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Redarc Tow-Pro Liberty Brake Controller Installation - 2018 Toyota 4Runner

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How to Install the Redarc Tow-Pro Liberty Brake Controller on a 2018 Toyota 4Runner


Connor: Hey everyone. Connor here today at etrailer.com. We're going to be taking a look at REDARC's Tow-Pro Liberty trailer brake controller here for our 2018 Toyota 4runner.So our REDARC brake controller here is going to be a proportional brake controller. And essentially what this means is it's going to apply a force to our trailer brakes proportional to what it is in the vehicle here. So for example, say we just need to come to a light stop. We're just going to be barely pressing on the brake pedal on our vehicle here.

That means it's just going to send a small amount of force to the brakes on our trailer. However, if we need to come to a sudden stop, we really need to slow down the vehicle and trailer. We slam on our brake pedal, it's going to send a lot of force to the brakes on our trailer to help us come to a stop safely and sooner.Also, with a proportional brake controller, as opposed to a time delay brake controller, we're not going to have that delay between the brake pedal and the brakes being applied in our trailer. So one of the main draws of the REDARC brake controller here is going to be the hidden installation. Now, essentially, what this means is, pretty much all the components that make up our brake controller are going to be installed behind the dash.

They're not going to be visible to us. The only part that is going to be visible is going to be a very small control knob. And we'll show you in a second, that control knob, when done properly, it looks very factory like. You're not even going to be able to tell that the brake controller wasn't installed from the factory. It has a very seamless finished install look.So here's what our brake controller looks like installed.

On this particular vehicle here, we actually have a custom trim panel insert that we can obtain separately through REDARC. And that's going to just simply pop into one of the unused factory panels, which we can see, we have several in the vehicle, depending on options. There's also a universal panel we can purchase if you don't have some of these panels here, that we can just drill into the dash and it still makes for a nice clean finish install look. So REDARC uses these led light here to pretty much tell you what the brakes are doing, as well as what mode you're in. That's basically how they communicate with you and how you're going to be able to read what's going on with the brake controller.Now we have a trailer hooked up here, and while it's hooked up, you're going to see this blue light here.

