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Installing an Electric Brake Controller on 2007-2013 GM Full-Size Truck or 2007-Present GM SUV

Technical Bulletin

SUBJECT / Summary: Wiring electric brake controls on 2007-2013 GM full size trucks and 2007-present GM SUVs including Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Silverado (new body) Chevy Suburban, Chevy Tahoe, GMC Sierra (new body) and GMC Yukon.PROBLEM: General Motors quit offering the plug in type connectors on these vehicles with a factory tow package. These models have four (possibly five) blunt cut wires under the left side of the instrument panel to the left of the steering column. The wires can be identified by a white label and the color of the wires. The wire colors are (1) Red/Black wire, (1) White wire, (1) Light Blue/White wire and (1) Dark Blue wire and possibly (1) Orange wire.Watch a brake controller installation on a 2010 Chevy Silverado Video

Custom Fit Brake Controller

Custom Fit Brake Controller Image
Brake Controller Wires Image
Connect the Brake Controller as Follows:
GM Wire toBrake Control WireFunction
Red/BlackBlackBattery Power
WhiteWhiteGround
Light Blue/WhiteRedBrake Light Signal
Dark BlueBlueBrake Output to Trailer
OrangeN/ACenter High Mount Stop Lamp (CHMSL)
SOLUTION: There are two wires under the hood that have to be connected to make the tow package functional, one is the power wire to the brake control and the other is the battery charge line to the 7 way connector. These wires are both Red/Black with eyelets on them. They are coiled up under the hood and will need to be connected to the under hood fuse box. One of the wires is located between the under hood fuse box and the left (driver) side fender. The other is located under the master cylinder/brake booster assembly.
Battery Charge Wire and Brake Control Wire Image
The battery charge wire and the power wire to the brake control have different size eyelets on them and will connect to the threaded studs under the Gray handle at the front of the fuse box. The two studs are also different size.NOTE: GM does not supply the attaching nut required to secure the wires to the studs. These can be obtained locally. You will need (1) M6 x 1.0 nut and (1) M8 x 1.25 nut.CAUTION: Raising the Gray handle more than 3/8 of an inch to gain access to the studs may result in the fuse box coming disconnected from the electrical connector. If disconnection occurs you may have to consult your local GM dealership for repairs.Bulletin Date: 3/27/2009Bulletin Number: TB0007Updated By: Dani S.Last Updated: 3/3/2021

Questions and Comments about this Article


Steve T.
I was able to find both wires under the hood this morning. Thank you for your help. It is greatly appreciated.
Etrailer Expert
Reply from David B.

Outstanding! Glad you found everything.

Steve T.
I found the wires under the dashboard like you said. I was not able to locate the wires under the hood of my 2011 Suburban. I am going to try again tomorrow when I can see a little better.
Rexpert7
These instructions worked perfect for my 2013 GMC Yukon XL , SLT. Thank you
Robert C.
Why did chevy stop putting the connection for the trailer brake in fuse box under the dash, that was so much easier, and was full bruf
Etrailer Expert
Reply from David B.

A large company making things easier!? hahahahahaha you crack me up Robert! But seriously do you need help troubleshooting anything?

Doug T.
Thank you SO much for this info. I found everything just as you described on my 2008 Silverado.
Joe H.
Great instructions, just installed on my 2007 GMC 1500. All the wires were exactly where you said they would be. Instructions were strait forward and easy to follow. You guys rock!! Thank you
Reply from Miles

@JoeH hello I am hoping you can help me to find the plugin under the dash on my 2007 gmc serria 1500. So far there is no correct female place to plugin the male end. Thank you again.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from David B.

Do these two links help you out any Miles?

Frank B.
Finally was able to hook up my brake controller in my 2013 Cadillac Escalade ESV. After reading your instructions. GM decided to NOT OFFER plug & play on 2007 to present full size trucks & SUVs. I also have a 2003 GMC Denali XL that does have plug & play. So to my frustration I figured the Escalade was going to be as easy. Thanks again for your detailed instructions. Also the 2 wires under the hood that needed to be hooked up. Best regards Frank
Etrailer Expert
Reply from David B.

Hey Frank! I'm glad you were able to get the controller set up. Make sure to come back and let me know if you need anything else!

Keith
Hello, I have a 2007 chevy tahoe and thank you guys for making our lives that much easier. My question is, I found the 4 wires that is up under my dash, I have a red/black one, a white one, light blue/white one and a dark blue one. I looked at different videos and forums and the color of the wires differ from year to year. Is that a fact or did I end up finding the wrong wires that I believe to be brake wires? I appreciate any assistance with this situation. Thank you.
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Les D.

@Keith, the article you linked your comment to shows the wiring by color. You are on the right track. The black wire from the brake controller goes to the Red & Black wire on the vehicle. This is This is the battery power. The white wire from the brake controller goes to the white wire on the vehicle. This is the system ground. The red wire on the controller goes to the light blue & while on the vehicle. This is connected to the brake pedal switch. The blue wire on the controller goes to the dark blue wire on the vehicle. This is the brake voltage line to the brake trailer

Reply from Keith

@LesD Thank you so much for that...

Don
I installed a e brake on my 2008 suburban. It works most of the time correctly. But sometimes it come on by itself going down the road. To get it to go off have to tap the brake pedal sometimes several time ?? It dose this on all three of my trailers. I’ve check all the wire for a ground all good. I’ve changed the control it self. Still no charge. I’ve talked to GM about stock controller. Not option in my year. Has anyone else ran into this problem? Any info is good info. Thanks
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Les D.

