Trailer Wiring Install for Bronco Sport Using Factory Power Circuit (Part Two – Installation)

MKohlman

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Trailer Wiring Install for Bronco Sport Using Factory Power Circuit (Part Two – Installation)

*****
NOTE:
The previous “Part One” post is a bit of back-story on the research I did on installing an aftermarket 4-way trailer lighting system on my Bronco Sport Badlands using Ford’s factory trailer power supply circuit. The actual installation begins with this section, “Part Two”. If you have no interest in the “why” and want to just see the “how”, feel free to skip it.

NOTE 2: I have a tendency to be somewhat “thorough” when making modifications to my rides (my wife occasionally has used other terms, which I won’t deny), usually with the goal of making the install as clean, professional, and post-install serviceable as possible. As such this is being provided as a guide in the hopes that others don’t have to repeat the time, research, and pain to do something similar. It isn’t intended to be the be-all-end-all guide and no warranty on accuracy, repeatability, or your skills in performing a similar install is expressed or implied. In other words, Caveat Emptor 😉

NOTE 3: For reasons that aren’t really relevant to this post, I did not get the factory trailer package. While I think my installation here is of great quality and potentially offers some upgrade capability that Ford doesn’t, in nearly all cases you are better off ordering/buying the factory tow package for your BS. It will come with full warranty support and won’t come with the time. effort, skinned knuckles, and the foul language that a DIY solutions does.

*****

ASSUMPTIONS:


As you read this guide, I am going to assume the following, and therefor will not be providing much documentation or guidance for:
  • That you have a basic understanding of vehicle electrical systems, wiring, soldering, how to use test equipment (such as a multimeter or voltage/polarity probe).

  • That you have a basic understanding of how to remove automotive trim panels, lighting, and various small items that typically have to be removed or loosened during an installation of this type.

  • That you have all the miscellaneous supporting tools and equipment needed to do a project of this type.
IF YOU DON’T FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH ANY OF THE ABOVE ASSUMPTIONS, HIRE A PROFESSIONAL TO DO THIS FOR YOU. WHATEVER THEY COST WILL ULTIMATELY BE LESS THAN AN INJURY OR SERIOUS DAMAGE TO A $30,000+ VEHICLE.

*****

Part one covers a fair bit of the research that when into this installation. Towing trailers, toys, and small campers with our Bronco Sport was always a goal and doing so reliably over the life of our Little BS meant that I wanted to install the wiring and electrical support at a quality and flexibility level that was comparable to what I might have gotten from Ford. Specific goals for this project were:
  • Use, if at all possible, as much of Ford’s built-in support for trailering/towing as I could, leveraging available circuits and wiring designed for this purpose if it already existed.

  • Keeping hacking/modifications of pre-existing wiring, circuits, bodywork, etc. to the absolute minimum practical for all the “good” reasons (warranty support, ease-of-repair, ease-of-understanding-what-was-done, and ability to uninstall parts of and/or the whole installation if it became necessary)

  • Add foundational support for a 7-way connection and 12volt power to a camper in the future.

  • Replicate the “look and feel” of the factory systems as much as practical.
Since the research (Part One) gave me good hope that I would be able to use Ford’s pre-existing 40 Amp Trailer Circuit and the included 10 Gauge wire through the engine firewall and into the passenger compartment/wiring channels, I put together the following parts list for the installation:
  • Curt Class III Trailer Hitch (#CRT-13474) – installation of this is not covered in this guide as there is plenty of information out there on installing the Curt hitch and this wiring guide should be applicable to pretty much any 3rd party hitch you get for the Bronco Sport.

  • Tekonsha T-One Vehicle Wiring Harness with 4-Pole Flat Trailer Connector (#118836) – I chose the Tekonsha solution because at the time it was one of the only offerings that was 99% “plug and play”, requiring no cutting into the Ford factory wiring harness, with the only intrusive modification being providing a power and ground connection.

  • 24’ of 10 gauge stranded red-jacketed wire – For extending the factory 10 gauge trailer towing circuit from behind the glove box to the left-rear corner of the Bronco Sport (behind the taillight and interior body trim panel).

