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Trailer Brake Controller Installation - 2012 Subaru Outback Wagon

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How to Install a Trailer Brake Controller on a 2012 Subaru Outback Wagon


Today, on our 2012 Subaru Outback Wagon, we're going to take a look at and show you how to install the Tekonsha Prodigy P3 trailer brake controller. This proportional brake controller works great for 1 up to 4 axles. Part number on is 90195. We'll also be using the installation kit ETBC7. You can see when the trailer becomes disconnected, it's going to flash indicating no trailer connection, so we'll know that we've had an issue with the connection in the back and we need to check that out. You can see now with our trailer connected, we've got a different screen.

On the top here are boost level set. Here on the bottom, we have our manual override lever. This is going to allow us to apply the brakes anytime we might need to. In here, we're going to have a digital read out indicating how much braking force is being sent to our trailer at the rear. You can see here on the side, we're going to have a meter that's slowly going to go up and it's going to show us how much of the power that we've get set as max that we're using. It gives us an indication for 25, 50, and 75% no matter where we're set.

Return our power all the way down to just 2.4. You can see as we get to 1, it's up about halfway and as we get all the way up, it's going to indicate we're sending full power to the back. Here is our gain adjustment. We can adjust this up or down for the 10th of a digit. This is going to allow us to set the maximum braking output going to our trailer. This is going to be great.

Once our trailer gets heavier, we've got more of a low and dry conditions. We want this to be higher. As our trailer gets lighter or as our road conditions deteriorate, we want to bring that down so we don't lock up the wheels. Our top button here is going to be for our boost settings. You'll see as we go through, it's going to say set boost level 2, 3, or boost level off.