So the blue light lets us know that we have our trailer hooked up. What we can do is we can adjust the gain by going back and forth clockwise or counter-clockwise. What the gain feature does is, this is essentially what's going to control how much power we're sending to the brakes. So although it is proportional, we can adjust it further. If we have a heavy load, we'd want to turn it up somewhere between five and 10. Whereas if we have a smaller load, we'd want to start between five and one, so we get a feel for our brakes and how much force is needed.So once we have the correct setting here, we have two modes of operation here. We have the standard proportional operation, which is going to be controlled with our brake pedal here. As you're going to see, this blue light here is going to go from blue to purple to red. The intensity of the red light is going to vary depending on how much force we're applying to the trailer brakes. So if we put it on a lower setting, we apply our brake pedal here. As you can see, it's more of a purple color. But if we turn it up, we should start to see a more intense red light, just like that. These are pretty much going to be the standard colors and operations you're going to be doing daily with your brake controller.There are some other color lights, as well as some sequence in different colors, like we've said, that will flash. Those are actually going to be air troubleshooting codes. The REDARC brake controller here is going to be able to sense any issues we have with our wiring or brakes on the trailer and will let us know accordingly via the flashing lights in the sequence, which we can cross-reference to our owner's manual.So last but not least our REDARC brake controller here is going to be compatible with both electric and electric over hydraulic brakes. So pretty much no matter what kind of brakes you have on your trailer, you're going to be covered with this brake controller.So the first step of our installation here, we want to take our switch here, our control knob, and we need to find a good place to mount this. We have quite a few different options for mounting. However, on this particular vehicle here, if we take a look on the driver's side of the dash, closer to where the door is, about where your left knee would be, chances are you're going to have some unused panels, which we see here. There's just these blank plastic slots. We're going to have one up here, two down here, one down here. Yours may vary depending on what options your vehicle comes with. And the reason we're pointing these panels out is because REDARC actually makes a custom mounting bracket here, which we could see, is going to mirror the shape of these panels here.So essentially what this is going to do is, this is going to house our control knob. And then we can use this and mount it in one of these unused panels for a very factory-like seamless installation. We're not going to have to do any drilling into our dash. So again, depending on options, you could have some of these panels filled and some of them might be empty, but chances are, you're going to have at least one empty. Now we're going to be using this lowermost one here because we think that's going to be the best location for the driver to reach. It's not in the way and it's not going to distract them.So we're going to be going ahead and using this one here. But again, you're free to use any of the other unused panels. In order to really get to where we need to be and to remove this panel here and then mount everything, we're going to need to remove this dash panel here. So let's go ahead and do that now, and then we'll show you how it's done.So we've already went ahead and done everything that we need to, to get behind this panel here we're going to be working. Now we're going to show you what we did here, show you where the fasteners are to help you get these panels off yourself. Now keep in mind, since we already have everything loose, you're obviously going to be using a little bit more force than we are, but we did want to go ahead and do this ahead of time. That way we could show you where all the fasteners are. That way you're pulling in the right spots and we don't damage any of the plastic or trim panels.So the first thing you're going to need to do is, you have this lower threshold panel here. This is essentially just going to pop straight out. But what we did is we took a trim panel tool on the inside here where the carpet is. We basically just pried this up and that should release all the clips. And if we've turn this panel over here, we'll show you these push fasteners here, which just go straight down. And also these clips here are going to slide into channels there on the body. We also need to be careful on either end. We're going to have some more fasteners here, but as long as we pull straight out and we're careful not to pry too much on one side, sort to work our way back and forth to release all the clips around the same time, we shouldn't have any issues with damaging it.So we can go ahead and set this aside because the next panel we're going to be removing is going to be right in here where our left foot would be. So in order to remove this panel here, it's going to be hard to see, but on the inside, there's going to be a black nut that we can actually loosen by hand. We'll try to give you a better view of that now. So here's that black plastic nut we told you about. You don't need any tool to remove it. You should just be able to sneak a couple of fingers in there and give it a couple of turns to release it.So here's what it looks like when it comes out. We can go ahead and just set this aside here because now we're going to remove this panel. And again, we're just going to have some fasteners which hold it in here this way. So we want to go ahead and pull out away towards us. Just to show you what we we're talking about there. Those are the fasteners here. It looks like there's only going to be three, one up top, one on the bottom here, and that plastic nut.So the next thing we're going to do now, we're going to come to this lower panel here. We're not actually going to be removing this entirely, but we are going to loosen it enough so we have an area to work behind here. Now, if we come down here, we take a look. Our panel here is actually covering this, but we're going to have a 10-millimeter bolt here that we need to take out in order to let us pry the panel loose. And then if we jump over on the other side here, we're going to have this black plastic cover here. We're just going to take a small screwdriver here, flathead screwdriver. We're just going to pry that cover off. And then we can use our same 10-millimeter socket to remove that bolt as well.And then once we have both of those bolts out, what we're going to do is we're going to try to pry this panel off. There's going to be some fasteners here at the top, which are holding it on. So again, we're just going to sort of gently pry away just like that. I was actually able to get my fingers right here beside the steering column. And that'll give us a good little gripping point here so we can pry and pull this away.Now, we could take this off, but I don't think we're really going to be required to. We just need to be careful that we have some pigtails here. Again, depending on your options, what features and buttons you have here, but we need to make sure we don't pull too much and pulling the wires out the back. We also have our hood latch release mechanism here towards the bottom. That's what this is here. It's connected to this panel. So we want to be careful when we're prying this away that we don't pry too much to damage any of those things.So the next thing we're going to