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Old 08-30-2015, 11:20 AM   #21 (permalink)
Jeff2015
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Hi Guys,

First post on this forum. I'll keep it as short as possible.

We just drove from Indianapolis to Moab, Utah towing a 2,700 trailer with a 5,000 vehicle. Across the mountains of Colorado. I am reasonable certain that I am not exagerating to say the "check trailer wiring" warning displayed hundreds of times, if not over a thousand. To say I am pissed off if huge understatement. That warning would display and then the message "trailer connected" would generally happen immediately (sometimes after a few seconds). This could be random, or it could happen rapid fire a dozen or more times.

The truck is a 2015 3500 Duramax. We bought it new earlier this year. We made one other trip with the truck and trailer in May and had similar problems, although it was only at the end of the trip, and only a few times.

It did not start until about 3 hours into our trip. I ended up stopping. I changed the ground. I also inspected the truck side connector attachment to the harness. I inspected all of the wiring that was not in trailer conduit. I couldn't correct the problem.

We took it to a dealer in Columbia, Missouri. They were great about getting us in and having a diesel tech with trailer experience take a look. He couldn't find anything. He recommended the plug change on the trailer; but, he couldn't see anything wrong with it.

We continued driving. The problem would get worse and then better and then worse again.

Getting up on Saturday morning and continuing our trip we drove for almost 3 hours with only one warning. Then over the next 2 hours there were 3 messages. And then in Denver the warnings began again... very annoying. Part way up the mountains we got off at a rest area and I changed the trailer-side connector. I couldn't find the GM recommended plug; but, I found a new aftermaket plug at O'Reilly. It made absolutely no difference.

On a couple of different occasions I pulled the brakeaway switch pin and the reinsterted it. The system would appear okay for a short time.

The trailer is two years old. I just inspected the brakes before this trip. The magnets look good and the wire connections look good. We pulled this same trailer with a 2011 on three long trips with no connectivity issues.

Not sure where to go with this... I will take it to a local dealer here for another opinion. I was told that there is no data logged for these warnings, so there is no way to check for a fault unless it is live.

What do I need to do to disconnect the integrated controller and install an aftermarket? I'd like to eliminate the truck side connector and the harness... just not sure how to do it.

So much for a short message.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Jeff

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Old 08-30-2015, 11:35 AM   #22 (permalink)
BanksLB7Duramax
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What are you measuring for resistance across the brake and ground wire on the trailer plug? You said you "changed the ground", what did that involve? What do the connectors look like that are going to each of the axle brakes? It is happening over and over again as you are driving which leads me to believe it is a wiring problem, the wiring is jostling about as you are driving and the bad connection is making intermittent contact.

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Old 08-30-2015, 01:40 PM   #23 (permalink)
Jeff2015
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by BanksLB7Duramax View Post
What are you measuring for resistance across the brake and ground wire on the trailer plug? You said you "changed the ground", what did that involve? What do the connectors look like that are going to each of the axle brakes? It is happening over and over again as you are driving which leads me to believe it is a wiring problem, the wiring is jostling about as you are driving and the bad connection is making intermittent contact.
Thanks for the reply.

I will check the resistance this afternoon.

The copper ground wire was slightly corroded under the lug crimp. I cut the wire and attached a new lug. I also cleaned off the connection at the trailer frame, which showed good metal to metal contact before.

All of the wiring and connectors on the trailer looked good visually. There were no signs of worn insulation or bad connectors.

It doesn't make sense to me that it is a bad connection as the trailer can be driven 3 hours with only one issue. (The first day it was over 3 hours with no issues.) Then they become frequent. Then, as on Friday night, the warnings stopped for over an hour.

All of this driving was being done on similar interstates... some bumps and potholes on each of them. I really doubt this is a mechanical break in the circuit. I am wondering if there is a borderline resistor or printed circuit board problem with the controller. Possibly the truck-side connector, too.

Will post more later.

