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Tekonsha Primus IQ Trailer Brake Controller Installation - 2019 Chevrolet Equinox

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How to Install a Tekonsha Primus IQ Trailer Brake Controller on a 2019 Chevrolet Equinox


Shane: Hi, I'm Shane with etrailer.com. Today you're going to be taking a look at, I'm going to walk you through the installation on the Tekonsha Primus IQ Trailer Brake Controller on your 2019 Chevrolet Equinox with the Factory Tow Package.Most of the time when we think about a brake controller, it's on a larger vehicle, or on a big truck that may be pulling big trailers. On a smaller SUV like this, maybe you have a boat trailer that has brakes on it, or maybe you have a camper, a small camper that has brakes on it. Maybe you're going on a camping trip and you want to make more room for your passengers inside, so you want to put all your gear into a trailer and that trailer has brakes on it.You've pulled each of these things and without a brake controller you have felt the trailer as you're coming up to a stop pushing on the car. It's an uncomfortable feeling when you're coming up to the back of another car that's already stopped and it doesn't feel like your car is stopping. Adding a brake controller to the vehicle is not only going to make your driving experience much better, but it's going to make your passengers much more comfortable during the ride.The trailer brake controller is going to be a proportional brake controller, so when you apply the brakes in the vehicle it's going to apply the same amount of pressure in the trailer depending on how you have it set, whether that applies the brakes a little bit sooner or a little bit later.

When you're pulling that trailer, and you apply the brake, and it applies the brakes on the trailer, the trailer is going to be able to slow and stop itself as the vehicle slows and stops itself, so that means you're not going to be feeling that push from the trailer from the weight of the trailer. You're not relying on the brakes on the Equinox to slow or stop both the vehicle and the trailer. It's going to save you money in the long run because you're not wearing out the brakes on the car.A couple of things to keep in mind, if you're installing the brake controller on the Equinox that has a factory tow package, it is going to require an additional wiring kit. If you're installing it on the Equinox, and it does not have the factory tow package, it's going to require the ETBC7 and the four pole wiring harness that plugs directly into the factory tail lights. Both of those can be found here at etrailer.com.Now let's take a closer look at some of the main functions of the brake controller inside the vehicle.

This is what our trailer brake controller is going to look like once we have it mounted on the vehicle. There is going to be a couple of different brackets. You have this one that allows you to pop your brake controller off, unplug it, and store it away. There is another one that actually screws into the side here. It's going to be a metal one.

You can mount it to the dash and that allows you to adjust the pitch of it, so you can adjust the back down and the front, or this top side forward or backwards. I chose to use this one because the customer is probably not going to be pulling a trailer all the time, and this gives them more room up here when they're not pulling a trailer.Now some of the functions here, this is going to be our manual override, so if we're pulling trailer and our trailer starts to sway a little bit we want to correct that sway. This allows us to apply the brakes in the trailer without applying the brakes in the car. You want to adjust your gain, which is this roll knob here. Again, that's going to adjust the number.

