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Old 10-13-2017, 09:09 AM   #1
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Ford Trailer Brake Controller (TBC)

Forest River Forester Ford E450 buyers beware!

I recently purchased a new Forester E450 2291SF 24' motorhome
RV for traveling and towing my racecar trailer. The motorhome
came with the hitch & wiring but not a trailer brake controller (TBC).
I really wanted to keep it looking nice and although 3x the cost,
purchased the Ford OEM TBC unit that fits in the dash. The mount
and connector are already there from Ford, so installing it and
plugging it in was easy. The Ford parts guys said I'd need to get
it programmed to talk to the dash. The OEM Ford TBC has no
display so it has to talk to the dash "information center" to use
the display in the dash to show trailer brake gain settings and other
TBC stats. I looked it up on the web and found many F150 guys
had done it. So no problem right?

I took the RV to two different Ford dealers and had 5 different
Ford tech guys working on it and couldnt do it. I was told that
unless the vehicle comes with it installed from Ford, it cant be
programmed! The VIN number wont allow it. Charged me $75 for
their tech guys 2 hrs of trying. Luckily my Ford parts guy was
able to return the $300+ Ford TBC unit.

I put the filler panel back in the dash and installed an aftermarket
unit. Doesnt look as nice or as easily accessible but the only other
solution. So beware, you cant install the Ford TBC as an add-on!
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Old 10-14-2017, 08:49 AM   #2
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That sure seems strange, kind of limits Ford on what they can sell after the unit is produced. this information should come in handy for anyone looking at these rigs. On the bright side the after market controller is surly less expensive.
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Old 10-14-2017, 09:17 AM   #3
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Just curious. By chance did you look at the Bluetooth brake controllers at all ?
My oldest son put one on his trailer and loves it. He's got about 2000 miles on it this year and not a single issue with it. Didn't have to mount anything in the dash.
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Old 10-14-2017, 09:28 AM   #4
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Does the VIN change after FR purchases the E450 from Ford? If so, it may be possible to get the original VIN from FR. If not, then why would the VIN matter?
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Old 10-14-2017, 09:30 AM   #5
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That surprises me that a dealer can't activate the controller. You can should probably be able to do it yourself with Forscan. I know it works for the F-150. There are spreadsheets for the Ford Super Duty trucks and I saw some forum posts about the setting but that is as far as my knowledge goes.
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Old 10-14-2017, 04:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkracing View Post
Forest River Forester Ford E450 buyers beware!

I recently purchased a new Forester E450 2291SF 24' motorhome
RV for traveling and towing my racecar trailer. The motorhome
came with the hitch & wiring but not a trailer brake controller (TBC).
I really wanted to keep it looking nice and although 3x the cost,
purchased the Ford OEM TBC unit that fits in the dash. The mount
and connector are already there from Ford, so installing it and
plugging it in was easy. The Ford parts guys said I'd need to get
it programmed to talk to the dash. The OEM Ford TBC has no
display so it has to talk to the dash "information center" to use
the display in the dash to show trailer brake gain settings and other
TBC stats. I looked it up on the web and found many F150 guys
had done it. So no problem right?

I took the RV to two different Ford dealers and had 5 different
Ford tech guys working on it and couldnt do it. I was told that
unless the vehicle comes with it installed from Ford, it cant be
programmed! The VIN number wont allow it. Charged me $75 for
their tech guys 2 hrs of trying. Luckily my Ford parts guy was
able to return the $300+ Ford TBC unit.

I put the filler panel back in the dash and installed an aftermarket
unit. Doesnt look as nice or as easily accessible but the only other
solution. So beware, you cant install the Ford TBC as an add-on!

We bought a used F150 with factory tow package, but (Strangely), less the TBC. Dealer installed TBC after we bought the truck, and it works no problem.

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Old 10-14-2017, 11:16 PM   #7
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Been there and done that. Did all of the research. Final answer, no. The TBC for the E series is a factory assembly only option. Though the E series and F series fit in the same dash area, it is not an add-on for the E. You can buy the F series through Ford dealers on eBay, but not for the E. Unless they changed something very recently.
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Old 10-15-2017, 11:10 AM   #8
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Thats exactly what I was told! Works on Fs but not Es. Go figure...
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