Integrated Trailer Brake Control

Discussion in 'Towing & Trailer Tech' started by carbon black, May 3, 2012.

  1. carbon black

    carbon black Member


    I need some step by step instructions as to how to properly adjust trailer brakes using the integrated trailer brake control system on my 2012 GMC Sierra 1500.
    I read the owner's manual but what it said wasn't registering with me.
    So here's hoping that someone out there can guide me.

    Thank you
  2. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog Member 2 Years 500 Posts ROTM Winner

    :glasses: good morning Carbon,,, Keeper has this intergraded feature in his truck , when he gets in this morning I will give it a read,,, I set up all the trucks and trailers here with the controllers, and am thinking the procedure will be the same... it's poring rain here so will have time this morning check back here a little later and I should have the answers for you....

    Ok Carbon i have read the manual for this intergrated brake controller, and I see not to much to worry about as long as your trailer is equipped with electric brakes, When we set up the initial setting for the trailer on a brake controller we always set it up unloaded.... so hook up your empty trailer and go for a little ride, if you have to much current/power setting to your trailer the trailer wheels will lock up and skid at the slightest press of your brake petal... so you would like to get an even braking between your truck and trailer, this is the best note this setting, it will be different for every trailer you will tow, so keep that in mind... Now that you have your base setting you can load your trailer, if you have a heavy load you may find the need to increase the power setting level higher, if you have a loaded trailer and you feel the trailer pushing you you need to increase the power setting, so you again achieve equal braking from the truck and trailer.....if you ever find on down hill descents that the truck is being pushed you can always maintain control of the truck by manually siding the slider thus only braking the trailer.... and can always set the power level a little higher when you regain total control... your truck is equipped with some great towing ted... and with a new trailer it should automatically know what the trailer needs.. if the trailer is so equipped..... I hope this helped, feel free to ask me more if you are having difficulties......

    the book says to do this about 30 mph we do it at several different speeds loaded and unloaded.. just to get an idea of how things react ....we always return the setting to our base setting , and the next load we make sure we set to the trailer and the load we are hauling...
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  3. carbon black

    carbon black Member

    Thank you Dirty Dog. My travel trailer weighs around 5,500 lbs (loaded) and does have electric brakes. As this weight is fairly constant when I tow, this is the weight that I will be setting my brake controller for.
    When the truck comes from the factory is the gain set at "0" ???

    So if I read you right, I hook up the trailer and go for a ride. While driving, then slightly apply the brakes - if the trailer wheels lockup then I have too much gain and if I feel the trailer pushing the truck then I haven't got enough gain. Setting the proper gain MUST BE done while driving at around 35 kph. For each gain setting, I once again apply the truck brakes and basically see how the trailer brakes react and keep doing this until I get the optimum braking between the truck and trailer.

    I'll be doing this exercise in a couple of days, so I'll let you know how I make out.
  4. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog Member 2 Years 500 Posts ROTM Winner

    :glasses:Yes CArbon you could start with a setting of 3.5 or 4 that should be about right for 5500lbs,,, now our area here is flat ,,like really flat,,, they through curves in the highways here just to keep us from falling asleep at the wheel... if you have hills and terrain to deal with just tinker with it and you will find the setting to be like 4.5 or something like that,,,the best settings for your trailer will be what you deceide and you can always tweak on the fly if you get into crazy inclines and decants or adverse weather conditions.... Good lucks .. let me know how you make out
  5. carbon black

    carbon black Member

    Dirty Dog I have a question - has Keeper ever experienced the following with his truck (I copied the below from another thread in regards to this guy's experience with the integrated trailer brake controller in his truck - his experience was when he applied the brakes on his truck, he noticed that there was about a two second delay till the trailer brakes reaponded - his trailer weighs in at 9,000 lbs)

    This is quoted

    I took my truck with trailer to my local GMC service center. A service tech, that is an experienced RVer, took a test drive with my truck and trailer. After multiple gain adjustments, we agreed that 8.0 felt best and most secure.

    We then hitched my trailer to a new 2012 GMC Sierra 2500HD CC SB Duramax which is similar to my truck, except mine is a 3500 and has the Z71 package. We took it out on the same route and performed the same tests. It too had the best braking with my trailer with the gain set at 8.0.

    I do not know why, but the brake pedal felt "mushier" and had more travel than my 3500.

    The braking response with both GM trucks with the ITBC were similar, but not as smooth as my previous BrakeSmart controller. The GM ITBC only has gain adjustment. The BrakeSmart provided additional adjustments like initial brake constant and power factor, in addition to gain.

    The tech felt that I had become accustom to a more customizable controller. The GM controller is acceptable to most people. He could not explain delay I observed with the brake pedal vs manual lever when stationary. The system is hydraulic brake fluid pressure based. He felt that additional motion sensors do not activate immediate signal to brakes if stationary. He has not had to repair an ITBC before.

    They offered to disable the ITBC and install the brake controller of my choice at no charge. I will play with the current system and decide if I think I'd be better off with a different controller. Too bad BrakeSmart is no longer being produced. That would be my first choice.

    A friend performed the same test with his GM truck with ITBC and had the same result. When the trailer wheels are off the ground and spinning, the manual controller works instantly and a 2-3 second delay when the brake pedal is depressed.

    The service manager and techs at Classic GMC of Carrollton treated me with respect and Were very friendly and helpful.

    My conclusion: The ITBC in my truck functions as designed. It is good enough to make most people happy. GM could take a lesson from BrakeSmart and increase the available adjustments and improve their ITBC. They also should provide better information to the consumer of how their current product functions. Even the techs are in the dark. ​

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    Last edited: May 6, 2012

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