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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I bought a 2017 Transit at the beginning of the year that didn't have a feature I really wanted, the factory trailer brake controller. The dealer told me it could be added after the fact. Well the mechanic at the dealer pointed out after I bought my van that this would not be possible as the factory wiring was not there. Not wanting to sell the van I just bought with a nice discount, I took it as a challenge and did just that. >:D

My van does have the factory trailer wiring provisions, but the connector for the trailer brake controller was nowhere to be found. I attached a tone tracer to the trailer brake wire at the 7 pin connector and found that the signal ended under the hood. The mating connector was not pinned and trailer brake controller wiring was simply not part of the harness. After much studying of the Motorcraft Service data I took the dash almost entirely apart in order to gain access to the bulkhead grommet, fuse box and a convenient place to splice into the HS CAN bus. After some serious googling I sourced the necessary connectors, harness tape, fuses, wire etc for a near factory install, got it all wired up and not surprisingly it only lit up the lights but did not work.

What I did to fix this was purchase an OBDLink Mx bluetooth adapter to work with my laptop and downloaded FORScan. I couldn't find much info on programming it since most of the US stuff is programmed with the As built data. For a Ford F-150 for example, you find a VIN that has the features you want to enable, download the As built data through Motorcraft and do a comparison between vehicles. You can then find the difference in the module of interest (radio for example) and flip the bits around by changing the hex value and you can turn that feature on off, which may or may not work depending on what you're tying to do. Well that method was not successful for me, but what did work was to edit the "central configuration" which is how the Euro Fords are configured. What's great about central config is it's all in plain english, you don't have to spend hours with trial and error figuring out what a single bit does. I was able to enable the rear window defrost switch through the central config as well.

For the most part setting up the OBDlink and installing Forscan is pretty easy.A license for Forscan is required to get into engineering mode to make the changes to central config. The only "tricky" part was making sure FORScan had the calibration files. It's looking for them in C:\Users\*your-username*\Documents\CalibrationFiles. The files are *.vbf and can be downloaded from
fordtechservice.dealerconnection.com/vdirs/wds/PCMReprogram/DSFM_PCMReprogram.asp?swproduct=IDS , but I ended up finding a folder of them on the Forscan website.

After programming the brake controller not only worked, but the gain is displayed on the instrument cluster just as it's supposed to be. I did a test pull with my trailer and the gain settings work as intended and the backup sensors were disabled as they should be. After that success I ordered the parts needed to complete the install into the center console. I ordered the trim bezel, cup holder, cup holder rubber insert and coin tray insert for the right side of the bezel from Tasca parts. The center console had the holes for the retainer clips welded in, all I had to do was carefully cut the skin to fit the bezel.

In conclusion, unless you're hellbent on an OEM brake controller and OK with assuming personal liability for your vehicle modifications, I suggest going aftermarket, however it is entirely possible to get the factory trailer brake controller fully functioning without having to buy more than the factory brake controller, OBD link and a Motorcraft Service data short term subscription as long as your van has the harness. With all the trouble this was I hope someone finds it useful. If you have some questions I'd be glad to answer them. I didn't document everything but I have saved part numbers for building and splicing the harness.
 

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Well the mechanic at the dealer pointed out after I bought my van that this would not be possible as the factory wiring was not there. Not wanting to sell the van I just bought with a nice discount, I took it as a challenge and did just that. >:D
A Transit owner after my own heart :D I rarely believe things I'm told at a dealer ;)
 

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That sure shoots holes in Ford's claim that a different instrument cluster is required for the brake controller to display it's data.
The controller will work without all that was done but you don't get the display functions.
Good job!

I'm happy with my Prodigy controller and actually prefer them as I have them in more than one vehicle so I have rolling spares.


