[Quick guide] To Tow pkg, or to not Tow pkg, that is the question

RagnarKon

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I posted this guide on another forum, and it seemed to help folks, so might as well post it here as well.

As most of you know, the tow package is one of those heavily constrained items that is holding up a lot of Bronco builds. I don't have any insider information, but I personally expect this to become THE deciding factor on whether most people get a build in the not so distant future. Especially as the MIC hard top supply situation improves throughout this year. Keep in mind this post is designed to be high-level, so I glossed over a lot of the nitty-gritty details. But definitely don't mind diving into those details if there is interest.

The benefit of the tow package on the Bronco is the 7-pin connector, compatibility with a trailer brake controller, and some additional integrations with the Bronco's safety systems (BLIS, sway control, etc.). Of those, the biggest benefit is the trailer brake controller compatibility. Note the trailer brake controller itself does not come with the Bronco's tow package, but it’s easy to add one on if you get the tow package. You still have to take apart and drill a hole into center console for the gain knob to install it (if you follow Ford's instructions), but it’s relatively easy. Therefore, if you have no intention on ever installing a trailer brake controller, I would absolutely drop the tow package and get the following:
You can either install them yourself or have your dealer do it. And if you pay for it with your FordPass points it becomes cheaper than the tow package. You may even be able to have your dealer wave the installation fee—they also have a vested interest in getting your Bronco built and sold to you.

Edit — Apr 28th, 2022 — The instructions to install the hitch and the wiring harness are now attached to this post, if you want to review the process for yourself.

---

Now you may be asking to yourself… do I need a trailer brake controller?

That depends on many factors. In most states, you do not need trailer brakes until you tow above 3000 lbs. The Bronco’s max tow rating is 3500 lbs, but if you load the Bronco itself up with additional gear, that tow rating drops to around 3000-3100 lbs. So while the answer is, ”it depends”, I can make generalizations….
  • If you are towing a marine trailer for a boat, jet skis, etc. the answer is NO. Marine trailers almost always have passive surge brakes that do not require a brake controller.
  • If you are towing a utility trailer, the answer is NO. The vast majority of utility trailers small enough for the Bronco to tow will either have no brakes or surge brakes.
  • If you are towing a pop-up camper, teardrop trailer, or other small camper, the answer is PROBABLY NOT. You can buy these trailers with electric brakes, but it is often an optional upgrade and not a standard feature. Whether you’d want electric brakes or not is up to you (see the next bullet).
  • If you are towing an overlanding or off-roading trailer, the answer is PROBABLY YES. Most expedition trailers will come with electric brakes. If you are doing more extreme off-roading with a trailer, having electric brakes helps dramatically when trying to control your vehicle. That said, if you aren’t doing extreme off-roading with your trailer and will be driving on decently maintained forest service roads or camp ground roads, electric brakes don’t really help you that much.


And finally… the states where trailer brakes are required under 3000 lbs (to the best of my knowledge):
  • California
  • Idaho*
  • Nevada
  • New York*
  • North Carolina
  • Mississippi
* Both New York and Idaho require trailer brakes on all trailers above 3000 pounds. They also require trailer brakes if the trailer itself weighs above 1000 lbs (for NY) or 1500 pounds (for ID) unladen (unloaded).

Apologies to our Canadian friends up north, not super familiar with the trailer brake laws up there. Only have a rough idea what is required in Quebec (1300 kg) and Ontario (1360kg) , the rest is a mystery to me. EDIT— Did some research last night and about half of the Canadian providences mimic US law, the other half do their own thing. I would still do your own research just in case I'm completely misinterpreting Canadian law... BUT... It seems most Canadian providences require trailer brake controllers on trailers over 1360kg (~3000lbs) except the following:
  • Northwest Territories (required regardless of weight)
  • Alberta
  • Manitoba
  • Yukon
  • Quebec
That’s it. Hope that was helpful.
 

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SuperMike

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I found this post very interesting and helpful -- thank you. Given the low towing capacity of the Bronco, I really don't see myself needing electronic trailer brakes. The most I'll be towing is a lightweight kayak trailer or a 12-14ft utility trailer. There's a slight change I may soon need to pull a 2-horse bumper-pull trailer, but I can do that with our Explorer (v6 ecoboost), which has a 5000-6000lb capacity.

EDITING because I saw the photo on the Ford site and it does mostly appear to be the same.
 

