2017 Volvo XC90 Trailer Hitch and Brake Controller Recommendation

Question:

Etrailer experts, My spouse and I are researching adding a hitch to our 2017 XC90 T6. Were looking to tow a few rental trailers up into the Sierra Nevada over the course of the year, and maybe make an investment into a larger trailer at some point in the future if we enjoy it. We expect that the trailers we would pull in the near future would be simple light trailers like A-Liners, but I cant rule out purchasing a boat or towing a car during a move in the future. With that being said, Im just looking for some general advice to what we need and what our best course of action is. Draw-Tite seems to make a fantastic hitch for this vehicle, where it sits below the bumper and doesnt ruin the aesthetic of the car. Im going back and forth on the four vs. seven pole connectors, and heres where the real complication lies. We do live in California, and to my understanding, all trailers over 1500 lbs which would be basically anything worth towing require brakes. It sounds like this can come in two varieties, with either surge or electric brakes. Surge brakes sound kind of janky, and it seems the logical choice would be to invest the 300 bucks and get a brake controller and seven pole system. Heres the problem: had our 20k checkup today and talked with the service department about aftermarket systems. The dealer said 1. this car doesnt need a brake controller because it has a smart braking system, and 2. theyve had an experience where when the brake controller was installed, the smart braking system was disabled. We definitely want to keep all the super safety system stuff active in the car, and hopefully the dealer was just mistaken, as statement 1 led me to believe that he really didnt know what he was talking about, and the Volvo website implies that they install a seven pole system with a controller. With that being said, what are the potential complications with the vehicle safety systems, and what are the pros and cons of an aftermarket system against the OEM system? Lastly, do you guys have any preferred vendors in the Fresno, CA area that could do the install? Thanks!

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Expert Reply:

First let's start with a hitch for your 2017 Volvo XC90. The Draw Tite hitch part # 76194 that you referenced is the way to go as it only has a visible crosstube.

Now for a brake controller there's no reason you couldn't install an aftermarket one from us and not worry about it affecting any safety programs on your vehicle. I am not sure what the guy at the dealer was thinking but our controllers install totally outside of the computer of the vehicle so there would be no interference. That said our brake controller manufacturers recommend using a wireless controller like the Prodigy RF part # 90250 as it is hard to find a dedicated stoplight circuit for the install of a brake controller.

So for trailer wiring you'd need the Curt kit part # C56285 and the 7-way adapter part # 37185 to install the controller. Only other thing you'll need is to run the black wire of the # 37185 to the positive battery post with 10 gauge wire like part # 10-1-1 through a breaker like part # 9510 and you'd be set.

Since you wanted to do some towing you might be interested in etrailer ball mount kit # 989900. It comes with 2 ball mounts; one with a 3/4 inch rise or 2 inch drop and one with a 2-3/4 inch rise or 4 inch drop. It also includes a 1-7/8 inch ball, 2 inch ball, hitch pin with clip, and a storage bag.

If the ball mount kit does not include a ball mount with the right rise or drop to tow the trailer level, check out the link I have included that explains how to measure to choose a ball mount to tow the trailer level.

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Jameson C

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