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Trailer Tow Wiring - 96 Explorer

 
  #1  
Old 04-02-2009, 08:55 PM
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Trailer Tow Wiring - 96 Explorer

I have a 96 Explorer Sport. No tow package. I would like to wire it for towing without splicing any wires. Has anyone already done this? If so, would you have any information on an inline wiring harness for the tow lights. Also the location for connecting the trailer wiring harness.

Thanks
 
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Old 04-03-2009, 05:17 AM
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As long as you want the standard 4-wire plug this is what you need.
FORD Explorer, '96-97 / MERCURY Mountaineer, '96-97 :: Hopkins Towing Solutions
 
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Old 04-03-2009, 07:40 AM
dmoore1
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wireing

On mine there is a plug under the left tail light. I just got a cord on ebay and plugged it in and it works great.
 
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Old 04-03-2009, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by dmoore1 View Post
On mine there is a plug under the left tail light. I just got a cord on ebay and plugged it in and it works great.
I have a plug under the left tail light but the wire harness for the icense plate lights is plugged into it. Most on here seem to suggest that there is a separate "blank or empty" plug there. I am wondering if this is the plug I should be looking for and I need some sort of a "T" plug to stick in there. I have seen the plugs on ebay but they are a direct plug-in and would not allow me to connect my license plate lights back in there.
 
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Old 04-03-2009, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by ncranchero View Post
As long as you want the standard 4-wire plug this is what you need.
FORD Explorer, '96-97 / MERCURY Mountaineer, '96-97 :: Hopkins Towing Solutions
Sorry about the length of the post but here goes:

The link you provided looks like what I need. Problem is that I really need to know which wire from the flat 4 connector goes to which pin on this adaptor to be certain.

I looked into this problem in a bit more detail today. I discovered that the plug I had located which the license place light wiring harness plugs into is in fact the trailer lighting plug as well. It is an 8 pin plug. The license plate wire harness that plugs into it only has two wires, a purple/white to provide power (12V) to the license plate lights lights and a black wire for the ground to the license plate lights. The other 6 pins on the license plate light wire harness plug are blank.

The upstream plug that the license plate wire harness plugs into has five wires going into it. The purple wire and black wire for the license plate lights, a yellow (LH turn signal/brake light), green (RH turn signal/brake light) and a brown/white (trailer running/parking lights). So clearly this plug must have been intended to serve as the connection for the trailer lights as well as the license plate lights. The only way to make this work would be with a T-type connector like the one you provided the link to (Thank You Very Much for the Link).

Once I figured this out, I pulled the connector apart and used a multi-meter the check for power at the trailer light pins on the upstream connector. Nothing. Dead as a door nail. I only had power to the pin for the license plate lights and I had continuity at the pin for the ground.

Wondering why they would wire the vehicle with dead wires, I began looking for the fuse locations. I discovered that the 15A fuse for the trailer lights in the fuse box inside the vehicle on the driver's side of the dash was there and it was good. I then discovred that there is a big 30Amp fuse in the main engine compartment fuse/relay box and it was not there. Fortunately, the clips are there and one side had 12V. The owners manual says that this fuse is for the trailer parking lamps and the trailer turn signal lamps. I bought the proper fuse and installed it. Checked the plug again. Now I had 12V to the pin for the license plate lights and 12V to the pin for the trailer running lights but still no juice for either turn signal/brake light. At least I was making some progress.

Upon further investigation, I discovered that there is another relay box screwed in to the drivers side inner fender right next to the battery and it contains two relays for the trailer turn signal lamps. When I opened the box up, I discovered that these two relays were not there. Another trip to the parts store to buy the relays. Counter guy tries telling me that they don't make turn signal relays, only flashers. Fortunately I brought the owners manual with me to show him he was wrong. Turns out they did have the relays listed in their system and he had two in stock. Installed the relays and I now have power to all of the pins on the upstream plug. Big time progress!!! (or so I thought)

Now for the part where I am currently stuck. I can find T-Type connectors that will physically fit this plug. My problem has been finding a T-type connector where the wiring internal to the T-type plug connector matches what I have. For example, I found a T-type connector for a 93 - 99 Ranger (Hoppy Wiring Kit - P/N 40215) that physically fits but the pins on the Hoppy plug are wired opposite hand to what I have on my vehicle. For instance, if the upper left hand pin on mine is for the yellow (LH turn signal/brake), the T-Connector is wired so that this wire needs to be on the upper right hand pin of the upstream plug in order to provide power for this wire on the flat four connector. Hope that makes sense.

