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Discussion Starter #1
The new trucks have built-in trailer brake controllers connected to the hydraulic system. That's the way to go.

The FJ on the other hand doesn't even have the wiring necessary to install your own brake controller (which is just the second rate inertial type), let alone have a built-in hydraulically activated controller. There is only a four pin connector for the lights.

It's illegal in most states to tow a 5000 pound trailer without trailer brakes.

Michael
 

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The new trucks have built-in trailer brake controllers connected to the hydraulic system. That's the way to go.

The FJ on the other hand doesn't even have the wiring necessary to install your own brake controller (which is just the second rate inertial type), let alone have a built-in hydraulically activated controller. There is only a four pin connector for the lights.

It's illegal in most states to tow a 5000 pound trailer without trailer brakes.

Michael
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Yep, it's crazy that they rate it to tow 5,000 lbs. and provide only the barest minimal amount of wiring gear (only for a 4 pin). I'm about to install a brake controller this weekend and am going to have to run another wire or 2 from the front to the back to tie into my 7 pin connector (2nd wire for charging the trailer battery). Then I've got to make some custom connections under the dash and hood. I wish Toyo would have done this for the FJ.

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I meant to post back on this. An afternoon had this job done. One thing I'll say is do yourself a big favor and buy good wiring to run from front to rear on the truck. I ordered 20' of: Jacketed 2 Wire, 10 Gauge, Brake Wire (from etrailer.com) @ $.89/foot. It's two (2) insulated 10 gauge wires (red & white) inside of another jacket. One wire for the electric brake and the other for the trailer battery charging circuit. You want the 10 gauge wire for the trailer brakes because they operate by magnets and are current dependent (I don't like unnecessary voltage drops before you reach the trailer).

I have already traveled over 5300 miles pulling my 3600 pound travel trailer all over Colorado and New Mexico. The brakes work beautifully (as well as the FJ).

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It's illegal in TX to tow a trailer over 2000#s without trailer brakes. The FJ is rated at 5000# because it's basically a 4 runner chassis with a class 3 hitch. Ability to wire that up has nothing to do with it. The short wheel base of the FJ makes towing larger trailers kind of scary, Toyota is not about to give soccer moms free access to towing that camping trailer: if you want it, you're going to have to work for it.

There are plenty of ways to get trailer braking, if you're not towing the kind of trailer that needs glad-hands: the cheapo electric controllers or surges brakes are fine.

Frankly if a person doesn't have the ability to install a brake controller in a discrete, professional matter, or at least locate someone who can, then that person shouldn't be towing a 2.5 ton trailer around that weights at much as the truck, but thats just my opinion.

There are aftermarket controller that can sense hydraulic pressure and apply the trailer brakes just like factory units, and they are not difficult to install. Manufacturers tend to put these type on units in fullsize vehicles built to do a lot of towing, they really don't need to do it in their compact or midsize SUVs...
 

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It's illegal in TX to tow a trailer over 2000#s without trailer brakes. The FJ is rated at 5000# because it's basically a 4 runner chassis with a class 3 hitch. Ability to wire that up has nothing to do with it. The short wheel base of the FJ makes towing larger trailers kind of scary, Toyota is not about to give soccer moms free access to towing that camping trailer: if you want it, you're going to have to work for it.

There are plenty of ways to get trailer braking, if you're not towing the kind of trailer that needs glad-hands: the cheapo electric controllers or surges brakes are fine.

Frankly if a person doesn't have the ability to install a brake controller in a discrete, professional matter, or at least locate someone who can, then that person shouldn't be towing a 2.5 ton trailer around that weights at much as the truck, but thats just my opinion.

There are aftermarket controller that can sense hydraulic pressure and apply the trailer brakes just like factory units, and they are not difficult to install. Manufacturers tend to put these type on units in fullsize vehicles built to do a lot of towing, they really don't need to do it in their compact or midsize SUVs...
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Well, I do know that Honda equips the Ridgeline with an excellent 'plug & play' trailer wiring setup (even on the base model). Basically you just add the 7 pin socket at the rear, a couple relays, and the brake controller and you're good to go. They also make the brake controller install a breeze with the included harness/plug.

Yet I feel my FJ handles my trailers far better than my Ridgeline, even though they both have the same tow rating. Personally, I feel that if the attitude of Toyota really is "Toyota is not about to give soccer moms free access to towing that camping trailer: if you want it, you're going to have to work for it.", then it is kind of short sighted and stupid. That kind of thinking is exactly how they'll have some 'do-it-yourselfers' jerry-rigging dangerous tow setups.

