Intermittent Trailer Brake Issue. - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 05-13-2019, 01:01 PM   #1
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Intermittent Trailer Brake Issue.

I have a 3600 Voltage and am towing with a 2018 Dodge 3500 Dually. I keep getting a check trailer brake wiring light up on the dash then a trailer brake disconnected light up then it goes away and the brakes work fine. It does it very intermittently. I stopped at a trailer place (not an RV shop) and they couldn't find any problems in the RV wiring. I am not convinced they knew what they were doing. I took the truck into the dealer and they said there was a bad module, they replaced it and it did not help. I think they just threw a part at it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
SR
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Old 05-13-2019, 01:24 PM   #2
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I'm experiencing a 'check trailer brake system' nag on my Chevy 3500HD.
The groups suggest the trailer brake relay is the problem. Others say it's a problem with the brake light switch and then others say it's the OEM brake controller. Then we have the dirty connections between the wiring harness and the actual connector.

The Chevy groups say the OEM brake controller is problematic so they replace it with an aftermarket controller and the problem goes away.
The brake lights work so I ruled out the switch as being faulty but I doubt the switches now are like the old plunger type switch of long ago.
When the sun comes out again I'll start chasing components to see if I can identify the culprit.
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Old 05-13-2019, 02:19 PM   #3
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I have read where it could be the wires that run thru the axles to connect one side to the other. That's what I will check first. I am going to take the truck back to my purchasing dealer as well, since I am back home now.
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Old 05-13-2019, 02:31 PM   #4
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Just went through this myself last month...

For the past year or so, I was occasionally getting the same warning on my F-450 dash display: WIRING FAULT ON TRAILER

All of the lights were working... and when I'd test the brakes, they seemed to work too. I chalked it up to something in the main pigtail box under the kingpin from when I'd crushed it a few years back.

Well then, coming out of Death Valley to Lake Tahoe a few weeks ago... I noticed it was taking a little longer & more effort to slow down on steep downhill grades, and coming to a stop when going thru towns. Tried squeezing the paddles a few times to test, and had no resistance at all. Thankfully the weather was nice, and all roads were dry. Was going to get them checked in Reno... but just before pulling into the campground there, I tested the paddles again, and the brakes worked fine.

Leaving Reno a few days later, they worked fine again. Ok, musta been a glitch, I figured (hoped?). Well, as you can guess... got about halfway across northern Nevada, and tried testing them again. Squeezed the paddles... nada. No brakes again.

Got into Wendover on the Nevada/Utah state line, and tried to find someone who could check things out... but, while there were plenty of diesel mechanics, none who wanted to play with trailer brakes. Began calling places in Salt Lake City 2 hours further east, and got an appointment.

Rolled across the salt flats relatively easy, and got into the shop. I was hoping it was just a ground wire or something... but, turned out to be a bit more involved. It took the guy awhile, but he eventually found the issue. After checking the wiring, and then pulling the wheels... mechanic found (and showed me) frayed bare wires in 2 of the brake assemblies... and badly worn magnets on 3 of them.

Bottom line... all new brake assemblies on both axles (4 units), and a big bite out of my wallet. Can't really complain though... 6 years & over 40,000 miles of near full-time use, and that's really the first major mechanical issue I've had on the road. But, now they all work.
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Old 05-13-2019, 02:35 PM   #5
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That's good the problem was repaired.
I get the nag without a trailer connected so it's in the vehicle that is causing the problem. Another suggestion and verified was the wires for the speed sensors in the front wheels.
It's gonna be fun finding this problem.
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Old 05-13-2019, 03:20 PM   #6
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@OP, you might want to check a Ram forum for ideas.

I have a 2017 2500 and while I have never got a message like you have I am very suspect of the factory brake controller. There are some that say they are fine and a few that have replaced with aftermarket. I donít think mine works as well as my prior vehicles but all those had after market controllers versus the integrated one which just doesnít seem to have the same braking force as the others. For instance if you squeeze the controller all the way on my integrated controller and lift off the truck brake I will roll forward at idle. Never worked that way in my other vehicles and this is at full max setting. Some owners tell me that because it is integrated it knows when to apply full force which is only on a hard stop and not like I am doing but I swear it is harder to slow this trailer than others. It is my first 5er and much heavier than my others but the brakes on the trailer should be more than adequate to stop the trailer. And yes, I have had the trailer brakes adjusted and checked and been told they are fine.

So the point of this long response to your original post is that I just donít have full confidence in the Ram factory integrated brake controller, which may or may not be related to your problem.

@OP aside from the message you are getting do you feel like you get good stopping power with yours?

Good luck.
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Old 05-13-2019, 04:34 PM   #7
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It won't lock em up, but I feel it's enough when they are working.

Thanks for all the responses.
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Old 05-13-2019, 05:40 PM   #8
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For what its worth, I had that problem The first year I owned my trailer. I had my brakes checked. The shop fixed the problem by replacing The plug that connected the trailer to my truck, which was loose, and the terminal strip that the brake wires connected to underneath the trailer.. It seems that the connectors on the strip (I think they were spring type clips) would not hold the wires securely which resulted in an intermittent connection. They also discovered two grease seals on the axels that had failed, cleaned up the brake shoes and drum as well. The fix was relatively inexpensive, and eliminated the brake wiring connection alarm entirely. If this is an example of American workmanship, its no wonder that the Chinese are doing so well in selling their products in our country...
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Old 05-14-2019, 01:10 PM   #9
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The shop fixed the problem by replacing The plug that connected the trailer to my truck, which was loose, and the terminal strip that the brake wires connected to underneath the trailer..

I had issues with mine on my Rv and snowmobile trailer Ö.
when I plug into my truck I now put a full twist in the cord ...before I plug in Ö it keeps the plug from bouncing and moving as if its trying to untwist in the plug
if that makes sense
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Old 05-16-2019, 11:53 PM   #10
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that's a great idea, Mongo !! Wish I had thought of that..
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