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Old 06-01-2015, 12:36 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 61
Subaru Outback and ReadyBrake?

I've got a 2014 Subaru Outback (yes, MT) I bought expressly as a toad. Installed a Blue Ox baseplate on it this weekend with no difficulty. I have a ReadyBrute Elite on (back)order and while under the car trying to run lighting wires I took a peek at the firewall where the cables would go through to attach to the brake pedal. Anyone run this setup on an Outback? Any tips on where you went through the firewall and where you mounted both the regular cable hook and the breakaway hook at the front?

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Old 06-22-2015, 07:54 AM   #2
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 61
Seems no one has done the ReadyBrake on an Outback, or no one has documented it . Including NSA RV Products. So yes, I was a bit nervous. But, long story short, got both the ReadyBrake cable installed and the breakaway cable installed yesterday. The forum is being difficult with file sizes on my photos so I'll have to link them. If anyone in the future finds this post and needs some opinions about where to run it, I'll be happy to help.

Took about 7 hours, total. More than I was hoping, but I suffered a setback early on and had to rethink. One thing that wasn't obvious in the instructions or in my understanding of the mechanism was that the mounting location at the front of the car for the cable loop to be mounted needs to be metal. I misread the instructions that said you can mount it through an existing hole in the "bumper" as "bumper cover" and I thought I was all smart by drilling a hole through the center black fascia and mounting it through there. Looked perfect, but when I got the cable run and attached to the brake pedal and tested the system by pulling on the loop, it also applied pressure to the fitting and to the bumper cover, which deformed every time I pulled. :nono

Then it became a hunt for the ideal solid mounting location. Found an existing hole to the side of the radiator... but figured that side torque was no good for the nylon fitting and wouldn't last. Dismantled more of the front of the car and had a moment of blazing comprehension when I figured I could drill a new hole in a cross member under the radiator and have the fitting and loop poke out just to the right of that center fascia I mentioned. Had to trim a notch out of the air dam, but it's a truly great location, allowing the loop to be tucked behind the fascia invisibly when not in use. From there I ran the conduit under the radiator to the driver's side and back along the frame to the firewall.

I mounted the emergency breakaway "box" behind the driver's side front wheel directly on the frame. It's reachable to release tension in the unlikely event I ever have to rely on it and it's a fantastically straight shot back to the firewall for the cable to attach to the pedal as well as a pretty straight shot forward along the frame and past the base plate to a spot right next to the driver's side base plate connection. Perfect!

The firewall was fairly straightforward, though it didn't appear to be. There's a double-wall construction in place for part of it but I ran the emergency breakaway cable through that fairly simply. However, for the ReadyBrake cable and conduit, the double-wall is troublesome. Luckily just underneath the double-wall there's a visible line where it turns single-wall. I ran it through there and still had a good angle on the brake pedal (in the picture, the smaller hole above is where the breakaway cable goes through).

All in all it took some time, effort, and trial and error but I'm happy with how it turned out. I still have more work cut out for me: the brake indicator that will light in the RV dash when the toad brakes are applied must be run both in the toad and in the RV, and the additional cabling and adjustments when I finally get the RV and go to tow for the first time. But I had a good day of work yesterday.

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Old 06-22-2015, 11:03 AM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 25
Nice report! Don't have the same toad but looking at ready breake. Good tip on mounting to solid metal surface😀
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Old 06-22-2015, 11:46 AM   #4
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 61
Originally Posted by rekwiat View Post
Nice report! Don't have the same toad but looking at ready breake. Good tip on mounting to solid metal surface😀
Ugh, I can't tell you how disheartening that was. I don't actually have my RV yet -- it's scheduled to go into production in early July -- but trying to get prepared.
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Old 08-01-2015, 11:14 AM   #5
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 61
This is my last weekend to prep the Subaru before heading to Davis to pick up the RV on Tuesday. I had one remaining task: installing the ReadyBrake DL100 brake indicator wiring from the Subaru brake pedal to the front of the car so I could have an indicator light in the RV cab when the Subi's brakes get applied.

(Aside: ReadyBrake includes the DL300 brake indicator light with the ReadyBrute Elite package, but this only indicates that the ReadyBrake brake arm is being actuated, not that the toad's brakes are being applied. I would feel a lot better getting an indication of actual toad braking, even though it's more of a pain to install.)

Step 1: locate the wire connecting to the brake pedal switch that carries 12V only when the brakes are applied.

Problem 1: there's no room to work. I'm 6'2" with proportioned hands. Lying on my back in the driver's footwell, I can get one hand at a time up to where the brake switch is located. If I wiggle around I can get the other hand partially up there. I'm really glad I was alone when I did this because I said things about Subaru engineers that don't need to be repeated in polite company. Just getting the switch disconnected from the pedal socket was a challenge.

