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Stupid NSS issues again... and looking for wiring advice

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Old 08-10-2018, 11:48 AM
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Stupid NSS issues again... and looking for wiring advice

Noticed a few days ago that my reverse lights where not kicking on when helping my brother move (man can that 460 haul some weight!). Then on our next load, the key wouldn't engage the starter. Pulled out my trusty trigger starter and jumped the solenoid and started it like the days when I first bought the truck.

Got under and see that the wiring is not burned apart like the original. Connection is good. Switch is tight and not moving around taking it out of "calibration". So my next thought is factory wiring I guess.

Which leads me into my next goal of actually pulling a trailer with brakes. There is a 7 way connect and a brake controller on the truck but not wired. Want to test the controller to see if it works or get a new one. If the latter, I would run a new harness for peace of mind along with maybe spotting wire issues with my NSS. What components are needed in older trucks vs what the newer models have with their plug and play features? And any advice on testing a brake controller other than the obvious do it while pulling the trailer?
 

Last edited by James Wagoner; 08-10-2018 at 04:21 PM. Reason: incorrect acronym
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:49 PM
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WhAt is the make & model of the controller.
Is it hooked to a brake line or just wires?
What color are the wires?

When I get home on my pc I will type out what I would do and will have to do to my t rt uck when on the road.
Dave - - - -
 
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:51 PM
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BTW what is NSW?
DAVE - - - -
 
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Old 08-10-2018, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by FuzzFace2 View Post
BTW what is NSW?
DAVE - - - -
I would guess neutral safety switch
 
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Old 08-10-2018, 04:20 PM
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Yes, Neutral Safety Switch. I even got the acronym wrong too.

I'll have to look when I am home for the brand. it's old looking so it's suspect to me. Wires (4 I think) are just hanging off the back of the controller with their factory bullet connecters so luckily it's not just cut like you would find in a used Honda on Craigslist.

Cruising the towing section, it's all about new model years where there is factory connections and relays to plug into. Not sure what factory features 80s trucks came with if any. So if there is relays handling things in newer trucks, I would like that kind of robustness with my wiring. From my research so far is that there is 12v being sent to the trailer to power the brakes and another wire to control them. With that in mind, I would be first getting the model of controller I have and it's pin out. Get it wired and get my multimeter out to read some voltages.

I'll look forward to your plans with your truck Dave.
 
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Old 08-10-2018, 04:38 PM
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Kelsey is the brand. Found a post in the Slick Sixties forum with something having the same controller. So got a pin out.
 
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by James Wagoner View Post
Kelsey is the brand. Found a post in the Slick Sixties forum with something having the same controller. So got a pin out.
Before I get into this you can get all the trailer parts & supplies from http://www.etrailer.com/

The older brake controllers Teed into 1 of the metal brake lines, had 12v power in a brake light wire out, ground wire and the wire for the electric brakes on the trailer.
New controllers don't Tee in because of ABS so they use a pendulum. The harder you press on the pedal the farther the pendulum swings and applies more power for trailer braking. It work pretty good as this is the type I have on my 02 Durango, ABS thing.
I know trailer brake wire color is blue and as a guess red if you have it 12 volt power all the time thru a circuit brake the other wires ground & brake light.

There a are a few ways to run wires to the rear. Etrailer sells 5 or 6 wire bundle to run front to rear for lights, brakes, and 12v power to charge trailer battery.
Or get 10 gauge blue for brake & red for 12v power run front to rear then thru Etrailer they sell a electrical Tee that plugs into the trucks rear light harness for the trailer lights.

Now Ford made a trailer light relay & harness to power trailer lights but from what I see posted, I asked, it seams hard to come by.
The reason for the relay is if you power a trailer thru an older head light switch the switch can fail and the lights go out. Not good loosing lights at night but you are also pulling a trailer!

For my setup my truck came with the rear harness Tee so I will have lights.
I will run 2-10 gauge wires 1 for brakes and the other for power to charge the trailer battery. I also will buy a pendulum type controller and should be good but I have time before I need to do this.
Its not that hard to wire the truck for trailer lights & brakes.

BTW my 86 K5 Blazer with trailer package had all the wires, brake & power I had to hook up to controller & battery, and was run front to rear. Out back the light wires and the brake & power wires were rolled up and tucked inside the frame and I had to wire them to the plug.
My 02 Durango also with trailer package had all wires run & wired front & rear. It also had the plug for the brake controller so was plug n play and was towing in no time.
Dave ----
 
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Old 08-11-2018, 08:57 AM
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The pendulum controllers can be touchy, they are the ones that need to be mounted level or near level, and there is usually an adjustment **** to tweak the internals to exact level. I have one of the super cheap models that just work on a timed ramp. The longer you hold the brake pedal, the more the controller ramps up the trailer brakes. Like all controllers it has a limit control so you can turn the brakes down with a empty trailer, and turn them up on a loaded trailer.

They have fancier models, the timed ramp and the pendulum are old technology, they have newer ones with different sensing inside the unit, but they are pretty expensive.

Like was said you really only need to run one blue wire along the frame to the rear from the controller for the trailer brakes, you can get all your lights from the rear lights of the truck. If you look up your model number of the controller on google, you can usually download the instructions from somewhere on the internet on how to hook it up.
 
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:01 AM
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P.S. Try not to mount your controller too far from reach. They all have a manual control **** were you can apply the trailer brakes only without touching the truck brakes. I have had to use this at least once that I remember, if you have ever seen a trailer start to sway out of control and the whole shooting match ends up on it's side (youtube videos) reaching down and applying the trailer brakes only will pull you out of a situation like that.
 
