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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need to wire a brake controller on my 2004 Sienna.
What are good ways to route the wires?
The old site had lots of great info about that. Maybe that can be repeated here?
 

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yeah, the old site had TONS of good info

when i wired my p3, i ran the wires on the inside

- from battery to under the driver foot well i followed the wiring loom on the upper right of the steering columb when looking up from the foot well. there is a nipple that i cut to pass my wirest

- from the dash area to the rear hatch i when under the door thresholds on the drivers side

- i exited from the rear hatches via the gromets that are in the trunk well

this is exactly how it was posted on the old site

Paul
 

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This is the same thing I did, though I still haven't found a great spot to mount the controller. There were some good ideas on the old site, but I wasn't a huge fan of them myself. I did set mine up to mount inside the lower bin, which would do the job for now, without leaving any visible marks if I decided to move it.
 

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I saw on the Tekonsha site a video showing the "plug and play" mounting in a Toyota Sequioa.

Does anyone know if this is possible in the 2nd generation Sienna? We have a 2006, and it has the towing prep package.

Has anyone done the entire install themselves? (brake controller, wiring, 7-pin pigtail).

This time around I plan to get the airbags for the rear struts. Any comments for the '06/2nd gen install?
 

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I never found a plug for the brake controller. I have it all installed, except for the wiring harness for the controller itself. Since I am installing in two vehicles, I need to order a second controller for the Sienna, wire it to the brake pedal, and plug in the power from the battery and brake power (which are both already installed and ready to go).
 

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I have been researching wiring the brake controller myself just recently. I went to etrailer.com and there is a wiring video that shows how to do it. However, it's not a video on a Sienna, but on an older Ford Explorer. Still, it does show you how to wire it, especially around the battery. Here is the link http://www.etrailer.com/p-ETBC7.htm When you go to the link, there are several links for three videos. One explains the wiring kit, and two are for installations on two SUV's. These show you some routing tips. Put that together with the tips here, and I think it would be useful, especially if you have never done anything like that - like me. :). There is also a video of how to hook up a T- connector wire harness to the car wiring - plug and drive, though you have to drill a grounding screw, but it shows exactly where to put it. http://www.etrailer.com/tv-wiring_install_1998_toyota_sienna.aspx

Cheers.

Rod Wylie
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've looked into the T-one wiring harness on etrailer.com
However, this converter has a very weak electrical specification of 4.2A for the tail lights.
I figure that the two tail lights plus 11 small rear and side lights on my pop-up trailer require 4.8A (at 14V).
So, a bit stronger converter is needed.
 

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ej_san_fran said:
I've looked into the T-one wiring harness on etrailer.com
However, this converter has a very weak electrical specification of 4.2A for the tail lights.
I figure that the two tail lights plus 11 small rear and side lights on my pop-up trailer require 4.8A (at 14V).
So, a bit stronger converter is needed.
Thanks

So, do you think they have that at etrailer.com, or does it have to be wired in directly meaning more$$?

Rod
 

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pgartner said:
yeah, the old site had TONS of good info

when i wired my p3, i ran the wires on the inside

- from battery to under the driver foot well i followed the wiring loom on the upper right of the steering columb when looking up from the foot well. there is a nipple that i cut to pass my wirest

- from the dash area to the rear hatch i when under the door thresholds on the drivers side

- i exited from the rear hatches via the gromets that are in the trunk well

this is exactly how it was posted on the old site

Paul
Thanks for the help...how did you get the wire from the battery through the footwell in the driver's compartment? I am trying to mount a 2meter transceiver and haven't figured out how to run power from the battery into the compartment, nor have I figured out how to tap power inside the cabin. I don't want to use the cigarette lighter. Thanks!
 

