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Brake Controller Installation for 2007 (New Body Style) - 2013 GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado

When you install a brake controller on a 2007(new body style) through 2013 GMC Sierra or Chevy Silverado, you will have additional wires under the hood which make the installation slightly different from a typical installation. The following will take you through step-by-step through this installation process. Before installation begins, you will need 3 components:
  • Brake Controller
  • Brake controller adapter - Draw-Tite #20127 or Tekonsha #7894 Note: Adapters are only required for brake controllers with a quick disconnect feature. Brake controllers with wires attached do not need an adapter.
  • 7-way replacement adapter (unless already installed from the factory)

Installing the 7-Way Replacement Socket (PK11916)

If your vehicle already has a 7-way trailer connector, skip ahead to "Connecting the Brake Controller Adapter (20127) to the Factory-Installed Tow Package."
1. Begin at the rear of the vehicle, behind the bumper. Unplug the round 7-pole factory-installed plug that leads to the outside of the bumper. In the image below, the 7-pole factory-installed plug has been removed from inside the rear bumper.
Image: 7-Pole Factory Plug Removed from Inside Rear Bumper
2. Move around to the outside of the bumper. Remove the square knockout panel, located to the left of the license plate. The images below show the square panel prior to and after removal.
Square knockout panel prior to removal
Square knockout panel removed
3. With the square knockout panel removed, slide the 7-way replacement socket (PK11916) into the knockout hole. Line up the notches on the replacement socket with the notches in the knockout hole. Then rotate the replacement socket clockwise, locking it in place.
Rotate the 7-way replacement socket clockwise
7-way replacement socket fully secured in knockout hole.
4. Return to the area behind the bumper. Insert the round 7-pole factory-installed plug (removed in step 1) into the 7-way replacement socket (installed in step 3).
Factory plug inserted into 7-way replacement socket
NOTE: It's always a good idea to use dielectric grease to help seal electrical connections. Water intrusion of the 7-way connector can cause shorts and corrosion in the wiring. In particular, shorting of the brake controller blue power wire may set off warning codes in the brake controller. Dielectric grease will keep moisture from compromising these connections.

Connecting the Brake Controller Adapter (20127) to the Factory-Installed Tow Package

For brake controllers without the quick disconnect feature, no adapter is necessary. If your brake controller has wires already attached to the back, skip ahead to "Mounting the Brake Controller (Draw-Tite Activator III - 5520)".
1. Below the steering column, there is a bundle of wires tied together with white tape, located left of the brake pedal. This bundle of wires is the tow package for the brake controller. Carefully cut the white tape binding the wires, and pull the wires down from underneath the steering column.
Tow package wires bound by white tape
Tow package wires bound by white tape
Tow package wires pulled beneath steering column
Tow package wires pulled beneath steering column
2. Connect the four wires on the brake controller adapter (20127) to the tow package wires. Follow the table below to connect the tow package wires and adapter wires using butt connectors.
Tow Package WireBrake Controller Adapter
RedBlack
Dark BlueBlue
Light Blue or OrangeRed
WhiteWhite
3. Using electrical tape, bind the wires together.
Tow package wires bound with electrical tape

Mounting the Brake Controller (Draw-Tite Activator III - 5520)

1. Choose an appropriate mounting location for the brake controller mounting bracket. A typical location is the lower right side of the dash, which allows easy access to the brake controller in the event of an emergency braking. 2. Using the screws provided, mount the mounting bracket into the dash. Make sure to avoid drilling through various components on the other side of the dash. 3. Using the screws provided, secure the brake controller into the mounting bracket.
Brake controller secured into mounting bracket on lower right side of dash
Brake controller on lower right side of dash near brake and gas pedals
4. Plug the adapter (20127) into the back of the brake controller (5520).
Red light indicating brake controller is connected to adapter
5. With the brake controller mounted and connected, zip tie any loose, excess wires underneath the dash. Do not allow the wires to interfere with the brake and gas pedals, and keep them away from areas of excessive heat.

