Trailer Brake Controller Installation - 2014 Ford F-150

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How to Install a Trailer Brake Controller on a 2014 Ford F-150


Today on our 2014 Ford F-150, we're going to take a look at and also show you how to install the Tekonsha Primus IQ. This proportional brake controller works great for one up to three axles. It's part number is TK90160. Now to complete this installation we're also going to be using the Tekonsha Brake Controller Plug-In Adapter, part number 22292. If your vehicle's equipped with just the factory 4-pole, you're also going to need to pick up part number ETBC7. Now the Primus IQ is going to be an excellent solution for providing braking power to your trailer. This proportional brake controller is designed to sense the deceleration of our vehicle and give us the same amount of braking force or proportionate to the way the vehicle's stopping to our trailer.

This does several things. First and foremost, the proportional aspect really makes it much safer during emergency braking. Also, because the trailer can instantly get the braking power it needs, it's going to save wear and tear on our vehicle's brakes. With the proportional aspect, unlike a time delay brake controller which will ramp up slowly and then keep your braking force at a 100%, this will reduce the braking force once everything starts to calm down and we start slowing down, this will reduce the braking force going back to the trailer to help save brake life on our trailer. We've got our manual override lever. This lever's designed for an emergency sway situation or if we just want to work the brakes on our trailer and not our truck to go right up to whatever the gain is that we've got set.

There's a dial right here, so we can turn our gain down. That's reducing the amounts of braking force available to the trailer or we can raise this up. Now the reason I say available is because with the intelligent system that we have here, it's only going to send out the amount of braking force that we need. In an emergency situation, if we have to reach down very quickly and use our manual override, maybe we've got a sway situation, it's only going to go up to the power that we have preset, so we know we're not going to over brake our trailer and cause flat spotting on our tires if we lock them up. Another nice feature of the IQ is that it has a boost level setting. Now we've got boost 1, 2, 3, and with nothing there boost is going to be off.

Now boost off is going to be great for an unloaded light trailer, something like that. As the weight of the trailer gets higher and higher, there's a guide in your instructions to determine exactly what level you need to be at when, but as that load gets higher or heavier, or maybe the road situation, we've got a lot more hills now rather than flat and level ground, we can increase the boost. Boost 1, that's going to start us off somewhere around 12% braking power. When we hit the brakes on boost level 1, it's going to deliver a higher percentage of braking force initially. If we go to boost 2, that increases and so on through boost 3.

