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Old 09-11-2017, 07:59 AM   #1
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Ram/Montana trailer brake issue.

took our 5th wheel in for warranty issues and when we picked it up and hooked up we had no lights brake anything, everything was working fine when we brought it in. of course they blamed the truck and after extensive testing they took it (5th wheel) to the back and "fixed " it. came out and said I should change out my plugs in the truck soon? what they heck? (truck is one year old) lights worked, brakes worked so off I go. on the way home Saturday from 2 weeks out, this message comes up on the dash "check trailer wiring" then a red trailer with slash across it. I pulled over and no brakes. I plug and unplug wiggle cord going into pin box. get into truck I have brakes. travel another 60 miles and same thing warning come up and again no brakes. do same wiggle and have brakes finally make it home. and have brakes. in my mind the truck is doing continuity checks and when its broken that sends a signal regarding trailer wiring. this tells me the truck side is working and the trailer side has issues. Im looking for ammunition to tell the dealer its not the truck. since this is has been intermediate if I get there and everything is working I know I will have a fight on my hands to have them check out. again everything was fine till they "fixed " the plug.

thanks
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Old 09-11-2017, 08:16 AM   #2
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I would take it back and have them show you what they did, one thing I started doing was have them show me what they did so if it starts acting up again I at least know and I can start there, your issue could be in the truck or 5th wheel. You can try and spread the pins out or in a little bit on the truck to see if they make a better connection.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:01 AM   #3
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What you need to do is get a multimeter the ext time it happens pull the plug and check the juice coming out at truck end,if you have juice it is definitely the trailer. Check the junction box make sure wires are tight.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:10 AM   #4
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Sounds like a potential loose or bad plug. I did have a similar issue when one of the magnets in one of the brake drums disintegrated.
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:14 AM   #5
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Are you using the stock receptacle in the bumper or a dealer/shop-installed one in the box? I only ask because... well I don't know the Ram world well, but in the VW world no one can even trust a dealer with oil changes (I'm sure there must be an exception or two, somewhere) let alone electrical excessories.
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:17 AM   #6
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>"... extensive testing they took it (5th wheel) to the back and "fixed " it. came out and said I should change out my plugs in the truck soon? what they heck?"

Spray the plug contacts (truck/trailer) with electronic degreaser.
Plug them in a few times. Then put dielectric grease on the plug contacts. (Also called tuneup grease). See if that fixes it.

Sounds like either a corrosion problem/or maybe a bad plug (trailer or truck).
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:18 AM   #7
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thanks guys for the info.
this what I found out Dodge sends a pulse through the brake pin. tested it and yep it does pulse even when brakes are not applied.
if the circuit is broken (bad wire on trailer) then the warning light comes on. this is a handy bit of info, knowing if you break a wire going down the road that you will get a message. with this info now I can have a better discussion with the RV dealer who already told me that its not the trailer but the truck. I take it in weds.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:03 PM   #8
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Mine is Ford so maybe different. I had numerous problems with the pigtail and in box receptacle. I bent the prongs in the receptacle slightly for a tighter connection then started tying the door (with the little catch) and the pigtail tightly with a gear wrap before departing. End of issues. Before I did this I lost the brakes coming down Douglas pass on rough blacktop & warped the front rotors. Good luck.
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Old 09-21-2017, 08:06 AM   #9
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Several places to think about: junction box on trailer, usually wire-nutted conns that can work loose; trailer harness to truck box connector--pins loose/wires in connectors loose unless molded ends; underframe connectors--trailer wiring to truck harness, wet or loose connections.
What specific work was done on trailer that might have affected the wiring?
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Old 09-21-2017, 08:45 AM   #10
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I've towed many different trailers with my Ram and I can say from experience that your problems are most likely on the trailer side not the truck and that there is not much worse than intermittent electrical issues.
If you can't get the dealer to seriously diagnose and fix the problem that originated at their facility and they're getting defensive the only smart way out is to go to a shop that specializes in automotive electric. There is no way in h..l for you to prove that they messed it up, been there done that with much more expensive equipment than an RV, spread the word and let it go.
However, before you take the trailer elsewhere try to do some troubleshooting yourself and inspect the wiring and connections and make sure you have a solid ground as others have already pointed out.
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Old 09-22-2017, 12:10 AM   #11
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We had similar problems and my wife seemed to be the only one who could plug the electrical in and have it work- I pressed her for her secret- she spit on the trailer plug. I sprayed contact cleaner on after that and end of our problem- at least till next spring.
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Old 09-22-2017, 01:17 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duoglide1 View Post
Mine is Ford so maybe different. I had numerous problems with the pigtail and in box receptacle. I bent the prongs in the receptacle slightly for a tighter connection then started tying the door (with the little catch) and the pigtail tightly with a gear wrap before departing. End of issues. Before I did this I lost the brakes coming down Douglas pass on rough blacktop & warped the front rotors. Good luck.
GMC here, but it uses the same feedback loop.
Like others I use spray silicone on sockets make sure they are clean. I routinely inspect the umbilical prongs, and tension them with a small screw driver or awl. Finally I secure the cord to a cargo loop in the bed so there is no tension on the plug socket. Prior to this I would get problems from wind disturbances / bumps / vehicle turning, on the socket. I use a Velcro strap or a NiteIze twisty tie.
Best of luck
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Old 09-22-2017, 05:32 AM   #13
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I was getting a similar message intermittently that would come on only while applying brakes. My problem was excessive circuit load. The brake wires were run side to side thru the axle tube. Rear one was chaffed and would short to ground on the forward movement of wire caused by stopping. Controller would reset and brakes work again til wire hit just right to short.
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Old 09-22-2017, 12:08 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by cfowler55 View Post
I was getting a similar message intermittently that would come on only while applying brakes. My problem was excessive circuit load. The brake wires were run side to side thru the axle tube. Rear one was chaffed and would short to ground on the forward movement of wire caused by stopping. Controller would reset and brakes work again til wire hit just right to short.
I've been chasing braking issues on my trailer recently. While talking to techs at Dexter and eTrailer, both mentioned checking for problems with the wire run through the axles, and recommended rerouting it to the back, outside of the axles. One of them mentioned that it was common to find such wires compromised even on brand new trailers due to damaged insulation caused by heat (eg. welding) during trailer construction . It is a mystery to me why they still run wires through the axles when these units are built.
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