This how fast the pressure on the brakes are applied on the trailer, so heavier the trailer the higher the number. You want those brakes to start being applied a little bit faster, so that the car is not slowing the trailer before the trailer brakes are being applied.When we apply the brake in the car, you'll watch, the number is going to come on the screen. That number is going to match on the trailer. Now on our screen you're going to notice we have a C. That's telling us that we're connected to our trailer.Now to set your brake pressure. When you first install your brake controller, what do you want to do is you want to press your manual override. You want to turn this knob here to as close to six as possible. When we get on some dry pavement flat, and get up to about 25 miles per hour, and hit your manual override. If the brakes on the trailer are too aggressive, all you're going to do is you're going to turn this knob back and lower that number. If you want more aggressive braking, you're going to raise that number. That's how you adjust it for your trailer.Now there is another adjustment. It's called boost. It's this button here. You'll notice there is a dot here on the left side of the C. Once we go to boost mode, there is going to be a dot that shows up here on the right side. Right now, we have no boost. We go to boost 1 and the dot shows up there. That's telling us we're in boost mode. There's going to be three settings. We're going to have boost 1, boost 2 and boost 3.The boost modes are for how aggressive you want the brakes to be applied on the trailer. Boost 1 is going to be for a lighter trailer. Boost 2 and boost 3 are going to be for your higher, heavier trailers. For instance, if you're pulling a bigger trailer and you're in, you have it set on boost 3 or 2 the aggressiveness, it's going to start out at 25%. If it's on boost 1, you're actually only going to be at 13%, so you're not getting as much or as aggressive braking power right off the bat. The heavier trailers, you want that aggressive braking power because you don't want that heavier trailer pushing the car. You want the car and the trailer to be all this stop theirselves.As far as comparing this to some of the other types of brake controllers out there, this one is going to be more of your basic model. It's not going to have as many functions as some of the other ones. But this car, I think this brake controller is going to work great for it. I think this is going to be perfect for whatever this car can handle when pulling a trailer. It's going to be very easy to use also, and it looks nice in the vehicle.Now that we've gone over some of the features, I'll show you how to get it installed. Our Equinox, '19 Equinox, has a factory tow package on it. Now to extend our wires, you can use same color wires if you want. I'm going to use extra wire that we have laying around. I'm going to match as much as I can red To red again, Again, which is going to be extending over to the passenger side. Strip it back. I'll add on a butt connector, and add on our red wire.Now, I decided to go ahead and use black wire for my power wire going out and black wire for my brake signal output going to the back. Originally I had yellow, but since this wire is going back I'm going to run it inside the vehicle. This one is going out, and I'll be able to keep them apart.Now our black and white wire, we're going to run through a grommet underneath the dash to the engine compartment. Our grommet that we need to go through sits back behind this canister right back there on the firewall. The easiest way to do it, take a 10 millimeter socket, take this bolt out right here. We're going to lift this canister and just scoot it out of the way to give us a little bit more room right back down there.The grommet on the inside, if you pull the insulation back from the driver's side kick panel area, you'll see the grommet. What I did is I took an airline tube. You don't have to use an airline tube. You can Use a wire hanger or anything. Poke it through that grommet, and make sure you don't damage any of the wires, and then go to the outside. What we're going to use it for is to pull our ground wire and our power wire that we're taking to the battery. We're going to attach them to that pull wire and we're gonna pull them outside the car.Now we're going to take our power and our ground wire, and the ground wire doesn't necessarily have to go out, you can actually ground it to the body anywhere. I'm going to go straight to the battery, or to a factory ground outside on the car. That way I don't have to drill a hole or anything inside. I'm taking my wires and connecting them to my pull wire. Throw a little bit of tape on them, and then we can pull our wires through.Now our red wire, since we had to go to the brake light signal off the switch, we can't use a switch here. We have to run it over to our passenger's side. What I'm gonna do is I'm going to take my pull wire, same thing I used to go outside the car, and I'm going to go right in the back corner of the dash across over the passenger side with my red wire.My blue wire, since we have a factory tow package and it has a seven pole plug on it on the car already, we're taking our blue wire from here and going back to the blue wire on the seven pole plug. What I'm going to do is, and there is two ways to do it, you can run this outside and underneath the car back to the wire. I found that the wires run up into the back of the car right on the inside panel, so I'm going to keep it inside. I'm going to run it. I'm going to take this panel off. I'm going to run it underneath on the floor all the way to the back and we'll make our connection back there.Now to remove the panel on your passenger side, you're going to have a seven millimeter head bolt that goes right here. There is a little cap that covers it. Just popped the cap off, and then it's going to have some clips on the back. You're just going to start pulling out from the bottom. This lip feeds in right at the top here, so if you pull from the bottom and pop it out, you can slide it down, and then slide it up out the way. Once you get that removed, you can see where I have my wire in. I used the same method as I did going out through the grommet as a pull wire, or a airline tube, wire hanger.Now we're going to connect into our main