2012 f150 4pin to 7 pin no tow package, myths, truths, compendium of information - F150online Forums (2023)

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I have a 2012 f150 XLT w/ 5.0 3.31 gears and no tow package. The truck was a rental for one year and has 27000 mi on it. I picked it up for a little less than 25000. It’s not loaded but has the necessary power options and the upgraded speakers, and cloth seats, aux input, but no sync. I love the 5.0, that thing runs like mad when you ask it to and gets 16 around town pretty reliably (when my foot is good), as calculated by hand and generally within 3 tenths on the computer. In any case it’s a nice truck and well priced but like many trucks on the road did not come wired for the tow package. This is the main myth I would seek to dispel is that not all trucks are created equal. I have seen it time and again on the forums where people say they are all wired the same, however I have proof otherwise. I wanted to do this write up to get as much of other peoples information in the same place and add my findings to what I feel is a most annoying issue. I WISH FORD WOULD WIRE ALL THE TRUCKS THE SAME…..PLEASE!!!!!! ……at least up to the 4/7 pin connection at the back of the truck...made for towing....i mean come on its down to 10 ft x 3 wires, and we just cant afford that???? Luckily the front of the truck does appear to be wired more universally.

Let’s start off by determining which truck you have….Follow the wiring harness back from the large plug under the hood on the driver’s side near the brake booster. The wire loom travels down over the wheel well and along the driver’s side frame rail, courses up over the rail to supply the fuel pump and fuel pump driver (located on a cross-member) then back along the inside of the rail to supply the taillights, and of course the trailer wiring.

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The pictures below are of the frame side (toward the cab) of the trailer tow wiring. Notice the difference.
Left is a random truck on a ford lot and right is my truck. Notice that there are 7 wires total on left and 4 on the right (with the white ground just out of the pic.

The 4 pin on my truck (picture right below) comprised of:
white wire for ground just out of the picture
yellow and green for brake lights and turn signals
brown for running lights.

The left picture has:
white wire for ground attached to frame
yellow and green for brake lights and turn signals
brown for running lights.
*blue for brake controller function
*orange for trailer battery charge/trailer power, the line is only hot when the key is in the ON position.
*grey/brown wire for reverse lights
* indicates wires that are not accounted for and will need to be added in order to achieve full 7 pin functionality.

If your truck has wiring that looks like the picture on the left you are in luck!!! You have the “plug and play” option in which case I strongly recommend that you ask ebay, taska, or your local ford dealership for part number 9L3Z15A416A, you will also need an aftermarket bracket, unless you pop for the ford hitch which has it welded on. There are several places to find the bracket. Here is a representation from etrailer.com.
Etrailer part number HM40978 .


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sorry i know that pic isnt the best representation but it should get the point across if thats what you see in a dealer parts house

non factory option below

So for the people finding themselves without the extra 3 wires you have a few options, most of which include some level of splicing. A fairly common option pictured above and found at most local parts stores, uhaul, and etrailer uses the factory 4 pin for the connections it has available then you wire in the rest. Etrailers part number is (C57674) from curt and is $28. I suppose one could still use the ford factory plug (part number 9L3-Z15-A41-6A) and splice into the wires of the plug. In that way you get the ford “look” of the factory option and get your splices up high which might save you some road grime, but let’s face it gets everywhere. The ford 7 pin plug should run you about 75 depending on shipping online or dealer price.
Now finding the wires to splice was a bit trickier, at least until I noticed the wires into and out of the plug in the engine bay. Notice in the top picture there are far more wires in than there are out to the rear of the truck. Immediately I recognized the large orange wire for the trailer charge, and the large blue brake controller wire. I highlighted the orange wire below, and blue is easy to find in that bunch as well. The reverse light signal wire is found in the small plug just next to the large harness in the direction toward the engine. That bunch of wires also contains:
-green turn
-yellow turn
-brown running light
-grey/brown reverse light signal is still confusing because it is wired with the same color wire as the left truck brake signal. The two wires are next to each other and the one that lit up for my trucks reverse signal was the outermost wire, so this is what I will be tapping into for reverse power. I highlighted it below to illustrate better.
-Blue/white is the truck reverse lights, I would not use this as a signal wire without a relay as this wire is a small guage
-Purple/orange is the right truck brake signal
-Gray/purple (hard to see color in pic below but its in the same row as green at the opposite end…looks just grey) I was unable to get to light up, and may be for something like reverse proximity sensors or camera on equipped trucks, maybe someone could put a test light on it and tell us what activates it.

