Trailer Brake Controller Installation - 2016 Ford Transit T250

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How to Install a Trailer Brake Controller on a 2016 Ford Transit T250


Today on our 2016 Ford Transit T250, we're going to be showing you how to install the Tekonsha Primus IQ. This is a proportional brake controller designed to work for one up to three axles. It's part number is TK90160. Now this is what the Primus IQ's going to look like installed. This a proportional brake controller, this is going to deliver braking power to your trailer in relation to how your vehicle is braking. What this essentially means is, instead of waiting for brake power to go to our trailer like we typically have to with the time delayed system.

This is going to give us an immediate response to the braking input we put into the vehicle and it's going to help us come to a stop with a trailer much more safely. The nice thing about that is when everything starts to slow down, it's going to reduce the amount of braking force being sent to the trailer. It's going to help save brakes on your trailer. Now the initial braking force or the time it takes for the brakes to activate our trailer's going to be much shorter on a proportional system. That's going to help save brakes on our truck. It has a couple of built in safeguards to help protect from battery drain one, since it will go into a dormant mode if it hasn't been used.

Also, it's going to protect the brake controller and the vehicle from any kind shorts between them. Another great built in safeguard of the Primus IQ is that in the unfortunate event that your trailer becomes disconnected from its plug, the screen will flash NC indicating that you are not connected and it's something that you need to address. Now the gain adjustment here on the left side of the brake controller, this is going to allow you to set the amount of power that will be sent out to the brakes on your trailer. When you have lighter trailers, you want this to be set lower. As the weight of those trailers increase, we can increase that, you can see just by the tenth. That's going to allow us to fine tune this, so that we're not sending more braking power to our trailer than what we need, which can cause flat spots on our tires.

You'll see the manual override lever's very easy to get to. You'll use this in case of an emergency if you need to operate the brakes on the trailer independently from the truck. Here on the top, we'll have a button this is going to allow us to go through the different boost modes. Now boost is going to set the initial percentage of braking power that will be sent to your trailer. If we're in just a boost with nothing beside it, that means we have no boost applied. That's going to be for your light or empty trailers.