wiring. We're looking for the black plug, and you see there's several different ones here, the black one. What we're looking for is this pink and white one right here. We're going to trim back our coating. Just be careful that you don't cut any of your other wiring. Give us a little extra room here to work. Again, our red wire is coming from. or is our brake signal, which normally would be connected to the brake light switch, but on this vehicle the brake light switch wiring does not have enough voltage to goes through it, so that's why we're connecting it over here.Now what we're going to do, we'll get this wire and we'll separate it here. Make sure you don't pull it out. And rather than splicing this wire because these wires are pretty small, we're going to be using one of these. Now this does not coming in your kit. We're going to take this and slide it over the wire. We'll take our red wire, and then I'll cut it down a size. I would say leave yourself just a little bit of extra. It is behind the dash, so you can tuck whatever is back in here. Leave yourself a little bit extra in case you want to adjust where are you going to put, or mount your controller. We'll take this, and we'll slide it in here like that. Now we're going to take some channel locks and we're going to crimp the center. We can reinstall our panel.The wiring actually comes up through a grommet right over here. If you take this panel off, which it looks like this, and you just pop it off, right here is your wiring harness that goes down to that seven pole plug.You can see there is two blue wires here. You're looking for the larger of the two. This is the one that runs through your seven pole plug. This is the one we're going to be tapping into. What I did is my wire that I was going to run from the back or from the front back here, rather than taking all this off, what I did is I just took it and stuck it behind my kick panel, tucked it up underneath, ran it all the way back, tucked it under here, and pushed it out, and pulled this panel out. It just pops on. I took my pull wire, the same method we used to run our wire through the grommet and over to the passenger's side, and I fed it up to that hole where we took that panel off.This is my wire that's going back. Again, same thing, pushed it inside. Now I'm going to use this to pull my wire all the way back. You can see how I connected it. I just split my blue wire, and stripped back both ends, my black wire and my blue wire on both sides, and tied my black wire to one of them, and put on a butt connector.Now if your car has a factory tow package like this one, it is going to require a brake controller wiring kit, which can be found here at etrailer.com. What you're going to get is you're going to get three circuit breakers, a 20 amp, a 30 amp, and a 40 amp.If you have a single axle trailer you're going to use a 20 amp, so if you have two or more axles you're going to use the 30 amp. The 40 amp would be used to power your seven pole plug in the back. But if you have a seven pole plug already, the factory wiring it's already powered so you're not going to use a 40 amp circuit breaker.For our installation, we're going to be using the 20 amp circuit breaker. It is going to be for our power wire. Our ground wire, which is our white one, I'm going to ground right here to this factory ground. I'll go ahead and do that. We're going to cut this down. Strip it back. I'm going to add on a ring terminal. A 10 millimeter socket, I'll remove the nut. Then we'll add on our ground.Now, I'm going to mount my circuit breaker. I prefer to put it on a metal surface. I'll just put it right here, self tapping screws. My ground wire, I'm actually going rotate it over like this, and come underneath that. inaudible 00:15:18.And then for my power, I'll cut our wire back, add on a small ring terminal. Take our extra wire that we cut off, strip it, add on another small ring terminal. The positive side of the battery, cut the length, and strip it back. And then we'll remove that nut, and then reinstall your nut. Now we can tighten down the nuts on our breaker. Hook up our brake controller and test it out.Now before we mount our brake controller, we're going to go ahead and plug it in and test it out. Now we have it hooked up to an alternate source, so it's showing that we're connected to a trailer. The override is working. Adjust for our brake pressure. Everything is working, so now we can mount our brake controller onto our dash.You're going to get two different brackets in your kit. This one actually you screw into the side of the brake controller on each side, but it allows you to adjust up or down, so if you needed that facing you more, or away from you more. With this one, it's a little bit more difficult to take the brake controller off and store it away because you'd have to take the screws out of each side. With this one, it allows you to mount it close and remove the brake controller when you don't want to use it, but you have no adjustability. You don't have any room to move it, so that's going to be a matter of personal opinion how you choose to do it. You just want to make sure you're able to get to all the buttons if you use this one.I think for this vehicle, we're going to use this one. That way the customer can remove this brake controller when they're not using it and they can put it in their glove box, or in their armrest storage compartment, and it's not sitting out here in the open. You want to make sure wherever you mount it, it's not going to be in the way of driving the vehicle. Now, get some screws in your kit. You just want to make sure when you mount it, you're not mounting it at an angle like this. It can go this way, and this way, just not sideways. I'm just adding on some wire loom to hide the wires.Now, with running it like this, as I mentioned, we can take this off and we can store it away in a compartment when we're not using it. You can unplug the wire, and take it and tuck it right there, and it's out of the way. When you want to use it, you pull it out, plug it in, put your brake controller back into your holder, and you're ready to hook up to your trailer.Again, I'm Shane with etrailer.com. I hope this video has helped you whether you're still deciding or installing the Tekonsha Primus IQ Trailer Brake Controller on your 2019 Chevrolet Equinox.


