Brake controller challenge with 2018 Highlander - Escape Trailer Owners Community

Go Back   Escape Trailer Owners Community > Escape Tech > Towing and Hitching
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 08-24-2018, 11:15 AM   #1
Senior Member
 
kstock11's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Asheville, North Carolina
Trailer: 2014 Escape 19
Posts: 806
Brake controller challenge with 2018 Highlander

Iíve just picked up a new 2018 Toyota Highlander LE Plus to tow my 2014 Escape 19. When installing the brake controller that I used for my Acadia, the installer is having a challenge. When he taps into the brake light switch, he gets a low brake power warning. The local Toyota service advisor told me ďyou canít tow with that vehicle!Ē (although Toyota advertises 5000 tow rating and brake controller needed for over 1000 lbs) Glad I didnít buy there! Any advice would be appreciated!
__________________

kstock11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2018, 11:31 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Notasulga, Alabama
Trailer: 2010 EggCamper (#083); 2017 Escape 21 (#053); 2016 F-150 5.0L FX4
Posts: 1,744
Quote:
Originally Posted by kstock11 View Post
I’ve just picked up a new 2018 Toyota Highlander LE Plus to tow my 2014 Escape 19. When installing the brake controller that I used for my Acadia, the installer is having a challenge. When he taps into the brake light switch, he gets a low brake power warning. The local Toyota service advisor told me “you can’t tow with that vehicle!” (although Toyota advertises 5000 tow rating and brake controller needed for over 1000 lbs) Glad I didn’t buy there! Any advice would be appreciated!
I'm not sure what you mean by, "... taps into the brake light switch, ...", so I'm talking beyond my knowledge here (of your situation and for basic brake controller wiring), but just to be clear, did the installer run a dedicated large gauge, high voltage wire directly from the tow vehicle battery, under the chassis, to the rear receptacle? A high voltage wire that actually carries enough current to activate the trailer brakes? I'm still trying to understand your situation. Also, just curious, did your new new Highlander have a "plug and play" electrical socket up under the dash to simply plug your controller into (using an appropriate wiring harness to match your controller with your car)? If so, that seems to be more confirmation that your new tow vehicle was, indeed, intended to be able to tow a trailer of significant weight to require trailer brakes.
__________________

War Eagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2018, 11:32 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Iowa Dave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Benton County, Iowa
Trailer: 2013 Escape 21 Classic Number 6, pulled by 2018 Toyota Highlander
Posts: 4,350
Not to be critical but could it be a voltage requirement of the controller is higher than what is coming off the switch circuit? When they wired up our 2018 controller (a Tekshonka P3) it came out working properly. The tech did a very neat and complete job but it did take him considerably longer than the flat rate to fish the wires and figure out how it all went together. I was supposed to get it back late on a Friday and it took him 6 hours on Monday to finish. But it was right. Some folks give up or make excuses. We are just back from N.E Iowa where it’s pretty hilly. I had the Telshonka set on 4.0 at highway speeds and 2.8 on lesser traveled blacktops. My salesman suggested that the Highlander might not be meant for towing till I showed him the 2ft by 3 ft poster of a Highlander in the customer waiting room towing a huge boat on a tandem axle trailer with the caption “Highlander for the big towing jobs” or something like that. Then we went to see the service manager who was better informed and very helpful. I do have a ten gauge wire fished through the body ( not
Underneath) protected with circuit breakers coming off the battery. Hope this helps a little.
Iowa Dave
__________________
Strike while the iron is hot. Live every day as if it were your last and one day you will be right.
Dave
Iowa Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2018, 11:49 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Notasulga, Alabama
Trailer: 2010 EggCamper (#083); 2017 Escape 21 (#053); 2016 F-150 5.0L FX4
Posts: 1,744
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowa Dave View Post
... I do have a ten gauge wire fished through the body ( not Underneath) protected with circuit breakers coming off the battery. Hope this helps a little. Iowa Dave
An experienced, conscientious installer is worth the extra time and money to avoid problems down the road. Without me asking (or even knowing about them at the time), our installer included in-line auto-reset circuit breakers to protect our tow vehicle and brake controller just in case I or someone else did something stupid (Murphy's Law) with the trailer wiring in the future. He was very polite explaining it, and I was very thankful for his wisdom.
War Eagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2018, 01:11 PM   #5
Site Team
 
