Troubleshooting Trailer Brakes That Intermittently Lock Up With any Brake Pressure

Question:

Gentlemen, I have the Energizer III. When initially installed in my 2004 Colorado it worked as expected. Trailer brakes performed well. Lately, the trailer brakes lock up when ANY pedal pressure is applied. Also when I actuate the manual brake on the energizer I get the same result. I know the pendulum is adjusted correctly as it is adjusted the same as when the Energizer was working correctly. Im not convinced this is a problem with the controller. Example is that I connected the same trailer to my 2014 Dodge 1500 with factory trailer brake controller. Same as with the Colorado, the brakes performed well initially and then they will lock up with the slightest pedal applied. Its bad enough that I have to disconnect the trailer plug to continue. The Dodge has a manual trailer brake as well and trailer brakes lock up with the slightest movement of the manual brake. Additionally, there are times when the brakes perform normally. Im wondering if there may be a short? Dont know a whole lot about electric brakes, so any input is greatly appreciated. Best regards,

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Expert Reply:

Sounds like the problem is on the trailer's wiring as the issue you are having has shown up with two different tow vehicles.

The most likely situation you have is that your brake light circuit is shorting out to your brake output circuit which is causing your trailer brakes to apply fully when the brakes are applied. Do you notice the brakes applying or locking up when the blinker is applying as well? If so, that blinker circuit on your trailer wiring is shorting to the brake output circuit.

Check the connector for corrosion on the front at back side of the connector, and then trace the wiring from the connector to the brake assemblies looking for any cut or exposed wire and fix as necessary.

expert reply by:
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Jameson C

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