do is going to vary by our vehicle here. Our particular vehicle here has the factory tow package, which means it comes equipped with the factory 4- and 7-way trailer connector. Now what this allows us to do is, it allows us to use a plugin harness here for our brake controller because the vehicle is pre-wired for a brake controller. Now the neck part of the installation, again it's going to require a separate part here. We're going to need to get a vehicle- specific brake controller adapter here, which we see we have pictures, which is specific to our Toyota vehicle here. So there's going to be two ins on it. We have this rectangular plug here. That's going to plug into the main control for our brake controller. This other end here is going to plug into the port for the tow package or brake controller on our vehicle.So we're going to need to find that now. They're kind of tucked under the dash. They're super hard to see. You really have to crawl under there to be able to get to it. But here is basically what it's going to look like. It's going to be a white square plug here with three or four pins. Looks like we have four pins in here. So we're going to go ahead and find that now. So keep in mind, if you don't have the factory tow package, you're not going to have this port and you cannot use this plug-and-play harness. However, you can still install this brake controller. You're simply going to need a different hardwire harness and you're going to need to obviously hardwire that in to the vehicles electrical system.So our factory tow package port, it's going to be tucked behind this driver's side dash panel here. What we need to do is we're going to come in the driver's side footwell here. Let's go ahead and locate our emergency brake pedal, which should be fairly obvious. You should be familiar with that. And that's going to be this little pedal here. Then if we look straight back to this and to the left, we're going to see part of our fuse panel cover here. It's going to have a diagram. And if we look directly behind that, we're going to see a large bundle of wires that are taped in this black electrical tape. We can actually see part of that here. But what we need to do is, we need to trace that up, and we're just going to use our hands here, because taped to this wiring harness here, we're going to have the square connector here. That's going to be for our brake controller.Now we have it here. And again, it's just a white square connector, and it's going to be taped to the existing wiring harness. So in order to get this down, we may need to remove some of the tape, or if our harness is long enough, we may be able to keep it in place and just connect our pigtail or custom harness to this. That's really going to depend on whether you want to give yourself more room to work, or you would like it to get a little bit cleaner looking, or have those wires hanging down.So we should hear a click when we have it locked into place. So it actually wasn't too hard here, but there we go. Now we know it's nice and secure with our connector there. We need to find a secure place to mount this. Now, it doesn't need to be in a specific orientation, but it does need to be mounted to a flat, solid, secure surface, so it's not moving around while we're driving up and down the road, as that would affect the operation.So if we pull this panel back a little bit here, we went ahead and just unplugged these connectors just so we could give you a little bit better view in here. So not this metal support here, but directly behind this, there's going to be another nice flat metal support there, sort of back behind our steering column here. It's actually going to be the same support that holds our brake pedal assembly. So if we look on there, we're going to have a nice flat surface that we can mount our controlling it to. Now, it doesn't matter again if we mount it like this, mount like this. We do need to, however, keep aware of that we still need to connect our wires to either side. So we do need to be able to reach in there and get to it.So this isn't required here, but we're going to be using a double-sided piece of tape here. We're just going to be using this really to help hold it in place while we put the zip ties up because we're actually going to be using some longer zip ties, which you'll need to get yourself. But you can get those pretty much anywhere. So we're going to be using the longer zip ties. We're basically going to be running one through this hole here, around the back side of that metal bracket, and then come out on the other side here. So it's going to be a little bit difficult because we are going to be reaching in there, but it's going to be a perfect location, so we're going to try as best we can to make that work for us. Let's go ahead and slide that back there now. I've actually found, if we come up under the dash here and behind the airbag, that's going to give us the best reach in there to that location.So there we have the main unit mounted and we pretty much did exactly what we said. So now that we have our main unit mounted, we can go ahead and make our first connection here, which is going to be from the custom-wiring harness adapter to the main unit here. Now, depending on how you mounted it, ours here is going to be on the left side, but that is going to line up with the long rectangular connector here from our custom harness.So we may need to sneak our arm up there. It's going to be a tight fit, but we did leave ourself room to make our connections here. We also want to be careful when we're making our connection, that we're going to be routed free of our emergency brake pedal here, so we don't impede the action at all. So when we get done, we are going to use some zip ties to secure it. It's just a good thing to keep in mind here for this step. Press on our connector here, we should hear a click when it's seated properly.So we're going to go ahead and make our ground connection here, coming from the harness. We could just take a self-tapping screw and pretty much just drill anywhere into the body there, sand the surface back a little bit, but in light of not wanting to drill holes into the vehicle, if we peel this panel back a little bit, you're going to see one of those same bolts that we removed earlier, right here, attaching to this metal bracket. So I'd be willing to bet if we take that off, we could use that as our ground point here for our main module box. So let's go ahead and take a 10-millimeter socket. Let's remove that now.So now that we have that bolt removed, we'll take our white wire, our ground wire, here. We're going to route it in the rough location. I'm actually going to come above the hood latch release mechanism, come out here, and we're going to simply just take the bolt, put it through the eyelet there, then we can re-secure it. That is a bare, unpainted, metal surface so it should be suitable for our ground.Now you can see, we have some extra part of our wiring harness and the ground wire here. It's going to be near our emergency brake pedal, as well as close to our actual brake pedal. So we don't want that getting caught up and interfering with those functions. So what we're going to do is we're going to take some zip ties now, we're going to zip tie these wires together to some of the existing wiring up here, or maybe a bracket, just to keep it out of the way so it doesn't fall down.We're going to take our black data cable here. This is going to go from the main unit here to our control knob. So we have two different ends on here and it's going to vary by installation. It doesn't matter which one goes where. We're going to be using the one with the 90 here, behind our dash there, so we don't have