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Old 05-25-2011, 04:25 AM   #1
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Electric Brake question

I drive a Suburban 1500, with which we had really no problem towing the TT home with. However, the previous owner told me that he didn't think I had an electric brake because I don't have the little box thingy inside my truck. I asked my mechanic last month if I had an electric brake and if it was ready to pull a TT. He said yes, I have one, and I should have no problem pulling my TT.

Is it possible to have an electric brake that doesn't have the box thingy mounted on the inside of the truck?

(I'm asking because if there's something to worry about, I'm all over it...lol)
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Old 05-25-2011, 05:25 AM   #2
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From what I can find it does not look like it and it may not have a prewired harness 1995 Suburban Electric Brake Controller - Car Forums and Automotive Chat
Hopefully folks with more direct knowledge will answer.
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:09 AM   #3
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If your suburban is new, 2010 or newer, then you might have a brake controller factory istalled, though you would see the manual trailer brake slider on the dash, otherwise you probably need to install one, they are pretty easy, just plug in under the dash.
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:53 AM   #4
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No you do not have one unless you or a previous owner installed one. You MUST have a brake controller installed and properly setup to tow your trailer. You will find that although state laws vary I believe all states require brakes on any trailer over about 2000 pounds. If you do not understand how or feel comfortable installing one, get your nearest RV service dealer to install one for you. Preferably get a Prodigy or better. Do not skimp on the quality. Simply not worth it.
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:59 AM   #5
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It's a 2000. I just called the mechanic again, and NOW he's saying not that he knows of. (this was through his receptionist)
I'm ready to flip since I had a whole conversation with him about it, and the trailer, and my truck being able handle it safely. I had brought the truck in for this, and the usual maintanence.

She said he'll call me, I am losing it since we leave friday, and I think now I may have to bring it in AGAIN.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:03 AM   #6
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No you do not have one unless you or a previous owner installed one. You MUST have a brake controller installed and properly setup to tow your trailer. You will find that although state laws vary I believe all states require brakes on any trailer over about 2000 pounds. If you do not understand how or feel comfortable installing one, get your nearest RV service dealer to install one for you. Preferably get a Prodigy or better. Do not skimp on the quality. Simply not worth it.
I bought the truck used, and it does have a tow package, and a plug for the trailer. Another reason I think I have one is that when we were bringing it home, the first block was really horrible, it jerked and pulled at us, and the previous owner came running after us telling us the plug came out. Once it was plugged in, it rode smoothly and stopped without any jerks or pulls.

I have to talk to this guy. He's killing me 2 days before we're leaving.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:15 AM   #7
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No controller in or under the dash with a gain control and manual lever to apply the brakes, you need to have one installed. Loose that " guy " and get a mechanic. Might look for a place that installs trailer hitches.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:36 AM   #8
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No controller in or under the dash with a gain control and manual lever to apply the brakes, you need to have one installed. Loose that " guy " and get a mechanic. Might look for a place that installs trailer hitches.
OK. Just spoke to him. He said, if I have the 7 prong plug, it was hard wired into my trucks electrical system. He specializes in vehicle electrical work. He said his truck is set up the same way, and he pulls his boat (BIIIG boat) with his truck.

I'm still nervous, so I may just bring it into the trailer place to take a look.
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:21 AM   #9
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Sounds like what he is saying is his truck will pull his boat through this seven pin connector, but typically boat trailers have a surge brake on the trailer that doesn't require a brake controller. Chances are if you don't have a control box in the cab, you won't have electric trailer brakes! The seven pin will work his turn signals,brake lights etc.
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:22 AM   #10
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Just having the 7 pin plug does not mean you have a controller.

You can ask GM (I think you said it was a GM product) if such was factory installed, they will need your VIN, or you can locate the BRAKE wire on the 7-pin and hook up a voltmeter. Then drive while your partner watches the meter, if it dances when you stop, you have a controller, if there is 12 volts on the pin at any time you have a controller. if there is no voltage, look for the wire from that pin and see if it exists or is taped (no and yes respectifully mean no controller) note that it might be taped on the under dash end.

If you have no controller,, Well a friend of mine used to be CEO of Tekonsha Engineering.
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:27 AM   #11
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If you don't have a lever to pull on the trailer brakes manually, I can't imagine how you would have trailer brakes. I use the manual lever at times when I need extra braking or to just check to make sure the trailer brakes are working.
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:29 AM   #12
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When he told you that you DO have electric brakes maybe he meant that the trailer is equipped with electric brakes. Your story of driving with plug out and then back in makes me think that you have that little box under your dash and need to get your head down under the dash and find it? or at least ask the mechanic where it might be? If you don't have one, like mentioned above, it simply plugs in under the dash and off you go.
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Old 05-25-2011, 01:09 PM   #13
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I had a 1995 Silverado 1500 with the Tow Package, so it came prewired for a Brake controller, So it sounds like you need a controller and the cable assy to go from the controller to the panel under the dash (drivers side) Don't believe it was until recently that GM supplied built in controllers. I would go anywhere until I was sure I had functioning trailer brakes.
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:31 AM   #14
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You guys rock-thank you for all the replies!! I did have electric brakes but not the Brake assist (That's the little box I come to find out!) SO, I had one put in. Took me 3 hours of waiting, but now I can sleep at night knowing we'll be safer on the road and be able to stop the trailer.

Now, what else can I worry myself about? Beer. How much is enough, and is my refrigerator cold enough to handle the chilling of the beer?
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