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Old 05-07-2024, 08:02 AM   #1
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Urgent recs for brake cont and wdh. I know nothing 🤣

Good morning,
Just bought a used e19 and towing with a 2014 ford flex w tow package. I have seen in this forum that it hasnt been a problem with a flex. (4500-5000lb capacity) I know theres tons of info here but i am supposed to pick it up in 2 days from current owner an hour away.

Questions
1. Can i safely tow it home without wdh or brake controller? I do have 7 pin connector. All freeway and flat.
2. Do i need wired brake controller or wireless ones ok? Specific recs?
3. Is there a great wdh i should get? The owner has but bent the bar backing up his trailer so dont want that one.
4. Any backup cameras you like?

As you may be able to gather i have quite a bit of trepidation regarding towing this thing. And the first thing i saw when i joined the forum is a flipped escape. No thank you!! Any help is appreciated.
Thanks tons,
Matt
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Old 05-07-2024, 09:48 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigPapa View Post
Good morning,
Just bought a used e19 and towing with a 2014 ford flex w tow package. I have seen in this forum that it hasnt been a problem with a flex. (4500-5000lb capacity) I know theres tons of info here but i am supposed to pick it up in 2 days from current owner an hour away.

Questions
1. Can i safely tow it home without wdh or brake controller? I do have 7 pin connector. All freeway and flat.
2. Do i need wired brake controller or wireless ones ok? Specific recs?
3. Is there a great wdh i should get? The owner has but bent the bar backing up his trailer so dont want that one.
4. Any backup cameras you like?

As you may be able to gather i have quite a bit of trepidation regarding towing this thing. And the first thing i saw when i joined the forum is a flipped escape. No thank you!! Any help is appreciated.
Thanks tons,
Matt
No you must have a brake controller as the trailer exceeds the weight that requires it.
Tekonosha are popular and durable.
A lot of people like the blue ox, though I have a much heavier trailer and use an equalizer.
Etrailer.con has a selection.
I suspect your ford flex requires a relay for the controller
My old f150 was pre wired for it and the install of the controller was simple
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Old 05-07-2024, 09:55 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldwave View Post
No you must have a brake controller as the trailer exceeds the weight that requires it.
Tekonosha are popular and durable.
A lot of people like the blue ox, though I have a much heavier trailer and use an equalizer.
Etrailer.con has a selection.
I suspect your ford flex requires a relay for the controller
My old f150 was pre wired for it and the install of the controller was simple
Ok thanks Oldwave.

Super dumb question. How can i install a break controller if i do not have the trailer? Meaning i need to tow it somewhere to get it done or take it home to have it done. But if im understanding you, its not safe to move the trailer without a controller? These are serious questions not at all a sarcastic response. I dont know nothing. ;-)
Matt
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Old 05-07-2024, 10:18 AM   #4
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With a full size truck or suv I would consider towing it home without trailer brakes but I wouldn't with your vehicle. Also without knowing your location, traffic hills etc. I wouldn't recommend it.

I had an RV trailer delivered one time many years ago by a trailer house moving company. They were happy to do it and it didn't cost a lot. An other option would be to rent a U-Haul truck for the day to tow it with.

I would see if the seller can hold onto it until you can get your brake controller installed. It would only take you or a shop a few hours to install it, once you have the controller. If your vehicle already has a seven pin plug it's even easier as you are already wired for a controller.

You don't need to have the trailer to install the controller in your Flex just the vehicle and a brake controller. Here's a You Tube installing a brake controller in a Flex.

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Old 05-07-2024, 10:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by BigPapa View Post
Ok thanks Oldwave.

Super dumb question. How can i install a break controller if i do not have the trailer? Meaning i need to tow it somewhere to get it done or take it home to have it done. But if im understanding you, its not safe to move the trailer without a controller? These are serious questions not at all a sarcastic response. I dont know nothing. ;-)
Matt
The brake controller can be installed before the trailer is picked up. I’d start with medium to heavy preset with a slight boost. There is a way to set it in a parking lot and locking up the brakes, though I never did that and towed for 4 years successfully. You might ask the previous owner his or her settings. Your owners manual may have some info. The trailer has all the wiring for brakes , the controller is installed in the truck where you can get to the emergency actuation of the brake controller in a sever sway event. That said the 19 is pretty stable from what I hear. If it’s short distance towing without the wdh probably ok though I’d avoid high speed freeway towing until it’s installed. Take all this advice with a grain of salt. I’m not sure what the payload of the flex is, but I suspect it’s adequate enough to get home .

