How to use Trailer Braking System on Toyota Tundra

This guide will go over the Trailer Braking System equipped on the Toyota Tundra Full-Size Pickup Truck.

Toyota Tundra – (photo by Toyota)

Since the 2016 model year, every Tundra equipped with the 5.7 Liter i-Force V8 engine, has also included an integrated trailer brake controller system, standard. This system allows you to sync up the brakes of a trailer equipped with electric brakes, to the braking system of the Tundra pickup. This means that when you apply the brakes while towing, a proportional electrical signal is sent from the brake controller, to the braking system of the trailer behind the truck. By sharing the braking system with the trailer, Tundra is not only able to tow greater weights, but can do so more securely.

This system uses the Tundra’s 7-pin connector to send the braking signal to the trailer. A 4-pin connector will not work. This is because the 7-pin connector is able to transmit up to 25 amps of current to the trailer’s brakes. The 7-pin connector also offers constant 12 volt power and its wiring gauge is thicker than a 4-pin connection, which is used for lighter weight trailers without brakes or accessories.

It is important to understand the controls within this system, so let’s dig into some of the details. The system information and details are managed through the multi-information display or MID in the center of the instrument cluster, with additional controls located in the dashboard, to the lower right of the steering wheel. These include the gain selection buttons, and the manual trailer brake output slider.

MID Settings

Let’s go over the trailer braking MID display, as well as the controls in greater detail. To access the trailer brake screen, Simply press the left or right buttons on the steering wheel MID controls until is is highlighted. Here, you will see a trailer connection indicator in the upper-right corner. This will light up green when a trailer has been connected.

In the center of the screen, below the truck and trailer image, you’ll see a gain level, which ranges from 0 to 10, in half step increments. This determines how much braking power will be routed to the trailer, With 0 being none, and 10 being maximum. It is adjusted via the gain selection buttons on the dashboard.

The next thing you’ll see is the output meter, which provides a visual representation of the braking force as it happens. Below this, the screen indicates the type of brakes on the trailer: either electric, or electric-over-hydraulic. This important setting ensures the proper braking force is used. To adjust this, you’ll need to go into your setup menu, also in the MID. Scroll down to Vehicle Settings, and then to the TBC Trailer Type to select the correct type of trailer brakes.

Now, there’s one other control to go over, the manual trailer brake output slider. This slider provides direct control over the trailer’s brakes, and only the trailer’s brakes. It functions like a brake pedal, so the more you move the slider, the harder the trailer will brake. This feature is an important step in setting the proper gain level. But what if you are already braking when you activate it? Simple, the system will send whichever of the two signals is the strongest.

You’ll need to set the appropriate gain amount every time the vehicle load, trailer load, road condition, or weather changes. To do this, first make sure the trailer brakes are in good, working condition and functioning normally. Next, hook up the trailer and make the proper electrical connections. Be sure to also select the correct type of trailer brakes that are on the trailer.

Once, you’re all hooked up, drive the vehicle with the trailer attached on a level road surface, at approximately 20-25 miles per hour. Now, using the gain selection buttons, set a starting gain of 5.0. While still driving, apply the manual trailer brake output slider and then use the gain selection buttons to either increase, or decrease the gain to just below the point of trailer wheel lock up. For confirmation, repeat the previous two steps until you’re confident that the desired gain setting is reached.

And that’s it. That’s all it takes to get started with Tundra’s integrated trailer braking system. With proper control of this system, you’ll be able to tow your trailer more confidently than ever before.

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