Trailer light connector

jerry_njJuly 30, 2005

I am planning to put a trailer light connector on my new Chevy Colorado pickup truck. When in WalMart tonight I stopped by the boating display and almost bought a 6 wire generic connector when I saw (even) WalMart had some 4 wire connector packages specific to some truck makes. On looking at the one for Chevrolet, newer models, it provided a "T" cable for the truck end saying not wires to splice. Pictures on the back show the truck to have an electric plug just forward of the rear bumper, left hand side, to which one simply unplugs and inserts the trailer "T", bingo you're all connected. I then looked under my truck and indeed there is a connector in the electric wiring going to the break, running, turn, backup lights.

Anyone out "there" used one of these "T" connectors? It looks too easy to be true. My owner manual is silent about any trailer light connecton, I didn't buy the shop manual, they are getting real expensive, and cars/trucks these days are so good one doesn't need a shop manual, in most cases, for the first 10 years of ownership :>)

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I wired up a few plugs in my day. Used to just scotchloc onto the existing wires. My brother does this kind of thing for a living and has for nearly 40 years. When I wanted to wire up our '98 dodge, his recommendation was to buy the kit you're talking about and NOT cut/splice/scotchloc onto the wiring. I don't remember the reason given now. So that's what I did. If anyone knows how to do it right, he does.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2005 at 11:37PM
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Go with the "T" connector. If you use the splice method you could cause damage to the electrical system. In some kits there is some electronic components in side the "T" connector to help balance the load the trailer puts on the system.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 1:15AM
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The main concern about hooking in trailer lamps into an existing vehicle lamp scheme is the extra loading applied to the signal lamp circuits. In older vehchiles, a different flasher relay had to be installed. However, if your truck already has a connector installed, this should not be a concern.

My Jeep handles this problem by using an additional relay at at the rear of vehicle to handle the rear lamp loads, thus isolating the flasher relay from a changeable lamp load. (I can hear the relay clicking in back when the flashers are energized.)

The problem with home built connections is corrosion and weather tightness. A little winter road salt will ruin all but the best thought out installations.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 3:19AM
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Go with the "T" connector. They're made just for the purpose you want. And the flasher can handle the load.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 5:38AM
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Thanks, you have confirmed my "finding". My real concern was it all looked too easy. It is great to see competition has pushed our car/truck manufacturers to "do it right".

What I really needed was a confirmation that this can be TRUE, I'm very happy to see it is not only true, but commonplace.

My last experience goes back to my 1988 Dodge Ram 50, which the new Chevy Colorado replaces. I installed the trailer electric connection there by splicing. I also went to the trouble of using a 5/6 wire plug so that there were separate wires for RT, LT, Break, Running, and of course ground. On a 4 wire connector, which the "T" seems to be, I'm wondering how we get the four required functions plus ground. Maybe this will all be disclosed to me if I purchase the kit and open it and read the instructions.

I'm not too worried about the extra load, but it could be a concern. The owner manual does give information on towing capacity and handling. The truck was built with a step bumper, and safty chain tie-downs, if they didn't provide enought electrical capacity to handle a simple trailer, "let's sue" :

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 9:12AM
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**I'm wondering how we get the four required functions plus ground.**

I believe you're refering to the need to have a tail light converter. It's for situations where the vehicle has separate bulbs for brake lights and turn signals, and the trailer just has one bulb to do both functions. Get the converter and it will be easy and obvious how it hooks up. It has diodes or something inside to keep circuits from crossing over each other every time you step on the brake or turn on a turn signal.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 12:35PM
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That was just in case it's needed. Some cars require this, some don't.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 12:38PM
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Thanks, I am aware of the converter, but never used one as my Dodge, and the the new truck, have spearate bulbs for trun and for break, thus separate circuits. This alligns with my boat trailer too. I suspect the package gives more details than can be displayed on the sale package.

I'll go ahead and purchase, but before going I'll get back under the new truck, and unplug the connector to see exactly what it requires.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 12:45PM
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