REDARC Tow-Pro Elite Trailer Brake Controller
If you have ever towed a trailer off-road, even a lightweight one, you have probably felt the rush of a few thousand pounds pushing you down a steep decline or off a large drop.
Not the most fun aspect of overlanding but a necessity when operating a trailer in the backcountry.
Even with a traditional trailer break, there is not a huge improvement as they are designed for on-road use and add little benefit once you depart the asphalt.
There are a few trailer brake controller models in the United States that are available that even come close to the REDARC Tow-Pro Elite.
What sets Tow-Pro Elite apart is the dual settings. The normal setting is the Proportional Mode, which senses inertia of the tow vehicle for highway conditions.
The second setting is the User Controlled Mode, which the braking can be dialed in depending on the terrain, vehicle type, and driver preference to meet off-road challenges.
Tools & Parts To Install Brake Controller
Equipment & Parts Used:
- REDARC Tow-Pro Elite Trailer Brake Controller: Check Price
- Tekonsha 3041P Proportional Wiring Adapter: Check Price
- REDARC TPSI-001 Tow-Pro Switch Insert: Check Price
Tools You’ll Need For Install:
- Drill with 5/32 Drill Bit
- Socket Wrench with Extension and 10mm Socket
- 12mm Wrench
- Machine Bolts #8 with split washer and nut
- Wire Cutter
- Lighter or Heat Gun
- Utility Blade / Exacto Knife
- Weatherproof Butt Connectors 12-10 AWG
- Weatherproof Butt Connectors 16-14 AWG
- Zip Ties 5”
- Lights for Under Dash Illumination
REDARC Tow-Pro Elite Trailer Brake Controller Install
- Cut Electrical (Driver’s Side Footwell)
- Set Up Tekonsha Wiring Harness Pigtail
- Connect Wiring Harness Pigtail
- Unplug Harness from Factory Connector
- Ensure Proper Gauge Connection
- Twist Ends of Wires
- Crimp Ends of Connectors & Shrink Wrap
- Secure Wiring Harness Connector with Bolts
- Connect Wiring Harness to Bolt & Reinstall
- Locate Panel & Remove
- Locate Final Placement for Mounting
- Tighten Bolts for Trailer Brake Unit
- Paint Bolts Black (Optional)
- Remove Fan Speed Cover
- Attach REDARC Panel Insert
- Shave Down REDARC Panel To Fit
- Assemble Knob Using 12mm Wrench
- Remove White Space / Indicator
- Run Switch Cable To Control Unit
- Connect Cable & Reinstall Panel
- Connect Wire Harness & Switch Cable
- Reinstall Panel
The install and set up is fairly straight forward, with the majority of it being plug and play with the exception of splicing a few wires.
Step 1. Cut Electrical Tape By Driver’s Side Footwell
Locate factory trailer brake connector plug under the driver’s side footwell behind the e-brake.
Carefully cut the electrical tape securing the harness to allow for more working flexibility.
A trailer brake jumper harness was provided by Toyota when I purchased the 4Runner. However, the length was not long enough for my install.
Step 2. Set Up Tekonsha Wiring Harness Pigtail
Locate and set up the Tekonsha wiring harness pigtail. The original packaging for the trailer brake jumper wiring from Tekonsha is shown on the left.
Step 3. Connect Wiring Harness Pigtail
Then, run the Tekonsha wiring harness pigtail to the desired mounting location of the REDARC trailer brake base unit.
Add in the length of the REDARC base unit connector that must be wired in.
I chose to mount it behind the panel on the right-hand side of the footwell.
The REDARC trailer brake base unit uses inertia to detect braking. This means that the unit may not be zip tied or just tucked into the dash, it must be hard mounted.
I did not illustrate how I ran my wires as everyone has varying opinions on how to accomplish this. Just ensure that it is not impeding emergency brake, brakes or accelerator pedals.
The unusual, yet, good thing about the 4Runner accelerator pedal is that it’s electronic so there are no mechanical parts above the pedal hinge.
Note: The base unit must be hard mounted; do not zip tie it!
These Gear Aid Lights are extremely handy. Their compact size and light output allow for unobstructed views under the dash. Because of the tight spaces, the camera flash could not be used, all under dash light was from the lights.
Once the pigtail is run to the desired location and you know the overall desired length of the wiring harness, then trim off the unnecessary connector along with any extra wiring.
