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Brake Controller Installation on a Ford Full-Size Van

Custom Fit Trailer Brake Controller


Tekonsha PRODIGY Brake Controller - Proportional

Even for experienced mechanics, a brake controller installation can seem like a complicated task, especially when starting from scratch. Now, many manufacturers run most of the wires for a brake controller at the factory, so all you have to do is plug into them. What may have once seemed like an overwhelming feat is now much more manageable - just plug in and go, it's that easy.


Installing a brake control on a:


  • 1992-2008 Ford Full-Size Van (Econoline)





Factory Installed 7-Way


If your 1992-2008 Ford full-size van already has the factory installed 7-Way trailer connector, you would only need two pieces to equip the vehicle for towing a trailer with electric brakes. Sometimes, Ford provides an adapter that connects directly to the brake controller and to the OEM brake controller plug on the vehicle (check the glove compartment).


  1. A brake controller
  2. A universal adapter or a Tekonsha-specific adapter.
    • Unless the factory one is provided

The OEM plug is located below and to the left of the steering column, near the emergency brake pedal (Figure 1).


Ford Wiring Harness


Ford Wiring Harness

After locating the OEM plug and connecting the brake controller wiring to it, mount the brake controller to a place on the dash that is easily accessible. Typically, the controller would be mounted on the right side of the steering wheel, below the dash. The controller should be mounted comfortably within the driver's reach.


Once mounted, the brake controller installation is complete. See the owner's manual for tips on setting up the brake controller for safely towing your trailer and its load.









Factory Installed 4-Way


If your 1992-2008 Ford full-size van has a factory installed 4-Way flat trailer connector, then only a few extra parts are required to equip the vehicle for towing a trailer with electric brakes.


  1. A brake controller
  2. A universal adapter or a Tekonsha-specific adapter (See installation procedure above).
    • Unless the factory one is provided
  3. A 4- to 7-Way (37185)or 4- to 6-Way adapter (37175)

If the van does not have a factory installed 4-Way connector, a plug-in 4-Way wiring harness is available for select models.


  • 1992-1994 Full-Size Vans (E-150, E-250, and E-350) - 118343
  • 1995-2003 Full-Size Vans (E-150, E-250, and E-350) - 118344
  • 2004-2008 Full-Size Vans (E-150, E-250, and E-350) - 56020




Connecting the 6 or 7-Way Plug

Ford Wiring Harness

Once the brake controller has been installed as described above, begin working in the rear of the van. Locate the group of connectors (Figure 2) along the inside of the driver's side frame rail, between the bumper and the rear wheel. Two of the connectors will be similar in size and shape, but one has a separate white wire running from it to the vehicle frame, and the other does not. You will be using the connector without the separate wire.





Ford Wiring Harness

Peel back the loom or tape and verify that the connector has blue and orange wires running into it. Use a circuit tester at to confirm the function of the wires.** The blue wire should show a power reading when the vehicle's brake pedal or the manual lever on the brake controller are engaged. The orange wire should have a constant power reading. Once you have verified this, cut off the plug (Figure 3).





Ford Wiring Harness

Trim back the additional wires and wrap them with electrical tape (Figure 4). Leave the blue and orange wires slightly longer, so that you can easily connect them to the wires from the 6-Way or 7-Way adapter.








4 to 6 and 7-Way Adapters

The 7-Way and 6-Way adapter will come with a 4-Way trailer end that connects to the vehicle's 4-Way trailer connector, and four (4) or three (3) extra lead wires. The white wire is for the ground, the blue wire is for the trailer brakes, the black wire (7-Way) or red wire (6-Way) is for a "hot" lead coming back from the battery, and the orange or purple wire (7-Way adapter only) is for another auxiliary function, such as reverse lights.






Ford Wiring Harness

The next step would be to connect the adapter to the OEM wiring. To install the 7-Way or 6-Way adapter, first plug in the 4-Way trailer connector on the adapter to the 4-Way connector on the vehicle. Next, attach the blue and black wires from the adapter to the blue and orange wires that were exposed by cutting off the factory plug (Figure 5). Using a self-tapping screw, secure the white wire to the vehicle frame to ground the adapter. After mounting the adapter, installation is complete.