As we get into boost 2 mode, we're talking about enclosed trailers with tandem axles. As we go to boost 3 mode, maybe the big goosenecks or the 5th-wheels that we might be hauling. That's going to allow us to customize that braking feel or that initial braking power so we can haul our trailer much more safely. We're also going to have a small LED that shows up right down here in this corner when we're in boost mode. Right now we're not in boost mode. There's no LED. If we switch that over to say boost level 1, as soon as this screen clears, we're going to see that additional LED right down here. That's just a reminder that are you in boost mode, so maybe you go somewhere, you unload your trailer, get ready to head down the road, when you look down you see that, you'll know okay, let's go ahead and turn that off. Now we can go over a few of the safeguards the Primus IQ has. The one I like the most is when we get to a prolonged stop or when we've been sitting there, the braking power tapers off. As that force tapers off that's going to prevent overheating in our braking mechanisms on our trailer. Also the controller's designed to isolate itself so we're not going to have to worry about the controller shorting out or our vehicle shorting out. Another nice built in safeguard is if our trailer we're to become disconnected, you'll see it flashes NC, NC. This will give us a visible warning so we know we need to go back and address it. As we plug our plug back in, you'll see it's going to switch back over to the C, indicating that we've got a good connection. Your installation's going to begin one of two ways depending on your F-150. If you already have a working 7-pole that's on the back of your truck, you can skip right ahead to the part where we start working inside the cab of the truck. If, like our truck that we have here today, if the only wiring that you have is the factory 4-pole flat, this right here, that's where you'll need to pick up part number ETBC7. That's going to be our Electronic Brake Controller Wiring Kit, and this is going to help us out to get that working 7-pole on the back of the truck so our brake controller can actually do what it needs to do. It's going to come with the 7 and 4-pole plug. It's going to have a bracket here for attaching the plug. We've got the two wires we need. Now this is going to become the 12-volt power wire from our battery. We're going to run that through our larger breaker, the 40-amp and also our brake controller wire. That's going to send the power from the brake controller back to our 7-pole. Those are the two things that your truck's currently lacking to be an effective plug to work your trailer brakes. The kit does include all the standard butt connectors to make all of your connections. We're going to be substituting a few of those. We're going to be substituting any of those outside of the vehicle with the heat shrink style butt connector. The larger's going to be part number DW05745, and the smaller one, the blue one's part number DW05744. Now our hitch doesn't have an attachment point for this bracket and we certainly just don't want to put self-tappers up into the hitch, that will weaken it. What we'll do is use part number 18136. We'll be able to use the band clamp provided to secure this to the hitch and then we can attach our bracket right there. We'll show you how to do that in just a few minutes. The 4-pole is going to be mounted on a small bracket near the back of the truck and basically we just need to pull down on this to get it to separate, pull that down and going to remove that wire loom around it. Now as you do this you want to be careful. You don't want to actually cut into any of the wires. At the end of that where we trim the wire loom back to, just going to run a little tape around that to hold it secure. Now it looks like that's going to be about perfect for mounting our bracket in place so we'll just use the provided hardware and get these attached, then we can use our band clamp to secure it. We're going to take our bracket here, we just want to feed our wires through there and you'll see the four holes in the front are going to line up with four of the holes here. The provided hardware kit, you're going to have four screws or bolts, whatever you want to call them. That just goes through the plug, through the bracket, and then on the backside we're going to thread on one of the nuts with the serrated lock washers on them. That's going to happen in all four locations. If you just kind of place your finger on those, typically those washers will keep them from spinning, then you can just snug them up. The ETBC7 kit comes with this set of screws and the long bracket's going to come with this set of screws. I like using these. It's just going to be kind of the same we did with the plug, line up the holes, place through the screws, and put the lock nuts on the backside. We'll be ready to attach that to the truck. Before I do that though I'd like to tape these up. Let's go over the different color wires so you understand what's going to be for what. The black wire, that's for the 12-volt power source. That's going to come directly from our battery. The blue wire's going to bring in our brake control wire. The white wire, this is going to be for ground. Of course you're going to have your three standard color trailer wires, and then the purple wire's for the reverse signal. Now the customer has requested we not connect the reverse signal, so we're just going to snip this off. If you do require the reverse signal, you can tap that in to the reverse signal behind your taillight housing. We'll bring that clamp right up through the hole. I've also got my wiring ran up over there. With this hitch a lot of times we can tuck it right up and over. Going to bring that down and around. The end of that clamp's going to slide right through there. Just kind of take out as much of the slack as you can, and then pull straight down on that screw and that will lock it from coming out. Now you'll use a 5/16" bit driver and we can tighten that down. All right, just like that. We'll have a good attachment point for our wiring. We can continue getting this hooked up. Now with this extra that's kind of sticking off there, you can use a pair of side cutters or you can use a rotary tool like a little cut-off wheel if you've got one. I like to trim that off, just so it's not hanging down. All right now, like we said, we're going to be removing some of these standard butt connectors just because the heat shrink butt connectors are really going to give you a superior connection. As far as the 4-pole plug goes, if you decide to, you can just stick these together. We'll