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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have never had a need for a brake controller but seeing as how the wiring is already there and I’m in the market for a trailer, I may look at some with brakes. Does anyone have a suggestion on a brake controller?
 

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My now departed boat and trailer weighed about 2,400 lbs., well under the weight where brakes are mandated. However, brakes are required to maintain minimum stopping distance. My tow vehicles were always big enough and had the braking power to negotiate steep grades. You can check the requirements for your state and for the states you will drive through. Some vehicles require that the trailer, regardless of size, have brakes. I have not seen the info on the Ascent yet. If your trailer is small enough, you may not need a brake controller. My boat trailer had the option for brakes. Some of the larger boats I have towed had surge brakes and did not need an external controller. Those kind of brakes are a pain as you have to disengage the brake mechanism to reverse anywhere but on flat ground. I have rented trailers that when loaded were pretty heavy and they had no brakes. Stopping in a straight line is one thing, but a panic stop in a turn could cause you to jackknife. I saw this one time on a mountain road in front of me and that got the adrenaline going. If the trailer has brakes installed then a controller is a forgone conclusion. There are a variety of controllers from basic to advanced. You have to match the controller to your specific case. Flatlanders may get away with a basic controller. If you have a trailer that is up to the max that the Ascent can handle and you are going to pull some grades, then you need a controller with some smarts and manual over-rides. When there are more Ascents on the road and people have fitted a controller, we will have something to go on. But for now, you will be a trailblazer and others will be asking you what you did. Check with a shop that specializes in tow equipment. I have had good advice from Camping World for fitting a controller on my Sprinter that was pre-wired for electric brakes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you. I’ll check them out.

Looking at trailers currently and max I’d have on a trailer I plan to purchase is 3 full size quads I believe but most of the time just 2.
 

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In this video . the reviewer asks and the 'owner' confirms that the unit has a brake controller - does the factory tow package not come with this? Or perhaps a better question (for my entry-level knowledge of towing) is "What is a brake controller, where do I learn about them, and what are the criteria for a purchase decision?"
 

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I have a camper and use a proportional brake controller. Been very happy with it, just takes a little time to get it adjusted right. Here is link to the controller I use. https://www.etrailer.com/Brake-Controller/Tekonsha/90195.html#exp-productdetails=.all-description
I just looked at that exact Tekonsha controller today for my RV. It turns out to be the one recommended for the Ascent and that is a good price as well. I might order two.
Where did you find this?
 

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Or perhaps a better question (for my entry-level knowledge of towing) is "What is a brake controller, where do I learn about them, and what are the criteria for a purchase decision?"
The car with hitch comes with the harness and attachment FOR a brake controller, the individual brake controller you need is dependent upon your choice of trailer as well as your own personal preference.

If you're in a major metropolitan area, I suggest stopping in at a Camping World and talking to them about brake controllers.
 

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I have a camper and use a proportional brake controller. Been very happy with it, just takes a little time to get it adjusted right. Here is link to the controller I use. https://www.etrailer.com/Brake-Controller/Tekonsha/90195.html#exp-productdetails=.all-description
^^^This. I have had the Tekonsha Prodigy P2 controller in 2 vehicles and LOVE it. The P3 looks like a great upgrade from the P2 with the up down buttons instead of the scroll, making things a bit easier from a user interface. I pull a few different sized/weights of trailers at work. There are sometimes, if the trailer is loaded up, with these controllers, you can increase the braking on the trailer so that the trailer brakes harder than the truck so that you are not being pushes. With these you can adjust the braking strength depending on your load size, hills... but yet they are proportional which means that the harder you break, the harder they brake. Non-proportional controllers just brake at the level you set them for, which you tend to brake too hard in town, but not hard enough on the highway.

Clearly, I cannot say enough good about the Tekonsha Prodigy controllers. This is the way to go. Plus right now, Etrailer has KILLER pricing on them
Prodigy P3
https://www.etrailer.com/Brake-Controller/Tekonsha/90195.html

Prodigy P2
https://www.etrailer.com/Brake-Controller/Tekonsha/90885.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
^^^This. I have had the Tekonsha Prodigy P2 controller in 2 vehicles and LOVE it. The P3 looks like a great upgrade from the P2 with the up down buttons instead of the scroll, making things a bit easier from a user interface. I pull a few different sized/weights of trailers at work. There are sometimes, if the trailer is loaded up, with these controllers, you can increase the braking on the trailer so that the trailer brakes harder than the truck so that you are not being pushes. With these you can adjust the braking strength depending on your load size, hills... but yet they are proportional which means that the harder you break, the harder they brake. Non-proportional controllers just brake at the level you set them for, which you tend to brake too hard in town, but not hard enough on the highway.