In any case I tested the orange wire in the large bundle and there is continuity between there and the #9 spot on the fuse panel which houses the trailer tow relay! I haven’t found a way to test the brake wire but I assume this being the origin of all the rear electrical it should carry the correct voltage as long as you make nice connections. I felt this was the ideal place to splice the wires in because again it’s high away from water, easily visible, and gives a nice bundle of wires to follow for a safe course back.

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Seeing the entire trailer wiring harness end at this point made me think that you could just swap out the rear harness with a junk yard truck, or rear harness kit…….. and sure enough Tasca does have a rear wire harness for sale part number (BL3Z-14405-DGA) which may offer a non splice solution, but you should check that out with them to be sure it has the wires mentioned above before handing over your visa. Of course keep in mind that you would need to drop the fuel tank to reach some of those connections, but if you have the help could be a nice solution priced around $170.

The fuses we need to add in order to power the system are largely in place, but there are some we need to add. Trailer charge power is routed through the #21 fuse spot (right of the blue one under the relays) and should be a 30 amp. Spot #9 should have a relay to complete the circuit. My truck does not have rear defrost so I cannabilised the #4 relay for that purpose… when you purchase the brake controller kit from ford it will include the relay. The manual highlights several other fuses and relays for trailer tow power, and just for completeness ill run through them;
#6 TT Park lamp relay
#9 TT Battery charge relay
#17 TT Trailer brake 30A
#21 TT Battery charge 30A
#37 TT Lt stop/turn relay
#38 TT Rt stop/turn relay
#39 TT Reverse lamp relay
#43 TT reverse lamp 15A
#67 Park lamp relay
#73 TT turn/stop power 40A

And finally the brake controller

[url=https://www.f150online.com] 2012 f150 4pin to 7 pin no tow package, myths, truths, compendium of information - F150online Forums (11)

Brake controller part numbers I found: BL3Z2C006BA, BL3Z2C006BB, and BL3Z2C006AA. I am pretty sure they are all the same in function but were dedicated to different trucks based on package. The brake controller wiring is found in either one of two places. Plugged in behind the driver’s side coin box, or taped up next to the OBD test port connection under the steering column. I read somewhere that in all the later trucks they put it by the OBD port to make it easier to access. The wires here can be used for connecting up an aftermarket controller, some of which I believe even come with a plug to fit the stock plug which is nice. The trailer brake controller can be installed into the existing coin tray slot in the instrument panel and plugged in for vehicles factory equipped with trailer towing package. Your truck will then need to be reflashed at a Ford dealership for the instrument cluster to function properly with the new brake controller. Below are the etrailer options.

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Here is a youtube demonstration of a controller install by midevilone on youtube.

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Personally I like the stock controller because once you get it integrated it delivers simultaneous progressive braking as you increase your braking force, plus you get the nice clean stock look.
Comments, suggestions, corrections, welcome just trying to get everything in one place for future folks.


What is the difference between 4 pin and 7 pin? ›

The difference between the 4 pin and 7 pin connectors isn't much. The 4 pin is to connect break lights, turn signals, emergency lights. The 7 pin connector is the same but adds electrical input for a trailer break, which isn't available on the Highlander and is really only used for very heavy trailer loads.

What is the difference between a 4 and 7 pin trailer connector? ›

Four-pin trailer connections typically provide basic light functions only for the trailer, including running lights, turn signals, and brake lights. If you're using a seven-pin connection, you get all the same benefits but gain a 12-Volt circuit, an electric trailer brake circuit, and reverse lights.

What is the best F-150 configuration for towing? ›

If you want to achieve the highest Ford F-150 towing capacity, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine will be the best choice for your truck. With the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine, your F-150 towing capacity will range from 11,000 pounds1 to a best-in-class 14,000 pounds2 with the Max Trailer Tow Package.

Can you use 4 pin and 7 pin at the same time? ›

Expert Reply: You can use a 7-Way and 4-Way connector at the same time just as long as you are not overloading the light circuits.

