7 pin RV plug installation in 2013 Ford Escape with factory tow package - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-03-2014, 08:05 AM   #1
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7 pin RV plug installation in 2013 Ford Escape with factory tow package

This job took me all day yesterday, and it would have taken longer without the help I got from "oneford". Thanks Daniel!

It continues to amaze me that Ford sells a vehicle as cool as this 2013 Ford Escape, 2.0l with the Ecoboost option (Ecoboost = turbocharged) with a factory tow package that has a capacity of 3500#s and does not equip it with a 7 pin RV plug. While there is no "rocket science" involved in the job, Ford does not make it easy to put a 7 pin connector in these cars. I'm going to take you through the process. Trust me, it's easier to write this than to do the work! I could not find any good info on how to do this on the web, so figured maybe this would help someone else, and especially egg owners!

I'm not sure where I got this kit, but I know etrailer sells them with everything you need for the job. First is mounting the plug and hooking it up to the existing 4 wire plug that came on the car. I drilled a few holes in the plastic under-bumper to mount the bracket, then threaded wires through it till I could attach the actual 7 pin plug with 4 small stainless fasteners (I used stainless for all the fasteners back here).



Next I ran the ground wire that already had an existing eyelet to an existing hole on the frame. I used a plain steel fastener for it the same size as the eyelet hole.



Next was trim removal to get to a right rear grommet from inside, and also to begin running the gray sheath (with two 12 gauge wires in it - one blue, one black). To get to the right rear trim, remove the floor of the trunk, the foam compartments on both sides of the spare, the spare, and then you can remove the rear most trim (two star screws and two plastic pins) so you can now remove the right rear trim where the grommet is.



Here's the grommet we're looking for...



So we run the two wire sheath from under the car up through this grommet. It's a tight fit, but no cutting required.



Here we have the gray sheath feed all the way through the grommet, ready to run through the right side trim of the car up to the front.



And on up through the trim. No special tools here really, just muscles to snap the trim pieces off. I used a dull wide gasket scraper to assist my old arthritic hands.






See the next post. We're limited to no more than 8 pics per post.

Frank
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Old 03-03-2014, 08:06 AM   #2
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Once I got the the front, I hid the wire under the carpet and ran it under the lower dash cover, then over and through the console to get to the driver's side. I had to fish a piece of mechanics wire through from the drivers side to tape to the gray sheath to pull it through.



Here it is now on the driver's side.



There is a grommet in the firewall up and to the left of the steering stuff that is about 2" wide. It is covered with a slightly hinged piece of carpet, but is not hard to find. You need to take this grommet out (it's easy) to be able to see enough to run wires up through it into the engine compartment. (It is right behind the battery, but you can't see it from the engine compartment.) To do this you need to make a hole large enough (but tight) in the grommet to run your wires, as well as a corresponding hole in the carpet. I found the carpet harder to get a hole through than the grommet.



The spools of black and white wire I bought for the project were 10 gauge, while the black wire from the gray sheath was 12. These three wires go into the engine compartment, while the blue wire from the sheath stays in the cab to hook to the brake controller.



Here's where stuff coming through the firewall went. Basically there are two circuit breakers I mounted to the driver's side of the engine compartment. One (40 amp) if for power to the 7 pin, the other (20 amp) for power to the brake controller. The wires I fed into the engine compartment then were as follows: white tied to battery ground for the brake controller, 12 gauge black tied to the auxiliary post of the 40 amp circuit breaker for power to the 7 pin, and 10 gauge black tied to the auxiliary post of the 20 amp circuit breaker for power to the brake controller. Both the battery posts of the two circuit breakers then run to the positive post of the battery. Keep in mind you will be disconnecting power here, and will lose all your station presets! By the way, I did all this work without disconnecting the battery to begin with. In retrospect, that was not a great idea. The wiring might look a bit messy as I use crimp terminals and liquid electrical tape. The liquid electrical tape gets everywhere!



Anyways, once done, everything got covered up.



