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Old 01-07-2015, 08:18 PM   #1
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Question about trailer brakes/braking

Hello everyone! I am the newest of newbie as I have never towed anything more than a utility trailer... maybe a uhaul box trailer once years ago. Anyway, I just bought a 2009 silverado 1500 z71 and want to tow a 75 overlander with it. I know absolutely nothing about the braking set up. Is there something special I need to install in my truck like some sort of trailer brake control device in addition to my standard truck brakes? Is it a different braking system independent of my truck brakes? Or is it integrated into my brakes when I hook up the wiring into my bumper plug in?
I know this is a very basic and dumb series of questions but I reckon if I don't ask then I will never find out. Thanks in advance and hope this all works out for me eventually!
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Old 01-07-2015, 08:33 PM   #2
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The odds of your truck having an a brake control device is slim. It would be visible. I would recommend going to a truck shop and checking out the different styles that would give you an idea on the look. Most device's are about $125-150. Most here on the forums are really handy to install. I had mine professionally installed including the device for $350. Once you hook up the trailer you will need to set up the trailer properly. The installer could help you.
Almost forgot, not sure if your trailer came with electric brakes. If not, someone here will be able to guide you.
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Old 01-07-2015, 08:36 PM   #3
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question about trailer brakes/braking

It's not a stupid question.
You WILL. Need a brake controller. It is integrated with the brakes on your TV. You also have a Manual option.
Some TV's require the system to be activated. Your TV is new enough that it may already be prewired. Especially if it is equipped with a tow package. If you don't have a tow package. Things like a transmission cooler and larger alternator along with a class III hitch. Tow/Haul mode is usually included.
Someone here with your specific truck should be able to answer the activation question.


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Old 01-07-2015, 08:41 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forums.
First, your Chevy should be fine to tow the Overlander assuming you have a good weight distributing hitch (Reese, Equalizer, etc). If you have that covered then on to the brake question. Airstreams have electric brakes on each wheel. They operate on 12 volts that is provided to the brakes thru the umbilical plugged into the truck. A brake controller in the truck cab (which you will have to install) is what supplies the proper voltage to the wheels. The faster you stop, the more voltage goes to the trailer brakes and the more brake it applies. The new electronic controllers (Like the Tekonsha P3) sense how fast you are stopping and apply just the right about of voltage. Once you have it set correctly you will hardly know the trailer is behind the truck. Installation is pretty straight forward. Here is a video that will give you an idea of what is involved.
https://www.etrailer.com/Brake-Contr...sha/90195.html
Again, welcome and enjoy your Airstream.
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Old 01-07-2015, 08:43 PM   #5
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

As to your question, yes you need a trailer brake controller installed in your truck. Without it, the brakes on your trailer will not operate at all. Without operational trailer brakes, you may not be able to stop safely.

Half ton trucks do not generally have a factory installed trailer brake controller.

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Old 01-07-2015, 08:54 PM   #6
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Thank you!!

Very cool to have such fast responses to my question(s). Seems pretty simple and I definitely will have a pro do this install/activation. Thanks so very much for the help y'all.
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Old 01-07-2015, 09:00 PM   #7
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On second thought, those videos make the install look super easy.. I believe that even I could do that! Thanks for adding those links to the videos!
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Old 01-07-2015, 09:20 PM   #8
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I have a 2008 and it is prewired for a brake controller, the only problem I had was with the directions that came with the P2. They called for wire colors that were not as installed in my truck. I had to use my test lamp to attempt to identify the correct wires under the dash, even with that I was not real sure of my install until we tested at the rear of the truck.
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Old 01-08-2015, 06:16 AM   #9
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Thumbs up

vcsnover,

If your truck has never towed you may have to connect stud 2, red wire usually coiled under the brake master cylinder.


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Old 01-08-2015, 06:43 AM   #10
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There also may be a fuse that needs to be installed. Good luck. Jim
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Old 01-08-2015, 07:09 AM   #11
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When the break controller is installed the next step is to properly adjust. If you apply your breaks and you fill the trailer is pushing you add more tension, if it feels as if it is pulling you reduce tension. You will need to make minor adjustments anytime your weight in the truck or trailer is changed such as caring additional cargo in the bed of your truck when towing trailer. This adjustment is made on the controller in the truck.

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Old 01-08-2015, 12:13 PM   #12
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TV brake controller

the controller may have a harness that plugs into the wire ing block under the dadh
Quote:
Originally Posted by DFlores View Post
I have a 2008 and it is prewired for a brake controller, the only problem I had was with the directions that came with the P2. They called for wire colors that were not as installed in my truck. I had to use my test lamp to attempt to identify the correct wires under the dash, even with that I was not real sure of my install until we tested at the rear of the truck.
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Old 01-09-2015, 07:42 PM   #13
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I have used the Dexter Predator 2 and the Tekonsha P3. They are both great controllers. The tekonsha P3 amazed me in how easy it was to install and set up.
The first time out with my Sovereign, the TV and AS worked together like a dream.
It retails for less than 140, and is worth every penny. You can purchase a fuse block plug to your specific vehicle, If your vehicle has a 7pin from the factory, that will be your only wiring connection. It has some very cool features and the display can be set for several pleasant display colors.
When you get the one you like best, hook it all up and take it to a large vacant parking lot and have some fun with it. Get the "feel" for how it works with you.

Braking, Braking in a turn, Hard Braking, Panic Stops , braking in reverse. They all require a little different approach. Weather will make you modify your driving as you tow. Snow, Ice, Mud happen to us all. Practice until you get comfortable with it all.
Welcome to the Forum and have fun, and be safe! There are a lot of smart people here, and uncountable years of cumulative experience.
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