Trailer Brake Controller Installation - 2016 Chevrolet Express Van

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How to Install a Trailer Brake Controller on a 2016 Chevrolet Express Van


Today on our 2016 Chevrolet Express we'll be installing the Tekonsha Prodigy P2 Trailer Brake Controller, part number 90885. To ease our installation, we'll be using the ETBC7 kit. The Tekonsha Prodigy P2 is a truly proportional brake controller, which allow us to control from one to four axles of electric trailer brakes. By being truly proportional it'll apply the brakes on your trailer in direct proportion to the amount that your towing vehicle's slowing down. If you're going down a hill you don't have to worry about false triggers being activated because the brake controller is not activated at all until you apply the brakes in your vehicle. When you apply the brakes it shows how much power is going to your trailer brakes. Now, as you hold the brakes for awhile it dials down the power so you don't have to worry about your magnetics on your trailer brakes becoming overheated and shorting out.

We have a nice, easy to read blue display right here. We have our manual override selector here to manually select our trailer brakes. We have our gain adjustment knob to the side here. You can dial up to 11, or go all the way to zero. We're leaving it here at six.

That's about right in the middle. That's a good place to start when you're first driving your trailer. Now our brake controller also features three boost level settings, which is controlled by this button over to the right. Press it once you get boost level one, boost level two, and boost level three. What these boost level settings do is gradually increase the amount of brakes that are being applied to your trailer as you go up on the levels. First thing we need to do is find our 4-pole flat that's on our vehicle in the back, and we'll cut off the connector.

We'll take our 7-way here and we'll cut off the 4-pole flat plug on it as well. We'll strip off some of the wire from these three wires here. Route them underneath our hitch inaudible 00:02:02, and we'll strip off the wire here, four wires from our vehicle 4-pole flat. Now we'll take some heat shrink butt connectors that we have available on our website, and we'll stick them onto our wires from our 4-pole flat that we're on the vehicle. We'll crimp those down.

