Electric Brake Controller Installation on Dodge Ram Trucks to 2012

With Factory Installed 7-Way

If you drive a newer Dodge Ram Truck (~1995 - 2012) and your vehicle already has the factory installed 7-Way trailer connector then only a couple parts are required.Parts Needed:1.The brake controller2. The universal or Tekonsha brake control adapterStep 1:Start by plugging in the brake control adapter into the OEM harness located under the steering wheel, just to the right of the emergency brake pedal. Then find a place to mount the brake controller. It should be in a position that is easily accessible.Step 2: Then connect the Brake Control Adapter to the Brake Controller. The factory adapter uses different colors, but the wires are labeled. The wires for the brake control adapter and the wires coming out of the brake controller match up color for color. The wires match up: red to red, black to black, white to white, blue to blue. Then plug the adapter, which is now connected to the brake controller, into the plug under the dash. Then mount the brake controller to a place on the dash. Make sure that it is easily accessible.
OEM brake controller plug
OEM Plug is usually blue
Brake controller mounted under dash
Brake Controller where it is easily accessible
Factory Installed 4-PoleIf you drive a newer Dodge Ram Truck (~1995 - 2012) and your vehicle already has the factory installed 4-Way flat trailer connector then only a few extra parts are needed. Not all late model trucks with a 4-pole have the brake controller plug. Make sure to double check whether you have a 2005-2007 model truck to see if the truck has the correct port.Parts Needed:1. The brake controller2. The universal or Tekonsha brake control adapter (sometimes this will be provided by dealer)3. 7-Way or 6-Way 4-Pole Adapter4. Wire - number of feet depends on truck bed size and hot leadStep 1:Start by plugging in the brake control adapter into the OEM harness located under the steering wheel, just to the right of the emergency brake pedal. Then find a place to mount the brake controller. It should be in a position that is easily accessible (see above). Connect the wires. If the port is not available, see start from scratch, below.
Step 2: Usually located under the driver's side of the vehicle, right behind the front wheel well is a wire connector. As you can see in the picture there are more wires on the hood side (right side) of the connector than the hitch side. Using a circuit tester, you can locate the wire that supplies power to the trailer brakes. Usually it is the blue one. Using a quick-splice, run a wire lead from the blue wire to the back of the vehicle. Enough wire will be needed to make it from the front wheel well to the end of the truck bed. The wire lead will connect to the blue wire on the 7-Way or 6-Way trailer adapter. After mounting the new trailer adapter and plugging it into the original 4-pole connector, installation is complete. Note: If a hot lead is needed, it would need to be connected to the battery via a circuit breaker. That wire would then connect to the black wire on the trailer connector adapter.
Brake Controller Wiring Connection

Starting from Scratch

If your truck is not pre-wired for towing a trailer, you will have to install all of the wiring and connectors yourself.Parts Needed:1. Brake controller2. Complete wiring kit such as ETBC7 or ETBC6Or1. Brake controller2. Separate wiring components3. 4-Pole Trailer Connector for the Vehicle
  • If needed, use the wiring fitguide to see the quick, easy, no-cutting wiring adapter that is recommended for your vehicle
Step 1 - In the Back: Start in the rear of the vehicle by first installing the 4-Pole trailer connector. Next, find a good place to mount the 7-way or 6-way trailer connector and then connect it to the newly installed 4-Pole. Ground the 7-Way or 6-way connector and run the extra-long wire lead up to the front of the vehicle. A good place to run the wire is between the truck bed and its cross members.
Brake controller wire between truck bed and cross members
Step 2 - Under the Hood:After slicing open the sleeve that holds the two wires, run the blue wire through a hole in the firewall. This will connect to the brake controller and carries the signal that activates the trailer brakes. The other wire will be for a "hot" lead (if needed) and will run to the battery through a circuit breaker.
Brake controller wiring
Finding a hole in the firewall can sometimes be a little difficult. Before drilling a hole, always look for wires already running through the wall. On this Dodge, a hole was found just to the right of the emergency brake pedal (see picture close to bottom of page). It is often easier to run the wires through the hole by removing the grommet and putting a slice into the grommet. Then insert the wires into the grommet and reinstall.
Wires running through grommet in firewall
Finishing the InstallationFind a safe place to mount the circuit breakers. The hot lead attaches to the 40 amp circuit breaker given in the kit. The 20 amp circuit breaker is for the brake controller power supply. Note: Some brake controller models require a 30 amp circuit breaker which is not included in the installation kit. Also a smaller circuit breaker or an in-line fuse can be used on the hot lead.Run two wires to the battery on from each breaker.Each post on the circuit breaker is labeled. Be sure to connect the battery to the post labeled "BATT" on the breaker.After connecting the wires to the positive post on the battery, the ground wire will need to be run to the negative post. Start at the battery and route the wire back through the firewall. It will be connected to the ground wire on the brake controller (white wire).
Brake controller circuit breaker wiring
Now that all the leads are run into the cab, the red wire on the brake controller needs to be connected to the brake pedal. To do this, follow the wires connected to the switch at the top of the brake pedal. Using a circuit tester, find the wire that carries the signal once the brake pedal is engaged. Usually it is the white wire with a tan stripe. Use a quick-splice to connect the brake controller's red wire to this one.
Brake switch and brake pedal
Before connecting the rest of the wires to the brake controller, be sure to remember to slide the wires through the grommet in the firewall. Connect the ground wire to the brake controller last.
Wires running through grommet in firewall
After mounting the controller where it is easily accessible, installation is complete.
Brake controller under dash
Updated on: 3/3/2021

Questions and Comments about this Article

Keith H.

2003 Ram 1500 here... Installed brake controller. Truck appears to have the tow package. When I hook up trailer, no running lights, and when I press on the brakes, I get the single decimal dot on the controller. At the back bumper on the driver side in the factory wire harness, there's one wire that's been set aside at the end of the harness, a tan & white wire. What is this wire for? Do I need to run any additional wire from the cab to the back of the truck?

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

If you have no running lights then you'll want to test that pin on your truck side 7-Way (11 o'clock pin). Since it sounds like your brake controller isn't recognizing a trailer being connected I would also try using the manual override with your brake controller and testing the 5 o'clock pin on your 7-Way to see if it sends power back to your plug. If you don't see power back there then that means you have some wiring disconnected or damaged somewhere between the brake controller and the 7-Way. That or your brake controller isn't effective and you need to test that output wire closer up to the brake controller. I'm not sure what that tan and white wire is for so it's always good practice to test any unknown wiring with a circuit tester so that you can make note of what function it carries.



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