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Trailer Brake Controller Installation - 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

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How to Install a Trailer Brake Controller on a 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited


Today, on our 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited With Factory 7-Way, we're going to be taking a look at and showing you how to install the Tekonsha Prodigy P3 Trailer Brake Controller, Part Number: 90195. Now to help us with our installation, we're going to be using the Wiring Kit for 2, 4, 6, and 8 Brake Electric Trailer Brake Controllers, Part Number: 5506. So here's what our break controller looks like when it's fully installed. The thing I really like about this particular break controller is that it is a proportional break controller. What that means is it's going to automatically activate our trailer brakes in proportion to our vehicle breaking action. So it's going to automatically adjust the breaking based on how much our vehicle is decelerating. So right now we're at a dead stop, but I do have something hooked up to the back, so it realizes that.

But, at the same time, when we're at a stoplight, if I push on the break, it's not going to apply any amount of pressure to the breaks, which is nice because we don't have to worry about wearing out our brakes on our trailer from it constantly just putting pressure on it at a stoplight. Our brake controller's going to have this standard boost setting, just like most others. If you look at the picture of the truck with the trailer on the back, that's going to let you know that the boost is off. If we push this button right here, it'll say "B1" for boost 1, and you can see that the truck and the trailer actually gets slightly larger. Boost 2, an even bigger trailer, and, finally, boost 3, with a very large trailer, showing us that it's on the highest level. What the boost setting is going to do is it's going to allow us to get to the maximum power setting faster.

So boost 1 is going to have a slight ramp up to getting to the maximum power, whereas 2 and 3 are going to get there much quicker. Now along with the boost setting, we do have our max power output. This is going to be in volts, so the highest it's going to go is 14 volts. Obviously, the lowest it's going to go, it's going to go down to zero. So if we set it at the max voltage of 14, hit "OK," and if we push the manual override lever and sweep it over You can see it's slowly climbing up. Since it is in volts, it's not going to reach the full 14 because our vehicle's only putting out 13.1 right now.

But the manual override lever is going to come in handy if you ever come into that situation where your trailer starts to get squirrely, and you need to slow it down, but you don't need to slow your vehicle down. You can just grab it right here and slowly apply the brakes. Now this is customizable. If we go to the menu and go through some of the settings, we can see that it says "Brake Type." If we go into that menu, we can see that it does allow for the use of electric and electric over hydraulic brakes. Now also another nice feature is if you like the color display, we can change the color and brightness and contrast in our display to several different colors. One of the really nice features of this brake controller is if we actually push on that boost button and hold it, we're going to see that we're going to have a menu come up, it says "Trailer 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5." Those are going to be storable presets for individual trailers, so if you have several different trailers that are different sizes, you can actually set your brake controller to the trailer, and it'll be stored in there. When we're not towing, our brake controller is still going to have power, but it'll let us know, in case of an emergency, if our trailer gets disconnected or if we try to use it with nothing hooked up.