The only connector with a flat 4 connector that I could find for a 96 Explorer was a pig tail type that would plug diectly into the upstream plug and had a pig tail with a flat 4 connector on it. Problem with this is that it does not provide any means to reconnect my license plate light harness back in to the system. Also, I am almost certain that the wire arrangement to the individual pins on this connector is different than what is on my vehicle. I found a photo on another forum of the plug with the rubber boot from a 4-door Explorer that I believe this pig tail type connector is wired for and designed to plug into. The yellow, brown, green, and ground wires are all arranged differently than they are on my upstream plug.

I also found the trailer wiring kits that come with the converter boxes on them and require running a separate wire up to the battery to provide a constant 12V to the converter. These kits use a collection of T-conectors to tap into the various lights on my vehicle. This set-up would probably work but I really don't want to run the wire up to the battery and have a potentilal full time draw on the system and a poorly protected constant 12V wire that might cause some problems down the road. I suppose I could run the wire internally but it will be a minor P.I.T.A. that I would prefer to avoid particularly since it is pretty clear that Ford intended me to tap in off of that plug behind the drivers side brake/tail light lens. Unless my luck were to change, it is a pretty safe bet that I would bust one of the interiror panels in the process of running this wire internally.

My guess is that the Sport was wired differently than the 4-doors for some stupid reason. That said, Ford must have made a T-connector for this vehicle at some point but none can be found in their parts system now. I called both Hoppy and Drawtite to ask them about a T-connector. The Hoppy guy said that the only connector they had for a 96 Explorer was the one with the pig tail and that they did not have a T-type connector. Clearly this is not correct as the link you provided would indicate that they do (or at least did at one time) make a T-type connector for a 96 Explorer. I found one on Ebay with the part number you provided in the link and I bought it. It should be here some time next week.

If anyone has one of these T-conectors and can do a quick continuity test to determine which pin on the 8-pin plug corresponds to each of the four wires on the flat four connector, I would be eternally grateful. This would at least let me know that I have the correct one coming.

Also, if anyone has set up a 96 Explorer Sport or similar year for towing lights, I would be interested to hear how you did it.

Thanks for reading all of this.
 
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Old 04-04-2009, 03:53 PM
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Sounds like you're on the right track. Keep in mind that the pin configuration in the harness plug can be easily rearranged to coincide with the T-plug wiring, if necessary. From this post I have no doubt that you could easily handle that. The plugs have an internal "lock" (red bar) that you remove and then the pins are retained by a simple "spring" type lever (for lack of a better description).
The manual does not differentiate between the 2 & 4 door models, as you stated. Even the service manual schematics are confusing. If you have trailer tow package there is obviously another section of wiring for the T-adapter to join into, C407. Non-tow shows the tag light wire going into C402. Trailer tow package shows another section with a different arrangement of pins in C407. My suggestion would be to rearrange C402 male & female to the configuration of the T-adapter.
What you HAVE:


What Tow Package has:


I can e-mail the full size diagrams to you if need be.
 
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Old 04-04-2009, 06:33 PM
noboston
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in my ford electric manual it shows a c408 trailer/camper adapter cable that plugs into c407.you probably have to get it from ford .if you look at the diagram you will see c408 connecting to c407. my picture show this cable up under the bumper on the passenger side.
 
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Old 04-04-2009, 08:10 PM
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Very helpful information gentlemen. The plug diagrams and wire schematics have cleared up a bunch of issues for me.

It appears as though I do not have the trailer tow package and the plug I have located is actually C402. The photo from another forum was of C-407. As stated above by our Carolina friend, my lic. plate light wiring harness plugs directly into C402 because I do not have the trailer tow package.

You are correct that I could probably rearrange the pins. The problem is that they have filled the void in the back of the conector with some sort of non-conductive sealing gooo that will make removing the exisitng pins a PITA and relocating them an even bigger PITA especially with the connectors still in the vehicle.

What may make more sense would be to trot off to one of the local bone yards on Monday and look for the wiring harness that runs from C-402 to C-407 on a vehcile equipped wiht the trailer tow package. It would appear as though this would also include the wiring harness for the license plate lights. With that harness, I can buy one of the pig tail plugs that plugs into C407F and I should be in business.