do them together like that, maybe put a zip tie all the way around to really squeeze them together good and you should be okay. This could potentially leak though and cause corrosion in there, which will cause failure, so we're going to be deleting that pretty much completely. We'll cut off on the ETBC7 side, the three wires, and on the truck side we're going to cut off all four of them. We're going to start stripping some wires back here. I'm also going to trim our ground wire off and strip it back. The blue, black, and white wire are all going to get a yellow butt connector. Then the green, the yellow, and the brown will all get a blue one. Now we're going to take that little bit of extra white wire that we trimmed off and the ground from our truck, that's going to connect to our white wire. Then we're going to run that right up using the ring terminal and the provided self-tapping screw and we'll ground that up to the body, so we'll have the ground that already comes from the tow package of the truck plus an additional one, so we should be well grounded there. Now as far as the other wires that come from the truck, we're just going to match these up color for color, so brown's going to go to brown, green to green, yellow to yellow. Just to kind of keep those bundled up. Now it's time to grab our duplex wire, that's going to be the gray wire we saw earlier. It has the two strands in it. I'm going to bring that right up over my frame rail here. I'm going to bring it down pretty much the same path the factory 4-pole did. We want to cut the end of this back and get those wires stripped off. It's very important just like before not to cut the wires, just the insulation on the outside. Now the black we're going to connect to the black coming out of our plug and the white to the blue. We'll use a heat gun or you could use a mini torch or even a lighter and get these all shrank down. Just want to keep them from discoloring. You don't want to get them overheated. Now you see when they shrink down properly, it looks almost like your wires magnify. Then there's a little bit of clear gel that comes out of the end there. All right, now just for looks sake here, we're going to finish wrapping this up with some electrical tape. You could also use the short piece of wire loom that's going to come with your ETBC7 kit if you decide you want to do it that way. To position our ground, if you look right up here behind the spare tire we've got a good thick piece of steel so we're going to use the self-tapping screw that's provided to get that drilled out and then we'll put our ring terminal on and secure it. Just like that and we can zip tie the excess up. We're going to start running our duplex wire forward, and something I'd like to point out here is there's going to be a wire loom that runs the pretty much full length of the frame rail, so right inside here. I like to use that to zip tie off to, if I can secure my duplex wire to that, it's also going to be in a safe spot. Use plenty of zip ties along the way and get it nice and secure. As we run our wiring forward, we just want to be careful that we're not going across any sharp edges, any real hot places, or any moving parts. Those are really all things we want to avoid. Once I have it zip tied off here really well, I'm going to go right up behind this wheel well panel and just poke some wire up there. What we're hoping to do is go up, open the hood, and be able to find that to draw it up through. When we do, we need to make sure that this loop is completely straightened out. We don't want any wire hanging down below. If we look right down here, this is our brake booster. If we look just over to the outside of that, we should be able to find our wire here. We'll grab ahold of that, bring it on through. Like we said, we need to ensure that entire loop is out from underneath the vehicle. As long as it is, I like to secure it off to the wire loom right down here. Getting a zip tie in place here will ensure that this wire will never hang out below the vehicle. Now it's time to strip that sheathing off of the outside of our two wires. This is the point that they need to separate and I'm going to do this all the way down to that zip tie we just put in. Now for the black wire, I'm going to run it right up over top of the brake booster here. You can see how it's going to start to come out in this kind of like little pass-through here. We're just going to go right through there, going over to the passenger's side of the truck. I can see it start in the middle there. Looks like right in this area, we'll have to check with the hood closed, but right down in here should be a great spot for us to mount our breaker for that 12-volt power source, so we might need a little bit more wire. It's just going to be 12-1-1 and if we hook it up we can give you an indication of how much you might need. On our breakers there going to have a 40A, a 30A, or a 20A. Now the 30-amp and 20-amp, we're not going to need in this application, but we do need the 40-amp. This circuit breaker is going to interrupt the flow of power going to our trailer in the event of an overload, so it's really nice to have. It's going to prevent fire. Basically there's a spring in here and that spring, once it warms up, it straightens out. It doesn't make connection, and as it cools down, it's going to come back down and make contact so we can continue to use our 12-volt power until we overuse it. Now these are going to secure using two of the self-tapping screws. You'll need a 1/4" bit. Find a flat spot there and get it secure. We're going to trim off just enough the part coming from the rear of the vehicle or the section of wire coming from the rear of the vehicle's going to get attached to the silver stud. We'll pull off that nut, strip the end of that back and add on a ring terminal. It's placed right on, resecure it with the nut. With a 10 mm socket you'll tighten that down, just so that it won't move. Now we can remove the nut on the bottom on our brass post. Now you'll need about 2-1/2 feet extra, so just get 3 feet. Again 12-1-1. We'll add another one of the small ring terminals to that, and then that's going to get secured on that copper post. We just want to continue to kind of tuck that in and hide it along the back side here. The battery tray that sits in here, I'm going to loosen this up just slightly. That allows us to pull out on that and give our wire a little bit of room to run in back behind there, just going to keep it the most protected that we can. We'll want that to be down far enough to where it will move freely, then we can resecure our bolt. Pull the cover off our battery. We're going to see really