Thanks,

Jeff
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Old 08-30-2015, 02:32 PM   #24 (permalink)
gunnerpup
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Jeff,
I am having the same issues with the factory bumper insert. The after market goose neck plug I installed in my bed does not give me any problems. I believe GM dropped the ball on the design of the cover on the Chevy and GMC models. I contacted GM and asked them if they have had any complaints and the bumper connections and they told me no. This is BS because as you can see people on here are having same issues. They need to go back to the design of the 2014 models as far as I know they didn't have problems with them. My dealer check my truck (2015 GMC 2500) and trailer and couldn't find anything wrong with either. They said the issue is that the cover on the bumper opens the opposite it use to and does not put enough tension on the plug from the trailer with going down the road and hitting the bumps in the road. They also said nothing they can really do. I think they need to recall it but who am I?
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Old 08-30-2015, 04:43 PM   #25 (permalink)
Jeff2015
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Hey gunnerpup,

Quote:
Originally Posted by gunnerpup View Post
Jeff,
I am having the same issues with the factory bumper insert. The after market goose neck plug I installed in my bed does not give me any problems. I believe GM dropped the ball on the design of the cover on the Chevy and GMC models. I contacted GM and asked them if they have had any complaints and the bumper connections and they told me no. This is BS because as you can see people on here are having same issues. They need to go back to the design of the 2014 models as far as I know they didn't have problems with them. My dealer check my truck (2015 GMC 2500) and trailer and couldn't find anything wrong with either. They said the issue is that the cover on the bumper opens the opposite it use to and does not put enough tension on the plug from the trailer with going down the road and hitting the bumps in the road. They also said nothing they can really do. I think they need to recall it but who am I?
Thanks for the post. I read a post earlier today about the goose neck plug working even when the bumper plug is not working; but, I don't recall if it was yours.

I will check the resistance on the trailer brakes. I know strange things happen; however, this trailer worked fine on the 2011 HD (never a warning). I am thinking about borrowing a different trailer to see if the problem transfers. My only concern is that from the start of the trip on both days it took a while for the problem to begin.

The dealer tech told me that the wiring schematic for the trailer brake system is wrong, too. He said there was a ground wire shown for the system. He found no ground wire. He thought that maybe there was a ground built into the housing. (Now I am confused about which housing he was referring to. I will check on the service write-up.)

I don't know that anyone here can answer a specific question about the condition that causes the "check trailer wiring" warning; but, I would like to know what conditions specifically trigger that warning. What is being measured, and what is the timing of that check. Could the programming specification be too tight?

I hope more people post up... It's hard to believe others haven't experienced it.

Thanks again.

Jeff
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Old 08-30-2015, 06:00 PM   #26 (permalink)
Jeff2015
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Hey Again,

Quote:
Originally Posted by BanksLB7Duramax View Post
What are you measuring for resistance across the brake and ground wire on the trailer plug? You said you "changed the ground", what did that involve? What do the connectors look like that are going to each of the axle brakes? It is happening over and over again as you are driving which leads me to believe it is a wiring problem, the wiring is jostling about as you are driving and the bad connection is making intermittent contact.
I just checked the resistance of the brake circuit. It is 1.6 ohm.

Something I didn't mention in my original post; but, which I posted to the other reply I received, is that the tech at the Columbia Chevy dealer said that he couldn't find the ground indicated on the trailer brake control schematic he used. The ground is from the "trailer brake power control module". (He gave me the copy of the schematic.) There is an external ground shown for the module; however, he said there wasn't one on the control module. He said that the bolt connecting the module was loose. He was thinking that maybe the module was grounded by the bolt that held it in place. We were good for a while after the dealership... and then the warnings started again.

It's kind of a backwards way of going about this; but, I am thinking about running a hardwire ground from the ground terminal that I re-did on the trailer to a lug connection on the truck frame... just to make sure there is a good ground back through the connector. It would be a short term check.

Thanks again for your reply.

Jeff
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Old 08-30-2015, 06:00 PM   #27 (permalink)
Ron Nielson
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Trailer Brake Controls Description and Operation

This vehicle may be equipped with a Trailer Brake Control (TBCM) system for electric trailer brakes. The power output to the trailer brakes is based on the amount of brake pressure being applied in the vehicle's brake system. The available power output to the trailer brakes can be adjusted to a wide range of trailering situations.

Important: Connecting a trailer that is not compatible with the ITBC system may result in reduced or complete loss of trailer braking. There may be an increase in stopping distance or trailer instability which could result in personal injury or damage to your vehicle, trailer, or other property. An aftermarket controller may be available for use with trailers with surge, air or electric-over-hydraulic trailer brake systems. To determine the type of brakes on your trailer and the availability of controllers, check with your trailer manufacturer or dealer.