SuperMike

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ALSO -- Heads up for anyone considering this -- I just saw this on Ford's website when I clicked the links above:

15% OFF & FREE SHIPPING
ON PURCHASES OF ACCESSORY ORDERS OF UP TO $1,000*. OFFER VALID FROM 1/28/22 TO 1/30/22.

FOR REGISTERED CUSTOMERS. ENTER PROMO CODE FORD15 AT CHECKOUT.
15% OFF LIMITED ONE-TIME OFFER. ACCESSORIES ONLY. EXCLUDES INSTALLATION.

*15% OFF OFFER VALID FOR ONE-TIME ONLY ONLINE PURCHASE OF ACCESSORIES FROM ACCESSORIES.FORD.COM ONLY. MUST BE REGISTERED AT TIME OF PURCHASE TO RECEIVE 15% DEDUCTION AT CHECKOUT. THE DEDUCTION APPLIES TO PURCHASE OF UP TO $1,000. MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF DEDUCTION AT TIME OF CHECKOUT IS $150. FREE SHIPPING APPLIES TO STANDARD SHIPPING ONLY FOR DESTINATIONS WITHIN THE UNITED STATES. ACCESSORIES.FORD.COM RESERVES THE RIGHT TO CHANGE PROGRAM DETAILS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT OBLIGATIONS. OFFER VALID FROM 1/28/22 TO 1/30/22.
 

tourproto

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After reading this I called my dealer and had my tow package removed. I immediately was given a build week of 3/21/2022.
I kept my tow package, have a 4dr manual BL with MIC top on order and I have a build week of 3/14/22.

I was also a res date of 7/14 and order date of 11/12/21
 

Big Pony

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I posted this guide on another forum, and it seemed to help folks, so might as well post it here as well.

As most of you know, the tow package is one of those heavily constrained items that is holding up a lot of Bronco builds. I don't have any insider information, but I personally expect this to become THE deciding factor on whether most people get a build in the not so distant future. Especially as the MIC hard top supply situation improves throughout this year. Keep in mind this post is designed to be high-level, so I glossed over a lot of the nitty-gritty details. But definitely don't mind diving into those details if there is interest.

The benefit of the tow package on the Bronco is the 7-pin connector, compatibility with a trailer brake controller, and some additional integrations with the Bronco's safety systems (BLIS, sway control, etc.). Of those, the biggest benefit is the trailer brake controller compatibility. Note the trailer brake controller itself does not come with the Bronco's tow package, but it’s easy to add one on if you get the tow package. You still have to take apart and drill a hole into center console for the gain knob to install it (if you follow Ford's instructions), but it’s relatively easy. Therefore, if you have no intention on ever installing a trailer brake controller, I would absolutely drop the tow package and get the following:
You can either install them yourself or have your dealer do it. And if you pay for it with your FordPass points it becomes cheaper than the tow package. You may even be able to have your dealer wave the installation fee—they also have a vested interest in getting your Bronco built and sold to you.

---

Now you may be asking to yourself… do I need a trailer brake controller?

That depends on many factors. In most states, you do not need trailer brakes until you tow above 3000 lbs. The Bronco’s max tow rating is 3500 lbs, but if you load the Bronco itself up with additional gear, that tow rating drops to around 3000-3100 lbs. So while the answer is, ”it depends”, I can make generalizations….
  • If you are towing a marine trailer for a boat, jet skis, etc. the answer is NO. Marine trailers almost always have passive surge brakes that do not require a brake controller.
  • If you are towing a utility trailer, the answer is NO. The vast majority of utility trailers small enough for the Bronco to tow will either have no brakes or surge brakes.
  • If you are towing a pop-up camper, teardrop trailer, or other small camper, the answer is PROBABLY NOT. You can buy these trailers with electric brakes, but it is often an optional upgrade and not a standard feature. Whether you’d want electric brakes or not is up to you (see the next bullet).
  • If you are towing an overlanding or off-roading trailer, the answer is PROBABLY YES. Most expedition trailers will come with electric brakes. If you are doing more extreme off-roading with a trailer, having electric brakes helps dramatically when trying to control your vehicle. That said, if you aren’t doing extreme off-roading with your trailer and will be driving on decently maintained forest service roads or camp ground roads, electric brakes don’t really help you that much.