cpaharley2008's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Chilliwack, British Columbia
Trailer: Escape#4, 2019 Escape21 DejaView pulled by 2014 Ram Hemi/8sp
Posts: 19,799
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowa Dave View Post
Not to be critical but could it be a voltage requirement of the controller is higher than what is coming off the switch circuit? When they wired up our 2018 controller (a Tekshonka P3) it came out working properly. The tech did a very neat and complete job but it did take him considerably longer than the flat rate to fish the wires and figure out how it all went together. I was supposed to get it back late on a Friday and it took him 6 hours on Monday to finish. But it was right. Some folks give up or make excuses. We are just back from N.E Iowa where itís pretty hilly. I had the Telshonka set on 4.0 at highway speeds and 2.8 on lesser traveled blacktops. My salesman suggested that the Highlander might not be meant for towing till I showed him the 2ft by 3 ft poster of a Highlander in the customer waiting room towing a huge boat on a tandem axle trailer with the caption ďHighlander for the big towing jobsĒ or something like that. Then we went to see the service manager who was better informed and very helpful. I do have a ten gauge wire fished through the body ( not
Underneath) protected with circuit breakers coming off the battery. Hope this helps a little.
Iowa Dave
So you change your brake setting's while towing? I only change mine when I'm with a new trailer ( I know, that maybe more often that when Dave tows but still) and have never changed the setting unless it is a different trailer. Why the changes??
__________________
Jim
"Never in doubt,..... often wrong!"
cpaharley2008 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2018, 02:34 PM   #6
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Chelsea, Quebec
Trailer: Escape 2018 / 17B
Posts: 9
About your 2018 Highlander brk ctrl setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by kstock11 View Post
Iíve just picked up a new 2018 Toyota Highlander LE Plus to tow my 2014 Escape 19. When installing the brake controller that I used for my Acadia, the installer is having a challenge. When he taps into the brake light switch, he gets a low brake power warning. The local Toyota service advisor told me ďyou canít tow with that vehicle!Ē (although Toyota advertises 5000 tow rating and brake controller needed for over 1000 lbs) Glad I didnít buy there! Any advice would be appreciated!
Hi,
I have wired my controller to 2 previous different vehicles myself. And this year I wired the controller to my 2018 Highlander LE AWD.

The most difficult part is to get access to the wire harness coming out of the brake pedal switch. Once you uncover the wires, you'll see a larger gauge green wire than the rest of those in the bundle.

This is where you splice in the brake signal wire from the controller. Check that when you press the brake pedal the signal shows +12V. It should show 0V otherwise.

Then you'll need larger gauge wires (I used 10 gauge) to connect the positive side of the battery (+12V) through a circuit breaker (~30A) onto the brake power line onto the controller. Also use the larger gauge wire to connect the controller brake (output) wire to the trailer 7 pin connector. You'll also want another wire from the battery through another breaker to supply +12V to the trailer connector.

Here is some info about how I recommend you setup the Highlander on board CPU via the steering wheel controls. First disable the Line Departure feature along with the auto correction as recommended in the Toyota manual. I also disable the PCS (Pre-Collision System).

Important Note:
When you activate the manual brake control on the controller you will get a flashing message stating that the PCS system has failed and to go see a dealer. IGNORE this message as nothing is broken. You can clear this message by turning off/on the engine when appropriate. Some have gone around this "problem" by inserting a diode into the brake signal line going to the brake controller. A caveat to this mod is you may prevent the brake lights from coming on.

If you depress lightly (or not) the brake pedal and activate the controller manual brake, the failure message will not appear.

This "failure" message appears because other secondary lines from the brake switch must be activated simultaneously with the main brake signal, which doesn't happen with manual activation.

