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Old 09-28-2020, 03:32 PM   #1
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Brake controller for 2021 Mercedes SUV

I'm totally new at this but after finishing six months of Chemo and two more of radiation my spouse and I have decided that life is to unpredictable to sit home and wait. Last month we bought a 2021 Mercedes GLE 53 SUV Coupe that included the factory installed tow package and rented a 20-foot Forest River as a test to see if we like this. We liked it so much that we just bought a 2021 23FB International and plan to roam extensively. (almost broke now.)



Two immediate issues are brake controller and WD hitch. The dealer strongly recommended the Fastway E-2 Trunion--installed for $770. Given that I don't know much about this issue I'm posting here for assistance.


But the real mystery is what brake controller to buy because the car is so technologically complicated with auto-leveling-in-motion and so forth. When connecting the rented trailer last month a sign popped up on the dash indicating that the car's electronics were reading the trailer and changing some settings. I'm guessing that automatically improves the car's handling characteristics but not sure of exactly how.



Mercedes techs at dealership had no clue. I've seen the Echo and Prodigy mentioned but wonder if there is some pigtail under the dash to connect directly to without splicing wires so we can use a more reliable method. Thank you all in advance!
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Old 09-28-2020, 05:01 PM   #2
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No comment on towing an AS with such a short wheelbase coupe.

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We don't tow with it....🥴
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Old 09-29-2020, 07:29 AM   #3
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For the brake controller I would suggest a discussion with Tuson. Their controller is first rate, but not sure which Mercedes models it been tested on. It plugs into your OBDII port.

https://tusonrvbrakes.com/products/direclink-dl-200ne

I would wonder if your auto leveling feature can be turned off manually. I don't think a WD hitch would work well with it, but have no experience with one. Hopefully someone with auto leveling will chime in.

The only towing specs I could find are for the AMG version of the 2021 GLE 53 coupe from an AZ dealer. A tongue weight limit of 617 pounds is not very high. Towing limit is 7700 lbs.

https://www.mbgilbert.com/blog/how-m...-53-coupe-tow/
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Old 09-29-2020, 02:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by 57Vintage View Post
For the brake controller I would suggest a discussion with Tuson. Their controller is first rate, but not sure which Mercedes models it been tested on. It plugs into your OBDII port.

https://tusonrvbrakes.com/products/direclink-dl-200ne

I would wonder if your auto leveling feature can be turned off manually. I don't think a WD hitch would work well with it, but have no experience with one. Hopefully someone with auto leveling will chime in.

The only towing specs I could find are for the AMG version of the 2021 GLE 53 coupe from an AZ dealer. A tongue weight limit of 617 pounds is not very high. Towing limit is 7700 lbs.

https://www.mbgilbert.com/blog/how-m...-53-coupe-tow/

Hopefully the MB engineers have a plan for their SUV to haul a trailer that came special ordered with their "tow package." BTW where is the OBDII located?
I just emailed Tuson.

Thanks again
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Old 09-29-2020, 04:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 57Vintage View Post

The only towing specs I could find are for the AMG version of the 2021 GLE 53 coupe from an AZ dealer. A tongue weight limit of 617 pounds is not very high. Towing limit is 7700 lbs.

https://www.mbgilbert.com/blog/how-m...-53-coupe-tow/
Minimum safe/7700lb TW 13%. 1001lb.

IMHO 617lb of tongue weight is NOT safe.


Disclaimer....I noe nutt'n.


Bob
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Old 09-29-2020, 04:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viking1 View Post
I'm totally new at this but after finishing six months of Chemo and two more of radiation my spouse and I have decided that life is to unpredictable to sit home and wait. Last month we bought a 2021 Mercedes GLE 53 SUV Coupe that included the factory installed tow package and rented a 20-foot Forest River as a test to see if we like this. We liked it so much that we just bought a 2021 23FB International and plan to roam extensively. (almost broke now.)



Two immediate issues are brake controller and WD hitch. The dealer strongly recommended the Fastway E-2 Trunion--installed for $770. Given that I don't know much about this issue I'm posting here for assistance.