It only took me an hour to install the tekoshona on a 2004 f150.

https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Bra...sha/90195.html

Ps the gvwr of a 19 is 4400 and is at the top end of the flex. However with the proper wdh, you should be able to tow safely
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Old 05-07-2024, 10:59 AM   #6
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Yep, you gotta have the controller and it installs in the vehicle, so you can do it without the trailer. You will need to adjust it once the trailer is connected.
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Old 05-07-2024, 11:54 AM   #7
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Since you asked about wireless- Iíve used a Tekonsha RF brake controller since we got our trailer in 2017. Never had any problems with it. It does require installing the actual brake control module on the trailer itself though and would probably make the trailer pickup more complicated rather than less for you. The Curt Echo is a plug-n-play brake wireless controller that seems to get good reviews but I canít personally speak to itís operation. Also, I donít really like the idea of a phone for manual trailer brake override.

I chose the Tekonsha RF because the only reasonable location in our vehicle for a wired unit was near my knee and I was unsure if putting it there would turn it into shrapnel for the knee airbag. Some people are concerned that the wireless is maybe unreliable due to risk of dropped communications. Iíve never seen this happen with the Tekonsha. Even if it did, the brake controller continues to operate as normal. The remote unit is only used to adjust settings or to manually engage the brakes.
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Old 05-07-2024, 11:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldwave View Post

There is a way to set it in a parking lot and locking up the brakes,
Don't do that on asphalt! Get a feel for it on gravel. Dragging a locked up wheel on pavement isn't a good thing.

Ideally you'll have someone observing from the side watching the wheels as you apply maximum braking. On gravel both wheels should lockup and slide. If one keeps turning a brake adjustment might be required.

Practice the manual override so that you can apply it slowly and firmly in case you need extra trailer braking for an unexpected sudden slow down.

Ron
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Old 05-07-2024, 01:03 PM   #9
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As others have mentioned having a brake controller is very important. The feeling of having your truck do all the braking is not a good feeling. I have a 2018 GMC Canyon that came with a factory installed brake controller. When picking up our trailer for the first time (and the first time I have ever towed anything) it was recommended the controller be set to 8. That seemed pretty good, but as the new brakes got seated, 8 was way to high. Now the trailer seemed to be doing all the braking and that doesn't feel good either. In the GMC manual it suggested pulling the trailer on a straight piece of road at 40 kmh, (25 mph) apply the brake controller manually to maximum. If the trailer brakes lock up, lower the brake controller setting until they don't lock up. In my case the setting on the controller went from 8 to 2. The truck and the trailer now feel like they are totally in sync when it comes to braking.

As for a weight distribution hitch, I use the Anderson and am very happy with it. Has built in sway control, quiet operation and easy to set up.

I can appreciate your trepidation on pulling a trailer for the first time. That was me as well, but with my set up, and the Escape 19 towing characteristics it soon became much more comfortable. One thing I would suggest is don't ever exceed 100 - 105 kmh (60 -65 mph)

And using this forum was a fantastic resource for a newbie like me. From towing safely, fixing trailer issues or helpful modifications this forum has a wealth of very experienced people who are willing to share their knowledge
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Old 05-07-2024, 02:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigPapa View Post
Good morning,
Just bought a used e19 and towing with a 2014 ford flex w tow package. I have seen in this forum that it hasnt been a problem with a flex. (4500-5000lb capacity) I know theres tons of info here but i am supposed to pick it up in 2 days from current owner an hour away.

Questions
1. Can i safely tow it home without wdh or brake controller? I do have 7 pin connector. All freeway and flat.
2. Do i need wired brake controller or wireless ones ok? Specific recs?
3. Is there a great wdh i should get? The owner has but bent the bar backing up his trailer so dont want that one.
4. Any backup cameras you like?

As you may be able to gather i have quite a bit of trepidation regarding towing this thing. And the first thing i saw when i joined the forum is a flipped escape. No thank you!! Any help is appreciated.
Thanks tons,
Matt
Try asking the seller to deliver for a fee, otherwise I would be bringing my trailer home. Just regulate your speed leaving a big space between you and the traffic in front of you. If possible you could use side streets and drive even slower.

