TV Braking Issue - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-14-2009, 02:56 PM   #1
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I have a 2003 Chev 1500HD crew cab. I installed a trailer brake controller in it and have had problems ever since. The problem is that I never know if it is going to work. The green light is always on when I connect to the trailer, but sometimes the brakes work and sometimes not. Sometimes I start out and it's not working - then I pull in somewhere, and when I start up they are working??? Other times I connect the trailer and they work right off. Then when I pull in somewhere, when I start up they don't work. First I thought it was the brake controller so I replaced it twice. Then I thought perhaps the trailer but I just got a new trailer and the same thing. I've had mechanics take a look and they don't know. It sounds like a short circuit but I can't seem to find it. Any suggestions?
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Old 04-14-2009, 03:06 PM   #2
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I had that problem to a lesser extent. Turns out it was just dirt and water in the connector. I cleaned the connections, scraped the oxidation off the connectors and it now works fine.
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Old 04-14-2009, 03:08 PM   #3
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Did you also put on a new 7way plug ? I'm thinking if your using your old plug you may have connection problems. I had to change mine last fall, as I had the same problems with it working and not. Water gets in the plug and causes all kinds of connection mishaps.
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Old 04-14-2009, 03:22 PM   #4
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I had thoguht of replacing the 7 way plug but haven't done it yet. The only thing I've done is spray WD40 in it to help clean and make a connection and also realizing that eventually the residue will collect dirt. However, even when the brakes don't work the rest of the lights work! So that may not be the problem.
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Old 04-14-2009, 03:45 PM   #5
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When we lost the braking on the right side wheel on our trip out to CA, it turned out to be the crimp connection between the Casita and the brake magnet.

I would suggest that you inspect the brake magnet connections and replace them even if they look OK.
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Old 04-14-2009, 04:15 PM   #6
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If you think that the plug is in OK condition, I'd go back over the connections you made for the brake controller. And give special attention to the ground.
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Old 04-14-2009, 04:17 PM   #7
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When we lost the braking on the right side wheel on our trip out to CA, it turned out to be the crimp connection between the Casita and the brake magnet.

I would suggest that you inspect the brake magnet connections and replace them even if they look OK.
The brakes work fine when they work. And as I mentioned this problem has occured on my 17' Boler, 17' Bigfoot and 25' Bigfoot. So I'm assuming it's not the trailer brakes but something amiss in the TV braking system. But thanks for the suggestion as I'll remember that if I have a failure in the trailer brakes.
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Old 04-14-2009, 04:51 PM   #8
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...It sounds like a short circuit but I can't seem to find it. Any suggestions?
No, it sounds like an OPEN circuit.

I would carefully check the wiring from the TV battery to the brake controller, and from the brake controller all the way through to the trailer brakes, as well as the ground line all the way from the TV battery through to the the trailer brakes.

Be sure to wiggle the TV-trailer connector in all directions while doing the testing to see if you have an intermittant connection there.

BTW, it's common to have a self-resetting fuse between the TV battery and the brake controller -- make sure it is stilll operating properly. Sometimes their contacts go bad.

Good Luck!
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Old 04-14-2009, 05:00 PM   #9
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I had thoguht of replacing the 7 way plug but haven't done it yet. The only thing I've done is spray WD40 in it to help clean and make a connection and also realizing that eventually the residue will collect dirt. However, even when the brakes don't work the rest of the lights work! So that may not be the problem.
Unfortunately WD-40 is a better insulator than a conductor of electricity.

Also, it attacks many plastics, which could be a problem if it attacked the plastic holding the connector pins in the shell. They may now be loose enough that they no longer make good contact.

--enable soapbox--
WD-40 is a water-displacement (hence the WD in the name) formula -- it is neither a lubricant nor a cleaner, even though people often use it for those purposes. The problem is that days later what they expected to be a lubricant has become a sticky varnish.
--disable soapbox--
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Old 04-14-2009, 06:11 PM   #10
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Since the problem occurs across three trailers, it's not the trailers.

Since the problem occurs across three controllers, it's not the controllers.

That leaves the truck wiring.

It *could* be an intermittent short, causing the auto-reset circuit breaker to open, or it could be an intermittent opening of the wiring.

Or it might be an incorrect installation. You didn't mention what kind of controller it is, but I would advise calling tech support, esp if it is a Tekonsha, and double-checking the wiring connection points. On some vehicles, Ford trucks come to mind, there are several places that look good, but only one right place.

If the wiring points seem OK, then start down the line and open, clean and remake all the connections, tracing the wires as you go to ensure none are pinched. Be sure to check the grounding also (I have a connection near the 7-way TV connector to the truck frame, plus I ran a wire from the connector to the negative post on the battery to ensure that I had good ground/return).
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