  • 6’ of 16 gauge stranded wire – because I wanted a “cleaner” wiring installation, I found that the wiring provided by the Tekonsha kit between the left taillight and where I wanted to install the controller wasn’t long enough. Because of this I added a little less than 36” to the two lines that run between them. I color matched the wire because I had some already on-hand, but as long as the gauge matches that isn’t really necessary.

  • 3 (QTY 3) Audiopipe 10 Gauge 2-Pin Quick Disconnects (AQK-12-10BG) – these were used to provide a disconnect point that aligns with the harness disconnect point behind the glove box as well as an additional disconnect point at the dedicated power connection to the Tekonsha controller as well as (optional) a split-off point for dedicated 12 volt power for a future 7-way trailer connection. Amazon sells these in 5 packs for a reasonable price if you cannot source locally (ASIN# B00JZR3IEO)

  • 50’ Wiring Harness Automotive Cloth Tape – Most automotive wiring harnesses are cloth-wrapped these days to reduce NVH. Not strictly needed but provides for a much cleaner and more professional install. Amazon sells these in 2 packs for a reasonable price if you cannot source locally (ASIN# B09C6DX6KK)

  • 10’ Scotch Linerless Electrical Splicing Tape – Regular electrical tape will work as well, but for situations that have high potential for moisture/corrosion exposure, I prefer the fusing variety. Amazon sells these in for a reasonable price if you cannot source locally (ASIN# B000V4FM4O)

  • Permatex 22072 Ultra Black Maximum Oil Resistance RTV Silicone Gasket Maker, .5 oz. Tube – While in most locations I was able to pull the wiring through the rubber gasket junction points without cutting, the wiring for the 4-way connector required a cut be made. This stuff works great for resealing around the cut gasket.

  • Misc nylon ties – pretty much for what you would think they are for.

  • (OPTIONAL) Ford 2021-2022 Bronco Trailer Tow Receiver Hitch PLUG, OEM (#VM2DZ-17F000-B) Not strictly needed, but it completes the “factory” look as well as provides a nice integrated weatherproof cover for the 4-Way connector.

  • (OPTIONAL) 4-Way Trailer Light in-line circuit tester – Not strictly needed but it certainly will make life easier if you don’t have ready access to a trailer and/or don’t want to mess with a multimeter.

  • (OPTIONAL) FORScan software and an ELM-327 OBD2 Adaptor – Again, not strictly needed, but disconnecting and reconnecting the Ford wiring harnesses will very likely piss-off the various computer modules (it certainly did for me) and leave you with a boat-load of DTC events. This (or any good OBD2 reader) will allow you to read and clear the events as needed.

  • (OPTIONAL) DYMO or comparable brand label maker – definitely not strictly needed but I have a very strong preference for labeling aftermarket circuits and modifications as it helps me when working on my vehicles later as well as helps any others (mechanic or new owner) to figure out what something is when they perform work on an unfamiliar machine.
*****
BODY PANELS AND TRIM:


In order to run all of the wiring, the following trim panels will need to be removed (in this order)

  • Glove Box
  • Passenger Side (Right) Front Door Scuff Plate
  • Passenger Side (Right) Rear Door Scuff Plate
  • Rear Spare Tire Cover/Cargo Floor
  • Spare Tire
  • Floor Tool Storage Bins
  • Rear Hatch Rubber Trim
  • Rear Hatch Scuff Plate
  • Passenger Side (Right) D-pillar Trim Panel
  • Passenger Side (Right) Cargo Area Trim Panel (Only partial removal needed – see comments below)
  • Driver Side (Left) D-pillar Trim Panel
  • Driver Side (Left) Cargo Area Trim Panel (Only partial removal needed – see comments below)
  • Exterior-Underside Heat Shield between muffler and rear bumper
  • Driver Side (Left) and Passenger Side (Right) Taillights
Comments on panel removal:
  • The Glove Box is a simple removal, with two tabs on each side that need to be pushed in and a small damper rod on the right side that needs to be disconnected.

