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'97 brake controller install

Discussion in 'Tow Rig Forum' started by BK_89iX, November 2, 2011.

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    1. BK_89iX

      BK_89iX Active Member

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      Have a '97 SOHC V6 XLT with tow package (original owner).

      Bought a 6x10 Haulmark trailer to get one or two motorcyles to the racetrack. Pic below. Used it for the first time the other day, about 80miles each direction. Seemed to work well. Kept OD off and speeds to <55mph.

      I recognize that it would be prudent to add a brake controller. The trailer has an upgraded Dexter torsion axle and electric brakes + 7-pin connector. I have my eye on a Tekonsha P3.

      Does the '97 Explorer have a pre-wired controller socket to tap into?? If not, any tips to share on installing a controller into this generation?

      BK

      [​IMG]
       
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    3. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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    4. thebrakeman

      thebrakeman Well-Known Member

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      Good for you wanting to use those brakes! Tekonsha P2 or P3 are absolutely the best. Depends on what kind of screen you want, but you probably already know that.

      I'm not sure when Ford started including the socket under the dash for the brake controller. But with the towing package, I'm sure you have that socket, or at least some bare/taped wires under the dash somewhere. You should not need to run any wiring.

      I recommend you post the question in the 1995-2001 Explorer (2nd gen) section, since the presence and location of the brakes wires seems to change from generation to generation. For example, the socket was under the glove box for 3rd gen, but is next to the parking brake pedal on my 4th gen.

      If you do end up needing to run wiring, I would recommend getting a kit (and maybe the controller) from etrailer.com. Either way, check them out. They have great video tutorials for installing brake controllers in various vehicles, including running wiring. I did a full wiring job for lights, brakes, and 12V charge line on my Chrysler minivan when we used it to tow a 3000 lb popup. If you are going to do this, I highly recommend you also install the 12V charge line to make it standard.
       
    5. BK_89iX

      BK_89iX Active Member

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      Thanks, guys.

      I see that the wiring is pretty basic, but I was hoping there was a connector hidden under the dash to use a Tekonsha "pigtail" for the inputs. I've seen conflicting vendor info on the application side. Will check in with the gen2 experts on this.

      Spent a few hours reading through this sub-forum last night. I should do a fluid change, possibly install an updated valve body while I'm in there, definitely install a temp gauge in the pan, and consider adding a small B&M cooler to the existing aux cooler (if warranted by observed temps).

      On the initial tow I did feel some lurching on certain freeway onramps, which I gather could have been incomplete TC lockup due to old fluid in the 5R55E. I changed it at 20k miles and it's now at 97k miles.

      I was extremely happy that the differential I rebuilt a couple years ago and documented in the forum continues to function perfectly!

      BK
       
    6. BK_89iX

      BK_89iX Active Member

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      The word back from the genII section was that there is no plug-in connector on this vintage Explorer (unlike the pickups) and it's simply a new wiring job. It turns out etrailer has an 11min video tutorial on a '96 Explorer using their wire kit and the Tekonsha P3. I was already considering that controller. Looks like a painless way to go about it. I bought my hitch from etrailer 10+ years ago and I'm happy to go back to them.

      http://www.etrailer.com/p-ETBC7.html

      BK
       
    7. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      proportional controller

      I've tried time delay controllers in the past and they are pathetic. In my opinion a proportional controller (uses a decelerometer) is the only type of brake controller worth installing. It works uphill, downhill, and level for light braking all the way to a panic stop. The only disadvantage is the sensor enclosure should be mounted in a horizontal position relative to the tow vehicle. About 10 years ago I was towing a 24 foot travel trailer (4,500 lbs) with my Tahoe on the freeway at 65 mph when a doe and fawn jumped out of the woods into my lane. I credit my Tekonsha brake controller with a safe panic stop.
       
    8. BK_89iX

      BK_89iX Active Member

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      I'm in total agreement with respect to the brake controller. I plan to get the best. Not worth messing around with anything less when it comes to safety!