Make sure these are all secure. The white wire is our ground wire. Just combine it into the ground wire that was off our 4-pole flat already. Cut off the excess. Let's jerk off some of the insulation from it too. Stick our butt connector over it, and we'll crimp it down. Then we'll stick it to the white wire, off our 4-pole flat that we had originally. Make sure that's secure. It is. We'll now take a heat gun and heat shrink all of our connectors. We'll take our wires now and pull them the rest of the way through our hitch here. Now we'll take a short, no-drill bracket that just clamps onto the hitch, using a clamp. We have these available on our website. Stick it right here over our hitch and secure the clamp. Take the end of the clamp here and we'll clamp it up there so it's out of the way. We'll take our bracket for the 7-pole and we'll attach it to the short bracket here that we added with the provided screws that comes with the bracket. We'll hold a nut in place while we tighten the screw up with a screwdriver. Do the other one too. We slid our 7-pole adapter onto that bracket and we'll screw it in with the included hardware. We have four flat head screws and four nuts. Place the screw through first, screw our nut onto the back side. Get one started, and hold in position. I'll hold the nut in place with a wrench while I tighten down the screws. With that in place, we now have a 7-way RV connection and 4-pole flat in the back of our van. Our purple wire we're not going to be using here today, so we're just going to tape off the electrical connector on it so it doesn't get any dirt, debris, or moisture in it. Now we'll take one end of the duplex wire that comes with our kit, take a utility knife here, go right down the middle. I'll separate our two wires that are insulated separately inside of it. We'll cut off this gray cover. Now we have access to the two wires, we need to make our connections with in the back. Strip off the insulation from both wires. We'll connect the black wire to the black. This provide our 7-way connector with constant 12 volt power. Crimp that down. The white wire will go to the blue wire. This is for the brake output signal for our trailer brakes from our brake controller. Now we have them both crimped, we'll wrap them in some electrical tape. Now we need to route our other end of our gray duplex cable up into our engine bay of the vehicle, making sure we avoid any sources of heat or moving parts. I'm going to go ahead and do that now, and I'll show you how I did it once I'm done. We secured all the wires up here with some zip ties. Trim up the excess. Went through the gap in our hitch, around, secured our duplex wire to this bracket off a body mount in the rear. We went behind our leaf spring hanger here, and we secured it up to a wiring harness alongside the frame with several zip ties. We continue following that wiring harness around the frame, behind this body mount here, underneath our filler neck for our gas tank. Just secured it along this wiring harness as far as necessary. Another zip tie here. One here. Around the body mount again where we come out right behind our wheel. Now we'll drop down a pull wire from our engine bay. I'm just using an old piece of air line tubing. You can use a coat hanger. Something that's somewhat rigid but yet still flexible. Just drop it on down here. We'll pull it out from the bottom. Here's where our pull wire came down. We'll just tape the end of our duplex wire to it and we can pull it inside our engine bay. Just pull it on up. Make sure we get it all. Make sure it's not touching anything hot, or anything that's going to move. We'll secure it to these brackets here with a zip tie so it don't fall down. Now just like we did on the back end, we'll separate our wire here by cutting off the sheathing. Now that we have that separated all the way, we'll cut off the gray covering that was covering it up. We need to find a place to run them through the fire wall. This black grommet right here, this side of this main wiring harness will be perfect. We'll just grab it and remove it. Now right behind our parking brake pedal, to the driver side left of this main wiring harness grommet, you can see where the hole is right here. I'll pass our white wire through the hole in the fire wall. Pull that in all the way. We're going to be mounting our brake controller on the right side of our steering wheel in the bottom on the dash, so we'll measure off how much white wire we're going to need, and cut off the excess. Strip off some insulation, place one of the yellow butt connectors that come in our ETBC7 kit onto it. Crimp it on down. Take our blue wire here, off our brake controller harness. Strip off some insulation from it and crimp this on down now too. All right, great. We'll take the other end of our white wire that we cut off here, and we'll strip back some insulation. Take another one of our yellow butt connectors, stick it on there, crimp it on down. Take the white wire off our harness. This is the ground. Strip off a little bit more insulation than we need, since this is a smaller gauge wire. Fold it in half, stick it inside our butt connector, and crimp it down. Make sure that's secure. The other end we can pass through our fire wall to that grommet. We'll grab that from the other side and pull it through. Make sure we leave enough wire inside our vehicle to make our connection. Right here is a good chassis ground. We'll be making our connection there with this wire. Measure off how much wire we need. Cut off the excess. Strip back some of the insulation and we'll tap one of our large ring terminals from our ETBC7 kit. We'll take a 10mm socket and remove that bolt there. We'll stick the bolt we removed on the ring terminal and reinstall it. That will give us a nice, solid ground. Now we'll mount our circuit breakers to the fire wall of our vehicle. I'll be using a 40 amp. The 40 amp is for the constant 12 volt power on the back. We'll just come in here with a self-taping screw that's provided. Mount our 30 amp right to the side of it. Our black wire that we routed from the back to the front inside our duplex wire, this is what powers the constant 12 volt at the back of our 