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Old 10-08-2017, 06:15 AM   #1
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Check Trailer Wiring - how to troubleshoot

Towards the end of our summer trip, the information center on my 2017 Sierra starting dinging and showing "check trailer wiring", followed immediately with "trailer connected." It does it almost constantly, about every 10-15 seconds, with only a few short pauses here and there. So far it only does it while moving.

I cleaned the connections (not really dirty) and reseated everything a few times. I don't see anything obvious there. I had them check the truck when it was in for service, but without a trailer I don't think they could do much. They said it looked fine. All the lights work, and the brakes work. I also looked at the brake wiring where it enters the wheels, and didn't see anything that looked like it would be shorting out.

I am taking the trailer in for some warranty service and I will have them check it out, but I would appreciate any ideas on what could be the problem, or how to troubleshoot it.
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Old 10-08-2017, 08:04 AM   #2
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My guess would be a loose connection in the junction box where the umbilical cable connects to the trailer. On my trailer it is under the sofa at the back of the power distribution area. The truck is probably sensing an intermittent connection on the brake line.

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Old 10-08-2017, 02:38 PM   #3
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Thanks Al. I'm not sure where that would be on my trailer - maybe under one of the twin beds?

I will mention that as a possibility when I take it in to the dealer in the morning. I think it started after going over a rough railroad crossing, so a loose connection would make sense.
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Old 10-08-2017, 02:48 PM   #4
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Check Trailer Wiring - how to troubleshoot

The information center is seeing an intermittent open in your trailer brake circuit. It could be either in the truck or the trailer, but my bet is the trailer.

The circuit could be open on the blue wire, or less likely on a faulty ground connection between the truck and the trailer.

A common place for these opens is at either end of the umbilical, either the cord end terminals or the terminals on either socket.
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Old 10-08-2017, 03:52 PM   #5
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Thanks Al. I'm not sure where that would be on my trailer - maybe under one of the twin beds?

I will mention that as a possibility when I take it in to the dealer in the morning. I think it started after going over a rough railroad crossing, so a loose connection would make sense.
It will likely be near the front center of the trailer. If is a small black plastic box about 6"x2"x3". The outer insulation of the umbilical will probably be stripped off. As JMorgan suggests, it probably will be a loose connection on the Blue brake wire. The junction box has two rows of threaded studs with each top one connected to it's adjacent lower one. Trailer wiring on top, umbilical on the bottom. Not all of the umbilical wires go to the junction box. Ground and battery charge go to buss-bars in the power distribution area. Mine was hard to access; I had to dismount and move the sofa. IF you're in warranty, let them fix it.

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Old 10-12-2017, 07:45 AM   #6
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Just a follow up to let you know that the problem is resolved - I think. The problem is we didn't find anything obvious, like a loose connection, or a wire that could be shorting out.

I left the trailer with the dealer while we ran some errands, and returned after about 4 hours. The other issues - broken vista view window shade, loose doors under the kitchen sink had been fixed, but they felt the "check trailer wiring" issue was with the truck. I asked how they determined that and what they had done, but they hadn't really done much. So I asked them if we could check the connections at the junction box. Turns out that is under the curb side twin near the inverter. Everything looked good there. They then connected a test box that simulates a trailer being connected and the "check trailer wiring" error did not return - even when we took the truck for a ride with the test box in the bed. They then suspected and replaced the 7-way connector on the trailer, but that didn't fix it. It was still okay with the test box, but not with the trailer.

We had to come back the next day since it was getting late. At that point I asked if we could hookup one of their new trailers and pull it around their parking lot. We did that with two different trailers, and neither showed the problem. That seemed to indicate that the problem had to be on the trailer side. After some deliberation, we finally agree to remove the wheels and check the brake wiring a little closer. We found that 3 of the 4 strain reliefs were missing, thanks to Jackson Center who had worked on the brakes in August. We added the strain reliefs and inspected the wiring, and didn't see anything obvious. After putting the wheels back on we hooked up and took the trailer for a ride. So far the problem hasn't returned, even after ~6-7 hours of driving over two days, which included some bumpy roads.

Our next trip is in early November, so I will keep my fingers crossed.
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Old 10-23-2017, 04:22 PM   #7
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Just a follow up to let you know that the problem is resolved - I think. The problem is we didn't find anything obvious, like a loose connection, or a wire that could be shorting out.

I left the trailer with the dealer while we ran some errands, and returned after about 4 hours. The other issues - broken vista view window shade, loose doors under the kitchen sink had been fixed, but they felt the "check trailer wiring" issue was with the truck. I asked how they determined that and what they had done, but they hadn't really done much. So I asked them if we could check the connections at the junction box. Turns out that is under the curb side twin near the inverter. Everything looked good there. They then connected a test box that simulates a trailer being connected and the "check trailer wiring" error did not return - even when we took the truck for a ride with the test box in the bed. They then suspected and replaced the 7-way connector on the trailer, but that didn't fix it. It was still okay with the test box, but not with the trailer.

We had to come back the next day since it was getting late. At that point I asked if we could hookup one of their new trailers and pull it around their parking lot. We did that with two different trailers, and neither showed the problem. That seemed to indicate that the problem had to be on the trailer side. After some deliberation, we finally agree to remove the wheels and check the brake wiring a little closer. We found that 3 of the 4 strain reliefs were missing, thanks to Jackson Center who had worked on the brakes in August. We added the strain reliefs and inspected the wiring, and didn't see anything obvious. After putting the wheels back on we hooked up and took the trailer for a ride. So far the problem hasn't returned, even after ~6-7 hours of driving over two days, which included some bumpy roads.

Our next trip is in early November, so I will keep my fingers crossed.
I have a 2016 Sierra 2500 HD All terrain with the same problem. I think it is the trailer connector on the truck. GM has for some reason reversed the way the cap now swings down instead of up, rendering the little knob to hold the connector in almost useless because the cap is not holding any weight of the plug and over time the plug starts to get loose. The ground wire and brake lights are the first to get loose because they are at the top, when in previous years(pre 2014 I think) they were on the bottom. I don't know why GM would do the switch. Possibly to accommodate the 4 pin flat connector. O course nobody at my dealer was aware of the problem. I am going to try an aftermarket connector.
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Old 10-24-2017, 11:55 AM   #8
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My 15 Silverado HD has the same connector and it holds the 7 pin connector in very well. I have never tried the 4 pin connector.
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Old 10-24-2017, 08:04 PM   #9
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A little off topic - but I use a velcro strap on the 7-pin connector. I don't have pics but it's wrapped around the 7-pin cable at the neck at the base of the connector. When plugged in, the Velcro strap goes around the plastic lid and velcros (?) to itself back on the cable. Never disconnects for me until I release the Velcro.
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