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Go Back   TDIClub Forums > VW TDI Discussion Areas > Upgrades (non TDI Engine related)

Upgrades (non TDI Engine related) The place of handling, lighting and other upgrades that do not relate to the performance or economy of the TDI engine. In other words upgrades to your TDI that don't fit into TDI Fuel Economy & TDI Engine Enhancements.Please note the Performance Disclaimer

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Old July 23rd, 2019, 18:36   #1
gearheadgrrrl
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Fuel Economy: Other than the JSW, hard as I try, can't seem tio get below 40 MPH!
Default Trailer brake controller and wiring?

I'm considering adding brakes to my 3000 pound GVW trailer and have found a compatible electric brake setup. Now I need to upgrade from the usual 4 wire lighting to a 7 wire setup and add a brake controller. Sounds like the brakes require 20 to 30 amps, which I suspect means wiring directly to the battery? I've a choice of two Golf TDIs- a 2003 and a 2015. Any suggestions?
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Old July 23rd, 2019, 18:52   #2
where2
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If you already have the typical 4-wire on both, then upgrading the additional wires to get to 7-wire is really only adding: Aux charging, Backup Lights, and Trailer Braking. The only one that might be challenging of those on the 2015 is Backup lights depending on how CanBus handles it? On my 2006, I added a backup light wire to a typical 4-wire setup to allow the reverse lock-out solenoid to work on my utility trailer with surge brakes. To get that wire, I simply stole power out of a connector in the trunk. (I'll need to do this to the 2013 one of these days if I can get my wife to leave it home on a Saturday so I can work on it...)

I honestly don't know how much current an electric brake setup needs to function. E-Trailer shows a 40A auto-reset circuit breaker on their wiring diagram. (I run hydraulic surge disc brakes on the utility trailer I drag fully loaded through the mountains to get to Maine.)
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Old July 23rd, 2019, 19:47   #3
Vince Waldon
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Yes, your e-brakes are going to need more current than the lighter socket in the trunk will provide.

A 10-12 gauge run from the battery thru a auto-resetting breaker (not a fuse that won't reset by itself) is the standard way this is done in the trailer-wiring biz.

Brakes this big suggest another point: either of your tow vehicles being rated to tow 3000 lbs is something to confirm as well. Best to know in advance if your insurance company will duck a claim if the recommended GVW towing weight is exceeded.
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Note: The above is to the best of my knowledge- but at the end of the day simply interweb opinion, worth EXACTLY what you paid for it, and if used done so at your own risk.

Last edited by Vince Waldon; July 23rd, 2019 at 19:51.
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Old July 24th, 2019, 07:11   #4
gearheadgrrrl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince Waldon View Post
Yes, your e-brakes are going to need more current than the lighter socket in the trunk will provide.

A 10-12 gauge run from the battery thru a auto-resetting breaker (not a fuse that won't reset by itself) is the standard way this is done in the trailer-wiring biz.

Brakes this big suggest another point: either of your tow vehicles being rated to tow 3000 lbs is something to confirm as well. Best to know in advance if your insurance company will duck a claim if the recommended GVW towing weight is exceeded.

That's one of the considerations here, the heaviest load is a 650 kilo or so tractor on a 150 kilo trailer. IIRC the U.S. manual for the 2003 gives a 1000 pound tow rating but the rest of the world got a rating of half the empty weight (about 700 kilos) without brakes and 1500 kilos with brakes. The 2015 has the dual clutch automated manual so it's not rated for towing in the U.S. but rated for half empty weight without brakes or 1500 kilos with brakes most everywhere else. VW could try to deny warranty on the 2015 for towing, but they'd have a weak argument as it's twin the Audi A3 with the same powertrain is rated for towing. From a practical point of view the readily available at reasonable price Curt hitches for both vehicles are rated for 200 pounds tongue load and 2000 pounds total towed weight, and the tractor and trailer with brakes weight about that.
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Old August 2nd, 2019, 13:29   #5
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On the MK7 getting the brake signal to your trailer brake controller is kinda tricky. I tapped A57 on the BCM. It goes to the third brake light, which is an LED and isn't generally checked for a bulb out error by the car. I had tapped the signal wire from my pedal on my MK6 and it did some wacky things with the controller that I wanted to avoid. I will get a bulb out error if I pull the brake lever on the controller a few times when no trailer is connected, but it has never been a problem when one is. I used OEM trailer wiring, which provides for backup lights, but if I were adding a brake controller from a 4 wire, I'd probably just skip the backup lights.

