hard-line to the master, and a hard-set variable resistor in the engine bay for adjusting the gain - not on the fly for sure though! Is there any real need to have the display visible at all times? I'm fairly confident that I can find the manual slider by feel (how I used the slider on the 80s one).

      Is there a more compelling reason than preference to have it in view?
       
    5. traveler

      traveler Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      The controller needs to be in site, and within reach, as it may be necessary to use it independently of the brake pedal. If the trailer starts to sway the controller should be used to regain control of it. It can also be used to augment the braking in a hard stop. Hence the need for it to be visible and easy to reach.
       
    6. 96firephoenix

      96firephoenix Active Member

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      Yea, I think if I was more used to driving with a brake controller, I'd be more comfortable not being able to see it, but at least for now, I'm leaning more towards a visible location.
      The instructions with my Primus IQ actually say it can be -90° to 90° so that may have been updated since you last looked. The real limitation I"m seeing now is that it has to be mounted along the direction of travel - I can't mount it along the center console...
       
    7. traveler

      traveler Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Not sure but I think some of the newer controllers use a technology similar to what's in your cell phone. No moving parts but senses angles and movements. They have much more latitude as to their mounting positions so long as they are "zeroed" after installation so they know which way is up so to speak.
       
    8. thebrakeman

      thebrakeman Well-Known Member

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      Yes, visibility was not so much for reading the thing, but for use in an emergency. Also remember that it's possible you may need someone else to drive once in a while (?).

      A not-so-desirable mounting location could be high on the dash, to the left, next to the A-pillar. Not ideal, and you may need to get creative with cable-routing. But if you can't find something that works down low, you should consider it.
       
    9. Christobal65

      Christobal65 Active Member

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      After a bunch of hemming and hawing I wound up putting mine next to the parking brake release. At the moment I just have a time delay controller, but if I start towing more I plan to upgrade to the Tekonsha P3. With the plan to change to a proportional controller I knew it needed to be inline. This is one of the few locations where it is visible for me without weird contortions, and easily reachable with my left hand for sway control.

      [​IMG]
       
    10. traveler

      traveler Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      That is precisely where the professionals at the Camper dealership installed my brake controller. I haven't had any issues with it. Its out of the way, I've never accidentally hit it, and I can reach it easily if I need to.
       
    11. thebrakeman

      thebrakeman Well-Known Member

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      Yep. Mine is 3-4 inches above that. Happy Camping!
      (Nice floor mats!)
       

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