Brake Controller 1999 Dodge - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-16-2013, 11:51 PM   #1
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Brake Controller 1999 Dodge

I had taken my 1999 Dodge 1/2 ton to UHaul a few months ago for a hitch and a 4-pin light connector. (The Boler doesn't have brakes.) When we got the Casita a couple weeks ago I bought the 7-pin adapter, plugged the 4-pin into the other one, connected the ground wire and taped up the other wires temporarily. Of course we didn't have brakes or a charge to our battery, but the lights were fine. When I had a chance I went back to UHaul to get a brake controller installed. The first visit resulted in no charging line for the battery (he said he couldn't find where to connect it), the driver side trailer brake locked up and nothing happened on the other side. The controller showed E1.

After the second all-day visit to UHaul, I was assured that they had found the problem and my brakes would work. They don't. At least now both sides lock up! My Reliance controller instructions say that the lowest setting is 5% but I can't get any lower than 10%. The controller still reads E1. From what I've read I believe the problem is an improper ground and I've backtracked to the point where I think it's either the controller wires mismatched to the harness wires that plug in under the dash, or the fact that there doesn't seem to be a ground wire to the battery, which the controller instructions say to do. It probably goes without saying that I don't understand the automotive electrical system very well. I either need simple layman's suggestions or advice to take it to someone else!

My plan at this point is to find someone with a trailer with electric brakes so that I can hook my truck up to it to see if those brakes lock up. Conversely, I'll have someone with a brake controller hook up to my Casita and see if it functions properly. That will isolate the problem to my truck or the trailer.

I have read about the wire color differences on my vehicle. What I don't know is whether the harness wires put in under the dash use the Dodge colors or the controller colors. They are wired to the controller wires white-white, etc. How much damage would I do if I assumed that the harness wires are "Dodge colors" and I rewired into the controller accordingly? Just to see if it works..?

Second question: I may not have an opportunity to take the truck back in before I take the Casita on a short trip next weekend. I see no reason I can't disconnect the blue brake wire back by the hitch for the trip, knowing I won't have brakes but should have everything else....right?
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Old 06-16-2013, 11:59 PM   #2
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I see no reason I can't disconnect the blue brake wire back by the hitch for the trip, knowing I won't have brakes but should have everything else....right?
The simple way is to just unplug the controller.
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Old 06-17-2013, 12:02 AM   #3
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FYI Montana says trailers over 3000 lbs must have brakes. According to "Trailer Weights in the Real World" your Casita is just or just under that limit.
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:38 AM   #4
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I had a brake controller and the 7 pin trailer hook up installed on my 1999 Dodge 1/2 ton pickup (Draw Tite Controller ?) It took about 45 minutes and everything worked properly the first time. Cost was $146 for labor and material .I know this does not solve your problem but it seems your installer is part of the problem. The installer I used was recommended by several car dealers who told me they do not install trailer wiring and send all their customers to this particular installer
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:40 AM   #5
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Roy, I won't have lights then. I got the 7-pin adapter for the truck because I couldn't find an adapter to go the other way--7-pin trailer to 4-flat truck. Bryan, I won't have anything in the trailer yet (even water, propane, etc.) so I'm good for this short trip. I do plan to get these darn things working within the next two weeks, definitely before I put anything in the trailer or go anyplace on the highway.
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:46 AM   #6
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Steve, thanks... after reading more last night I did start wondering about my controller. Mine is not DrawTite--it's Reliance model, can't think of manuf name right now but not DrawTite. Thanks for your reply. That is my next step if my tests indicate it is in fact the truck and not the trailer failing.
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:33 AM   #7
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Sheryl,
Look at the back of your controller, there is usually a "quick connect" plug as shown in the picture.
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:41 AM   #8
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Roy, I won't have lights then. I got the 7-pin adapter for the truck because I couldn't find an adapter to go the other way--7-pin trailer to 4-flat truck..
I don't understand what 7 pin vs 4 in has to do with not being able to just unplugging the controller? Mine is simple to unplug from the back of the controller in order to allow it to be taken out of the tug.
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:00 AM   #9
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Roy, I was thinking you meant to just unplug the connector to the trailer!

My problem is the controller has been wired in...with a lot of tape. I did take the tape off to check how the wire colors match up. What I don't know is if I can unplug the thing up under the dash by the fuses. I can't see it well enough to know if once it's there I can take it out, or will it break something.
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:10 AM   #10
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Sounds like the guy at U-Haul doesn't know beans about what he's doing. I would certainly have someone else check it out for you before you might wind up frying some wiring. He is obviously incompetent at automotive electrical work if he didn't even know where to hook up the wires for the battery charging circuit.
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:23 AM   #11
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Sounds like the guy at U-Haul doesn't know beans about what he's doing. I would certainly have someone else check it out for you before you might wind up frying some wiring. He is obviously incompetent at automotive electrical work if he didn't even know where to hook up the wires for the battery charging circuit.
Yep, I've certainly come to that conclusion. I'm hoping to be able to document what is wrong so I can contest some of my bill but I'm about to the point where I don't care so much about the cost as getting it fixed! No matter what I find is wrong, I won't be taking it back there. I will call and let them know what it is, though!
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Old 06-17-2013, 03:59 PM   #12
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Sounds like the guy at U-Haul doesn't know beans about what he's doing.
Absolutely! The next time someone posts advice to go to U-Haul for installation work because they are so highly qualified, I think I'll just post a link to this thread.

Sheryl, I agree that it's time to go elsewhere, with instructions to must remove anything done by U-Haul and start again, properly this time. To disable the defective brake controller installation, just cut the red wire connecting it to the brake light circuit - without that input, any controller should not apply brake power.
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Old 06-17-2013, 04:23 PM   #13
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Wonder if there is another U-haul location nearby that you can get to fix the problem.
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:23 PM   #14
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Wonder if there is another U-haul location nearby that you can get to fix the problem.
Interesting idea, but I doubt it will work.

Some U-Haul locations are company stores - I don't know if their procedures allow them to rectify each other's errors... this isn't Walmart.
Most U-Haul locations are franchises, although most franchise locations just rent stuff out, rather than doing installations. I would bet money that no franchise location or company store will accept accountability for another franchise location's work. Franchises have trouble getting U-Haul to even pay for maintenance of U-Haul's own equipment, so I would not expect the corporation to take care of a franchise's problem
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