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Old 11-08-2002, 05:18 PM   #1
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Trailer wiring & new trucks

In looking at new SUV's, trucks, I see "trailer wiring included." Does this include the brake controller? I see the seven prong outlet in back, but I was wondering if one still needed to hook up the brake controller, or is one incorporated into the truck's design. How about the 12v hookup to the trailer from the truck to charge the battery when you drive? The dealers seem to be blowing smoke, and some hardly know what engine is in various rigs.

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Old 11-08-2002, 05:52 PM   #2
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There are a number of pifalls that need to be avoided when dealing with some of the truck salesmen out there. I have had them tell me that a Yukon could tow my 77 Soveriegn (7800 lbs of trailer on a vehicle at the time with a 4000 lb max rating) just fine. He wanted to write it up until I asked him to put it in writing that it would tow my Airstream without voiding the warranty, then he had to help another customer. Hmmmm.

If you are looking at new trucks and SUV's many will come with a wiring harness. If it is the flat 4 wire one it will tow a small trailer but not an Airstream. What you want to see is a factory towing package as a listed option on the window sticker. It will include things like an aux. transmission cooler, a bigger radiator, a larger alternator, factory installed trailer wiring, higher load range tires and suspension. You will still need to get a brake controller, but there should be a connector under the dash, and a pigtail to wire the brake controller to in the package of paperwork and misc parts on delivery. You wire the pigtail to the brake controller, mount it, plug it in and you are ready to hitch up. This allows You to pick the controller and features you want. The add on cost of the features I detailed above is normally less than 300.00 but can make the diffrence between an ok tow vehicle and a stellar one.

If there is a model or brand that you are seriously considering, do the research, and ask questions here. You have a wealth of knowlege at your disposal.

Brett G
WBCCI #5501 AIR # 49
1978 Argosy 28 foot Motorhome

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato

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Old 11-08-2002, 08:33 PM   #3
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My '01 Chevy 2500hd had the trailer wiring harness rolled up in the pocket of the passenger door. Attached to the harness was a tag that explained the color coding of the wires. My vehicle owners manual explained how to plug the harness into the convenience center underneath and to the left hand side of the steering column on the firewall. I had to take a plastic cover off, plug the connector in and replace the cover. I routed the harness wires over the steering column and toward the front of the lower dashboard area. I mounted my Hayes-Lemmerz Energize III, not included with harness, to the right of the steering column and in line with my accelerator with the use of conveniently placed dash screws. I can easily reach it and my knee does not hit it. Circuit breakers were wired into two of the wires per the brake controller directions.

The 12 volt charge wire is already wired into your vehicle if you buy the tow package. One of the 7 connections on the trailer male plug provides this service.

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Old 11-09-2002, 04:55 AM   #4
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diagrams and colors

here is a site with the 7 way plug and all of the gm color codes.
at the bottom is the brake controller color codes if you have a truck with the plug installed from the factory.

good luck

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Old 11-09-2002, 01:25 PM   #5
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Trailer wiring & new trucks

RE: Working with Your Dealer

Greetings Marc!

It can be a real challenge when searching for a tow vehicle - - even in an agricultural area where you would think that tow vehicle's would be a big part of the dealer's bread and butter. When I went shopping for my new Suburban in 1998, I had done my research and had already picked out color, upholstery, and every option that I required - - went shopping from dealer to dealer. Presented the salesman with my list and basically asked to see their closest vehicle and if none were available what kind of deal we could work on a special order. Several virtually refused to consider a special order even though the one they had in stock was a K1500 and my absolute requirement was a K2500 with 7400 Vortec. After making initial visits to 12 dealers - - was able to limit my list to two - - both were willing to special order to get the exact match - - both offered good discounts off list - - and finally went with the one who actually had a very similar K2500 in stock, but it was painted a color that I simply could not accept.

It is now more than 4 years later, the Suburban has 95,000 miles on the odometer, has been trouble free, and is the smoothest tow vehicle that I have owned. While the dealer didn't agree with some of my decisions, he went along when I made it known that it HAD to be that way - - he didn't think that I needed 4.10 differential gears (wanted to sell me 3.73) and he thought that I needed to order the extra-heavy duty springs - - my intent was towing power for my 6,000 pound trailer and the standard K2500 springs provided more than adequate capacity.

It is easier to do the homework now than it was four years ago as most of the factory option and color information is available on the Internet. In 1998, I had to rely on newstand publications to get all of my data.

Don't be afraid of being persistent with a dealer. Not all salesmen are illiterate in regard to tow vehicles, but it may take a little detective work to find a dealer that truly desires tow vehicle business.

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 11-09-2002, 05:00 PM   #6
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I recently bought a TT and have a Jeep with towing package...hmmmm the dealer had to add a lot of not into this but I think a charge line was one of the lines.

This dates me but in 1974 bought a GMC pickup to tow our 5er and it came with "trailer towing package" and as someone above mentioned it was wound around something.

It was not adequate to run the 12 volt refrig. (in those years 3 way refrigs seemed to be popular) burned up a lot of wiring and needless to say we were stranded. Luckily we were in/at Tunnel Mtn. Banff and met nice people (Leland Brown--local electrician) who fixed the whole thing.

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Old 11-09-2002, 09:45 PM   #7
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Wow, thanks!

Hey all, thanks for the info. Not only was I looking for trucks, but was also curious - could I rent a fullsize p/u from Hertz/etc to tow the trailer if it had the "factory tow package." I guess the answer is "no" as they would not come with the brake controller. Toyota has a rental program in my area, and I was thinking of renting the Sequoia when I needed the tow+seating capacity of SUV. Oh well, I'll keep shopping.

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