to worry about any clearance issues or any binding pushing on our wiring, anything like that. So we're going to go ahead and take the straight end here. We're going to reach up under the dash, and the side opposite to that rectangular plug that we just plugged in, we're going to have this small, kind of looks like an ethernet cable, if you will. We're going to plug that in to the other side of our main unit now, and roughly route our other end of the wire where we need it to be. Similar to the other side, we should be able to hear click when it's locked into place.So we took the other end of our cable here. Again, we're going to be using the 90 degree side behind our panel here. We just routed it up here in this general area, so it won't be hanging down. The next step here is, it's going to depend, depending on which panel we're going to be using here. Since we're going to be using this lowermost one, we're going to go ahead and just come behind it here. If we look at these top ones, you'll be able to get a little bit better view of how they're removed. There's going to be a tab on the top and the bottom here. You're going to need to depress those and then it should come straight out. And they do come out the front way. So here again, here's these two little panels here, just for reference.Now we can take our little trim panel insert that we talked about earlier, and now that we have the slot removed that we're going to be using, all we need to do is come on the outside here and simply press that into place until it locks. So once we hear a click, we'll just come on the outside here and make sure all the surfaces are flushed and it's not turned one way or the other. And if we press on it, it shouldn't be moving at all, and then we know it's locked in place.So now that we have the little bezel or panel installed, we can actually take the main body unit to our control knob here. And if we look at the top here, it's actually a light, but that's going to be our alignment pin. It's going to line up with a small hole on our bezel here. So what we're going to do now is, we're just going to go ahead and come on the back side here. We're just going to set that into position here. Once that is done, we can come around to the front side here. We're going to take our little nut that comes in our kit here. The side with the hex head on the outside is going to be facing us because this is actually going to be the smaller shoulder area. It's actually going to go into that hole there and center everything.So we're going to come around to the back side here. I'm just going to apply some pressure, and then I'm just going to stick our little nut on there. I'm just going to begin threading that in. So we do actually have a torque spec for this, but it's pretty small and not a lot of torque wrenches go down to that. This can vary depending on the thickness of the panel we're using. So the best rule of thumb is here to take our 12-millimeter socket, and we're just going to play it by feel. We're going to tighten this nut down and then we're going to install our control knob here, where we're just going to test the function.What we're looking for is, you want to have a nice click here, which will vary depending on our panel thickness and how much we tighten this nut. So we're just going to tighten it a little bit here. We're going to test fit our knob, make sure we get a nice, good audible click. And then we can repeat that until we have the feel that we're looking for. But we do need to make sure that the knob is at a certain position, as well as the knob here on our switch here is going to be turned all the way counter-clockwise. But we'll go ahead and show you that next once we get this nut tightened down.So now that we have, again, we just want to make sure you can see here, this does turn. We want to make sure it's turns all the way counter-clockwise. And then that little light, we're just going to use that as our alignment tab here. We're going to press on our control knob, but we want the zero on the control knob to be aligned with that top portion here, the light, line it in, whatever you want to call it. Then we'll just simply press it on, just like that. And then we'll go ahead and test the click here. As we can see, we have nice audible click here and that should be perfect. We won't know for certain until we get everything hooked up and we can test them in our override feature, which is what this is for.So now what we can do is finally the final step here. We're going to take the other end of our data, remote cable, whatever you want to call it, and plug it into the back of the panel here, just like that. Now we can go ahead and button everything up. I'm going to take some zip ties. I'm going to tie off the rest of our cable here so we don't have to worry about it hanging down. Also, if you unplug these top two plugs here to give you more room to work, you would want to plug those back in as well. So then we can go ahead and button up all our panels. And the final step here will be to test our brake controller.So now that we have everything installed, we need to go through what REDARC refers to as the active calibration process. Essentially what this does is it helps the controllers get a sense of the vehicle's direction as well as the brake pedal being applied. So what we need to do now is we need to go ahead and drive around an area here and make some frequent stops. Now we can do this with or without our trailer hooked up. If we do it with a trailer hooked up, we're going to get a better idea of when the calibration process is done, because we're actually going to be able to see some LED lights, which we'll show you here in a second. During the active calibration process, the control knob is going to alternate between a blue and a green light. That lets you know the calibration process is taking place and working. Once it's done and the unit has calibrated itself, we're going to get a solid blue light.Now you can do this, as we mentioned, without the trailer hooked up. However, we're not going to get any LEDs on our control knob there. So we're not really going to get a good indication that the calibration process is complete until we hook up to our trailer.So here's what our LED lights will look like when we're still in the active calibration process. So now we're just going to drive around and make some frequent stops until we get a solid blue light.So now we've went ahead around the parking lot a couple of times and we've applied our brakes around 20 times or so. As you can see, we have the solid blue light on our brake controller there, which is going to indicate that our unit is calibrated and ready to go. So now that we have the controller calibrated, we're going to go ahead and hook up our trailer again. If you're still hooked up, that's fine. We're going to go ahead and test out our features now, such as the manual override first. So what we're going to do now is we're going to go ahead and turn the gain of our controller all the way up to the max setting of 10, just for demonstration purposes. And then we're going to apply the manual override, which is simply done by clicking down on this knob here.Now, if everything was installed correctly, we should see this blue light fade from blue to purple and then eventually to red. Perfect. Now what we can do is we can go ahead and test the brake controller with the brake pedal. Now we should see that same sequence of the color changing from blue to purple to red as well. And there we have it.And that's going to do it for our look and installation of REDARC's Tow-Pro Liberty trailer brake controller here for our 2018 Toyota 4runner..


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