Say we're carrying a very lightweight trailer, we'll have no boost. As our trailer size increases as compared to the side of our vehicle, we'll increase that boost level slightly to set the intensity and the quickness in which our brakes are going to engage. Now, the P3 is a completely proportional brake controller. What this means is we can mount this on our dash and it's actually going to use an internal sensor to sense when we hit the brakes in our vehicle. As we do hit the brakes in our vehicle, it's going to send back the amount of braking power that we're asking for, so in emergency stops, it's going to send the power back very quickly to get us under control. The slower stop since we're just coming up to stop signs and things, it senses that also and it's going to send out the minimal power that we need. A couple of safeguards built right into the P3, it's going to have a minimal draw when not in use so we won't have to worry about it draining our battery. It's got internal safeguards to protect both our brake controller here and the braking system, and to prevent overheating of our braking system during prolong stops and stop signs, stop lights, and things like that. It's slowly going to reduce the amount of power being sent to our brakes. As you can see, we've got adjustable brake type. We can adjust our display. You can adjust the brightness, the color, the contrast. We've also got 5 storable trailer setting options for pulling different trailers or preferences for different drivers. Now, for our ETBC7 installation here in the back to get our braking power and controls the signals everything back here to the rear, we need to start off with the 4 pole. This is a custom installation kit from Curt, part number C56040. If you don't already have existing 4-pole wiring here at the back, you will want to get this kit so we can get this added on. Just pull it over here. We're going to be mounting our 7-pole connector here on the driver's side of our hitch in this area. See here, our 7 pole. We're not losing our 4 pole, so we won't have to worry about having a bunch of adapters. It's going to come with a bracket here. Now, we can attach that bracket right to our hitch but we've got a solution for that. We'll show you that in just a second. Basically, if we look at the back here, we've got a black wire and a blue wire. This is for 12-volt power from the front so we can have a power wire to our trailer, our blue wire is going to be for our braking, our white wire is going to be for our ground, and our purple wire is going to be for the reverse light circuit. We'll use this for a marine application. You see they've also got the plug here on the back. Now, that would plug directly in to our Curt wiring here or whatever 4-pole wiring that you had in the back. Just like that and that connection will be made. What we're going to do is we're going to splice these wires together instead of leaving all this extra here. We're just going to use some butt connectors and also our power, and our brake signal wire, we'll have them as well. That's what they look like there. Heat shrink, really nice, good solution for exterior wiring. Now, to mount our wiring here on the back, we're going to be using a bracket from Tow Ready. This is a universal mounting long bracket. Part number is 18136. Now, I have taken an inch and three quarter off of this, so it would have been an inch and three quarter longer, and I drilled out my holes here on each side to accept my bracket that comes with the wiring. I'm just going to place this up and over my hitch. We'll take the supplied clamp. We just want to see that through there as far as we can. Then that screw that's on our clamp, if we just tip that down like that, that will hold it in place, and then we can cinch it up. As you can see, it's going to give us a really nice solid mounting surface there for our wiring. We can just trim that excess off there in the back. Now, we can bring our wires from our plug side here with our bracket and we're going to pass that right over the top of the hitch. Let's go ahead and use a little tape here. Tape up most of our wiring behind our plug there. Let's use this to keep it all together. Look like just 1 wire instead of 7, poking over a hitch there for it. See that purple wire We're not using that. That's for the reserve light signal. We're just going to take right over the top of that. With our bracket, we're going to have a hardware that comes with it that's going to allow for attachment. We'll slide the screws down through. We're going to place our nuts on there and have the serrated washers attached. Right now, we're going to trim off the plugs we talked about a little earlier. We could just plug this in, but that leaves us with some excess wire. You don't want too much of that. We're also going to trim off our 4 pole coming from our car. The white wire, that's a ground wire from up top. We're not going to need that. Just trim that back a little bit. Then we're going to match this up color for color. The brown goes with brown, yellow to the yellow, green to the green. Now, we'll use a heat gun or you could even use a lighter or a little torch and we want to get these shrink down. You'll know they'll shrink down enough. The wire almost looks like it magnifies and a little gel will come out at the end. That's the sealant. Now, we're going to take are duplex wire. We're going to have a black and a white. Now, the black one we're going to hook to our black wire coming off the back of our plug. The white one is going to go to our blue wire and slide those up into our butt connectors here. Right now, we'll shrink those down. All right, now, our last connection back here is going to be for our grand wire. You see there's a ring terminal on it already but, again, it's going to leave us with a lot of slacks. What I'm going to do, bring it over here and mark just enough and leave a little bit of slack but not too much. Trim it, strip it, and add another ring terminal. Now, we use the provided self-tapping screw and right there in that steel panel, we want to first make our hole. We've got our hole started, we'll add on a ring terminal, and secure it down. Now, we'll go ahead, just wrap everything up with some electrical tape here and keep it looking nice. Now, we'll just going to route our duplex wire up over the front side of the hitch here. We're going to use a few zip ties and anchor it off. We're actually going to hop right up over the top of the heat shield here, and then that will protect it from the exhaust that we run it forward. Now, we'll come right around the top of that upper mount there. We'll have wire loom up there. We can go over the top of that. That will provide a really good anchor point. We can get a zip tie around that just going to secure off our wire. That way we don't have to worry about it going back towards the rear of the vehicle. You can see we've added a little piece, the airline tubing here. We're using that a pole wire, something a little bit stiffer than the wire we're actually using is good to have so you can poke it in places we want to go. Now, we're going to go right over the top of this panel here. Once we have it out of the front of that panel there, we're going to open up the largest hole right here in this little panel that runs down underneath the car. Screwdriver will be fine. You just get in there and pry it open a little bit. That's going to give us a good area for our wire to go through. As you're making these sharp edges, be sure to file those down smooth before you run your wire through. We'll run our cable right up through there. Now, we can use this brace here, give us another anchor location. Now, I want to run up right up here to the driver's side front corner of the car that's where my battery is going to be located, but I need to avoid my front half shaft and also my steering shalf, which is right there. It's going to get that knuckle in it. I'm going to go right underneath the coolant lines here, but I want to be sure that I turn back underneath that silver line that's up there a little bit higher. If I put a zip tie right here, that's going to ensure that we don't have any sag. Also, when I pull tied on that wire it will go right up underneath there where we wanted to. Right on top, pull them on through. We can see it mostly laid down there so we make sure it comes right up there where we wanted it to, perfect. We need to run these to our circuit breakers and I think we're going to mount those right here on this metal panel. It should be out of the way. It will be protected with the fuse box there. I just need to bring my black wire