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Trailer Brake Controller Installation - 2004 Chevrolet Express Van

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How to Install a Trailer Brake Controller on a 2004 Chevrolet Express Van


Today on this 2004 Chevrolet Express Van, we're going to show you part number 90885. This is a Tekonsha Prodigy P2 Trailer Brake Controller. Now to install the brake controller, we're also going to need another part number for our seven pole connector and additional wiring that will be needed to install the brake controller. This will be ETBC7. This is what the brake controller looks like when it's installed on our vehicle. Now we have our brake controller installed into one of the optional pockets here. This is a plastic pocket, so in case you want to ever take it out and out of your way when you're not using it, pull back on the tabs and you push it out from behind and pull it out.

There's a quick release back there as well to help you take it apart, so if I pull up on this right here, and it comes apart. When we want to use it, just put it back together. Okay, let's go ahead and put it back into our pocket. First off, you can see two dots. One dot tells you that we've got power constantly going to the brake controller, which is a good thing.

The other dot is our boost setting. Our boost setting is actually controlled by this button on top here. If we press down on the button, it will just scroll through the boost settings. It's on boost one, boost two, boost three, the last setting is actually no boost. If we let it sit for a few moments, we'll only have one dot, so with only one dot here, this is our power. No dot here means there's no boost setting at all.

What happens with the, what boost does, it makes the trailer brakes a little more aggressive right off the bat and you have three levels to choose from. Then it goes to inertia mode after that, which is only no more than a couple seconds. The next part of our display that I'm going to show you is for our trailer connection. I'm going to move the manual override here. You can see it displays a NC, which means no connection for our trailer. If we go ahead and plug in a trailer, we'll get a C, that shows for a connection.

