A brake controller is an electronic device that automatically coordinates a tow vehicle's brakes with a trailer's electric brakes so the two systems work together when the tow vehicle's brake pedal is applied. Some truck manufacturers offer the option of an integrated brake controller from the factory. But there are many Ford F-150 trucks that require installation of an aftermarket brake controller in order to control the brakes on the trailer being towed.
Things You'll Need
- Brake controller
- Ford F-150 brake controller adapter harness
- Hand-held electric drill
- 1/8-inch drill bit
- Phillips screwdriver
- 2 8-inch zip ties
Select a mounting location where the brake controller does not interfere with the usage of the brake pedal or accelerator and where the controller can be easily accessed in the event the controller needs to be manually activated.
Place the controller mounting bracket in the selected location and mark the two mounting holes.
Drill two holes with the 1/8 inch drill bit, taking care to not drill into anything behind the mounting holes, such as a wiring harness or heater hose. Mount the controller bracket with the provided screws.
Attach the adapter harness to the brake controller. The harness connection is on the back of the controller.
Mount the controller to the mounting bracket with the provided screws. Depending on the location of the controller, a stubby Phillips screwdriver may be required to secure the controller to the bracket.
Locate the vehicle's factory brake controller connection harness. On 1997 and newer F-150s, the connection harness plug is usually gray in color and is situated behind the OBD-II connector, located at the bottom of the dash above the gas pedal. Connect the adapter harness to the factory brake controller connection plug.
Secure the excess adapter harness wiring with zip ties so that no part of the harness can rub on any metal edges and the harness does not interfere with pedal operation.
Tips & Warnings
- Test the controller by turning the key on to verify that there is power to the controller. If power is present, ".n.c." will be displayed on the controller for 15 seconds. Then it should change to two dots. If no power is present, check the connections and be sure that the connectors are seated in place. If there is still no power to the controller, check if the factory brake controller relay and fuse has been installed.
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