over here. Just go ahead and separate the 2 wires out. Separate our pole wire off here. If we score the outer stitching on this duplex wire, you should be able to strip it back pretty easy and we'll take it all the way back. Now, we separated our white wire, we're just going to set that aside for now. I think we're going to use this grommet right here to run inside the vehicle. That's going to represent our brake wire, so that's going to be the one we'll connect to the blue side on our brake controller. We'll bring our black wire over here where we're going to mount our circuit breakers at. We can use another zip tie where our wire separate there to give us another anchor point. Now, we're going to mount or circuit breakers over here on our side panel depending on what you're going to be using. We've included 20, 30 and 40-amp. I'm going to use the 30 and 40, and adjust them out where we want them. Now, we can cut our black wire that we just ran up from the back of the vehicle. We wanted to reach that bottom terminal on our 40-amp breaker, add one of the small provided ring terminals. We'll get that clamped down and connect it to the silver stud for the outboard power through our breakers. The connections we make with our battery, those are going to go to our copper stud. We'll make sure to tighten all those down at the same time. The other side of the black wire that we just cut off, we're going to strip it back as well and on the provided small ring terminal, get it clamped down, and we'll route our wire over the same way we just brought the black wire in. Now, I'm going to secure my white and my black wire off here. Now, we're going to pop that grommet out of the firewall there. I'm going to take my fish wire or if you're using a wire, whatever you got, and I'm going to rim this down hopefully right along the back side of the firewall here. We want this to come out in our floor board. Now, we'll push over on that padding that's in behind here. Then you'll see we'll have a straight shot right into our driver's side floor board compartment here, so let's take our wires. We're going to run on in there or slack out here. Now, this is our pigtail. This is going to plug right into the back of our brake controller. That's what makes it nice. Just pop it in, pop it out whenever we want it. Now, our blue wire, this needs to send brake signal to our trailer that's why we brought our white wire upfront here. Our black wire, that's to give us 12-volt power. That's why we brought our black wire from our circuit breaker inside. Now, our red wire, we're going to connect that to the stop light switch on the car and our white wire, we're going to ground that to our battery. Now, we're ready to trim off our wires here. We're going to strip the ends of these back. Now, we're going to add on our provided butt connector. You can use either the ones that are going to come with the brake controller or the ones we didn't use from the ETBC7. Now, our blue wire is ready to connect to our white wire from the 7-pole plug. Black wire is going to connect to our black wire from the pigtail. We're also going to add a butt connector to the end of our white wire coming off of our pigtail and we'll connect it to the extra white wire that we just trimmed off. The other end of that white wire, we're going to route right back out the grommet hole that we routed our other 2 wires in. Now, on the under side of our panel here, we're going to have 3 90-degree turn fasteners. We want to pop those down and see will this pull our panel down in and out of the way here. There's also a small clip right here. We'll push that in and that will allow us to pop out that other port there. We'll set our panel size so we can put it back in later. If we come right up the brake pedal itself and then move just a little bit higher. There's going to be a black plug right here. The back of the plug, it's got several wires that run out of it. We need to test those wires to determine which one has power when our brake light switch is in the down position. You have a provided quick splice connector that we can use to make the connection for our brake light switch. You could also splice the wire and use a butt connector. We've decided to use a butt connector in this application. Now, we're going to use our bracket. This is going to allow us to mount our brake controller right up here where we want it. You want to check behind and make sure you're not going to be screwing in to wires or anything. We can get our brackets set into position and send self-tapping screws with it because you just need a quarter inch bit driver or a quarter inch socket, make sure you got it nice and level. Nice thing about the P3 is we can mount this on any place, 360 degrees as long as it's in direction with our line of travel. For these mounting actions, they're a little bit tougher. It's a really good choice for us and we'll bring our controller up into position where we wanted, and then secure it using more of a self-tapping screws. Right now, we'll take our plug, it's right there, right in the back of the brake controller. Now, our excess wire here, we just need to tidy that up and get it tucked away so it's not hanging down in our feet area. We'll slide the foot back in there and resecure our panel across the front with those same fasteners that we removed earlier. All right, now, we'll take a little bit of tape here and clean everything up. Now, I'm going to run my white wire that we're using as the ground from our brake controller, over here the same direction that we've run our other wires. What I'm going to do is use a zip tie to secure all those together, keep them on the same spot here. We'll trim that off over here where it will make a good connection with our battery, stripping them back and on one of our ring terminals, and we'll cramp it down. Grab our 10 millimeter socket on the back that not off of that battery terminal. It's just a matter of placing the ring terminal around our volt, and then tighten in and back up. Have our system grounded. Now, we'll make our 2 short power leads. To do that, we're going to take the small piece of black wire that we still get leftover. We'll strip each end and back end, add on one of our ring terminals with the smaller opening. We'll take off the bolt and washer that's on the copper stud side of our breakers. One of those on each one of our studs there, or washers on there, nuts back up. Right over to our positive stud. Add one of the large ring terminals to each end. Now, we can take off the nut that's on the stud that comes of our positive terminal here and we can slide our ring terminals right over the top and put our nut right back on. All right, now, it's time to reinstall our grommet. What we're going to do is just cut a small slit right down through it, just like that, allow us to slide our wires in there. This really want to go around that good with some sealant. We don't need any moisture, any dirt coming in through our firewall. Imagine what our shoes would look like. Let's go test out our controller. All right, we can see our screens lit up here. That's excellent. That's exactly what we're looking for. That's going to tell us that we've got power coming into the system. Now, we can hook up our simulated trailer in the back and make sure that we're getting power coming through it. First we'll turn on the headlights and we should see on our tester the running light, red light light up. Now, we can try our left blinker, then our right blinker, then I can hit the brakes in both of those lights that just came on should light up solid this time. All right, that seems to be working fine. I'll manually operate our brake controller. We should then see both brake current and voltage coming through with our needles. Then if I flip the switch on our tester, we'll quit measuring our trailer brakes and now measure our battery charge. You can see we've got a good 12 volts of power coming back here to our plug. That's going to take care of the test on our 7 pole. Let's go ahead and test out our 4 pole to make sure that's working as well. This one is going to pull off our 4-pole cap and plug in our tester. What we want to see here, the bottom one is going to be our running lights, then we have our left blinker, our right blinker, and then combine for brakes. Now, with everything working the way it should, that's going to complete our installation of the Tekonsha Prodigy P3 trailer brake controller, part number 90195. Also using our electronic trailer brake wiring kit, part number ETBC7, on our 2012 Subaru Outback Wagon.


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