      I was inspecting my newly acquired trailer today and I noticed the wiring to the brake drums is sub-standard, and one wire was even disconnected. I'll need to square that away. The trailer was retrofitted with a 3,500lb Dexter torsion axle + brakes at some point in its life. Anyone have some advice on the proper corrective steps or a generic wiring scheme?

      BK

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]
       
    9. BK_89iX

      BK_89iX Active Member

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      Etrailer to the rescue again, so I'll address my own question. They have a video showing new trailer brake wiring. Simply wire the electromagnets in parallel with a single run of 10 gauge duplex wire. Makes sense now, given how the controllers + brakes function. I'm going to refresh most of the exterior wiring and connectors for peace of mind.

      BK
       
    10. thebrakeman

      thebrakeman Well-Known Member

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      If it's new exposed wiring, just run it thru some of that plastic loom.

      PS - That 4-flat-to-7-pin conversion kit (ETBC7) is the same kit that I used for my minivan a few years ago. Great kit. Take your time and think it thru. There are multiple ways to skin a cat, and you may prefer to run or attach a wire slightly different.
       
    11. BK_89iX

      BK_89iX Active Member

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      Yep, ordered the ETBC7 kit + Tekonsha P3, as well as a junction box and molded 7-pin connector with 8ft lead and new 10gauge jacketed wire for the brakes. Might as well start fresh! Will make a winter project out of it and plan carefully per your advice. Glad to hear the quality is good.

      BK
       
    12. Al from SC

      Al from SC New Member

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      Keep us informed

      Be nice to see pics and get updates as you do it. Good luck:thumbsup:
       
    13. BK_89iX

      BK_89iX Active Member

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      Parts are on hand, but not yet installed.

      Got the Aeroforce Tech scan gauge today. Seems to pick up the trans temp via OBDII just fine. The night pic below is after a few trips around the block. I like this thing!

      BK

      [​IMG]
       
    14. Texas97x

      Texas97x Active Member

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      How hard was it to install the Aeroforce? By the way I love your truck. My 97 looks almost exactly like it. I added the factory running boards a few years ago and I have different wheels now.
       
    15. BK_89iX

      BK_89iX Active Member

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      The temporary install was just a matter of plugging in the OBDII connector and specifying a few parameters to display using the two buttons. Probably 60 seconds tops. Have not yet opened the manual. Permanent install will come later after I decide where I want it to live.

      Bought my '97 brand new in late '96 and got to spec out everything I wanted at the time - can't seem to let it go!

      BK
       
    16. Texas97x

      Texas97x Active Member

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      Do you have the blue or gray interior? I have blue but would love to have the gray.
       
    17. thebrakeman

      thebrakeman Well-Known Member

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      Bump

      Hey, BK,
      How's this winter project going? It's March!!! hehehe
       
    18. BK_89iX

      BK_89iX Active Member

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      Pile o' parts still in a pile!

      I really do need to get on this prior to April.

      BK
       
    19. BK_89iX

      BK_89iX Active Member

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      Finally made some progress!

      Didn't like the supplied thin bracket, so I drilled a large hole in the bumper and tapped the screw holes. Soldered the connections to the factory adapter.

      [​IMG]

      Ran the 10ga duplex along the frame for aux power and brake power.

      [​IMG]

      Mounted the fuses out of the way along the battery using existing holes/screws for the large black connector.

      [​IMG]

      Came through the parking brake cable grommet to access the inside.

      [​IMG]

      View from driver seat. It looks crooked in the pic, but it points straigt ahead. Seems to work!

      [​IMG]

      Next up is to add a junction box to the trailer, rewire the trailer brakes and install the motorcycle mounts. And permanently mount the AeroForce gauge. And some transmission TLC....

      BK
       
      Last edited: May 8, 2012
    20. BK_89iX

      BK_89iX Active Member

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      Ripped out the skanky wiring and did things up right.

      BK

      [​IMG]
       

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