Hitch wiring nightmare - 2017+ Chrysler Pacifica Minivan Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 1
Hitch wiring nightmare

I recently bought a '17 Limited w/31K mi. It is still under factory warranty and it is Chrysler certified. It does not have the factory tow package. I had U-Haul install a hitch and wiring. I pull a newer Aliner camping trailer with the standard 7-way round plug. I have turn signals and brake lights on the trailer, but no running lights. The trailer wiring has been checked 3 times and is O.K. I plugged another trailer in, it did the same thing. The van has been checked 3 times, and the wiring redone twice. With nothing plugged into the van everything works as it should, via a amp tester. As soon as I plug the camping trailer in to the van, the vans voltage reading at the plug drops dramatically, and I lose the running lights- actually they never come on at all. Sometimes I also lose the brake lights and turn signals after driving a while, pulling the trailer, but if I restart the van, I get them back. Camping World spent 2 hours on it, re-did U-Haul's wiring, and told me something is limiting the vans ability to power the trailer lights. I see that the Pacifica tow package includes a heavier duty 220 amp alternator- is it possible that the standard alternator is too small? I am at wits end- U-Haul and Camping World say the vans electrical system is at fault, our local Chrysler dealer is clueless. The van is great otherwise. Please help- I'm losing what little hair I have left!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 08:03 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: PA
Posts: 186
Did you troubleshoot by testing with a different trailer? Maybe try a simple small trailer to confirm there's not an unusual draw on the trailer side. It may not be a problem with the van... You can probably just pull up to the small trailers at tractor supply, etc. and plug in the harness to test - or spend $25 at harbor freight and buy LED trailer lights to plug in to confirm the issue.

It sounds like you may be grasping at straws and here's a straw - use all LED lights on that circuit (all running lights on van & trailer) if you suspect a large load. Those will draw less power than incandescents, last longer and illuminate faster. Any alternator from the last 70 years should power a few additional running lights so don't worry about not having the high output alternator. There are a couple threads on installing LEDs if you'd like to try...hopefully your new trailer is already outfitted with LEDs being new...

It may be helpful to read through the wiring diagram shop manual ($95 to buy) or subscribe for a period of time to understand more of what's going on with that circuit - there's a shop manual thread with the details.

PSA for others - if you know you'll be doing towing, do yourself a favor and get the van with the tow package. There's enough capability and convenience included to make it worth your while (pre-wired for brake controller, sway control braking, beefy hitch, electrical is all done, larger radiator)

I'm a big DIYer, so I applaud the effort to customize one's vehicle, especially for practical reasons - best of luck

2018 TL+ Jazz Blue / "S" Appearance / Advanced Safety Tech / 8-seat / Towing / 18" stock winter wheels / 20 Speaker HK / spare tire / splash guards / keysense. Ordered 4/6/18, built 4/13/18, Upfit complete 4/25/18, Arrival ETA available on 4/30 (5/5-5/15), unloaded from train in Jessup, MD 5/6, trucked to dealer 5/16
Mods: 19" MSW Type 48 Black wheels w/wider 255 tires, LED conversion, Husky Xact Floormats, Ceramic Tint, aukey DS02 dashcam
Next up: Shop manual

Last edited by twig2121; 07-06-2019 at 08:13 AM.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 11:13 AM
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Join Date: May 2018
Location: SW Florida On Caloosahatchee river (ICWW)
Posts: 21
I have a Curt class 3 hitch and Curt light kit I installed on my 17 Pac, but have yet to use it. I noted when we installed it, this kit is powered by its own power wire and fuse directly to the battery so it uses the car light wires only to comand it, not carry the load. I just tested it naked with a test lite and no trailer, which was OK. Have I stumbled into something here?

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 04:38 PM
Join Date: May 2017
Location: WI
Posts: 88
1. Remove all of the trailer's running lights, then plug the van in and check that it's lights all work correctly.
2. Replace any of the trailers incandescent bulbs with LEDs and reinstall them one at a time, still observing that the van's lights are working.
If this doesn't do enough, then:
3. Replace any of the van's running lights with LEDs.

Or; wire a relay in to the "running light" wire, to switch 12V DC to power the trailer lights.

This is ASSuming that someone who really knows what they are doing has installed the plug correctly on the van. If the Pacifica really has a problem running a "normal" amount of trailer lights, we'd probably have heard about it by now.

17 Pacifica Touring L

Previous vans:
08 T&C Touring
00 T&C 3.8
95 GV 3.3
89 Caravan 3.0
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 10:18 AM
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The idea that it might be the trailer is an interesting one. I would rule that out first. I also installed my own 7 way plug but here is what I did. I first installed a 4 way adapter with a power module directly connected to the battery. I then installed a 7 way plug with its own direct connection to the battery. So there are two connections directly to the battery, one runs the lights, the other runs the power wire on the 7 way adapter for the brakes. I recently just towed 1400 miles with this setup and never had an issue.

Based on your description my guess is you are pulling too much current based on the way its wired and that is causing the issue. Wires are not thick enough gauge as an example. Or its not enough power for the lights, and the other power draw devices on the trailer.

IN summary
- you need a dedicated connection to the battery just for the lights. E-trailer sells these kits with a separate power module.
- You then need a separate 7 way plug kit with its own connection to the battery. The 4 way plug would then plug into this 7 way plug providing the light controls.

2018 Pacifica Touring plus

Last edited by mattlreese; 07-09-2019 at 10:26 AM.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 01:19 PM
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Posts: 148
You want to install this kit for the 4 pole connector. There is a video that walks you through the whole process.

The 7 way is a little more complicated as you are only going to wire the 12V power wire to the battery and the ground wire to the car chassis. I then went with a wireless brake controller. Here is a kit.

2018 Pacifica Touring plus
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