Can you convert a 4 pin trailer connector to a 7 pin? ›

Easy to Use: Converts 4 pin flat truck connector to a standard 7 pin RV blade socket, connects tail reverse turn signals, synchronizes the trailer's signal light, no splicing of wires needed, plug and play, easy to create custom plug-in wiring systems for towing solutions.

Do I need a brake controller if I have a tow package? ›

It's imperative to have a trailer brake controller when towing a trailer that has electric or electric over hydraulic brakes. In most states, an adjustable trailer brake controller is required when trailers weight more than 3,000 pounds when loaded.

Can you tow a trailer with electric brakes without a controller? ›

Can you pull a trailer with electric brakes without a controller? No. Without a brake controller your trailer's electric brakes will remain inactive, you'll be in breach of road rules and most importantly you wouldn't be towing safely.

Do I need a trailer brake controller if I have a 7-pin connector? ›

These plugs also have a separate wiring pin to control only the brake lights. So, while the 7-pin trailer plug provides the wiring to control the brakes, to engage/control the brakes, a brake controller in the towing vehicle is required.

How do I know if my F-150 has factory tow package? ›

The easiest way to know if your Ford F-150 has a max tow package is to check the owner's manual or look up the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on Ford Etis. Alternatively, you can confirm whether your vehicle has certain features, like a bigger fuel tank and/or upgraded rear axle.

How do I know if my F-150 has a factory tow package? ›

Conclusion You are very likely to have the Max Trailer Tow Package if your hitch sticker rates the hitch at 14,000lbs plus you have the integrated trailer brake controller and Pro Backup assist dial. These items will almost certainly indicate you have the Max Trailer Tow Package.

Can the VIN number tell me the towing capacity? ›

The exact towing capacity figure that should be used for your vehicle is that which is stamped on the Vehicle Identification Number Plate (VIN Plate).

Which F-150 engine tows the most? ›

2.7L EcoBoost® V6 Engine: 10,000-pound maximum towing capacity. 5.0L Ti-VCT V8 Engine: 13,000-pound maximum towing capacity. 3.5L EcoBoost® V6 Engine: 14,000-pound maximum towing capacity.

Which F-150 has the highest tow rating? ›

This powerful V8 engine is standard on the 2021 Ford F-150 King Ranch® and the 2021 Ford F-150 Platinum. It generates the highest payload of all the powertrains, with 3,325 lbs. This engine has a maximum Ford F-150 towing capacity of 13,000 lbs.

When should I use tow haul mode F-150? ›

In general, you should engage Tow/Haul mode whenever you're towing a large trailer or hauling a heavy load. It's not strictly necessary for transporting cargo such as mountain bikes or a small utility trailer, but you may wish to use it in those light-load situations when you're dealing with hilly terrain.

Does a 7 pin trailer plug have reverse light? ›

Yes. The seventh pin on a 7-pin trailer plug is purposed to power a reverse light.

What is the most common trailer plug? ›

The 7-way connector is the most popular trailer connection type found on late model SUV's, trucks and RV's and comes with everything the others come with along with the availability for backup lights. There are two different types of 7-way connectors, one with flat pins (blades) and one with round pins.

What if my car has a 4-pin trailer has a 7 pin? ›

If your trailer has a 7-pin connector, then it likely has electric trailer brakes and an onboard battery.

Is there a constant power on a 7 pin trailer plug? ›

The only pin that should be continuously showing 12V power on the 7-Way connector on your vehicle is the 12V power circuit which is normally the black wire but not always. In 7-way wiring the 12V auxiliary power feed is carried on the contact at the 1:00 position as you look at the socket.

Can a 4-pin connector charge a trailer battery? ›

All you will need to do is cut off the 4-way connector on your trailer and add a 7-way, # PK12706, and the appropriate length of 10 gauge wire, # 10-1-1. This will provide your trailer battery with a constant maintenance charge every time your truck is hooked to your trailer.

Is a tow package necessary? ›

Such a package is actually necessary if you want to keep your vehicle in good shape. Heavy-duty towing puts extra strain on certain components of your vehicle, which can lead to major problems that require expensive repairs. Additionally, you have to make sure the tow package you choose comes with the right tow hitch.

