Brake controller installation
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Thread: Brake controller installation

  1. #1
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    Brake controller installation

    Anyone out there have experience in installing a brake controller in an '05 Odyssey for use in towing a camper with electric brakes? I am used to having a pre-wired adapter from the factory to plug into my brake controller. It is my understanding that the '05 Odyssey does not come with an adapter and the wiring must be spliced in manually. Sounds like a good way to void your warranty. Any thoughts?

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  3. #2
    Registered User klumley's Avatar
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    We had the Tow Package installed this past week, and have essentially the same concerns.

    Our tent-trailer has a 7-pole plug, and has electric brakes. I'd like to wire the van with a brake controller, as well as a charging circuit for the battery on the trailer.

    I asked the service people to run extra conductors for me when the hitch was installed (and the back bumper off), but they'd have nothing to do with it. I'll have to go to an RV/Hitch place to complete the wiring installation.

    As with the previous post, does anybody have any suggestions on the best place to run wiring from front to back (including through the firewall), and thoughts as to connecting up the works so as not to fry any sensitive components!

    Thanks, in advance, for feedback.

    Cheers.

    BTW, the following is taken from a Honda Canada press release for the new Ridgeline;
    "All models also come equipped ready to tow with standard transmission and oil coolers, heavy duty brakes, dual radiator fans, an exclusive fresh air intake system for improved towing performance in hot weather conditions, and pre-wiring for 4- and 7-pin trailer hook up."
    Last edited by klumley; 03-14-2005 at 02:49 AM.
    '05 Odyssey EX (Redrock Pearl), Honda Fog Lights & Towing Package
    '02 VW Golf TDI

  4. #3
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    The Honda OEM towing kit you can buy is really a great setup and comes with everything you need. There is no manual splicing, etc. The hitch itself is built like a tank. It comes will all wiring, snap in connectors, even looms. Very impressive setup.

    I'll be installing over the next two weeks.

  5. #4
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    I agree the Honda OEM tow package appears to be a nice setup and does come with everything you need for the '05 Odyssey, except for electric brake wiring for your trailer/camper.

    It is my understanding from several dealers/service departments in my area that the wiring/connectors that come standard with the tow package are just for trailer lights. No electric brake wiring is included.

    To utilize the electric brakes on your trailer/camper (recommended for all trailers over 1,000 lbs per the '05 Odyssey owner's manual) I have been told by Honda that you have to install additional wiring from the front of the vehicle to the back. This wiring would be in addition to the tow package wiring and cannot be installed by your local Honda dealer.

    Furthermore, Honda will tell you that any damage that results from this wiring installation for a brake controller will not be covered under the factory warranty.

    You have to love it.

    schafari - Are the connectors you mention just for trailer lights or are they for tieing in electric brakes as well? As you install your kit over the next two weeks, let me know how it goes and if I've misrepresented anything here. Thx!

  6. #5
    Registered User klumley's Avatar
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    The Honda OEM hitch wiring harness only includes a 4-pin flat connector, for L & R turn signal/brake lights, running/tail lights, and 'ground'. There is no provision for additional circuits from the van to a trailer (unlike the new Honda Ridgeline, which has both 4-pole & 7-pole wiring factory installed).

    Like nonnie92, I'm going to have to have additional wiring installed from front to rear to accommodate a brake controller for the electric trailer brakes. Additionally, I'm going to run a charging circuit to the battery on the trailer.

    The circuits themselves are quite simple, coming right off the van's battery, and are solenoid and fuse protected. The most difficult parts of the installation are the physical running of the wires and mounting the bracket for the brake controller. A 'typical' wiring diagram is attached.

    As I've mentioned in my previous post, the Honda dealership where I had the tow package installed wanted nothing to do with even running a couple of wires for me. So, I'll be taking the van to a RV service depot for the brake controller & wiring installation. Presumably, a 'professional' installer will warranty their work...

    Cheers.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Brake controller installation-typical-wiring-diagram.jpg  
    '05 Odyssey EX (Redrock Pearl), Honda Fog Lights & Towing Package
    '02 VW Golf TDI

  7. #6
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    Originally posted by schafari
    The Honda OEM towing kit you can buy is really a great setup and comes with everything you need. There is no manual splicing, etc. The hitch itself is built like a tank. It comes will all wiring, snap in connectors, even looms. Very impressive setup.