Important: If your vehicle is equipped with an ITBC, the blunt cuts exist, but are not connected further in the harness. If you install an aftermarket trailer brake controller, the ITBC must be disconnected. Do not power both ITBC and aftermarket controllers to control the trailer brakes at the same time.

The vehicle is equipped with the following trailer braking components:


  • Manual Trailer Brake Apply
  • Trailer Gain Adjustment
  • Trailer Brake Control Panel
  • Trailer Brake DIC Display
Manual Trailer Brake Apply

The Manual Trailer Brake Apply Lever is located on the Trailer Brake Control Panel, and is used to apply the trailer's electric brakes independent of your vehicle's brakes. This lever is used in the Trailer Gain Adjustment Procedure to properly adjust the power output to the trailer brakes. Sliding the lever to the left will apply only the trailer brakes. The power output to the trailer is indicated in the Trailer Brake Display Page in the DIC. If your vehicle's service brakes are applied while using the Manual Trailer Brake Apply Lever, the trailer output power will be the greater of the two.

The trailer and the vehicle's brake lamps will come on when either vehicle braking or manual trailer brakes are applied.

Trailer Gain Adjustment

Trailer Gain should be set for a specific trailering condition, and must be adjusted any time vehicle loading, trailer loading or road surface conditions change.

Setting the Trailer Gain properly is needed for the best trailer stopping performance. A trailer that is over-gained may result in locked trailer brakes. A trailer that is under-gained may result in not enough trailer braking. Both of these conditions may result in poorer stopping and stability of the vehicle and trailer.

After the electrical connection is made to a trailer equipped with electric brakes, the TRAILER CONNECTED message will be momentarily displayed on the DIC. The Trailer Brake Display Page will appear on the DIC showing TRAILER GAIN and OUTPUT, after all vehicle related service messages are acknowledged by the driver. The dashed lines in the TRAILER OUTPUT display signifies a disconnected trailer or TBCM fault condition, and will disappear only when the TBCM fault condition is not present.

Trailer Gain Adjustment

  • Adjust trailer gain in 0.5 step increments up to 10 gain setting by using the gain adjustment +/- buttons on the trailer brake control panel switch. Pressing and holding a gain button will cause the trailer gain to continuously increment or decrement. To turn the output to the trailer off, set the gain to zero.
  • Drive the tow vehicle and trailer combination on a level road surface representative of the towing condition, and free of traffic at approximately 32-40 km/h (20-25 mph) and fully apply the manual trailer brake apply lever mechanism located on the trailer brake control panel switch. Adjusting trailer gain at slower speeds may result in an incorrect gain setting.
  • Adjust the trailer gain to just below the threshold of trailer wheel lock-up. Important trailer wheel lock-up may not occur if towing a heavily loaded trailer. In this case, adjust the trailer gain to the highest allowable setting for the towing condition.
Important: Re-adjust trailer gain any time tow vehicle and trailer loading or road surface conditions change or if you notice trailer wheel lock-up at any time while you are towing.

Trailer Brake Control Panel

The TBCM system has a control panel with the trailer gain and manual apply switches, and is located on the instrument panel to the left of the steering column. See Instrument Panel Overview for more information on location. The control panel and switches allows you to adjust the amount of output, referred to as trailer gain, available to the electric trailer brakes and allows you to manually apply the trailer brakes. The Trailer Brake Control Panel, and switches is used along with the Trailer Brake Display Page on the DIC to adjust and display power output to the trailer brakes.

Driver Information Indicators and Messages

The following indicators are used to inform the driver of several different factors.

TRAILER CONNECTED

This message will be briefly displayed when a trailer with electric brakes is first connected to the vehicle. This message will automatically turn off in about ten seconds. The driver can also acknowledge this message before it automatically turns off

CHECK TRAILER WIRING and TRAILER NOT CONNECTED

This message will be displayed if:


