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Hi, new SEL Premium owner here and was wondering if anyone could tell me where the wiring harness for the tow hitch is? I have had numerous vehicles with tow hitches and the plugs for the harness are always right next to the hitch, but for the life of me I cant see one on the Atlas! Wondering if VW forgot to install?
 

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There's a small rectangular plate on the left of the hitch. You need to remove the small plate and replace it with a plug. VW really should've included it, but the new Q7 is the same.
Yeah that was a surprise to me too, but I guess they do it to give you the option of adapting the truck to American or European style RV connectors or direct to 4-flat if you don't need the RV wiring.

If you want to go third-party, get the Pollak 11-893 adapter from either ETrailer or Amazon, it converts the Atlas hitch wiring to RV-style 7-blade with a weather cover.

The plate you need to remove, with Torx screws:



The hitch pre-wiring socket that you connect to the VW or Pollak adapter:



Atlas EBC prewiring, if you want an electric brake controller, you'll find it under the carpet at the base of the driver's footrest:



In the factory wiring diagrams, that connector is labeled "T4at":



And the aftermarket brake controller itself is referred to as G508 "Electric trailer brake position sensor":



Wiring connections to be made:

ConnectionAtlas PrewireTekonsha Pigtail
PowerT4at/2 Red/WhiteBlack
GroundT4at/1 BrownWhite
Brake Light Signal InputT4at/3 Black/RedRed
Trailer Socket Signal OutputT4at/4 Lilac/BlueBlue


Tekonsha Prodigy P3 EBC set up and working great:

 

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What are you towing jyoung?
A few things. We own a Jayco pop-up camper, weighing in at about 2000 pounds, which comes out a few times a year. We haven't gone on a long trip with it hooked to the Atlas yet, but I took it up and down a couple highway exits to test out my EBC wiring, and the Atlas drives great with it, almost like it isn't there. I've also pulled a U-Haul 5x8 from St. Louis to Cincinnati, similar experience.

Also, I occasionally pull one of my Troop's trailers to/from nearby camps, but that's pretty marginal for a light SUV and I don't go cross-country or anything. I'm coming from having a GMC Acadia, which is of a similar class and capacity. I did a test pull of our heavier of two trailers to see if I could take it to summer camp a couple weeks ago, and ended up declining, mainly because it's loaded way too tongue-heavy. I didn't have time to reload it all properly and the extra gear and Scouts would have made it an unsafe trip. But in pulling it on a brief mixed highway drive, power and acceleration were surprisingly quite decent for what it is, the eight-speed does a great job, and the EBC integration makes the combination handle and stop just fine.

 

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Yeah that was a surprise to me too, but I guess they do it to give you the option of adapting the truck to American or European style RV connectors or direct to 4-flat if you don't need the RV wiring.

If you want to go third-party, get the Pollak 11-893 adapter from either ETrailer or Amazon, it converts the Atlas hitch wiring to RV-style 7-blade with a weather cover.

The plate you need to remove, with Torx screws:



The hitch pre-wiring socket that you connect to the VW or Pollak adapter:



Atlas EBC prewiring, if you want an electric brake controller, you'll find it under the carpet at the base of the driver's footrest:



Tekonsha Prodigy P3 EBC set up and working great:

Hi,

How did you take off the foot rest? Was it easy to put back together?

Thanks
 

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How did you take off the foot rest? Was it easy to put back together?
The door sill cover plate and the lower A-pillar cover plate (the part behind the hood release lever) have to come off. The hood release lever has to come off first, there's a black plastic retaining clip that you fish out from behind the pivot point and the lever comes right off. That will expose one plastic expansion fastener in that A-pillar cover plate that has to be removed, and from there, you just pry off the sill plate and then the A-pillar plate. If you download the repair manual from erWin, it has the directions. Or, if there's interest, I could do it again real quick and take pics. It's not hard.

Jason
 

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What adapter harness did you use with your brake controller?
I directly spliced in using the custom-wiring harness that comes with the Tekonsha brake controller. I had it left-over from my GMC Acadia install where I was using a prefab GMC harness, before I traded that on the Atlas. I wasn't really excited about direct splicing it to the car, but Tekonsha didn't seem to have one for the application (nor for a Q7 or Touareg which I hoped might be compatible). It's not like I was hacking up random wiring all over the car, all I did was lop off the car-side connector and direct crimp the Tekonsha harness to the four factory-designed tow controller wires, and wrap it up in some fabric harness tape to make it clean and correct.

If someone wants to talk to Tekonsha about getting a quick connect harness made, I have the wiring diagram reference pages here, the right colors and pin numbers, and I even saved the connector head I lopped off. Find a contact there and I can get them the necessary info.

Jason
 

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How did you take off the foot rest? Was it easy to put back together?
The door sill cover plate and the lower A-pillar cover plate (the part behind the hood release lever) have to come off. The hood release lever has to come off first, there's a black plastic retaining clip that you fish out from behind the pivot point and the lever comes right off. That will expose one plastic expansion fastener in that A-pillar cover plate that has to be removed, and from there, you just pry off the sill plate and then the A-pillar plate. If you download the repair manual from erWin, it has the directions. Or, if there's interest, I could do it again real quick and take pics. It's not hard.

