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We just purchased a 2020 Pilot and it had the tow package on it. We are looking for a brake controller for our camper. Any Recommendations for a 2020. I've called a few local stores and they say they have nothing compatible. Not sure I understand why. Any thoughts?
 

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Look at www.etrailer.com - they appear to have ones that plug right into the 4 wire connector under the dash. For example:


Also, if the OEM harness was used (don't think Honda offers a "tow package" from the factory so the dealer must have installed it) then there should be a 4 wire pigtail provided that the dealer is supposed to put in the glove compartment. This would allow you to wire any controller up to the Pilot.
 

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Heard a lot of good things about this particular unit, however I have no personal experience with it. My 3/4 ton PU is my towing vehicle and I have an older hard wired controller in it.
 

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We just purchased a 2020 Pilot and it had the tow package on it. We are looking for a brake controller for our camper. Any Recommendations for a 2020. I've called a few local stores and they say they have nothing compatible. Not sure I understand why. Any thoughts?
I'm having a tow hitch installed today on our 2020 Pilot - 6 speed. I also looked for the brake controller plug in on ours yesterday, and found that there is already an installed harness just above the brake pedal (basically attached to the very top of the lever arm of the brake pedal). I talked to the tech just now who's going to install our transmission cooler and he confirmed that there is a factory installed electronic controller. He said there is no need for an additional controller. So that's good news.

Be aware that the new pilots have a tow capacity of 3500 lbs by just installing a hitch. But if you install a transmission cooler (basically a small dedicated radiator for the transmission fluid to run through), the rated tow capacity is 5,000 lbs. Pretty impressive. We're glad for this because we have a small travel trailer/camper for the family that weighs about 4,000 lbs. So with a weight distribution hitch for the trailer, we can tow the camper with either our old beater pickup or the comfy new Pilot.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm having a tow hitch installed today on our 2020 Pilot - 6 speed. I also looked for the brake controller plug in on ours yesterday, and found that there is already an installed harness just above the brake pedal (basically attached to the very top of the lever arm of the brake pedal). I talked to the tech just now who's going to install our transmission cooler and he confirmed that there is a factory installed electronic controller. He said there is no need for an additional controller. So that's good news.

Be aware that the new pilots have a tow capacity of 3500 lbs by just installing a hitch. But if you install a transmission cooler (basically a small dedicated radiator for the transmission fluid to run through), the rated tow capacity is 5,000 lbs. Pretty impressive. We're glad for this because we have a small travel trailer/camper for the family that weighs about 4,000 lbs. So with a weight distribution hitch for the trailer, we can tow the camper with either our old beater pickup or the comfy new Pilot.

Hope this helps.
Thanks. I had seen the harness, but i just spoke with some incompetant people at a few local stores. I purchased a curt off etrailer.com and the correct cable for a simple plug and play. As a side note the Pilot with AWD tows 5,000.
Jeff
 

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Thanks. I had seen the harness, but i just spoke with some incompetant people at a few local stores. I purchased a curt off etrailer.com and the correct cable for a simple plug and play. As a side note the Pilot with AWD tows 5,000.
Jeff
Good news. Point is, if you already have a plug in place, you won't need the Curt. But I've had good luck with that brand. Ours is a 6 spd AWD, and everything I've seen indicates that to safely access teh 5,000 lbs you need to have a transmission cooler. Not a big price, and I'm sure having it in place for heavier loads is important for warranty terms.
 

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Thanks. I had seen the harness, but i just spoke with some incompetant people at a few local stores. I purchased a curt off etrailer.com and the correct cable for a simple plug and play. As a side note the Pilot with AWD tows 5,000.
Jeff
More or less depending on the set up of the vehicle and the number of passengers. Direct from the manual.

135419
 

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Montanacian,

I'd check again - I've never seen anything in the wiring schematics about a "built-in" controller. What it does have is a 4 pin connector prewired to the harness and they lead back to the OEM trailer wiring harness. That way you can plug and play with your choice of controller, and not have to run wires from the drivers foot area back to the hitch connector.

Now, maybe they changed it for 2020 - mine is a 2017.

Anyone else know for sure?

Attached is what the trailer harness instructions refer to.
135421
 

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Thanks for the flag... I’ll check again when I drop it off in an hour. Will report back. But the explicit message when I asked this morning was that I didn’t need an aftermarket controller.
 

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You don't need one, but having one is very helpful and is saves wear and tear on the vehicle brakes as well as providing a greater degree of safety.
 

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Montanacian,

Yes, please let us know what you find out. I don't currently plan on hauling a trailer with built-in brakes, but it would be good to know in case I do need to in the future.

Daltongang,

Without a separate controller, how do you adjust the level of braking? Did they add something for 2020 to allow adjustment? When I've driven trailers with brakes in the past, you need to adjust the level of braking dependent on load. Too much braking when pulling a light/empty trailer and you will lock the trailer brakes. Too little braking with a full load and the vehicle doesn't handle as well.