**Note: It is important to use a circuit tester to confirm the function of each wire. We encountered blue and orange wires in our installations, but manufacturers have been known to switch colors. Your vehicle may also need additional fuses and/or relays installed to activate the wiring to the rear plugs. Check your owners manual or fuse block diagram and make sure all fuses and relays labeled for "Trailer Tow" are installed prior to testing the wires.










Dt

4/20/2024

I have the curt venturer installed on 1997 Ford E350, worked fine for a while, now with the power and sync turned all the way down the display is going to 3 bars and brakes are locking up. All wires and grounds appear good. What could be the issue

Jd

7/1/2021

I have 2003 E250 Ext. that is factory wired for 4 pin. It has all the necessary fuses and relays but for the trailer reverse needs a fuse added and power source may also but all brake related fuses and relays are in the panel. Under the dash where they should be located I also have two identical harnesses.. except for the color and number and function of active pins. The higher up one is grey the lower one is black but both are shaped to accept the same style of plug. The upper grey one I want to say has 5 poles and the very top left is constant 12V. The one down from it is ACC or IGN forward/running 12V and the third one below that on left is a turn signal and the one beside that (bottom right) is a turn signal. That’s all the active poles . On the lower black on, it has 6 poles but only the the middle one on right of it carries a low voltage charge with ignition off, and with vehicle running the voltage climbs up to over a couple volts(alternator output) and when break peddle is pressed it is the full 12.75 + w vehicle off and 14.4v w vehicle running. My point is it is all working like it should and this is a very clean shuttle package van not been messed with .. But I have one connector supplying breaking 12v and another doing the turn signals. I was told by Ford dealer there was a Ford specific part that did use both harnesses and that trailer shops should still have a version. Trouble I am having is that back at the wiring harness break at rear for 4 pin I have found no break power wire added or folded up in the 4 wire loom. I’ve worked my way up to the bolt together section of harness that is near fuel rail etc under driver seat area that is the location where all the under dash harness and 4wire stuff connects into from the panel etc and only a 4 wire seems to be coming out of that. The van was one owner shuttle with some extra light circuits and stuff on it by the conversion company etc.. but otherwise factory..and clean. It never had a hitch on it until I put hitch so it never towed but does have the factory 4 wire. I’m wanting to make sure there isn’t a brake power wire ran somewhere and or a particular under dash harness that is supposed to use both those harnesses to tie the turn and braking stuff to the controller? And be sure I don’t have some kind of plug and play setup where I don’t need to run and fuse a new power wire. I mean if I have a harness with an active pole for 12v braking power… one would think it has a fuses circuit wire somewhere to tie into. I haven’t checked behind the overflow yet or behind the rear tail light etc .. but I would like to understand from a professional do I just need to get a controller module and plug it into the ‘correct’ under dash harness that has the brake power wire and then I prefer to use the 4 wire to 6 or 7 wire setup that is made to T into the 4 wire at rear … then maybe all I have to do is find where the blue wire for brake is and run to it ? Help!! It seems ready for plug and play and I don’t want to do more than necessary

Etrailer Expert

Jon G.

7/5/2021

If you haven't been able to find any factory wiring for the rest of a 7-Way setup tied to the 4-Way wiring somewhere on your van then I'm wondering if the 4-Way really is factory, especially since your van didn't have a hitch. If you check out the attached install video you can see how we installed the wiring kit # ETBC7 with the adapter # 3035-P and a Tekonsha brake controller. I think this video will help you out a lot.