How do I know if my truck has a trailer brake controller? ›

How Do I Know If My Truck Has a Brake Controller? Most trucks come with a brake controller installed by the manufacture (OEM). The brake controller usually has an image of a trailer and you would see a dial and two small knobs.

Can you test a trailer brake controller without a trailer? ›

Can you test an electric trailer brake controller without a trailer? No. A trailer brake controller will only operate when a trailer is attached through the wiring harness.

How much weight can you pull without trailer brakes? ›

Brakes are required if the trailer has an empty weight of over 3,000 lbs. Combination of vehicles must be able to stop within legal limits. Requires any vehicle combination to stop in 40 feet at 20 mph.

At what weight does a trailer need electric brakes? ›

Trailer Brakes

In California, brakes are required on any trailer coach or camp trailer having a gross weight of 1500 lbs. or more.

Will trailer brakes work with a 4 pin? ›

The quick answer is no, you can't. All 4 leads are used for the minimum number of lighting functions, plus a ground. You have running lights, right stop and turn, left stop and turn, and the ground and that adds up to four.

Can I use 14 gauge wire for trailer brakes? ›

Keep in mind, this is a bare minimum and we would recommend at least a 14 gauge wire thickness. The National Electrical Code rates 14 gauge wire as providing an allowable ampacity for 20 amps of current at 30 degrees ambient temperature. This more than covers the power draw of Elecbrakes.

How important is a trailer brake controller? ›

Electric brakes and their controllers are essential for managing heavier loads, as it requires significant power and control to bring the weight of the trailer (and the towing vehicle) to a complete stop.

Do all f150s come with tow package? ›

Trailer Tow Package.

This package is standard on the Limited trim but is optional on the XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum trims.

How can I tell how much my F-150 can tow? ›

These weights can typically be found on the door sticker. Take the GCVWR minus the curb weight, minus weights of fuel, cargo, accessories, and passengers and you'll get the max towing capacity.

How do I know if my F-150 has payload package? ›

A green window sticker is a special order, which most HDPP are. You're looking for the line items “HEAVY-DUTY PAYLOAD PACKAGE” and “7850# GVWR PACKAGE”. Since most of these trucks are special ordered some of them will have strange options.

What is included in the Ford F-150 trailer tow package? ›

2022 Ford F-150 Max Trailer Tow Package

Features include: 3.55 electronic-locking rear axle (3.73 if ordered with Heavy-Duty Payload Package) Four-pin/seven-pin wiring harness. 36-gallon fuel tank (not equipped with 3.5L PowerBoost)

Where on a VIN plate is the towing capacity? ›

It can also be calculated from the VIN plate, where line one is the maximum allowable mass and line two is the maximum trian mass. Simply deduct line one from line two and you have the vehicle towing limit.

What number tells me how much my truck can tow? ›

You can find your truck's towing capacity in the owner's manual or calculate it on your own. To find your truck's towing capacity, subtract your truck's curb weight from its Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVWR). The GCVWR is the maximum weight of your loaded truck and the weight of its attached trailer.

Is GVWR the same as towing capacity? ›

GVWR vs Towing Capacity

GVWR is the maximum weight capacity of a vehicle without a trailer attached. Towing capacity, on the other hand, is the maximum weight capacity of the vehicle, specifically in terms of how heavy of a trailer it can tow.

What year is the best used F-150? ›

Top Five Model Years for the Ford F-150
  • 2010 Ford F-150. The 2010 Ford F-150 is special in particular as it was the first model year for the SVT Raptor. ...
  • 2011 Ford F-150. 2011 was a milestone year for the F-150. ...
  • 2014 Ford F-150. ...
  • 2015 Ford F-150. ...
  • 2018 Ford F-150.
Jul 13, 2022

What is better for towing F-150 or RAM? ›

The Ford F-150 offers an impressive towing capacity of up to 14,000 lbs (6,350 kg), whereas the Ram 1500 embraces a maximum towing capacity of only 12,750 lbs (5,783 kg). Continue reading to find out which truck makes the ideal choice when looking for maximum towing capacity.

What is the lowest towing capacity for F-150? ›

Moving to the conventionally powered F150s, the base offering starts with a 3.3L Ti-VCT V6. This engine generates 290 hp and 265 lb. -ft of torque. As the base engine, it also has the lowest F150 towing capacity at 8,200 lb.

