Electric brake controller disabled Highlander safety system - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-06-2019, 04:05 PM   #1
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Electric brake controller disabled Highlander safety system

Tk90160 was installed in my 2019 hybrid Highlander Friday. We departed for Florida on Monday with 16 Scamp in tow.
I tested the brakes by pressing the slide. Afterward the collision detection system was disabled, contact Toyota dealer, appeared on my panel. I continued driving to first destination. Overnight the system reset, no warnings. In Champaign IL I was adjusting the power setting to the controller to b1 and the voltage wheel to 6.0. Tested the slide once again. The same warning occurred, but in addition the cruise control could not be engaged. The first was serious, but this was more serious. 1200 miles to destination!
Toyota diagnosed it to the brake switch and relay(?) being defective. Repairman cannibalized another new Highlander to fix mine.

Installer had followed instructions. I have emailed Tekonsha. Waiting for next step and not touching the slide on the controller. 👴🏻
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Old 02-06-2019, 04:27 PM   #2
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I suggest no boost. We don't need it. Makes initial brake application harsh. Did the Toyota come with a factory tow package or was the controller installer trying to add the wiring? I have no suggestions in that regard, I'm just gathering empirical evidence that add-on wiring is just trouble.
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Old 02-06-2019, 04:43 PM   #3
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I believe a Tekonsha on a Highlander requires a diode installed in the brake wire to prevent that (brake controller back feeding the Highlander's system).
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Old 02-06-2019, 04:55 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Carl V View Post
I believe a Tekonsha on a Highlander requires a diode installed in the brake wire to prevent that (brake controller back feeding the Highlander's system).
In the same vein , is your aftermarket brake controller integrated to your vehicles computer ? When you manually apply your trailer brakes the vehicle’s computer may see it as a problem with the vehicle’s ABS or the vehicle’s traction control system which may also lock out the cruise control .
The factory brake controller in my vehicle is integrated with my vehicles computer so if there is problems with the brake controller it is displayed on the vehicle’s display screen
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Old 02-06-2019, 05:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
In the same vein , is your aftermarket brake controller integrated to your vehicles computer ?
My Highlander is an older model and my Tekonsha doesn't interfere with it, and no, even on the newer Highlander models there is no brake control integration as far as I know. There are numerous posts on Toyota's forums and the eTrailer website about Tekonsha controllers causing issues. Apparently Tekonsha is aware if the issue and recommends a diode. eTrailer sells a diode kit for this purpose.
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Old 02-06-2019, 05:12 PM   #6
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My Highlander is an older model and my Tekonsha doesn't interfere with it, and no, even on the newer Highlander models there is no brake control integration as far as I know. There are numerous posts on Toyota's forums and the eTrailer website about Tekonsha controllers causing issues. Apparently Tekonsha is aware if the issue and recommends a diode. eTrailer sells a diode kit for this purpose.
Thank you !!
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:26 PM   #7
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My Highlander is an older model and my Tekonsha doesn't interfere with it, and no, even on the newer Highlander models there is no brake control integration as far as I know. There are numerous posts on Toyota's forums and the eTrailer website about Tekonsha controllers causing issues. Apparently Tekonsha is aware if the issue and recommends a diode. eTrailer sells a diode kit for this purpose.
This is the diode I found recommended by etrailer. It's complete overkill. Tekonsha specifies a 1A diode. You can purchase a 1A diode for less than a dollar, but you'd have to solder it into the wiring or find another solution. There's not a lot of room under the driver's side so I'd just as soon spend a little extra to get something that will crimp on.
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Old 02-10-2019, 03:14 PM   #8
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This is the diode I found recommended by etrailer. It's complete overkill. Tekonsha specifies a 1A diode. You can purchase a 1A diode for less than a dollar, but you'd have to solder it into the wiring or find another solution. There's not a lot of room under the driver's side so I'd just as soon spend a little extra to get something that will crimp on.
I wanted to pop back in just in case anyone comes across this issue. The diode I referenced is the Roadmaster Single Park Diode, item # RM-690. Tekonsha doesn't recommend that diode; eTrailer does. S&H is $2.99 to my location for economy. I have not found a better price for a pre-assembled diode that includes terminal connectors.

