Getting a brake controller installed

JoshuaH

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Hello everyone,

This is my 1st time posting on this site but I have had my 2021 ranger xlt (sport) for about a year and a half now.

I am fairly new to towing and have mainly used the ranger for towing a light duty utility trailer (GVWR 3000lbs). I use it for a variety of reasons and use it frequently but I don't consider it "towing" since I rarely have more than 1000 lbs of weight on the trailer (approx 2000 lbs total) at one time.

However, I'm interested in getting involved with rv trailer camping. I love to go camping but feel I may be getting too old to be comfortable while tent camping.

I will likely be renting a trailer 1st to try it out; nothing huge. The one I was looking at only weighed 3000 lbs empty.

Anyway, I do not have a int. brake controller or WD hitch. The 1st thing I'm looking into is the brake controller. I really hate the look of anything after market and want it to function and look oem inside.

I understand that Ford dealerships will install this. I am curious as to what anyone's experience has been getting it installed.

I'm considering a CURT echo wireless brake controller as an alternative to avoid having a tech tear about the cabin if the truck. I just have my doubts about a wireless brake controller being as effective as a built in one.

Anyway, thanks in advance for any info. Sorry for the long post.
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khyros

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Don't worry about tearing into the truck. There's a harness taped back under the dash for the controller to attach to. The worst part is getting the brake light signal from the 3rd brake light so the automatic emergency braking will activate the TBC as well.
 

Jason B

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JoshuaH

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Thanks. I like the look and placement of the 2nd photo. I think you've talked me into getting it hard wired.

Good to know the emergency lights also activate tbc.
 

Peragrin

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before you settle on position sit in the truck and look at both locations. I find the first picture was a much easier hand placement for me. I also adjusted the knob so that zero is pointing at the emergency brake handle. Which means the number I want (usually 5 for me) is also pointing at the e brake handle. which means I can glance down and see it.
 


Mustang2Ranger

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Curt Echo works great, no problems after two years, safety features built in keep it functioning normally when signal is lost

Quick and easy to hook up. Sometimes I get frustrated when it doesn't pair right away, but same thing for the truck or a Bluetooth speaker...
 

Mike H

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I too am new to towing a trailer with brakes. Towed many boat and utility trailers over the years.

I'm seriously considering the Echo.

Curious about its operation.
What happens when you stop for gas etc. and stop the engine? I think the power to the harness is removed so the Echo shuts down. When you restart does the echo reestablish the Bluetooth connection or do you need to do that manually every time? Does it resume the previous settings? Don't really want to monitor it that closely.

I understand that while moving, if Bluetooth is lost the controller continues with the previous setting.

Thanks for any guidance.
 

Jason B

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Thanks. I like the look and placement of the 2nd photo. I think you've talked me into getting it hard wired.

Good to know the emergency lights also activate tbc.
Either of those spots is preferable to the standard location that Ford says to put it, which is on the flat spot of the fuse box cover next to your left knee. Hard to see it there.
 

Jedadiah

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JoshuaH

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Well, I reached out to my local Ford dealership. They quoted me $600 for labor (parts not included).

It'll be over $900 total... seems like a lot for a brake controller. It is what it is, I guess. Unless I do it myself.
 

EJH

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You can do it yourself if you have any experience removing trim pieces of a vehicle. It just take a bit of time.

$600 seems high. IIRC, some here have had it done for around $250-400.

IMHO, I'd go the OEM controller over the Curt Echo. The Echo is fine and would be my recommendation for someone with a lease or plans to sell/trade in with a couple years.
 

TheHyper1

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I’m new to towing also and wonder about the need for the brake controller. Doesn’t the connector in the rear bumper have a wire for electric brakes? I’m guessing that the separate add-on controller handles larger trailers? Can someone explain the differences or point me to a resource? Thanks!
 

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Mine was $449.00 installed by my dealer. $349 for the controller and $100 to install. Their guy takes about an hour to install on the lower left side that works best for me being left handed. It's set and forget once the gain is properly set. Really works good with my dump trailer.
 

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I’m new to towing also and wonder about the need for the brake controller. Doesn’t the connector in the rear bumper have a wire for electric brakes? I’m guessing that the separate add-on controller handles larger trailers? Can someone explain the differences or point me to a resource? Thanks!
Even with the tow package there is no brake controller signal output to the trailer. Ford also states the max towing with tow package is 1650lb unless you have working brakes on the trailer (electric with working controller or hydraulic surge brakes). The braking control connection on the 7-pin connection at the bumper terminates at a disconnected wire under the dash until a brake controller is connected to it.
 

TheHyper1

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Thanks! That makes sense now reading some of the other comments on the towing threads.
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