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Old 03-24-2015, 02:39 PM   #1
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Tow vehicle wire harness & brake controller

I'm researching electric brake controllers for my 2008 RAV4 and a 17B. From what I've found the Toyota harness ends in a 4pin that will require a 4 pin to 7pin adapter. Also needed will be two wires to provide 12V for the trailer battery & brakes. Has anyone done this set up and what brake controller do you recommend? Thanks
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Old 03-24-2015, 02:53 PM   #2
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I have Prodigy, which just about everybody recommends. I had it installed at the dealership by an after market guy at time of purchase. If you go to etrailer.com I'm confident that you will find videos etc. to help you.

I think there is a bit more to it than just the adapter.
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Old 03-24-2015, 05:24 PM   #3
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I've done it with a 2010 RAV4 Sport. Bought the Toyota 4 pin wiring harness (instructions) on line (cheaper than from my dealer), almost broke my neck finding the location under the dash to plug the front connector.

I used the information from this web page to run the additional wiring at the same time I ran the Toyota harness. I pretty much followed the web page, but added the wiring for a back up camera (for both the RAV4 & the trailer) at the same time. I used a Tekonsha Prodigy P3 controller mounted as shown on the web page. If you want to read about my antics running the wiring, check my Nantucket page I wrote while doing the project. #6 wire from the battery to the breaker panel under the glove box, then #12 for the brake controller & #10 for the charge line. Finding a place for the 50 amp fuse in the engine compartment near the battery was probably the most difficult part, although there are a lot of panels to remove & replace to make the run from the front to the back.

I didn't use a 4 pin to 7 pin adapter; used a sealed 7 pin connector & spliced the Toyota harness wires to the correct ones on the 7 pin connector. I prefer the sealed version of the 7 pin connector to the back wired versions - less chance of water getting into the works.

I also added a solenoid in the space above the driver's side rear tire well in the charging circuit. It is powered by the 12V receptacle in the same location so that it shuts off the charge line when the RAV4 isn't running. This is useful for preventing killing the tow vehicle battery when parked & running the refrigerator on 12V...
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Old 03-24-2015, 09:50 PM   #4
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I wired my Sienna, but it's much the same situation...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
I didn't use a 4 pin to 7 pin adapter; used a sealed 7 pin connector & spliced the Toyota harness wires to the correct ones on the 7 pin connector. I prefer the sealed version of the 7 pin connector to the back wired versions - less chance of water getting into the works.
I used an adapter that plugs into the factory 4-pin, but in hindsight I should have taken Jon's route. When I needed to use the 4-pin socket (to pull a rental trailer), the plug for the adapter was corroded into the socket, and I couldn't get it apart - I had to cut off the connection and wire in a new 4-pin socket in a parking lot.

To do this properly, I would use a receptacle with both 7-pin and 4-pin sockets (for flexibility of trailer use), and connect the tug's trailer wiring to it directly.

Whatever you use for a receptacle, remember that the ground (normally white) wire of the 4-wire lighting harness does not have the capacity for trailer brakes or a battery charge circuit, so a larger-gauge ground wire is needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
I also added a solenoid in the space above the driver's side rear tire well in the charging circuit. It is powered by the 12V receptacle in the same location so that it shuts off the charge line when the RAV4 isn't running. This is useful for preventing killing the tow vehicle battery when parked & running the refrigerator on 12V...
Power to the trailer (not power to the brake controller) should definitely be wired through a relay like this, located where ever works for your vehicle and preferably controlled by an accessory-power circuit like Jon's. Mine is under the hood and controlled by an ignition-powered circuit.
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Old 04-02-2015, 02:57 PM   #5
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Thanks Jon, just the info I was looking for. Another question. Does it make a difference using the factory harness that hooks up under the dash or use a Curt harness that hooks up using a T-connector at the rear tail lights? The Curt looks like it would be an easier installation.
Thanks, Jim
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Old 04-02-2015, 04:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bailiej757 View Post
Thanks Jon, just the info I was looking for. Another question. Does it make a difference using the factory harness that hooks up under the dash or use a Curt harness that hooks up using a T-connector at the rear tail lights? The Curt looks like it would be an easier installation.
Thanks, Jim
To be honest, I don't know. My concern was with the wire size used by Toyota to get to the back of the trailer. Since they use LED lighting, the current levels are low; the trailer is wired with standard incandescent lamps, so they draw far more current than the LEDs. By running to the front, there is no chance of overloading the rear lighting circuits of the RAV4.

That said, on every other tow vehicle I've used, I've spliced into the existing wiring with no problems. It is certainly easier & cheaper...
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