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Author Topic:   Lexus RX 300 Trailer Lights Wiring
gbcbu posted 03-01-2007 05:16 PM ET (US)   Profile for gbcbu   Send Email to gbcbu  
Tried the "search" tool and found no similar topic. I'm having the local UHAUL company install a hitch for towing my 170 Montauk to a 2002 Lexus RX 300. The manager at UHAUL tells me UHAUL will not do the wiring. Has anyone had the same experience? I'm trying to avoid going to the Lexus dealer because it's very inconvenient.
jimh posted 03-01-2007 08:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Usually you can find a plug-in adapter and converter which taps into the wiring in the vehicle's trunk and tail lights. U-Haul normally sells these.

Your car probably has separate brake lamps and turn lamps, so you will need a converter to operate the trailer, which has common brake lamps and turn lamps.

It seems odd that U-Haul does not have the proper adapter. Maybe they have the part but decline to install it because they do not want to be responsible when the electrical system on your expensive car goes up in smoke.

Yiddil posted 03-01-2007 08:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Yiddil  Send Email to Yiddil     
I had similar issues witha 2000GX LEXUS..great truck but they didnt make a hitch, or wiring harness for her at Lexus...went to trick trucks because most wont cut into wiring to put in adapter...afraid to mess up your wiring and or void Lexus's Extended warrenty...Trick trucks or a custom shop can get it done...works great with a non standard (Lexus doesn't make a hitch for that year truck) and worked out real nice...
the_FishMaster posted 03-01-2007 11:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for the_FishMaster  Send Email to the_FishMaster     
U-Haul put a hitch on our 2000 RX300. They did everything with no problems. Maybe you should go to another U-Haul location.
gbcbu posted 03-02-2007 07:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for gbcbu  Send Email to gbcbu     
Taking the advice of the fishmaster I called a second U-Haul dealer and they said they would not do it. His comment was "they (Lexus) act funny". Still looking to avoid the dealer.
gbcbu posted 03-02-2007 08:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for gbcbu  Send Email to gbcbu     
Just called a local Lexus Dealer and was informed the "part" needed for the wiring would cost $200 plus a labor charge. RIP-OFF!!! Any alternative plan? Thanks
jimh posted 03-02-2007 08:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Perhaps part of the problem with the Lexus wiring is the lighting circuit has no reserve current capacity. If you parallel the trailer lighting with the vehicle lighting you may end up drawing too much current. This may damage something in the vehicle. It sounds like the U-Haul dealers have been down this road before, and that is why they are refusing to go there again. It probably cost them money or an angry customer.

There are adapter available, I believe, which use a separate current lead wired right to the battery or another stiff current source in the vehicle (like the cigar lighter circuit) to supply the trailer lighting current. They then tap into the vehicle lighting circuits just to sense what lights are on. The do not draw any extra current on the vehicle's lighting circuit. This avoids blowing up some expensive module or burning up a wire buried in a harness.

I suggest you locate a trailer sales or rental place that has a good electrician working there--not just a high school kid-- who knows how to do a proper install. Or, visit the Lexus dealer.

jimh posted 03-02-2007 08:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Perhaps part of the problem with the Lexus wiring is the lighting circuit has no reserve current capacity. If you parallel the trailer lighting with the vehicle lighting you may end up drawing too much current. This may damage something in the vehicle. It sounds like the U-Haul dealers have been down this road before, and that is why they are refusing to go there again. It probably cost them money or an angry customer.

There are adapters available, I believe, which use a separate current lead wired right to the battery or another stiff current source in the vehicle (like the cigar lighter circuit) to supply the trailer lighting current. They then tap into the vehicle lighting circuits just to sense what lights are on. The do not draw any extra current from the vehicle's lighting circuit. This avoids blowing up some expensive module or burning up a wire buried in a harness.

I suggest you locate a trailer sales or rental place that has a good electrician working there--not just a high school kid-- who knows how to do a proper install. Or, visit the Lexus dealer.

