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2013 Explorer trailer wire harness

Hi all. I'm new here and hope I didn't post to the wrong place. I just got my 2013 base explorer and added a hitch to it. I didn't figure I'd tow anything but now I think I might be using a small utility trailer. On the right passenger side under the rear bumper, there appears to be the female end of a connector just dangling not connected to anything. I see a wiring harness on sale at the ford website, but it is a T that allows a passthrough connection. Does anyone know anything about the 2013 wiring? Thanks. Jeff.
 




thebrakeman

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The harness you speak of sounds exactly like this Tow Ready Harness at etrailer
I can almost guarantee you this will cost less than buying from Ford and will be equal in quality (if not the exact same harness).

Note that this link has an installation video on a 2012 Explorer.
Etrailer is a fantastic outfit. Good prices, fast shipping, great customer service. No, I don't work for them.
 




jjw1280

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Thanks for the help... but...

Hey. Thanks for the reply. I actually looked at the video for the 2012 and sent an email to etrailer about the product. It does look exactly the same, but the video pointed out the separation of the connection and insertion of the t-connector on the 2012... My 2013 has no connection. It is just a female connector just hanging there. Etrailer suggested I get another one of their products with a controller that ties back to each of the brake lights. I was hoping someone could tell me why the 2013 wiring is different from the 2012 and why the heck it's just sitting their unconnected :)

Anyone with any other thoughts? Thanks! Jeff.
 




thebrakeman

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My guess is that you didn't get the HD towing package for your Explorer.
Here is a link to the 2013 Ford Towing Guide.
Without the package, you only get 2000 lbs max tow rating. With the package (and using a WD hitch kit), you get 5000. 2000 lbs may be enough for a VERY small utility trailer, but keep in mind, that 2000 lbs capacity includes any passenger and cargo weight you put in the Explorer. 3 passengers could reduce your effective tow rating to 1500 lbs.
Page 12 shows that the HD tow package on the Explorer (look for option 52T on the sticker), would have included a wire harness (to 4/7-Pin connector), the hitch receiver, and extra engine oil cooling. So the fact that you had to add a hitch proves that you don't have the towing package.

My recommendation:
1. Get that kit that etrailer recommended. I use 1 of these on my Chrysler minivan when I was pulling a popup camper. These are very common kits that easily tie into the lighting system with minimal work. Some tie into existing connectors, and others splice into wires. Get whatever etrailer recommends. The instructions will be thorough. Then again, if the plug-in kit will plug into that dangling end, and provide lights, who cares if the rest of the wiring isn't there. Maybe you only need to test that dangling plug to see if there is a signal there when the lights are on. You'll need to find which wire is ground, then check the other 3.

2. You already have the hitch.

This will give you the ability to use that Class I 2000 lbs MAX towing capacity. But like I said, that full 2000 lbs is only available if the Explorer is empty (driver only).

If you think you need/want more than the 2000 lbs, IN MY OPINION, adding that engine oil cooler would bump you up to a Class II 3500 lbs MAX tow rating. Check with the dealer. It's probably a simple in-line cooler that can be added.

To get the full 5000 lbs rating, per the towing guide (page 20) you would then need to use a weight-distributing hitch (WDH) kit. But that's for very large utility trailers or campers.
 




jjw1280

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Mystery wiring solved for trailer wiring harness

Sorry for the long delay in actually posting a response to this thread... hopefully will find my experience useful. I actually finally got around to just buying a wiring harness from Amazon (Curtis) that looked similar to the one at etralier.com and on the ford website. I removed the cap on the tail end in the bumper, plugged in the tow wiring harness, and capped the other 't' end with the old end cap. I didn't have a trailer, so I just bought a little trailer light tester at Harbor Freight Tools. All the testing showed that it works... left/right turns, brakes, etc. Obviously I haven't tested this on 'real' trailer, but it looks like the wiring end hidden under the rear bumper on the passenger side allows the plug in of a tow wiring harness...:usa:
 




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