Thanks!
 

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Montanacian,

Yes, please let us know what you find out. I don't currently plan on hauling a trailer with built-in brakes, but it would be good to know in case I do need to in the future.

Daltongang,

Without a separate controller, how do you adjust the level of braking? Did they add something for 2020 to allow adjustment? When I've driven trailers with brakes in the past, you need to adjust the level of braking dependent on load. Too much braking when pulling a light/empty trailer and you will lock the trailer brakes. Too little braking with a full load and the vehicle doesn't handle as well.

Thanks!
That’s just it, you don’t, since without a controller the trailer breaks don’t do anything. Hence the need for a separate controller. Without one the vehicle alone is responsible for all breaking. Not the best or safest of conditions.
 

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Just back from the service dept at the dealer. I asked twice to be extra clear (in addition to my ask this morning on the phone). He said that his service instructions that he looked up yesterday when i asked about it indicated that the factory connection will indeed activate the trailer brakes and would be suitable for towing up to 5000 lbs. I said I was concerned about not having the fine or on-demand control that a controller provides - such as when highway sway needs a manual controller squeeze to straighten things out. He said that if I towed weight approaching or over the 5000 lbs I'd be a risk of that sway. So after asking three times - (1) he was confident, and (2) I am not. Just doesn't add up. So I'm going to get my rig back after the transmission cooler install and hook up the trailer and see if the brakes activate. In any case, I'll very likely add an aftermarket controller and a weight distributing hitch for use when towing the trailer.

Far better safe than sorry in this situation, especially since the controller solution is ~$100 and certain to do the job.
 

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Well since Honda does not equip their vehicles with a break controller, I am confused as you are about the answer. The harness supplied is to connect a third party break controller to the wiring harness.

Perhaps you should show the service technician the owners manual for the vehicle.
Screen Shot 2020-04-16 at 1.29.08 PM.png
Screen Shot 2020-04-16 at 1.29.25 PM.png


If you haven't done so you should go to the Honda Owners web site, sign up and order the full 600+ owners manual. Its free with in the first six months after purchasing a new vehicle. Just got mine for my 2020 Passport Touring yesterday.
 

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Well since Honda does not equip their vehicles with a break controller, I am confused as you are about the answer. The harness supplied is to connect a third party break controller to the wiring harness.

Perhaps you should show the service technician the owners manual for the vehicle.

If you haven't done so you should go to the Honda Owners web site, sign up and order the full 600+ owners manual. Its free with in the first six months after purchasing a new vehicle. Just got mine for my 2020 Passport Touring yesterday.
I believe you're right. I found the orphan 4 pin pigtail farther up in the dash, and I'm sure that's the connection from the controller to the braking system. So I think the service shop is confident but wrong. One guy there clearly didn't know the answer but it didn't stop him from trying to create an answer. The other main guy I talked to seemed confident... until I asked specifically about sway control.

Thanks much for the tip on the full detailed manual... going to get it right now.

Not to hijack the thread, but wondering what controller folks have used - make and model - and been happy with. I have a very basic Drawtite on my truck and it does the job. Some are fancier and more expensive - like this Curt at etrailer.
 

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If having a good controller is more important than money go with a proportional brake controller. Other types are pendulum brake controllers and time delayed brake controllers. The one in my truck is a proportional controller. One of the older types. The one I linked to above is quite popular these days. It is and inline controller that is bluetooth enabled. It is adjusted by your phone.
 

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I get really irritated when people will just tell you something instead of just admitting they don't know. I always tell my engineers that if you don't know, say you don't know, but then say you will try to find an answer. So much wasted effort when you're given incorrect information, no matter how confidently they say it!

On the owners manual, I believe those are available even past 6 months. I downloaded a copy of my 2017 manual and keep it on my phone.

I also have the downloaded service manual that is in the "Sticky" section. Not for a 2020, but I'm betting there is a lot that is the same as yours.

Good discussion guys...
 

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Absolutely... I'll be talking to the guys at the shop and letting them know. Gently, but also because this could be a major safety issue, if folks who know just a little are convinced they have brake control when they actually do not.

One more thing on the manual... I just downloaded mine, and saw that the 6 month deal is for a free print copy, with an address and a VIN.

Many thanks all - I'm glad found this discussion and learned the answer to my question... thanks to you all, and not the dealership... ?. Stay well out there! ?
 

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I get really irritated when people will just tell you something instead of just admitting they don't know. I always tell my engineers that if you don't know, say you don't know, but then say you will try to find an answer. So much wasted effort when you're given incorrect information, no matter how confidently they say it!

On the owners manual, I believe those are available even past 6 months. I downloaded a copy of my 2017 manual and keep it on my phone.

I also have the downloaded service manual that is in the "Sticky" section. Not for a 2020, but I'm betting there is a lot that is the same as yours.

Good discussion guys...
The online version is always available, I'm talking about the old fashion printed on paper version.

135428
 
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