7-way. Now we're going to hook this up to our 40 amp breaker, which is this one, on the auxiliary side, which is the silver, which is the top part here. Measure off how much wire we're going to need, and cut off the excess, making sure we keep it because we will need it for other connections. I'll do our nut here and now we'll attach one of our small ring terminals onto this wire, and we'll crimp it on down. Install it over the stud on a breaker, then install our nut. Now we'll strip off the end of our black wire that we had left over, and we'll crimp on another one of our small, yellow ring terminals to it. This side, we'll go to the auxiliary port of our 30 amp breaker. This is what's going to power our brake controller inside the vehicle. We'll run that wire through the firewall too, like we did the other ones. All right, I'm going to go pull that on through from the inside. Cut off the excess part inaudible 00:13:18. Set it aside, we might need it. Strip off the insulation here, attach our butt connector, crimp it down. Take our black wire from our brake controller harness, strip off some insulation on it. Now we'll insert our black wire from our harness in the butt connector, and we'll crimp it down. That leaves us with the red wire, which is for the cold side of our brake light switch, for our brake controller. Now this particular model vehicle doesn't have a cold side of the brake light switch, so we have to tap it into a fuse underneath the hood, so we'll extend this wire out and run it on out. I found a segment of red wire laying around, so I'll strip off some insulation. We'll use a blue butt connector. We have to provide this. We have these available for purchase on the website too. Strip off the end of insulation from our harness here. Connect the two wires together. I'll route this wire out a fire wall now. I'll just pull this on through making sure we leave enough slack inside. We'll be attaching this to a fuse in our fuse box, which is right here. We'll just remove the lid and pull it on out of the way. The very bottom row towards the front of our vehicle, the third fuse over the from the left. This one right here. It's a blue 15 amp. This is what controls our brake lights. This fuse only has power going through it when we step on the brake pedal. That's exactly what the cold side of the brake switch is, so this is where we're going to tap in. I'll remove this fuse and we'll keep it. Here's what we'll be using in order to tap into that. This goes into our fuse box here. You still have the ability to put a fuse in where this went, so we'll put the 15 amp fuse here on the bottom. We have these fuse taps available on our website for purchase. Now this lead off here will connect to our red wire inside. We need to install a fuse there though so it has a current pass through it. Let's install a 10 amp fuse. The fuse tap does come with a couple of fuses for you to do that. We'll just take our fuse tap here, push it back into our fuse holder, just like that. We'll take our red wire, and we'll route it over that direction. We'll cut off the excess, strip off some insulation now, and we'll crimp it down. Now we have two more connections to make in order to power our circuit breakers. We need to connect these to a positive source. Normally they go directly to your battery, but this vehicle has a battery that's on the other side of the vehicle, and is a side post battery versus a top post, we're just going to go down here. We can make our connection there and it'll be fine. Now we'll take a segment of our black wire that we have left over, strip off some insulation, and we'll attach a small ring terminal to. We'll crimp it on down and go to one of our breakers, it doesn't matter which one. We'll measure off about how much wire we need to go down there to make our connection at the fuse box. Cut off the excess. Now we take one of our large ring terminals, place it on the end of the wire, and we'll crimp it down. We'll do the same for our other circuit breaker right now. Measuring out how much we need based upon that wire. Now we'll take a 10mm socket and we'll remove the nut from right here. Set that side. We'll place on our two ring terminals here. Now we can tighten down all our nuts on our breakers. We'll take a 10mm socket now and tighten down these nuts. With all of our connections made underneath the hood we install our fuse box cover here. Now we'll bundle up the rest of our wiring underneath our dash so it won't get in the way of our feet while we're driving. Let's cut off our excess zip ties so they don't tickle our feet while we're driving. Now we'll mount our bracket to our dash with provided hardware. With both of our screws secured, take our wiring harness here, stick it on through, and we'll plug it in the back of our brake controller. We'll slide that controller down into the holster, and we have a nice, solid mount for the brake controller now. We have our brake controller installed and plugged in, now go back underneath our hood and reinstall our grommet. Take our grommet here, cut a notch in it. Once you have a notch we'll tee it off. This will give us room for our wires to slide through. Take our grommet and we'll push it back into the fire wall. With that pushed back into place, we want to be able to see around it. Just push that one in there and make sure it seals up with the wires in there and where the cut is. With a trailer simulator plugged in you can see we have a C showing here, which means we have a connection to our trailer. When there's no trailer connected it'll say NC. Now we're going to test all our functions and make sure they work on our inaudible 00:19:29. We got battery voltage going to it for the constant 12 volt. We'll turn our lights on. We got working clearance lights. Left turn signal. Right turn signal, and we got brakes. We'll double check and make sure our brake controller is working properly. We'll slide the manual override over on the controller, and we see we have power output going to our trailer brakes. That completes our look at the Tekonsha Prodigy P2 Trailer Brake Controller, part number 90885, on our 2016 Chevrolet Express.


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