All right, with our trailer plugged in, we have a C for connection, so our brake controller knows there's a trailer back there. Back to our manual override switch, underneath here, this supplies power to the brakes manually, independent of the van brakes. If there's ever a situation where you just simply want to test the brakes, to make sure they're working and get a feel for them, how strong they are, you can use this lever or there might be some other situation that you may need it. Okay, and then we can also use this to help us adjust our total power. Let's go ahead and put our brake controller over and then there's a knob on top that we can spin. If we go forward, it'll go all the way up to twelve and then if we scroll it back towards the C, it goes to zero, so it's effectively off. Typically when you first use these guys, is that you set it to around six or so and then go out for a short drive and see if you like the way the brakes work. You may want to apply more power to the brakes, or you may want to apply less power to the brakes. That's what the gain is for. Okay, let's go ahead and put that back in the middle. All right, now we have our brake controller in a typical traditional place, where it's at a slight angle like this. This brake controller can actually be mounted in any way in a 360 degree circle. You just have to make sure it's in a straight line from the front to the back, it's always in a straight line with the vehicle. Also, you don't want it to be twisted either way. That will cover it for the features on our brake controller. Let's go ahead and show you how it installs. First off, we're going to find a location for our seven pole bracket that comes with the kit. It's pretty much personal preference. In this case, we're going to attach ours to the bottom of the bumper right here. Now we're going to attach it using some self tamping screws. Now the screws we're using don't come with the kit, but you can use any self tamping screw that you like. In this case, I'm using a self tamping screw that uses a 5/16ths nut driver. I'm just going to line it with the edge, make a mark and gear off the rest of it, then we're going to put our bracket back up and install the other screw. All right, let's go ahead and add our seven pole connector, just run our wire through the slot, put it in place and we'll use the provided hardware to attach it. Okay, we'll tighten down these screws with a flat bladed screwdriver. Now we can go ahead and start connecting wires. First off, we'll work with our four pole connector. We need this to plug into the preexisting four pole on our van. We'll go ahead and put these two together. Before I do that, I'll add some dielectric grease to it to help protect the contacts. We're using part number 11755. We're going to use some electrical tape to make a semi-permanent connection, then we'll move on to our next wires. All right, the next two wires we'll work with will be our ground wire, that'll be the white wire with the ring terminal and then our purple wire, with the butt connector. Typically, this is used for reverse light lead, depends on whether your trailer needs it or not. In this case, we're going to omit this, and not work with it. All right, let's go ahead and take our wires, route them up to where we want them. We'll go ahead and take our ground wire and we're going to attach it to this cross member right here. We're going to use the provided self tamping screw for the ground and we'll be using a 3/8ths nut driver. Okay, our next two wires we're going to work with will be the black and the blue wire. Our black wire will provide our 12 volt power supply in case there's something in our trailer that needs it and our blue wire will be output from our Prodigy P2 Brake Controller. To run these up to the front of the van, we're going to use the gray cable that comes with the kit. Okay, let's get our cable ready, we'll go ahead and cut the sheath, remove the excess, we're going to strip the wires back and make our connections. Now obviously this is not going to be color for color but we want our black to black and our white to blue. All right, next I'm going to take my gray cable and just initially start running it towards the front, just far enough where it will hold itself up and out of the way. Now the frame's nice and hollow, so we can actually take, run a large part of it inside the frame. Let's go ahead and take a moment and we'll go ahead and bundle up our electrical connections with some electrical tape, give it a little bit extra protection. Let's go ahead and take some of our wires and pull them towards the back and we'll go ahead and bundle them up and keep them secure. We'll add some of the loom material that comes with the kit to help keep our wires together behind the connection point. We'll go ahead and save the rest of it in case we have to go around sharp corners. We'll continue on bundling up our wires and I'm going to use a couple extra long zip ties to help bundle our wires to the hitch. These long zip ties do not come with the kit, but it's always a good idea to get some extra long zip ties for situations like this. We'll go ahead and cut off the tails to our zip ties and then we'll go ahead and continue on with our gray cable running it up towards the front. Now when you do this, you want to make sure you stay away from anything moving like suspension components or anything hot like exhaust. When you get to the front of the vehicle, you'll want to stay away from the steering components as well. We'll go back around the top of the frame and follow the factory wiring up to the front. Now I'm going to use a old piece of air line tubing to pull my wire up. This can be any piece of wire or a stiff material that you can use to route down there so you can pull it back up. Just remember to make sure and stay away from suspension and steering components. Let's use some electrical tape to secure our wire to our pull wire. Okay we'll head back up. It's a good idea to double check your slack, make sure you got it all pulled up. I'm going to use a zip tie to tie off this wire to the harness to help hold it up. All right, let's leave our gray cable alone for now and we'll install a couple of circuit breakers. We're going to install the 20 amp circuit breaker for our brake controller. Now it depends on how many axles you have on your trailer, one to two axles, you use a 20 amp circuit breaker. If you have a three to four axle trailer, then you probably want to use a 30 amp. Let's take one of our circuit breakers, we'll go ahead and get it started right here. We'll mount a little bit on the low side. Go ahead and install another one and we'll go ahead and overlap our circuit breakers and these screws we're using do come with the kit. I'm using a quarter inch nut driver. Now our second circuit breaker is going to be the 40 amp circuit breaker. This we'll use for our 12 volt power supply that goes out to the trailer. Now with the ETBC7 kit you have three circuit breakers, you only use two out of the three. Let's go ahead and turn our attention to the gray cable once again. Our black wire in the cable here needs to go through our 40 amp circuit breaker and then down to our power supply, which will be at the fuse box. We'll go ahead and route our wire over to our 40 amp circuit breaker and then down to our power supply which will be with the fuse panel here. We'll go ahead and measure up how much wire we need, maybe add a little bit extra and then also we need to take into consideration that the white wire inside the cable needs to go to the inside towards the brake controller. You probably want to add a little bit more length to that so we have enough room to go to the inside. Once we know how much wire we want, we'll go ahead and cut it in half. Now our excess wire we're going to need for the brake controller itself, so we'll save this for use in a little bit. I'm going to take a few moments