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etrailer Trailer Brake Controller 7-Way RV Upgrade Kit Installation - 2020 Subaru Outback Wagon

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How to Install the etrailer Trailer Brake Controller 7-Way RV Upgrade Kit on a 2020 Subaru Outback

Hey everybody. Ryan here at etrailer. Today on our 2020 Subaru Outback, we're gonna be showing you how to install the 7-way upgrade kit which will allow you to use a brake controller. But before we do that, why don't we check the kit out and make sure that it's something that's gonna work for you. The reason that you would want to use a kit like this is two fold really. One of them being, you may just need a 7-way round connector.

All right. So that's gonna provide us with that in 7-way round connector, super common type there. But it's also gonna provide us with the 4-way flat connector. So that's very convenient. So if your trailer uses this type of connector, you have both then we're great for that.

But what the 7-way is gonna do is provide us not only with our turn signals, our tail lights and our brake lights but we're also gonna have a 12 volt auxiliary power. So we're gonna have 12 volts back here, that way, if you're towing a trailer that uses this type connector and let's say, there's batteries on it, maybe a small pop-up, something like that. The 12 volt, he had it wired properly, could potentially charge those batteries and maintain them whenever you're pulling it down the road. So that's really convenient. Whenever you need it, you got it.

But what it seems like a lot of people are wanting to use this setup for is to be able to use an alternative type brake controller like this one here. This is the Curt Echo. This is a really popular one. You've had good lock with it but there's a few different other types as well that are similar to this. But with these, all you need is a 7-way like we have here and that 12 volt power supply.

