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Old 07-11-2016, 06:03 PM   #1
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Brake system troubleshooting help?

Hi Gang. I am trying to figure out where to start with a problem I'm having, so naturally thought of you guys first.

At some point during my 300 mile trip home last night, my trailer braking system stopped working, so I'm trying to come up with likely starting points.

A few details: I'm towing my Grey Wolf 21RR with an 01 SuperDuty, which has a DrawTite Activator2 brake controller. At some point during the trip home, the system stopped working.

The trailer brakes don't respond when I apply brakes in the truck. The brake controller doesn't show any errors -- but it DOES show the indicator that there isn't a trailer hooked up. I double-checked the cable connection and validated that all the lights are good, but still no brakes or indication that anything is hooked up to the brake controller.

I live in Chicago and keep both the truck and RV an hour out of town, so dealing with problems is an extra hassle. I'm hoping you guys can short-cut me to figuring it out with some suggestions.

All the best!
Brian and Ann, Smoke Freaks Competition BBQ
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Old 07-12-2016, 12:13 PM   #2
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When you say you double checked the connection. Was that just making sure that the 7-way was plugged in, or did you test it for voltage when applying the brakes?

If you didn't test for voltage at the truck, I'd start by doing that.

If the clearance/stop/tail lights are working it shouldn't be the ground, but I think I'd check it just to be sure.

If you have voltage at the 7-way connector, then I'd move to the junction box under the RV and make sure you have voltage there.

If you have voltage at the junction box when the brakes are applied, then I'd move to the wheel that the brake wires go to first and check voltage there.

By this time you should have figured out where the problem is located.
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Old 07-12-2016, 03:55 PM   #3
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Thanks, Bama Rambler.

That is exactly the kind of advice I was hoping for. I'm not the best when it comes to electrics, but my intuition was telling me to start at the socket/plug connection.

It will be really helpful to have a process to work though while troubleshooting.

Travel safe!
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Old 07-12-2016, 04:21 PM   #4
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You could start at the wheels... usually the wire sticks out like a sore thumb and would be easily snagged... but then the trailer connectors are far from bullet proof. I assume you know there is a circuit breaker on the brake controller.. don't forget it.
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Old 07-13-2016, 09:46 AM   #5
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To be honest, I don't know much about RV systems once they veer off the happy path.

My wife and I are competition BBQ cooks and found a used Grey Wolf toyhauler this year to make things a bit easier on ourselves vs competing out of popup tents and a rental truck. So we went on a crash course to learn about all the basics and especially the what-to-dos and what-not-to-dos.

Then we got rear-ended our first weekend out, and we got to learn a bunch more stuff.

Anyway, I didn't know the Brake Controller had a circuit breaker, so I will take it as another thing to learn about.

Thanks so much for the tips. It was sages like you guys who helped me quickly break in to the pro BBQ circuit at a respectable level, and I'm really glad such a community also exists for RVing. I've learned a TON over the past two months just by reading post threads.
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Old 07-13-2016, 01:03 PM   #6
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Old 07-13-2016, 02:58 PM   #7
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That video was great. I'm trying to get my hands on a multimeter today.

My googling also suggests there is some kind of tool you can plug into RV plug to test those contacts as well.
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Old 07-13-2016, 03:06 PM   #8
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You can also use something like this. This is an example only. Not endorsing this vendor.

https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories...k/PK12741.html
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Old 07-13-2016, 03:11 PM   #9
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https://www.etrailer.com/Wiring/Tow-...P-QaAuhk8P8HAQ
sorry. did not see flybobs reply
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Old 07-13-2016, 06:19 PM   #10
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...looking at the vid mike.t posted... on the brake pin at the truck ... you should see volts when braking. the meter is on DC function with the other lead on a known frame ground of the truck. likewise, on that same lead but on the cable to the trailer ... should show you continuity to ground. meter on ohms one lead to the pin trailer end; the other on the trailer frame ground.
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