Towing - wire harness/controller question
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    1. #1
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      Towing - wire harness/controller question

      Some time ago, I installed a Draw Tite Class 3 hitch and Curt 4 pin wire harness on my '08 XC-90 V8 Sport. Both were vehicle-specific and installed easily. Up until now, I've only towed a utility trailer w/motorcycles and a small sailboat; both the hitch and harness have worked well on those occasions.

      I recently put a deposit on a small teardrop camper that has electric brakes, and so will require a 7-pin harness and controller. I'd like to make the modification as simple as possible and would like to use a BT enabled wireless controller like the Curt Echo along with 4-7 pole adapter harness.

      As mentioned, the 4 pole harness was specific for my year and model and was an easy install with no issues. The 4 to 7 pole adapter is generic and I thought I'd ask if there's anything I need to watch out for. I did a quick search and found some discussions about wireless controllers but not of the Echo specifically, and wonder the same about this unit. I understand the issues in using a BT controller with a mobile, but aside from that, is there any reason I shouldn't go this route?

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    3. #2
      Junior Member PDLarson's Avatar
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      There is nothing really to watch for with the 4 to 7 pin adapter. The adapter connects the four signals from your vehicle to the trailer, that's it. Not much can go wrong with them unless they're cheaply made, wiggle loose, etc.
      The adapter will not create the missing 12V supply, reverse light signal or brake signal.

      I've always had traditional wired brake controllers with 7 pin connectors in my other tow vehicles so I cannot comment on the Bluetooth brake controller, I've never even heard of it.
      I just might look into that even though I have no need for it

      Sent from the demons in my head
      Quote Originally Posted by buycurious View Post
      ultimately the problem was just as pdlarson had predicted...
      1999 V70XC / Mostly stock under the hood / Several cosmetic mods inside and out
      2008 XC90 V8 Executive

    4. #3
      Junior Member PDLarson's Avatar
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      One thing to note, traditional trailer brake controllers have specific instructions about how to orient the controller when mounting. This is so it can detect g-forces and braking action accurately.

      I just looked briefly at the Curt site. The wireless controller looks very interesting!

      I didn't read the manual but if the part that plugs into the 4 to 7 wire adapter has sensors to detect motion, I'm sure they're assuming this will be plugged horizontal into a fixed plug in the tow vehicle.
      If it's left loose lying in the back of the XC90 cargo area, flopping around, lying on it's side, etc. it may not function as intended.
      It may be worth looking in the manual if that matters.

      Sent from the demons in my head
      Quote Originally Posted by buycurious View Post
      ultimately the problem was just as pdlarson had predicted...
      1999 V70XC / Mostly stock under the hood / Several cosmetic mods inside and out
      2008 XC90 V8 Executive

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    6. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by PDLarson View Post
      . . . One thing to note, traditional trailer brake controllers have specific instructions about how to orient the controller when mounting. This is so it can detect g-forces and braking action accurately.
      I didn't read the manual but if the part that plugs into the 4 to 7 wire adapter has sensors to detect motion, I'm sure they're assuming this will be plugged horizontal into a fixed plug in the tow vehicle.
      If it's left loose lying in the back of the XC90 cargo area, flopping around, lying on it's side, etc. it may not function as intended.
      It may be worth looking in the manual if that matters.
      Sent from the demons in my head
      Hadn't thought about that, but it shouldn't be an issue as I will be mounting the adapter horizontally. Interestingly, there's nothing in the Echo installation instructions about orientation; most of the manual is taken up with instructions on setting up the app on your mobile phone. All of the installation videos however show the Echo being plugged in horizontally.

      The reviews are overwhelming positive, though several folks have reported issues with getting bounced out of the Echo app when they accessed other apps on their mobile. I have an older but perfectly serviceable smart phone that I could use exclusively for the the Echo and will explore doing that. There is actually a review by an XC-90 owner on the Curt website. His model is much newer than mine but the minor issues he encountered could be universal - and do not include the one I mentioned.

      From the XC-90 review:
      " . . . The wireless Curt Echo worked great - easy to use, although it took a couple of tries to initially sync via bluetooth - found I had to connect it to the Trailer cord first before plugging into the 7-way receptacle on vehicle. Also used a small tie strap to more securely hold the Echo in place. Once synced, the Echo worked flawlessly. Easy to set up and adjust. No concerns / issues running the app on my Android phone - I could still access other apps as required without interfering with the Echo app. . . "
      Last edited by CharlieRN; 09-17-2020 at 12:51 PM.

    7. #5
      Junior Member CDN XC90's Avatar
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      You mention you're aware of the BT wireless considerations... I briefly looked at the Curt but ultimately decided against it and went with the Tekonsha Prodigy RF, also wireless. Primary difference is it has a dedicated remote for in vehicle.

      I use my phone for other stuff when driving, eg music or more commonly Google Maps for navigation. If you need to manually apply the trailer brakes, you need to access the app RIGHT NOW. My brake controller has a button on it that I can press any time. No need to search/load app/unlock phone or whatever. Keep that in mind if you hadn't considered that aspect?

      Edit - I reread your last comment and realize you're planning to use a dedicated device. Still wouldn't want to have to reload or bring focus to app in a panic should the screen have locked or whatever.
      Last edited by CDN XC90; 09-18-2020 at 05:23 PM.
      2006 XC90 2.5T AWD - Contrast Works Stage 2 tune with Eco Enhance mode, Snabb fresh air pipe and downpipe, custom triple resonated catback, HEICO (BMC) sport air filter, Bilstein B4 front struts with HEICO rear struts and lowering springs, IPD Swaybars, strut brace conversion kit, and subframe bushing inserts. Fast FC05 20x8.5 with 255/45/20 Conti DWS06. Falken HS449 235/65/17 winters. JL 500/1 with Pioneer TS-SWX2502 subwoofer under cargo tray. LED low/hi beams, Tuxmats.

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