And finally… the states where trailer brakes are required under 3000 lbs (to the best of my knowledge):
  • California
  • Idaho*
  • Nevada
  • New York*
  • North Carolina
  • Mississippi
* Both New York and Idaho require trailer brakes on all trailers above 3000 pounds. They also require trailer brakes if the trailer itself weighs above 1000 lbs (for NY) or 1500 pounds (for ID) unladen (unloaded).

Apologies to our Canadian friends up north, not super familiar with the trailer brake laws up there. Only have a rough idea what is required in Quebec (1300 kg) and Ontario (1360kg) , the rest is a mystery to me. EDIT— Did some research last night and about half of the Canadian providences mimic US law, the other half do their own thing. I would still do your own research just in case I'm completely misinterpreting Canadian law... BUT... It seems most Canadian providences require trailer brake controllers on trailers over 1360kg (~3000lbs) except the following:
  • Northwest Territories (required regardless of weight)
  • Alberta
  • Manitoba
  • Yukon
  • Quebec
That’s it. Hope that was helpful.
Definitely very useful information. I decided to drop my tow package because of this. Very thorough. Appreciate you digging deep for the rest of us
 
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seth

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This guide perfectly answers my questions as to whether I really needed it or not. I previously told my dealer to remove the package if it was constrained and they recommended not to bother, but now I'm convinced I just don't need it for now, either way.

I’m a 4 door Black Diamond. MIC Top. ordered 12/2/21
Rad. That's what I'm waiting on. Curiosity: When was your reservation?
 
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RagnarKon

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Definitely very useful information. I decided to drop my tow package because of this. Very thorough. Appreciate you digging deep for the rest of us
This guide perfectly answers my questions as to whether I really needed it or not. I previously told my dealer to remove the package if it was constrained and they recommended not to bother, but now I'm convinced I just don't need it for now, either way.
May the Ford scheduling gods schedule in your favor for the both of you.

Glad it was helpful. I'm stuck with the tow package (dang New York laws), so I don't really have a choice. But I kept hearing people who had the tow package on their order to tow their fishing boat or even something simple like a hitch-mounted bike rack. To those people... go try to save yourselves from this hellish wait!!
 

Big Pony

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Definitely very useful information. I decided to drop my tow package because of this. Very thorough. Appreciate you digging deep for the rest of us
This guide perfectly answers my questions as to whether I really needed it or not. I previously told my dealer to remove the package if it was constrained and they recommended not to bother, but now I'm convinced I just don't need it for now, either way.
May the Ford scheduling gods schedule in your favor for the both of you.

Glad it was helpful. I'm stuck with the tow package (dang New York laws), so I don't really have a choice. But I kept hearing people who had the tow package on their order to tow their fishing boat or even something simple like a hitch-mounted bike rack. To those people... go try to save yourselves from this hellish wait!!
You ain’t kidding! I might as well get the Raptor now lol. Seems like it might get delivered BEFORE my Wildtrak! ‍♂
 

6GENBRONCOFAN

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I dropped my tow package back in December and received a build date of 3/7. I have purchased the add on Hitch and 4 pin harness from Ford. I really thought long and hard about what I will need to tow and what I really bought this vehicle for. Other than a small utility trailer or an accessory basket for the back for the beach, I don't see me towing anything, plus I have a F-150 for towing anything of significant weight. It's really a personal decision.
 

jd-ford-hd

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"I use this plug & play brake controller on several vehicles I have. Works great, no wiring needed and can be easily used with different vehicles. Wireless brake controller"

This is a great option for those of us who got the tow package on our Bronco. This wireless controller does require the 7 pin connector that is properly wired with a 12 volt circuit as well as all lighting circuits. A little more challenging for the DIY'er to add.! Ford recommends a maximum trailer weight of 1500lbs, unless it has brakes.
F0D281D5-9A82-438C-8AF9-6E26E6B6E008.jpeg
 
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RagnarKon

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This is a great option for those of us who got the tow package on our Bronco. This wireless controller does require the 7 pin connector that is properly wired with a 12 volt circuit as well as all lighting circuits. A little more challenging for the DIY'er to add.! Ford recommends a maximum trailer weight of 1500lbs, unless it has brakes. View attachment 27365
Yeah I always found it odd that Ford recommends 1500 lbs--which most of their vehicles can tow--but then they don't include a trailer brake controller on their vehicles as a standard option until they get to up to the SuperDuty. I guess that's not surprising on the Bronco, as the Bronco is obviously not really a towing vehicle. But even the Ford Ranger, which has a 7500 lbs towing capacity, doesn't include a brake controller.

