SwedeSpeed - Volvo Performance Forum banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone have experience with installing an electric brake controller in your SPA XC90? Recommendations? Problems? I've installed numerous hard-wired controllers in previous vehicles (mostly Tekonsha) but I'm considering a wireless controller for my new XC90. I don't like digging around under the dashboard, trying to find the correct wire for a conventional hard-wired controller, nor do I relich the thought of drilling a hole in the firewall to route the 12v source to the controller. Has anyone used a Tekonsha Prodigy R.F. (radio frequency) wireless controller in your XC90? Comments?

Curt has recently introduced a Bluetooth-based wireless controller, the Curt "Echo". I'm less familiar with this one, and concerned about losing the Bluetooth connection. With the Tekonsha R.F. model, if you lose the R.F. connection between the remote and the controller, the controller still works -- still applies the trailer brakes when you apply the tow vehicle brakes.

Anyone with experience with either of these? Or anyone with experience installing a traditional hard-wired controller like the Tekonsha P3? Any hints on wiring to the XC90?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
994 Posts
I tow a 4500-5000 lbs trailer (loaded weight) maybe 8 weekends per year. I use a Tekonsha Prodigy RF wireless controller. It requires nothing to be wired up inside the car, just plugs into the cigarette lighter. It works great. I have only had it lose connection one time, not sure why, otherwise has worked flawlessly.

The other bonus with this system is that the main box is mounted on the trailer, so if you wanted to tow your trailer with a different vehicle all you have to do is plug the controller into cigarette lighter and go.

FWIW my XC90 has the factory towing package and Air suspension. I use a Weigh Safe scale hitch. The XC90 is pretty sensitive to tongue weight, but when you get it right on it tows quite well.

I generally tow with the car in Pure mode with the battery on either Hold or Charge. I have found this to be the most efficient balance between available power and fuel economy. In this mode it will call up the ERAD if it needs more power. It won't do that in Hybrid mode. Power mode is great but the rear suspension is a bit stiff and the MPG is worse towing in this mode. You could of course make and Individual mode (which I have done) but I have found the Pure/Hold/Charge mode seems to be the best all around.

There are posts here on the forum that claim that somewhere in the owners manual it says that AWD mode is recommended for towing due to the air suspension but I (nor anyone else here) have ever actually been able to find that in the manual.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nickshu, thanks for the info, very helpful. In the meantime I did a search of the forum and found a ton of info about the Prodigy RF, and how to get it to link with the XC90. SORRY for re-asking a question that has already been answered in previous posts, my bad.
It's interesting that a couple people seemed to have no problem getting the Prodigy RF to link up, but others have had to use an LED trailer light adapter (or substitute another tow vehicle for the initial set-up). Maybe your trailer was "Prodigy RF friendly" (incandescent lights maybe?)
Like Nickshu, I have the factory towing "package" (which is really just the hitch and rear wiring harness, hopefully the dealer did the VIDA reprogramming, I haven't checked yet), and the air suspension -- a big reason I chose the Volvo. Mine is a T6 with Polestar.
Is AWD Mode only a T8 thing? As far as I know, I can't disable AWD on my T6, it's AWD all the time (can't switch to FWD). Anyone is welcome to correct me if I'm wrong about that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
994 Posts
Nickshu, thanks for the info, very helpful. In the meantime I did a search of the forum and found a ton of info about the Prodigy RF, and how to get it to link with the XC90. SORRY for re-asking a question that has already been answered in previous posts, my bad.
It's interesting that a couple people seemed to have no problem getting the Prodigy RF to link up, but others have had to use an LED trailer light adapter (or substitute another tow vehicle for the initial set-up). Maybe your trailer was "Prodigy RF friendly" (incandescent lights maybe?)
Like Nickshu, I have the factory towing "package" (which is really just the hitch and rear wiring harness, hopefully the dealer did the VIDA reprogramming, I haven't checked yet), and the air suspension -- a big reason I chose the Volvo. Mine is a T6 with Polestar.
Is AWD Mode only a T8 thing? As far as I know, I can't disable AWD on my T6, it's AWD all the time (can't switch to FWD). Anyone is welcome to correct me if I'm wrong about that.
I read that too. I bought one of the "LED converter" plugs when I paired mine. I used for pairing, then the first 2-3 times I towed, then quit using it (plugging directly into the car 7-pin) and had no issues. Some have found that the LED converter plug was needed to get it to pair, others have not. Honestly I don't even know where my LED converter plug is now LOL.

It's possible that Tekonsha has updated their firmware and this is no longer a problem, not sure but no big deal once you get it paired you'll be good to go from then on out.