If Toyo advertises a 5k pound tow capability on a $32,000 machine, then at least follow thru with the basic wiring scheme to accommodate such a thing.

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Just found this thread because I am a new FJ owner, and can't believe there is not a trailer brake harness already under the dash. My last truck had all the wires right there and clearly labelled, so I installed my trailer brake controller in about 30 minutes.

I'm no electrical genius, so I'm going to have to take this to a professional to get it installed. Any tips for choosing the right shop so they don't destroy my truck?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The short wheel base of the FJ makes towing larger trailers kind of scary, Toyota is not about to give soccer moms free access to towing that camping trailer: if you want it, you're going to have to work for it.
I can't agree with you on this one. I can't think of any soccer moms who are going to hook up a trailer that they don't know how to tow just because there is trailer brake controller wiring.

I also disagree that "the short wheelbase of the FJ makes towing larger trailers kind of scary", unless you are talking about 30 footers. I've towed several trailers with mine now, and I am surprised at how well it pulls even larger ones. It's been 100% stable. I think one reason it does so well is the FJ has very short overhangs. The trailer doesn't get a lot of leverage on it.

Michael
 

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Well, I do know that Honda equips the Ridgeline with an excellent 'plug & play' trailer wiring setup (even on the base model). Basically you just add the 7 pin socket at the rear, a couple relays, and the brake controller and you're good to go. They also make the brake controller install a breeze with the included harness/plug.

Yet I feel my FJ handles my trailers far better than my Ridgeline, even though they both have the same tow rating. Personally, I feel that if the attitude of Toyota really is "Toyota is not about to give soccer moms free access to towing that camping trailer: if you want it, you're going to have to work for it.", then it is kind of short sighted and stupid. That kind of thinking is exactly how they'll have some 'do-it-yourselfers' jerry-rigging dangerous tow setups.

If Toyo advertises a 5k pound tow capability on a $32,000 machine, then at least follow thru with the basic wiring scheme to accommodate such a thing.

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A big AMEN to the part I highlighted in red. I just picked up a shiny new 2012. I ponied up extra for the factory hitch install because the salesman promised it would have the 7-pin socket, all of the wiring, and an under-dash pigtail for the brake controller. Imagine my dismay when I saw that little four pin socket. The salesman heard about it today when I stopped by. He's working to rectify it, so I'm not about to flame the dealer.
 

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It's illegal in TX to tow a trailer over 2000#s without trailer brakes.
I thought Texas DPS regulations allow a trailer weight of 4500 lbs. before brakes are required.
 

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I can't agree with you on this one. I can't think of any soccer moms who are going to hook up a trailer that they don't know how to tow just because there is trailer brake controller wiring.

I also disagree that "the short wheelbase of the FJ makes towing larger trailers kind of scary", unless you are talking about 30 footers. I've towed several trailers with mine now, and I am surprised at how well it pulls even larger ones. It's been 100% stable. I think one reason it does so well is the FJ has very short overhangs. The trailer doesn't get a lot of leverage on it.

Michael
The reason toyota doesn't include trailer wiring is because its initial purpose is not to tow trailers. People expect a full size truck to tow in the 9K range. Most trailer that people buy full size truck to tow with are going to weight 75% of the vehicles tow rating. And with most full size truks able to tow over 10,000 pounds no a days, it makes sence to have a factory brake controller. Most that use the FJ for towing purposes will be pulling on average a couple jet ski's, family boat, maybe a camper trailer. Most won't exceed 2500pd, and most boats come with hydrolic brakes witch doesnt require a 7 pin harness anyhow.

I had to install an aftermarket one after the purchase of a 14x7' cargo trailer and to be honest i was fine with that. If toyota were to offer one in the future thats fine. But this is not a tow vehicle. It does ok, but its not great. Sorry. Its just not. Boats are ok, but the 14x7 is biggest i'd go. Towed a 20 foot travel trailer once and it wasn't fun at all. But again, it wasn't initialy designed to tow.
 

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The problem with the Tekonsha wireless controller is that it still requires you to have a 7 pin hookup, something our FJ's don't have. I have a regular original Prodigy that is 10 years old, and the FJ will be the third vehicle I have used it in.
 
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