There is pre-assembled diode on Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1, that is just one of those basic $1 diodes with spade terminals attached and wrapped in heat shrink. If you've got some spare spade terminals (male or female as this one is assembled with both) lying around, this might be a cheaper solution. It doesn't have the convenient IN/OUT markings, nor does it have a direction of flow indicator. I plan to use a multimeter to test resistance; failing that, because it's a simple spade terminal, if your brakes aren't working you can easily swap the connection.

I think the absolute cheapest way to get this done is to get a diode for about a buck from an electronics store (e.g. Fry's) and a couple of quick splice wire connectors like so: https://www.amazon.com/3M-Splice-Con...20654247&psc=1. Crimp one end to each end of the diode and the other ends to the appropriate wires just like the installation video shows. As a matter of fact, the kit may include adequate splice connectors to do just this already. Mine's sitting in the garage waiting for a day above freezing so I'm not sure what all is left over.
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Old 02-10-2019, 03:37 PM   #9
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Great follow up, thanks!
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Old 03-19-2019, 05:55 PM   #10
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I'm back with an installation report. I spent at least 6 hours, but to be fair about an hour of that was spent removing and replacing the plastic guard under the engine compartment so I could pull out the socket that fell down in there. Much of the rest of the extra time was due to not having a lift. I do not recommend wiggling around under an unsupported vehicle. On the off chance that a tire ruptures, you will be crushed.

Here are the extra materials I needed which did not come with the kit:
-Electrical tape
-2 x 10' of 12 AWG primary wire (about $14 at local NAPA)

Here are the tools I used:
-10mm socket
-13mm socket
-Socket wrench
-Car trim removal tool
-Cordless drill with bit set
-Assorted screw drivers
-Channel lock pliers
-Flashlight
-Wire stripper (up to 10 AWG)
-Knife
-1/4" cobalt drill bit
-Needle nose pliers

The self-tapping screws in the kit can only be installed using a socket; no phillips or hex head on them. I don't recall the exact sizes (there's one big screw that grounds the plug to the chassis, and smaller ones used to attach your 20A and 40A breakers). If you don't have a way to adapt sockets to fit your drill, you'll need one.

I followed most of the steps in the eTrailer video. They must edit out a ton of fishing around for wires and swearing. I had to deviate from the video as follows:

I started by removing the 4-pin plug from the mounting plate (already welded onto the hitch). The holes didn't quite line up, so I used a 1/4" cobalt bit to open up the holes on both the welded plate and the mount that came with the kit. That allowed me to line up enough of each hole to slip the screws through and bolt it down.

I chose not to do the extra step involved in cutting the 4-pin and directly connecting the wiring. Instead I just connected the male and female 4-pins, wrapped them in electrical tape, and zip-tied them out of the way.

I don't know why he routes the duplex cable from back to front; I think it would be easier to lower it down through the engine compartment and then run it. I made use of a long plastic guard that starts under the driver's door by snaking the cable through it. That saved me some time and effort locating tie down points.

Once you get into the engine compartment, you'll realize you don't have enough wire left to go through the passenger side grommet to the driver's side via the console. So there are three options:

1) Drill a new hole in the firewall on the driver's side and route right from the engine compartment. For several reasons I believe this is a terrible idea and didn't pursue it.

2) Install the brake controller on the passenger side, which has the downside of not having easy access to the controller.

3) Buy extra cable. I found that the cable used is called primary wire and you should be able to get it in 10' lengths at any auto parts store. There's plenty of white (ground) wire, but you'll need extra to connect the blue and black wires from the wiring harness to the battery breakers. 20' of primary wire cost me $14.

Finally, I opted to use the included wire splices instead of a butt connector to tap into the brake circuit. Accessing and opening that wire loom is a royal pain, and if I had snipped the wire I don't know if I would have ever been able to connect it again.

Finding the right wire to splice into was kind of a gamble. There are two thicker green wires and it is one of those. The included voltage tester is useless, and my non-contact voltage tester would not detect DC voltage. So I ended up kind of tapping it against the wires to bring it in and out of the DC magnetic field and induce an AC voltage. It only beeped on one wire while the brake pedal was not depressed, so I knew that was not the wire I wanted. After all was done, I had my wife step on the brake while I held multimeter probes to the appropriate blades of the plug--success! Voltage present only when the brakes were depressed.

My last modification to the procedure was to use command strips to attach the brake controller holder to the console. I am not convinced that is a great idea, as the surface is not ideal for an adhesive.
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