2002 Exhaust Brake with Brains

For many years exhaust brakes were controlled by a micro-switch, which is a simple on-off device just like a light switch at home. Since the brake is a mechanical device it can stick or otherwise malfunction, and it only knows how to do one thing: turn on and turn off.

Banks entered the exhaust brake market with a mechanical brake that was not only designed to add horsepower when not in use but was also the first to use cutting-edge electronics. The Banks Computerized Brake Controller (or CBC for short) was a breakthrough in adding “smarts” to an exhaust brake and its introduction made the Banks Brake the world’s first computer-controlled exhaust brake. Unlike a micro-switch (which is mechanically mounted to the throttle linkage to activate when it’s closed) the CBC was electronically hooked into the throttle position sensor (TPS) to tell when the throttle closes, connected into the vehicle speed sensor (VSS) to tell it how fast the vehicle is going (including when it’s not moving) and was connected into the engine coolant temperature sensor (ECT) so it knew what the coolant temperature was.

The Banks CBC could do things like turning off the brake below 15 mph in case you forget to deactivate it, “cycle” the brake on every cold start providing preventative maintenance, keep the brake closed to act as a warm-up valve until the coolant was up to optimal operation temps allowing the engine to warm up faster for example and would cancel the cruise control whenever the brake was activated.

The Banks SmartLock Trans Brake was another first in electronic braking devices that worked in conjunction with the Banks Brake and CBC enhancing transmission control and preventing damage to service brakes. It gives extra power and control from your transmission, preventing clutch slipping, making smart shifts automatically with the exhaust brake, and extending the service life of your transmission and engine systems. The addition of the Banks SmartLock for automatic transmissions optimized the Banks Brake performance and kept trans temps low while allowing more braking power.

With these two advancements in electronically controlled braking, the Banks Brake was (and still is to this day as it and the electronics are still for sale) the most advanced mechanical exhaust braking system around.