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How to Wire Electric Brakes on a Tandem Axle Trailer  


Installing new trailer brakes on a tanden axle trailer.When wiring my understanding is that the existing 7 pole wiring can be tapped into by running a two wire 12 guage section from brake to brake and then splicing into the existing 7 ptong and attaching the blue and whiteground wires.Do i have to ground the white wire to the trailer ? Thanks


Helpful Expert Reply:

If your trailer has 7 wires running all the way back to the brakes, then yes, you can tap into the existing wiring. Each of your new brakes will have two wires for the brake magnet. One wire is for 12 volt power to the brake magnets and the other wire should be grounded either to the trailer frame or to the main trailer ground wire. It does not matter which wire is used for power or ground because they are not polarized.

If the trailer wiring is running down the left side of the trailer, then we splice the left side brake assemblies into the main electric brake power wire coming from the 7-way connector. We then run a jumper wire from the electric brake power wire to the right side brake assemblies (see photo).

I recommend using 12-gauge wire, # 12-1-1, for the jumper wire and for additional ground wire. If you want to use duplex wire, you can use part # 10-2-1.

I have attached an electric brake installation video for you to check out. The trailer in the video is a single axle trailer, but it will give you an idea on the installation process.

expert reply by:
John H
click to enlarge



Bought a tandem trailer with brakes on one axle. Axle tube has 2 wires coming out on both left and right sides. Are these suppose to be connected to the brakes on their respective sides? What is the wiring diagram? Never seen wires coming from inside axle.

Etrailer Expert

Chris R.


I have to assume the two wires coming from each side of the axle on your trailer are for electric brakes only because I'm not sure what else they would be used for. I haven't really seen that before either but there are lots of fun ways a trailer can be wired up.....Just to be sure you could try testing them with the brakes activated when hooked up to the tow vehicle to see if one gets power (one will be for power and one will be for ground on each side).

Glynn J.


@Matt the double insulated wires are generally in the hollow axle to protect them. They exit on each side. The magnet on the side with the wire harness will have a blue wire and white wire to connect to the magnet and also the wire through the axle will have a white and black wires to connect.

Mike B.


I am having a brake problem on my TT. I keep getting a message in the truck that the trailer brakes have disconnected. it is intermediate. I disconnected the blue wire and ground wire for the brakes and tested each to ground. I have continuity on the blue wire to ground with the brake ground wire disconnected. This does not seem normal to me. What is your opinion?

Etrailer Expert

Jacob H.


This sounds like you may have corrosion and/or a bad connection on the pins of your 7 way plug either on the vehicle or the trailer. I would check to make sure that the connection is not loose and that the pins are clean.

Mike B.


@JacobH I found the problem a few days later. One of the magnets had an internal short. Replaced the brake assembly, problem solved!
Etrailer Expert

Chris R.


@MikeB Yes!

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