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Old 03-13-2011, 11:19 AM   #1
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Braking / Electrical Power Question

I preface these questions with a statement that will be obvious. I'm completely ignorant about RVing and trailer towing.

What powers the trailers lights and brakes? Does it draw current from the tow vehicle through the wiring harness or are these systems battery powered?

Also, did you install a trailer brake yourself or did you have it installed elsewhere?

I'll be towing a Jayco TT weighing 2950 lbs. I'm considering a Prodigy P2 and found a video that details how to install it on my specific vehicle (2011 Chevy Silverado XCab w/tow package).

Thanks for sharing your experience with those of us just beginning!
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Old 03-13-2011, 11:41 AM   #2
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Yes the tow vehicle will supply power to the lights, and the brakes. Since your truck has the factory tow package you will already have the 7 pin connector on the back of the truck. If you are lucky the truck will have a wire harness some were under the dash near the pedals. Get the adapter harness from your brake controller manufacture to match your truck and controller. Mount the controller, plug it in, and you are ready to set it up and test. I have installed a few from scratch with no factory tow package (mine included) and did one with the package, I was done and on the road in 35 mins. If yours does't have a plug for controller on the wires under the dash you will have to find out what wires go where, and then solder them to the appropiate wires for the controller. Hope this helps, need anything else, just ask. Bill
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Old 03-13-2011, 04:49 PM   #3
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If wondering, I installed the brake controller within my own vehicle. Also installed my own aux ATF cooler. Also installed its 7-pin connector and also installed its Trailer brake wiring as well. For me, this DIY tasks are easy. But... I do understand that some folks don't like doing their own technical installs / upgrades.

Couple of things must be confirmed before pulling your TT down the road.

First, one must ensure the current condition of the Trailer's Electric brakes. And, these brakes are in proper condition and in proper working order as well. Just because a trailer "has" brake hubs, it doesn't mean that specific trailer is within a "connect and tow" readiness state. Each of the trailer brake hubs must be removed, its inner brake shoes / magnet thickness must be confirmed, and all internal rust must be removed as well. For more details, surf: http://www.etrailer.com/tv-demo_trai...nspection.aspx

Second, the Brake Controller must be properly installed within your TV (Tow Vehicle). For more details on your "2011 Chevy Silverado XCab w/tow package" vehicle, do contact your nearest GM dealer. For info on how to install Brake Controller within older Chevy Silverado, surf: http://www.etrailer.com/tv-brake-con...silverado.aspx Note: If you contact etrailer directly, they can confirm if 2005 is the same install on your 2011.

The 3rd item is to ensure the "brake wiring" from Tow Vehicle's Brake Controller to 7 Pint Connector. And from 7 Pin Connector to each brake controller hub is working properly as well. Luckily, the P2 and P3 Prodigy Brake controllers display error messages when this wiring path is faulty.

If you are uncomfortable with Brake Controller installation, Brake Controller wiring (from Tow Vehicle to Trailer's hubs) and with Trailer Brake visual inspections / testing, do ask certified mechanics to perform the work. Many RV and Auto Shops will perform brake work on both vehicle and your trailer.

Hope this (and provided video links) help...

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Old 03-13-2011, 04:58 PM   #4
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Also....

If your "Jayco TT weighing 2950 lbs" needs its tongue to wheel hub brake wiring replaced (due to faulty or older / cracked wiring), do install the replacement brake wiring in the much better STAR design (instead of factory linear wiring design). And, install support chains (for better wire support) from trailer's frame to wheel hub area.

For more details of this "much better" brake wiring (on my own trailers), surf:
http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w...ing-Linear.jpg
http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w...iring-Star.jpg
http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w...g/100_1429.jpg
http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w...g/100_1433.jpg

Hope this info helps as well...

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Old 03-13-2011, 08:01 PM   #5
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Brake controllers like the Prodigy P2 or 3 are very easy to install, especially if you order the vehicle specific wiring harness kit for a few bucks more. It plugs into the the vehicle with no wiring connections or splices necessary.
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Old 03-13-2011, 08:52 PM   #6
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One thing to check with the TV wiring, often the 12 volt supply to the trailer is left unconnected under the hood, from the factory. The terminal will be there, but not connected to the fuse block, and the fuse will be missing. This was true on my 2007 Silverado for both the brake circuit and the "hot wire" circuit. Note: the "hot wire" supplies 12 volt to the trailer continuously, for things like charging the trailer battery while on the road.
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:15 PM   #7
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With your opening statement, "I'm completely ignorant about RVing and trailer towing" I would suggest you get that done at a shop that knows trailer systems. Then you know it is done correctly.
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Old 03-14-2011, 06:11 PM   #8
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This is all very useful information and I appreciate the assistance. Thank you!
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chillywilly View Post
Yes the tow vehicle will supply power to the lights, and the brakes. Since your truck has the factory tow package you will already have the 7 pin connector on the back of the truck. If you are lucky the truck will have a wire harness some were under the dash near the pedals. Get the adapter harness from your brake controller manufacture to match your truck and controller. Mount the controller, plug it in, and you are ready to set it up and test. I have installed a few from scratch with no factory tow package (mine included) and did one with the package, I was done and on the road in 35 mins. If yours does't have a plug for controller on the wires under the dash you will have to find out what wires go where, and then solder them to the appropiate wires for the controller. Hope this helps, need anything else, just ask. Bill
GM doesn't provide an adapter any longer. The harness has blunt cut wires which are connected to the brake controller wires.
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Old 03-17-2011, 09:05 PM   #10
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I was referred to a quality certified RV service center in my neighborhood and they installed a P2 in less than an hour.

I understood all your suggestions & instructions but felt more comfortable asking a professional to do the work.

I know how to change the oil on my truck but don't do that myself either.
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