Wasatch Whaler posted 03-02-2007 10:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for Wasatch Whaler  Send Email to Wasatch Whaler     
I think to wire trailer lighting on a Toyota one must buy an adapter from Toyota to make the trailer lights work properly. Since some of the Lexus and Toyota models are similar, I wonder if that same adapter would work on a Lexus?

I really don't know if I am on the right track, it's just a thought...

Jay

MyOutrage posted 03-02-2007 12:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for MyOutrage  Send Email to MyOutrage     
Perhaps this link will help

http://www.etrailer.com/c-ELEE.htm

Sounds like you need to avoid the "sensitive electronics" in a Lexus and wire directly to the battery.

gbcbu posted 03-02-2007 01:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for gbcbu  Send Email to gbcbu     
My Outrage...That's the best site for both the hitch and the wiring...Can't thank you enough. Hope this is archived for those who come "later". Again, thanks.
SpinalTap posted 03-02-2007 05:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for SpinalTap  Send Email to SpinalTap     
I just put a hitch on my in-laws Lexus RX300. I used the 13 dollar adapter from E-trailer 18245. I wanna say if I remember right, his RX300 did not have the towing package which would then make you think you had to hard wire it. After digging online, I found where to look for the access point to the wiring harness and low and behold the non-towpackage equipped car had a place for it to plug in. Makes me think they wire them all the same for simplicity and then mug you when you go to the dealer to get it added.

Anyhow, it is worth a look. I make no warranties if this passes all the voltage and load specs or if there are other reasons one should or should not do this.

Under the car on the back left side there is a black plastic cover that is held on by about 4 screws. Looks like a protective cover of sorts. Remove and look for the wiring harness plug-in.

jimh posted 03-02-2007 08:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
quote:
Hope this is archived for those who come "later". Again, thanks.

The archives of CONTINUOUSWAVE go back to 1994. Thirteen years is just about back to "the big bang" of the internet era.

But most people will not search on CONTINUOUSWAVE for information about Lexus trailer lighting. People search on CONTINUOUSWAVE for information about classic Boston Whaler boats.

bms1939 posted 03-02-2007 10:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for bms1939  Send Email to bms1939     
You buy an over priced Lexus SUV and are worried about spending a few hundred bucks to tow your over priced Whaler? I would'nt put a Uhaul hitch on a Kia. Go to a trailer dealer and put on a Reese or some other quality hitch, they will know how to wire it too. Every vehicle that comes into the dealership with a Uhaul hitch is all rusted, we have to remove them and toss them in the scrap pile. If you cant afford a quality hitch for your Lexus you should consider a Toyota and a Carolina Skiff.
Mr C posted 03-03-2007 10:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Mr C  Send Email to Mr C     
I installed a Draw Tite class 2 hitch and T-One connector (very simple plug in device)on my 2001 Rx300 five years ago. Towing my Montauk is an absolutle a breeze. Most of my towing is within five miles of my home (Long Beach, Ca.) but I have towed to Lake Mojave, AZ. and 600 miles into Baja. This June '07 we will tow down to the East Cape.

I don't have the part number for the T-One but will offer it up when I get home this afternoon. I went on the Draw Tite web site this morning and could not find the application for the RX300. I do remember the package sharing an application with one fom the Toyota family, probably the Highlander.

Dave

A2J15Sport posted 03-03-2007 11:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for A2J15Sport  Send Email to A2J15Sport     
Jimh had a point, earlier in the discussion.

The Lexus, like many others, may have on-board systems that detect light outages, etc. Those systems are very sensative and will not tolerate additional electrical loads.

I have seen disasters created by tapping into these systems. Obviously, Lexus knows that some people may want to tow with those vehicles, so they engineered an optional circuit.

$200.00 seems like a bargain to protect a multi thousand dollar electrical system.

Want to drive an expensive, sophisticated vehicle? You have to pay the piper, when you want to modify it.