@Don that is an unusual circumstance. What is the brand and model of the brake controller you usually use? When you say the brake comes on, is that because you feel the tug of the brakes, or is something reported on the display of the brake controller? I am wondering if this could be the case of brakes sticking. I would open up those brake hubs and see if there are some broken parts. You might also be able to prove this by towing the trailer with a different vehicle and see if you still get sticking brakes.

Reply from Don

Thanks for the info. It is a Walmart brand hooker makes it not sure the model and yes I feel the tug from the trailer no matter which one I’m hauling camper, I also have two car haulers that it does it on also. I have pulled my camper with a different truck and the brakes work just fine.I talk to my mechanic today he said it could be maybe the break limit switch on the suburban checking that next no

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Les D.

@Don since you have the same brake tugging using the same truck with multiple trailers, then it is NOT the trailers, but rather the truck, or your in-cab brake controller. I think you are on the right track.

Reply from Nobby

@LesD maybe too late but change out the switch on your brake pedal. Mine did this and it was the trucks brake pedal switch. Only takes about 10 minutes to do.

Reply from Nobby

@Don Replace the switch on the brake pedal. My truck did the same thing and it was the switch only took 10 minutes lying on your back.

Reply from Don

Thanks for the info I did change the brakes which did not make a difference. But I did find the problem my year of suburban 2008 as a Brake relay that runs on the cruise control the hooker brake controller was interfering with the cruise control which made it come on in the cruise control not work The fix was a Reese brake controller that has interrupt circuits in it to prevent it from messing with you speak control. Haven’t pulled my camper yet but it works on my other two trailers so I’m assuming it worked on my camper also hope this helps someone.

Joshua
Hello I installed a spectrum brake controller in my 07 suburban. My question is when I plug a tester into the 7pin I get the 12v power but it’s not picking up that there’s connection to the controller. Is this because of the design of the spectrum one? Because is I take and test a more traditional type controller the tester tells me it’s there! Also my spectrum controller doesn’t light up when I press the brakes as I thought people say it’s supposed to does it only light up when the trailer is hooked up or is there a problem with the controller?
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Les D.

The LED lights in your tester do not draw enough power to make the Spectrum think there is a trailer back there. If you used a larger tester with an incandescent bulb it would probably work. The easiest solution would be to just connect the trailer to the truck. The idle brakes will drawn enough current to have the trailer show up.

Matt P.
Hi, I installed as noted and when I shut the truck off the brake controller doesn’t power down. I’m wondering If that’s normal and if I have to install a in toggle to power down cause the constant power draw would kill the battery. Thanks for any info or if I wired something wrong
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Victoria B.

Every brake controller that I am aware of will go into a sleep mode after 15 minutes of inactivity. These sleep modes pull the smallest amount of power and would not drain your vehicle battery any time soon. If your tow vehicle sits for long periods without being started then it may be beneficial to unplug the harness from the back of the controller between tows. Otherwise, the small amount of power needed in sleep mode will allow the controller to maintain any settings that you've programed in your brake controller.

Cqfarm
Thanks. When I complete all these steps, my brake controller reads n.c. and I traced the issue to the blue wire from the suv is not active when I put a voltmeter on it. I attached both red lines to the studs by the fuse box and those read active but the blue wire is not. Is there a fuse or something else that I need to do to get power going to it?
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Victoria B.

Are you referring to the blue wire coming out of the back of the brake controller? One thing to keep in mind is that if your brake controller is proportional and you're trying to test signal on this wire while the vehicle and connected trailer are parked, the controller may not be sending any signal to the trailer brakes since the controller isn't detecting any movement. There may also be a fuse missing in your vehicle's fuse box. You can find the trailer brake controller fuse location in the owner's manual and then check the corresponding location in your vehicle's fuse box.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Victoria B.

Are you referring to the blue wire coming out of the back of the brake controller? One thing to keep in mind is that if your brake controller is proportional and you're trying to test signal on this wire while the vehicle and connected trailer are parked, the controller may not be sending any signal to the trailer brakes since the controller isn't detecting any movement. There may also be a fuse missing in your vehicle's fuse box. You can find the trailer brake controller fuse location in the owner's manual and then check the corresponding location in your vehicle's fuse box.

Johnny H.
This info given above & TSB is exactly what I needed to know! And the video of '10 Silverado was what I needed to see for my '10 Suburban!
Kim
Can you tell me what the harness connector is for in the upper right corner of the top picture?
Reply from Anonimouse

@Kim That is the OBD2 (On Board Diagnostics) connector. When your engine light is on, you can connect a code reader to it to read engine trouble codes. Most auto shops have code readers and will do it for free. Some more advanced readers will allow you to view and adjust settings in the vehicles computer.

Ira C.
And these excellent docs are why I buy everything from etrailer. Thanks for producing all of this TIME-SAVING documentation!
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

Thank you for the kind words!

Jay I.
Just an FYI my 2013 Yukon xl had the brake control wire taped to the wire harness so you couldn’t see it at all.
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

Thank you for the input!

Charles
This article and the related FAQ from your site saved my day. I would have never figured out that GM did not connect the power wire for the brake controller, or where it would be located. Once I knew that...simple install. However, I suggest you add this info to the YouTube video on installing a Tekonsha Voyager controller on a 2012 Silverado truck https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpeDN6tr9HU as this detail is not mentioned there, and that was my first resource.
Reply from Rudy B.

@Charles I have a 2012 Chevy Silverado I'm having a hard time figuring out how to install a electric brake controller. Don't know where to connect wires to. Can you help

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Victoria B.

@RudyB I have linked an installation video showing a brake controller being installed on a 2010 Silverado, which will be the same process as your 2012.



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