Hooking up the connector the brake controller inside the driver's side compartment was easy. The 12 gauge blue wire from the gray sheath went to blue, the 10 gauge wire from the battery ground went to white, the 10 gauge power went to black, and the red wire that goes to the cold side of the brake switch was left unconnected. I will bring the Escape to my friend's garage and have him figure out what wire in the factory sheath gets connected to that red wire.

I still need to install the controller. That will just be a bracket attached to the fuse cover. That will put the bracket down and to the left and out of the way of the driver. If necessary, upon sale the $5 fuse cover could just be replaced if you wanted to remove all signs you had a brake controller installed.

Of course the weather needs to improve some before we can even get to the ParkLiner to test how the Escape does with it. I was very cautious in this installation, and hope all will be fine. When that time comes, I will report back!

Again, my sincere thanks to Daniel ("oneford") for his help, pics, and advice in accomplishing this job.

Frank
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:56 AM   #3
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Awesome write up. I got as far as mounting my 7 pin connector and have to wire the other 3 wires in spring this year. I am going to install my brake controller this spring and am not sure why Ford would have not prewired for it like on the F150. I love my 2013 Escape but Ford did screw up with the prewiring to take advantage of the full towing capacity of the 3500# tow package.
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:57 AM   #4
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Nice documentation. If it makes you feel any better the Outback is just as bad and I felt the same as you about how difficult they made it. My big issue on the OB was trying to figure which brake switch wire I needed to connect to since the OB has 4 wires going to the brake switch.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:18 PM   #5
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Thanks Rick & Eddie. I figured it had to help, as I could not find anything on the web. So, I took plenty of pics while freezing my rear end off in my below freezing unheated garage yesterday!

This is the brake controller I'm using: NAPA AUTO PARTS

Again, the only thing NOT hooked up is that brake wire to the controller. Ford (in their wisdom) did not have a standardized wire for the cold side of the brake switch. It could be this color or that color, or maybe this or maybe that. That's okay. I got all the other stuff done, wiring is hid best I can, and somebody that knows what they're doing can hook up that brake wire to my controller harness.

My F-150 did not come with a hitch or tow package of any kind. Nevertheless, it came plug ready for a 7 pin, both out back and under the dash for a controller. The only reason I can imagine Ford did not do this for their 3500# tow capacity Escape is so it wouldn't cut into F-150 sales. Really? An F-150 was not even close to being on Gail's radar screen.

I can't wait to tow the ParkLiner with the Escape. We love the car, even if it was a pain to wire the 7 pin...

Frank
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:43 PM   #6
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My brother tells me that the 6 cylinder eco boost has the logic for a trailer brake control built in. It senses sway and looks at steering input to determine if a trailer sway situation is occurring, then activates the trailer brakes to deal with the problem automatically.

I am not sure if the smaller eco boost can't do this, or if they simply decided to not implement it on the Escape. For the life of me, I can't see why not.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:48 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
My brother tells me that the 6 cylinder eco boost has the logic for a trailer brake control built in. It senses sway and looks at steering input to determine if a trailer sway situation is occurring, then activates the trailer brakes to deal with the problem automatically.

I am not sure if the smaller eco boost can't do this, or if they simply decided to not implement it on the Escape. For the life of me, I can't see why not.
It seems to me this stuff was available on the 2013 Escape, but I don't know if we have it in ours. We have put a ParkLiner on the back briefly to see how it would affect the rear height of the Escape, and it didn't seem to at all. Folks with ParkLiners do not complain about sway, so I assume we'll be fine. I know the ParkLiner towed behind my F-150 just fine when we drove to NJ last year and brought it home. It seems like it's been winter ever since!

Frank
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Old 03-03-2014, 02:33 PM   #8
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Boy that seems like some job Frank.
I installed a 7 pin connector on my 2013 Gd. Caravan, it came as a kit. One wire lead to the battery, under the van, next the two tail lights were removed and there were adaptor plugs on the kit , pull the plug off the taillights and the plug the adaptor in between, ground the ground wire and replace the tail light assemblies, connect the mounted 7 pin plug to correct wires and DONE. Took the installer 45 min, to complete.
I guess not all makes have assigned kits.
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Old 03-03-2014, 02:42 PM   #9
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Oh, but it does get easier. On both my 2003 Sonora and, more recently, my 2003 Blazer, there was a 7 wire loom tucked up behind the bumper and the color codes were in the owners manual. Extra heavy wires were provided for the charging line and the electric brake line.