Here's my install if it can be any assistance. http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=478382

This can also be used to avoid going trough your firewall or running wires under your car.
http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=485095

Last edited by Jedadiah; August 2nd, 2019 at 13:34.
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Old August 3rd, 2019, 06:53   #6
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I used Tekonsha P3 brake controller on my JSWs but I am using a REDARC EBRH-ACCV2 Tow-Pro Elite Controller at twice the price since it mounts better.
I tapped the (I think ) blue and red brake wire at the brake switch in the JSW.
The brake controller power should come directly off the battery and have a fuse or breaker inline. I used two 30 amp circuit breakers, one for the brake controller and one for the trailer power. I also added a relay that kept the trailer from draining the battery with the engine not running.
The problem for me was not getting a trailer module that could be coded for NAR. I had to add a switch to fake the module I had into trailer mode and use a tail light converter to drive the trailer combined brake and turn lights.
I towed a 16' Scamp trailer with both my 2009 and 2013 TDI JSWs bith with Westfalia OEM style hitches.
I let VW buy those tow back and bought a 2016 Town and Country to tow with and I am now setting up a 2012 Touareg for the task.

Last edited by redbarron55; August 3rd, 2019 at 06:55.
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Old August 3rd, 2019, 19:07   #7
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When I had the brake signal wire on my MK7 tapped, my Tekonsha P2 would come on even if the ignition on the car were off when I touched the brake pedal and the numbers on the display would run all over the place. After I switched it to just the the third brake light wire, it stopped all the weirdness. I doubt it really hurt anything, but I didn't like it. Having installed the euro wiring harness, I was forced to be pretty familiar with the BCM, so it wasn't any harder more work than figuring out which wire to the brake switch is correct. The wire from the brake switch goes directly to the BCM. On a MK7, you can see all the BCM light pin assignments in your adpmaps.
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Old August 4th, 2019, 12:45   #8
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You need to get a lighter trailer! I have towed a lot with my Golf and have found that the engineers were right with 1000 lbs is the max you should tow. Pulling a heavy trailer just means you are pulling dead weight and not allowing weight for your load. I use a 5 x 8 trailer with a wire mesh floor from Northern Tool- https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...1883_200671883
Its light weight plus works well but load it to anywhere close to 1000 lbs and I have found you will be dropping into 3rd gear at 55 mph 3500 rpm going up 6% inclines. I would spend your money on a new lighter weight trailer.
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Old August 5th, 2019, 05:50   #9
redbarron55
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I pulled a 1985 Scamp 16' camper with my 2009 and 2013 TDI JSWs using the OEM Westfalia hitch with tow module and electric brakes (P3).
The JSWs both towed the trailer easily and with the brakes stopped well also.
One issue is the tongue weight limitations and correcting for that weight with air bags.
They would be much better if weight distributing hitches were available.
I just let the transmission take care of itself.
The trailer module recognizes the trailer and adjusts the engine and transmission maps to better handle the trailer loads.
VW even says that the Touareg (rated to tow 7700 lbs is not meant to tow!
The 2.0 TDI JSWs have no problem towing whatever as long as it is properly balanced.
By the way the towing limits on the trailer tires limits the max speed to 65 mph and towing the Scamp (2800 lbs) netted 25 mpg.
All of that being said when we replaced the recalled VWs we bought a 2016 Town and Country and it tows better because it is a larger longer wheelbase car, but the gas motor rated 283 hp really does not pull any stronger than the 2.0 TDI did. Torque does the pulling and the Diesel has the torque.
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Old August 13th, 2019, 05:33   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hwycruiser View Post
You need to get a lighter trailer! I have towed a lot with my Golf and have found that the engineers were right with 1000 lbs is the max you should tow. Pulling a heavy trailer just means you are pulling dead weight and not allowing weight for your load. I use a 5 x 8 trailer with a wire mesh floor from Northern Tool- https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...1883_200671883
Its light weight plus works well but load it to anywhere close to 1000 lbs and I have found you will be dropping into 3rd gear at 55 mph 3500 rpm going up 6% inclines. I would spend your money on a new lighter weight trailer.
You might be a bit short on power...I don't disagree with a lighter trailer being generally better, but a stock ALH should pull 1000 lbs up a 6% grade in 4th at 60 MPH unless it's shaped like a parachute .

The answer is always - more power .
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