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Hyspeedz said:
pgartner said:
yeah, the old site had TONS of good info

when i wired my p3, i ran the wires on the inside

- from battery to under the driver foot well i followed the wiring loom on the upper right of the steering columb when looking up from the foot well. there is a nipple that i cut to pass my wirest

- from the dash area to the rear hatch i when under the door thresholds on the drivers side

- i exited from the rear hatches via the gromets that are in the trunk well

this is exactly how it was posted on the old site

Paul
Thanks for the help...how did you get the wire from the battery through the footwell in the driver's compartment? I am trying to mount a 2meter transceiver and haven't figured out how to run power from the battery into the compartment, nor have I figured out how to tap power inside the cabin. I don't want to use the cigarette lighter. Thanks!
on my 2005 with the 3.3 engine, if you look up from the driverside foot well, (put your head by the gas pedal) just right of the steering colume there is a bundle of wires that go to the engine compartment. you can see the bundle snake around in the engine compartment..

the bundle passes the firewall via a rubber grommet. there was a spare "nipple" that i snipped of the tip and passed the wire in.

on the 2007+/3.5 engine it might be different.

the club had a good writeup on this, and i think it was a 2007 model that was used. i printed it out to use as a referance for when i wired my 2005, PM me if you want me to send you a scan/PDF of the printout

Paul
 

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ej_san_fran said:
I've looked into the T-one wiring harness on etrailer.com
However, this converter has a very weak electrical specification of 4.2A for the tail lights.
I figure that the two tail lights plus 11 small rear and side lights on my pop-up trailer require 4.8A (at 14V).
So, a bit stronger converter is needed.
I looked at my trailer and found it had the 11 lights too, so...

What about removing the bulbs out of the three middle running lights on the rear of the trailer to reduce amperage load?

Or what about replacing some of the lights with these? http://www.etrailer.com/pc-LED~CPL120A.htm

I emailed etrailer.com to find out what the amperage of the linked light is - will post when I get a response.

Just some ideas. Thoughts anyone?

Cheers

Rod
 

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rstanek said:
I saw on the Tekonsha site a video showing the "plug and play" mounting in a Toyota Sequioa.

Does anyone know if this is possible in the 2nd generation Sienna? We have a 2006, and it has the towing prep package.
No, it is not. The Sequioa, like most modern trucks and truck-based SUVs, has "prewiring" for a brake controller; the Sienna (both generations, any equipment level), like most passenger cars and other vehicles sharing their components, does not have such prewiring.

rstanek said:
Has anyone done the entire install themselves? (brake controller, wiring, 7-pin pigtail).
Yes, I did, and this is relatively commonly done.
 

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I have a bit of electronic prototyping experience and here's my layout.

From the battery I have a 6gauge wire running through a 50 amp maxifuse at the battery, then across the engine bay to a project box. inside the box the 6guage branches off to three automotive relays rated at 30/40 amps each. Each also has another glass fuse holder and appropriate fuse for their function. These relays turn on with the ignition but can be disabled with secondary switch on the box so I can kill their function when not towing.

The first relay transmits power through 2 12guage wires right through the firewall, the door sill panels on the passenger side and back to the 7way connector whose wires run through a grommet in the folding seat bin. Those are to charge the trailer batteries while driving.

The second relay runs inside and to the brake controller cannon plug to power the controller. The cannon plug is there to take the controller out when not using it. There are wires from there to the brake switch and also back to the 7way plug along the same route as the charging wires.

The third relay sends power back the a second project box that is one of the rear armrest cubbies for the third row seats. There are also wires running to there from a 4pin wiring harness that i originally installed. It had plugs that took the current from each rear signal lamp to run the trailer signals/brake lights and running lights. Inside the second project box are 3 more 10 amp relays that take the signal from each turn/brake output from the original harness and use them to turn on the relays which are powered from the larger power wire from the front. That way I don't "load" my vehicle lighting to run the trailer lights/signals/brakes. they just trigger the relays at a couple of hundred milliamps and the main power for everything comes right from the battery.

More than I probably needed to do, but it was a project I enjoyed.
 

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Nicely done, tcp! :) That sounds very tidy and thoroughly thought out.

I ran the battery charging and controller output wires to the rear under the floor, primarily because I am more comfortable with working on the ground under a vehicle than digging through interior panels - both approaches can be good options.

Brake controller manufacturers normally advise supplying power from the battery with only a circuit breaker, and no other switches, no relays, and no fuses.