  • All of the scuff plates are generally held in place with spring clips and can be (gently) pulled out of with no tools needed. The one notable exception is the Rear Hatch Scuff Plate, which is secured with two hex-head screws in addition to the clips. They can be found on the spare-tire-side of the scuff plate.

  • Ford uses some seriously sticky black stuff to hold the Rear Hatch Rubber Trim in place instead of glue. While this makes it easy to remove and reinstall the rubber trim, it gets on everything if you aren’t careful. To keep this from being an issue, I covered the metal body flange with painters’ tape while doing this job:

    Hatch Rubber 1.jpg


  • Removing the D-pillar Trim Panel is probably the only tricky item. One must compress the lower half of the panel while gently pulling out and then pushing up about ½ inch before pulling the top half away. Ford’s diagram for this:

    D Panel 1.jpg


  • I found that I only needed to do a partial removal of the Cargo Area Trim Panels. By pulling away at the hatch-side of each panel, for me there was more than enough room to work in the space behind each and pull wiring without removing them in their entirety, which is much more involved:

    Cargo Panel 1.jpg


  • While it is not strictly necessary to remove the heat shield under the Bronco Sport between the muffler and rear bumper, it is only held in place by 4 screws/2 nuts and makes stringing and securing the wiring for the 4-way connector much easier. I also took the opportunity to paint it black while I had it out as ascetically the silver aluminum looked out-of-place to me when contrasted against the black hitch and nearly-black bumper:

    Heat Shield 1.jpg
*****

WIRING – 10 GAUGE LINE

Ford provides a 10 gauge copper-stranded line with a 40 Amp always-on fused service off the Battery Junction Box that was designed for the Trailer Tow Module. While the Tekonsha trailer lighting module requires far less oomph (15 Amp, 16 gauge line) to power a 4-way trailer connection, I wanted to make sure I could make use of the robustness of that circuit later on if I upgraded to a 7-way trailer service. Doing so meant that it was necessary to keep the thickness of the 12V+ line and connectors at 10 gauge for the entire length of the run to the rear of the vehicle. Fortunately, by using the already-existing circuit, I was able to avoid making any additional entry-points through the engine firewall and was able to keep all of the power and fusing of the line internal to the vehicle and not exposed to the elements.

Making this connection meant splicing into the Ford circuit. Ford marked this line using a Blue cover and a Red stripe, which on non-factory trailer package equipped Bronco Sports runs from Fuse #44 in the Battery Junction Box through the engine firewall, ending at the socket that connects to the plug/center section of the passenger side (right) wiring harness:

Wiring 1.jpg


DISCONNECT THE POWER/BATTERY TO YOUR BRONCO SPORT BEFORE PROCEEDING TO PREVENT ANY SHORTS OR SURGES TO YOUR SYSTEM.

Locate the wire harness plug behind the glove box/passenger well. The correct plug will look like this:

Connector Behind Glove Box Wiring 1.jpg


Once the connector is separated, you should find a heavy (10 gauge) wire going into the socket side of the connectors, with no corresponding lead coming out of the plug side. Additional confirmation that this is the correct wire is you will find the harness also has 10 gauge wires that are Violet/White Stripe, Gray/Violet Stripe, and 12 gauge wires that are Yellow/Brown Stripe, Green/Brown Stripe.

Using a pair of wire cutters, very carefully cut the 10 gauge Blue/Red Stripe wire from where it enters the socket side of the harness.

Using the 24’ of 10 gauge wire listed in the parts section of this post as well as one of the Audiopipe 10 Gauge 2-Pin Quick Disconnects, solder/join the Blue/Red Stripe wire to one half of the disconnect and the 24’ 10 gauge wire to the other half. (Optional) Wrap exposed wiring and connectors with wiring harness automotive cloth tape as desired.

Connector Behind Glove Box Wiring 2.jpg


Pull the 24’ 10 gauge wire through the right side of the passenger dash, following the same path as the currently installed harness through the passenger side (right) electrical service channel:

Passenger Electrical Channel 1.jpg


Passenger Electrical Channel 2.jpg


(Optional) Label Electrical Service Channel and key areas indicating the added service as desired

Passenger Electrical Channel 3.jpg


Continue to pull the 24’ 10 gauge wire through the electrical service channels running along the passenger side (right), until the wire has been successfully run to the right rear hatch area.