Unknown to myself and many others the trailer brakes werenít working properly due manufacturer error and we were driving unaware. You have a plus as you know to be extra careful and to address this before you go camping.
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Old 05-07-2024, 03:37 PM   #11
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I'm not exactly risk adverse but if the trailer is an hour away, by normal road speeds, towing it without brakes is pushing things a little. I might do it on back roads for a bit but not in that situation.

I have also had my trailer hookup inspected for compliance. No brake hookup might be a concern if they found out and certainly the liability is there in the event of an accident.

Ron
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Old 05-07-2024, 03:49 PM   #12
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I have used the Prodigy, a Curt wireless and the built in RAM controller. In my experience, built in is the way to go as it has been engineered from the start. The Prodigy is next as it is integrated through the OBD port. The Curt actually works quite well as it is not necessary to get it to talk through the vehicle wiring.

The Curt is a bit clunky as it is essentially an extended tube that connects first to your 7 pin receptacle and then you plug your trailer fitting into it. That adds about 7+ inches between the vehicle 7 pin receptacle and the trailer pig tail. It is also advisable to rig a safety line to the Curt in case it pops out. Never had it happen, but it could. Once you get it installed, it functions quite well through your smart phone.
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Old 05-07-2024, 04:00 PM   #13
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Considering this is your first attempt at towing and acquiring the trailer is a time-sensitive situation:

If you can't arrange to have it delivered, I would rent a 3/4 ton truck to tow the trailer home. Such a truck is all-but guaranteed to have a built-in brake controller, have no need for a WD hitch, nor tow mirrors.

Additionally, it will tow a E19 effortlessly. There will be more-than-ample power and the tail will most certainly not be wagging the dog. I can't think of a better experience for a first-time tower.

Once you get the trailer home, you can take your time to select a brake controller/hitch that best suites your current TV....or go shopping for a more capable TV.
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Old 05-07-2024, 04:37 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Selkirk View Post
Considering this is your first attempt at towing and acquiring the trailer is a time-sensitive situation:

If you can't arrange to have it delivered, I would rent a 3/4 ton truck to tow the trailer home. Such a truck is all-but guaranteed to have a built-in brake controller, have no need for a WD hitch, nor tow mirrors.

Additionally, it will tow a E19 effortlessly. There will be more-than-ample power and the tail will most certainly not be wagging the dog. I can't think of a better experience for a first-time tower.

Once you get the trailer home, you can take your time to select a brake controller/hitch that best suites your current TV....or go shopping for a more capable TV.
Agreed, I recommended a U-haul truck because most places it's hard to find a regular pick up truck to rent but it would be better than a U-haul for a lot of reasons. Maybe an equipment rental place, some Lowes and HDs rent trucks for people to haul materials, usually a flatbed, don't know if they would rent them for a purpose like this though.
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Old 05-07-2024, 06:00 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
I'm not exactly risk adverse but if the trailer is an hour away, by normal road speeds, towing it without brakes is pushing things a little. I might do it on back roads for a bit but not in that situation.

I have also had my trailer hookup inspected for compliance. No brake hookup might be a concern if they found out and certainly the liability is there in the event of an accident.

Ron
I would have the camper insured before hooking it up and just control my speed, make it a two hour trip. Controlling speed is the ultimate safety measure.

Best case scenario is purchase the correct tow vehicle before you buy your camper.
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Old 05-08-2024, 12:28 AM   #16
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still not clear

ok so i dont understand if i have the tow package on the flex from the factory, i have a 7 pin and 4 pin plug by the hitch, i still need a seperate brake controller?

btw you guys are all so awesome for helping me with such amazing information. i am sure this will click but not making sense yet. btw based on ya'alls recommendations i am borrowing my brother in laws f150 to bring the trailer home.

thanks tons,
matt
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Old 05-08-2024, 12:52 AM   #17
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ďTow packageĒ is a catchall term that can mean there is a receiver and lighting at the low end all the way to full featured brake controller and even trailer backing capability.

Factory brake controllers typically reveal themselves somewhere on the dashboard with some method of applying the trailer brakes separate from the brake pedal which activates both the vehicle and trailer brakes. Activating the trailer brakes alone can stabilize a trailer that is trying to move laterally (sway).
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Old 05-08-2024, 06:47 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigPapa View Post
ok so i dont understand if i have the tow package on the flex from the factory, i have a 7 pin and 4 pin plug by the hitch, i still need a seperate brake controller?

btw you guys are all so awesome for helping me with such amazing information. i am sure this will click but not making sense yet. btw based on ya'alls recommendations i am borrowing my brother in laws f150 to bring the trailer home.

thanks tons,
matt
F150 or not, IMO you still need a brake controller.