As we start moving up, that's going to gives us a percentage of braking power available initially. Then it'll go into of course the proportional mode and deliver what we need. Boost level two, again your trailer is getting heavier, the terrain's getting rougher. Then it'll go up to boost level three. Now our installation today is designed to cover the T250 that does not have the factory tow package on it. If you do have the factory tow package on your T250, check our website, we've got details on where to locate your plug and it's simply plug and play from there. Without the factory tow package, you want to have a working four pole trailer connector already attached to the vehicle, which we've already installed. We'll be able to combine this with our seven pole round plug, which is going to give us the features we want like sending our brake controller power back. We're even going to be able to pick up 12 volt power here at our plug using kit number ETBC7. Now the ETBC7 kit comes with the seven pole round plug. It's also going to have the four pole trailer connector there just beside it. You're not going to have a need for adapters or things like that if you're using four flat or seven round. It's going to be provided with a bracket. That bracket, we're just going to position behind the plug and we'll use our provided hardware to attach it. We got the long screws, those are going to pass through. We'll pass through our bracket and on the backside we'll thread on our nut with the serrated lock washer. Once all four of those are started, we'll just need a flat blade screw driver and we can snug down our bolts that we passe through. Now some hitches designed for the T250 have a bracket welded on that come out. This one of course, you can see it doesn't. We're going to be using part number 18136. This is a universal long bracket, that's going to allow us to have a good attachment point that we can secure our wiring to out here where it's going to be readily available. That bracket goes over, comes with a band clamp. Bring that clamp around the tube of the hitch. With that bolt tipped straight up, slide the other side of the clamp in and we can take out most of the slack in it. Then we're going to toggle that bolt, that way those teeth will engage the threads and that will keep that from backing off. We'll use a 5/16 socket or bit driver or even a flat blade screwdriver to tight this down. Now with the excess we have hanging off here, you can cut that off, zip tie it up, whatever you want to do with it. Now like we said, you're going to need a working four pole trailer connector here at the rear, so we have the signals that we want for our trailer. Typically, with these installations, those are going to be ran inside of the vehicle. Now once we've got that installed properly, we've got our four pole out here where we can work with it. We're actually going to be cutting that off. Now that's going to remove our plug. With our ETBC7, we do have the option of just plugging these two in. What we're going to do instead though is use butt connectors to connect these together. We're going to use heat shrink, it's going to be much more moisture resistant. We won't have to worry about any moisture or dirt getting in these plugs, causing corrosion and eventual failure. Now the purple wire that comes out of the back of the plug, that one's designed for the reverse signal on our vehicle. Our customer say that he doesn't need that, we're not going to be hooking it up. If you do need it for your application, maybe you've got a marine trailer or something like that. You'll just want to tap that in per the instructions to the reverse light signal behind the tail light. The black wire is going to be for our 12 volt power coming from the battery of the vehicle. The blue wire's going to be our brake controller input, that's going to come from the brake controller. The white wire, that's just a ground. We'll get all of those handled in a minute, deal with these right now. We're going to trim these off about an inch and a half or so away from each other. That's going to give us room for our butt connectors to fit in there without us having a big wad of them. Then we can pull these wires apart to separate them. Now we're going to trim these opposite of what we did the other ones. We want the longest one on the plug to be the shortest one here. Now we can get those stripped back. Now I'm using part number DW05744. Those are my blue butt connectors and the yellow ones you'll see me use are part number DW05745. You can see when these get shrink up, it's just going to allow them, going to be a little more streamlined rather than three right beside each other. Now from the plug to our wiring here, we're just going to match the colors up. We'll trim off our white wire and we'll get it stripped back. Now on one side of the other, I'm going to do this side closest to our plug. We need to strip this back about twice as far as you normally would. We're going to twist it and bend it over. That's going to give us a little bit more wire to hang onto with our butt connector, just like that. A wire here we're going to cut it to length and instead of throwing away the end with the ring terminal on it, we'll strip both of these and splice them together using our butt connector. Twist them up. The last two that we've got here are going to be the blue and black wires. We're just going to trim those down a little bit here too, a little bit further away from those connectors. To this we're going to add our duplex wires, let's strip it back. Now we're going to separate the duplex wire just about six or eight inches back. Just want to be careful that you're not cutting the wires themselves. Just want to cut that out of their sheathing. We're going to get them stripped back and we'll add them to those butt connectors. We're going to connect the black to the black and the white, that's going to become our blue wire. Now we're going to shrink these down using a heat gun. You can use also a lighter or a mini torch. You just don't want to overheat your wiring. You'll see those heat shrink connectors are going to of course shrink down around the wiring. The wiring's going to look almost as if it's magnified and there's that little bit of clear gel that comes out of the end, that's going to indicate that you've got a nice seal there. Now I like to take some electric tape and just start taping down the wiring harness here. It's going to prevent us having five different color, six different color wires hanging out behind the car here. Now you're