The red light's going to come on and let us know that no trailer is connected and all the buttons and settings are not going to work. It's just going to keep telling us that there's "No Trailer Connected." Our P3 is designed to work with trailers from anywhere from one to four axles. Now that we've gone over some of the features and benefits of our brake controller, let's show you how we get it installed. Our Jeep does have a factory 7-way, which should look like this on the back of your Jeep, and giving you a 7-way trailer socket. On the front, we should have a harness that has our fuse holder, our ground wire, our red power wire connected to our battery. Now I went ahead and disconnected the ground, that way I can go ahead and do all my electrical connections and now have to worry about any shorts. To begin our installation, I'm going to cut the zip ties that are holding it in place. I'm going to cut the zip ties that's holding it bundled together because this wire's going to be for our brake output. So I'm going to start running this over towards the driver's side, and we're going to need to get inside the compartment of our Jeep. For right now, I'm just going to loosely bring it over to the driver's side, and then we can come back and zip tie it to some existing wiring so it's out of the way. If we look to the very outside of the driver's side fender here, right next to our brake booster, we're going to notice a rather large hole. It's got a rubber grommet inside. That's where we're going to be going through our firewall into our passenger compartment. Now, I've got a piece of airline tube here, and you can use whatever you have available, even if it is just something like a coat hanger. You just want something that's going to hold its shape when you start pushing. So I'm going to take my airline tube, I'm going to push it straight through that grommet, so it can go into the compartment of my Jeep. Then, I'm going to take the end of my blue wire, I'm actually going to insert it into my airline tube and come back with a little bit of electrical tape. Just going to put a small amount on, that way I don't have to worry about losing my wire when I start pulling it. Now, we can go ahead and move to the inside of the car. I'm just going to start pulling my airline tube through, just enough to get my blue wire out. Then we can pull all the excess slack out, to make sure that it's not binding up or catching on anything on the engine side. We can go ahead and strip back the end of our blue wire here. In our kit, they are going to provide us with some butt connectors, but I'm going to be replacing those with some heat shrink butt connectors, just to give us a little bit better protection against corrosion or any kind of build up like that. Now, we're going to need to grab the harness that's going to go to the back of our brake controller. It should look like this, and we should have four wires coming off the back of it a white, red, blue, and a black wire. We're going to start with the blue wire. I'm going to go ahead and take the end that's already pre-stripped and put it into the butt connector I just put my other blue wire in and crimp it down. I'm using a heat gun to shrink down my connector. I just want to mention, if you are using an open flame, you want to be careful not to char the wires or the connector itself. We're going to go ahead and take the gray duplex wire that's in our kit, and if you look in the end, you'll notice that there's a white and a black wire inside this gray insulation. Now we're going to need to slip that open, so very carefully I'm going to take a knife, and I'm going to cut just right in between the two. I'm going to try to only cut the insulation itself, and not cut the wire underneath. Once you have that split, you're going to want to open it up and expose the wires inside. Now we can go ahead and strip back each end of the white and the black wire. I'm going to take another of one of my yellow heat shrink butt connectors and I'm going to put it on one end of each one of my wires. Now we can go ahead and take the harness again for our brake controller, and the black wire's going to go to the black wire on our duplex cable, and the white wire's going to go to the white wire. That gray duplex cable that we just attached, we're going to need to send out through the firewall, towards the battery of our vehicle. So, again, I'm going to take a piece of airline tube, and I'm going to push it the opposite way, going out into the firewall, or out into the engine bay, following that blue cable. So running my airline tube up, and then I can find the end of my gray duplex cable and attach it here. Take a small bit of electrical tape, and we don't have to worry about losing it when I start pulling it through. Now we can move to the engine, start pulling our cable through. You want to make sure that you pull all the slack out and it doesn't get wadded up inside. It's not going to hurt to go ahead and peak inside and make sure that it all went through, and didn't get hung up on anything. Now, we're going to need to route our cable the same way, towards our battery. So right now, I'm just going to loosely start taking it over towards my battery, and then I'll come back later with some zip ties and secure everything down. As you can see, we've got plenty of wire here, so I'm just going to estimate about how much I need and cut off the excess. Now I do want to mention, it's always better to give yourself excess than not to have enough because you can always tie up and bundle up your wire, rather than having to splice in more. I'm going to go ahead and split back the insulation on my duplex cable, but I'm going to split it back rather far this time, not just on the end. It doesn't need to go all the way back, but I'm going to go at least to where it meets my battery, right about here. Again, you just want to be extra careful not to cut your wire on the inside of the sheathing. So if you need to, just go slow and do a little bit at a time. Once you get a little bit started, you can peel back a little bit maybe making it a little bit easier. We're going to start with our white wire, that's going to need to go to our ground, and I'm going to ground it right here at the battery. So, again, I'm going to have a little bit of excess, so I'm going to cut it off, and we're going to strip back the end of our wire. In our kit, they do provide us with a ring terminal, I'm going to slide it onto my wire and crimp it down. Now I will be hooking this up to the battery, right here, but for now I'm going to leave it unhooked. Our black wire is going to go to the positive post of our battery, but we're going to have to install a breaker first. I think right here would be a good spot to mount our breaker. So we can go ahead and put our wire aside, for now, and we can go ahead and grab our breaker. Before we mount this, I want to explain the silver post will say "AUX," and the copper post is going to say "BAT." Now the black wire is going to come into my breaker on the silver post, and then it's going to have another wire coming off of the copper post going to the battery. We're going to mount it right here. We have plenty of room. We're using some provided self-tapping screws. We can go ahead and estimate about how much wire we need. I'm going to cut the excess off and strip back the end of my wire. Now at the end of this wire, we're going to be taking the smaller ring terminals, I'm going to slide it over my wire and crimp it down. Now as I mentioned before, this is going to be going to the silver post on my breaker. So I'm going to go ahead and remove the nut, slide my ring terminal in place, and hand tighten the nut for now. Now to the excess wire, it looks like it's going to be just the right amount, so I'm going to go ahead and strip back both ends. On one end, we're going to apply one of the small ring terminals and crimp it in place. On the other end, we're going to take one of the larger ring terminals and apply it here. Now the end with the small ring terminal is going to go on the