TV Has Fried Electrical System

Nani2

Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
334
Tennessee
We were camping last month and a few minutes after we left the campground, our windshield started smoking big time. A warning came on about Stop and we googled and the stop fuse was blown. We replaced the mini 10A and drove 100 miles home. The lane departure alert, the pre collision, and brake system lights came on as we drove home. I searched and saw service bulletins for these and we took it into the dealer to have repaired.
Imagine my shock when they called and said it was not these but that the trailering harness??? had an electric short and had fried the electrical system and it would be nearly $4,000 plus tax to repair.
We are doubtful that this could happen after we have towed for three years. The vehicle has 26,000 miles. Wouldn't it have fried three years ago rather than now or was it just waiting for the warranty to end?!?!?
We had it repaired but are going to get rid of it. My husband wants to buy something where we do not have to install the brake controller or hitch aftermarket so this doesn't happen again. I totally trust the rv place that installed them and feel Toyota is shifting blame. But--what new vehicles are good and come ready to hitch up and go?
And I'm doomed for Fort Pickens. Last month it was flooded and we lost our week; this month I guess we'll be cancelling because no tow vehicle.
I HATE car shopping. What should we look at?
 
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WrkrBee

Super Active Member
May 23, 2018
6,545
South Carolina
Imagine my shock when they called and said it was not these but that the trailering harness??? had an electric short and had fried the electrical system and it would be nearly $4,000 plus tax to repair.
We are doubtful that this could happen after we have towed for three years. The vehicle has 26,000 miles. Wouldn't it have fried three years ago rather than now or was it just waiting for the warranty to end?!?!?
Did they show you where the short was or show you the wiring harness? Harnesses that run through firewalls, frame holes, brackets, over supports, etc. can chaff and wear over time. Wiring needs to be protected at those places by grommets, looms, or wraps.
 
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eoleson1

Super Active Member
Jul 5, 2011
3,613
Macomb County Michigan
It could have been the trailer harness, but dealerships have been known to immediately blame electrical faults on anything aftermarket. Like WrkrBee, I wonder if they showed you any evidence.

Anyhow, you ask what vehicles come plug and play for towing. Many, but not all of the larger SUVs and trucks that have a towing package will include everything you need (brake controller, charge wire, etc.). I know the Dodge Durango, the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the new Jeep Wagoneer all do. So do all the Ram trucks. I imagine all of the full size Ford and GM trucks do as well. The Ranger does not come with a brake controller, but it's prewired for one.

When you start shopping, don't take the salesperson's word for anything related to towing. Do your own research, or come here and ask. Good luck.
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,383
Northern Virginia
It could have been the trailer harness, but dealerships have been known to immediately blame electrical faults on anything aftermarket.
So darn true! My old Ford station wagon, yes I know ancient, had a electrical glitch where the headlights would occasionally turn on when I flip the switch but not always. Stupid dealer blamed it on something totally unrelated and apparently never bothered taking the dash off. Until a few months later a fire happened directly behind the dashboard while I was driving home from work. Turned out there was a short in the headlights switch and said short ended up starting a localized fire. Scary to see flames coming out of the AC vent. Thankfully because they didn’t have crazy expensive computers in cars back then the damage was fairly localized. Of course that car was a POS from the start. It spent more time at the shop than on the road. It was also our tow vehicle back then and we knew we were pushing the limits, but not even 100k on the dash and both the transmission and engine die and we ended up towing the car to the junkyard. I trust dealers only so much. There are times I think they purposely find something expensive wrong even though it’s BS so you can buy a new car and they can sell your old car double win for them.
 

etm63

Member
Jun 30, 2021
10
Charlotte, NC
You should be able to completely short out the trailer harness without causing $4000 in damage. That is what fuses are for.
The New Ford Maverick looks pretty good.

This...
Auto electrical systems are extensively fused for exactly these types of reasons. I would assume the most that could happen if you had a short with your trailer harness would be a blown fuse on the TV. IMO, the dealer is trying to bend you over. Obviously, you have an issue but I'd definitely get a second opinion...
 

