13 Pin European trailer plugs

The last decade or so has seen vast advances in vehicle electronics that have made the electrical connections between a vehicle and a trailer increasingly more critical. Currently the safest form of connection available is the 13 pin connector as it is a secure, twist-lock, watertight coupling system requiring little force to install or remove.

For any vehicle/trailer combination it is vital that the electrical connections are securely made, as it is imperative that a vehicle continuously recognises when a trailer is connected. Any vehicle with a combination of the computers listed below needs to always recognise when a trailer is connected even though the vehicles individual computers may not have all of these functions/features in their programming.

Trailer Recognition – when a trailer has been recognised by the vehicle’s Body Computer the Trailer Tell Tale will be enabled with the operation of the turn signals, which is a legal requirement in many jurisdictions. The rear parking aid sensors can be disabled as well as the vehicle’s rear fog and reversing lights in order to eliminate reflected glare from the front of a trailer. The Body Computer can communicate its trailer recognition to the following computers:

  • Suspension – at highway speeds automatic changes to ride height can be disabled to reduce the possibility of directional instability in the vehicle/trailer combination.
  • Anti-Lock Brakes, Stability and Traction Control – when in motion alternate strategies can be applied to control the dynamics of the vehicle/trailer combination.
  • Power Train Control – engine fuelling, throttle response, automatic transmission shift points, enhanced dynamic engine braking, etc. for the vehicle/trailer combination.
  • Trailer lighting –turn signals, park and/or brake LEDs on the trailer that were continuously blinking will no longer do so.

In Europe the decision was made to replace the 7 pin 12N and 12S electrical connectors with a single 13 pin connector on models produced from September 2008. For a long time, the 7 pin was the mainstay of towing connections, but in it’s long history, it has been plagued by issues such as pin burnout caused by bad pin contacts/compressed pins, badly fitting plugs, and water damage etc.

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The large 7-pin round socket with a White Cover is designated 12-S 

Pin #1 – Reverse lamp
Pin #4 – Battery +
Pin #6 – Ignition On +
Pins # 3 & 7 - Ground 

Mating White Plugs are available from Land Rover dealers in Australia
Part number – RAA927

The large 7-pin round socket with a Black Cover is designated 12-N. Mating Plugs are available from your local auto parts stores. 

Your wire colours ........ Australian wire colours Pin # European wire colours  
  Left hand turn Yellow 1 Yellow Left hand turn
  Reverse lamp Black 2 Blue Rear Fog lamp
  Ground White 3 White Ground
  Right hand turn Green 4 Green Right hand turn
  Service Brakes (trailer) Blue 5 Brown Right hand tail lamp
  Brake lamps Red 6 Red Brake lamps
  Tail & Licence lamps Brown 7 Black Left hand tail lamp

NOTE: European manufacturers use European wire colours and uses, their wire colours and uses are not the same as the Australian Standard. European regulations E/ECE/324 – E/ECE/TRANS/505 stipulate two separate tail lighting circuits. The Australian standard has only one tail lighting circuit on terminal #7 therefore your wiring may need to be modified. I believe the dealership should modify a vehicle’s wiring to conform to Australian standards before delivery. This is usually done inside the vehicle by cutting off and isolating the right hand tail light wire from the vehicle’s lighting controller going to pin #5 of the trailer socket and then connecting the right hand and left hand tail light wires together going to pin #7. After the above modifications have been carried out, the wires to pin #2 and pin #5 (if of sufficient amperage capacity) may be rewired for other uses.

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