copper post of our breaker. I'm going to go ahead and remove the nut on top of my battery here. That large ring terminal that we have coming from our breaker is going to slide on right here. We can replace the nut and tighten it down. Now our red wire should be the only wire left on the inside of our harness here. This is going to have to tap into the brake light switch, which will be attached to our brake pedal, farther up under the dash. The way we're going to test for this is: I'm going to take my test light here, and I'm going to pierce the wires, and I only want to get a 12 volt signal when the brakes are applied. That's going to be the cold side of the brake switch, so it's only getting power when the brakes come on. So I'm going to go ahead and test my wires, and I'll let you know which one it is. So I went in and tested my wires, and it turns out that this white wire with the brown stripes is going to be the wire we'd want to, would use. As you can see, my tester's on it right now, but I'm not getting any kind of signal. But if I push on the brake, it let's me know that it's getting a 12 volt power source. So that white and brown wire is going to be the one that we're going to use for our brake signal switch. To make it a little bit easier on myself to access those wires, I'm actually going to take this cover off right here. So come right underneath the steering wheel and we pull slightly down, and you'll be able to pull that cover off and set it aside. We're going to have two bolts holding this panel on right here. I'm going to be using a 10mm socket to remove those. Now that the bolts are loose, we're going to want to lift straight up, which will unlock these tabs here and then we can pull it off. We should be able to see our brake switch a little bit easier, to be able to tell what we're doing. So I'm going to reach inside, and I'm going to grab the whole assembly, and I'm going to turn it counterclockwise. You'll feel it unlatch, and then we'll be able to pull it out. This is just going to make it a little bit easier for me to gain access to those wires. So we can go ahead and pull it out, slightly. Now this is the brown striped white wire that we're going to be working with, so I'm going to go ahead and cut back some of this electrical tape, so I can gain more access to my wire. I'm actually going to come and cut my brown and white wire. I'm going to cut it, and I'm going to strip back both ends of the wire itself. Now there's not a whole lot of room under here, but it can be done. It just takes a little bit of extra patience. Now the wire coming directly off of the switch, I'm going to put one of the smaller butt connectors in place. They do provide you with some in the kit, but again, I'm going to be replacing it with heat shrink butt connectors. I'm going to crimp it into place. For the other end, I'm going to feed up my red wire from my harness. I'm going to reach in here and grab it, and I'm actually going to twist the end of that and the other end of my brake switch wire together, and that's what's going to be going into the other end of my butt connector. So when it's done, it should look like this. We can go ahead and put it back into place, locking it in, and we can go ahead and put the panel back as well. The easiest way to put this panel in is go slightly above where it needs to go, and then just slide it down and those locking tabs will line up. Our next step is going to be finding a suitable location to mount our brake controller. Now we just have to make sure that our brake controller is facing the direction of travel. Try to get it as level as possible this way, but we do have some freedom to mount it this way, whichever way we'd like. Now I think if we mounted our brake controller right here, right below this vent, it should work out pretty well, and be out of the way of our knees and still reach everything, with our steering wheel and the mirror controls and the pedals won't be interfered with either. So right here looks like a good spot. You can actually take the small mount off of our brake controller, itself. We're going to be mounting it right here. But before we mount it, I'm going to take this panel off actually, and I'm going to route my wires over towards this area to make sure that I have enough room. So I'm going to go ahead and pop this panel off, and now I'm going to reach underneath the dash here and I'm going to start feeding my wires, hopefully, right here so I can come out right behind that panel. So I routed my plug over here, and I'm coming out this open area just right of the steering column. Now I can go ahead and take my cover, I'm actually going to sandwich my wire right in between the seam right here. I can still get my clips in place. I can still actually move my wire just a little bit to adjust it. Then we start mounting our bracket for our brake controller. They do provide us with some self-tapping screws. I'm just going to be putting in my bracket and just drill right into the dash here. So we can go ahead and look at the back of our brake controller, and we can plug in the harness. We'll hear it click. Then we're going to want to line up these holes with the holes that we just mounted that bracket on with. Then we can take a couple of the screws they provide in our kit, and we can mount it up. Now with our brake controller mounted, we can go ahead and hook up our grounds and tidy up any wires that we may have loose under the hood or under the dash. I'm going to be using a 10mm socket to remove the nut off the ground. You can take both of our ground wires and slide them over the post, then we can reinstall the nut. Just going to come back and zip tie any of my excess wires to some existing wiring along the firewall. So I got my 7-way tester hooked up, that way we're going to make sure that our lights as well as our brake controller is working properly. Obviously, we're going to see our lights down here, and when I start hitting the manual override on our brake controller, we should see these levers spike, letting us know that it's sending voltage out for the brakes. All right, so I can go ahead and run through the lights right away. Here you can see we have our clearance lights, left turn signal, right turn signal, brakes, and the brakes and our turn signals. Now if I hit the manual override on my brake controller, you can start to see that needle sweep up, and we know that it's working properly. With everything ready to go, we can go hook up our trailer and hit the road. That'll finish up our look at the Tekonsha Prodigy P3 Trailer Brake Controller, Part Number: 90195, on our 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited With Factory 7-Way.


Mike

11/12/2018

This video is great! However, I have one follow-up question. Starting at about 4:20 and ending at about 5:55, there is discussion about the zip-tied bundle of blue wire in the engine compartment. I understand that this wire has been added as part of this installation and is not present on the Jeep from the factory. The video explains well how to route the wire along the firewall, push through the firewall, and install to the wiring from the controller. What the video doesnt explain is how or where to connect the wire to the vehicles wiring harness to the 7-way trailer socket. Could you explain that? Thanks!

Etrailer Expert

Rachael H.

11/14/2018

For this vehicle it is explained that it has an existing 7-way on the Jeep. So there were not any connections to be made at the rear of the vehicle. If you want you can test this function at the back of your 7-way (at the 5 o clock position) when you are depressing the brakes and it should show a signal if the vehicle came with an OEM 7-way. If you do not have a factory 7-way on your Jeep you can use the a T-one wiring harness like the Tekonsha # 118416 , and then convert it to a fully functional 7-way with the addition of an # ETBC7 Kit. I have included links to the parts recommended, a few videos showing the installation, and a help article for your reference.

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