Need a Break from Getting Brakes

Who thought it would be so hard to get a brake controller installed!  I know NOTHING about hauling, so I’ve been reading up, and I do know I need a brake controller to tow a horse trailer.  For those who don’t know, a brake controller adjusts the brakes on the trailer to be stronger or weaker.  When you first hook up the trailer you adjust how much power goes to the brakes, so that you don’t get dragged behind (too much brakes) or pushed into (too little brakes).  With none, one, or two horses, the brakes will need adjustments, and as your brakes age you will need to adjust how much power goes to the trailer brakes.

My truck is a VW Touareg.  It’s an SUV. Even though it is rated to tow 7700 lbs, it is not a traditional tow vehicle.  I expect my trailer with horses to weigh max ~6000 lbs, which shouldn’t be a problem for the Toureg.  I did a lot of research before picking this vehicle. People pull Air Stream trailers and big boats with this thing.  It’s supposed to be a towing power house even though it’s manageable to drive.  My lifestyle just doesn’t work with a pick-up truck and I couldn’t afford or house two vehicles – one for everyday and one for towing.  The “Treg” as they are affectionally called, seemed like the perfect compromise.  Problem is the VW people know nothing about towing and the trailer people know nothing about VWs.

I look online to see about installing a brake controller in my vehicle.  It turns out that the wiring is difficult to find under the dash and I will need some connectors from the VW dealer to do it.  Even though the place where I bought the trailer said they could install one, I didn’t want to drive 2 hours with a friend and find out they didn’t have all of the parts.

So, the first thing I do is go to a local VW dealer to ask them to prep the car so a trailer place could install the brake controller.  They told me “I don’t need a brake controller b/c the Touareg has been designed not to need one.”  I tried to insist that I did but the mechanic was adamant.  I didn’t believe him but this being my first truck and trailer, he planted a seed of doubt in my head because he was so definitive.

However, after talking some more to friends and looking on a bulletin board on Touareg towing (a great place for information over my head), I am again, correctly, convinced that I need a brake controller.  The next place I went to was a trailer place.  They couldn’t even find the brake controller connector under the dash, so they couldn’t install one.  A friend called around to a bunch of other trailer places and none had ever worked on a Touareg and were just as clueless as the first place.  Going back onto the BB I found a place an hour a way that seemed to know what they were doing with Touaregs, but I really didn’t want to go an hour away, especially since they were saying I would need to leave the truck because they weren’t sure about my year of vehicle and they had only done a few (which in my mind was better than none and I would have gone there if I couldn’t find anywhere else).

Getting desperate, I called another VW dealer.  They guy on the other end of the phone said, “We can’t do that here but I know someone who can!”  Yay!!!!  His friend, not even a half-hour a way, had installed many brake controllers in Porsche Cayennes, which are almost identical to the Touaregs.  I call them up and they say sure, they could do it but I needed to buy the brake controller first because he didn’t have one – he fixes and races Porsches; he’s not a trailer place.  I hang up and look on the Touareg BB to see what kind they like, but just to be on the safe side, I call back up the mechanic and ask him what kind he likes.  He thinks about it a minute and then realizes that he has a very slightly used one that he’s never going to use again and offers it to me at a discount.  It was only used once.  And it’s the exact kind the Touareg BB liked the best.  And he can install it the next day (today).

I drive down there and within 2 hours I have an installed and working brake controller!!!  And I’m planning on picking up the trailer next Saturday.  One less stress out of the way but now it’s getting real that I’ll have to drive this thing.

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