Problem 1, corollary 1: finding the right wire. I have a 12v probe tester, but with the socket unplugged from the brake switch there's also no current delivered to the wire. I found the always-on 12V supply wire easily enough, but there are three other wires going to the socket and no indication of which one might be the right one. Looking at the wiring at the actual brake lights didn't help, none of them appeared to match the color of the ones at the socket.

I was planning to perform a real wire splice -- cut off some insulation, poke a hole through the strands, stick the new wire through the hole and twist then cover with tape/shrinktubing -- until the whole "no room" thing sunk in. I could hardly get my fingers to even reach the wires and I'm going to try some delicate manipulations? Hardly. At that point, some kind of parasitic tap is the only viable option. I tried to get posi taps but no one had them so I settled for t-taps.

I tried one wire by random selection and manhandled the t-tap into place by force of will. 33% chance, right? Yeah, didn't pick the right one. Get the t-tap off again (insert more kind words for Subaru engineers at this point) and pick one of the remaining two. 50% chance! This time I got it. My 12v probe lit up only when the brake was applied. Hallelujah. So now I've got a t-tap on the correct wire from the switch. That probably took about 45 minutes to an hour for something that should be 10 minutes tops. That should give some indication of the tight quarters. For future Subi users, I think the wire was the green and white wire, but I couldn't see all that well. Here's a shot of the t-tap (the blue plastic thing). If you can't see the wire color well, at least you can see the other wires and possibly the location.

Problem 2: routing the wire through the firewall. Starting from my existing tow plug, I pretty easily routed the wire along the frame, up behind the battery, back to the firewall and ready. There's a fairly large grommet on the driver's side firewall where much of the wiring goes through. That seems like a decent place to send the wire through.

Problem 2, corollary 1: there's no space again. For those following in my footsteps, you're going to want to slice a small hole and send the wire through at about the 4- or 5-o'clock position on that grommet in order to be able to get an angle on it from inside the footwell and pull it through. The problem with that is that there so much stuff in front of the grommet that, once again, you're going to have a heck of a time angling tools a the right spot.

Here's a shot of the wire coming through the grommet into the footwell.

I should note that as delivered, the wiring included has a red wire and a black wire. The keen-eyed observer might have noticed that only the red wire appears in the photos. The original DL100 installation calls for running the wiring from the brake switch, through the firewall to the front of the car where you zip-tie a small, two conductor plug to the front of the car. On the RV side, there's a longer run to go from the back of the RV to the front where it'll go to the indicator light in the dash. They also include a short length that you plug in when the toad is hooked up to the RV. The idea being, you only have to plug in that extra cable between the RV and the toad to get it to operate. Great. But I already have a larger cable going between the RV and the toad to pass the RV's light indicators back to the auxiliary bulbs I installed. Why should I have another plug to deal with? Why not borrow an unused lead in the existing plug? And, if I do that, I really only need to send the red 12V positive lead across since I can borrow the common ground already shared between the RV and toad.

So, that's what I did. Split the cables, discard the black, run the red. At the front of the Subi, I popped out my existing 6-conductor round socket and borrowed the unused center "auxiliary/electric brake" lead. Check with 12v tester and it lights up when I pull the ReadyBrake cable! Plugged the 6-round to 7-blade cable (another aside: please tell me the connection at the RV side is 7-blade) in and found the right conductors on the 7-blade side and tried it out... it works!

I plan to bring my 12v probe when we take delivery to verify the wiring at the RV before that first plug in to ensure I read everything right. Then I suspect I'll be able to borrow the wiring from the Tiffin-installed brake controller that's run from dash to tow connector to complete the circuit. I guess we'll see.

Hope this helps someone in the future.
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Old 08-28-2015, 08:31 AM   #6
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 61
To close the loop: have now towed the Subaru about 600 miles with the ReadyBrute. I'm very satisfied with everything. The hook/unhook cycle is very quick, the supplemental braking aspect works as expected (once I got the tension correct on the cable to the brake), and it imparts considerable confidence knowing that the Subaru is helping get itself slowed down when needed.

Having the DL100 indicator light in my RV dash is tremendously comforting as well, and I'd urge anyone with a Ready Brake system to install it in place of the included DL300. Every time I brake I get perfect feedback on whether the Subaru is braking or not. That's truly valuable information.

Brian, Catherine, and Julia - Shallow Roots - our RV blog
2016 Tiffin Allegro Open Road 35QBA
2014 Subaru Outback
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