I have never owned a Ford so take this with a grain of salt: in my experience vehicles with a trailer hitch and 7-pin connector will be pre-wired for a brake controller. That means there should be a bundle of wires under the dash that will plug directly into a brake controller. Your owners manual for the Flex or the F150 may describe where to find those wires. Alternately, Google will show more than a million answers if you do a search. YouTube is also your friend. It will just be a matter of looking under the dash somewhere around the location of the steering column to find the wires. From there it is a simple matter of attaching the connector to the back of the brake controller and mounting the controller somewhere under the dash where you can reach it and see it. I screwed the mounting bracket onto the bottom of my dash but heavy duty Velcro would work, too.

I like to keep things simple. I have used basic Techonsha brake controllers in two different trucks. They are simple to set up and use by following the instructions that come with them. Where I live, they are readily available at various auto part stores and are relatively inexpensive. If you want to pay a lot more you can go to a Ford dealer or an RV store.

I found it handy to watch a few YouTube videos about using brake controllers and towing an RV before we owned our Escape so I had an idea of what I was getting into. Driving away from ETI with our first travel trailer was a bit harrowing but I went slow and was careful. Personally, I got used to it pretty quickly.
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Old 05-08-2024, 06:56 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigPapa View Post
ok so i dont understand if i have the tow package on the flex from the factory, i have a 7 pin and 4 pin plug by the hitch, i still need a seperate brake controller?

btw you guys are all so awesome for helping me with such amazing information. i am sure this will click but not making sense yet. btw based on ya'alls recommendations i am borrowing my brother in laws f150 to bring the trailer home.

thanks tons,
matt
F150 or not, IMO you still need a brake controller, if only for liability purposes, but also for safety.

I have never owned a Ford so take this with a grain of salt: in my experience vehicles with a trailer hitch and 7-pin connector will be pre-wired for a brake controller. That means there should be a bundle of wires under the dash that will plug directly into a brake controller. Your owners manual for the Flex or the F150 may describe where to find those wires. Alternately, Google will show more than a million answers if you do a search. YouTube is also your friend. It will just be a matter of looking under the dash somewhere around the location of the steering column to find the wires. From there it is a simple matter of attaching the connector to the back of the brake controller and mounting the controller somewhere under the dash where you can reach it and see it. I screwed the mounting bracket onto the bottom of my dash but heavy duty Velcro would work, too.

I like to keep things simple. I have used basic Techonsha brake controllers in two different trucks. They are simple to set up and use by following the instructions that come with them. Where I live, they are readily available at various auto part stores and are relatively inexpensive. If you want to pay a lot more you can go to a Ford dealer or an RV store.

There are several Techonsha dealers in the San Diego area. Enter your own zip code if these are not close enough to you. Some of them may even put it in for you if you are unsure.

I found it handy to watch a few YouTube videos about using brake controllers and towing an RV before we owned our Escape so I had an idea of what I was getting into. Driving away from ETI with our first travel trailer was a bit harrowing but I went slow and was careful. Personally, I got used to it pretty quickly.
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Old 05-08-2024, 07:23 AM   #20
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Arrow 2014 Flex may be pre-wired for a brake controller

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigPapa View Post
Good morning,
Just bought a used e19 and towing with a 2014 ford flex w tow package.
....
1. Can i safely tow it home without wdh or brake controller? I do have 7 pin connector.
....
Matt -

Referring to this article, and as mentioned by Lyle in the previous post, given that you have a 7-pin connector, it seems likely your 2014 Flex may be pre-wired with an OE connector under/behind the dashboard for addition of a 'plug-and-play' aftermarket brake controller (e.g. the popular Tekonsha Prodigy or similar) with a simple adaptor pigtail. That 'adaptor pigtail' would connect to the controller and then plug-in to the connector already existing under/behind your dash.

If that's the case then adding that sort of controller would be very easy, not requiring any additional wiring in your vehicle. You might check with your Ford dealer or a competent hitch installation shop to see if that's the case.

Good Luck!
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