  • I like the master cutoff switch idea (I did this too, but only on my battery-charging line), but I did not want a switch in my controller supply in case I ever hooked up and pulled away without turning it on. Of course the controller would show the lack of power, but if I'm too rushed to flip the switch...
  • Relays are pretty reliable, but if the one in the brake controller circuit fails, there will be no trailer brakes.
  • Fuses are good to protect circuits, but the usual recommendation is for an auto-reset circuit breaker (ARB) instead. The fuse should never blow, and if it does due to an electrical fault then there's no way around at least a temporary loss of braking power, but if it just fails due to the high-vibration environment of a vehicle then there's no way to get the brakes back until stopping, and no obvious warning that the brakes are non-functional. An ARB resets itself if tripped, so it recovers from a momentary overload.
 

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Teachndad said:
ej_san_fran said:
I've looked into the T-one wiring harness on etrailer.com
However, this converter has a very weak electrical specification of 4.2A for the tail lights.
I figure that the two tail lights plus 11 small rear and side lights on my pop-up trailer require 4.8A (at 14V).
So, a bit stronger converter is needed.
I looked at my trailer and found it had the 11 lights too, so...

What about removing the bulbs out of the three middle running lights on the rear of the trailer to reduce amperage load?
...
Eleven running lights is the usual consequence of needing wide-vehicle identification and clearance lights
  • two clearance lights facing forward showing the height and width
  • two side markers on each side
  • two clearance lights facing rearward showing the height and width
  • a cluster of three in the middle of the rear to indicate that the trailer is over 80" wide (the identification lamps)
If the tail lamps are used as the rear clearance lights (only for low enough trailers), that's eleven; if the clearance lamps are on top and the tail lamps are separate, that's 13 lights operating.

The only problem I see with disabling that group of three in the rear (if it is identication group that Rod is suggesting to pull) is that these are legally required for vehicles over 80" wide... and most travel trailers (including mine) are at least that wide. Most of the moulded fiberglass travel trailers (such as the original size of Boler and Trillium) were just barely 80" wide, and I think that was done to avoid the requirement for the extra lighting.
 

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You're right on all counts. I actually do have a breaker available and probably should have gone that route, but i'm OK with my layout. The fuse ratings are quite high for a single axle trailer that draws 3 amps for each brake. I have the fuses set at 30amps to deal with a direct short on the brake lines. If I have a direct short on a line with a breaker, it's going to set/reset itself continuously anyway and the pulsing action of having brakes turn on/off may be more detrimental in an emergency situation. I figure i'll burn away the Sienna's brakes if there is a failure at the trailer end and I'll have to replace a lot of stuff.

brian_bp said:
Nicely done, tcp! :) That sounds very tidy and thoroughly thought out.

I ran the battery charging and controller output wires to the rear under the floor, primarily because I am more comfortable with working on the ground under a vehicle than digging through interior panels - both approaches can be good options.

Brake controller manufacturers normally advise supplying power from the battery with only a circuit breaker, and no other switches, no relays, and no fuses.

  • I like the master cutoff switch idea (I did this too, but only on my battery-charging line), but I did not want a switch in my controller supply in case I ever hooked up and pulled away without turning it on. Of course the controller would show the lack of power, but if I'm too rushed to flip the switch...
  • Relays are pretty reliable, but if the one in the brake controller circuit fails, there will be no trailer brakes.
  • Fuses are good to protect circuits, but the usual recommendation is for an auto-reset circuit breaker (ARB) instead. The fuse should never blow, and if it does due to an electrical fault then there's no way around at least a temporary loss of braking power, but if it just fails due to the high-vibration environment of a vehicle then there's no way to get the brakes back until stopping, and no obvious warning that the brakes are non-functional. An ARB resets itself if tripped, so it recovers from a momentary overload.
 

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scubajoe said:
I never found a plug for the brake controller. I have it all installed, except for the wiring harness for the controller itself. Since I am installing in two vehicles, I need to order a second controller for the Sienna, wire it to the brake pedal, and plug in the power from the battery and brake power (which are both already installed and ready to go).
I guess the Sienna was not pre-wired for a brake controller.

I am thinking about getting a brake controller and using it for both my 07 Sienna LE and 01 4Runner SR5. I was wondering if i could get an additional wiring harness to wire up the other vehicle so I can use the same brake controller? I doubt the 4Runner is pre-wired either. Any suggestions?
 
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