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Trailer Brake Controller Installation - 1997 Chevrolet C/K Series Pickup

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How to Install a Trailer Brake Controller on a 1997 Chevrolet C/K Series Pickup


Today on our 1997 Chevy Pickup, well be installing the Tekonsha Prodigy P2 Brake Controller, part number 90885. Now to utilize this brake controller, on some models, it will be necessary to add the Etrailer ETBC7 Brake Controller Install Kit. However, for this particular model, the manufacturer has partially run the wiring necessary to install the brake controller and 7-pole connector at the back of the vehicle, so you can utilize the brake controller. Because this one has partial wiring, were going to utilize the Hopkins 7 and 4-Pole Connector and Bracket. Along with some additional wiring will allow us to complete the manufacturers wiring to add our brake controller.To begin our install, were going to start at the rear of the vehicle. To make our install easier, were going to go ahead and lower and remove the spare tire.

Next, well locate the manufacturer wiring harness. With our spare tire out of the way, we can easily access the manufacturers wiring here on the frame rail. Lets go ahead and pull the orange and blue wire free. Orange wire will be our 12-volt constant power supply to the 7-pole, and the blue wire will be the brake controller power to our 7-pole connector. Using a utility knife, were just going to cut some of the tape free to gain access to the wiring.Now with our wires pulled, we can gain access to the 4-pole connector thats already attached to the vehicle, and the brake controller, and 12-volt hot supply.

Next, were going to remove any old electrical brackets and prepare to install the new 7-blade and 4-pole connector. Now with the old bracket hardware removed, well go ahead and set aside as it will not be reinstalled. Next, well go ahead and prepare to install the new bracket hardware. Now, the Hopkins 7-blade and 4-pole connector comes with bracket and hardware. Well go ahead and take the 7-blade bracket.On this application, using a couple of self-tapping screws, attach it directly to the bottom of the hitch.

Special note, if you have a newer hitch and its still under warranty, you may not want to drill directly into the hitch and void your warranty. In those cases, you can use the Tow Ready No-Drill Mounting Bracket, part number 18140. Note, in some applications, you may need to predrill your holes. In those applications like this one, well use our self-tapping screw to mark the center of the hole on both sides, and then drill it out. Now we have our two marks made, well go ahead and use the pilot bit and predrill our hole.