  • The ITBC system first determines connection to a trailer with electric brakes, and then if the trailer harness becomes disconnected from the vehicle. If a trailer connection is made initially and the vehicle or trailer wiring connections is not correct the TRAILER NOT CONNECTED message will display during key up as if there is no trailer connected. If the TBCM trailer connection is recognized initially and the disconnect occurs while the vehicle is stationary, this message will automatically turn off in about thirty seconds. This message will also turn off if the driver acknowledges this message off or if the trailer harness is re-connected. If the disconnect occurs while the vehicle is moving, the CHECK TRAILER WIRING message will continue until the ignition is turned off. This message will also turn off if the driver acknowledges this message off or if the trailer harness is re-connected or repairs completed.
  • There is an electrical fault in the wiring to the electric trailer brakes. The CHECK TRAILER WIRING message will continue as long as there is an electrical fault in the trailer wiring. This message will also turn off if the driver acknowledges this message off. To determine if the electrical fault is on the vehicle side or trailer side of the trailer wiring harness connection, do the following:
SERVICE TRAILER BRAKE SYSTEM

This message will be displayed when there is a problem with the TBCM system. If this message persists over multiple ignition cycles there is problem with the TBCM system. Take your vehicle to an authorized GM dealer to have the TBCM system diagnosed and repaired.

TRAILER GAIN and OUTPUT Display

This display menu can be accessed by scrolling through the DIC vehicle Information menu, or any time the trailer gain +/- button is depressed, or the manual trailer brake apply lever is actuated. The trailer gain display is 0 to 10 in 0.5 step increments, and indicates the current user setting of the trailer output gain. The trailer output is 0 to 10 bars in 1 bar increments, and indicates the output power provided to the trailer brakes, relative to the gain setting.





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Old 08-30-2015, 06:30 PM   #28 (permalink)
Jeff2015
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Hi Ron,

Thanks for the information. (I read something similar from you earlier.)

I haven't searched yet; but, I will if it comes to disconnecting the onboard controller. Hopefully I can find something that shows illustrations of the connector locations.

Regarding the operation of the check trailer brake warning message, what is happening sounds like the latter case. I don't acknowledge the message and the message stating that the trailer is connected displays (most of the time very quickly), this would indicate to me that the controller sees the circuit normally. I would be interested in knowing if the controller looks for an open circuit for a particular length of time before displaying the message, and what the check values are. Not sure that's published anywhere other than with the electronics designers/manufacturers....

Thanks again for the post.

Jeff
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Old 08-30-2015, 07:22 PM   #29 (permalink)
Ron Nielson
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I don't recall exact details but the truck's TCBM is looking for specific resistance on the brake light circuits. FRom HEYMCCALL - Using a multimeter, measure the resistance between the bottom two pins on the trailer connector. Should be around 2ohm. Your are measuring the brake magnet resistance. -- If they see it, TRAILER CONNECTED, and when it's lost, CHECK TRAILER WIRING.

I have nothing definitive to support this, but I'm pretty sure the problem is with your trailer. Here's how I think about it. You plug in your trailer and it says TRAILER CONNECTED. AT this point, you know that the truck has found the wiring resistance it's looking for. You drive and after some time, you get a repeating CHECK TRAILER WIRING then TRAILER CONNECTED then CHECK TRAILER WIRING then TRAILER CONNECTED then ...it keeps going. Somewhere, from the 7-way at the back of your vehicle to the trailer's brakes, either a ground is being dropped, or a positive connection is being lost. It's just a matter of finding out where this is happening, and it's very difficult to do on your driveway or at the dealer's shop, It needs to be on the road while the problem is happening.

There have been reports about the truck's receptacle, the trailer's plug and every part involved in the braking circuit. I would check that truck/trailer connection by repeatedly inserting and removing the trailer plug, wiggle it, shake and move the trailer and truck wiring at the rear end, including the connection to the truck braking plug. Connect a separate hard wired ground between your trailer and truck to see if it's a grounding problem. Buy another truck-side receptacle (like a 5th wheel adapter) with a plug-n-play connection to the truck's brake wiring and plug the trailer into that and see if the problem is solved (this wires around the truck's existing 7-way receptacle). Intermittent problems are almost always most difficult to identify what is happening that causes the problem. Once the cause is found, the solution is mostly simple, simple, simple.
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Old 08-30-2015, 08:27 PM   #30 (permalink)
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The thread I linked above shows someone's brand new trailer with magnet wire, in the drum, issues. As for testing the truck, make the ITBC tester and leave the wires long enough to secure it in the bed. Drive around and see if the "check trailer wiring" message comes up.

The tester is a sealed beam headlamp (or 2 Brake magnets) attached to the blue and white wire terminals of a trailer plug.

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