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Hopkins Tail Light Wiring Harness Installation - 2013 Ford F-150

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How to Install the Hopkins Tail Light Wiring Harness on a 2013 Ford F-150


Hey, everybody. Ryan here at etrailer. Today, we have a 2013 Ford F-150, and we're going to be taking a look at and showing you how to install the Hopkins Custom Fit Tail Light Wiring Kit for Towed Vehicles. But, before we do that, let's go ahead, check it out, and make sure this is something exactly what you're looking for. So, there's going to be a total of five main components needed to flat-tow your F-150 down the road safely: First one is going to be the base plate. That base plate is going to provide us with a solid and reliable connection point, that way, we can hook our tow bar up to it; And the tow bar is going to be the second component, and that's going to be the physical link connecting the front of your truck to the back in a motorhome; Third main component is going to be your safety cables, and these are there in the event of an unlucky disconnect, these are going to keep your truck connected to the motorhome; The fourth main component is going to be tow bar wiring, and the wiring is going to transfer the gliding signals from the back of your motorhome to the back of your truck, keeping you safe and legal; And last but not least is a braking system that's going to be the fifth main component.

The braking system is going to apply the brakes in your truck whenever you hit the brakes in your motorhome, helping you to bring you to more predictable stop. And this is a perfect example of how the wiring's going to work, as you can see, we have the left turn signal going on our motorhome. It's transferring it to the left turn here at the back of our truck, but, we're also going to have a right turn, our running lights, as well as our brake lights. So, as far as all the lighting functions go, we're going to be covered there. Now, the great thing about this kit is the fact that it's going to be super easy to use once you have it installed.

So, all you're going to have to do whenever you're ready to hook up or disconnect is more or less plug in a cable to the front of your truck into the back of your motorhome. So, really straightforward. That definitely has an advantage over some of the other types of wiring like magnetic lighting, for example. That's going to require you to set your lights up back here every time, drape wires all the way to the front of your vehicle, and hook it up. You're going to have to do that every time.

So, with that setup, really inconvenient. This really does make life a lot easier. So, there's going to be two big things that I really do like about this kit: First one being is the fact that it is plug and play, so, you're not going to have to splice into your factory wiring at all. So, even someone that's really not experienced with working on cars, or anything like that, he's going to be able to get this installed because more or less you unplug a tail light, plug it in, and that's really all there is to it, so, really nice there; The other thing I like is the fact that it uses diodes, and what those diodes are going to do is keep your truck's factory wiring protected if a short or an electrical issue, something like that, we're to occur on the motorhome side. So, really important, especially today's newer vehicles have a lot of complicated electronic systems, and you don't want to do anything to jeopardize those.

