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Old 01-17-2019, 02:52 PM   #1
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Do I need an electric brake controller for truck??

I just bought a R-Pod 180, that I will pull with my 2012 Chevy Silverado, and am wondering if I need to install an "electric brake" on my truck. The person that we bought the camper from had an electric brake installed on his tow vehicle. I have never pulled a camper before, and am hoping to get some good advice. Thanks in advance for any response.
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Old 01-17-2019, 02:54 PM   #2
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I believe you do. The connector will be a 7-pin connection and your state will likely require it for something the size of the 180.
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Old 01-17-2019, 02:58 PM   #3
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To answer your "thanks" message - it wasn't a DIY job for me, but I'm not a "car-guy". I'm the guy who still has to think, "righty tighty, lefty loosey" when I pickup a screw driver. I think having one installed on my Durango was only about $300 and that included the Prodigy brake controller.

You might have a different level of proficiency.
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Old 01-17-2019, 02:59 PM   #4
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If camper has brakes than yes you need to install a brake controller on your truck
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Old 01-17-2019, 03:14 PM   #5
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In PA, any trailer over 3000 # needs trailer brakes and a way to make them work.
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Old 01-17-2019, 07:36 PM   #6
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Depending on the model of your truck, you may be able to find a Plug in brake controller. When I had my trailblazer, I had to slice into the correct wires for the brake controller, for my 2014 Silverado there was a module I was able to plug into (had a Prodigy P3 controller on both). Both had a 7 pin adapter in back already.
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Old 01-17-2019, 08:01 PM   #7
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I have a P3 brake controller with the plug in wiring harness for a GM truck I will sell. Drop me a PM if you wish.
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Old 01-17-2019, 08:01 PM   #8
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If the trailer has electric brakes, you need a controller. Don't skimp get a good one. Most of the good ones come with or have available a cable that will connect to the wiring in your TV without any cutting. Check your TV users manual it should identify the wiring color and location.
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Old 01-18-2019, 01:51 PM   #9
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Anything over 2000lbs I would want brakes, and many have brakes because some states have laws requiring trailer have brakes and you have a way to make them work. If your trailer has brakes decent add on electric brake controllers can be had cheap and labor to install isn't that much but worth it to have a professional install them. Some vehicles have the pre-wiring to the trailer connecter already there, you just hook up the control unit, while some are prewired but you have to wire on a pigtail connector for your type of controller.
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Old 01-18-2019, 03:42 PM   #10
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Many years ago, when I was an ignorant newbie, I had a truck camper and a VW bug I was gonna tow with the rig. I had a tow bar made by a local welder and actually figured out how to connect the wires so the bug had lights. I didn't give a thought to brakes. Until we were driving down a straight mountain road in Wyoming, and I tried to slow down. I don't know what my VW weighed, but what ever it was it was enough to make the truck brakes useless. The was a cross road at the bottom of the mountain with a traffic light. All I could do was lay on the horn and flash my lights. Fortunately there was no cross traffic when I blew through the red light. I then looked for a rest room. I also never towed anything heavier than a log splitter without trailer brakes and of course, a controller.
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Old 01-18-2019, 03:43 PM   #11
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In California you need trailer brakes for all trailers of 1,500 lbs or higher. Today’s controllers are plug and play, takes 20 minutes and it doesn’t have to be mounted.
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Old 01-18-2019, 04:00 PM   #12
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I also have a nearly new P3 controller that I am planning to sell. I bought a new truck and no longer need the controller. Feel free to contact me if you want to talk.
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Old 01-18-2019, 04:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImTravis View Post
Depending on the model of your truck, you may be able to find a Plug in brake controller. When I had my trailblazer, I had to slice into the correct wires for the brake controller, for my 2014 Silverado there was a module I was able to plug into (had a Prodigy P3 controller on both). Both had a 7 pin adapter in back already.
I have one Iíll sell you that plugs into the electrical Block under the steering wheel. Used once! Upgraded my Truck. $60 and itís yours!
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Old 01-18-2019, 04:35 PM   #14
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I installed the Prodigy p3 on my 2005 Nissan Titan and it was very easy because it was also a plug and play unit. The most time consuming part was routing the wiring from the cab back to the plug at my 7 pin connector. This task was made much simpler with the ample how to videos on etrailer.com for the Prodigy. If you pose a how to question to them, I’m sure they will respond back to you with a link to a how to video for your particular truck. We had a great experience with the Prodigy P3 towing our 4800 lb travel trailer. Good luck - Rick
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Old 01-18-2019, 04:39 PM   #15
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If you're thinkig of installing it yourself (i did), ETrailer. com has videos on installation for most trucks.

The level of difficulty depends on your trucks towing option package.
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Old 01-18-2019, 04:48 PM   #16
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some are easier to install than others, check out the youtube videos and try and find your truck. I had the dealer install ours in our Durango when we bought our first TT in Oct2017, but would probably try the next one as long as it's plug and play.

edit: or what they said above, same theory
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Old 01-19-2019, 08:20 PM   #17
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Do I need A brake Controller ?

I agree with all the posts about needing to use the brakes on your trailer. Your truck definitely will not able to stop safely with the trailer behind you. Also, your Silverado should already have a factory installed controller if it has the trailer package installed. Consult your truck manual or visit a GM dealer. I am sure they would be glad to help you identify whether or not you have a controller already. No need to add on what you already have.
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Old 01-19-2019, 10:46 PM   #18
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The wires for a add-on brake controller in the Silverado is bundled and attached under the dash by the steering column. It may or may not have a plug attached. I'm pretty sure the factory installed brake controller came later than 2012. If you have one it will be on the dash and look like the attached picture. The 2 "buttons" at the top is the manual slider, the +/- is for gain adjustment. The amount of gain will be displayed on the DIC.
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Old 01-19-2019, 11:00 PM   #19
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Does your truck have the 7 pin Connector already? Many do and if it does buy the P3 that is being offered and get the wiring kit and you can have it ready to go in less than an hour. As everyone else has said, you darn sure need it.
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Old 01-21-2019, 06:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcoman60 View Post
I just bought a R-Pod 180, that I will pull with my 2012 Chevy Silverado, and am wondering if I need to install an "electric brake" on my truck. The person that we bought the camper from had an electric brake installed on his tow vehicle. I have never pulled a camper before, and am hoping to get some good advice. Thanks in advance for any response.
HELL YES. Just like the wise guys who think they can get by without a WDH and sway bar of some sort, the Electric Brakes may only matter with your big truck when you have to replace truck brakes prematurely because the trailer pushes you to every stop, and GOD FORBID, when you get in the "IT CAN NEVER HAPPEN TO ME" moment when the trailer starts oscillating behind you and then flips over. That is the Emergency moment that we all HOPE can't happen to us, but DOES happen to someone somewhere EVERYDAY. Some Trailer brakes might be the difference of flipping over, jack knifing or coming back in to control.
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