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Need trailer wiring help

Discussion in 'Tow Rig Forum' started by mcsteven, August 3, 2011.

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    1. mcsteven

      mcsteven Member

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      City, State:
      Oakland, CA
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      '96 XLT 4DR 4X4 4.0L
      OK, no pictures yet - I'll get those later and edit this post.

      Ordered a Curt trailer hitch thru Amazon. $123 and signed up for the free trial of Amazon Prime, so got free 2nd day shipping. Arrived on time, had the hardware and install instructions.

      Let the exhaust cool down (at a friend's house) and got out the creeper and floor jack. The hitch went on almost painlessly. No problems with the rear tire clearance (stock 235/75/15 spare).

      The install uses 7 different parts (2 different bolts, 2 different nuts, 3 different washers, plus the receiver) for install. The side of the frame (1 each side) uses a bolt, square washer, lock washer and nut. The vertical mounting (2 each side) uses a carriage bolt, square washer, and lock nut.
      [​IMG]

      On the passenger side, one of the vertical mounting points in the frame didn't align with the hole in the square washer.
      [​IMG]
      So I had to take it to a grinder and remove about 1/8" of the side of the washer. Returned it to the frame, installed, tighted it up.
      [​IMG]
      I'll add pics of the actual installed hitch later.

      Of course, after I got under there, I found I didn't have the pre-wired hitch lighting plug. I purchased the adapter (the round 7 pin? to the flat 4 pin) so I'll have to acquire the rest of it and wire it. I'll look for the wiring here and maybe on youtube. Anyone direct me to it? :cool:

      Edit/addition #1.) OK - I removed the taillights and didn't see any pigtail or adapter there - either side - to hook the trailer electrical harness into. Might I be missing something? I'll be checking more. Any info would be great. I'm hoping I don't need to install (or buy since I'm pretty broke lately) an extensive (expensive) interface.

      Edit/addition #2.) I pulled the tails again, and found this:
      [​IMG]
      [​IMG]

      Is the plug that the arrow is pointing to in the first pic the plug that I can add a T adapter such as:
      [​IMG]
      and have the four wire come right off that? It looks like a different shape, but I don't know.

      Thanks. Trying to get this done asap.
       
      Last edited: August 3, 2011
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    3. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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      That looks right, separate that plug and see if the t adapter fits.
       
    4. mcsteven

      mcsteven Member

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      City, State:
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      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      '96 XLT 4DR 4X4 4.0L
      I haven't bought the t adapter yet. I was hoping that someone would know, and I'll risk the purchase price if you think it's right. The wiring appears to be coming from the driver's side, and down to the connection, then down to the plate marker lights. The passenger side didn't have this connector. And I didn't find what I hoped, the round 7 pin connector, along the line from either light to the marker lights.

      Thanks for the info. I couldn't find anything else either out there. Nothing on the OEM site or other sales sites.

      Man, you're on early. Man, I'm on late....
       
    5. thebrakeman

      thebrakeman Well-Known Member

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      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      2006 Mercury Mountaineer
      etrailer.com is an excellent site, not only for good prices on towing accessories, but for their excellent links, pictures, videos, and tutorials.

      I searched for wiring for a '96 Explorer, and found 2:
      http://www.etrailer.com/Custom-Fit-Vehicle-Wiring/Ford/Explorer/1996/118241.html?vehicleid=19963130
      This first one seems to be for trucks with a factory plug in the rear, on either side. There is a picture of the socket, which would have a red protective plug (likely not red unless you've washed recently). If you have this socket, you can get this kit for only $13.99.

      Otherwise, they recommend this one for $49.95:
      http://www.etrailer.com/Custom-Fit-Vehicle-Wiring/Ford/Explorer/1996/118345.html?vehicleid=19963130
      Unfortunately, this one only plugs into the tail lights for the signal, but actually gets power for the trailer lights by running wire all the way to the truck's battery. They only do this if they find that the wiring in the tail lights is of inadequate gage to support the additional load.

      I used a similar kit for our minivan when we used it to tow a popup. That kit was about $30-35, but didn't require the run to the front. However, I had an additional kit run to the front anyway, to give me 12V aux and electric brakes to a 7-pin connector.

      Good luck! Be sure to check for that factory socket. That picture is not what I would have thought to look for.
       
    6. thebrakeman

      thebrakeman Well-Known Member

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      PS,
      After you click on that 2nd link, click on the installation instructions (.pdf link on the right near that wrench icon). Even if you don't get this kit, it may help you with your earlier questions.
       

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