Under the hood there is a 50 amp fused accessory terminal stud waiting in the fuse box and the charging wire was ticked about 6" away, along with the brake controller leads, waiting to be connected. The trailer lights had separate fuses provided and were ready to go.

Some peeps may want to bad mouth GM, but it sure won't be about the trailer wiring.
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Old 03-03-2014, 02:44 PM   #10
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Boy that seems like some job Frank.
I installed a 7 pin connector on my 2013 Gd. Caravan, it came as a kit. One wire lead to the battery, under the van, next the two tail lights were removed and there were adaptor plugs on the kit , pull the plug off the taillights and the plug the adaptor in between, ground the ground wire and replace the tail light assemblies, connect the mounted 7 pin plug to correct wires and DONE. Took the installer 45 min, to complete.
I guess not all makes have assigned kits.
There are kits for this car. Here's one: Universal Installation Kit for Trailer Brake Controller - 7-Way RV and 4-Way Flat - 10 Gauge Wires etrailer Accessories and Parts ETBC7

On my F-150, all I had to do is drop the spare, pull apart a driver's side rear connector, plug my 7 pin "thing" in, and was done. Also, my F-150 had a plug already under the dash for the brake controller. That was a 45 minute install.

The difference is I wanted to run the wiring in a protected area, i.e., the interior of the vehicle. It would have been somewhat easier running the two wire gray sheath under the car. It took time to fish wires through the firewall, and drill holes to mount the two circuit breakers. Do you have circuit breakers in your installation?

I knew it would take time to do it right. It's done and behind me.

Frank
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:49 AM   #11
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Been there. Done that. I feel your pain. Great write up. I covered the studs on the circuit breakers to prevent accidental shorting. I used the outer insulation from so old TV coax and a wire tie but electrical tape will do. Also the ground connection is the weak link. If you can get that inside the trunk it is less likely to corrode. If not, a stainless bolt and a beginning of the season check and cleaning. Won't be long now. Enjoy, Raz
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:16 AM   #12
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Been there. Done that. I feel your pain. Great write up. I covered the studs on the circuit breakers to prevent accidental shorting. I used the outer insulation from so old TV coax and a wire tie but electrical tape will do. Also the ground connection is the weak link. If you can get that inside the trunk it is less likely to corrode. If not, a stainless bolt and a beginning of the season check and cleaning. Won't be long now. Enjoy, Raz
Thanks Raz! Great ideas. Hmm, I'll have to rip everything apart again in the trunk to find a ground inside (or make one), but may do that. I was worried about that rear ground for the same reasons you mention when I did it.

I can't wait for spring. Minus 5 this morning when I took Buckley (our 12# schnoodle) out for his 5 a.m. walk. Both of us could use it to warm up!

Frank
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:37 AM   #13
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Thanks Raz! Great ideas. Hmm, I'll have to rip everything apart again in the trunk to find a ground inside (or make one), but may do that. I was worried about that rear ground for the same reasons you mention when I did it.

I can't wait for spring. Minus 5 this morning when I took Buckley (our 12# schnoodle) out for his 5 a.m. walk. Both of us could use it to warm up!

Frank
Minus 6 here so I waited 'til 6 for the dog walk. Like me you're in the salt belt so it's simply a which will fail first, the copper wire or lug, situation. I check mine when I clean the plug.
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:43 AM   #14
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Minus 6 here so I waited 'til 6 for the dog walk. Like me you're in the salt belt so it's simply a which will fail first, the copper wire or lug, situation. I check mine when I clean the plug.
You're a smart guy Raz, but unfortunately, Buckley will not abide waiting for a walk 1st thing in the morning.

I wonder if I completely smother that rear ground in Liquid Electrical Tape if that would work? I've been using this stuff for decades and find it does a great job, lasting indefinitely if applied correctly. Hmmmm.

Frank
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