Cliff G.

11/16/2020

I think there are some factual inaccuracies with this video. I have a 2020 Equinox 2.0T AWD Sport with the V92 Trailering Provisions RPO. It has the factory hitch and 7-pin trailer plug. And to my understanding, no where near the amount of work done in this video seems to be necessary to hook up a brake controller. My first clue something was off was based on where the blue wire was tapped near the rear fuse box. If that wire comes out of the fuse box harness, it must go somewhere else in the truck right? Perhaps closer to the front of the vehicle? It does in fact. Reading some forums led me to find that the Equinox and Traverse late models have cut a small corner compared to most vehicles with the V92 package. Normally you get a place to plug in a GM-Tekonsha brake controller adapter, right? On these SUVs though, they have opted to simply place 4 blunt end wires sticking out of the wiring harness. On the Traverse they are under the driver kick panel, so hard to find that a TSB was released for them. On the Equinox, they should actually be easier, under the glovebox against the right side wall, sticking out of the harness that appears to plug into some sort of ECU. I found all four on mine, and then went to work doing my diligence before commenting on this video. I used a tone tracer to confirm that the brake output pin on the 7-pin in the rear is connected to the large blue wire I found poking out of the harness there. That means at minimum you don't need to run wires to the rear fuse block if you have that wire already in the front of the vehicle. I then poked the multimeter in the other three wires to confirm that one was ground, one was a 12v always on (and connected to a dedicated 30A fuse in the instrument panel fuse block), and one looks like a usable brake signal. It is 0.6v when the brake is off and 12+ when the brake is on. If these four wires can't be used as-is for a brake controller, I must be missing something. It seems the only thing GM didn't provide is an actual plug for a harness to go, necessitating the use of just 4 wires and butt connectors to hardwire in a brake controller pigtail. If this is simply info that was missed about this vehicle (the service manager at the dealership didn't know anything about this either, it took a bit of research to find this info) I hope this might be useful for future install videos for the Equinox/Traverse/Terrain/etc family of SUVs. If there was something I've missed in my research, I would love to know, because I planned on installing a Prodigy P3 using an adapter I will build with weatherpack connectors after bundling the blunt end wires into a weatherpack 4 way plug.

Etrailer Expert

Jon G.

11/17/2020

Thank you for all of the info! I wasn't there personally for the install but I would imagine that Shane was having as difficult of a time finding the wiring as you have been. Since you're saying that the blunt cut wires are on the passenger side up front I doubt we looked there since that is pretty unusual. I'm sure we saw the fuse box in the back, did some testing, and found the wires we were looking for so we just went that route to avoid taking apart the whole vehicle. I will definitely be passing this along to the video/install team!

Cliff G.

11/17/2020

@JonG No problem, if that's all it was I'll probably be ordering a controller myself soon. I've noticed a few other expert answers that might also be misleading as to what is required, specifically people asking about what's needing for installing on vehicles with a factory tow package. If this pans out as the intended solution, it may be worth auditing those to improve the info being provided to customers. Leave it to GM to make this more complicated than it should have been just to save a buck. They don't even mention these wires in the owner's manual, but they do mention needing a brake controller, so I had to set out on a mission to figure all this out.

Etrailer Expert

Jon G.

11/18/2020

@CliffG Definitely. I'll pass all of this along to those teams - I'm sure we'll want to get a look at that style of vehicle again to verify on our end as well, but info is greatly appreciated!

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