Step 4. Unplug Harness from Factory Connector
So, in my haste of installing this in 106 degrees Arizona Summer temperatures, I forgot to unplug the harness from the factory connector.
Lesson learned: I ended up blowing a fuse without knowing.
After the install was complete, I had thought I messed up the wiring; it took a few minutes of troubleshooting and a trip to auto parts shop to realize my error. The 30 AMP Fuse is indicated below to demonstrate.
Step 5. Ensure Proper Gauge Connection
There are many ways to make wiring connections and I am by no means an expert.
I choose to use the weather-resistant butt connectors since they incorporate shrink tubing and offer a secure connection.
Others may choose to solder, as it is the most secure electrical connection.
Also, make sure that you’re using the proper gauge connector on the correct gauge wire.
Step 6. Twist Ends of Wires
Step 7. Crimp Ends of Connectors & Shrink Wrap
Crimp each end of the connector. Once connected give the wire a tug to test the crimp and ensure a positive connection.
Then, use a lighter or heat gun to shrink up the wrap and protect the connection.
Step 8. Secure Wiring Harness Connector with Bolts
Locate the grounding point for the wiring harness.
I choose to use a bolt on the left side of the footwell which is about 6 inches behind the factory harness connector.
Step 9. Connect Wiring Harness to Bolt & Reinstall
Connect the white ground wire from the Tekonsha wiring harness to the bolt and reinstall.
Step 10. Locate Panel & Remove
Locate the panel located on the right side footwell, next to the accelerator pedal.
Step 11. Locate Final Placement for Mounting
For this step, start by locating the best place for mounting the unit.
There is only one place that I could find that wouldn’t need additional modification. There’s also plenty of clearance on the inside of the panel to allow for the unit to be installed.
Step 12. Tighten Bolts for Trailer Brake Unit
This is the final orientation of the unit. And, yes, it is upside down.
Step 13. Paint Bolts Black (Optional)
This next step is optional. For a low profile appearance, you can paint the bolts black to match the panel. But, again, this isn’t necessary, just an option.
Next, Choose Location For Control Head
The next steps are the most difficult of the install. Keep in mind that this is how I installed it and you may have different needs or ideas on how yours is installed.
For my install, I chose to put the control head on the right-side blank near the ignition.
There are many factors that go into this but the main reason for doing it this way was so that it would be on the right-hand side; so if I needed to manipulate it while driving, it would be easier for me as I drive with my left hand and use my right to engage all of the user switches, such as traction control and the radio anyway.
Step 14. Remove Fan Speed Cover
Step 15. Attach REDARC Panel Insert
The REDARC panel insert is universal so the inner of the blank must be cut or ground out.
Step 16. Shave Down REDARC Panel To Fit
Step 17. Assemble Knob Using 12mm Wrench
Once the fitting is complete, then assemble the knob using a 12mm wrench.
Step 18. Remove White Space / Indicator
The White Spacer/Indicator was bowing from tightening even slightly. So, I removed it without impacting operation.
Step 19. Run Switch Cable To Control Unit
Step 20. Connect Cable & Reinstall Panel
Step 21. Connect Wire Harness & Switch Cable
Step 22. Reinstall Panel
Reinstall panel tucking and cords inside. Zip tie all cables securely double checking pedal and foot clearances.
Completed Trailer Brake Controller Install
While the system is now installed, calibration still needs to be completed.
The LED display will flash Green/Blue as it orientates is the axis. This is done by accelerating and stopping around 20 times. Once the LED turns blue it is complete.
If you do not have a trailer connected, then no lights will show; however, calibration is still happening.
When you do hook up a trailer and it is already blue than calibration was completed.
The knob is set 0-10 with 0 meaning ‘no braking’ and ten being ‘max braking’. Remember:
“Lefty-loosey” and “righty-tighty” works as clockwise turns increase breaking.
Setting the controller will be based upon user needs so see instructions for more info.
A red LED lights up when brakes are in use. The intensity of the light will also reflect on the setting.
To switch from Proportional Mode (road conditions) to User Controlled Mode (off-road), apply your vehicle’s brakes and rotate the knob counterclockwise.
Push down on the knob twice within one second and, then, release the brakes. Light will change to green.
There may be times when you want to control the momentum of the trailer and not the vehicle.
Just push down on the knob to activate the trailer’s brakes.