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Franklin2 View Post
The pendulum controllers can be touchy, they are the ones that need to be mounted level or near level, and there is usually an adjustment **** to tweak the internals to exact level. I have one of the super cheap models that just work on a timed ramp. The longer you hold the brake pedal, the more the controller ramps up the trailer brakes. Like all controllers it has a limit control so you can turn the brakes down with a empty trailer, and turn them up on a loaded trailer.

They have fancier models, the timed ramp and the pendulum are old technology, they have newer ones with different sensing inside the unit, but they are pretty expensive.

Like was said you really only need to run one blue wire along the frame to the rear from the controller for the trailer brakes, you can get all your lights from the rear lights of the truck. If you look up your model number of the controller on google, you can usually download the instructions from somewhere on the internet on how to hook it up.
They one I have in my 02 Durango is not touchy and does not need to be mounted level but it also is not a cheapie LOL
Some, like mine, will tell you if there is an issue with the wiring when the trailer is plugged in besides how much power it is sending to the trailer brakes when braking.
It also has adjustments for when you pull different trailer or even when loaded or not like my car trailer.

If you look thru Etrailer's site it has information on everything from how to wire the car/truck to trailer, info on different types of controllers to hitches, they have it all just look it over.
Not a good picture of mine, yes I got it from Uhaul as I needed it like NOW a few days after I got the truck and they had it in stock.

Dave ----
 
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Old 08-11-2018, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by FuzzFace2 View Post
They one I have in my 02 Durango is not touchy and does not need to be mounted level but it also is not a cheapie LOL-
Then it is not a pendulum unit.

 
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Old 08-11-2018, 04:21 PM
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Hydraulic brake controllers that tee into the vehicle's braking system are illegal in many jurisdictions nowadays.
The exception being the Ford Tow Command brake controller. It is is unique and uses the brake systems brake pressure transducer and communicates with the vehicles on board systems to control the trailer brakes.
It is the the only new style brake controller OE or otherwise that works by actively monitoring the braking systems line pressure.
All things being equal the proportional units (Pendulum) work the best, excepting Fords Tow Command controller.
 
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Old 08-11-2018, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Franklin2 View Post
Then it is not a pendulum unit.
You are right I had to look it up it is a re-badged Draw-Tite Activator II and it is a timed one.
I think I had the Uhaul one in the Durango, that is where that picture was taken, when I first got the truck till the controller below came in.

The one in my Durango today is a Tekonsha Prodigy P2 controller and I like it a lot. I don't remember and I could not find it if it is a timed type or not?
- No level adjustment necessary - it adjusts itself to varying terrain as you drive
- Numerous mounting options - including 360 degree vertical rotation
- Great for backing into tough spots, working proportionally in reverse with the ability to disable when not needed
- "Boost" feature gives users the ability to apply more initial trailer braking power when towing heavier trailer
I will look into this one again for my Ford Project when the time comes.

I don't remember what I had in my 86 K5 Blazer but it did have a controller.
All the cars / trucks (2 Ford wagons and a van and 73 Blazer) before the 86 Blazer were the type you had to tee into a brake line and all worked well.
Dave ----
 
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Old 08-11-2018, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by matthewq4b View Post
Hydraulic brake controllers that tee into the vehicle's braking system are illegal in many jurisdictions nowadays.
The exception being the Ford Tow Command brake controller. It is is unique and uses the brake systems brake pressure transducer and communicates with the vehicles on board systems to control the trailer brakes.
It is the the only new style brake controller OE or otherwise that works by actively monitoring the braking systems line pressure.
All things being equal the proportional units (Pendulum) work the best, excepting Fords Tow Command controller.
I have not see the type that tees in for sale and just figured it was because of the ABS and would not play nice.

After reading some of the factory trailer braking issues I don't know if that would be the way I would want to go but can under stand why you have to.
The on board computer want to "control" way to much for my liking. If you have sway don't have the trailer brake controller try and stop it. Stop and rebalance the load on the trailer or set the hitch up right.
I see way to many trailers nose too high or too low and this will throw off how it will tow and brake.
Just my .02
Dave ----
 
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Old 08-11-2018, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by FuzzFace2 View Post
I have not see the type that tees in for sale and just figured it was because of the ABS and would not play nice.

After reading some of the factory trailer braking issues I don't know if that would be the way I would want to go but can under stand why you have to.
The on board computer want to "control" way to much for my liking. If you have sway don't have the trailer brake controller try and stop it. Stop and rebalance the load on the trailer or set the hitch up right.
I see way to many trailers nose too high or too low and this will throw off how it will tow and brake.
Just my .02
Dave ----
That is some of the issue but the Tow Command conpensates for the ABS pulses in the hydraulic system.
The sway control aspect of the tow command option was not used till 11 the integrated brake controller came out in 05. The sway control is good feature but no replacement for properly balancing/loading the trailer or having a properly designed trailer.

I think most of the issues people have with the tow command are improperly loaded trailers, far and aways the most common issue are trailers with wiring faults or other mech issues in the trailers braking system, since tow command does communicate with the PCM it is expecting the trailer braking system and electrical system to be functioning correctly without elec faults or marginal components. All the sway control does is apply the trailer brakes and modulate engine power to stop sway when detected, just as you would do manually in the same situation. I think for some this is unnerving especially if people do not know how to properly recover from sway. The Tow Command is way more effective than 95% drivers could be. Where Tow Command with sway control can be a cluster is when you are pulling multiple trailers, a few jurisdictions like ours allow that. As it can get funky when the PCM and Tow Command take over with multiple trailers.
 
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