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Old 07-15-2007, 09:02 PM   #1
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1976 25' Tradewind
Edmonton , Alberta
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 11
electric brakes on 1976 Trade Wind

Hi everyone,
My dad and I have been working on the electric brakes of our 1976 Airstream for the past two days with no significant progress. I recently purchased a new GMC Sierra 3500 with a "TAP Brake-Force Electronic Trailer Brake Control" installed at the dealership. All of the trailer lights are working properly with the exception of the back-up lights and electric brakes. The latter, probably being the most important.
I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions regarding the braking or things we can look for that we already haven't. Today, we pulled the break-away switch on the trailer to see if the brakes work - and they do! This suggests to us that there is no problem with the magnets. Would we be correct in assuming this? A concern to me is that the wiring diagrams on the truck and trailer do not match up. For example, the trailer brakes on the Airstream are located in a different place on the wiring harnass than the trailer brake control on the GMC. We have tried multiple configurations but to no avail. For some reason, there is no power on the electric brakes.
Wiring inside the Airstream is very difficult to access as it is either in the frame or in the walls. One idea we have thought of is bypassing the trailer brake connection at the front of the trailer and trying to tie into the brakes via the break away switch wiring. Has anyone ever attempted this before and is it even possible?
Any suggestions or feedback would be greatly appreciated as this has been quite frustrating. I'm a novice myself altough my dad is a diesel mechanic by trade with considerable automotive experience. Hopefully I can contribute some information to a future discussion but the electric brakes really have us dumbfounded.
Thanks in advance,
Paul
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Old 07-15-2007, 09:08 PM   #2
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1978 31' Excella 500
Venice , California
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You can match up the wiring easiest by moving wires in the umbicle plugs or the TV socket. Use a process of elilmination:First thing to check is whether the signal line in the TV gets power when you activate the controller. If so correct the wiring. You already know the brakes work from the trailer side.
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Old 07-15-2007, 09:10 PM   #3
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1983 34' Excella
1967 24' Tradewind
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Rivet Congratulations!

Hi Paul,

Welcome to the forums and good luck! Obviously, the wiring from the truck and the trailer need to match. When I bought my 67, there was no plug on the wire and my TV had no wiring either. I was presented with a clean slate, and this was prior to the Internet. No forums for help then. After a lot of experimentation, everything worked. After buying a new 2000 F150 with towing package, rewiring the plug was required. Just hang in there.

Vaughan
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Old 07-15-2007, 09:48 PM   #4
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1976 25' Tradewind
Edmonton , Alberta
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Thanks folks, we'll be back at it again tomorrow
Paul
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Old 07-15-2007, 09:50 PM   #5
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1976 25' Caravanner
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The standard positions for the wiring has changed from '76 to '07 . The easiest way is to leave the truck wiring and change the positions of the wires in the trailer plug . By using a test light you can figure out which goes where . You also cannot go by the color coding as it will not match.You have to match by the use of the wire ( ie.) , brake , running , etc. . It helps to have two people . Another thing is if one or both vehicle and trailer were made for Canada the wiring is different than USA. Good luck.
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Old 07-15-2007, 10:00 PM   #6
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1976 25' Tradewind
Edmonton , Alberta
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Wow, thanks for the feedback. I noticed that different wires are of different gauge. Should the brakes be a thicker wire than that for the signal lights?
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Old 07-15-2007, 10:31 PM   #7
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1978 31' Excella 500
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Yeah
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Old 07-16-2007, 10:32 PM   #8
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1976 25' Tradewind
Edmonton , Alberta
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Hi all,
Just wanted to wrap up this thread and thank everyone for their help with the trailer brake wiring. You wouldn't believe this in a million years but an Airstream caravan came through my hometown (Port aux Basques, Newfoundland) today. A gracious gentleman (who is also a member of Airforums username:steelwings, Gerry is his first name), came and helped us with our dilemma. We now have our electric brakes wired through the break-away switch as there was no continuity on the main line (the wires were virually impossible to access on the main line since they're hidden in the frame and behind the walls of the unit).
Nonetheless, I learned something more important today than trailer wiring. Today's encounter with Gerry not only made me realize that Airstreams are wonderful machines, but that the people who drive them are even more wonderful. For a complete stranger to come to our town, see the Airstream parked in our garage, and unstintingly offer his expertise, I think it's truly exceptional. If that wasn't enough, he even invited us to the campground where the caravan is staying and the various members welcomed us into their Airstreams and shared their experiences with us. Simply UNBELIEVABLE and many thanks
Paul
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Old 07-16-2007, 10:41 PM   #9
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1976 25' Tradewind
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Sorry about the misinformation above, his username is steelbird312 and his name is spelt Jerry (not Gerry)
Thanks again,
Paul
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