But the real mystery is what brake controller to buy because the car is so technologically complicated with auto-leveling-in-motion and so forth. When connecting the rented trailer last month a sign popped up on the dash indicating that the car's electronics were reading the trailer and changing some settings. I'm guessing that automatically improves the car's handling characteristics but not sure of exactly how.



Mercedes techs at dealership had no clue. I've seen the Echo and Prodigy mentioned but wonder if there is some pigtail under the dash to connect directly to without splicing wires so we can use a more reliable method. Thank you all in advance!
Welcome to the Forum, glad you are going ok,
I can't help with the choice of brake controller but will follow this post.

Again glad your with us
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Old 09-29-2020, 05:00 PM   #7
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Also send an email to Andy@ can am RV in London Ontario
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Old 09-29-2020, 05:03 PM   #8
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Also send an email to Andy@ can am RV in London Ontario
Andy@canamrv.com
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Old 09-29-2020, 07:03 PM   #9
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Due to lawsuits et,al. Car OEMs tend to err on the low conservative side for tow ratings.
That way ,they can't be blamed. If you exceed their VERY LOW ratings, they wash their hands.

Best to give Andy a call. As he can tow a 27' AS with a jetta, he can help you
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Old 09-30-2020, 07:45 AM   #10
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Prodigy 2

I have a 2020 GLS580 and previously a 2014 ML350 and used my Tekonsha Prodigy 2 in both. There is a plug for the brake controller under the dash above the driver footwell. The 4 wires can be connected to the brake controller by using an adapter or cut the plug off and wire it directly. The adaptor is available with the controller part no. 3066-p. All this for under $200 but you can spend more and not get any better IMO. You can mount the controller under the dash away from the knee airbag panel - see pic (sorry it is sideways). I also have the Eaz-lift WD hitch with 1000 bars and 2 sway control bars.

The recommendation to call Andy Thompson at Canam RV is a good one given that he has done hundreds of these exact setups. Canam did both of mine and the handling and and confidence of safe towing is excellent. I see you are from California so he can give you some install and purchase tips for you to use locally. You will get many here on the forum who may say you can't tow with that but Canam has 50 years in business and has the expertise to get you the best towing experience.
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Old 09-30-2020, 07:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viking1 View Post
I'm totally new at this but after finishing six months of Chemo and two more of radiation my spouse and I have decided that life is to unpredictable to sit home and wait.
Just congrats and happy camping to you folks.
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Old 10-01-2020, 11:58 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by 57Vintage View Post
For the brake controller I would suggest a discussion with Tuson. Their controller is first rate, but not sure which Mercedes models it been tested on. It plugs into your OBDII port.

https://tusonrvbrakes.com/products/direclink-dl-200ne

I would wonder if your auto leveling feature can be turned off manually. I don't think a WD hitch would work well with it, but have no experience with one. Hopefully someone with auto leveling will chime in.

The only towing specs I could find are for the AMG version of the 2021 GLE 53 coupe from an AZ dealer. A tongue weight limit of 617 pounds is not very high. Towing limit is 7700 lbs.

https://www.mbgilbert.com/blog/how-m...-53-coupe-tow/
Thanks. I spoke with them but they did not have anything that would work. The closest so far is the Prodigy P-3 but I think that even that model needs another type of adaptor.
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Old 10-01-2020, 12:05 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by TRIPPPIN View Post
I have a 2020 GLS580 and previously a 2014 ML350 and used my Tekonsha Prodigy 2 in both. There is a plug for the brake controller under the dash above the driver footwell. The 4 wires can be connected to the brake controller by using an adapter or cut the plug off and wire it directly. The adaptor is available with the controller part no. 3066-p. All this for under $200 but you can spend more and not get any better IMO. You can mount the controller under the dash away from the knee airbag panel - see pic (sorry it is sideways). I also have the Eaz-lift WD hitch with 1000 bars and 2 sway control bars.

