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Old 01-07-2020, 07:53 AM   #21
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I just ordered one of these (IPA #9107 trailer brake controller tester):

https://youtu.be/uaQVN2YdniI

This is the only tool that I've seen that will work with these new trucks!

Here's a really good review of the tool.

https://youtu.be/hfqg5MPZHr4
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Old 01-07-2020, 08:34 AM   #22
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I'm interested in seeing how this shakes out.
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Old 01-07-2020, 07:26 PM   #23
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Iíve not talked to the dealer but sometime in the future, I will. I hope to talk to the Airstream dealer this week to see if they have any input.
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Old 01-09-2020, 08:59 AM   #24
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Got word back today on my truck. They replaced a wheel sensor a few weeks ago. Apparently, somehow (I'm going to assume incorrect installation) caused the sensor to get mangled. This is causing an error on the canbus, which in turn won't allow the truck to send any type of brake signal to the trailer.

Basically these new trucks are too darn smart for their own good... and the error message is crap. It's not that the trailer brake is not detected, it's that its own internal circuit won't allow the connection to happen.
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:33 AM   #25
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Wow, did they report if it set codes?

Now hook up and see what happens and save the new 7 way plug for when you need it if not installed already. One change at a time.
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Old 01-09-2020, 04:44 PM   #26
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Wow, did they report if it set codes?
I only have limited information from the dealer, although because GM's TAC group has been involved in the past issues, including replacing the rear speed sensor, I get *very* detailed repair notes.

As a side note, they gave me a 1500 Silverado as a loaner and I received the 7 pin tester today from IPA Tools. So I just had to test it out.

Unlike the 'dummy' tester I got from Northern Tools which didn't do anything but show me that I had power, the IPA Tools 'smart' tester worked brilliantly. When I connected it, the GM interface acknowledged a trailer was connected and showed all connections were fine. Then I tested the brake output and could see it matched the vehicles settings. So, no more wondering if it's the truck or trailer... Although it's pretty late for that since we now know it is the truck. But for the $130, it was worth the piece of mind to own a tester that will actually work.
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Old 01-09-2020, 06:20 PM   #27
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Youíll be a star at rallyís hooking that thing up and testing TVís.

I made an in-line brake circuit voltmeter and ammeter test rig. It works but possibly an ITBC might outsmart it, not 100% sure but one newer F series I checked didnít show anything. ITBC might have figured out uh weíre not moving why should we power the brakes. I did get actual DC volt and amp readings from other rigs while stationary testing.

Tester plugs into TV then into AS and could be secured to allow test drive and view meters live values.

Your tester doesnít pick up if power is being consumed by magnets.

Still wouldnít mind having one for grins and a DC clamp on ammeter.
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Old 01-12-2020, 12:31 PM   #28
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Plug

Same issue with my 2016 3500. Plug is mounted upside down allowing weight of cable to pull plug down allowing brake blade to be pulled out. My solution was to take a piece of rope and tie cable up. Not pretty but it worked. Going to look into Pollock
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Old 01-12-2020, 12:33 PM   #29
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I recently upgraded my tow vehicle to a 2020 Chevy 2500HD and on our first trip with our Airstream I noticed a warning in the new trailering section of the DIC that our electric brakes were not connected. I pushed the AS seven blade cable in further and couldn't get anywhere with it.

Upon searching various forums there seems to be quite a bit of talk about this with various trailers. I stopped by Northern Tools and picked up a tester and new wiring pigtail. I immediately noticed how the tester fit snuggly into the 7 blade receptacle. The tester didn't work as I expected but it seems GM is using some smart technology and it wasn't lighting up the LEDs as it should.

I put the AS cable back into the truck receptacle and noticed a huge difference in how sloppy it felt and in fact it came up on the truck as disconnected. I pushed it in further and it read as 'connected' properly (although the electric brake issue didn't go away).

I decided to replace the whole pigtail but as I started tracing the wires they go into the frame and then ??? I can see where a couple go into the rats nest of power in the AS flying cloud 27FB storage area. I tried to sort out what was what, but that seemed pretty hopeless.

