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Old 03-16-2019, 08:55 AM   #1
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Saint louis , Missouri
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Do I need an electronic brake controller with new 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee?

Hi all,
We just bought a new tow vehicle - upgrading from a Toyota 4Runner V8 (which we are so sad we can't replace due to 4Runners no longer being offered with V*) to a Jeep Grand Cherokee 2018 V8 Hemi. We tow a 2014 23d

When we bought our first airstream the airstream dealer installed the brake controller in the 4Runner. The Jeep dealer thought we may not need it because of the tow package offered with the Jeep - but there is a brake controller harness included in the vehicle.

What do you experts think? Do we need the brake controller in the vehicle? It always bumped my leg so I'd love to not include it if we don't need it - but would get past that if you all think it isn't safe to go without.
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Old 03-16-2019, 09:10 AM   #2
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Hi LoisLane,
I have the exact same tow vehicle and trailer model as you. Car dealers, by and large, do not understand the needs of the towing world. It’s not their everyday work.

Our dealer (Colonial AS), installed and tuned the brake controller just above the gas pedal. Your leg should not come close to it at all.

Use the trailer’s brakes. They are installed for a reason. Don’t just rely on the Jeep’s brakes.

Enjoy the ride!
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Old 03-16-2019, 09:25 AM   #3
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Check your state regulations I'm sure you are required by law to have one.


Safety dictates yep you need it!
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Old 03-16-2019, 10:12 AM   #4
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“Tow package” usually covers things like transmission cooler, upgraded radiator, brake controller harness, maybe mirrors and some other things, but usually not a brake controller in my experience. You definitely need it. Jeep salesman probably never towed anything ...
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Old 03-16-2019, 10:26 AM   #5
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A number of pickups come with a built-in brake controller, but, if your 2018 Grand Cherokee is like our 2016, it has some sway control software, but no brake controller. As the others have said, you need a controller. The salesman is wrong.

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Old 03-16-2019, 11:49 AM   #6
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Yes, you need a brake controller. Either add-on or built in.
Otherwise when you touch the brake, the trailer wheels will lock up.
The controller sends a proportional amount of voltage to the trailer brakes.
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Old 03-17-2019, 10:06 AM   #7
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We tow our FC20 with a 2018 Jeep GC. Installing a brake controller was a bit of a challenge. Our GC has an airbag located below the steering wheel. The typical install location for the brake controller above the pedals put it in line with the airbag. If due to an unfortunate incident the airbag deploys I did not want the brake controller becoming part of my lower body. After much research I found four options. 1. install in typical location and not worry about air bag. 2. Use a brake controller like the Tekonsha prodigy with remote hand held unit. Keep hand held unit on console. 3. Install built in unit like the Redarc TOW-PRO ELITE V2. This was a pricey option 4. Modify the mount for the Prodigy P3 I already owned. I went with option 4 and modified a windshield mount for the brake controller. It is now easy to get at and easy to see. After towing across Canada this summer from BC to NL it worked great and did not obstruct my vision while driving. The other bonus is I can easily remove the controller when not towing. Hope this helps.
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Old 03-17-2019, 10:26 AM   #8
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Bluetooth brake controller option

Another option is a Bluetooth brake controller, no wiring required. This product received an award for one of the best trailering innovations recently. It is controlled by a simple app on your smart phone (required). The simple 7 plug Bluetooth receptacle plugs directly into your TV 7 plug receptacle and the AS trailer plug connects to Bluetooth receptacle. Simple and straight forward. In the event your phone battery dies, don't worry, the last settings remained programmed.

Mercedes have no brake controller harness or jacks under dashboard like many US domestic vehicles. My Sprinter van has a hard-wired brake controller which was a pain to install (required removing seat and digging into wiring) and required significant diagnostic time I don't want to ever repeat. The hardwired controller is in the way entering & leaving the vehicle.

I have an additional Mercedes GLE TV and did not want to go through that issue a second time and learned about the Curt Blue-tooth device option. Now wish I have never gone the hard wire route. The Curt allows multiple trailer connections too (I have other trailers). One device, multiple trailers & TV's. This was the way to go for me.

https://www.etrailer.com/p-C51180.ht...el=GLE-Class#/

Best of luck!
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Old 03-17-2019, 10:29 AM   #9
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Check out U Haul.I tow my AS Sport 16 with a Mazda CX 9 2018 that came without a harness tow package and U Haul installed the 7 pin connector and electric brake controller for $400 with a 2 yr warrantee. Since you have the brake controller harness your cost should be quite a bit less than what I paid.BTW my AS dealer said that was a good deal I got from U Haul.Congrats on your TV.
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Old 03-17-2019, 11:28 AM   #10
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Get a brake controller. Most states require them for trailers over a certain GW. Save the strain and wear on your tow vehicle. Not only do you need to pull but you need to stop.
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:30 PM   #11
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Yes you need it. Not only do you need the trailer to help in stopping, you need the trailer to slow down and stop behind you. I just hate it when, during an emergency stop, your trailer comes up along side and pulls you around backwards into the ditch or oncoming traffic.
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Old 03-17-2019, 01:33 PM   #12
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I had a V8 4Runner that I really enjoyed too. Agreed that it's too bad they don't offer the V8 in that model any longer.

Look into the Redarc tow pro brake controller. Great modern and well reviewed choice. The brain is hidden, and the compact controller can fit in most switch blanks or anywhere on the dash. So nothing large and substantial to get in the way.

https://www.amazon.com/REDARC-EBRH-A...26553662&psc=1

A great alternative to the 4Runner, or 120-series Prado as it's also known as in the rest of the world, is the Lexus GX if you ever were to look for a V8 4Runner again.
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Old 03-17-2019, 02:08 PM   #13
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yes; even newer vehicles with tow packages often need one

we have a Tekonsha prodigy p3
ensure that you get someone to set it up. first dealer did not do it well

we got Andy at CANAM london , ON to do it and it works like a charm
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Old 03-17-2019, 04:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loislane View Post
Hi all,
We just bought a new tow vehicle - upgrading from a Toyota 4Runner V8 (which we are so sad we can't replace due to 4Runners no longer being offered with V*) to a Jeep Grand Cherokee 2018 V8 Hemi. We tow a 2014 23d

When we bought our first airstream the airstream dealer installed the brake controller in the 4Runner. The Jeep dealer thought we may not need it because of the tow package offered with the Jeep - but there is a brake controller harness included in the vehicle.

What do you experts think? Do we need the brake controller in the vehicle? It always bumped my leg so I'd love to not include it if we don't need it - but would get past that if you all think it isn't safe to go without.
Safety first, you should have it, especially when your rig is pushing you down a fair incline and you are trying to maintain a controllable speed. Set properly it will save the brake rotors on the new Jeep as well.
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