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Old 04-10-2017, 12:05 PM   #1
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Trailer brakes not working

Hi all!

Our trailer brakes have been working fine, but all of a sudden they have stopped working. The brake lights work, but the electric brakes are not getting activated when our tow vehicle brakes are applied.

Is there a fuse or circuit breaker I can check... if so, which fuse or breaker?
Is there anything else I can check?

Thanks in advance for any advise!
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Old 04-10-2017, 12:29 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by sallemann View Post
Hi all!

Our trailer brakes have been working fine, but all of a sudden they have stopped working. The brake lights work, but the electric brakes are not getting activated when our tow vehicle brakes are applied.

Is there a fuse or circuit breaker I can check... if so, which fuse or breaker?
Is there anything else I can check?

Thanks in advance for any advise!
You might want to provide some additional information. What is the tow vehicle. Is the brake controller OEM or aftermarket? Without this information, nobody is going to be able to answer your question. There is no fuse in the trailer for the brakes. The problem is going to be in the tow vehicle or the controller.
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Old 04-10-2017, 12:32 PM   #3
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The only fuse I know of is in the vehicle. I suggest using a multimeter to check for voltage at the rear plug in when someone steps on the brakes. If you get voltage there the vehicle is good.

Then use the meter to probe for power at the wheels. If power is OK it is a problem within the hub. Not likely that both brakes would not work if you detect power at the wheels.

Start with the test at the plug in, then clean the trailer side of the plug and oil it and make sure the connection is good.
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Old 04-10-2017, 12:35 PM   #4
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Thanks. It's a Tekshona controller in a 2003 Chevy Silverado 1500 HD.

Thanks for the info about no fuse in Trailer.
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Old 04-10-2017, 12:43 PM   #5
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Thanks Viajante! Definitely getting power because the trailer brake lights work fine. Weird that the brake lights work but the brakes don't. Seems like the controller might be the issue.

Think I'll try cleaning the plug anyway since we were just parked for 5 weeks near the coast in Southern California... salt air probably didn't help the plug at all. What do you mean re: oiling the plug? Where do you put the oil on the plug?

Thanks again.
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Old 04-10-2017, 12:45 PM   #6
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Since they had been working fine start simple. Check for power on the blue brake lead on the vehicle connector when applying brakes or sliding the manual level on the controller. This might help...

www.etrailer.com/question-36005.html
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Old 04-10-2017, 12:52 PM   #7
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Sallemann,
Unfortunately power to the brake lights doesn't mean power to the brakes. Two different circuits. As you look at the vehicle side of the plug the brake contact is at the 5 o'clock position. You need to check that for voltage.

By oiling the plug I simply mean spray the contacts with lubricant.
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Old 04-10-2017, 12:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Viajante View Post
By oiling the plug I simply mean spray the contacts with lubricant.
I prefer using nothing on the plugs. I stole one of my wife's emery boards ( for nails ) and cut it down a bit so I can insert it in the slots and clean the contacts of any corrosion.
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Old 04-10-2017, 12:58 PM   #9
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I took the images down. I didn't realize they were mirrored. I don't want anyone to be confused.
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Old 04-10-2017, 12:58 PM   #10
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Yes, I was just looking at a diagram of the 7-way trailer connector... I see exactly what you mean! I'm going to test the brake controller "port" on the tow vehicle to see if power is getting to it. That will tell us if the problem is in the trailer or TV.

Can I spray WD 40 in the plug? Is that what you mean? Sorry for my stupid questions... I just don't want to screw something up.

Thanks so much!
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Old 04-10-2017, 01:00 PM   #11
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Very helpful. Thanks Donna!
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Old 04-10-2017, 01:10 PM   #12
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Just a heads up that Donna's graphics show the inside of the plugs so a mirror image of the positions when looking at your plug from the back of the vehicle. The blue trailer brake wire will be in the 5 o'clock position as Viajante indicated and you will see the tabs as indicated on the top graphic labeled "outside".
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File Type: jpg 7 way.JPG (37.8 KB, 44 views)
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Old 04-10-2017, 01:11 PM   #13
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Ohhhh! Thank you!
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Old 04-10-2017, 01:14 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by sallemann View Post
Yes, I was just looking at a diagram of the 7-way trailer connector... I see exactly what you mean! I'm going to test the brake controller "port" on the tow vehicle to see if power is getting to it. That will tell us if the problem is in the trailer or TV.

Can I spray WD 40 in the plug? Is that what you mean? Sorry for my stupid questions... I just don't want to screw something up.

Thanks so much!
I would suggest using an Emory board to clean the contacts on the plug and receptacle. Then test the current. If all is well then get some Dielectric grease to keep them from corroding.

https://www.amazon.com/Permatex-2205...P766JBVD201KWX

and a plug cap for the trailer end to keep it clean and dry when not connected to the TV. Most TV sockets already have a snap cover to keep them clean.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Good luck!
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Old 04-10-2017, 01:16 PM   #15
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...and here is the trailer side if your troubleshooting takes you that far
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Old 04-10-2017, 01:30 PM   #16
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Got it working!!!

Yippee!!!

It's working! Power was evident at the TV Brake Controller connector. Cleaned the plugs and all is now working.

You guys/gals are awesome! Thanks for all your help!
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Old 04-10-2017, 01:50 PM   #17
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Congratulations!

Just a note on using dialectric grease...my understanding is that it does not conduct electricity and therefore you do not want to get it between the metal contacts. It is used for lubricating rubber caps and boots that fit over connections, such as spark plug caps. If someone knows otherwise please respond.
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Old 04-10-2017, 02:02 PM   #18
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Congratulations!

Just a note on using dialectric grease...my understanding is that it does not conduct electricity and therefore you do not want to get it between the metal contacts. It is used for lubricating rubber caps and boots that fit over connections, such as spark plug caps. If someone knows otherwise please respond.
As a retired mechanic that loves dielectric grease. On the contrary, although it is great to lubricate rubber boots and caps the whole point of it is to prevent corrosion on the metal connectors. The metal parts will still conduct electricity when in contact, but the grease won't conduct electricity to surrounding contacts.
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Old 04-10-2017, 02:18 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by arniesea View Post
I would suggest using an Emory board to clean the contacts on the plug and receptacle. Then test the current. If all is well then get some Dielectric grease to keep them from corroding.

https://www.amazon.com/Permatex-2205...P766JBVD201KWX

and a plug cap for the trailer end to keep it clean and dry when not connected to the TV. Most TV sockets already have a snap cover to keep them clean.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Good luck!
Be cautious about using a file or emery board on contacts
Many contacts are plated with a highly conductive metal and you can file the plating off exposing material that readily corrodes.
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Old 04-10-2017, 02:20 PM   #20
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Be cautious about using a file or emery board on contacts
Many contacts are plated with a highly conductive metal and you can file the plating off exposing material that readily corrodes.
That's good to know. How would you recommend cleaning the connectors?
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