Hope this helps.
bitsnbytes13 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2018, 03:07 PM   #7
Site Team
 
padlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Southwick, Massachusetts
Trailer: 5.0 TA #6, 2012 F150 EB
Posts: 5,898
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
So you change your brake setting's while towing? I only change mine when I'm with a new trailer ( I know, that maybe more often that when Dave tows but still) and have never changed the setting unless it is a different trailer. Why the changes??
I've bumped mine up a point or so a few times coming down some of the long wining hills out west when I wanted the trailer to do a little more of the braking. Once at the bottom I've returned it.
__________________
Happy Motoring
Bob
padlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2018, 04:12 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Trailer: 1979 Boler B1700
Posts: 11,990
Quote:
Originally Posted by kstock11 View Post
Iíve just picked up a new 2018 Toyota Highlander LE Plus to tow my 2014 Escape 19. When installing the brake controller that I used for my Acadia, the installer is having a challenge. When he taps into the brake light switch, he gets a low brake power warning.
The brake light signal is needed to trigger the controller, but very little current is needed from this circuit, so it is not a wire gauge issue. In addition to the Highlander-specific quirks described above, there are multiple wires on a typical brake pedal switch (of any model or brand of vehicle) and it is easy to pick the wrong one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kstock11 View Post
The local Toyota service advisor told me ďyou canít tow with that vehicle!Ē (although Toyota advertises 5000 tow rating and brake controller needed for over 1000 lbs) Glad I didnít buy there!
I would talk to the new vehicle sales manager (or general manager) at the dealership, tell them that this service advisor is driving customers away by lying about the capability of their products, and see how far they bend over backwards to make me happy.
Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2018, 04:19 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Iowa Dave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Benton County, Iowa
Trailer: 2013 Escape 21 Classic Number 6, pulled by 2018 Toyota Highlander
Posts: 4,350
Thatís right

Quote:
Originally Posted by bitsnbytes13 View Post
Hi,
I have wired my controller to 2 previous different vehicles myself. And this year I wired the controller to my 2018 Highlander LE AWD.

The most difficult part is to get access to the wire harness coming out of the brake pedal switch. Once you uncover the wires, you'll see a larger gauge green wire than the rest of those in the bundle.

This is where you splice in the brake signal wire from the controller. Check that when you press the brake pedal the signal shows +12V. It should show 0V otherwise.

Then you'll need larger gauge wires (I used 10 gauge) to connect the positive side of the battery (+12V) through a circuit breaker (~30A) onto the brake power line onto the controller. Also use the larger gauge wire to connect the controller brake (output) wire to the trailer 7 pin connector. You'll also want another wire from the battery through another breaker to supply +12V to the trailer connector.

Here is some info about how I recommend you setup the Highlander on board CPU via the steering wheel controls. First disable the Line Departure feature along with the auto correction as recommended in the Toyota manual. I also disable the PCS (Pre-Collision System).

Important Note:
When you activate the manual brake control on the controller you will get a flashing message stating that the PCS system has failed and to go see a dealer. IGNORE this message as nothing is broken. You can clear this message by turning off/on the engine when appropriate. Some have gone around this "problem" by inserting a diode into the brake signal line going to the brake controller. A caveat to this mod is you may prevent the brake lights from coming on.

If you depress lightly (or not) the brake pedal and activate the controller manual brake, the failure message will not appear.

This "failure" message appears because other secondary lines from the brake switch must be activated simultaneously with the main brake signal, which doesn't happen with manual activation.

