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Brake Controllers

Discussion in 'Technical Chat' started by TheMaster, May 14, 2007.

  1. May 14, 2007 at 10:58 AM
    #1
    TheMaster

    TheMaster [OP] Born to Ride Staff Member

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    Anyone have experience installing an Electronic Brake Controller for heavy trailer towing on a 07 Tacoma? The trailer guys are asking $300 to install it but I'm told the 07 has a plug in adapter under the dash. Any help would be appreciated.

    I'm not being cheap but just trying to save $200 to Eat Steak :hungry:
     
  2. May 14, 2007 at 11:34 AM
    #2
    EvilBetty

    EvilBetty Well-Known Member

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    The towing section of the manual talks about it being in the glove compartment. You may need an adapter depending on what brand controller you buy.

    I beleive this comes with the OEM towing package only, but I could be wrong.
     
  3. May 16, 2007 at 4:06 AM
    #3
    TheMaster

    TheMaster [OP] Born to Ride Staff Member

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    Thank you EvilBetty. Now I need a controller.
     
  4. May 18, 2007 at 1:37 PM
    #4
    maverick491

    maverick491 Towing Guru

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    07 4x4 Access Cab, TRD off road, 6 cyl, 6 spd
    Activator III brake controller, Extang Fulltilt toneau, Factory bed mat, Extra D-rings in the bed, 2ndary air filter removed, Garmin Ique GPS, Eco-2, AFE Pro Dry-s filter, USASPEC PA12-toy, Pioneer 3-way speakers, SG II on Blendmount, Gulf States Alarm added.
    The pigtail for the brake controller should have been in the glove box when you bought the truck. If not go back to the dealership and ask for it as it was part of your purchase price. (This is for v6's with the towing package from the factory only) (The dealer installed towing package is really just a hitch and a 4-flat connector)

    The plug is under the dash on the driver's side right above the top of the kick pannel.

    The pigtail has five leads coming out of it, the instructions mark one of them as the illumination wire. In most cases you will tape off and ignore this wire, atleast with draw tite and reese controllers.

    That brings you down to four wires, which will match up with the terminals on the back of the controller, after that it is just plug and play.

    For what it's worth, I chose the draw tite "Activator III" for my truck as I could find no good place to mount a brake controller. The activator III is capable of mounting on any angle anywhere, and has a hand box that comes out of it with your display, adjustments, and emergency button.

    I lengthened the pigtail, and ran the wires behind the kick panner, under the door sill, and have the controller velcroed to the carpet under the seat, and have the hand box plugged in and sitting in a cup holder when I am towing.

    If you are interested I'll take and post pictures tomorrow as well as detailing the wireing colors, but I've got to run for now.

    Adam
     
  5. May 18, 2007 at 1:53 PM
    #5
    TheMaster

    TheMaster [OP] Born to Ride Staff Member

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    Thanks Adam. That's excellent. Post some pictures as it'll help. I tow some heavy loads (6000 pounds last week) without a controller. Its so damn hard to stop. I maintain a safe distance for stopping but other drivers keep taking that space. I must buy a controller soon. Donations accepted. :D
     
  6. May 18, 2007 at 7:18 PM
    #6
    maverick491

    maverick491 Towing Guru

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    07 4x4 Access Cab, TRD off road, 6 cyl, 6 spd
    Activator III brake controller, Extang Fulltilt toneau, Factory bed mat, Extra D-rings in the bed, 2ndary air filter removed, Garmin Ique GPS, Eco-2, AFE Pro Dry-s filter, USASPEC PA12-toy, Pioneer 3-way speakers, SG II on Blendmount, Gulf States Alarm added.
    Ok, here it goes.

    The trailer brake jumper harness (I believe is toyota part number 82132-0c010, but don't hold me to that) Again should have come with your truck if you have the V6 with the factory towing package.

    It has five wires coming from it. A black/red tracer, solid green, solid red, solid brown, and green/white tracer.

    The connector plugs into the open connector which will be directly above the driver's side kick pannel. See Photo:

    The BLACK W/ RED TRACER is your (+) power to the controller

    The GREEN W/ WHITE TRACER is the stoplight switch. (where the truck tells the controller to engage the trailer brakes)

    The SOLID RED is the output from the brake controller to the trailer itself

    The SOLID BROWN is the ground (-)

    The SOLID GREEN is the illumination circuit. (You will not need this for Drawtite and Reese controllers, just tape it up and ignore it.)

    The Controller will have four openings and four screws in the back of it. Each opening will be marked as I have described above. You would then strip a quarter inch of insullation from the correct wire, insert it in the opening and tighten down the corresponding screw to clamp the wire down and make contact. Repeat for the remaining three wires. See picture.

    That is the basics.

    Now, in all honesty with the supplied length of wire from the harness, there is absolutely nowhere under the dash that you can mount the controller. So what I did was to go to the local hardware store, pick up 4 feet of each color wire. I think The RED W/ BLACK and the SOLID RED were 12 gauge, and the others were 16 gauge, but don't hold me to that. I soldered the new wire to the factory harness, heat shrunk the connections, taped the whole thing into it's own harness, and then routed it down through the kick pannel, under the door sill moulding, and out under the driver's seat following the wiring for the seat belt light. See Picture:

    I velcroed the controller itself to the carpet under the seat, and then when I am towing, I plug the hand box in and leave it sitting in one of the cupholders in the console. See completed picture of truck and travel trailer at the campground from last weekend. :)

    I have tried to make this as easy to follow as possible, and I hope that I have not offended anyone by over simplifying things. If anyone has any further questions feel free to ask, and I'll try to be of further assistance.

