Brake Controller Installation on a Ford Full-Size Van

Custom Fit 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:

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.

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.



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