a couple choices that we've got here. Each of these are going to be power studs, we're going to go in the one closest to the terminal. Use a 10 mm socket here to remove that nut, place that right underneath the factory connector. I always like to put them underneath it just to give it maximum connection there. Now that will have 12-volt power back to our plug. We'll go over to the white wire we separated and we'll finish up the brake controller side. To get the wire for our brake controller signal inside the cab, we're just going to pass through the grommet that's right up here by where we zip tied it up. I've made just a small cut in the top side of it here. Just take the end of that, it's going to be pretty stiff so we should be able to just poke it through that slot there. Just behind our parking brake assembly, you're going to see the inside portion of that grommet. We've made a small slit in it right there. Our wire's going to be inside there so you can use a little screwdriver, we've just got kind of a rounded pick here. We're going to grab it and pull it on through. As we do this we want to be sure we get all of the slack out that we had up front there. Just double check outside to make sure you've got it all. It's time to seal up that little slit we made here on the outside with the silicone and we'll also put a little bit on the inside. Now it's time for us to grab our brake controller plug in. In this model it's located just beside our USB plug. Sometimes it can also be plugged into a socket that's on the back of this cubby hole, just to the right of the steering wheel. We're going to press in this little locking tab. That's going to allow us to slide out the connector. At this point we can just plug part number 22292 in. That's going to be a direct connection. That's going to plug right into the back of the Primus. If you have a working 7-pole on the back of your vehicle, you should be able to plug this in, plug this in to the back of the Primus, and it work fine. Since we don't have a working 7-pole, we had to bring up our wire from the rear of the vehicle. Now the only difference in a factory 7-pole and a 4-flat factory, is going to be that the blue wire here doesn't continue to the back of the truck, so that's why we're going to splice it in the white wire we brought up from the rear. We'll zip tie that wire off to the wire loom. It kind of runs up and we can come down. We'll join in with this larger one right here. That's going to keep it up and out of the way. We won't have to worry about it being in the way of our parking brake or anything like that. Let's split our blue wire off there. Now the blue wire you're probably going to want to strip it back about twice as far as normal, and we'll twist that up really well and bend it over in half. To get around this wire we'll need a larger butt connector and that will give us plenty to bite to on that slightly smaller diameter wire. The Primus IQ's going to come with two mounting brackets. We've got one that allows it to sit in place and then just kind of clip in, or we've got the more traditional metal style bracket, like this, it will go around and that's going to give us a little bit more adjustment. You want to find a position on the dashboard for it so it's not going to be in your way. Typically that's going to be the right side of your dash. You can also go on the left side of your dash, but you want to watch getting in and out of the car so you don't hit your leg on it. It looks like that's going to be fine, that's going to be within our operating range. Once you find your location, you'll use a 1/4" bit driver screwing it down. You do want to verify that there's nothing in behind the dashboard here on your model. On this one it's clear, but check yours to be sure. That U-shaped portion should be towards the floor. On each side of our brake controller, we're going to have the three slots there, but there are also going to be two holes that aren't fully started yet. Before I get this in position I like to use my self-tapping screw and just open those holes up. That's going to make install a lot easier when we get it up there. We can take our harness. It's going to plug right into the back. This part here is going to be exposed so, kind of like everything else we've done in this install, we're going to tape it up. That way it looks nice. Raise it up into position and secure it with those self-tappers. All right, that's going to have it installed on our dashboard. Pretty simple. Now it's just a matter of getting this excess zip tied up and out of the way. There's a good heavy piece of wire loom that runs right across on that angle. Get all that zip tied up to it. You'll see a small red LED here. That's going to indicate that everything's connected properly as far as power goes. See when we hit our manual override it's going to say NC, so what we'll need to do to test this out is now hook it up to our trailer, or a trailer tester, and it should then say connected and this screen should switch for us. After we have that plugged in we'll get a C here. At least that's what you want to see, that's going to indicate that our brake controller wire is getting signal from the back. Then as we operate the manual override, you're going to see the gain actually move up and down. To make sure it's working on the trailer side, on the back side, and make sure this power's going through, you'll listen for your brakes to activate on your trailer or if you're using a tester you'll watch for your gauges to move. The trailer tester we use has a voltage meter for the battery, so we'll flip that over. We're seeing we're getting just over 12-volts. That's what we're looking for out of the 7-pole plug. We'll now switch over to trailer brakes. We should see the current and the voltage needles both move as we activate that. This is also a good opportunity to see how that manual override lever works. You'll see if we just move it a little bit, you're just going to get a little bit of braking power, but as we move it further and further, it's going to go right up to whatever the maximum we have set, in this case we've got it maxed out at 11. If we turned it down to 5.2, you can see it's only going to go up halfway when fully depressed. If you did have to go through the ETBC7 installation, it's also a good idea to test out your lights to make sure they're working. Start with our running lights, left blinker, right blinker, and our brakes. Now with everything working as it should, that's going to complete our installation of the Tekonsha Primus IQ Trailer Brake Controller. Part number TK90160 on our 2014 Ford F-150.


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