going to have two bolts to hold this up that come with the ETBC7 kit. These come with the 18136, the long bracket. I like to use these just because they're black, kind of blend in a little bit better. The other ones are silver. You can use whatever you prefer. But they also have serrated lock nuts there. We'll put them in place and then just like we did when we put our plug on, really if we just hold the nuts with our finger, they're not going to spin on us and we can get them tightened down. That'll have our seven pole connected back here. Now we're going to cross over the bumper support here with our duplex wire. This is going to be run up to the under hood area where we've got our positive and our kind of our jumpstart stud. Just going to use a zip tie to bring that wiring up and around our hitch. Bring our ground wire over the same way we did the duplex wire. We'll just secure it right underneath here, got a double thick piece of steel. We use the provided self tapping screw. You'll need a 3/8 bit driver for this one. We just want to be tight enough so it won't let go. Now our duplex wire, we're going to run it like we said up there to the under hood area on the drivers side. Just want to avoid any significant sources of heat. You want to avoid sharp edges and you're also going to want to avoid any moving parts or anything else for that matter that might damage the wiring. I like to use a lot of zip ties. I usually run out of zip ties in doing an ETBC7. Be a good idea to have some extras on hand just so we can really get our wire very secure. Now once I get up to the under side of the car here, I want to estimate about how much wire I'm going to need before they split. Which if you ran it the same way, going to go about two feet in front of the catalytic converter. Then just like we did on that back side, I'm going to split these wires, so I can remove that sheathing off the outside. Again, you don't want to cut the actual wire. We'll take both of our wires, we're going to want to get them right up here. Just up into the engine compartment right now will be fine. It's pretty open up there, we'll be able to route them more specifically in just a minute. But while we're down here, get out any of the slack that you might have in your duplex wire and get it zip tied off. Now we'll get our wiring pulled up here. Now the white wire, it's going to go through this grommet right here. That's going to get into the passenger compartment of the vehicle and we'll hook that up to the blue wire coming off of our brake controller. Our black wire, this is going to be our 12 volt power supply. We're going to find an area over here where we can mount our breakers in position. One's going to be for the brake controller, one's going to be for the 12 volt power. We'll probably going mount those right over here. Bring our wiring up in that general direction and once we have it up here, it's a good idea again to get a zip tie around it. That way we don't have to worry about any of our slack winding up below the vehicle. Now at our grommet here, we're going to make a very small slit, then we can pass our white wire right through there. Now let's go inside and we'll pull that on through. To make it a little bit easier to see, you can pull out on this bottom edge on this panel. We'll just set it aside. Right up here to the left of the steering shaft, kind of behind where this black box is, be able to reach up there, feel your wire and get it pulled on down to you. Now we're also going to run a power wire for our brake controller. We need to again bring that from the battery. Before we start cutting our wire here, what we're going to do is take a piece of 12 gauge wire, use about six foot of it. You can pick it up on our website, it's part number 12-1-1. Just going to tape that off too and I'm going to gently pull on this white wire, so my black wire will follow it to the outside of the vehicle. Now to install our breakers here, we're going to use self tapping screws that are also provided. I like to kind of daisy chain them together, put a couple on one stud there, then we can get our outsides mounted. Need a quarter inch bit driver or socket to get our screw in. We'll start by getting our self tapping screw started. Now we're going to be using the 40 amp and the 30 amp breaker. Just kind of keep in mind, which one you put in which location. The 40 amp breaker is going to be used for our 12 volt power wire. The 30 amp's going to be for the brake controller power wire. Now the black duplex wire we've ran up from the back, we're going to strip that off. Going to add on one of the provided small diameter ring terminals, crimp that down. Then we need to attach that to the silver side of our 40 amp breaker. Now we'll use two more of our quarter inch self tapping screws and we're going to secure the tabs on each side of those breakers. Now we're going to pull off the nut that's on the breaker. You'll see it's got that serrated lock washer. The 12 volt power wire that runs all the way to the back, as we said that's going to get connected to the 40 amp breaker. We'll connect that to the silver stud. The gold studs are going to be to actually power the breakers, those we'll come from the battery. Now we'll tighten all these down once we have them all in place. Next one we'll connect is going to be to the 30 amp breaker. That's going to power our brake controller and that's going to be that extra 12 gauge wire we brought out from the inside of the vehicle. The one we're using for our brake controller also on the silver stud 30 amp breaker. Now as far as the copper studs that come off with our breakers, those are going to be the last wires we connect. We'll just need small jumper wires to go from them to our battery. This will allow us to work on the rest of our wiring in there without any of it having power. Now we've got the power wire for our brake controller ran in the vehicle and we've got the brake controller signal wire that runs out to our trailer. The last thing we need is going to be the brake signal. When you hit the brake pedal, there's a signal in the brake pedal switch. Now that's located right behind that panel we took out right here. We've got four wires, got a yellow red, green and brown. That one looks like it's a black with a gray stripe. Then we've got a purple with a gray stripe. I think it's the purple with gray stripe. You can test your tester and make sure it's working on the yellow and red wire, that's going to have the constant power. Now what we'll do, is do the same thing on our purple wire. We