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Trailer Brake Controller Installation - 2012 GMC Savana Van

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How to Install a Trailer Brake Controller on a 2012 GMC Savana Van


Today in our 2012 GMC Savannah van, we'll be having a look at, and installing the Tekonsha Primus IQ Trailer Brake Controller, part number TK90160. In conjunction with the etrailer ETBC7 installation kit, part number ETBC7. Here is what our brake controller looks like installed, as you can see it's a nice, simple design. Nothing overly complicated about the screen. It's a small, easy to use, easy to read display that gives us the basic information that we need to know in order to safely use our trailer brakes. When we're connected to our trailer, we'll have a C, indicating that we have a good electrical connection.

If we become disconnected, the screen will flash NC for no connection and every time we start our vehicle up, it'll flash NC if we're not connected to a trailer when it initializes its setup. Off to the right here, we have our manual override switch. Whenever we move this switch over, it gradually applies more pressure to our trailer brakes. This is a good way to bring our trailer back in line behind us if we we're to start to experience a jackknife situation. If you we're to slow the trailer down without applying your vehicle brakes, it will bring it back into line. Alternatively, when you step on your brake pedal, you can see that the trailer brakes will be applied.

On the top here, above our screen, we have a button, this is our boost level button. Each time you press it, you will increase the boost level settings. There's three settings, each one has more pressure being applied on your brakes than the next. Additionally, you can turn your boost level off. Now once this goes back to the normal screen you'll notice that instead of having two dots like we did before, we only have one.

If you have a dot next to C on the right-hand side of it, that tells you that you're in a boost mode. Finally, over here to the left, this adjuster wheel is our gain adjustment knob. We apply our trailer brake override switch here and move this knob, we can adjust how much pressure is being applied to our brakes. It's a good idea to initially set your brakes to a setting around six. This way it's right in the middle and you can adjust it as necessary for your trailer load or for your comfort level. This brake controller is a great solution if you have electric trailer brakes on your trailer, but don't have a way to utilize them if your vehicle isn't equipped with a factory brake controller.