What is the difference between Max tow and trailer tow F-150? ›

The Trailer Tow package adds a class IV hitch receiver as well as the trailer brake and a trailer backup assist. Finally, the Max Trailer Tow package provides you with everything you could need, including all the features in the other packages, plus an electronic locking rear axel and a smart trailer tow connector.

What weight camper can a Ford F-150 pull? ›

The short answer is that most modern-day F-150s can safely pull a travel trailer that weighs around 5,000 to 8,000 pounds with gear, depending on the engine, rear-axle ratio, and the addition of available options. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule of thumb.

Is it better to tow in 2wd or 4wd? ›

Four-wheel-drive pickups typically have slightly lower towing capacities than their 2-wheel-drive counterparts due to the extra weight of the 4-wheel-drive components. They're also typically less fuel efficient than 2-wheel-drive trucks, but having a 4×4 can be very handy, especially for pulling a trailer.

Should you use cruise control when towing? ›

When there is no excessive shifting, use the overdrive gear for best fuel economy. Overdrive also may be locked out to obtain 3rd gear engine braking on downgrades. It should be noted that most auto manufacturers do not recommend utilizing the Speed Cruise Control while towing.

When should you not use a tow haul? ›

The Disadvantages of Using Tow Haul Mode

You should never use it during icy or slippery road conditions. When using tow haul mode, you increase the amount of engine braking taking place, which can cause your rear axle wheels to slide.

What is a 7-pin cable used for? ›

A 7-pin connector will work for most traditional box trailers, smaller boat trailers, and typically any application that does not require any accessories to be run whilst the trailer is in use.

What is a 7-pin connector used for? ›

CURT 7-way connectors are designed to supply power to the trailer's taillights, turn signals, brake lights, electric trailer brakes, reverse lights, auxiliary power and ground connection.

What does the 7-pin trailer plug do? ›

The 7-Way Trailer Plug is around 2″ diameter connector that allows an additional pin for an auxiliary 12-volt power or backup lights. It is usually used for towing heavy-duty cargo trailers, aluminum trailers, dump trailers, utility / landscape trailers, equipment trailers, open car haulers and enclosed car haulers.

Do I need a brake controller if I have a 7-pin? ›

These plugs also have a separate wiring pin to control only the brake lights. So, while the 7-pin trailer plug provides the wiring to control the brakes, to engage/control the brakes, a brake controller in the towing vehicle is required.

Does a 7 pin connector have constant power? ›

The only pin that should be continuously showing 12V power on the 7-Way connector on your vehicle is the 12V power circuit which is normally the black wire but not always. In 7-way wiring the 12V auxiliary power feed is carried on the contact at the 1:00 position as you look at the socket.

What are the different types of 7 pin connectors? ›

There are two different types of 7-way connectors, one with flat pins (blades) and one with round pins. The round pin connectors are very uncommon, while flat pins are common and often found on newer SUVs and trucks that come from the factory rigged with a trailer hitch.

How do you test a 7-pin connector on a truck? ›

Grab any conductive two pronged tool and insert it into the top two terminals on your 7 way plug that are your 12 volt and running light terminals. If your lights turn on, your fuses are good, your battery will charge and your lights work.

What data cable has a 7-pin connector? ›

SATA Data Cables

The SATA data cable has a 7-pin connector. One end of the cable is connected to the motherboard.

What if my car has a 4 pin trailer has a 7-pin? ›

If your trailer has a 7-pin connector, then it likely has electric trailer brakes and an onboard battery.

Does a 7 pin trailer plug charge battery? ›

The Tow-In-Charge charges your 12-Volt batteries through the 7 prong wiring harness battery feed, while powering your other trailer electrical needs.

What is the black wire on a 7 pin trailer plug? ›

What are the Red and Black Wires For on a 7-Way Trailer Connector Typically, the black wire is 12-volt power, and the red wire is left turn/brake lights.

What is the color code for trailer wiring? ›

Green is for the right turn signal. Yellow is for left turn signal. White is ground, and brown is for the trailer's taillights. These four types of wires together constitute what is known as “four-way wiring.” Four-way wiring is quite common and is suitable for most light-duty trailers and boat trailers.


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