So Donutman- have you played with resetting the KAM with FORScan? I'm wanting to have my transmission relearn since it is doing rather hard downshifts from 5 to 4- supposedly a KAM reset will cure it.
Haven't had time to get into FORScan yet- but will make time if it will do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey Budsky, I’m not sure what KAM is but if you’re just talking about resetting a module, it’s easy to do with FORScan. I never test drove the controller without programming so it could have worked anyways. Although there are differencet cluster part numbers for different instrumentation levels, I suspect it’s for a hardware difference in the cluster.

Eiko I don’t think of myself as much a hacker, but looking back at this project maybe I should, haha. The guys that made FORScan are true hackers to me!
 

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The KAM is the keep alive memory in the ECU. Most other memories can be reset with a battery disconnect but the KAM requires special commands that, from what I've read, very,very few OBD controllers can access.
 

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Donutman,

I'm thinking about upgrading my alternator from the 150A to a HD, 250A (3.7 Gas) version and am wondering if there are any PIDs for that.
I'd love to see what you find - that is if you have the 250A alternator . I also need to get the trailering module switched on as well.

I don't have a problem with taking it to the dealer, but the last time I went to the service counter (I asked for my Key Code), this guy tried to tell me that an
extra key I was going to get cut wouldn't work w/o programming. I told him if wouldn't matter because I don't have PATS and sure
enough my key works fine. I think they can do the programming, but would probably say something about needing to do the alternator swap,
etc.(◔_◔)
 

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Great Job, Donutman. What I want to know is after you got your van all put together again, did you have any screws or bolts left over? I always do!!
 

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Okay, you're absolutely nuts for going as far as you did, but I'm glad you're slightly more crazy than I am! I'm (almost) in the same boat as you are but I have the factory harness hanging out under my "single-cup" trim as my van was ordered with the 4 AUX switches. I just need to pop out the coin holder, install the brake controller, and get busy in FORScan. I have only come across one other person who was able to do the same by editing the central config, but I never saw any instructions posted.

I am unable to read the screenshot (I think the forum reduces the file size). Is there any chance you can upload the screenshots to somewhere like imgur? Thank you for your help!!
 

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I just wanted to share that as of Jan 2019 in FORScan 2.3.19 the options to enable the OEM Ford Transit Brake Controller are present under the Body Control Module programming and configuration options in FORScan. Manually editing the configuration files should no longer be necessary.
 

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TeeJJeet- Thank you for posting this recent update! That little bit of streamlining makes things much easier for folks like me who are about to undertake this themselves.

Donutman- Huge props for digging in and getting it done.

The quality of this forum elevates significantly as contributors like you guys keep find really helpful solutions and posting the results.

-Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #15
My brake pedal is not sending a signal to the plug under my cup holder, will enabling these features in Forscan fix this issue?
You will not see an analog brake signal at the connector, the PCM communicates to the factory brake controller using a digital logic signal (HS-CAN bus) which will look like noise on a volt meter.
 

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I have a 2016 that came with the trailer wiring, bought the trailer brake switch and in forscan i don’t see the option for the trailer brake, any ideas?
 

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I have a 2016 that came with the trailer wiring, bought the trailer brake switch and does an and I don’t see the option for the trailer brake, any ideas?
Try that again in a complete sentence. So, you have the towing package option and bought a factory brake controller?
 

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Yes, factory towing package but no trailer brake controller. Plug was under the cup holder and I bought the ford brake controller and plugged it in. When I go into forscan and into the body control module programming I don’t see the option for trailer brake controller listed. I have the newest forscan version and when I run a test of the TBM it all checks out.
 

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Yes, factory towing package but no trailer brake controller. Plug was under the cup holder and I bought the ford brake controller and plugged it in. When I go into forscan and into the body control module programming I don’t see the option for trailer brake controller listed. I have the newest forscan version and when I run a test of the TBM it all checks out.
Thanks for clarifying, that is the setup of my 2015 wagon. The TBC setting is in one of the key code parameters.
Be aware that some of theFORSCan settings available are different between my almost identical 2015 and 2018 wagons. One of these days I will pull the TBC from the 2018 and plug it in the 2015 and try the setting.

130452
 
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