Mr C posted 03-03-2007 12:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mr C  Send Email to Mr C     
Dang fellas let's not make this tougher then it has to be. Draw Tite offers what they call an OEM Harness. Their part number is 118245. It a very simple harness that plugged directly into an existing plug on my 2001 RX300. They say the part fits 2001-2003 RX300, Highlander etc. I searched the part and I've seen it retail for $13.50. You can search www.draw-tite.com (factory web site) products, electrical, repl. OEM Harness.

Hopkins Manufacturing (Hoppy) has been making these connectors for years. Draw Tite and others were buying from Hoppy and repacking them under their own labels. They have dozens of applications for both domestic and import cars, trucks and SUV's. Once you've installed one of these units you'll swear off scotchloks forever.

By the way U-Haul does manufactuer their own hitches. In the past they have purchased (and relabeled to their own) from Reese, Draw Tite and Da'Lan. All quality manufacturers.

Good Luck,

Dave

A2J15Sport posted 03-03-2007 12:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for A2J15Sport  Send Email to A2J15Sport     
Dave,

I disagree. The unit you mentioned is nothing but a plug in device that does exactly the same thing as Scotch Loks. It does NOT protect the circuitry at all.

The issue is that the vehicle circuitry is NOT capable of handling additional loads, especially the sensory side of the circuitry.

Mr C posted 03-03-2007 01:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mr C  Send Email to Mr C     
That's ok. Some people disagree with Darwin. :)

Dave

SpinalTap posted 03-03-2007 04:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for SpinalTap  Send Email to SpinalTap     
Out of curiosity.....since I installed this on a Rx300.

If there is a receptacle, factory wired into the harness, that accepts the trailer light plug-in adapter, which specifically sells for said car equipped with the Tow Package, how can you go wrong?

The adapters we mentioned plug directly into the factory harness at a point which is otherwise capped. Nobody is tapping into the middle of a wire run at a factory connection with a T adapter. Are we saying this is Lexus' version of the Scotch Lock and it is just there for what.....an extra brake light?

A2J15Sport posted 03-03-2007 05:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for A2J15Sport  Send Email to A2J15Sport     
Every vehicle is different and differences exist if the vehicle is equipped with a trailer tow package,or not.

I would, at least, contact Lexus and/or a Lexus dealer. They have the best interest of the customer in mind.

Just my opinion, I wouldn't trust a $15.00 item to not mess up a multi thousand dollar electrical system. I see it happen all the time.

Chuck Tribolet posted 03-03-2007 09:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
I'd like to sentence the engineer who invented ScothLocks
to something really nasty -- scrubbing the bilge on the
Exxon Valdez or somesuch. They are unreliable and damage the
wiring they are attached to.


Chuck

gbcbu posted 03-04-2007 04:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for gbcbu  Send Email to gbcbu     
Spinal Tap...my owmer's manual references wiring left side rear bumper. I spoke to a Lexus parts guy and he thought I have the wiring even w/o the tow package. However, he said I would still need to purchase the entire 200 dollar wiring harness. What I'm doing is ordering the wiring harness and then have someone look to see just what wiring I have and take it from there.

In response to above comments about Lexus it's not the money so much as dealing w/ the "dealers" They always,(some/all fallacy...no) I find, instill fear and charge unfair prices unnecessarily. I prefer to go to the honest guy who charges a fair price insted of rubbing butter on a fat pigs(lexus) ars/

macsfriended posted 03-04-2007 05:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for macsfriended  Send Email to macsfriended     
I'll not claim great expertise here; but assumiung Lexus is electonically engineered similar to Toyota, my Toyota had an appropriate conversion box readily available at quality trailer dealerships/service shops with good instructions. As mentioned above, when in service, it draws 12 volt directly from the vehicle battery (and is separately fused.) Toyota had an available plug-in on the truck for correct light signal sensing to the converter box and on to the trailer plug recepticle that was part of the kit.