And the way these work is they just plug right in. You then plug your trailer connector into it. You can download an app on your phone and then you're gonna have a brake controller. You can easily remove it when you're not using it. And these are becoming really popular because you're not gonna have to set up a brake controller permanently in your dash and things like that. And so this kit is a perfect setup for that, gives you the basics that you need to run something like this. Something that I do wanna mention, if you are just wanting to run a traditional style brake controller, one that just gets mounted up on the dash, you will need a little bit different setup. It's very similar to this, but some as the ETBC7 comes with a few extra things that allow you to get that hooked up. So if that's your case, definitely something worth looking into. And regardless on what kit you choose, this one or other one, you are going to need an existing 4-way flat connector to hook into. So whether you have one from the factory, if that's the case, perfect. If your Subaru does not have one equipped, you will need to pick one up. You can grab a few different wiring kits. We have available here at etrailer that will work. And the good news is those 4-way flat connector kits are super easy to install. They literally just plug right in. So not really a big deal there, but something that I definitely thought was worth mentioning. That way you could use this properly, But other than that, a well-built kit, that's gonna get the job done and come with pretty much everything you need. I do wanna mention during installation, I did fall short as far as the length of wire goes, the main power wire, I needed about five or six extra feet. So something to keep in mind, you can grab that here at etrailer. And kind of speaking on the install, really not too bad actually, essentially you just mount this up. One end plugs into your existing 4-way and then you're just gonna route a power wire from the back here up to the front, hook it up to the battery. And that's really all there is to it. So shouldn't take you a whole lot of time or give you too many issues. Speaking of which let's go ahead and hook it up together now. To begin our installation, we're gonna be here at the back of our Subaru. And what I went ahead and did was mounted up this bracket that comes with the kit. And I also had to use a no-drill short bracket as well but keep in mind, every setup is gonna be a little bit different, especially how you decide you wanna mount it and everything else. But if he ended up needing more brackets, you can grab them here at etrailer. With that being said, I'm gonna take our 7-way connector here and start to get this hooked up. So we'll take the ends, push it through, and take these ends and in my case, I'm just gonna run it up. And what we need to do is connect this to our existing 4-pole wiring. To get this fed up here, and grab it and pull it over. So this end here is the side that we need to hook up to our existing 4-pole wiring, which is this right here. If you don't have 4-pole wiring already, you can get a wiring kit here at etrailer, get that done. I'm gonna unplug that. And then I'm gonna add some dielectric grease to the terminals. That'll just help keep it protected from corrosion. Put that on there. And this is simply just going to plug right in. So what I went ahead and did was taped up our connection point here really well and then ran a zip tie around it to make it a semi-permanent connection. That way it's not accidentally gonna get pulled apart over time. And now we can secure our 7-way to the bracket. So you're gonna take one of the screws, push it through, and then on the backside of it, you'll take a flat washer followed by a split lock washer and then your nut. So you set same hardware combination and get all four of them started. To grab our white wire here with the pre-test ring terminal, that's gonna need to be grounded on the underside side of our vehicle here. We're gonna have some nice clean metal that'll work as a ground. So I'm gonna secure it to that using the provided self-tapping screw. The black wire coming off here, we can get that hooked up to the bundle of power wire that comes included with the kit. These do have a pre-attached butt connector on them which will work just fine. However, I like to switch them out for these heat shrink butt connectors, especially since these are outside the vehicle. These just help protect it against corrosion, things like that a little bit better. So I'm gonna do is cut that one off and strip back the ends of the installation there, that wire good twist. We'll take our butt connector, slide that over the end and crimp it down. We can grab the another wire and essentially do the same thing. Just strip back the end, twist it, plugged in and crimp. And the way these heat shrink butt connectors work is you're gonna take a heat source and seal up the ends. Taped up our butt connector there, just for a little extra protection. And since we're not gonna be using the yellow or blue wire, instead of cutting them, I simply just tape those up as well. Now with that being said, you can take the bundle of wire and run this up into the engine compartment. That way we can get it hooked up to a power source. So I'll go ahead and do that now and then show you the path that I took to get there. So I got our wire routed and I just went over through here behind our bumper. See it there, when you do this, you wanna try your best to avoid any hard or moving parts. So you can use some of these zip ties to keep it up out of the way. And it behind this panel, things out there, up and over our sub-frame, so tricky to see but you wanna bring it all up to the top to avoid your suspension components. Drops down right there and then kinda just followed the bottom of our fuel tank. It's right there. And then I pulled this panel down. There's a couple of push pin type fasteners that just pop out or you can pull it down a little bit. And I just followed our brake lines and routed it up along through there. Comes right there. And if you zip tied up to here, what you can do, it's pretty open area here, what you can do is fill up the top, pop your hood. And I just reached my arm down, grabbed the end of our wire and pulled it straight up into the engine compartment. So in the end of compartment, here's where our wire comes up. And now what we can do is find a good location to mount up our breaker. That way we can hook the wire up to it. This point, what we can do is mount up our breaker. So you wanna put it in an area that is out of the way, but still relatively easy to get to. So I think I'm just gonna put it right there in this location, and we're gonna secure it using the provided self-tapping screws. I get both of them ran down. What I'm gonna do is just remove these two nuts and be careful when you're doing this, they seem to kinda just pop off and fall down into the engine compartment and be difficult to find. So let's be very deliberate taking them off. And we'll just set these off to the side for now. What I went ahead and did was this take the end of our power wire, strip back the insulation. And what you're gonna do is take one of these smaller ring terminals, place it over the end, and we'll crimp that down. We're gonna take this end and put it over the silver post there on our brake there. We'll just go over it like, so we'll take one more nuts, and just get this started hand tight for now. At this point, what we can do is grab a piece of wire, maybe five or six foot. It needs to be long enough to go over to our battery. The bundle of wire that came in the kit did fall a little short. If you routed it a different way, it may be long enough and still be pretty close to get to the battery on its own. But the way I showed you is in my opinion, the safest way, out of the way from all those moving components and everything else. So I would suggest doing everything like this. You can grab extra wiring like this right here at etrailer. This is 12 gauge wiring. With that said, I took that piece, crimped on the other small ring terminal, gonna put that over the gold colored post. Take our nut. And get that started. We're just gonna tighten both of them down using a 3/8 socket. So I went ahead and routed that wire from our gold post on our breaker over to our battery. I just run along through here, and came down or came out right here. And all I did was strip back the insulation and crimp on one of the larger ring terminals. This is what we're gonna need to do is hook this to the positive battery terminal there. And just pull up on this cover, set it off to the side. And I think I'm going to use the stud here, that way we're not having to worry about taking these off. It's just kinda like a fuse holder there from the factory. You don't really want to deal with that. So what I'm gonna do is loosen this nut up using a 10 millimeter socket. A lot of times these won't come completely off, just kinda the way that they're designed. So we'll see if it does or not. So it kinda just stops. So we'll leave it like that. And the way we're gonna get that on there now is just to take our ring terminal. We're just gonna cut a small opening in it. Like so. That way we can kinda just sneak this around the bolt there and put it right underneath the head on the bolt. And then we'll simply just tighten this back down. To get our cover back on, the ring terminal is gonna interfere with it a little bit. So what I did was just use pair of snips and kinda cut out a small piece there and sat done. This'll go right back in place. So now it's a good idea to test our wiring to make sure it's working properly. I do suggest using a tester like this, that way if your trailer has any issues or anything like that, we can kinda eliminate that. With that said, you can see we have our 12 volt power supply like we should. Then try our left turn signal, our right turn signal, our brakes and our running lights. And since our connector actually has a 4-way flat as well, just good practice to check that. We'll try our left turn, right turn, running lights and brake lights. And that'll finish up our look at and our installation of the 7-way upgrade kit which will allow you to use a brake controller here on our 2020 Subaru Outback..

Info for this part was:

Employee Andrew K
Video by:
Andrew K
Employee Jonathan Y
Video by:
Jonathan Y
Employee Michael B
Video by:
Michael B
Employee Joshua S
Video Edited:
Joshua S
Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Chris R
Video Edited:
Chris R
Employee Kathleen M
Installed by:
Kathleen M
Employee Cole B
Installed by:
Cole B
Employee Shane H
Test Fit:
Shane H
Employee Robert C
Test Fit:
Robert C
Employee Conner L
Test Fit:
Conner L
Employee Ryan G
Test Fit:
Ryan G

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