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Old 07-01-2011, 02:52 PM   #1
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2011 Dodge Ram "Trailer Brake Disconnected" problem

Help! My new Dodge Ram 1500 with factory brake controller keeps saying "Trailer Brake Disconnected". It will reconnect after 30 seconds or so but then disconnect again. And it is really disconnecting the brakes. The lights on the Airstream still work. The dealer has been trying to figure it out all week and come up with nothing. They're saying the Airstream isn't compatible with the Dodge. Any suggestion?
Thanks!
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Old 07-01-2011, 02:53 PM   #2
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Do you have disc brakes on the Airstream?

Bill

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Help! My new Dodge Ram 1500 with factory brake controller keeps saying "Trailer Brake Disconnected". It will reconnect after 30 seconds or so but then disconnect again. And it is really disconnecting the brakes. The lights on the Airstream still work. The dealer has been trying to figure it out all week and come up with nothing. They're saying the Airstream isn't compatible with the Dodge. Any suggestion?
Thanks!
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Old 07-01-2011, 02:58 PM   #3
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Do you have disc brakes on the Airstream?

Bill
Nope
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Old 07-01-2011, 03:00 PM   #4
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Confusing, since there is nothing unique about the electric brakes on an Airstream. Can you hook up to another trailer, Airstream or SOB, and see if you have the same problem?

on edit, how about a circuit breaker which keeps resetting?

Bill

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Nope
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Old 07-01-2011, 03:05 PM   #5
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They hooked up another trailer and it worked fine. What circuit breaker?
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Old 07-01-2011, 03:22 PM   #6
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Don't know if there is one, but thought I would ask. How about hooking the Airstream up to another Dodge or another tow vehicle? It could be that there is something wrong with the wiring to the brakes.

Electrical gremlins are hard to track down.

Bill

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They hooked up another trailer and it worked fine. What circuit breaker?
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Old 07-01-2011, 03:44 PM   #7
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Have you tried the Airstream on a different TV?
We have the same setup as you, only our Dodge is a 2010 model. We haven't had any problems with the brake controller. I'd ask the dealer if there were any changes between models.
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Old 07-01-2011, 04:13 PM   #8
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Ground Issue??

Maybe because it is new, the ball in the coupler is not providing a complete ground. Sometimes paint or lack of scuffing can prevent grounding. Try connecting jumper cables from the frame or bumper of the TV to a paint-free area on the trailer tongue to see if it works...Just a thought.

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Old 07-02-2011, 10:07 PM   #9
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Sounds like you might need a new brake controller module from Fiat - Sorry, I mean Ram....

Seriously, Check your trailer with another vehicle, but if you are SURE the setting on your brake controller is set for "Electric" and not "Hydraulic over Electric", and you have Electric Drums on the Airstream - then I suspect a swap of your OEM Brake Controller (plug and play) and you will be good to go!!!

On my 25FB Classic with "Hydraulic over Electric" brakes - my Teknosh P3 somehow got swapped to "Electric Drum" vice its standard "Electric over Hydraulic" and exhibited the same issues you are posting so verify those settings first!!!
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Old 07-04-2011, 12:01 PM   #10
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I had a similar problem - Check for corrosion on your trailer plug.
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Old 07-04-2011, 01:00 PM   #11
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Electrical Gremlin

I have a 2011 Ram and have had no problems with the OEM controller during the last seven months (~5,000 miles of TT towing). I suspect you have a ground issue on the trailer side that will take time to locate and resolve. An item of note: once you connect the coupler (ignition switch ON) and the is system energized, if the fault/disconnected condition is detected, it will not clear until the ignition is turned off and the controller re-energized. If the ground fault is intermittent, the brakes will apply as long as the connection is good but the fault message will still be illuminated.
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Old 07-04-2011, 01:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpe01
I have a 2011 Ram and have had no problems with the OEM controller during the last seven months (~5,000 miles of TT towing). I suspect you have a ground issue on the trailer side that will take time to locate and resolve. An item of note: once you connect the coupler (ignition switch ON) and the is system energized, if the fault/disconnected condition is detected, it will not clear until the ignition is turned off and the controller re-energized. If the ground fault is intermittent, the brakes will apply as long as the connection is good but the fault message will still be illuminated.
I have a 2010 ram with the integrated controller pulling a 2011 27 fb since february with no issues. However i did have a temporary issue once where the brake controller would show a fault with no trailer connected. This was right after I power washed my vehicle. I tried to air blow the receptacle on the ram and sprayed contact cleaner to no avail. Next morning things were back to normal. I hooked my trailer since then and all was fine. I still think water got in and created a short circuit condition to ground.

I suspect in your case there is an intermittent ground fault that you will need to chase down. It would be good to hook your trailer put another tv and start troubleshooting from there.

Good luck let us know how you made out.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:51 AM   #13
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I had a similar set of problems with my 2011 Dodge RAM AND 2005 Safari (~10,000 Mi.) and just got them resolved. Here is what happened.

At the start of my current trip, I had no brake as if the cable was not connected, I drove carefully to my local Airstream dealer who noticed some corrosion on the 7 pin connector. He sprayed contact cleaner on it and all was well for the next 1500 miles of the trip.

Then the truck strarted to chime and I got the "trailer brakes disconnected. check trailer wiring message". It would come on for a few seconds then go off. When it came on, I had no trailer brakes, when it went off, I had brakes again. This continued for the next day of travel with the truck chiming and the message coming on the dash display and the brake controller.

When I got to the next destination where there was an Airstream dealer (Windish RV in Longmont,CO) I took it in for a check. The technician checked the tow vehicle with a test box and it checked OK. Then he tried applying the trailer brakes by plugging a 7 pin connector into the trailer 7 pin cord, and shorting the 12 v line to the trailer brake line. The trailer brakes came on as expected. He then suggested I take the truck to the local Dodge dealer for diagnosis.

I drove to the Dodge dealer and he looked at the error code on the brake controller which read "SC". He explained that meant the controller was detecting a short circuit. He explained that when the integrate trailer brake controller detects a short circuit it will not allow voltage to be applied to the trailer brakes and disconnects itself displaying the messages I saw. He said the problem had to be in the trailer. He measured the resistance in the trailer brake line and found it to be very low, an ohm or less, with no brakes applied.

I left the Dodge Dealer and took the trailer over to Camping World/KC RV repair in Longmont, CO where they had a more sophisticated brake tester. The technician there detected a short circuit in the left rear brake magnet by disconnecting the brake wires on each wheel one by one while the brake line was energized and measuring the current into the trailer brake line at the 7 pin connector.

Upon disassembly of the left rear brake, it was discovered that one of the turns of wire on the electromagnet coil was exposed and when the magnet came into contact with the brake drum there was a short.

The magnet should not contact the brake drum unless energized but a small clip designed to prevent this was missing from the left rear brake assembly. The electromagnet is an Iron core with an embedded coil. The iron core has residual magnetism in it and is attracted to the steel brake drum. It was staying in contact even when not energized, eventually wearing through the magnet wire. Hence the controller sensed the short circuit even when the brakes were not applied.

The technician replaced all four brake magnets and the problem was solved, no more messages and plenty of trailer brakes. The service manager remarked that they had seen this problem before so they were able to recognize it.

I hope this helps you resolve your brake issue. The Error code on the trailer brake controller should also help in the diagnosis "OC" is open Circuit, "SC" is short circuit.


Jim
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