    I'll be installing over the next two weeks.
    The OEM kit you refer to does not provide power or brakes. It's just a 4 pole connector for light duty trailers.

    This is a tough one, I would have assumed you could get a Honda dealer to do it. That basically leaves you with having an RV shop do it, which would make me a bit nervous. I ran power and brake wires on my full size van, it was quite a challenging job for me, and I don't think I'd tackle the job on a car as complex as the Ody. Call some RV shops, and go with the one that seems confident that they can do it I guess

    One more downside of buying a first year car I guess!

    good luck!
    david.
    05 EX-L Slate Green/Olive

  8. #7
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    Thanks for the discussion.

    I found this forum this past weekend while researching the '05 Ody. I feel like I've stumbled upon a gold mine of info.

    As my wife and I prepare to purchase an '05 EX-L at the end of this month (looking for that dealer who needs one more sale), I find myself addicted to reading the forums gathering all the info I can.

    Great stuff! Thanks!
    '05 EX-L RES Slate Green/Gray
    '92 Accord EX Coupe

  9. #8
    Registered User klumley's Avatar
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    Brake Controller / Additional Wiring for Towing

    Still, the question stands;

    Has anyone out there had experience in installing additional electrical circuits in their '05 Odyssey, for towing purposes?

    Cheers!
    '05 Odyssey EX (Redrock Pearl), Honda Fog Lights & Towing Package
    '02 VW Golf TDI

  10. #9
    Registered User Wilburdog's Avatar
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    klumley - I too am in the process of installing a hitch & brake controller. I do not live close to an rv shop so I will most likely install a Tekonsha Prodigy brake controller. Their web site has a generic wiring diagram but I think the diagram you suggested is better with the soleniod. I plan to get the Honda trailer hitch & wiring harness, a long PS & ATF cooler installed in early April. I will install the brake controller shortly after. Sure wish Honda prewired the Odyssey for a brake controller (similar to the Ridgeline) as it is discouraging running additional wires on a new vehicle that has been promoted (in Canada) as a versatile family vehicle. According to the owners manual when towing a vehicle > 1000# electric brakes are required. I doesn't take much to put a trailer over 1000#. I plan to tow a fairly light tent trailer & the GVWR is <2400#. I will also install a Reese Mini 350 weight distributing hitch. The weather here is hovering around -12C so it will have to warm up before I get into the camping mode. I will let you know how things work out. Have a great day!
    2005 Odyssey EX (Ocean Mist)
    1991 Accord EXR (420,000+kms)

  11. #10
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    Yesterday I installed the Honda OEM P/S and ATF coolers, and the air deflectors from the hitch kit. The Honda OEM parts and directions are top notch. Good quality parts and design.

    I also installed the Honda OEM fog lights with all their wiring. Again, kit was assume inlcuding the complete wiring harness. Getting into this install, required me to remove some of the underhood fuse assemblies.

    Point is, after going through these installs, I don't think there would be much of a problem installing brake controller wiring. Too bad H didn't make an OEM kit with wiring harness however. The vehicle is relatively very easy to work on, and with the Helms service manaual, the wiring is clearly laid out.

    I would not worry about a simple brake controller wiring effecting a warranty. By law, H would have to prove that the modification is directly responsible for the problem. H can't simply say "well, a brake controller was installed, therefore warranty if void." That is against the law. Even if you are having a problem with electrical, they would have to prove that the modification is directly the cause.

    I have modified many many vehicles and never had a dealership even mention it when the vehicle is in for service.

    I'll be looking into installing a brake controller in the coming weeks. Once I get into it more, perhaps I'll post an Odyssey specific installation guide.

  12. #11
    Registered User klumley's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Wilburdog
    klumley - I too am in the process of installing a hitch & brake controller. I do not live close to an rv shop so I will most likely install a Tekonsha Prodigy brake controller. Their web site has a generic wiring diagram but I think the diagram you suggested is better with the soleniod. I plan to get the Honda trailer hitch & wiring harness, a long PS & ATF cooler installed in early April. I will install the brake controller shortly after. Sure wish Honda prewired the Odyssey for a brake controller (similar to the Ridgeline) as it is discouraging running additional wires on a new vehicle that has been promoted (in Canada) as a versatile family vehicle. According to the owners manual when towing a vehicle > 1000# electric brakes are required. I doesn't take much to put a trailer over 1000#. I plan to tow a fairly light tent trailer & the GVWR is <2400#. I will also install a Reese Mini 350 weight distributing hitch. The weather here is hovering around -12C so it will have to warm up before I get into the camping mode. I will let you know how things work out. Have a great day!
    Wilburdog - Where abouts in the province are you for it to be -12C? We must be somewhat spoiled to be living in the bottom left corner.