Passenger Electrical Channel 4.jpg


*****

WIRING – PASSENGER (RIGHT) TAILLIGHT


Because I did not want to cut/tear/expand the rubber body gaskets for the taillights and trailer lights, I marked an appropriate place on the wiring harness that came with the Tekonsha controller for each section that needed to pass through a gasket and cut the lines. This allowed me to thread the wiring through the taillight gaskets with no modifications. In the case of the Passenger side taillight, it also allowed me to extend the wiring so I could run it along the factory wiring harness, then underneath the rear hatch scuff panel (along with the 10 gauge main power wire)

With the exception of those modifications made to satisfy my sense of professionalism, installing the wiring for the passenger side taillight was a snap. It was simply a matter of connecting the Tekonsha plug into the factory socket, then threading the 16 gauge red and green wires through the grommet into the passenger side (right) interior area. The grommet area was wrapped in the electrical splicing tape and once the job was completed and tested, the entire assembly was wrapped in wiring harness cloth tape. Reinstalling the taillight is a bit snug and you may have to work the wiring a bit, but it does all fit.

Right Tailight 1.jpg


Right Tailight 2.jpg


With the Passenger (right) Taillight completed, I combined all of the new wiring together, soldered the additional length of 16 gauge wiring into the Tekonsha passenger side (right) taillight harness and ran the wiring underneath the rear hatch scuff plate over to the driver side taillight area.

Right Tailight 3.jpg


*****
WIRING – DRIVER (LEFT) TAILLIGHT


Wiring for the Driver side taillight is basically the same as for the Passenger side – the Tekonsha connectors were plugged into the factory taillight plug, and the wiring (brown and yellow wires this time) were threaded through the taillight grommet.

Left Tailight 2.jpg


Since this is the side that the Tekonsha lighting controller will be installed on, at this point all of the critical wiring has converged on this spot.

Left Tailight 1.jpg


Taking all the wires that have now been successfully brought to the area between the left wheel well and left taillight, reconnect and solder all color-matching wires back together and after testing/confirming continuity, (optionally) fabric-wrap the wiring to complete the interior wiring work.

The Tekonsha Trailer Lighting Module ground wire (white) was attached by removing the torx bolt from the cargo area metal tie down attached to the rear hatch frame, lightly sanding the area immediately under the tie down, and placing the ground line-eye through the bolt and between the tie down and the frame.

In order to allow for ease of repair and future options, I also added two of the Audiopipe 10 Gauge 2-Pin Quick Disconnects, with one disconnect attaching directly to the 10 gauge main trailer power line (run from the front and connecting the Blue/Red Stripe Trailer Towing Module Power circuit), then connecting to the 15 amp Tekonsha Trailer Lighting Module Fuse, and the other between the 15 amp Tekonsha Trailer Lighting Module Fuse and the actual lighting module. It also gives me a fairly easy way to split off power prior to where it connects to the 15 amp fuse if I decide to upgrade to a 7 way trailer connector in the future. The Tekonsha fuse was given enough length so that it can be positioned in an easily accessible location under the left tool tray in the spare tire well. (pictured later).

Controller 1.jpg


*****
WIRING - 4-WAY CONNECTOR UNDERNEATH VEHICLE

The 4-way trailer connector wiring was run from the grommet to the space between the rear plastic bumper cover and the bumper cover support and secured with nylon ties.

Underside wiring 1.jpg


*****
TEST/COMPLETION


At this point, reconnect the power to your Bronco Sport and test to verify that everything is working correctly. In my case, went through the following check-steps:

  • Reconnected vehicle power.

  • Connected OBD2 Adaptor and FORScan, scanned for any trouble codes, then after checking to make sure there were no active failure codes, reset any historical DTCs.

  • Using a 4-way LED Trailer Light Tester plugged into the 4-way connector, checked all associated functions (Left-Turn, Right-Turn, Hazard, Brake, and Parking Lights) and verified that everything was working for BOTH the 4-way trailer output as well as the Bronco Sport indicators.

