Trailer Brake Controller Installation - 2003 Chevrolet Express Van

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How to Install a Trailer Brake Controller on a 2003 Chevrolet Express Van


Today we have a 2003 Chevy Express 2500 and we're going to be installing an ETBC7 Kit, part number ETBC7, as well as our Prodigy P2 Brake Controller, part number 90885. The first thing we need to do is mount our bracket. We've positioned our bracket and marked a couple of holes here with a paint marker. We'll take a couple of self-tapping screws and attach our bracket. With our seven-way bracket installed, we're ready to mount our actual seven-way. We'll feed the loose wires up and over the hitch and put the seven-way into the bracket.

Next we'll take the four bolts and feed them through. On the back of the bolts, we'll use these locking nuts to secure them. We're going to take our wire leads and wrap them with some electrical tape to help keep them together and protected. Once we've wrapped up our pigtail leads off our seven-way, we'll feed them back up and over the bumper, we'll take our pre-existing four pole connecter and connect it to our four-pole style lead coming off the ETBC7 Kit. We'll connect them together, then we'll run a zip tie around the two to hold them tight and run some electrical tape around the joint to help seal it up.

We can also cut off our old four pole connector cover as we wont be needed it any longer. We're going to attach our ground into the frame of the van, so first we're going to drill a hole for our self-tapping screw to run into. We'll take our wire, run it inside our frame, and back out this access hole here, and we'll just tuck the rest of the wire into the frame to keep it protected and out of the way. Before we attach our ground, we're going to cover up our purple lead with electrical tape. The purple lead is for the reverse lights which we don't need in our application.

We'll take our self-tapper and run it in. The last thing we need to do is run our blue and our black wires forward. We've taken our duplex wire which strip backs over the external gray shielding and we've stripped our wire ends. We're going to match them black to black with the lead coming off of our seven pole and we'll go white to blue just so that we know what we've got when we get up front. With our connections made, we're going to go ahead and wrap joints with some electrical tape to secure them and again help keep them protected.

Now we can go ahead and run our wires. Running the wire inside our frame not only gives us a cleaner look for our install it will also serve to protect our wire. Remember, when running the wires up to the front of your vehicle, you want to avoid moving components such as suspension or steering that could end up pinching your wire. You also want to avoid hot areas that can end up melting the wires insulation like the exhaust. Next we're going to use a couple of these wire clamps to secure our wire on the other side of the frame where we weren't able to run inside. At this point, w'ere ready to run our wire up into our engine bay where we can make a connection for our batter and we can also run through the firewall into the cab for our connection for our brake controller. We're going to secure it two piece of factory wire loom to make sure it stays in place. At this point, what we need to do is strip our duplex jacketing all the way back. We'll take our black power wire and run it over to the passenger side, so we can make our connection at the battery. Next we're going to take one of our circuit breakers that came in the kit, the 40 amp, and we're going to attach it on the inside fender wall lining inside our engine bay. We'll use a couple of self-tapping screws that came in the kit to secure it. With our circuit breaker mounted, we can go ahead and finish our electrical connections. Again, we'll connect the wire that goes back to our seven-way to the silver post on our circuit breaker. Now, we'll get a socket wrench and tighten that connection all the way down. Next we'll take another piece of wire that were going to run from the copper-colored terminal on our circuit breaker to the positive post on our battery. We'll run our wire over and cut it off to make sure we had just enough to get to our battery terminal. We'll take one of the larger ring terminals that came in the kit and connect that to the other end. For this application, we're going to need to use a batter post extender like the one from Deca, part number DW05416. We'll take the original battery stud and push it out of the cables. Now we'll take our battery post extender, run it through the factory battery cables, and tighten it down with a wrench. We'll take our ring terminal and cut it so we can fit it over our new post. Thread on our knot and then tighten it down. Now we're ready to move on to installing our brake controllers. We're over here on the driver side and up against the fender wall, you can see a large rubber grommet that's covering up a hole. We're going to run our wires through there to access our brake controller inside the cab of the truck. We're inside the cab, and over here against the driver side fender wall with the small hole made, we've got a screwdriver pushed to a rubber grommet. We're going to take our fish tape and push it through the whole alongside our screwdriver so that later we can pull our wire down that we left wrapped up inside the engine bay. We're going to mount the brake controller right in this area. There's a sheet of plastic here that makes a part of the dash and behind it is a Styrofoam block. Make sure you check behind you're not going to run into any wiring when you run your screws. You can either use the included screws or we'll use the set of self-tapping screws to secure our mounting bracket. With our mounting bracket in place, we can go ahead and attach our brake controller. We'll go ahead and take the pigtail lead and snap it into place in the back. Now we can put our brake controller up into place and mount it with the included screws. Now we're ready to head back out to the engine bay and run our wires from the bay back into the cab of the vehicle. This is our fish tape that we ran through from the grommet inside the cab of the vehicle. We'll use this fish tape to pull in the white wire that we bundled up previously. We also need to run another wire into the cab of our vehicle. And for this, we'll need to pull an extra length of wire. This wire needs to run across to our batter to supply power to the brake controller. It looks like we've got enough wire, so we'll secure it with another zip tie and then well be ready to pull our wires into the cab of the truck. You might want to get a second set of hands to pull your fish tape inside, so you can feed the wires from the above and make sure you don't get any tangles. Now, we'll take the wires that we fished in from the engine bay and secure them on some mounting points or some factory harnesses that we have below the dash. We're going to cut our black and our blue wires of the brake controller pigtail to make our connections to the wires we just pulled in. And we'll cut the white wire and the black wire that we pulled in, and we'll start stripping them back to make our connections. This black wire, we just ran over to our battery, and that will be our 12 volt power that feeds the brake controller. We'll connect that to the black wire coming off the brake controller. Our white wire that we pulled earlier is our brake controller feed. It goes all the way back to the seven-way and it's what operates the brakes on your trailer. The white wire that we pulled up from the vehicle is going to go to the blue wire on our brake controller. The white wire on our brake controller is a ground wire, so we'll run it back later, find an acceptable ground position and attach it. Finally, the red wire is our brake signal. We'll connect this to the brake switch up at the top of the brake pedal, so that the controller knows when your foot is applying the brakes. And we'll use this grounding point right here for the ground of our brake controller. Finally, we need to find our brake switch. We'll check our wires to figure out which line becomes active when we depress the brake pedal. All right, here's the white wire up above our pedal. Now, we can connect our red wire from our brake controller, bundle up our wires, and then we can move back to the engine bay to make our final connections with the battery. We'll take a quick splice connector and slip it over the white wire that we found our brake signal on. We'll then fit the red wire of our brake controller and on the other side, the quick splice. We'll take a pair of flyers and creep it down, and then we'll close the latch. Now, we're ready to move in to the engine bay and make our final connection to the battery. We're going to reuse one of the eight-grain points for the previous circuit breaker. Go to the silver post on our circuit breaker. Now we need to make one last final lead to go from the circuit breaker to the positive terminal on our battery. Again, we'll notch this one out to make sort of a spade connector, thread the nut on, and tighten it down. And with that, our brake controllers installed and ready to use. And that does it for our installation of the Seven-Way Brake Controller Kit, part number ETBC7, as well as our Prodigy P2 Brake Controller, part number 90885.


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