Here is the plug that I used... https://www.amazon.com/Tow-Ready-20...ter+7-pin+LED&qid=1555370732&s=gateway&sr=8-5
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,816 Posts
I generally tow with the car in Pure mode with the battery on either Hold or Charge. I have found this to be the most efficient balance between available power and fuel economy. In this mode it will call up the ERAD if it needs more power. It won't do that in Hybrid mode. Power mode is great but the rear suspension is a bit stiff and the MPG is worse towing in this mode. You could of course make and Individual mode (which I have done) but I have found the Pure/Hold/Charge mode seems to be the best all around.

There are posts here on the forum that claim that somewhere in the owners manual it says that AWD mode is recommended for towing due to the air suspension but I (nor anyone else here) have ever actually been able to find that in the manual.
See post 27 at https://forums.swedespeed.com/showt...o-XC90-T8-Towing-Experience&highlight=AWD+tow
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,816 Posts
Also, here is an excerpt from the owner’s manual from the 2019 XC90 T8 which is similar to what was quoted in the MY16 XC90 T8. Granted it talks about towing a vehicle but technically by definition a trailer is a vehicle.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
994 Posts
As you said that does not appear to be talking about towing a trailer, surprising that it's not in the trailer towing section at all. As it says in the first line "This section refers to one vehicle being towed behind another using a towline". My interpretation is that this is not talking about trailer towing.

I suppose you could extrapolate that to a trailer, but previous discussions have centered around the best height for the Air suspension to be at for the trailer's tongue weight, which is not mentioned there, as it would not be an issue when towing a vehicle with a tow rope.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,816 Posts
Yes, fair enough. I forgot about the tow rope context.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
399 Posts
I do not tow often and do not own a trailer. I hope to get something that plug and play in the car, and also easily removable from a trailer since I rent.?
Are you sure that the trailers you rent have electrically controlled brakes? UHaul trailers have surge brakes, so a brake controller wouldn't have any effect on a UHaul trailer. Presumably UHaul uses surge brakes because they assume most renters don't own brake controllers.

EDIT: I see on another thread that you're renting a camping trailer, which may or may not have brakes depending on its size. You should check first to see if it has brakes (surge brakes which don't need a brake controller vs. electric or electric over hydraulic which do need a controller). If the trailer has brakes that require a brake controller, also check to see what type of connector it uses so you can match that to your controller (or get the appropriate adapter).

It's also worth testing the connection first before you actually pull the trailer to make sure your hookup works. If you leave it to the last minute and it doesn't work for some reason you'll be faced with the decision whether to cancel your trip or continue without working trailer lights and/or brakes. The electrical connection between a tow vehicle and a trailer is often more difficult than the physical connection and way too many people are towing trailers with nonfunctional lights and/or brakes.

Sorry to complicate this further, but if the trailer has LED brake lights you may need to use an LED adapter so that the car can recognize the trailer. That has been a problem with the XC90 and some trailers. Read through this thread:

Hauling a trailer with a 2016 XC90 - software / brake...

If you need an LED adapter, here are three options:

The Curt 57004 adapter will enable 4-way or 5-way LED devices to connect successfully to the car's 7-way wiring port. Using this adapter in combination with a 4-way tester can confirm that the car's wiring harness and software were correctly installed if a trailer is not available to confirm the correct setup. This adapter is for trailer lights only and doesn't have enough terminals to connect to trailer brakes.

The Curt 57003 adapter will enable 7-way LED devices to connect successfully to the car's 7-way wiring port. Using this adapter in combination with a 7-way tester can confirm that the car's wiring harness and software were correctly installed if a trailer is not available to confirm the correct setup. This adapter will also allow the Prodigy RF Brake Controller to be paired during installation as documented by CaroleGir in this thread: Hauling a trailer with a 2016 XC90 - software / brake...

The Curt 57005 adapter will enable 6-way LED devices to connect successfully to the car's 7-way wiring port.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
This is super helpful! Thank you so much for the excellent write-up and guidance. I really appreciate it. I am going to buy a tester now. That is one of my worst fears, I rent the camper and the car does not detect it.

Also, for those with the updated Volvo hitch that drops down from behind the bumper, the Curt Echo wireless brake controller will not work with the car because our 7 socket is on the side. Curt customer support told me the wireless adapter must be parrel to the car, not perpendicular.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
399 Posts
If your tester doesn't work, it could be that you need to first plug something like the Curt 57004 or Curt 57003 adapter (depending on which type of tester you have) into your car and then plug the tester into the adapter. Some testers have additional resistance built in and some do not. The ones that don't may not be recognized by the vehicle unless you introduce resistance via an LED adapter.

I use the 57004 plus a simple flat 4-prong tester and they work fine in combination. The 57004 has also worked with every trailer I've towed that has a flat 4-prong connection (no brakes) - whether the trailer has LED brake lights or incandescent lights.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top