Hope this helps.
The circuit breakers (2) on our Highlander are installed exactly as described in this post. I did not disable the lane drift feature as I let the correction happen numerous times on purpose and the 21 tracks so tight that I do not get any sway and itís rare that I experience the correction. When I start out on a trip I manually activate the brakes in the asphalt driveway and they stop the whole rig quickly. The failure message comes up, I shut off the Highlander, restart and message goes away and I proceed up the driveway. Yes Jim, I change the setting with regard to speed, steepness of hills encountered, road surface and road conditions. Iíve been doing this since pulling a 7,000 pound tree spade with a 3/4 ton pickup in 1972. I know of at least one experienced towing team that regularly uses the manual override, co-pilot on the controller, driver on the brake pedal. Thatís teamwork. Hope all is going well for you and all other fall escapees.
Iowa Dave
__________________
Strike while the iron is hot. Live every day as if it were your last and one day you will be right.
Dave
Iowa Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2018, 04:26 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
kstock11's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Asheville, North Carolina
Trailer: 2014 Escape 19
Posts: 806
I wanted to thank everyone who responded! You guys are great. I printed out the instructions, showed the installer and he’ll take care of this for me.
__________________
Kevin
Thanks to the interstate highway system, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything - Charles Kuralt
kstock11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2018, 04:54 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Iowa Dave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Benton County, Iowa
Trailer: 2013 Escape 21 Classic Number 6, pulled by 2018 Toyota Highlander
Posts: 4,350
Locations

Hereís a few pictures of our setup
Dual 10 gauge wires coming off the battery + side
Location of the two circuit breakers (Yellow wires) one is behind the brake fluid jug, the other just off the negative side of the battery.
Location of the Tekshonka P 3. Ahead of my right knee on the underside of the dash
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 21F5308C-BF90-435F-B7E2-9C5B5E8B8682.jpg (224.7 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg F24573B5-37D9-45B2-937B-37561CF395FB.jpg (206.0 KB, 30 views)
File Type: jpg 124FD32B-62FF-44D6-9045-ACC1BF0FB7B6.jpg (117.1 KB, 19 views)
__________________
Strike while the iron is hot. Live every day as if it were your last and one day you will be right.
Dave
Iowa Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2018, 11:53 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Central Florida, Florida
Trailer: 2017 Escape 17B SOLD
Posts: 115
A very informative thread for me, i am also having problems with my 2017 highlander & the prodigy P2 brake Controller combination
disneydoc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2018, 12:03 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Tam2004's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Bend, Oregon
Trailer: 2018 ESCAPE19
Posts: 146
We found out that our local Toyota takes the new Toyota's to Jerry's in Bend Oregon to install the electronics - so we took our brand new Toyota to a good trailer place that knows how to wire it. That is silly to say it can't haul an Escape when it is rated at 5000 pounds. What is silly is that Toyota made us all add the wiring for a brake controller after we have paid Toyota for a hauling system for 5000 pounds. So refuse to pay them and call around to the trailer sites.
Tam2004 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2018, 12:57 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: SLO County CA, California
Trailer: 2014 21
Posts: 3,426
Why No 7-Pin

RV101(Mark Polk) asked Toyota the same question while trying to help an owner who was having problems. The trailer in question is heavier than an Escape 21, yet within the specs.

https://rvingwithmarkpolk.com/2016/0...ng-questioned/

__________________
"We gotta get as far away as we can!"
- Russell Casse, Independence Day
Rossue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2018, 01:38 PM   #15
Senior Member
 
Tam2004's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Bend, Oregon
Trailer: 2018 ESCAPE19
Posts: 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossue View Post
RV101(Mark Polk) asked Toyota the same question while trying to help an owner who was having problems. The trailer in question is heavier than an Escape 21, yet within the specs.

https://rvingwithmarkpolk.com/2016/0...ng-questioned/

Kendall Toyota in Bend OR knew the answer after we bought our 2018 Toyota Highlander from on-line Springfield OR (after Kendall did not treat us the way we asked) and found out we had to get the car wired for a brake controller. Fortunately we learned they charge extra for taking the car over to Jerry's RV -not far away. So we saved ourselves and took it straight to Jerry's. Are you talking about them when you say Toyota? If so, maybe all the staff don't know. I am just annoyed that Toyota still makes us wire for the brake controller as if all we are going to pull is a boat. We had to wire our 2004 Highlander, but thought when we bought the tow package on the new car that it would be there! BAD BAD.
Tam2004 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2018, 01:57 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Trailer: 2013 Li'l Hauley
Posts: 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossue View Post
RV101(Mark Polk) asked Toyota the same question while trying to help an owner who was having problems. The trailer in question is heavier than an Escape 21, yet within the specs.