Nani2

Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
334
Tennessee
Did they show you where the short was or show you the wiring harness? Harnesses that run through firewalls, frame holes, brackets, over supports, etc. can chaff and wear over time. Wiring needs to be protected at those places by grommets, looms, or wraps.
No, we did not see it. We had dropped off vehicle the night before and when they called they said we could come in and they could show us. We would not have had a clue from looking what they were talking about so we didn't go.
 

Nani2

Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
334
Tennessee
It could have been the trailer harness, but dealerships have been known to immediately blame electrical faults on anything aftermarket. Like WrkrBee, I wonder if they showed you any evidence.

Anyhow, you ask what vehicles come plug and play for towing. Many, but not all of the larger SUVs and trucks that have a towing package will include everything you need (brake controller, charge wire, etc.). I know the Dodge Durango, the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the new Jeep Wagoneer all do. So do all the Ram trucks. I imagine all of the full size Ford and GM trucks do as well. The Ranger does not come with a brake controller, but it's prewired for one.

When you start shopping, don't take the salesperson's word for anything related to towing. Do your own research, or come here and ask. Good luck.
This is great information!! Thank you.
 

Nani2

Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
334
Tennessee
You should be able to completely short out the trailer harness without causing $4000 in damage. That is what fuses are for.
The New Ford Maverick looks pretty good.
We thought the bill was ridiculous, especially for what seemed to be a service bulletin. I'll look into the Ford Maverick. Wasn't that a car in the late 70s? I thought a friend had one and now Foreigner is in my head because she always had it on!!!
 

1380ken

Super Active Member
Nov 7, 2013
2,845
Mass
Toyota had issues with soy based wiring and mice eating the wiring harness. I think there is a class action suite.
 

Nani2

Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
334
Tennessee
So darn true! My old Ford station wagon, yes I know ancient, had a electrical glitch where the headlights would occasionally turn on when I flip the switch but not always. Stupid dealer blamed it on something totally unrelated and apparently never bothered taking the dash off. Until a few months later a fire happened directly behind the dashboard while I was driving home from work. Turned out there was a short in the headlights switch and said short ended up starting a localized fire. Scary to see flames coming out of the AC vent. Thankfully because they didn’t have crazy expensive computers in cars back then the damage was fairly localized. Of course that car was a POS from the start. It spent more time at the shop than on the road. It was also our tow vehicle back then and we knew we were pushing the limits, but not even 100k on the dash and both the transmission and engine die and we ended up towing the car to the junkyard. I trust dealers only so much. There are times I think they purposely find something expensive wrong even though it’s BS so you can buy a new car and they can sell your old car double win for them.
We have had weird things with our Highlander that now we wonder if could be related. The key fob makes the noise when you push to unlock, but the doors stay locked. The lights do not come on when you open the door. The hatch starts to go up but stops after raising about 4-6 inches. We should have taken the car in long ago, but life is too busy.
 

Nani2

Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
334
Tennessee
This...
Auto electrical systems are extensively fused for exactly these types of reasons. I would assume the most that could happen if you had a short with your trailer harness would be a blown fuse on the TV. IMO, the dealer is trying to bend you over. Obviously, you have an issue but I'd definitely get a second opinion...
We thought about taking it somewhere else to get another opinion, but as we drove it to the dealer, more warnings were popping up. One said, pull over in a safe spot. We felt best to leave it there. We are relatively new to this city and do not know what dealers are honest.
 

Snow

Super Active Member
Jul 19, 2007
11,899
Ontario
To be completely honest, I would never buy a vehicle a I was planning to tow with, that did not have a factory tow package.. If the manufacture doesn't offer one on new builds, there is a reason..
 

Nani2

Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
334
Tennessee
To be completely honest, I would never buy a vehicle a I was planning to tow with, that did not have a factory tow package.. If the manufacture doesn't offer one on new builds, there is a reason..
Our Highlander has the factory tow package, but it does not include brake controller or hitch.
 

Nani2

Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
334
Tennessee
Our 2013 Ford Expedition has the factory tow package with brake controller. It has worked well with the Aliner and the Sonic.
I like those but not the sticker shock. Pricey
We drive my Toyota Sienna pretty much everywhere we go. His Highlander sits in garage until we camp. So it's hard to justify that price for a weekend or two a month and an occasional week. We could probably get a class c for that amount but i love my popup.
 




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