Apparently the Sports were available with a tow package (Accoridng to the 1997 Explorer sales literature I have - should be the same for a1996) so I should have alll of the little holes frame, body, and bumper to pop in the little plastic cable supports attached to the wiring harness. If so it should go in with no problem, If I am lucky, perhaps I will find the pigtail there to convert to a flat 4 connection.

Thank you so much for the wiring diagram and the plug diagrams. That really cleared up what is going on for me.

This really is not a tough job to convert to trailer tow lighting if I you know what you need to do ahead of time. Install two relays, install one fuse, obtain wiring harness from C402 to C-407 from bone yard. Install C-407 to flat 4 adaptor. 15 minutes tops.

As I mentioend in my previos post, I bought the Hoppy 40325 adapter. I wonder whether it is intended to be installed at the C402 connection or at the C-407 connection. They make another adapter thatt I know is intended for the C-407 plug. I cannot see why they would make a T-type connector for the C-407 plug so I am betting that the one you linked to above and that I bought is for the C-402 connector. We will see whe it gets here.
 
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Old 04-04-2009, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by noboston View Post
in my ford electric manual it shows a c408 trailer/camper adapter cable that plugs into c407.you probably have to get it from ford .if you look at the diagram you will see c408 connecting to c407. my picture show this cable up under the bumper on the passenger side.
After visits to two Ford dealers on Friday, I discovered that this item is no longer available from Ford. It is however avaible from a number of after market suppliers. I tuink that I am in pretty good shape now if I can score the wiring harness I am looking for on Monday..
 
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Old 04-08-2009, 09:40 PM
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MY ebay purchased Hoppy T-connetor (Part#: 40325 - the one from the link provded by ncranchero) arrived today. It is intended to for the C-402 plug connector located behind the left rear tail light and it worked perfectly. Thank you very much for the link, the wiring schematics, and the plug/pin diagrams. They were a tremednous help. Got it working.

Lesson learned - all of the Explorers from this time period appear to be wired for the trailer tow package to some degree. Mine apears to have been minimally equipped for this from the factory which is why I had to install the fuse and two relays. There are two different wring harnesses for the license plate lights and either can be used when adding the capability for trailer lights but what you have will determine which Hoppy lighting adapter/connector you will need to purchase. I now knoe more about this subject than I eer really wanted to but I do have trailer lights now. Thanks again to all that contributed.

One last comment. Reese also makes this T-connector. The Reese p/n is 74493. The Reese unit says it is for 95-96 Ford Explorers. The Hoppy T-connector says it is for 96-97 Explorers. Either one should work for a 95-2000 Ford Explorer. The Flat 4 extension harness that comes with the Reese unit requires you to screw in the white ground wire to a location on the vehicle for a ground instead of using the ground from the Explorer's wiring harness at plug connector C-402. Not sure why they did this. On the Hoppy kit, the Flat 4 connector extension harness uses the ground from the C-402 plug, hence I chose to use the Hopkins (Hopppy) adapter. I bought both so if anyone needs one of these T-connectors, I would be more than willing to part with the Reese unit.
 
  #11  
Old 07-18-2009, 01:27 PM
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99 Explorer Sport, same issue. I bought the 4-flat pigtail that plugs into a round connector near the driver's-side tail light, but nothing worked. Have continuity to ground via the white wire, but no juice to any of the other wires at any time (at the round factory connector). I do have fuse #30 (15A park lamp/trailer tow relay) in the passenger compartment, and it's in good shape. I checked big fuse #7 under the hood as mentioned in another post, and not only is the fuse not there, there is nothing to plug it into and the manual says "not used". I have not been able to find any relays for flashers, nor have I found any that were missing.

Any ideas? It sucks living on the Florida coast without the ability to tow a boat!
 

Last edited by glenhunt; 07-18-2009 at 01:43 PM. Reason: forgot one detail
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Old 07-18-2009, 11:41 PM
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Go back and read post #5 real carefully. It should explain the problem.

The relay are probably not there. I had to go out and buy them. They go into a realy box located on the inner fender behind the battery. If memeory serves me right, I had to remove the battery to get at the box.

While doing this project I came across a drawing or diagram that shoed the location of all of the fuse and relay boxes. It may actually have been in the owners manual that I found this. It was very helpful.
 
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Old 07-19-2009, 10:25 AM
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While poking around the battery looking for the second set of relays, it's possible I was more preoccupied with the hood coming down on my head. I'll look again.
 
 
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