The recommendation to call Andy Thompson at Canam RV is a good one given that he has done hundreds of these exact setups. Canam did both of mine and the handling and and confidence of safe towing is excellent. I see you are from California so he can give you some install and purchase tips for you to use locally. You will get many here on the forum who may say you can't tow with that but Canam has 50 years in business and has the expertise to get you the best towing experience.

Thanks. I sent a message to Andy and am waiting on a response. However I did call their techs and they said they only carry the P-2 and not the P-3. For the P-2 they recommended cutting wires and splicing but given the technology in this new model I would not want to risk that.
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Old 10-01-2020, 03:07 PM   #14
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All signs point to the Prodigy RF. Anyone have experience with that brake controller?
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Old 10-02-2020, 08:08 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viking1 View Post
Thanks. I sent a message to Andy and am waiting on a response. However I did call their techs and they said they only carry the P-2 and not the P-3. For the P-2 they recommended cutting wires and splicing but given the technology in this new model I would not want to risk that.
My post provided the plug adaptor part number for Mercedes wiring harness, so you don't have to cut the wires and can simply plug it in. see https://www.tekonsha.com/ProductPhoto/1000/3066-P.png
I researched the Prodigy RF for my new GLS (which is identical wiring etc to GLE) because at first the P2 did not get power until I discovered the trailer now needs to be plugged in to the new Mercedes to "wake up" the power from the Mercedes wiring harness and activate the P2. The old Mercedes had power all the time. This resolved problem turned out to be a big plus because the P2 does not have a the monitor light illuminated unless the trailer is connected and I didn't have to buy another expensive controller. The negatives I found of the Prodigy RF IMO are;
You may not get the benefits that Mercedes provides by ESP trailer stabilization, trailer light monitoring etc. which I could not confirm 100%.
The RF has a hand held wireless controller and if you need to activate the trailer brakes separately which is needed sometimes in an emergency you can't just pull the lever like you can on the prodigy P2. There is no good place to mount the RF hand held in the GLE to do this and it must be plugged in to the 12V outlet. I use the 12V outlet for my trailer back up camera and my trailer TPMS and a third item to plug in would be a problem.
You mount the Prodigy RF on the trailer so you need one on every trailer you tow.
The cost is double.
RF vs hard wired is more reliable in the long run IMO. The RF won't pair with the Mercedes easily and most users resort to setting it up on another tow vehicle and then move it over to the Mercedes to get it to work.
There is a significant amount of information on MBworld.org too.
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Old 10-02-2020, 08:36 AM   #16
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We have the Teckonsha p4 now for 4 years now
Never an issue.
Andy at canam rv tuned it up for us and took it out to show us how to best use it.
He did some emergency maneuvers that I would never had done. Now I feel much more comfortable with the setup

IMHO, its very important you get a knowledgeable person you trust to set it up AND SHOW YOU HOW IT WORKS
Learn from experience to be safe
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Old 10-03-2020, 07:26 AM   #17
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See if you have the factory plug under the dash. There's a compartment there where mine was. After that you just need the cable adapter that Trippen mentioned and you can plug any controller in. I'm using a P3. But my MB dealer installed the original one which I've long replaced.
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Old 10-03-2020, 07:34 AM   #18
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Quote:
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See if you have the factory plug under the dash. There's a compartment there where mine was. After that you just need the cable adapter that Trippen mentioned and you can plug any controller in. I'm using a P3. But my MB dealer installed the original one which I've long replaced.
If you have the factory hitch when the GLE was manufactured, the plug is there in the driver footwell. You need to remove the plastic cover. The airbag cover remains in place.
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Old 10-03-2020, 07:41 PM   #19
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If you have the factory hitch when the GLE was manufactured, the plug is there in the driver footwell. You need to remove the plastic cover. The airbag cover remains in place.

Thanks! I finally figured it all out and am now looking locally for the P-2 and adapter.


Andy is a great guy and has been incredibly helpful in advising me to do exactly what you recommended. He also said the best WD Hitch is the Eaz-Lift Elite. Currently searching locally for that also. I plan to be on the road late next week for a three-day drive to pick up the new trailer.
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