  • Did a “final” verification of the circuits by first removing the 40 amp fuse (#44 in the Battery Junction Box) and then the 15 amp fuse (located in the spare tire area, just under the left tool tray), confirming that both the master circuit and the device circuit were wired and fused correctly.

  • Labeled all critical areas for future reference (example – behind the glove box)

    Label 1.jpg


    Trailer Fuse 1.jpg

Replace all body panels. molding, and trim.

And here it is in action:



















And that is it. 😎

Hopefully this helps some of you DIYers out there as I’ve yet to see anyone do much in the way of documentation for adding trailer wiring and I definitely haven’t seen anyone using the existing power circuit Ford has for this in the Bronco Sport. Doing it this way is certainly a little more involved than doing it using most of the instructions that come with aftermarket kits, but again, I think this is a cleaner and more professional-looking setup, as well as one that likely will last the life of the vehicle.

Feel free to use and/or adapt to your needs as you desire.
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ChefDank

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Well done and great job. I'm in the same situation as you; 11/2020 build BL w/ no tow package. I installed the hitch but haven't pulled the trigger on the wiring yet. I bought the Ford one and realized all the steps that went with it. Leaning towards the U-haul one that requires no splicing of the wires; clips on the existing wire and then runs off the bottom of connector.
What will you be towing with your BL?
 
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MKohlman

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Well done and great job. I'm in the same situation as you; 11/2020 build BL w/ no tow package. I installed the hitch but haven't pulled the trigger on the wiring yet. I bought the Ford one and realized all the steps that went with it. Leaning towards the U-haul one that requires no splicing of the wires; clips on the existing wire and then runs off the bottom of connector.
What will you be towing with your BL?
Thanks - the trailer package seemed to be something of a unicorn in the beginning. I actually did have it on my order sheet when I reserved mine in July of 2020 (which was confirmed by the dealer when it was delivered without it on 12/31) and never did get an explanation as to why, but lack of parts almost certainly played into it.

During the research part of this, I did look at the feasibility of installing the Ford Factory Trailer Module, which appears to be a very common unit used across a lot of their models and readily available on eBay. But once it was clear that the center section of the factory wiring harness was missing the wires (about 8 of them as the unit connects into the BCM as well as the lighting) as well as the connectors (at least 3), I dropped that and moved towards the Tekonsha as it could be done without cutting up the factory harness/connections.

For me the big goal was being able to use the factory power supply and circuit for the lighting and any future trailer power feed. I probably would have saved a bit of time running a line straight to the battery, but it bugged me that Ford had the circuit only not to be used and I felt the setup I did was "cleaner". That part of the install should work with almost any trailer lighting kit as well as provide a 40 amp service to the hot lead of a 7-way connector should I need it in the future.

Interesting thing is that Ford also has a dedicated circuit for auxiliary lighting as well. Perhaps for a future project...

As for towing, the 1st big towing job will be fairly mundane, but it was the reason why I needed to get this done. I'll be moving to the West Coast in November and we'll probably be pulling a small Uhaul trailer from Illinois to California about that time. Later I'll be looking at Teardop campers...
 

VirtualJMills

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As for towing, the 1st big towing job will be fairly mundane, but it was the reason why I needed to get this done. I'll be moving to the West Coast in November and we'll probably be pulling a small Uhaul trailer from Illinois to California about that time.
… trailer filled with water, please. We're running low out here. :-/
 
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MKohlman

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… trailer filled with water, please. We're running low out here. :-/
No kidding - I took a role in the Monterey area and while I'm really looking forward to it, Central Illinois is much wetter... I won't miss the cold though...
 

Wabarca2

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Thanks - the trailer package seemed to be something of a unicorn in the beginning. I actually did have it on my order sheet when I reserved mine in July of 2020 (which was confirmed by the dealer when it was delivered without it on 12/31) and never did get an explanation as to why, but lack of parts almost certainly played into it.