    Adam

    PS, Just for the rocord the activator III controller has been discontinued, not because it had any problems, but because it was fairly expensive compaired to it's competing models. IMHO, however it is the best controller for the money and the only practical one for our trucks.

    Since I can't sleep I poked around on the net for prices, and this was the best I came up with.

    http://www.hitches-forless.com/brake_controllors/brake_controllers2.htm#Activator III

    though if you keep an eye out on e-bay you could do better, I got mine new on e-bay for about $59 plus shipping.
     
  7. May 18, 2007 at 7:31 PM
    #7
    jhodge83

    jhodge83 Any dog under 50# is a cat and cats are useless... Staff Member

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    wat?
    i'm really stupid when it comes to this, but w/ the factory tow package installed, there shouldnt be a prob pulling a trailer and hooking up the lights, right? i dont need to do any of this in order to just pull a simple trailer w/o brakes and just simple wiring, correct?
     
  8. May 18, 2007 at 7:42 PM
    #8
    maverick491

    maverick491 Towing Guru

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    The only stupid question is the one not asked.

    A simple trailer w/o brakes is not affected by anything I have previously detailed. Your truck with the factory tow package installed has the most versitile of all plugs already installed on it. A 7 way round RV style plug can be adapted to any other trailer plug on the market, including a 6 way round, 5 flat and 4 flat plugs. Your simple trailer will most likely have a 4 or 5 flat plug and as long as you purchase the correct adaptor to make the plug on your truck match the plug on your trailer then you are all set to go with no additional controllers or anything needed.
     
  9. May 18, 2007 at 7:59 PM
    #9
    jhodge83

    jhodge83 Any dog under 50# is a cat and cats are useless... Staff Member

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    wat?
    yeah, i bought the round adaptor plug and hooked up a trailer and the lights didnt work. last time it was pulled was my mom's silverado and the lights worked. thats y i was wondering. i'm thinking that the dogs might have got under the trailer and chewed em up. we'll see this weekend when i take the trailer back and make her hook it up to her truck and see if they work..haha...thanx
     
  10. May 19, 2007 at 5:18 AM
    #10
    SkiTaco

    SkiTaco Member

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    Maverick, nice job!! mind if I copy it?
     
  11. May 19, 2007 at 5:30 AM
    #11
    TheMaster

    TheMaster [OP] Born to Ride Staff Member

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    Maverick491,

    That was very helpful. Much appreciated. I will definitely buy an Activator III due to its flexibility and the varying loads I carry. If you are ever in the Toronto area, hit me up. I owe you few beers and lets Eat Steak. :hungry:

    Cheers.
     
  12. May 19, 2007 at 5:39 AM
    #12
    maverick491

    maverick491 Towing Guru

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    Thank you. :)

    Feel free to copy it and pass it along to anyone you think it might help.
     
  13. May 19, 2007 at 5:46 AM
    #13
    maverick491

    maverick491 Towing Guru

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    Themaster,

    You are quite welcome. I'll take you up on the beers and steak if I find myself in the north country. Thanks.

    Just as one final note, at least as far as controllers are concerned Drawtite and Reese are the same company, so Reese also had an activator III though it went by a different name, (Brakeman I think) but regardless the product is the same and the installation will be the same, just so you can widen your search.

    Adam
     
  14. Jul 7, 2007 at 1:37 PM
    #14
    TheMaster

    TheMaster [OP] Born to Ride Staff Member

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    Adam,

    What about the "Pulse Preventer". Is it needed, did you install it and how?

    Thanks.
     
  15. Jul 7, 2007 at 3:31 PM
    #15
    maverick491

    maverick491 Towing Guru

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    Pulse preventer is not required in toyota and most other foreign applications becasue the turn signals are a different bulb and socket from the brake lights. A pulse preventer is used for vehicles like fords and others where the turn signal and brake light are the same bulb, so the pulse preventer stops the trailer brakes from engaging if you were say driving up a steep grade with your hazard lights on. So that was a long winded way of saying no, you do not need a pulse preventer.

    Any more questions just ask.

    Adam
     
  16. Jul 7, 2007 at 6:31 PM
    #16
    TheMaster

    TheMaster [OP] Born to Ride Staff Member

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    The Activator 3 is about $300 here. I'm having a friend buy it for me in the US so I wasn't sure if I needed the pulse preventer. Thanks Bud. I'll let you know if I have any installation problems.
     
  17. Feb 1, 2009 at 11:51 AM
    #17
    drifter379

    drifter379 CenTex Honky

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    Where did you mount the activator in your cab? I couldnt find a place I liked so I didnt have it installed when I had my tow hitch and lights wired. I didnt think I was going to haul anything heavy enought to use it but I hauled 16 yards of granite yesterday 3 yards at a time and that was the limit of my comfort zone without trailer brakes.
     
  18. Feb 1, 2009 at 3:19 PM
    #18
    maverick491

    maverick491 Towing Guru

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    http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/towing/4031-tacoma-towing-bible.html#post35022 Look here for the photos and instructions for the location and wiring of the activator III in my truck. I am not sure what happened to the pictures in this thread, I'll try to fix it when I get a chance, but this should answer your questions.
     
  19. Feb 2, 2009 at 7:22 AM
    #19
    drifter379

    drifter379 CenTex Honky

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    Thanks for the reply. I know this thread is old. I see now why that controller is so good. The hand controll. When I had my tow hitch installed and wired all the had was an old style brake controller with a slide on the front for the control. I hated the way it looked and couldnt find anywhere to mount it and have it hidden and still be accesable. im going to be on the look out for the activex III. Thanks again.
     
  20. Jun 2, 2011 at 3:38 PM
    #20
    Rick Dodd

    Rick Dodd New Member

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    Hello Adam. Great info! Thanks for sharing your knowledge on the subject.
     
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