RAM 1500 is a full-size truck with excellent towing specifications and features a towing hitch and space for installing the brake controller for the trailer.
Can You Add Trailer Brake Controller on RAM 1500? You can add a trailer brake controller on RAM 1500 due to the provision of a dedicated slot for the gain adjustment switch and the controller module and pre-wired settings. First, you need to mount the controller unit and switch on the allocated space. Next, make electrical connections by inserting plugs according to the instruction manual. Lastly, program the system and gain settings of the proportional controller according to the trailer weight.
Moreover, choosing the right equipment compatible with the pickup truck for smoother operation is also essential.
Why do you need a trailer brake controller on RAM 1500?
There are laws in several US states to have electric brakes installed on a towed trailer with the towing truck. However, the weight limits of the trailers with mandatory brakes can vary from state to state. Therefore, you need to install electric brakes on the trailer for your safety and other drivers on the road.
The brake controller module activates the brakes on the trailer as soon as it senses the stopping of the towing vehicle. Without a controller, there is no mechanism to inform the electric brakes on the trailer.
Therefore, it provides a smoother ride to stop both trailer and the truck simultaneously without any chances of trailer sway or uncontrolled movement to collide with the vehicle. Moreover, it saves the hitch receiver from extra stress it faces during braking operation.
What is the most suitable trailer brake controller for the RAM 1500 pickup truck?
There are several brake controllers available in the market, with sizes and specifications matching the towing vehicle.
This truck has a dedicated slot for installing the unit on its dashboard with pre-wired connectors to make connections. You should choose the one according to the available space and compatible settings for its proper working.
The most commonly used type of electronic brake controller is the proportional type. It senses the applied pressure on the brake pedal and sends a relative signal to the trailer brakes to produce an equal braking force. Therefore, both vehicles will stop at the same pace without applying extra pressure.
There are 2 other types of brake controllers depending on their wiring arrangement. First, you will find wires running from the truck to the trailer via 7-way connectors in wired design.
With the trailer connected, you need to plug it inside the wiring harness under the pickup truck’s tailgate. The second option is a wireless module that communicates with electric brakes on the trailer using Bluetooth or any other signaling mechanism.
It has provision for installation of integrated electronic brake control modules using the wired connection.
The truck has pre-wired connectors to install the module and adjust the gain settings according to your requirements. However, you will also need the OBD programmer to program the body control module (BCM) and a bypass module to bypass the security gateway system during the module’s programming.
How to add a trailer brake controller on RAM 1500?
Installation and programming of the gain adjustment switch and an integrated brake controller module are easy on the latest models due to pre-wired settings from the manufacturer.
Mount the gain adjustment switch
The first step is installing the gain adjustment switch on a dedicated slot available besides the radio controls.
To access it, you need to remove the center stack. Then, on top of it, remove the 2 screws with the help of an impact screwdriver.
Next, you need to use a prying tool or apply force to pull the radio unit. After pulling it back, remove all the cable connectors by pushing their tabs to unlock them.
On the bottom of the radio module, you will see a small removable portion secured by 2 screws and locking clips. Remove the screws and use a prying tool to unlock the retaining clips, and the module will come out.
Next, remove a separate piece on its side by pushing the locking clip with the help of a screwdriver. It has the same size as that of the gain adjustment switch. After its removal, install the control in its place and refix the module by installing screws.
Mount the brake controller module
It has a mounting space available behind the steering column after removing the knee bolster on the left side of the wheel.
Remove the 2 screws on its bottom and pull it after removing the retaining clips. Next, remove the connectors for automatic temperature control, light, and the OBD tool.
You will see holes for 3 screws. Align the mounting assembly with these holes, and it will get a diagonal position after installing screws. Finally, mount the brake controller on the bracket and fix it with the help of clips.
Make wiring connection
After installing the controller assembly, you will need to locate the 2 wiring connectors in the vicinity tied together with the foam tape. Next, cut the tape on connectors without damaging the cables.
The next step is to reinstall the knee bolster cover after re-inserting the connectors removed in the last step.
On the back of the radio module, you will see an orange connector tied with foam tape. You need to remove the tape and insert it into the slot on the gain adjustment switch recently installed.
After that, restore all radio connections by inserting and locking all connectors. Finally, slide it back into its place and fix it with the help of 2 screws on top of the dashboard.
Pre-wiring from the Dodge on RAM 1500 has made the installation process extremely easy. However, you will not be able to do it yourself if you have to make a wiring connection by yourself. It requires hiring the services of a mechanic or electrician to complete the task.
Program the trailer brake controller
It is mandatory to program the BCM to enable the trailer brake controller option.
For that, you need to purchase the OBDGenie programming kit. It is compatible with models from 2013 onwards. However, for models 2018 and afterward, you also need to buy the security gateway bypass kit to work it properly.
The security gateway module is present behind the headlight switch, and you need to remove its connector. Plug it in the bypass module before using the programmer kit. Next, turn the truck into ON position.
Next, plug the programming module into the OBD connector on the bottom of the knee bolster. Once you see a blue light wait for 30-40 seconds until it turns solid green. It completes the programming procedure.
Remove the connector from OBD, turn OFF the truck and re-insert the connectors back into the security gateway module.
You can also visit the dealer for programming to enable the option and its settings, but it will cost more money.
Calibrate the controller
After the programming, you will see the trailer brakes option enabled on the radio display of RAM 1500 and dashboard instrumentation cluster. You can navigate through various options to select brake types and save gain settings according to the specific trailer connected with the truck.
Use the adjustment switch recently installed to increase or reduce the gain.
It also depends on the type of trailer, boat, or towed vehicle and its weight. Save 3-4 settings for various loads you need to haul for a smooth and safe ride.
Test the unit
After gain adjustments, you should test the integrated module. Tow the trailer, insert the 7-way connector, and drive the truck.
You should also manually apply the trailer brakes besides checking their automatic operation. It becomes vital while driving in hilly or sloppy areas where you need more braking force to stop the trailer.
Is there any wireless trailer brake controller compatible with RAM 1500?
There are wireless brake controllers available from various third-party manufacturers that are compatible with RAM 1500.
You don’t need to make a wiring connection from inside the truck cabin to the trailer during their installation. Instead, it plugs in between the trailer 7-way wiring and the truck. You can control it by using a mobile application on your Android or Apple smartphone.
A 3-way accelerometer automatically observes the declaration and applies brakes accordingly in the absence of a phone.
A robust Bluetooth antenna communicates with mobile for gain adjustment and other settings and manual braking. It is a versatile and convenient option, but it will cost around $250-$350, depending on the manufacturer.
Does the tow package on RAM 1500 include a trailer brake controller?
RAM 1500 has max tow package and trailer tow groups available containing various options to assist in towing applications.
Few tools in the offer are trailer brake control, trailer light check, class IV receiver hitch, trailer tire pressure monitoring, and many other options.
However, their actual price and compatibility can vary according to the trim level and year of manufacturing of the truck.
How much does it cost to install a trailer brake controller on RAM 1500?
It will take 1.5-2 hours to complete the procedure. The cost of the module is $200-$250, including the shipping cost.
If you hire the services of a professional, you will have to pay an additional $100-$150 for labor charges. The programming kit will cost an extra $130-$150 and $60-$80 for the security bypass kit.
It is mandatory in various states to ensure road safety for all public.
Therefore, it comes pre-wired for the installation of the module in a straightforward manner. All you need to do is to purchase it and make arrangements for its programming.
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