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Open Roads Forum  >  Fifth-Wheels

 > Brake Controller failure

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7.3 psdman

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Posted: 05/05/20 07:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am having an intermittent problem with the braking system from my 2000 Ford truck to my 2009 fifth wheel.
The trailer pigtail has to be plugged in before the Pilot brand brake controller will show a red C otherwise it just shows a red dot.
While towing down the road the brake controller looks like it drops out and quits showing any connection and I lose the brakes and lights on the trailer.
The problem is that I don't know whether it is in the controller or the truck wiring or the trailer wiring.
I have a lot of time to find the problem right now if I knew where to start. I have a meter and a test light.
We hadn't towed the trailer for a few years until we took the last trip about 500 miles from home and I didn't know that I lost brakes until we took the exit off of the big highway. The campground was only a couple of miles off the highway and I noticed that the controller wasn't reading while the wife paid for the site.
Anybody know where to start looking at the problem?

7.3 psdman

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Posted: 05/05/20 08:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When we got home I hooked a battery charger up to the 5th whl. battery and when I did I found out that I had a loose connection on the red battery cable.
So after reading about another guy's problem I am wondering if the trailer battery cable failure could cause a problem because of needing power to the breakaway switch.
Could that cause the towing- braking system to fail intermittently while going down the road?

enblethen

Moses Lake, WA

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Posted: 05/05/20 08:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here is manual:Pilot brake controller manual
There is a troubleshooting guide. Looks like you will need to check all the connections starting with power and ground to controller.
Did you try the manual control lever? what happens?


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7.3 psdman

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Posted: 05/05/20 08:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks enblethen. Yes! It is working now but that could be because it is an intermittent problem. I didn't have a manual because the controller was in the truck when I bought it used. Thanks again!

joelc

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Posted: 05/05/20 08:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This won't solve your problem, but it helped me. Be sure all your connectors are clean and put some dielectric grease on them. This will help with the connection.

jdc1

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Posted: 05/05/20 08:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That problem is usually caused by the connection between the truck and trailer. The spring tension at the plug loses it's tension. I've had to use a screw driver and pry the inside of the connectors enough to get more contact. And, I now use small bungee cords to hold the connector (trailer side) tightly to the truck receptacle.

Michelle.S

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Posted: 05/05/20 09:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you are really losing the trailer lites then I would say it's not the controller, but an issue with your wiring between the truck and trailer.
Might be worth replacing the Pig Tail first, and it that does fix the problem consider replacing the receptacle on the truck.


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laknox

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Posted: 05/05/20 11:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I added a 2nd 7-pin connector in my truck bed and it's a =very= tight fit to get the trailer plug in far enough for the cap to catch the nub on the plug. If I don't get it all the way in, it doesn't take much for the plug to back out and lose connection. The bumper plug isn't quite so bad, but it can also give me problems if I'm not careful. Given that you haven't towed in a while, make sure the contacts on both plugs are clean.

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ppine

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Posted: 05/05/20 03:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The connection with the 7 pin can be loose or corroded. I spray it with lube and plug it in a few times and pull it out. Then the controller works.

7.3 psdman

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Posted: 05/05/20 04:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I made sure that the plug and truck connection were clean and lubed before we towed it home and that the cap was holding the plug in place. The plug has always fit a little loosely in the truck connection.
I have thought about changing the pigtail and the truck connection and or the brake controller but then I think that it might just be a grounding issue or a loose wire that I haven't found yet.
Social distancing is keeping me from trying to tow a different trailer with a seven point plug right now. If I did that and had the same problem at least I would know that it is a problem on the truck end of it.

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