My guess is Ford is relying on the fact that most smaller trailers will have passive surge brakes since trailer companies want to be able to sell these trailers to customers in all 50 states, as well as customers who are towing with the family crossover/SUV (which usually have zero towing features). Although... that still doesn't explain why the Ranger doesn't have a trailer brake controller when you order the Ranger's tow package... but whatever.
 

AuerGang

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I posted this guide on another forum, and it seemed to help folks, so might as well post it here as well.

As most of you know, the tow package is one of those heavily constrained items that is holding up a lot of Bronco builds. I don't have any insider information, but I personally expect this to become THE deciding factor on whether most people get a build in the not so distant future. Especially as the MIC hard top supply situation improves throughout this year. Keep in mind this post is designed to be high-level, so I glossed over a lot of the nitty-gritty details. But definitely don't mind diving into those details if there is interest.

The benefit of the tow package on the Bronco is the 7-pin connector, compatibility with a trailer brake controller, and some additional integrations with the Bronco's safety systems (BLIS, sway control, etc.). Of those, the biggest benefit is the trailer brake controller compatibility. Note the trailer brake controller itself does not come with the Bronco's tow package, but it’s easy to add one on if you get the tow package. You still have to take apart and drill a hole into center console for the gain knob to install it (if you follow Ford's instructions), but it’s relatively easy. Therefore, if you have no intention on ever installing a trailer brake controller, I would absolutely drop the tow package and get the following:
You can either install them yourself or have your dealer do it. And if you pay for it with your FordPass points it becomes cheaper than the tow package. You may even be able to have your dealer wave the installation fee—they also have a vested interest in getting your Bronco built and sold to you.

---

Now you may be asking to yourself… do I need a trailer brake controller?

That depends on many factors. In most states, you do not need trailer brakes until you tow above 3000 lbs. The Bronco’s max tow rating is 3500 lbs, but if you load the Bronco itself up with additional gear, that tow rating drops to around 3000-3100 lbs. So while the answer is, ”it depends”, I can make generalizations….
  • If you are towing a marine trailer for a boat, jet skis, etc. the answer is NO. Marine trailers almost always have passive surge brakes that do not require a brake controller.
  • If you are towing a utility trailer, the answer is NO. The vast majority of utility trailers small enough for the Bronco to tow will either have no brakes or surge brakes.
  • If you are towing a pop-up camper, teardrop trailer, or other small camper, the answer is PROBABLY NOT. You can buy these trailers with electric brakes, but it is often an optional upgrade and not a standard feature. Whether you’d want electric brakes or not is up to you (see the next bullet).
  • If you are towing an overlanding or off-roading trailer, the answer is PROBABLY YES. Most expedition trailers will come with electric brakes. If you are doing more extreme off-roading with a trailer, having electric brakes helps dramatically when trying to control your vehicle. That said, if you aren’t doing extreme off-roading with your trailer and will be driving on decently maintained forest service roads or camp ground roads, electric brakes don’t really help you that much.


And finally… the states where trailer brakes are required under 3000 lbs (to the best of my knowledge):
  • California
  • Idaho*
  • Nevada
  • New York*
  • North Carolina
  • Mississippi
* Both New York and Idaho require trailer brakes on all trailers above 3000 pounds. They also require trailer brakes if the trailer itself weighs above 1000 lbs (for NY) or 1500 pounds (for ID) unladen (unloaded).

Apologies to our Canadian friends up north, not super familiar with the trailer brake laws up there. Only have a rough idea what is required in Quebec (1300 kg) and Ontario (1360kg) , the rest is a mystery to me. EDIT— Did some research last night and about half of the Canadian providences mimic US law, the other half do their own thing. I would still do your own research just in case I'm completely misinterpreting Canadian law... BUT... It seems most Canadian providences require trailer brake controllers on trailers over 1360kg (~3000lbs) except the following:
  • Northwest Territories (required regardless of weight)
  • Alberta
  • Manitoba
  • Yukon
  • Quebec
That’s it. Hope that was helpful.
I'm not deleting anything to get my Bronco sooner. I'll wait to get what I want.
 

RagnarKon

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I'm not deleting anything to get my Bronco sooner. I'll wait to get what I want.
Yeah I'm with you (and @ChetC). Why I personally have not switched off the MIC hard top.

But in this case it ultimately depends what people need to tow. If they are getting the tow package to pull their fishing boat to the lake... no point in waiting.
 
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