So two questions really.
  1. Has anybody who has a 2019 or 2020 GM (chevy or GMC) noticed how poorly the AS connector fits? If so, have you had issues with connections? (specifically the electrical brake connection)?
  2. Has anybody replaced the entire pigtail? If so, is there a central point where they are all connected?
I have a 2015, Chevy 2500 Duramax with a 2016 28 International Signature, my plug has always been sloppy as well, the DIC indicates Trailer not connected, Iím always stopping, getting out, wiggling the plug and get it to work to show connection. Iíve also found you need to turn the ignition off then restart to show connection. I also occasionally apply some dielectric grease on the plug which seems to help. Thatís as far as Iíve gotten, I just live with it. Donít know whether itís a GM problem or Airstream problem. Once I get on the road it seems to stay connected pretty well. Not much help, but youíre not alone. I havenít wanted to cut off a factory sealed pigtail and potentially make it worse.
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Old 01-12-2020, 01:42 PM   #30
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Don't know about the GM's, but I had similar problem with my "new" 2017 F250 and my 2017 28' FC after first year...the plug started coming loose and the brake light would come on saying trailer disconnected. I was told it was the contact inside the pigtail plug, so i looked and one of the pins looked like it had been pushed back a bit, perhaps loosing contact with the truck. I pulled it out with some needle nose pliers and then when I reinserted it worked fine for a while...then I was told the plug comming loose was a known problem, so I started researching...velcroe strape, elastic strap, finally just wrapped with good ole ducktap for next year...untill I was at JC last October for some other warranty work....tech told me it was a known problem with the plug, and within a half hour, they had a new pigtail installed...no charge...works great now, I do still carry the ducktap close by in the bed, however..very unnerving having that "trailer disconnected" light come on at 65mph on the highway! Good luck....let us know what you end up doing. (by the way, I also bought a can of electrical contact spray which I use now religiously when going on a trip for the connectors. )
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Old 01-12-2020, 04:34 PM   #31
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I hAve the same problem on a 2017.
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Old 01-12-2020, 05:45 PM   #32
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If it is either the plug or the receptacle, how interesting that things that have been around for more than a century are still being built wrong. Did they put a" trailer disconnected" light on it because it was easier than providing a receptacle that works?

Having just bought a fairly new SUV with more electronics and screens than we have ever had before, I am sure they have gone too far too fast. I think I have four different ways to operate the power lift gate plus the old reliable "hand". The hand is very analog, but very reliable. The irony is that I can open it by hand in a quarter of the time the button opens it. Which will I use if it is raining?
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:03 AM   #33
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untill I was at JC last October for some other warranty work....tech told me it was a known problem with the plug, and within a half hour, they had a new pigtail installed...no charge...works great now,
My issue is related to the truck in this case. But after receiving the Pollak connectors, and realizing how much better they fit and stay in the truck plug, I'm convinced AS needs a different vendor for the cords. They shouldn't have that much slop and while in my 2015 it did work, it was always a guessing game as to did I push it in far enough/hard enough. On the 2020 it was just as bad, but not enough I thought to cause any issues (and honestly in this particular case it wasn't the trailer), All these smart systems are on what's known as a CANbus network. This system has been used for a while, but also means you can't go willy nilly and cut/splice into any old wire on the truck like a lot of people used to do. It also means you can't use those simple LED meter checkers on the trailer connections (truck side).

Long way of me saying, the AS plug is replaced and the truck is getting repaired, that should definitely fix my problem, but AS should rethink their cable in my book.
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Old 01-13-2020, 09:36 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by wbrisett View Post
My issue is related to the truck in this case. But after receiving the Pollak connectors, and realizing how much better they fit and stay in the truck plug, I'm convinced AS needs a different vendor for the cords. They shouldn't have that much slop and while in my 2015 it did work, it was always a guessing game as to did I push it in far enough/hard enough. On the 2020 it was just as bad, but not enough I thought to cause any issues (and honestly in this particular case it wasn't the trailer), All these smart systems are on what's known as a CANbus network. This system has been used for a while, but also means you can't go willy nilly and cut/splice into any old wire on the truck like a lot of people used to do. It also means you can't use those simple LED meter checkers on the trailer connections (truck side).

Long way of me saying, the AS plug is replaced and the truck is getting repaired, that should definitely fix my problem, but AS should rethink their cable in my book.
I may have not been clear in my description of the "fix"; they didn't install a new "pigtail", they simply removed the original connector from the pigtail (which they acknowledged was a known problem recently), and installed a new different model mail connector, that they are installing now in the new AS's. It fits much tighter and no issues staying connected since this change.
Drove from JC to Alumalina in NC, down to SW Florida and across LA back to TX over a month of driving.

Not sure if the female receptacle trailer plug on the GMC, Ford, and RAM are the same, but kind of doubt it. Seems they all are trying to be compatible with their plugs, so not sure what/why this became an issue...never had it with last 3 AS's. I looked other male plugs and aftermarket options, but some are costly. Problem for me is solved...wonder if you called warranty folks at AS and discussed if they might just send the new model out? I know they have sent me "free" replacement parts in the past...water inlet, latch for my cabinet, hinge replacement, etc.. never hurts to try...
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Old 01-13-2020, 11:30 AM   #35
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When I replaced my pigtail, I found that of the 7 wires, 5 went to the Bargman box in the trailer (which was mounted at the rear of the power distribution area) and then back out to the trailer light wires. Power and ground went to the 12V and ground buss bars in the power distribution panel.

I left the original wiring in place from the Bargman box out to the tongue and mounted a new Bargman box on the A-frame. I cut off the connector on the original umbilical and connected the wires to the new box along with the wires from the new umbilical. That will make it easy if I ever have to replace the umbilical again and also gives an access point to measure voltages and currents. It also let me buy a less expensive shorter cable and eliminated the need to snake a new cable into the trailer through the roadside A-frame arm.