Finalizing Connections for the Brake Controller

1. Under the hood, remove the cover for the power distribution box, located on the driver's side.
Power distribution box for brake controller
2. The ring terminal for brake controller power is located directly to the right of the power distribution box. It is taped to a wire harness between the driver-side front fender and the power distribution box. Cut the tape to release it from the harness. Then run the wire to the front of the power distribution box and hook the ring on the left post (M6 stud).
Power distribution box on the driver side (cover removed)
Brake controller power wire run to power distribution box
3. The ring terminal for the 12-volt power lead for the 7-way trailer connector is located to the left of the power distribution box. It is taped to a wire harness under the power brake booster. Cut the tape to release it from the harness. Then run the wire to the front of the power distribution box and hook the ring on the right post (M8 stud).
Ring terminal for 12-volt power lead
4. Tighten the ring terminals onto the posts using nuts (M6 and M8 nuts available separately).5. Activate the brake controller power post by inserting an automotive style 30-amp fuse into the correct slot in the power distribution box. 6. Activate the 12-volt power lead post by inserting an automotive style 40-amp fuse into the correct slot in the power distribution box. NOTE: Most vehicles are already equipped with the fuses listed in steps 5 and 6. However, if your vehicle does not have one or both fuses, you will need to insert your own fuses. 7. Place the cover back onto the power distribution box, and close the hood. NOTE: Most vehicles are already equipped with the fuses listed in steps 5 and 6. However, if your vehicle does not have one or both fuses, you will need to insert your own fuses.

Questions and Comments about this Article

Joseph G.

Your instructions are absolutely the best instructions that I have ever found when searching for "how to do" instructions. THANK YOU!

Etrailer Expert
Reply from David B.

*singing like Maui* You're welcome.

Harold L.

I have a Draw-tite 5535 on a 2009 Chevy P/U does the dot on the brake controller stay lit all the time?

Etrailer Expert
Reply from David B.

Hey Harold, after 15 minutes the unit will go into sleep mode. You can look at the two answer pages I have linked that talk about the # 5535 and the light you are seeing.

Cameron

I just installed mine today I hooked up the orange wire not the light blue, I have a digital readout break controller is there a difference between the light blue or orange wire? Whats the difference?

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Les D.

@Cameron The vehicles tow package wiring has an orange or light-blue wire that attaches to the red wire going to the brake controller. They have the same function and you should only have one or the other. Keep in mind there is another blue wire (not light-blue) that connects to the blue wire to the brake controller.

Dave B.

I was looking for the power feed wires under the hood for my 2010 Silverado and from what you described to where they are mine were opposite each other. the aftermarket 12 volt trailer power feed was located next to the distribution box and fender for the bigger stud and the other for the trailer brake was located down below the power brakes for the smaller stud. both wires are red with black stripe.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Les D.

To verify that you have the correct wires, I would follow them to the fuse block. Your owners manual has a legend of which fuses supply which feature.

Brian V.

I’ve connected everything correctly but The trailer brakes are always engaged even when I don’t press on the brake. I’ll turn the gain all the way down to 6% and it will let loose. When I unplug my brake controller everything is fine too. Is there another wire I need to plug into?

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Victoria B.

I would start by checking the wire on your vehicle that is connected to the red wire on the brake controller harness. This should be the stop light signal wire and should ONLY have signal when the brake pedal is pressed. The issue you are describing sounds like the wire connected to the red wire on the harness is a wire that has constant power. I would use a circuit tester to find the wire that only has signal when the brake pedal is pressed and connect that to your brake controller harness's red wire and see if that solves this issues.

Russ B.

Thanks so much for the great information and instructions!! Installing the brake controller in my 2007 Tahoe was effortless, nice that a company helps people and not thinking everything is a trade secret!!

Dan L.

These instructions don't say anything about running a blue wire from the controller all the way back to the plug and the rear bumper. However, some articles say that you have to do this. 2008 Chevrolet 2500HD with factory tow package and factory installed break controller.

Nick

I'm having great difficulty locating the pigtail for the brake controller on my 2012 GMC Sierra. It is simply not there under the dash...

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

Sometimes the location of brake controller wiring is tricky to figure out. Here is a link to an install video we did of a brake controller and you can see that it was tucked way up under the dash.

Reply from Nick

@JonG I found it - took the underside panel off and it was tucked way up there. Thanks!

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

@Nick Anytime!

Terry M.

Chevy Silverado 1500 z71terminal number for the fuses on a 2010

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

This info can be found in your copy of the owner's manual. When I looked this up online I saw that the brake controller fuse is located in position 6, but I'm not seeing a location for the 12V trailer power. You'll want to verify the correct relay in your copy of the owner's manual.

Dan

Fo you happen to know what the thread sizes are for the brake controller power post and the 12volt power lead post? Mine is missing the nuts off both of them. I know one is larger than the other.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

You should be able to use the M6 # 185916 and the M8 # 185917 for your application. The M6 has a 1mm thread pitch while the M8 is a M8-1.25 nut.

Johnnie B.

I need the plug up in the back that the trailer plugs into where Can I find it

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

I believe that you're talking about the Pollak Connector # PK11916 .



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