https://rvingwithmarkpolk.com/2016/0...ng-questioned/

Mark Polk seems to take the owner's word about the trailer weight. But I see no sign that the owner ever actually weighed the trailer or tongue with a scale. I would be willing to bet that the loaded tongue weight was well over the 500 lb. limit. An advertised dry weight of 468 lbs is almost certain to be in excess of 550, and could be 700 lbs or higher, once the owner added LP, battery, water, and gear. Toyota is correct, without the ability to check the actual trailer, nothing can be accurately resolved.
Mike G is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2018, 02:34 PM   #17
Senior Member
 
Tam2004's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Bend, Oregon
Trailer: 2018 ESCAPE19
Posts: 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike G View Post
Mark Polk seems to take the owner's word about the trailer weight. But I see no sign that the owner ever actually weighed the trailer or tongue with a scale. I would be willing to bet that the loaded tongue weight was well over the 500 lb. limit. An advertised dry weight of 468 lbs is almost certain to be in excess of 550, and could be 700 lbs or higher, once the owner added LP, battery, water, and gear. Toyota is correct, without the ability to check the actual trailer, nothing can be accurately resolved.
Since our Escape 19 has a rated 256 pound hitch weight - that should be well within the 500 pound 2018 Highlander - correct? I thought the confusion was that the Highlander is not wired for a trailer brake and we have to add it. I guess Toyota wants us to make our own decisions?
Tam2004 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2018, 02:40 PM   #18
Senior Member
 
Tam2004's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Bend, Oregon
Trailer: 2018 ESCAPE19
Posts: 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tam2004 View Post
Since our Escape 19 has a rated 256 pound hitch weight - that should be well within the 500 pound 2018 Highlander - correct? I thought the confusion was that the Highlander is not wired for a trailer brake and we have to add it. I guess Toyota wants us to make our own decisions?
Others might like this site:

https://www.doubledtrailers.com/dang...a-safe-weight/
Tam2004 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2018, 04:11 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: SLO County CA, California
Trailer: 2014 21
Posts: 3,426
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tam2004 View Post
Kendall Toyota in Bend OR knew the answer after we bought our 2018 Toyota Highlander from on-line Springfield OR (after Kendall did not treat us the way we asked) and found out we had to get the car wired for a brake controller. Fortunately we learned they charge extra for taking the car over to Jerry's RV -not far away. So we saved ourselves and took it straight to Jerry's. Are you talking about them when you say Toyota?.....
No, Mark Polk is saying Toyota Corporate is who he couldn't get pertinent questions answered. No surprise based on other forum member's similar experience.
__________________
"We gotta get as far away as we can!"
- Russell Casse, Independence Day
Rossue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2018, 04:18 PM   #20
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: SLO County CA, California
Trailer: 2014 21
Posts: 3,426
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike G View Post
Mark Polk seems to take the owner's word about the trailer weight. But I see no sign that the owner ever actually weighed the trailer or tongue with a scale. I would be willing to bet that the loaded tongue weight was well over the 500 lb. limit. An advertised dry weight of 468 lbs is almost certain to be in excess of 550, and could be 700 lbs or higher, once the owner added LP, battery, water, and gear. Toyota is correct, without the ability to check the actual trailer, nothing can be accurately resolved.
Could be- that was my thought, however in checking 2015 Flagstaff on NADA Guides I see Base Weight of 4051 and hitch weight of 455. That still doesn't take away from the important questions Mark Polk asked of Toyota that were ignored. To be fair I would expect the same no response from probably every auto mfg. The one thing that sticks out to me is the fact that the 4Runner has less tow capacity (4800) than a Highlander yet has a 7-Pin connector vs. a four pin you would expect to tow a rental trailer to the trash dump.
__________________

__________________
"We gotta get as far away as we can!"
- Russell Casse, Independence Day
Rossue is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
brake, controller, highlander

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off






» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Escape Trailer Industries or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:56 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.
×