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Old 01-13-2020, 03:37 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wbrisett View Post

So two questions really.
  1. Has anybody who has a 2019 or 2020 GM (chevy or GMC) noticed how poorly the AS connector fits? If so, have you had issues with connections? (specifically the electrical brake connection)?
  2. Has anybody replaced the entire pigtail? If so, is there a central point where they are all connected?
Not a 2019 or 2020 but have a 2018 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Diesel. We had problems with our connection and finally a tail light on the trailer quit working. First took it to an RV place who determined there wasn't voltage on the pin in the connector on the truck. Took it to a Chevy dealership and there was a definite problem with the connector on the back of the truck and they replaced it.

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Old 01-14-2020, 03:48 AM   #37
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Not sure if the female receptacle trailer plug on the GMC, Ford, and RAM are the same, but kind of doubt it. Seems they all are trying to be compatible with their plugs, so not sure what/why this became an issue...never had it with last 3 AS's.
What I 'learned' from one post on a GM forum from a former engineer is that while folks were trying to meet the SAE J560 spec (which covers dimensions and wiring for the 7 pin connectors), few actually met it. He claimed he was retired but when he was doing actual testing, most manufacturers weren't within tolerances... one things I learned from my years in electronics and tech support is that even if somebody is within tolerances but on the outside edges put two things together on opposite edges and you won't always get something that worked (especially true in circuit timing)... So, my guess is manufacturers are now better meeting the SAE J560 spec.

The Pollak connector I bought (was only $8), 'snaps' into place on the new GM receptacles, whereas the old rubber AS plug you had to mash into it and hope the latch stayed connected with the raised bump designed to hold it.

But I think we're really going to start seeing a lot more of this type of stuff if my (and a few others) experience are any indication. I'm just glad I finally narrowed everything down. (FYI... for the record, my truck is still in the shop waiting for parts. The problem with buying first year is there are no parts in the system for them, every time they have gotten a part they had to get it shipped from the assembly line!).
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Old 01-14-2020, 10:35 AM   #38
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I am replacing both connectors with Pollak (TV and Trailer) on mine, one thing I noticed is that the GM "dual" connector assembly mounts so that the 7 pin connector cover hinges down. That is upside down from single 7 pin connector on my K2500. It seems to me that the way the connector tab on the cover works it would be better at keeping the connector fully mated if the cover hinged up. I am going to rework the opening in the bumper so I can flip it over.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:55 AM   #39
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It makes sense that the hinge on top helps hold plug in. Fortunately my 2005 Dodge Ram was built that way.

Folks if you're thinking about changing the receptacle on your TV look for plug and play connectors vs rewiring. If my connection got damaged easy to unplug from harness and plug in new one. Possible source, Hopkins Towing Solutions.
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Old 01-16-2020, 01:18 PM   #40
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Double diagnosis is the lazy way, but sometimes it is both sides of a problem that is the problem. Airstream has long looked for cheaper parts to save pennies, sometimes with pretty expensive results for Airstream. Some cheapening was pretty badly thought out such as OSB subfloors, some is just the cheapest parts you can find. I and many others learned early in our Airstream ownership we would have to replace lots of small things with better quality parts. So it may be the Airstream plug.

My diagnosis of this situation if I had had it would be to check all connections I could find from the truck to the Airstream's electric panel for loose connections. Next, clean the connections between the plug and receptacle and use WD40 to clean them. WD40 is a light penetrating oil that will also resist water and allow electricity to pass through it to the connections. If the plug is loose, as I recommended before, the round lug (one of the variety of names which include spades, pins, lugs, etc.) in the center can be slightly flattened to provide a better connection. This may be difficult to do or easy. The flat pins on the truck side can be slightly bent to work better. Because the cable to the tongue hangs down, it may cause the connections to pull away and a short bungie cord can be attached to the bottom of cable at its lowest point to the hitch—I hook it to the latch. There should be something on the cover over the truck side that holds the plug in place. Make sure it is pushed all the way down. These are the simple fixes. If you know how to do a resistance check with a multi tester or to check for voltage at each pin that could answer your issue.

If you splice a new plug onto the Airstream cable, use the shrink wrap covers for electrical connections over the splice to support and waterproof it. To replace the entire trailer cable is much harder than splicing a new plug onto the cable, but if there is a broken wire in the cable, then the cable has to be replaced.

But it may be both sides. Perhaps the truck electronics or the basic wiring to the receptacle are faulty. Seems like Chevies are the primary problem, so they may have used improperly sized receptacles, poorly made ones with sloppy tolerances or bought or designed bad electronics. Most people can see and maybe fix the basics, but few of us can figure out the electronics except to curse them liberally. Double diagnosis often leads you down the wrong road. Maybe it is both, but more likely is only one. However, both GM and Thor (Airstream's owner) have a history of poor reliability, workmanship and materials.

The 7 way connectors have been around for a long time now and I am still surprised that a manufacturer can't get it straight yet, and that may indicate the electronics are the problem though the reports of loose plugs seems to be an important clue.
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