2011 Escape trailer wiring

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Old 06-27-20, 07:10 PM
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2011 Escape trailer wiring

I hope i picked the right sub forum. I know this is an SUV but it is also towing related. Anyways....

We have a 2011 Ford escape AWD without tow package. I just finished installing a Curt class III hitch to haul a small motorcycle trailer and dirt bike.

i see the 4 pin trailer harness kit for this vehicle comes with ends that plug directly into taillights and a module that you have to run 12v+ all the way from the rear of the vehicle up to the battery.

I dont like the idea of running +12v wire under chassis all the way across the vehicle.

what is the purpose of this module and is there any reason I shouldnt just get a universal 4 pin pigtail and splice it into the taillight wiring
(I would use solder gun, heat shrink tubing, etc)
??? Thoughts/opinions?

 
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Old 06-27-20, 07:46 PM
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A four wire/4 pin plug is set up for......
Left directional/brake
Right directional/brake
parking lights
ground

If you have an adapter that means your vehicle doesn't have a directional/brake combined system.
You have left directional, right directional, brakes, parking lights and ground. That adapter converts a five wire system to the four wires for your trailer.

You can run the wire under the vehicle. Use a 10A fuse when connecting to the battery.
 
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Old 06-27-20, 11:29 PM
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Thanks for the response. Are you saying if i spliced in a standard 4 pin connector behind the taillights, that i would get directionals but not brake lights?

 
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Old 06-28-20, 04:58 AM
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Many modern trailer light kits do not draw power or much power from the vehicle's wiring because of the sensitivity of a modern cars electrical system and computers. You did not say what kit you bought but the plugs might just be sensors to detect when the tail light or turn signal is on. Then you connect directly to the vehicles batter to provide the power to drive the trailer lights.

The last couple I've used had zero connection to the car's wiring. The sensors clipped over the wires going to the lights and then I connect to the battery. With this system the car and the trailer's electrical systems are largely isolated.
 
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Old 06-28-20, 05:10 AM
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Pilot Dane, thanks for the response. I believe you are correct in that these kits are designed to not draw power from the lighting circuit.

The kit i am talking about is a Reese 85774

The issue I have is I'd like to have the vehicle wired up before I'd be able to receive this kit in the mail. Meaning I could go pick up a universal 4 pin connector in town and install it today.

I dont think two dinky brake lights on this motorcycle trailer would add that much more load on the lighting circuit to facilitate the need to isolate its power supply but im no expert, hence asking you guys.

Thoughts?


 
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Old 06-28-20, 05:41 AM
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suspect the main reason for the module is to get functional brake and signal lights to the trailer since most newer vehicles use 2 different circuits now where older vehicles and trailers used the brake and turn through the same wire and bulb.
 
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Old 06-28-20, 06:51 AM
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Thanks for the response Alan73

On this Ford Escape the running light and brake light is the same wire and bulb and then the turn signal is a separate wire and bulb. Just checked with my light tester.

I Think I'm gonna go with the universal 4 way flat harness and just splice in behind the taillights.
 
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Old 06-28-20, 07:31 AM
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no running lights should be on a different wire than brake but it may go to the same dual filament bulb.
but it sounds like you made up your mind already but if you try to hook up your signal and brake your will just cause problems even on your vehicle as you will be shorting those 2 circuits together.
 
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Old 06-28-20, 10:37 AM
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From what I can see...... your vehicle has the combo directional/brake light system. That means when the brakes are applied and you use the directional..... the brake light will blink on the proper side.

You have a standard 4 wire system. There are two reasons for using the powered module. It is protection against shorts. It isolates the trailer wiring from the vehicle system to reduce damaging the cars wiring and controls.

E trailer - Ford Escape
 
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Old 06-28-20, 10:56 AM
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Years ago all the lights in a car were incandescent and a trio of brake lights might take 75 watts (6+ amps). The electrical system was designed to carry a lot of current. Many modern cars use LED lights and the brake lights pull less then 10 watts. The modern wiring simply isn't designed to carry a lot of current. If you plug in a trailer with incandescent bulbs the trailer's lights could draw 500% more current than the cars lights.

Add in car's electrical systems have been able to detect burned out bulbs for decades. How will the computer in your car react to the massive current spike it sees in the brake and tail lights? Will that current draw harm the car's systems? There is a reason modern trailer light kits isolate the vehicle's wiring from the trailer.
 
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Old 06-28-20, 02:10 PM
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Ok guys all great responses. I spoke with someone in town who installs hitches and he basically said the added lights on a universal spliced-in 4 flat connector can blow fuses. They also had in stock a Tekonsha T-One kit no. 118551 for about $70. Since this is my wife's vehicle I decided not to take any chances and get the kit. I also ran the +12v wire from the module, inside the vehicle (instead of underneath the chassis) by pulling up all the threshold trim and wire tying to factory harness, then thru the firewall to the battery. Overall I'm very happy with the install and peace of mind as well.

Thanks again everyone for all the input.
 
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Old 06-28-20, 05:13 PM
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Good job. Just make sure that the wire is properly fused.
 
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