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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 2017 Durango RT came pre-wired for towing. Installed an aftermarket hitch but apparently the wiring did not come pre-programmed to my vehicle. My question is why does it cost $300 at the dealership to do this?? Am I being ripped off bc it feels like it.
 

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2018 DD R/T AWD
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It is about a 15 minute job. I am sure this falls under a minimum service charge, but I think your dealer is ripping you off. I think others here have gotten it done for $50-100. You might want to call a different dealer. I worked the programming into my vehicle purchase so I'm not sure what they would have charged me otherwise.
 

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Can somebody explain what this programming actually changes? I have the factory tow package on my 2018 and I never bothered with it. It tows just fine, too... so I'm curious what it gets you, and I agree it doesn't seem like the factory tow package is complete if you are supposed to then get something enabled by the dealer to make it work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It is about a 15 minute job. I am sure this falls under a minimum service charge, but I think your dealer is ripping you off. I think others here have gotten it done for $50-100. You might want to call a different dealer. I worked the programming into my vehicle purchase so I'm not sure what they would have charged me otherwise.
Dang! I wish I had time too. I’m actually sitting at dealer when I wrote this bc we’re heading on vacation this week. $210 for labor to program, $30 msc shop supplies, and $84 to install the turn signals I supplied bc mine were out! I’m disgusted rn
 

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I am curious what programming has to be done for the wiring. I have only ever heard of adding a wire harness or brake controller. Needing programming seems odd; unless they tweak the transmission shift points...
 

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I am curious what programming has to be done for the wiring. I have only ever heard of adding a wire harness or brake controller. Needing programming seems odd; unless they tweak the transmission shift points...
Everything is computer controlled - they need to tell the computer you have the tow package so it will send the appropriate signals to the wiring harness to work the trailer lights/brakes.
 

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Dang! I wish I had time too. I’m actually sitting at dealer when I wrote this bc we’re heading on vacation this week. $210 for labor to program, $30 msc shop supplies, and $84 to install the turn signals I supplied bc mine were out! I’m disgusted rn
Find a new dealer when you get back. $30 for msc shop supplies, what is that about, what a rip off! I would make them spell out what those supplies are and put it on the invoice. Dealers are required by law to itemize invoices and lots of them use that miscellaneous crap to make a few bucks on the unsuspecting.
 

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Everything is computer controlled - they need to tell the computer you have the tow package so it will send the appropriate signals to the wiring harness to work the trailer lights/brakes.
They use separate wiring? Every other vehicle I have seen just tapped into the rear lights. The only exception was when vehicles had separate amber and red tail lights.
 

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Everything is computer controlled - they need to tell the computer you have the tow package so it will send the appropriate signals to the wiring harness to work the trailer lights/brakes.
That's clearly not true since my '18 R/T with factory tow package worked just fine once I installed an after market brake controller. I've towed travel trailers all over the place with it. I also think they started including the MOPAR brake controller on '19 or '20 models. Do those need to be programmed by the dealer as well before you start towing?

Something is fishy here. I'm still looking for a real answer about what this "programming" actually does.
 
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My '18 R/T without factory tow package needed to be flashed by the dealer to enable the brake controller harness under the dash. Since the OP referenced an aftermarket hitch and more wiring required, I'm assuming they have a non factory tow package DD with a partial factory wiring harness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here’s my receipt. The charge for programming here is extremely wordy and sounds like two different things. It “Programmed customer trailer light plug...and reprogrammed...” So they programmed something and reprogrammed something. This system was purchased as a factory installed item. The only thing added was the hitch itself and a bracket. Take a look at this
114580
 

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Wow your dealer is making you pay for them wanting to be an automotive dealer? Don't feel bad but the local Mazda dealer charges 2 bucks for documentation storage when you get your oil changed or any other service. Right up there with the Doc Fee dealers charge when you buy a car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
My '18 R/T without factory tow package needed to be flashed by the dealer to enable the brake controller harness under the dash. Since the OP referenced an aftermarket hitch and more wiring required, I'm assuming they have a non factory tow package DD with a partial factory wiring harness.
We didn’t add any wiring. It was tow-ready. We Only installed “Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch Receiver - Custom Fit - Class III - 2" from e-trailer and a the trailer connector socket, which plugs on to existing plug.
 

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They use separate wiring?
Yes, there is a harness that is wired into the fuse box/power distribution center under hood. It runs down along the chassis to the rear.

That's clearly not true since my '18 R/T with factory tow package worked just fine once I installed an after market brake controller.
That's because you have the factory tow package and the computer is already programmed for it. The OP didn't have the factory two package, even though the R/T had the wiring harness, so the computer needed to be programmed.
 

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We didn’t add any wiring. It was tow-ready. We Only installed “Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch Receiver - Custom Fit - Class III - 2" from e-trailer and a the trailer connector socket, which plugs on to existing plug.
Sorry, I misunderstood. It is my understanding that the 2017 R/T w/o factory towing already has the full trailer wiring that runs to a plug near the spare tire as you say. Somewhere in 2018 they quit running that full harness for the non tow package vehicles.

So yes, all you needed done was to enable that factory installed harness (which you have had taken care of, at seeminly exorbitant cost) and to install/plug in your own 7-pin socket at the hitch. Did you have to add any fuses in the fuse box under the hood? I know some that have the full harness but weren't ordered with tow package had those fuses left out. Do you plan to use a brake controller?
 

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Can somebody explain what this programming actually changes? I have the factory tow package on my 2018 and I never bothered with it. It tows just fine, too... so I'm curious what it gets you, and I agree it doesn't seem like the factory tow package is complete if you are supposed to then get something enabled by the dealer to make it work.
There's some light (no pun intended) discussion on what the programming does in this thread. If you have the factory tow package, then yours was enabled at the factory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sorry, I misunderstood. It is my understanding that the 2017 R/T w/o factory towing already has the full trailer wiring that runs to a plug near the spare tire as you say. Somewhere in 2018 they quit running that full harness for the non tow package vehicles.

So yes, all you needed done was to enable that factory installed harness (which you have had taken care of, at seeminly exorbitant cost) and to install/plug in your own 7-pin socket at the hitch. Did you have to add any fuses in the fuse box under the hood? I know some that have the full harness but weren't ordered with tow package had those fuses left out. Do you plan to use a brake controller?
No fuses added. I am planning to talk to the management bc I think the guy completely overestimated time on this job. It doesn’t take 40 mins to install turn signals. My hubby has done them before and said 10 mins tops bc of the bulb behind something on driver side otherwise 5 mins. From my limited understanding, the “programming” is a download that requires a code or codes entered... 1.5 hours of labor?? Idk bout that!
 

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The programming involves plugging in a OBD programming tool, clicking through a few menus, and clicking a box to enable the harness (and maybe some kind of test). I'd want to know what the $30 in shop supplies was for too. Especially since you supplied your own bulbs.
 

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The dealer (Ford) enabled the Remote Key module I installed myself. Charged 90 bucks and I was happy. Took them 3 hours since they did not know how to do it and had to contact Ford twice.
But they kept to their quoted price. I can understand the need to charge at least 1 hour of labor since the dealer has to pay for the tech, the equipment and licensing to Chrysler to use the equipment. Pretty expensive if their rate is $200/hr.
 
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