DO IT OURSELFERS need remember that tests and debug attempts should draw 12 volt (both Positive and Minus) from an independent and separate battery or 12 volt battery charger and NOT from the vehicle's 12 volt system until thoroughly tested and assured that all is well.

Good Luck.

Ed

SpinalTap posted 03-04-2007 06:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for SpinalTap  Send Email to SpinalTap     
I'm glad they make this so straight forward and easy to figure out. GBCBU, I am curious as to exactly what you find out. Please post as I have a vested interest in this as well.

gbcbu posted 03-06-2007 06:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for gbcbu  Send Email to gbcbu     
SpinalTap..will do
Roswell posted 03-06-2007 07:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for Roswell  Send Email to Roswell     
gbcbu, if you still live in Milton... and i know this is about a 40 or so minute drive, theres a place called Bay State Truck caps in fall river. its right at the end of route 24. they're pretty good with wiring those kinds of things. perhaps they could help you out or give you advice. heres the website. http://www.baystatetruck.com/ and if you go down there on a cold windy day you can see the ice boats flying around on the frozen pond while they do your install.

Roswell

BW23 posted 03-06-2007 04:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for BW23  Send Email to BW23     
Wow,
The $350-$400 we spent for a factory installed hitch and harness on our RX 300 was sure worth the money.

What is the dealer quoting for a harness/hitch with installation? If you have electrical problems, at least they will know how to fix it.

If you have problems with the XYZ installation they will likely not heve the experience to fix the problem properly.

My vote is Dealer install for a few $$$ more.

gbcbu posted 03-07-2007 06:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for gbcbu  Send Email to gbcbu     
Thanks Rosewell but I have the factory part coming and I have a trusted and experienced shop that is going to look it all over. I'll keep ypu posted.
BW 23 the price I got from 2 lexus dealers would have put my total cost for the hitch and wiring well over what you paid. I was told that Lexus would only do the wiring because they don't have the hitch in stock. The hitch was installed at UHAUL.
jmarlo posted 03-08-2007 02:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for jmarlo  Send Email to jmarlo     
Since your vehicle is most likely out of warranty, it sounds like you are doing the most prudent thing--using the proper Lexus part and having it installed by a reasonable, trusted shop rather than the stealer. However, had your vehicle still been within the warranty period, I would have recommended having the dealer install the harness so they can assume the liability if something were to go wrong. These cars have so many electronic doo dads its unfortunatly not a matter of tapping into the brake/turn signal wires as others have noted above.

FWIW, I too have a 2002 Lexus (LX 470) that I had wired up by an independent shop with no troubles.

Rambler posted 12-15-2007 10:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for Rambler  Send Email to Rambler     
SpinalTap appears to be right on the money with his advice. If you look at the Owner's Manual it clearly states "Your vehicle is equipped wita a wire harness stored in the rear end under body." This is the case regardless of whether you have the towing package. The part #18245 from e-trailer is $14 and plugs into the wiring harness. You also have to insert a 20amp fuse in slot #2 of the underhood fuse panel. Full instructions, with pictures, are on line at e-trailer, when you look up the above mentioned part.
Chuck Tribolet posted 12-17-2007 09:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Rambler: ATTABOY!!

All: Lexus = Toyota and expensive options. The equivalent
Toyota parts should work just fine. Ditto for Nissa/Infiniti,
and even Chevy/Cadilac.


Chuck

Rambler posted 12-20-2007 08:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Rambler  Send Email to Rambler     
Further to my last post,I received the part from e-trailer today and installed it on my 2001 RX300 in less than 15 minutes. It was extremly easy and the kit even included the 20amp fuse. The factory harness is right where it was said to be (under the black plastic cover). It was simply a matter of removing the cover, removing the end cap from the harness and plugging in the one from e-trailer, and replacing the cover. Bottom line, don't believe everything a Lexus service center tells you.

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