During the research part of this, I did look at the feasibility of installing the Ford Factory Trailer Module, which appears to be a very common unit used across a lot of their models and readily available on eBay. But once it was clear that the center section of the factory wiring harness was missing the wires (about 8 of them as the unit connects into the BCM as well as the lighting) as well as the connectors (at least 3), I dropped that and moved towards the Tekonsha as it could be done without cutting up the factory harness/connections.

For me the big goal was being able to use the factory power supply and circuit for the lighting and any future trailer power feed. I probably would have saved a bit of time running a line straight to the battery, but it bugged me that Ford had the circuit only not to be used and I felt the setup I did was "cleaner". That part of the install should work with almost any trailer lighting kit as well as provide a 40 amp service to the hot lead of a 7-way connector should I need it in the future.

Interesting thing is that Ford also has a dedicated circuit for auxiliary lighting as well. Perhaps for a future project...

As for towing, the 1st big towing job will be fairly mundane, but it was the reason why I needed to get this done. I'll be moving to the West Coast in November and we'll probably be pulling a small Uhaul trailer from Illinois to California about that time. Later I'll be looking at Teardop campers...
We're is the circuit for the auxiliary Light located?
 
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MKohlman

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Hello, amazing work and dedication. I am also interested in adding the front camera and for that I have to know where the video module is located between the two front seats. Where can I buy the DVD with the workshop manual. Thanks

https://parts.ford.com/shop/en/us/electrical/sensorsdevices/camera-13289177-1
Thank You.

Your best bet for an electronic service manual (DVD) is eBay. I've been getting mine through the reseller manualbasket but there are others you might prefer.
 
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MKohlman

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We're is the circuit for the auxiliary Light located?
Jason posted a reply as well, but a good place to start is with the owner's manual.For our Bronco Sports it lists a 30 amp Aftermarket Auxiliary Lighting fuse in the Battery Junction Box at the #1 location. For my Badlands model, the fuse is indeed there, so even though I haven't dug into it further I'm going to assume it is an active/live circuit.

Fuses 3.jpg


I've not done a lot of research on that as aftermarket lighting hasn't been a focus. One thing I will note is that in doing the research into the using the Trailer Towing Module circuit, there are some small inconsistencies in Ford's documentation. For example the Ver. 1 shop manual I have had a couple of connector locations in slightly different locations from where I found them and while the manual does indicate a different lighting pinout depending on whether you have the factory tow option or not, there is zero documentation on the differences in the center section (section two in my post) of the wiring harness. I had to discover that on my own.

Sadly, the shop manual does not have documentation for the Aftermarket Auxiliary Lighting Fuse, while listed in the fuse section of the owner's manual and I have visually validated its existence, the shop manual simply lists the circuit as "not used" and carries no additional documentation.

My (purely speculative) guess is that the circuit is actually there for the Ford Maverick, which based on early reviews I've seen does have power take-offs for additional lighting.

It's definitely worth someone digging into it a bit (I'd begin with locating the actual wire coming off the fuse and then seeing if I could find it at one of the interior junction points, which is what I did for the trailer towing circuit) but I'm not going to have the time for the next few weeks as I'm packing for a move. 😉
 

Phillip-AB

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Oh my. I am sooo glad I ordered my Badlands with the Class II tow package!

I do admire your dedication, but I wouldn't be able to carve out that much time in my schedule. Thx for sharing all the details.
 

Robins21

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Our Bronco Sport doesn't have the trailer package & we want to have it added so we can tow my wife's motorcycle.
 
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MKohlman

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Our Bronco Sport doesn't have the trailer package & we want to have it added so we can tow my wife's motorcycle.
Well, it is definitely doable. 😉
 

Escape2Bronco

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I’ve used these kits many times over the years. Just make sure the electronics box is easily available because it will fail at some point. I haven’t had one yet that hasn’t. A few ways to prolong its life is to make sure your ground is really chassis ground but even that isn’t perfect and avoid hot swapping the trailer connection and unplugging when / if backing a trailer into the water.

These plug and play kits make it simple. The OP did a really nice job explaining and showing the routing. I never rewapped my connections in the taillight area but it won’t hurt and looks very nice (for those that look in there frequently). 😎
 
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