This is a cost effective and easy solution that will control trailer brakes from one to three axles in a proportional manner, It also can be mounted in a way from where it can be mounted zero degrees, which is level in the vertical plane, all the way up to 90. That's a nice feature about it. Some brake controllers can only be mounted in a level manner. This allows you to get your brake controller where you need it. Now that we've gone over some features of our Primus IQ, we'll show you how to get it installed. Okay, our vehicle currently has our four pole flat installed on it, which is great, that's why we're using the ETBC7 kit, it'll adapt for our four pole over to a seven way, so we can use our brake controller. First thing we need to do is find a location to mount our seven way. Now since our hitch doesn't have a bracket to mount our seven way to, we're going to be using one that we have available on our website, this is a long bracket. No drilling required to install it. Installs using a clamp. It's part number 18136. We'll just stick it on top of our hitch, right in this area here. This will give us plenty of clearance so if we want to use a locking device to secure our ball mount, we'll have plenty of room to get it in and out without interfering with our seven way. Wrap your clamp around the bracket and the hitch. We'll use a 5/16ths nut driver to run down the clamp. Now our excess clamp that we have, we'll just snip it off with a pair of tin snips. Okay, now we'll install our bracket for the seven way onto our no-drill bracket that we just installed, using the provided hardware. Okay, now we'll just snug down our hardware. Now we'll take our seven pole, slide our wires through the hole, stick them over our hitch, and we'll secure it to the bracket with the provided hardware. Now we'll just snug down this hardware as well. Okay, now we're underneath, we'll plug our four pole adaptor from our seven way into our existing four pole. Then we'll run a zip tie through our wires here to help secure our connectors, you don't have to worry about it ever becoming unplugged. All right, now we're going to take some electrical tape, tape up the wires here a little bit and go onto the connector here. This will help provide us a little bit more protection from the elements. Okay, now we're going to take our ring terminal here off our white wire, this is our ground wire, and we'll attach it to our frame with the provided self-tapping screw. This purple wire here is for reverse light input signal. We're not going to be using it today, so what we're going to do is wrap it up with some electrical tape to keep debris out of the butt connector in case our customer does ever need to use it. Now, we're going to tape this and bundle it up a little bit and secure it with a zip tie. Now we'll tuck this wire up inside the frame pocket here, along with our remainder of the ground wire. We'll secure it with another zip tie up to our four pole wiring right here. Okay, that leaves us with these two wires here, the black one is our constant 12-volt power, which we'll connect to the battery. Our blue one is our input wire from our trailer brake controller, to power the electric brakes on our trailer. We'll connect both those wires to our gray duplex wire, which has two wires inside of it, and we'll run to this to the front of the vehicle. We'll take the insulation off by splitting it right down the middle with a utility knife. Pull it apart, and we'll find our two wires. Cut off the rest of the insulation here. Now we'll strip back both these wires. Okay the black wire we'll put to the black wire. The black wire is again our 12-volt power. Crimp it down. Our white wire, our brakes again, put that to the blue. Now any connection that we make, we're going to wrap in electrical tape from this point on forward. Just to help protect it from the elements, prevent corrosion and potential shorts in the future. We went ahead and put some wire loom, that's included with our ETBC7 kit, over our wires to go over the hitch to help conceal them a little bit better, and also help protect them. We just tidy things up and tucked it all up in next to our frame as best as possible. Our duplex wire, we routed through the frame a little bit, to help protect it from around our spare tire, went up and over our frame, and then we secured it on the other side all the way front to the wiring harness. It follows the parking brake cables here in this wiring harness, we just have it zip tied every few inches. Working our way front, on top of the frame, went behind this body mount here. Continue following our wiring harness. The wiring harness then comes back on the inside of the frame. We kept it as far away from the exhaust as possible, put it on the inside edge of this wiring harness, which has some protective heat shielding on it, and we continue following that up into our engine bay. Okay our duplex wire is zip tied again to that wiring harness, and we brought it up behind our steering column. Our steering column is in this sleeve right here, so we don't have to worry about the steering column itself moving. Then it's secured to this wiring harness right here, next to our power steering reservoir and our master cylinder. Just like we did on the back, we're going to separate our two wires from inside our sheathing. We'll just go down with our utility knife all the way down to the very end of our duplex. Now we'll just cut off the sheeting all the way. Now we need to mount our two circuit breakers to our fire wall. I'm just going to go right here, in this area next to our power steering reservoir. We're going to be using a 40-amp breaker and a 30-amp breaker. Well just use the provided, self-tapping screws to secure it in place. Okay, with that one started, we'll get the other one started. I'm just going to unbolt our air box here and lift it up, slide it over to the side. Now I have room to work. We have a straight shot and it goes in properly. Secure the other one. Okay, now we'll mount a 30-amp breaker right next to our 40. Okay, that's a nice secure mount for our breakers. Now we'll just put our air box back in its original position and re-secure our screws. Okay now our black wire right here, we're going to measure off how much we need to the silver terminal on our 40-amp breaker. The silver terminal is the auxiliary side, this is again our constant 12-volt power to our seven way in the back of the vehicle. Strip off some insulation here, take a small ring terminal, stick it on and crimp it into place. Going to route it behind this bracket for our power steering reservoir. Take our nut off, place the ring terminal over, re-secure the nut. We'll tighten down all these nuts at