Once we get our pilot bit through, well enlarge it just enough, so that we can get our self-tapping bit started.Once we have our bracket mounted, we can go and take the 7-pole connector and secure it with the hardware provided. Well put the bolt through the 7-pole connector through the bracket and secure it with a nut on the backside. Once we have all four installed finger-tight, well go ahead and run them down. Now we may start making the wire connections. The purple wire is for reverse slight hookup that we will not be using on this application, so were going to go ahead and trim it off short. Blue wire coming from our 7-pole connector, well match it with the blue wire on the vehicle side, and the black wire from the 7-pole connector will match up with the orange wire for our 12-volt hot.The white wire with the pre-attached ring terminal will get routed to the frame, and using a self-tapping screw or a manufacturers ground will get secured to the frame for a vehicle ground, and provide the ground for our new 7-pole connector. The 4-pole connector coming out the back of our new 7-pole socket will get connected to the 4-pole harness thats already been installed on your vehicle. This particular harness has been repaired previously. We want to take out as many connection points as possible and any excess wire, so were going to go ahead and trim the wire short, cut the 4-pole off on our new connector side, and use butt connectors to secure the three matching wires, yellow, green, and brown to our 7-pole connector.Once we cut the wire short, well then go ahead and cut off some loom. Here are the three wires that well be using. Now, the two inside the manufacturers harness that well not be using, we can go ahead and cut short, and tape them up when we tape up our connection point. Well go and use blue butt connectors to secure our wires together. Now, go ahead and put the butt connectors on the vehicle side first. Then, well match color for color with the new 7-pole side. Now with those three connections made, well then take the blue wire connector to match it up with the blue wire on the vehicle side.Now, we already have a butt connector on the new 7-pole side. Well need to strip back the wiring on the vehicle side to the two wires that well be connecting to. This will be blue to blue and black to orange. Well go over here to the pickle side. Well notice a manufacturers ground point. Well go ahead and remove the ground stud. Take the white wire with the pre-attached ring terminal. Attach it to the stud, then reinstall it, grounding our new 7 and 4-pole connectors.Now with all the connections made here, we can go ahead and wrap them up with some black electrical tape to help keep our connection points clean from dirt, dust, debris, and moisture, and to help bundle up and clean up our wire look. Once we have our wires taped up, well go ahead and secure them with some zip ties. Once we have our wires secured, well go ahead and cut off the excess from the zip ties to clean up the install look. Now in these applications where we have a partial install of the 12-volt lead and brake controller power lead, well locate the manufacturers harness that comes up the firewall just below the brake booster.Here, well find where the wiring harness is taped up. Inside the tape will be the leads that we want to access. Using a utility knife, Ill carefully remove the tape so we can locate the wires. Once I get the tape cut away, we can go ahead and pull the wires free. Once we have the wires free, Ill go ahead and take the orange wire. Route it up the firewall towards the fuse box. Once we have the orange lead pulled up the firewall where we can gain access to it, well go ahead and open up the fuse relay center, pressing on the locking tab of the cover, and then removing it. Set it aside.Near the firewall side of the relay center, there are two metal studs where we can add our power wire to. These 30-amp fuses are already preinstalled for the studs. Well go ahead and wait to install it once weve got everything hooked up. Next, well then take the blue wire that we gained access to and route it inside the vehicle. Now to route through the firewall, well need to make our own hole. For this application, you can see next to the fuse box on the firewall in the insulation cover, theres a preformed circle. Were going to go ahead and use our utility knife to cut out the rest of this circle and drill out a hole installing our new Spectro Snap Bushing, part number SWC8057.Using a pilot bit, well go ahead and drill our hole, and then enlarge it to the final size of 11/16. Once we have the hole drilled, well go ahead and take the new snap busing, and put it in place. This will help protect the wiring as it goes through the firewall, so the wiring doesnt get warmed and short out onto the metal firewall. Now with my snap bushing emplaced, we can go ahead and take the blue wire, and feed it through the snap bushing into the cabin of the vehicle, following our orange wire up the firewall, and then in through the grommet. Once we have it through our hole, well go ahead and pull the excess through. So we can attach on to it, pull the wire up our brake pigtail.Now with the blue wire into the cabin of the vehicle, next were going to run power and ground for our brake controller. Well be using the Deka Jacketed 10-Gauge 2-Wire, part number 10-2-1. Were going to need approximately 6 feet. Well start by taking our wire, feeding through our snap bushing into the engine compartment. Just get it up in there, so we get a hold of it, and then pull it up to the top of the engine bay. Now with our wires emplaced for power, ground, and brake controller feed, well go ahead and prepare them. To prepare them, well strip them back.For our gray duplex cable, well need to remove some of the gray sheeting. Using a utility knife, well just remove a couple inches of sheathing by splitting it, pulling it back, and cutting it off. Then, we can go ahead and strip back the wires, and add butt connectors. We use the butt connectors supplied with the brake controller install kit. Now with those wires prepared, well go ahead and bring in the brake controller pigtail. This is supplied with the brake controller. Youll notice that it has a black wire, will match up with our black wire, white wire which will match up with our white wire and our ground, and a blue wire to match up with the brake controller feed.The red wire off the brake controller pigtail will be for brake switch signal. To locate our brake switch signal, well take our test light, find the brake switch on the vehicle, and probe the wiring until we find the lead thats only hot when the brake pedal is depressed. Now, we locate the brake switch which is on the top of the steering column bracket, and follow the manufacturers wiring down to the harness. Youll locate the wiring as it goes into the main harness. Using our test light, we can probe the wiring to verify our brake switch signal. The brake switch signal, the one thats only hot when the brake pedal is depressed. To connect to this wire, were going to use a quick-splice connector.Well feed the connector over the manufacturers wire first. Once we feed the quick-splice connector onto the manufacturers wire, well take the red wire from our brake controller pigtail, slide it into the quick-splice connector, and crimp it down. Once we have it crimped down, we can close the class. Once we have that connection made, well then go ahead and make the other three connections matching color for color. Now once we have all our connections made, well go ahead and wrap them up with some black electrical tape. Again, this will help keep them free from dirt, dust, debris, or moisture. It will also help bundle up our wires for a clean install look.Now with my wire taped up, well move over and install the brake controller bracket. Well secure the bracket here to the bottom of the dash. To secure it, were going to use a couple self-tapping screws. Now we have this secured, well go ahead and route the wire over to the bracket, and install the brake controller using the screws provided with our brake controller install kit. Well take the pigtail, plug it into the back of the brake controller, and then mount the brake controller. Now with the brake controller mounted, well go ahead and secure our wiring as necessary. Cut the excess from the zip tie to clean up our install look.Next, well take the gray duplex cable thats run into the engine compartment and map out for our power and ground will be. Well use a manufacturers stud here on the side of the fender as our ground point. Ill go ahead and take the wire, cut off the excess to make it a little easier to work with. Then, well strip back the gray sheathing back towards the firewall because the black wire is going to be shorter than the white wire. To strip it back, well go ahead and slice it carefully not to cut the wires underneath. Just cutting the gray jacketed piece. Remove the gray jacketing. Well go ahead and cut it off.Then, well take the white wire. Route it along the fender, following the manufacturers wiring harness. Well then route it to the bolt well use for our ground stud. Now, we can go ahead and strip back the wire, and add a ring terminal. Now after weve added the ring terminal, well go ahead and remove the manufacturers bolt. Install the ring terminal, and then re-secure the bolt. Next, well take the black wire. Run it to the manufacturers stud, mark it, and cut off the excess. Well then strip it back and add a ring terminal just like we did for the white wire.Now that we have our ring terminal installed, well go ahead and take the orange power wire, and put it on one of the manufacturers stud here at the fuse and relay box, and use a 10-milimeter nut to secure it. Ill go ahead and repeat the same process with the black wire inside the gray duplex cable. Once we have the nuts installed finger-tight, well go ahead and run them down. Now once weve secured the two nuts, well go ahead and secure our wiring, clean up our install look, and reinstall the fuse relay box cover. Next, well go ahead and show operation of our new brake controller.When we plug in our trailer, well get a C on the LED display showing that our trailer wiring is connected. Then when we unplug the trailer, it will show NC for no connection. Now, were ready to hit the road. That does it for the install of the Tekonsha Prodigy P2 Brake Controller, part number 90885, with our Hopkins 4 and 7-Pole Trailer Connector, part number 37185, on our 1997 Chevy Pickup. .


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