to go ahead and separate our two wires so that the circuit breaker, they'll go their separate ways. Okay, I'm going to go ahead and take my white wire and just put it out of the way for now. We'll concentrate on our black wire for our 12 volt power supply. We're going to route this over to the 40 amp circuit breaker where we'll cut it and put a couple small ring terminals in each end and then go ahead and connect to our circuit breaker. Let's go ahead and make our connections to our circuit breakers. Now the wire going to our copper post here always goes to our 12 volt power supply and then our accessory, in this case the seven pole connector, will go to a silver post. Okay, we'll tighten these down with a 3/8ths socket. All right, now let's go ahead and get access to our power supply. That should be located right here. We'll go ahead and work the cover loose. This can be a tight fit, so you have to work it back and forth and wiggle it off. All right, now for our power, we're going to use this post right here. Route our wire down to it, cut off the excess and then add a large ring terminal to it. Okay, we're finished with this circuit aside from connecting it to our power supply, but I like to save this for the last connection we make. Okay, let's leave this alone. Let's just go ahead and just route it down there for now. All right, now the white wire has to go to the inside of the vehicle towards the blue wire on our brake controller. To do that, we're going to make a hole in the grommet. We're actually going to follow another after market wire that was successfully ran through the boot here through the steering column. Okay, now let's go underneath the dash and find the white wire and pull it through. Let's go ahead and peel up the boot here on the inside and look for our wire. Okay, now I'm not a big fan of running it through here but as long as we're careful we can go ahead and secure the wire and keep it out of harms way. Now we won't need this wire until we hook it up to our brake controller, so this can stay out of the way for now too. All right, next we'll go ahead and work with our power wires that are needed for the brake controller. This is the rest of our cable here, and we'll go ahead and route it from our power supply to our 20 amp circuit breaker and then inside the vehicle. We'll go ahead and cut our wire to length one more time, or we'll go ahead and measure up the first one and we'll go ahead and split it apart as well, because our white wire will go to the ground in the engine compartment. All right, same thing as before with our black wire, we'll go ahead and connect our ring terminals that go to the circuit breaker. All right, the other end of the wire will get the same small ring terminal. Go ahead and connect up to our circuit breaker, remember if it's from our 12 volt power will go to the copper post first. Okay, then now to our accessory will be a silver post, in this case the accessory will be the brake controller. Let's go ahead and tighten down our ring terminals. The other end of our black wire will get another large ring terminal that will go to our 12 volt power supply. All right, now our white wire for ground, we'll put the last large ring terminal on it. We'll go ahead and connect this guy to the factory ground located on the side over here. All right, now this little wire deflector, I'm going to temporarily remove to make things a little bit easier to get to. We'll pop this back in place when we're done. Here's our ground and we'll go ahead and remove it with a 10 millimeter socket. All right, now we'll go ahead and take our cable here and we'll go ahead and route that to the inside as well, just like we did with our first white wire. All right, let's go ahead and get our wires here and let's get them where we can work with them. We'll go ahead and even them up and then we can start making our connections to our brake controller. All right, let's peel back some of the gray sheath here. This is the wire harness that comes with the Prodigy P2 Brake Controller. This end plugs into the back of it. This end we need to hard wire to our new wires. Right now, we're only using three of the four. We'll save the red one for last. We'll go ahead and hook up our blue wire to our single white wire, because remember that went to blue on our seven pole connector. The other two will be color for color. Let's go ahead and make our connections. We'll use the butt connectors that came with the ETBC7 kit. Now our red wire needs to get signal from the cold side of the brake switch, so that means when we hit the brake pedal, it means we get power going through this wire, but we'll go to the switch on the brake pedal and look for the cold side. This is our brake switch right here, so we'll follow the wires down to where it's a little bit easier access to them, get access to our wires. Now ETBC7 kit does come with a simple light tester, but to make things a little bit easier to see, I'll just use a different one. We'll go ahead and test our wire here and we'll look for our brake signal. All right, so it looks like an all white wire is the wire we need to connect up to. To make our connection to this wire, we're going to use a quick splice connector that comes with the kit, add our red wire, that'll go right next to it, using some pliers we'll squeeze the metal clip which will make a connection between the two. All right, let's take a break from the wires and we'll go ahead and install our pocket for our brake controller. Now this is personal preference, but the traditional location is down here at the bottom on the right hand side. We'll take the sheet metal screw and with a Phillips head screwdriver, we'll go ahead and run it into the plastic. With the first screw holding it in place, we'll make any adjustments. We want the bracket in a straight line with the vehicle. You don't want it like this or like this, but as straight as possible. All right, then once we're satisfied with the placement, we'll go ahead and install our second screw. All right, let's go ahead and take our wire harness, plug it in the back of our brake controller and put our brake controller into our pocket. Now all we need to do, is go ahead and connect our power supply up and then we can verify to make sure that everything works. For our power supply, we're going to use this stud right here. Basically we're using the stud that has the cable coming directly off the battery. All right, so we'll go ahead and loosen that nut and we'll go ahead and install our two ring terminals. Go ahead and remove that accessory wire and we'll go ahead and remove the second nut. I think we'll stack everything underneath that nut. We're using a 10 millimeter socket for this. Let's go ahead and put our cap back into place. With everything electrically connected now, we can go ahead and check out the brake controller to make sure it's working. We can see we've got two dots, so that means we've got power going to the brake controller. One dot shows that we've got power and the other dot is for our boost settings. All right, for our next step, we're going to have to hook up the trailer and it should say C for connection, so that tells us we have a connection from our blue wire to our trailer. Now let's check our brake pedal signal, so you can see we have numbers show up, so that means every time we push our brake pedal, we've got numbers, that means we've got signal from our brake pedal. Everything's working in this initial test, we'll go ahead and take a few moments to go ahead and bundle up our wires, maybe use some leftover loom material to help bundle these wires up behind the brake controller and we'll zip tie our wires as needed underneath the dash and underneath the hood. Okay, with that, that'll finish it for the Tekonsha Prodigy P2 Trailer Brake Controller, part number 90885 on our 2004 Chevrolet Express Van. .


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