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Brake Controller Problem

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by Jaynen, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. Jaynen

    Jaynen Senior Member
    Messages: 302

    I installed a trailer brake controller into my 2001 silverado without the tow package. Its a draw tite activator. Everything on the controller works fine except for the manual over ride switch, the one that slides side ways. The LED on the controller doesnt turn on and I get no output. But if I hit the brake pedal by itself the LED turns on and I get an output signal. If I hit the brake then use the manual over ride at the same time, then the manual over ride works for 3 secs to 5mins it varies. Whats going on? Do I have a bad controller? I paid 20 bucks for it online and the previous guy said it worked. Any way that I can test to see if it works? Or am I missing something here? Thanks
     
  2. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    The activator is a timed unit. when you hold it over and wait a couple second does it send voltage?
     
  3. Jaynen

    Jaynen Senior Member
    Messages: 302

    I got the timing set to the shortest time for testing purposes. I can hold it for awhile and nothing will happen. But I just went out and checked and everything is working right now. But I can go out prolly like 5mins from now and it wont be working.
     
  4. Ozark Hillbilly

    Ozark Hillbilly Member
    from Misery
    Messages: 53

    I've got a controller like that and the slide switch works every time as you are expecting yours to. Since the brakes work off the pedal it must be wired ok so it sounds like the controller is bad. Nice new ones at the parts store don't cost all that much, and trailer brakes are critical enough, that it is not an area I would personally prefer to go cheap on.
     
  5. Jaynen

    Jaynen Senior Member
    Messages: 302

    Ya all the inconsistancies makes me think its the controller. Its only 4 wires to hook it up, lol. Just thought I would check with you guys first. Thanks for the replies.
     
  6. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    Check the circuit breaker. Could be overpowering the self resetting circuit breaker. How many axles?

    If you do buy a new controller consider upgrading to a teckonsha Primus. Much better controller, user friendly and inertia operated for smooth strong brakes at the proper time.
     
  7. Jaynen

    Jaynen Senior Member
    Messages: 302

    Just one axle. But I am using the 30 amp fuse on the post of the fuse box, bad idea? Is there a differance with this self resetting circuit breaker, cuz I dont know what that is.
     
  8. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    If you are using a fuse that is not the problem because they don't reset.
     
  9. Ozark Hillbilly

    Ozark Hillbilly Member
    from Misery
    Messages: 53

    I don't understand that. I would think that since the controller worked normally when using the brake pedal that there should not be a power issue and that however many axles it has got it should still activate from the slide switch as well as the brake pedal.
     
  10. Woodenshoe

    Woodenshoe Member
    Messages: 84

    I have two guesses:

    First, rule out the obvious:
    MAKE SURE you are getting constant power to the BLACK wire, check it with a test light at the controller! A brake controller will sometimes work with the 12v from the brake pedal switch only (even if the main power is off)

    Second, double check all your wires!

    White goes to a GOOD ground
    Black goes to CONSTANT power (the post on the fuse panel works)
    Red goes to the brake pedal switch
    Blue goes to the trailer plug

    See page 2 of the manual for a wiring picture
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011
  11. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    The immediate load on the manual override is much higher then the gradual load application received from the brake switch. Even the timed actuators have a certain amount of softening effect to their application rates.

    While some brake controllers will handle up to eight brakes (four axles) most are designed for four (two axles) if you had three axles I would say your controller was overloading because of excessive load demands. Obviously not an issue if there is only one axle.

    You say you have interment problems. Could you have ground issues at the axles? poor grounds at the axle are common and won't allow for full voltage flow. While I'm not a fan of the activator it is a shame to trash the unit if there is another cause.
     
  12. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    takea test light to you trailer plug, it will trip the controler and tell it there is a trailer on. you can then do further investigations from there. i test all new brake controlers that way!
     
  13. Jaynen

    Jaynen Senior Member
    Messages: 302

    Well I havent even hooked it up to the trailer yet. I am pretty sure my truck doesnt have the tow package but it has what looks to be factory hitch and wiring harness. I havent checked to see if the electric brake wire is in that harness yet. If it is then I dont know where it comes out. I just got the controller, and bought the harness to plug it in under the pedal and then uncovered the two wires by the fuse box, one for power and the other for the brake signal, which I hook up the test light to, to see if its working.
     
  14. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    you need to find out what wire is going to be for the trailer plug in the back, that is the one you going to wanna probe and then it will activate the brake controler if everything is hooked up and working right. i have a controler in my 92 and i can us the manuel over ride for aslong as i need and it doesnt trip. try to look it up and find the wires that go to your plug in the back and probe them, then you can do all the test you need to make sure they are working right.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011
  15. Jaynen

    Jaynen Senior Member
    Messages: 302

    I got the wire under the hood right now, thats how I am testing it. Once its working then I will run it back to the plug.
     
  16. Woodenshoe

    Woodenshoe Member
    Messages: 84

    Not a good sign, the brake controller should not work with the pedal or slide switch if there is no load (trailer) connected to it. The period should light up when you step on the brakes (with no trailer). If the numbers light up without a load, you have wiring or hardware problems.
     
  17. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    Not the older DT actuators. They worked regardless, no continuity sensor. All the wires are there wether it has a tow pack or not he my just have to find them and connect then under the hood.
     
  18. Woodenshoe

    Woodenshoe Member
    Messages: 84

    If its that old of a model and giving intermittent issues, I think for safety reasons alone I would be looking for a new box. The last thing you want is for your controller to fail in a sudden stop situation. A new controller is cheaper than an insurance claim or someone's life!
     
  19. Jaynen

    Jaynen Senior Member
    Messages: 302

    I agree even if it stays working its gonna be in the back of my mind that when I need it it might not be there. All I got is an LED no numbers or anything like that, very plain and simple unit. So you guys think that the electric brake wire is hooked up to my trailer plug and I should just follow the harness and find where that wire comes out? Cuz i am really not looking forward to running a wire back there. I have a gravel driveway and i would be coverd in mud lol.
     
  20. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    Again consider a Theckonsha Primus IQ, Prodigy P2 or P3.