the end of our installation. Okay, now the grommet of our main wiring harness is passed through our fire wall, we're going to be inserting our white wire through an existing hole in the grommet and pulling it inside our vehicle. You can see where our white wire comes through our grommet in the fire wall now, we'll just pull it the rest of the way into our vehicle. Now I'll measure off how much white wire we need, cut off the excess. Making sure we save it because we'll be needing it again later. Now our white wire, that we trimmed off the excess of, we'll strip off some insulation, take one of our butt connectors that's included, crimp it down. We'll attach it to the blue wire on our brake controller harness. This is our brake output wire. Okay. With that done, we'll place a butt connector onto our black wire. This is how our brake controller will get power. Now we'll take a leftover segment of the black wire, that we had from our duplex wire, strip off some insulation, and attach it to our black wire. We'll run this wire through the fire wall, through the same hole as our white wire. Before we pull our black wire all the way through the fire wall, we're going to make a connection with the red wire, this goes to the cold side of our stop light switch in a typical installation, but in this vehicle there isn't one, so we're going to be making this connection to a fuse underneath the hood. We have a segment of brown wire that we had lying around, just 16-gauge wire, you can buy some on our website as part number 161-1, it's sold by the foot. You'll probably need about six feet in order to do this, so just order a quantity of six if you need to purchase any wire. Okay, with that secure, we'll just tape the other end of our wire with some electrical tape to our black wire, right here. We want to wrap this fairly tight because we're pulling it through the fire wall. All right, now I'll go pull the black wire through the fire wall. That leaves our white wire, that is our ground wire for our brake controller. Ideally you would like to hook this directly up to our battery, but in our particular application we won't be able to do that due to other after-market accessories on this vehicle. We're going to hook this up to a chasse ground instead. Put our butt connector on there, take our segment of our white wire that we have leftover. We'll combine the two. Now we'll measure off how much we're going to need in order to make contact with the chasse. Cut off the excess. Strip off the insulation, and we'll attach a ring terminal. Okay. Now our accelerator pedal here is bolted directly to our fire wall. This nut up here on the top right is 10 millimeter, we'll remove that, place a ring terminal over that stud and re-secure the nut. This will give us an ideal ground for our brake controller. Okay, now our black wire, which is the power wire for our brake controller, we'll hook it up to the auxiliary portfolio, the silver one again, on our 30-amp circuit breaker. Now our leftover segment of black wire, we're going to make a lead for each one of our breakers to hook up down to our fuse box here where it gets powered directly from our battery off this big cable. All right, now we'll measure off how much wire we're going to need to make our connection, cut off the excess. Strip back some insulation. Attach a large ring terminal, just leave that loose for now. Strip back our insulation and attach our final large ring terminal. We're going to be attaching both of ours underneath this 10 millimeter nut right here. This cable goes directly to our battery. Just tighten that nut back down, give it a few turns by hand and I'll tighten it the rest of the way. Okay, now we'll tighten up all of our nuts with our 3/8 socket. Now our vehicle has a fuse right here, this fuse is only getting power when the brake lights are applied, so this is perfect for our brown wire to attach to. Now in order to get into there, we'll remove the fuse first, and we'll be using a product that we have on our website called an add a circuit, this will go into where the fuse was originally, we'll be able to re-install the fuse that we pulled right here, so the circuit that was controlled is still protected. Then, we have a spot for a second fuse, which goes to this wire lead here, where we'll attach our brown wire. We'll first place back in the 15-amp fuse that we removed. We'll use one provided 10-amp fuses that comes with our add a circuit, put in the other fuse spot. Make sure our fuses are inserted all of the way, we'll cut off our excess brown wire. Insert it into the butt connector that's on our fuse tap and crimp it on down. Now we'll re-install the fuse. Now our fuse box lid is two pieces. Go ahead and separate them and our smaller piece here, you may need to make a notch in it for your wires to pass through, you can use a utility knife, side cutters or a rotary tool. We'll set that aside and replace the big section of our fuse box lid. Push it down into place, make sure it's secure and we'll re-install our smaller section. Just like that. Okay, now we need to find a suitable place for our brake controller. I'm just going to mark the top corners here where I want my bracket to go, that when I screw it into the dash I'll be able to have it nice and straight. Okay, so we just lined up our brake controller with the dots that we made and secured it with the provided self-tapping screws. Before we install it in the bracket, we'll plug it in, just to make it easier on us. Slide it back into our bracket, line up the holes where we want it and secure it with the self-tapping screws that come in the kit. To wrap up our installation, we went ahead and secured up all of our loose wires underneath the dash to keep away from any of our pedals, or any of our other moving parts like the steering column. We just went to existing wire harnesses or existing points of contact that will be secure and out of the way. That completes our look at, and installation of the Tekonsha Primus IQ Trailer Brake Controller, pat number TK90160 in conjunction with the etrailer, ETBC7 installation kit, part number ETBC7 on our 2012 GMC Savannah van.

Info for this part was:

Test Fit:
Joe V
Video Edited:
Zack K
Video Edited:
Andrew K
Installed by:
Jeff D
Video Edited:
Joshua S
Test Fit:
Nicholas E
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Video Edited:
Andrew L
Video Edited:
Kathleen M
Video Edited:
Mike H
Video Edited:
Dustin K
Installed by:
Cole B
Test Fit:
Shane T
Test Fit:
Alan C
Video Edited:
Sue W
Test Fit:
Randy B
Video Edited:
Chris R
Test Fit:
Jared G
Video by:
Zach D
Test Fit:
Andrew S
Test Fit:
Brent H
Test Fit:
Shane H
Test Fit:
Robert C

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