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Old 05-04-2008, 08:36 PM
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Wagonforever Wagonforever is offline
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Electric Brake Controller

I just bought a new (to me) camper today. Having never towed anything with my 86GW I went out and bought a 4 pin to 7 pin adapter as the travel trailer uses the 7 pin and has electric trailer brakes. To my surprise though when I crawled under the back end looking for the 4 pin trailer light pig tail wound up under the back end only to find that I've already got a 7 pin plug installed under there, and it's a VERY clean install. But it made me wonder if I've got a hidden electric brake controller? Or are these things always mounted up on the bottom of the dash? I was pretty stoked to see I don't have to spice in a new connector and it'd be even better if it's already got a trailer brake controller.

BTW I haven't towed it yet as when I set the trailer on the hitch I ended up with some SERIOUS wag sag! It's a 21ft Mallard Sprinter and weighs in at 3,700lbs dry. So I'm also looking for a weight distributing hitch. This is my first travel trailer so any advice will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-04-2008, 09:58 PM
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You definitely need to have a brake controller. I have the Tekonsha Prodigy and it works ok. The have a new one out called a P3. I installed mine under the A/C unit.
You definitely need to have a weight distribution hitch with SWAY PROTECTION!! You have a short wheelbase vehicle. Look at the Reese dual cam system. Don't skimp on this. Croos winds and semi-trucks will push you off the road. You must have your travel trailer and tow vehicle level. This will keep the sway down and keep the weight evenly distributed across the axles. If you set the hitch up properly you will not need any helper springs.
The GW also had a square box mounted up under the rear frame member behind the spare tire. This box contains 4 relays. Stop, right turn, left turn and running lights. You will here them click if you have the turn signal on while outside the vehicle.
Here is a good primer for towing a travel trailer.
http://www.rvtowingtips.com/index.htm

Also get your self some towing mirrors. I have a pair made by McKesh which seem to work well. You can usually find some used ones on ebay or craigslist.
http://www.hensleymfg.com/mckeshmirrors.html
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Last edited by crispyboy : 05-04-2008 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 05-05-2008, 07:41 AM
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You'll probably have to get one (brake controller). They need to be accessible so you can make any necessary adjustments while driving and setting up the power level for the trailer.

You can try to trace the blue wire on the 7 pin connector (lug 2) to see where it terminates. That is usually the wire for the brake controller.
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Old 05-05-2008, 07:47 AM
FSJ Guy FSJ Guy is offline
 
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The newer brake controllers have accelerometers instead of weight pendulums. They are supposed to be MUCH better than the time delay controllers. This is one area you don't want to skimp on.
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:37 AM
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The factory tow package included the brake controller wire to the 7 way connector. My 87 had the blue wire run from the dash to the tow package lighting box in the back from the factory. I have seen some that didn't though too. You may be lucky. If not, there will be a blue wire coming out of the harness going into the lighting box, that is where you'll wire the controller too.

And yes, you want a brake controller. Try stopping on a wet road with a loaded trailer without brakes.
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:58 PM
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Well everything looks factory at the lighting hook up, no splices it's all plugged into factory connectors, so I may have the wire running all the way up front. Where did you find yours under the dash? Also was there a factory hook up to the brake switch for the controller? I hate to splice into good factory wiring.

Oh and yes I can hear the relays clicking under the back with the turn signal on. So this was a factory option? I though all our rigs with the factory towing package came with the standard 4 pin and a converter box.

I am planning on getting a weight distributing hitch, just trying to find one at a reasonable price now. I've got prices from $250-500 for new, but there's a couple used ones in that adds for $150 near me. I've towed a couple times without weight distributing hitch, and it's not fun, even in bigger vehicles.
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Old 05-06-2008, 06:21 AM
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The factory tow package included the heavy duty lighting controller. It also has pins for reverse lights and 10 amp trailer power (if all still working).

I can't remember exactly where the wire was, but start in the back and see if it is hooked up to anything.

Here are the pin outs for the two different factory harness versions:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Pinout.JPG (24.7 KB, 18 views)
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Last edited by Jayrodoh : 05-06-2008 at 06:26 AM.
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:56 PM
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Wagonforever Wagonforever is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayrodoh
The factory tow package included the heavy duty lighting controller. It also has pins for reverse lights and 10 amp trailer power (if all still working).

:

Yep, the trailer power even works! I actually didn't even know that they ran the trailers like that, but when I hooked it up to check my trailer lights I noticed that my interior lights where on in my trailer and I didn't have the battery in it! So aliitle confused at first I realized they where running off the power from my Jeep.

I crawled under the back end yesterday and coming out of one of the factory connectors is a blue wire with a connector at the end not hooked to anything. I'm assuming this is the connector I'd hook into for my brake controller, so I need to run a wire to the back and hook it up.

Any suggestions on a good controller to use?
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Last edited by Wagonforever : 05-07-2008 at 12:00 AM.
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