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Old 03-05-2021, 04:13 PM   #1
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1965 17' Caravel
Canton , OH
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2020 Ford Ranger trailer disconnected fault message

I have a 2020 Ford Ranger Lariat with the factory tow package that I use to tow my 1965 Caravel. The Caravel has been completely renovated. Part of the renovation was switching all of the exterior bulbs to LED equivalents. I also installed an Autowbrake solid state trailer brake controller on the trailer itself.
When I connect the 7-pin connector the lighting and brake controller work perfectly. The brake, turn signal, and running lights all function as they should. The trailer brakes work well to slow the trailer.
But, hereís the problem. The Ranger normally senses that a trailer is connected and brings up a display 1) saying that it has been connected and 2) asking the driver how wide the trailer is and then how long it is. The Ranger used this info to adjust the BLIS (blind spot warning system). With the setup I have it gives the trailer connected message and within seconds a Trailer Disconnected message. The BLIS reverts back to the settings for the truck with no trailer attached. Very frustrating! Somewhat unsafe too if you donít realize that it isnít going to warn you if a vehicle is next to the trailer.
Ford has a TSB for faulty trailer connected/ disconnected messages with NO trailer connected. Opposite of my situation. In that case it is related to corrosion and/or moisture in the wiring harness or connectors providing an intermittent path to ground.
Seems possible to me that my LED lights arenít pulling enough current to properly operate the trailer module of the Ranger. Iím going to try switching back to incandescent bulbs as I donít have any problems when I use my small 8í utility trailer with old school lighting.
Anyone else have this problem with a Ranger or F150? Any other suggestions?
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Old 03-05-2021, 05:09 PM   #2
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Maybe one-in-a-million chance your dealer has any knowledge of this feature, but since your truck is new and under warranty, why not go there? But your idea of changing some bulbs is an easy thing to try if that fixes your problem.
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Old 03-05-2021, 05:19 PM   #3
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With this technology rapidly changing, I not sure I can help, as ford and chevy may have different logic. Definitely try at least some incandescents first.
Question: do you have solar and AGMs?
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Old 03-05-2021, 06:26 PM   #4
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Sounds like itís on the truck side and not the trailer to me. Iím not sure that it has to detect constant current for the BLIS system to work but I could be wrong. Just for kicks maybe try cleaning the connection points on truck and trailer and adding some dilectric grease. Maybe just be in the connection points.
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Old 03-06-2021, 05:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwschnettl View Post
I have a 2020 Ford Ranger Lariat with the factory tow package that I use to tow my 1965 Caravel.

I also installed an Autowbrake solid state trailer brake controller on the trailer itself.

The Ranger normally senses that a trailer is connected and brings up a display
Nope, I don't have any of your components on my rig but I do have a question.

1. Does the Ranger have an integrated trailer brake controller as part of the tow package?

2. Autowbrake brake controller on trailer.

Are there now two brake controllers in your rig? are they disagreeing with each other?

How hard would it be to do a temp bypass of the Autowbrake and wire direct to trailer brakes. Test with ITBC only.

Remember, these are questions w/o hands on or owners knowledge of same.

Gary
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Old 03-06-2021, 06:47 AM   #6
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On many European vehicles, the cars electrical system would not detect the trailer lights if they were LED. I had a VW Touareg and had to buy a special pig tail to plug in between the umbilical cord and the car. It helped the car sense the lower power trailer LED lights. I do not have any idea if you are experiencing anything similar, but just throwing it out there as a possibility.
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Old 03-06-2021, 10:05 AM   #7
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After checking that I had functioning trailer lights, etc., I kept getting the “trailer disconnected” warning more than once while already on the road. After pulling over and jiggling the 7-way plug, it would work for awhile, then the warning would come back on further down the road. This finally stopped happening completely after I purchased and applied dielectric grease to the 7-way plug. Something to try, at least.
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Old 03-06-2021, 10:30 AM   #8
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I have no experience with an integrated system like you have, but did have a problem with a not connected message with a new brake controller.

After a year of trying various fixes, discussion with a technician from the controller company revealed that the controller was thinking it was not connected because of the single axle on our trailer. The technician suggested adding one or two additional brake magnets into the trailer's brake circuit. Did that and the problem was solved.

I assume that the controller saw too much resistance with only two magnets in the circuit.

Tim
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Old 03-06-2021, 03:25 PM   #9
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I tow a 2019 Sport 22 with a 2019 Ranger. Not sure if my Ranger automatically senses and prompts for trailer info for BLIS or not; I enter it manually using the left info display buttons in the Driver Assist screen. I have never seen a "Trailer Disconnected" message, but I did lose trailer braking a couple of times. I added dielectric grease but still needed to wiggle the 7-pin connector then it would be fine. The Airstream dealer determined the male prongs of the connector weren't betting fully inserted into the female portion. He bent male portion so it would be able to be properly inserted. I haven't had the problem since.
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Old 03-06-2021, 03:25 PM   #10
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I suggest confirming that the connections to the trailer battery posts are tight.
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Old 03-06-2021, 08:51 PM   #11
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1965 17' Caravel
Canton , OH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
With this technology rapidly changing, I not sure I can help, as ford and chevy may have different logic. Definitely try at least some incandescents first.
Question: do you have solar and AGMs?
I have one 100Ah AGM battery, but no solar.
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Old 03-06-2021, 09:14 PM   #12
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1965 17' Caravel
Canton , OH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GCinSC2 View Post
Nope, I don't have any of your components on my rig but I do have a question.

