DIY Electric Brake Controller
WHY? Pre-production literature indicated that the new Colorado would be equipped with a factory-installed brake controller, but that appears to be an error as mine arrived with no sign of one. Typical of new model introductions, the aftermarket hasn't caught up yet and I couldn't locate a source that could supply a brake controller with Colorado-specific wiring. I will need this truck to haul a hay trailer with electric brakes so a controller is a necessity. I had a Tekonsha Power Track Unit (pictured above) on hand, so I set out to get it wired up for use.
The good folks at Tekonsha didn't have a wiring harness available, but they told me that they believed the necessary wires would be tucked in behind the driver's side kick panel. I have owned other vehicles that had a controller connecter hidden somewhere so I went looking for one. Here's how the process went:
INSTALLATION. I removed the sill plate/kick panel by pulling back the rubber seal sliding a screwdriver under the plastic sill plate. Lifting gently will pull the unit away from the body. This will expose a wiring harness behind the kick panel, next to the parking brake. I gently pulled the wiring harness away from the body and found the electric controller wiring bundled there, taped to some other wires. There was no plastic connector; all the wires were loose and tipped with a plastic coating. Look for a small bundle of 4 wires:
After testing each of the wires I found the following applications: Red/Green--battery feed, Black--ground, White/Blue--stop light signal, and Blue--trailer brake output. To connect my Tekonsha unit I simply needed to splice each of its four leads to the four wires behind the kick panel. The leads on the controller are red, blue, black and white so I rounded up some 14-gauge wire of each color to make up the harness:
I stripped the ends of each wire and spliced a 5' length of 14-gauge wire using Posi-Lock connectors; I prefer them to crimp connectors and they are easy to remove if I ever install a Chevy factory unit. For Tekonsha owners only: connect the red/green wire to the black controller wire, the black wire to the white controller wire, the white/blue wire to the red controller wire and the blue to the blue controller wire. Your controller may vary. To make a neater installation I enclosed the wires in a 5' length of plastic conduit:
I carefully tucked the connectors into the wiring behind the kick panel and routed the conduit up behind the dashboard:
Replace the kick panel and connect the harness to your controller. I still haven't decided where to mount mine, so for the time behing it resides in the front change tray:
One final note: If you aren't getting power from the red/green wire, check the fuse box in the engine compartment. Fuse F27 (see pic) is dedicated to the brake controller; my truck had a fuse in place, but I don't know about trucks that are not equipped with the towing package.
RESULTS: An integrated controller would have been nice, but $20 worth of parts and my old controller got me in business in less than an hour. Gotta go haul some hay!