    Honda's decision not to pre-wire the Odyssey is no doubt a cost/marketing thing. I'm sure they've studied the market and have concluded that only a small percentage of 'minivan' buyers would actually tow anything at all, nevermind something larger than a utility trailer.

    Our tent-trailer tops out at ~2,300lb. I'm not going to bother with a weight-distributing hitch - the trailer manual doesn't recommend it anyway. I can pick up a Tekonsha Voyager brake controller for C$110 where I'm having the wiring installed vs. C$290 for the Prodigy. That's a bit too steep of a premium for what I need.

    There's a handy spot right beside the battery for the solenoid, but there isn't much to mount the brake controller unit to underneath the dash.

    schafari - On talking with the folks who are going to do the wiring for me, I'm not too concerned now with the warranty either - thx!

    Cheers.
    '05 Odyssey EX (Redrock Pearl), Honda Fog Lights & Towing Package
    '02 VW Golf TDI

  13. #12
    Registered User Wilburdog's Avatar
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    klumley - thanks for the reply! I live in central BC (Houston) - great fishing (salmon & steelhead) & hiking opportunities. Today it has warmed up to -5C but 10cm of snow has covered the ground. I guess the tent trailer ('95 Coleman Avalon; 2300# GVWR) needs to be tucked back into the garage. I am very interested to hear how your brake controller wiring goes. Please let us know the details once complete. I checked out the Tekonsha Voyager today I may save a few bucks & go with this over the Prodigy (C $239). According to the owner's manual Honda states that a weight distribing hitch must be used on trailers >1850#. I will try without prior to purchasing the Reese 350 mini (C $518 at Canadian Tire - special order). Thanks again for your input.
    2005 Odyssey EX (Ocean Mist)
    1991 Accord EXR (420,000+kms)

  14. #13
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    I was towing a 3500lb gvw boat last year with an 02 without a weight distribting hitch. Was just fine. I can't really beleive that you need the weight transfer at your weight unless you intend to fill up the van with people.
    Eric

  15. #14
    Registered User klumley's Avatar
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    Wiring Installation

    Originally posted by Wilburdog
    Please let us know the details once complete.
    All in all, the parts totalled ~$155 CDN, which included the brake controller unit, the solenoid, circuit breakers, and wire. The labour charged was 3 hours.

    Here is an under the hood view;



    Here's a view of the Brake Controller unit (a Tekonsha Voyager). I asked that it be connectorized, so that I could easily remove it when not in use. It's mounted to a metal bar that runs just behind the bottom of the lower dash panel. Despite how it might look from this angle, it doesn't interfere with the driver's feet or legs.



    And another view, a little further out;



    Here's the 7-pin receptacle. I'm not too happy with the way the mounting bracket for this has been installed - I think it hangs far too low. I'm going to rework this. BTW, the wiring from the front to the rear was run underneath the vehicle.

    '05 Odyssey EX (Redrock Pearl), Honda Fog Lights & Towing Package
    '02 VW Golf TDI

  16. #15
    Registered User Wilburdog's Avatar
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    klumley - just looking over your installation pictures & I am curious on the following:
    (1) where does the wiring run thru the firewall to access the brake controller? Did the installer use an existing factory hole?
    (2) where does the wires run from the brake controller to the trailer (inside or outside the vehicle)? I was thinking of running a 12/2 Duplex wire underneath the van.
    (3) where did the installer find a power source (turns on with ignition) for the solenoid? I am hoping there is a switched source in the engine compartment (could not find one so far). Currently considering "location #29" in the drivers interior fuse panel.

    I'm finally getting the Honda tow package installed April 11th & plan to run the trailer brake and aux. power wires shortly after. I would appreciate any input that you or any other member could provide. Thanks!
    2005 Odyssey EX (Ocean Mist)
    1991 Accord EXR (420,000+kms)

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