New Scamp owner needs help on towing set up

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Last seen: 6 years 4 months ago
Joined: 03/22/2015 - 12:18
New Scamp owner needs help on towing set up

Hello,  I am planning to get a 2013 16 foot next weekend and need some guidance on what to get to tow it. 

We have a Toyota Sienna with a 4 inch receiver. So we need a few things.

1. Is there a type of brake controller you recomennd? 

2. What is the best type of ball and holder to get for this vehicle?

3. Any other basic recomendations? 

Thank you paul

Last seen: 6 years 12 months ago
Joined: 02/15/2015 - 22:22
What you need

Gee, I have never heard of a 4 inch receiver...I suspect you have a 2" receiver, measured across one side of the square.

1.  I recommend the Tekonsha Prodigy P2, or the P3 (which is more complicated to me)

2.  You will probably need a 2" ball mounted on a hitch that will allow a 21" height from the ground to the top of the ball. (check the height of the trailer hitch to get the correct hitch setup and the correct ball size stamped on the trailer hitch.)

3.  I recommend you go to a hitch shop to get the correct setup and brake controller installation. U Haul or any RV sales/maintenance shop are suggestions.

Good luck on you new acquisition, and have good times, safely with a proper setup.

2015 Scamp 16'
Tow Vehicle...2013 Lincoln MKX 3.7L V-6
SW Ohio

Last seen: 7 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 04/26/2015 - 09:01
Setting up a Toyota Sienna for towing

Paul, I have a 2015 Sienna LE and a Scamp 16 on order.

The Sienna needs a number of things to prep it to tow and if none of this has been done, you will have to scramble to get it all finished in a week. In fact just getting the stuff ordered online will take about a week.

  1.  Hitch receiver.  This is actually the easiest thing on this list and it sounds like you have it already.  If not, it bolts on and one can even DIY (even doing it alone although it helps to have two people). It must be torqued properly and torque checked sometime after install.
  2. Ball mount (AKA draw bar).  The top of the 2 inch ball needs to be about 21 inches above the ground to get the trailer level when hooked to the van.  On the Sienna, this requires a draw bar with a rise of about 7-8 inches (which is pretty much the most rise you can get).  The rear of the Sienna will sink and inch or so when the trailer if hooked up so take that into account.  Sometimes it seems that trial and error are the only way to get a trailer level while towing but an adjustable draw bar is a good option too.  BTW, I am pretty sure that with this much rise, the tailgate will not open when the trailer is hooked up because it hits the trailer’s tongue jack.  A longer drawbar might allow the tailgate to open but is not recommended. The jack can be relocated or a removable type can be used instead.
  3. Trailer lights.  The Sienna does NOT have pre-wiring for trailer lights so you need a converter / harness that does not put additional electrical load on the van’s lighting circuit.  These require removing the tail light assemblies (be careful not to crack them during removal) and running a fused power connection to the battery. The harness has a 4 wire trailer connector that the instructions tell you to run over the tailgate weather stripping, but you will be using a 7 pin (see item 5 below). These are for the 2015 non-SE models, be sure and match the harness to your exact vehicle.
  4. Trailer Brake Controller.  This is the most difficult item you need to add, and again, the Sienna is not prewired for one.  IMHO, either the Tekonsha Prodigy P2 or P3 are the no-brainer choices (P3 was my choice).  You need to run another power connection from the battery to the controller, fused or with circuit breaker at the battery. You need to tap into the brake pedal wiring to get a hot signal when the pedal is depressed and you need to run the wiring to the rear of the van (underneath is easier than though the van’s interior). You need to mount the controller where you can reach it while driving and where it does not interfere with air bag deployment. I mounted mine below the little shelf that is below the USB/12VDC receptacles. The wiring from the controller to the battery and to the trailer connection (unless run inside) needs to go through the firewall.
  5. 7 pin trailer connector.  The brake controller hot line, trailer lights, ground and optionally a charge line all come to the 7 pin.  The above referenced harnesses for the trailer lights have a four-way flat so I got a 7 pin receptacle that has a 4 wire flat pigtail where you plug in the 4 wire plug for the trailer’s lights.  I ran the 4 wire flat plug though a gourmet in a pre-existing hole to the van’s underside to the 7 pin and sealed it up well. The other connections have to be made with butt connectors or the like,  and properly sealed.  All wiring must be proper gauge and rating for the environment (esp when in the engine compartment).
  6. A weight distributing hitch (WDH) and / or sway control might be needed.  My guess is they won’t be needed but if they are, then that’s a lot more to talk about.  In older Sienna’s the soft rear suspension was noted and some people add Air-Lift air bags to the springs.  Some argue that air bags don’t help the handling when the trailer’s tongue weight is on the heavy side, whereas a WDH does help (by keeping the front drive wheels down).  Like I said.. WDH, air bags and sway control discussion could fill a book and probably won’t be needed anyway but check you manual.

Now this is just a very brief overview and I left a lot of information out.  I assume you are hiring someone to do all this but if you DIY then I can offer a lot more help and suggestions. There are also a lot of helpful videos on but as far as I know, there is not a single video that covers everthing you need to know for your needs. I doubt that a Toyota dealer will help with any of this - they do not make the parts needed for towing and they do not support after-market parts. A good U-haul dealer or trailer shop should be able to do all this, however, if possible, I would find a guy who has added the trailer lights harness and brake controller on a Sienna specifically.

Another option is to get a vehicle that is built to tow and has all the pre-wiring in place.

vicjen's picture
Last seen: 6 years 9 months ago
Joined: 07/22/2014 - 19:35
brake controller

2002. 16ft Deluxe layout A
2015 Chevy Traverse LT 3.6L

Last seen: 7 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 04/26/2015 - 09:01
Ugg that’s a time delay

Ugg that’s a time delay controller.. you will be MUCH happier (and safer) with proportional controller such as the Prodigy P2 or P3.


From the Tekonsha website:

Time activated controls apply braking power at a fixed rate of time that is NOT proportional to the pressure applied to the brake pedal. They provide voltage output that increases to the gain setting over a period of time. Proportional controls determine the tow vehicle's rate of deceleration and apply the trailer brakes to match. They provide a smooth braking response in any stopping situation, with no need for adjustments.

ManWithaVan's picture
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Lifetime Member
Joined: 11/07/2013 - 21:56
Proportional Brake Controller

I agree with Gordon, Proportional Brake Controllers are the only way to go !!!!

Mine is a Tekonshia P3.

Time delay Controllers are Old, Old, Old technology. Think of it this way, in an emergency, would you wait, and count to three, before you apply your brakes? Of course not, however, that is exactly what a time delay controller does, it waits to apply your trailer brakes.

The Proportional controllers are not so expensive that you wouldn't want to get the best controller available to protect your family. After all, it could, quite literally, save your life some day.

By-the-way, Mustang and Gordon, very good and thorough postings above.


As Always,

Happy Scamping !!!