just want our tester to make contact with the metal. Then when we press the pedal it should light up. As soon as you come off, it goes off, then back on. That's going to be the wire we're going to splice into. Now in the kit they have provided you with a quick splice connector. I do recommend switching that out with just a standard blue butt connector. Now our wire's got a little bit of fabric tape here, kind of wrapped around it. We're going to remove that, it'll give us a little bit more wire to work with. Separate those to isolate the purple with the stripe, then we're just going to cut it in half there. We'll want to strip back both ends of that, want those stripped back. One side we'll add on our blue butt connector. Now on the other side we need to bring in another piece of small diameter wire, this is going to be like a 16 gauge wire. We're going to strip it back and this is what we're going to add to this side to make our splice. Just take those, twist them together, add them into the butt connector. Then we'll crimp that down. This is a little bit more work than what you're going to have using just the quick splice connector. But it does give us the superior connection and we don't have to worry about any wiring damage down the road. That's going to give us our brake signal, now we can test this out kind of the same way we did before. When we hit the pedal, it activates. Now we'll grab the pigtail from the Primus IQ box. We can start getting these tied together. Now we're going to stagger these out just like we did on that seven pole in the back. Get those stripped back. To the two larger diameter wires, we'll add a yellow butt connector. To the wire from our stop light switch we'll add our blue butt connector. Now we still have to do our ground, we'll handle that in just a second. Now the red wire on our pigtail, it's going to get connected to the stop light switch wire. The blue wire from the pigtail gets connected to the wire that we ran all the way through the back. Then the last thing that we already have here is going to be the power from our breaker to power our brake controller, that's the black wire. The only thing we haven't handled yet is going to be the ground. We're going to have a little bit extra of that black wire, that we talked about with that six foot length. We're going to use that to extend our ground wire out. It's going to use basically the same, we'll just strip both sides back and connect it with a blue butt connector. Give them all a pull, make sure they're connected. Then let's tape up this harness to make it look nice. You'll see we're just going to route that right in between the vent tube here and the metal bracket. That's going to allow us to bring it out here, connect it to our brake controller. Last thing to connect underneath the dash here, is going to be our ground wire. Now just behind the steering shaft here on the firewall, we're going to have a stud that sticks out its got a bolt attached to it. That's what we're going to use for our brake controller ground. Now we'll get that cut off to the appropriate length, strip it back, add on one of our larger diameter ring terminals and get it put in position, resecure that nut. Then we can position our panel back in place. Now on my brake controller, they're going to be four holes. I'm using the metal bracket for attachment just because that's the one I prefer. I'm going to get these holes started before I get the controller actually up into position. Going to make life a lot easier when we attach this to the bracket. Make sure we've got the room we need to get to our controls there. Now you want to confirm there's nothing behind there, we just had that panel off, so that's a pretty easy thing to confirm. You want to use the provided self tapping screws to get that secured. Next we'll just plug in our brake controller, line those holes up that we pre-drilled and secure it with the same style screw. All right, gives us a great attachment point there, readily get to our manual override, our boost adjustment, and our gain. Now let's head up front, we'll hook up our two power wires there, make sure everything's working properly and we'll be ready to hit the road. Now with that six foot of extra wire that we got, we're going to be able to use that to make our jumpers. I'm going to strip back both ends and I need to add on a small ring terminal. Like we said those are going to get connected to the copper studs. We'll pull those nuts off, connect them and replace the nuts. Now we can follow along with that large wire loom, it's the same one that goes through where we ran in our wires to go inside. We're going to get it zip tied off to that. We want it lined up right over in this area. We've got a little cap, it's over a few studs here. We'll take that cap off. Want to bring both of my leads right up through that area, trim those off to the appropriate length. Now we're going to strip those back. We'll add on our large diameter ring terminals to each one. Then we're going to remove the nut from the post that we've got there. Then bring our connectors over, place them on top there. Then we'll replace the nut. Now these are made out of pretty soft material, they're going to compress nicely. Tuck those in and put our cover back in place. Then it's time to tighten down each of the nuts with our other breakers here. Now we can either plug in our trailer or trailer tester. When we do, we should see that screen change indicating that we do have a connection with our trailer. To test it we'll just operate that manual override and you'll either look for the needles on your tester to move or the brakes on your trailer, you should be able to hear those activate. Now let's test out all of our signals, our volts coming from our battery and our brake controller. We'll plug in our tester. We'll see instantly that, that jumps up to about 12 volts, that's going to be our battery charge meter. Now when we operate the brake controller, we should see these move. Now our running lights, left blinker, right blinker and brakes. Now with everything working as it should, that's going to complete our installation of the Tekonsha Primus IQ, proportional brake controller with part number TK90160 on our 2016 Ford Transit T250.


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Test Fit:
Joe V
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Zack K
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Nicholas E
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Kathleen M
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