Clearly, I cannot say enough good about the Tekonsha Prodigy controllers. This is the way to go. Plus right now, Etrailer has KILLER pricing on them
Prodigy P3
https://www.etrailer.com/Brake-Controller/Tekonsha/90195.html

Prodigy P2
https://www.etrailer.com/Brake-Controller/Tekonsha/90885.html
I just soldered my P3 up to the Subaru harness and now I need to properly fit it for install. I was waiting to post photos until then. Happy to hear all of the positive reviews.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So I soldered up (don't judge the soldering) the harnesses and tried to find a good mounting location. I really wanted to mount it under the HVAC controls. The plan was to remove the cig lighter adapter from its hole and run the harness through the opening. But after more thought, I opted for the fuse panel opening. This way the mount is not in an obvious place and if ever removed, you won't see the holes. The stock male plug is tucked slightly inside of the kick panel. I plugged it in and mounted it up. Only ziptied a small amount of wire and tucked the rest in the kick panel.

Question though, the car was not on and the controller powered up. It says the power should run to an accessory power supply, but I just plugged into the stock harness. Does anyone know if these stay powered on for a bit and then power off? Will I need to run the power to an acessory? I should note the I wired Black to black Red to red White to white and Blue to blue to on the Subaru harness. I may need to adjust those.
 

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I just soldered my P3 up to the Subaru harness and now I need to properly fit it for install. I was waiting to post photos until then. Happy to hear all of the positive reviews.
So I ordered a hitch but I have to know how to solder to ensure my US$45k vehicle doesn't kill me?
 

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Looks good, let us know how it functions & if you needed to switch any wires around. Looking at a trailer brake option, not sure if I would ever need it though. Only have plans for small trailer or fishing boat towing under the threshold where brakes would be needed.
 

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So I ordered a hitch but I have to know how to solder to ensure my US$45k vehicle doesn't kill me?
Bit of a rub isn't it? Wire nuts or wire splices (wire terminals) will work just fine, with soldering being the best option as it's the most permanent. Most harnesses are only 4 wires, it's an hour job if you are really taking your time and letting a YouTube video guide you. Etrailer.com has some insanely good tutorial videos as they will explain literally everything.
 

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Where to connect the wiring harness?

So I soldered up (don't judge the soldering) the harnesses and tried to find a good mounting location. I really wanted to mount it under the HVAC controls. The plan was to remove the cig lighter adapter from its hole and run the harness through the opening. But after more thought, I opted for the fuse panel opening. This way the mount is not in an obvious place and if ever removed, you won't see the holes. The stock male plug is tucked slightly inside of the kick panel. I plugged it in and mounted it up. Only ziptied a small amount of wire and tucked the rest in the kick panel.

Question though, the car was not on and the controller powered up. It says the power should run to an accessory power supply, but I just plugged into the stock harness. Does anyone know if these stay powered on for a bit and then power off? Will I need to run the power to an acessory? I should note the I wired Black to black Red to red White to white and Blue to blue to on the Subaru harness. I may need to adjust those.
Thanks for posting these. I figured out the connection to the Prodigy controller, but I'm having trouble finding where the harness connects under the dash to the ascent wiring. Do you have a photo you could share or give a general area. I looked all around and can't seem to find an open slot that is the same size as the harness connector.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for posting these. I figured out the connection to the Prodigy controller, but I'm having trouble finding where the harness connects under the dash to the ascent wiring. Do you have a photo you could share or give a general area. I looked all around and can't seem to find an open slot that is the same size as the harness connector.
I did not take a photo but if your looking at the pedals, look all the way to the left where the kick panel is. Follow that up and just at the top of the panel you’ll see a bundle of wires that lead behind the lock panel. There is a white plug attached to the bundle. That’s the plug you’re looking for.

I also looked up under the dash and didnt have much luck there. I just happened to look towards the kick panel and saw a plug partially exposed. Hopefully that helps.
 

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So I soldered up (don't judge the soldering) the harnesses and tried to find a good mounting location. I really wanted to mount it under the HVAC controls. The plan was to remove the cig lighter adapter from its hole and run the harness through the opening. But after more thought, I opted for the fuse panel opening. This way the mount is not in an obvious place and if ever removed, you won't see the holes. The stock male plug is tucked slightly inside of the kick panel. I plugged it in and mounted it up. Only ziptied a small amount of wire and tucked the rest in the kick panel.

Question though, the car was not on and the controller powered up. It says the power should run to an accessory power supply, but I just plugged into the stock harness. Does anyone know if these stay powered on for a bit and then power off? Will I need to run the power to an acessory? I should note the I wired Black to black Red to red White to white and Blue to blue to on the Subaru harness. I may need to adjust those.
Heatshrink those babies!
 
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