And since we have the diodes in place, it's something we're not going to have to worry about. So, I mentioned how easy it is to use, and all you're going to have to do is to plug your connector here at the front and into the back of your motorhome. I do want to mention that this kit does not come with a 6-way round connector or this cable, but you can pick this up here at etrailer. The kit comes right out of the box with a flat 4-way type connector. You can use that. Perfectly fine. This is kind of a more common setup and one that I would definitely suggest. It just kind of pairs your two vehicles together a little bit better, having a 6-way round up here, and a really common 7-way at the back of your motorhome. So, the more common setup, that at least that I've seen, and by having a 6-way round, it also gives you the ability to use a charge line very easily as well. That way, if your braking system uses your truck's battery power, you can hook up a charge line, and make sure that battery stays full of juice. So, at the end of the day, a wiring kit, you really can't go wrong with. It's going to be super easy to use, offer that protection to our F-150, and be super easy to install. So, really shouldn't give you a whole lot of issues, or take you a whole lot of time. Speaking of which, let's go ahead and hook it up to the other one now. So, to begin our installation, we're going to be at the back of our Ford, and first thing that we need to do is remove our tail lights. So, you go ahead, drop down your tailgate, and we're going to have two 8 millimeters screws that we need to pull out. So, go ahead and grab our socket. Get this removed. And then essentially, we should just be able to kind of grab our tail light and pull it back towards us. So, once you pull the tail light from the truck itself, we're just going to disconnect it, and to do that you can push down these tabs, pull the connector off the same style down here, and then this one here in the center, it's kind of tight, so, I'm just going to pull the whole thing out. You just rotate it. Pop it out. We can set our light off to the side, and repeat the same process to get the passenger side tail light removed as well. Now, we can do is start to feed some of our wiring down through our driver side tail light pocket. So, you want to start with your 4-way flat connector first, and then drop down through, and out at the bottom, and we're doing this just because it's a lot easier to have all this slack and all this extra wire, kind of down, where its need to be, before we actually start to plug everything in. Doing it this way it'll going to make a little more sense. We're going to do the same thing with the T-connector here that has the brown, green, orange, and purple wire. This will get drop down underneath the vehicle as well, and we're going to eventually, run that over the passenger side. So, I went ahead and did was to use a zip tie, and kind of zip tied our diode converter here to the factory wiring, just to help prevent it from bouncing around. And then, what we can do, we're going to have this T-connector, it kind of have a red, blue, yellow, and brown wiring this is going to get plugged in to our factory plug. I'm going to use the one here at the bottom, so one side just going to plug right in, like so. And this one, we'll simply just plugged into our tail light. Get that one plugged in, reinstall the rest of our connectors, and then we're able to reinstall the tail light the opposite way that we removed it. So, now here underneath of our truck, I went ahead and routed the other T-connector these wires here over to the passenger side. And so, I just simply run it, kind of, up and over our frame and continued along the back of our truck. So, here's where it comes out of our frame rail, I cupped it up nice and high on top of our spare tire, again comes over to frame, along through here and up into the passenger side tail light pocket. So, here's where our T-connector came up and it's going to work just like the driver side. One end will get plugged into, that wiring connector there. And then, if we grab our tail light, our case aside, it's easier to rotate the bulb out, where it'll just get plugged right in. And then we can go ahead and either reinstall the bulbs, or just plug the connectors back in, whichever was easiest for you to do, to get the light itself removed. So, now I went ahead and routed our 4-pole flat connector wiring towards the front of our truck. Which is this wiring here the brown, yellow and green. It's pretty straightforward. I just followed, more or less, followed our frame rail all the way towards the front of our truck. And when your doing this, you want to be sure to avoid any hot or moving parts. So, once you get, kind of, just in front of your rear tire, actually brought our wiring to the outside of our frame rail where it runs down and along some factory wiring here. And I just used some zip ties along the way to keep it secure. Once you get right here, to avoid all of our moving suspension components, I actually just, kind of, pushed it up behind our wheel well liner, right into the engine compartment, where it just kind of loops down in front of our front bumper. So, now here in the engine compartment you can see, where our wiring runs through, its just kind of straight along, and here's where it kind of comes back down behind our front bumper, and I have this routed over to our mounting bracket. In our case, our mounting bracket is located right here. Now, if you're going to use the 4-way flat connector that's perfectly fine. You would simply mount this up to whatever bracket you're using. And on the back of it, there's going to be a white wire that has a ring terminal and you will need to ground this, you need to secure it to the truck's chasse, that way it can have a ground. What we're going to do is actually convert this end to the one of the really common 6-way round type connectors. This are just a little more versatile, and just a little more common. You see this a little more often than this on flat tow setups. With that being said, we're going to have to get rid off of our 4-way connector here. So, I'm just going to clip it off, that way we can get our 6-way on the end. So, now I went ahead and did was to strip back the insulation on these three ends, and since we're still going to need a ground wire for our new plug, I simply just removed and cut that old wire, old white wire off of our 4-way flat connector. So, we're going to strip the insulation back on this end as well. When I do that, I like to, kind of, twist the wires, make sure they're nice and tight. We're going to take our rubber cover there. Push all the wires through, and then we can grab our plug, and the way this going to work is you're going to, has some sets screws here, you're just going to back this out enough to get your wire inside there. And the terminals that we're going to be using will be, this one here, which is TM for tail lights, our brown wire will go to it. This one here is labeled GD and that'll be ground, so, our white wire will got there. This one here, is going to be labeled LT for left turn, so, our yellow wire will go to it. And this one here is labeled RT for right turn, so, our green wire will go into it. So, we'll just start with that one, see I backed that sets screw out. We'll take our wire, plug that into the terminal there and simply just tighten down the side screw, and that'll make the connection that we need. So, I'll just repeat that same process to get the rest of the wires all hooked up. So, this is what the back of the plug is going to look like once you have all of the wires installed. Then what we can go ahead and do is secure our connector plug here to the bracket make sure you pushed that dust cover on. You don't want to do it first, because in our case it doesn't fit through the actual bracket, so, we kind of do it one at a time here. We'll get that pushed on and I'm just going to grab some hardware and get everything secure. So, now we still need to ground our white wire. And right here, we have a nice, thick, metal brace. I think it'll work out real well for our ground. So, I'm going to use a self-tapping screw to secure the ring terminal there. Now's a good idea to test our wiring to make sure that it's working properly. So, I plugged it into a tester box to check it. We have our tail lights turned on now. Go ahead and try our left turn signal, our right turn signal, and our break lights. And that'll finish up our look at and our installation of the Hopkins Custom Fit Tail Light Wiring Kit for Towed Vehicles on our 2013 Ford F-150..


Info for this part was:

Employee Andrew K
Video by:
Andrew K
Employee Dustin K
Video by:
Dustin K
Employee Zach D
Video by:
Zach D
Employee Joshua S
Video Edited:
Joshua S
Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Cole B
Installed by:
Cole B
Employee Shane T
Test Fit:
Shane T
Employee Randy B
Test Fit:
Randy B
Employee David F
Test Fit:
David F
Employee Ryan G
Test Fit:
Ryan G

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