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Old 08-29-2010, 11:35 PM
 
73 posts, read 204,050 times
Reputation: 80

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I just bought a 98 suburban with a tow package, but the guy I bought it from said I need to cut a bundle of wires under the back bumper and install a plug or adapter that will connect to the trailers wiring.

Question is can I buy any style adapter, I saw different ones online, and can a mechanic hook this up?

Also does it matter what type of ball I buy I want to tow a uhaul car trailer, I think its a 2 1/2 inch ball?
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:20 AM
 
10,139 posts, read 22,419,547 times
Reputation: 8239
Quote:
Originally Posted by HarveytheRabbit View Post
I just bought a 98 suburban with a tow package, but the guy I bought it from said I need to cut a bundle of wires under the back bumper and install a plug or adapter that will connect to the trailers wiring.

Question is can I buy any style adapter, I saw different ones online, and can a mechanic hook this up?

Also does it matter what type of ball I buy I want to tow a uhaul car trailer, I think its a 2 1/2 inch ball?
You need a ball and a ball mount. If this is a one time use, see if you can rent them at U haul - they are height specific to the trailer and you may not want the one you need for that U haul trailer in the future. The adjustable ones are bad. Also they are rated so we need to know what size trailer. I assume a class 4 mount and ball at 10000 max.

Here's a link that may help:

U-Haul: Towing glossary

I'd be pretty circumspect before you start cutting into your wiring. But that is a question for others to answer.
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Old 08-30-2010, 03:44 AM
 
Location: Ohio
2,178 posts, read 7,801,220 times
Reputation: 3890
There should be a connector where the main harness from the front connects to the rear light harness. You can get a vehicle specific (talking tow vehicle here) trailer wire harness adapter.
You unplug the vehicle connector, plug in the trailer adapter between the two ends, and you are all set up. No cutting of wires. Just plug and play you mght say. I did have to attach a ground wire from the trailer plugin to the truck frame.
There will be male/female ends on the adapter harness to hook to the trailer. If the existing trailer wire connector doesn't match the adapter plug, you will have to replace and rewire one plug to get a match. But thats really no big deal. And Uhaul might have their own plug adapters for different setups. At least you aren't cutting into the original truck harness.
There should be 4 wires at the plug. One for tail lights and L plate light, one for rt T/S and brake light, one for left T/S and brake light, and one for ground. Unless your vehicles turn signals have their own dedicated bulbs, then there might be more wires. But in 98 they are probably not.
I bought a new Silverado in 1993 and installed one of these trailer adapter harnesses. After 17+ years I still have never had any rear light problems. Still have the truck.
I got the adapter at either Auto Zone or Advance Auto. Don't remember which. The connection to the truck harness is pretty much weather proof. And my truck has been driven in Ohio's winter road salt every year. I pull 2 different trailers. Camper and boat. I did change the trailer plugs to match the truck. But I never had to cut into the trucks harness in any way. I don't remember what the adapter cost. But I don't recall it as being too much.
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Old 08-30-2010, 09:34 AM
 
3,190 posts, read 4,129,899 times
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U-Haul has all the plugs and adapters to fit their trailers once you've gotten a particular type. Robhu's splice-in connector sounds like the best thing going.

U-Haul trailers also are all made for a 2 inch ball, but as mentioned above, the height of the mount is important. You can buy differing ball mounts that slide into your receiver (the square box part of the hitch) which have different amount of drop or no drop at all depending on what it tales to make the trailer ride level.

Talk to the U-haul guys and ask them what the height of the ball needs to be then you can measure before you buy.
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:28 AM
 
19,122 posts, read 21,371,764 times
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Around the date of your vehical, some have a connector that a wired trailer adapter will simply plug into and then the part you opened will simply plug in as it was with the adapter between, leaving the trailer leads to be tied up as you deem fit.

I can't say for sure if your vehical is or isn't wired that way. Someone will have no choice but get down under the rear of the vehical, and look for that connector.
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Old 08-30-2010, 04:50 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,084 posts, read 33,148,283 times
Reputation: 16733
There should be the plug behind the rear bumper on the 98. Both my 89, and my 99 Suburbans had them just to the left of center looking from the rear.
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