Vehicle wiring to tow Trillium 13 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-18-2009, 11:39 PM   #1
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Hi all,
I have a 4 flat plug on order, to be installed on our '99 Toyota Camry for towing a small trailer, preferably a used Trillium 13 which I am looking to purchase. My RV shop says a 4 flat plug is appropriate for the Camry, but what kind of plug do Trillium 13's usually have? If not 4 flat, can I get an adapter that would work?

Thanks,
Fran
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:05 AM   #2
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Yes, you can buy adapters for all sorts of combinations at auto parts stores and Wally.

If you want to put on brakes (Recommended) and charge your trailer battery, you will need two more wires. Standard is the 7-Way Bargman/Pollock connector set -- I'd advise installing that so you will have the right stuf in place when/if you add those two features.

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Old 03-19-2009, 01:09 AM   #3
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One note is that if the trailer has a 7-pin plug (semi-common on Trilliums), and your car has a 4-way flat, you won't easily find an adapter to go that way (because they don't expect you to "downgrade" capability in that direction).

Both the trailers I've had did have the 7-pin round plug, and neither had brakes (one not installed; the other not hooked up). I already had a 4-way flat on my car. What I did was have a hitch shop make me up a 4-way car to 7-way trailer adapter. It was ready when I got there a half hour later and cost $17 Canadian.

For the long term, you might find a trailer with brakes or might want to have brakes installed (especially towing with a fairly small car). At that point (or now), you would want to have a brake controller wired into your car, and then you would no longer have the 4-way flat on the car.

I don't really understand someone saying the 4-way flat is "appropriate for the Camry" unless your towing rating is so low that you wouldn't conceivably have a trailer with brakes (say, if your car was only rated to tow 1000# or less; but then you wouldn't be getting a Trillium anyway). Otherwise, it makes more sense to match the car plug to what you want (4-way will give you lights; 7-way will give you brakes and charging if you are set up for them).

If you know you don't ever want to use a trailer brake controller, then the 4-way flat will work "permanently," potentially with aforesaid adapter if the trailer has a 7-pin connector.

Raya
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Old 03-19-2009, 08:24 AM   #4
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Both my Trilliums have come with 7 pin adapters, one with brakes one without.

As Raya mentioned, the 4pin to 7 pin female adapter is tricky to find - however, here in BC we have a chain of stores called Lordco where they stock them.

When I contacted the primary Subaru dealer here on Vancouver Island they said all they ever install was 4 pins. When I explained that I wanted a 7 pin and brake controller they seemed puzzled though they were well aware of the many Subaru owners towing FGRV trailers. Just goes to show that dealers are not always knowledgeable enough about towing issues.
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:45 PM   #5
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Thanks for all they responces. What a helpful group here!

Our Camry can tow 2K lbs. I would want to charge the battery on the trailer, as we drive, so it sounds like I'd need more than the 4 flat. I am finding 4 flat to 7 pin adapter online, but of course I'd have to get the hitch shop to upgrade the wiring to charge a battery, correct? I could use the adapter to just drive a trailer home when I find one; but battery charging would have to wait till wiring got upgraded, right?

Thanks,
Fran
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Old 03-19-2009, 02:03 PM   #6
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Hi Fran,

From what I have read smaller vehicles like ours tend to send very little power to the battery while driving and so we skipped setting that up on our trailer.

Depending on your camping style you may find you don't need to charge the battery during camping. After I upgraded the converter and battery in our Trillium last year we did a 10 day camping stint in August and still had lots of light left. If you change from the incandescent 12v car bulbs to an LED system (on my to do list) you can increase your light run time 9 fold.

However, if you will be camping a lot in the fall you may find you run the lights a lot. These Trillium's tend to get pretty dark even with the huge windows.

EDIT: I should be a bit more clear on our battery system. I upgraded to a 3 stage built in converter in the trailer last year. A 3 stage converter charges and maintains a battery better then the older converter's that came with these trailers. If you get a pre-1975 Trillium it will not have a converter at all. I am not sure what Boler's came with. The advantage of having this kind of system is that you get home from camping and just plug the trailer in to top up the battery.
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Old 03-19-2009, 05:37 PM   #7
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One thing to double check is that the 4-way to 7-way adapter you found is not "backwards" for what you want. I found them in stock at Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire, but they were for 7-pin car to 4-pin trailer (the opposite of what I needed).

Raya
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Old 03-19-2009, 08:38 PM   #8
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Francene, you might want to get a trailer shop to hook up your wiring as you are going to have to buy an adapter to put any plug onto your '99 Camry. The later cars have an extra wire in the tailights so it has to be wired into the adapter (5 wires in) and 4 wires out. There is one company called Hoppy that makes them for some specific cars but I have also seen universal ones out there. Believe to be around the $30 -$40 range.
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Old 03-19-2009, 08:39 PM   #9
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Both my Trilliums have come with 7 pin adapters, one with brakes one without.

When I contacted the primary Subaru dealer here on Vancouver Island they said all they ever install was 4 pins. When I explained that I wanted a 7 pin and brake controller they seemed puzzled though they were well aware of the many Subaru owners towing FGRV trailers. Just goes to show that dealers are not always knowledgeable enough about towing issues.
We bought an 05 Outback last year from the local Subaru dealer and had them set it up for towing. Their standard setup is a four wire flat, with an additional module to provide extra power to the plug instead of just teeing into the existing lighting circuit. I added the brake controller (and wiring) and charging line myself, including an automatic marine relay that interrupts the charge line when the engine is turned off. So from the original four wire setup, I connected in with a mating plug, then bundled my new brake and charging wires together with these lighting wires to form a single cable, wrapped with friction tape, to a receptacle under the car. It was a bit of a project, but I wouldn't hesitate to do it that way again.

Parker
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:14 PM   #10
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Thanks for all these helpful comments, everyone. My local RV shop got in the 4 flat that we ordered 2 weeks ago. They're going to install it tomorrow. I already spoke to them about upgrading to a 7 plug if necessary, and they say no problem.
So, whenever I find a lightweight trailer, I'll take into consideration all the factors mentioned here.

You've all been eager to assist, and it's obvious there's a lot of collective experience here.

Best,
Fran
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