Jason

Hi Jason,

So I did this exact setup. A day later check engine comes on while I'm on vacation 300 miles away. They towed it to the nearest dealer which is 240 miles away from my home. Now I'm back home and my car is ready for pickup, VW refuse to tow the car back because they are blaming it on that brake controller. I explained that the vehicle is already pre-wired for this. Am I correct? Any insight?
 

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So I did this exact setup. A day later check engine comes on while I'm on vacation 300 miles away. They towed it to the nearest dealer which is 240 miles away from my home. Now I'm back home and my car is ready for pickup, VW refuse to tow the car back because they are blaming it on that brake controller. I explained that the vehicle is already pre-wired for this. Am I correct? Any insight?
It's for-sure pre-wired, that's what the connector is there for. It's documented in the Atlas SSP (dealer training), see page 10. In the wiring diagrams that connector is referred to as T4at and the controller would be G508 "Electric trailer brake position sensor".

As for affecting the engine, I can't conceive of what even a broken or shorted brake controller could do to produce an engine MIL. There's four wires in that harness: power, ground, brake sense line, and trailer brake output. Power comes from an isolated circuit, ground will be to the closest point and unlikely to be the same used by any engine stuff, the brake sense line comes from the trailer recognition control module in the back of the truck, and the trailer brake line has nothing to do with anything.

Questions:

1) What did the dealer allegedly find wrong with your Atlas? If there was an engine MIL, there should be diagnostic codes. Ask for the report from ODIS (their diagnostic tool).

2) What did the dealer allegedly do about it?

3) Where the hell are you that you're 240 miles from a VW dealer?

Jason
 

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So I did this exact setup. A day later check engine comes on while I'm on vacation 300 miles away. They towed it to the nearest dealer which is 240 miles away from my home. Now I'm back home and my car is ready for pickup, VW refuse to tow the car back because they are blaming it on that brake controller. I explained that the vehicle is already pre-wired for this. Am I correct? Any insight?
It's for-sure pre-wired, that's what the connector is there for. It's documented in the Atlas SSP (dealer training), see page 10. In the wiring diagrams that connector is referred to as T4at and the controller would be G508 "Electric trailer brake position sensor".

As for affecting the engine, I can't conceive of what even a broken or shorted brake controller could do to produce an engine MIL. There's four wires in that harness: power, ground, brake sense line, and trailer brake output. Power comes from an isolated circuit, ground will be to the closest point and unlikely to be the same used by any engine stuff, the brake sense line comes from the trailer recognition control module in the back of the truck, and the trailer brake line has nothing to do with anything.

Questions:

1) What did the dealer allegedly find wrong with your Atlas? If there was an engine MIL, there should be diagnostic codes. Ask for the report from ODIS (their diagnostic tool).

2) What did the dealer allegedly do about it?

3) Where the hell are you that you're 240 miles from a VW dealer?

Jason
I towed my TT to Yosemite to spend the weekend with my family. Ended up dealing with this. I'll check with the dealer about the codes and I'll post it here.
 

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I discovered two days before I was going on vacation... called the dealer and they were surprised and say VW had "fixed" that problem a few years ago on the Touareg and will be installing them on every Atlas leaving the place... as people get REALLY frustrated when they go to tow and suddenly can't.

As a thank-you for bringing it to their attention, he gave the part for free... even installed it. :D :D
 

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I discovered two days before I was going on vacation... called the dealer and they were surprised and say VW had "fixed" that problem a few years ago on the Touareg and will be installing them on every Atlas leaving the place... as people get REALLY frustrated when they go to tow and suddenly can't.

As a thank-you for bringing it to their attention, he gave the part for free... even installed it. :D :D
Smart Dealer. He solved future problems and made a customer happy for very little cost. Definitely stay with them. Others aren't so customer solution focused!
 

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Kinda hokey that they don't provide that $4 part on a $40K vehicle. Thanks for the links. I hadn't gotten around to pulling that cover off but was thinking about pulling the boat to the lake. Guess that'll have to wait until I get the adapter.
 

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Smart Dealer. He solved future problems and made a customer happy for very little cost. Definitely stay with them. Others aren't so customer solution focused!
Agreed. It's one of the few independently owned dealerships around here. Clarkdale VW in Vancouver, BC in case anyone is wondering.
 

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Agreed. It's one of the few independently owned dealerships around here. Clarkdale VW in Vancouver, BC in case anyone is wondering.
Good to know! I looked at 3 Atlas at OpenRoad yesterday and none of them had any wiring either. Would certainly be something on my must do list by the dealer before I come home with one. I don't even have any real plans to two but it seams so cheap to not do this as a standard thing. I get that 99% of tow hitches are really bike rack adapters but still.:banghead:
 

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This is great information! My wife and I are thinking about getting an Atlas (I'll keep my Passat and she'll trade in the minivan) - but I wanted to know what the tongue weight capacity was for this SUV. 5K LBS towing capacity is more than sufficient for our Jayco trailer but I get nervous about the tongue weight. On our minivan, I had to add a rear airbag spring helper but that car is obviously a lower to begin with.
 
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