1. Does the Ranger have an integrated trailer brake controller as part of the tow package?

2. Autowbrake brake controller on trailer.

Are there now two brake controllers in your rig? are they disagreeing with each other?

How hard would it be to do a temp bypass of the Autowbrake and wire direct to trailer brakes. Test with ITBC only.

Remember, these are questions w/o hands on or owners knowledge of same.

Gary
As far as I know the Ranger factory tow package consists of the 7/4 pin connector on the bumper and the 7500# hitch. No brake controller. No upgraded alternator or trans cooler.
I have had the dealer check it out and the serviced it for a Ford TSB by cleaning the connector and applying dielectric grease on the TV side. I did the same to the plug on the Caravel which is basically brand new as I installed a junction box on the A frame for a clean connection setup for the Autowbrake wiring and the new trailer connector wiring.
I was not impressed when I called Airstream Friday afternoon to ask what bulbs were originally specified for the Caravel and they could not tell me. Their answer was something about a fire destroying their document archive and the trailer being ď too oldĒ. Was able to get the info from Vintage Trailer Supply. I swapped the LED for brand new incandescents and will know if that helps on Wednesday when I tow again.
Thanks for all the responses.
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Old 03-07-2021, 05:41 AM   #13
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Can you review the plug to receptacle please?

1. The cover for the 7 way on the Ranger. Is it hinged at the top, side or on the bottom?

2. Can you insert the plug far enough so that the ear on the cover latches on to the plug?

Pics always welcome.

Canton, not too far from my old home west of Cleveland and a nice short drive to Dover and visit the Warther museum. Ohio flag flies along side Old Glory on my rig.

Gary
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Old 03-07-2021, 05:58 AM   #14
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Since trailers use frame and body to provide a ground for the 12v system in trailer it could be that the ball to trailer connection is the issue, especially if a lot of old grease is built up in trailer socket.
Steve
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Old 03-07-2021, 06:11 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heslinhotel View Post
Since trailers use frame and body to provide a ground for the 12v system in trailer it could be that the ball to trailer connection is the issue, especially if a lot of old grease is built up in trailer socket.
Steve
And the 7 way has its own ground wire too. Hopkins wiring guide for 7 way.

https://hopkinstowingsolutions.com/s...ng-guides.html
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Old 03-07-2021, 06:59 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwschnettl View Post
As far as I know the Ranger factory tow package consists of the 7/4 pin connector on the bumper and the 7500# hitch. No brake controller. No upgraded alternator or trans cooler.
I have had the dealer check it out and the serviced it for a Ford TSB by cleaning the connector and applying dielectric grease on the TV side. I did the same to the plug on the Caravel which is basically brand new as I installed a junction box on the A frame for a clean connection setup for the Autowbrake wiring and the new trailer connector wiring.
I was not impressed when I called Airstream Friday afternoon to ask what bulbs were originally specified for the Caravel and they could not tell me. Their answer was something about a fire destroying their document archive and the trailer being ď too oldĒ. Was able to get the info from Vintage Trailer Supply. I swapped the LED for brand new incandescents and will know if that helps on Wednesday when I tow again.
Thanks for all the responses.
Wait, no itbc on ranger, but it has a trailer connected sensing circuit??? Not doubting you, but that's a new one on me.
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Old 03-07-2021, 07:11 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Wait, no itbc on ranger, but it has a trailer connected sensing circuit??? Not doubting you, but that's a new one on me.
I always assumed that it used either/both the tail lights/brake lights to sense the trailer. Not all trailers have brakes, so it wouldn't make sense to use the brakes to sense a trailer.
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Old 03-07-2021, 07:17 AM   #18
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I always assumed that it used either/both the tail lights/brake lights to sense the trailer. Not all trailers have brakes, so it wouldn't make sense to use the brakes to sense a trailer.
I have come to realize, at least on Chevy, that multiple circuits and logics are used. That's where I was going with my questions, but that is moot for this truck and thread.
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Old 03-07-2021, 07:41 AM   #19
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I have had electrical issues with a Ford in the past by simply replacing incandescent bulbs with LED for what it’s worth. Remote start disabled and some random dash warning lights would come on.... I have faith you will find success with the bulb swap!
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Old 03-14-2021, 10:13 AM   #20
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I have a 2020 F150 with tow package. When hooked up to my snowmobile trailer with the aluminum hitch & ball, I get the same intermittent messaging. My Sync goes blank and is non functional or has any display until the vehicle is completely stopped then the back up camera goes on.

I will be taking to the dealer for this as a warranty item but am not holding my breath. As my experience with my previous F350 Sync system it is too problematic.
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