Jd

7/5/2021

@JonG I’m professional level when it comes to mods and auto and it was definitely factory 4 pinned and factory plug n play harness. The 4 pin comes full on with the factory wrapping tape around the wire loom and is coming directly out of the bolt together harness up near drivers under by frame rail. It’s tied in with other rear axle sensor wire looms etc . It didn’t have a hitch because the shuttle conversion company bought it from FORD which they probably include a 4 pin to rear and I’ve seen this question on forums before .. Anyway. Shuttle company never put hitch it was hotel van . My problem is finding the power wire from the quick connect harness. Apparently it was terminated at the bolt together frame rail harness . And all the relays and fuses for trailer brake are in the under hood panel… the shuttle company didn’t randomly add them it’s just they probably get a deal buying a certain level standard setup that Ford sells and so it got all the other stuff they just don’t wire the power wire further back which is dumb. Ford dealer when I asked about having two quick connect harnesses by brake pedal and described as I have above one grey one has turn signal poles and 12 volt constant pole and 12V ACC pole and the other Brown or Black plug play harness has one brake power pole he said Ford used to sell a factory harness for this but now trailer places only place to have it. I have a fused brake power wire to proper harness in the factory fuse and relay panel .. I’ve pulled them and tested the pole and it doesn’t work with they are pulled. It’s all factory and I seem to know more than any professionals except where is the power wire to be found? And 99% says it’s on the forward side of the bolt together harness.. But I guess trailer places would just want to add more new Wires and breakers to hook it up .. I want to find mine.. it’s a super clean no rust one hotel company owner van all factory but was bought off the line by the conversion company who put high top and vent screened shuttle windows and the seat package and lighting package etc

Jd

7/5/2021

@JonG and yes I’ve watched that video I don’t need that video I know how to install from scratch.. I have already factory fused brake power wire in Ford factory harness by e brake like it’s supposed to be and FACTORY 4pin to back just can’t find where my power wire is and I know from other videos it sounds like it is on the forward side of bolt together harness which sucks
See All (11) Replies to Jd ∨

Chris D.

5/14/2020

I have a 2004 Winnebago Minnie Winnie on a Ford E-450 chassis. When I plug my Tekonsha P2 into what looks like the correct plug under the dash by the emergency brake, my right blinker light comes on and stays lit. I saw a video that mentioned that there may be a different plug under the dash that I need to plug into instead. What wire colors should I be looking for on the factory wiring side? Where would this second plug be located? Why would my blinker stay lit solid? Also, when the harness is plugged in, the blue wire has power even when the key is off.

Etrailer Expert

Chris R.

5/18/2020

It's possible that you're plugged into the wrong factory port under the dash, but I have my doubts if they physically connected okay and you're actually getting power on the controller's blue wire when hooked up. Are you getting constant power on that blue wire or is it more of a pulse? The blinker coming on is definitely odd, as this circuit shouldn't be related at all to what's used for the brake controller. It sounds like there's a short somewhere on this factory harness. Try inspecting the wiring for any damaged sections - otherwise it might be worth it to bring it up to a local dealer to have them take a look.

Chris D.

5/19/2020

@ChrisR I actually found another connector that had a plug in it already for the third brake light. When I plugged the Tekonsha into that harness instead, it worked. So there are two connectors that will allow you to connect. The correct one is the one closest to the floor. Now I just need to find where the blue wire ends because it does not go all the way to the frame rail.

Jeff P.

7/17/2020

@ChrisD did you find where the blue wire was at? I’m having this same issue right now with my Fleetwood RV that is on the Ford chassis.
See All (7) Replies to Chris D. ∨

My P.

4/12/2020

Help

Etrailer Expert

Chris R.

4/13/2020

We're here! Can you tell me what specifically you're needing help with?

Sarah

3/8/2020

I have a 97 ford econoline e150 and trying to get trailer brake controller and wiring sorted out. The plug indicated in figure 2 and 3 is not there on my vehicle however the plug in in figure 1 is. Can you help me? Where could this connector be?

Etrailer Expert

Chris R.

3/10/2020

Does your Ford E-150 already have a 4-Way or 7-Way mounted at the rear of the van? If not, your particular vehicle may not be equipped with the tow package, which would be why you can't find the trailer plugs mentioned in the article. In this case you would need to start with a 4-Way harness # 118344 and then upgrade it to a fully functional 7-Way using # ETBC7. For a longer van like this you might need to add some extra wiring with part # 12-2-1.


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