Trailer Owner’s Manual

7 Connecting the Trailer

See Figure 8 for a diagram of the hitch, hitch ball, draw bar, and receiver.

Figure 8: Hitch, Draw Bar, and Receiver


7.1 Hitch Height

When connected to the tow vehicle, the trailer should be level or slightly sloped to the front. A hitch draw bar can be selected with a drop or rise height as necessary to result in the proper trailer hitch height off the ground to result in a level trailer. See your dealer for details.

7.2 Connecting the Hitch Draw Bar to the Receiver

The draw bar holds the hitch ball, and connects it to the tow vehicle receiver. To connect the draw bar to the receiver:

  • 1. Insert the draw bar into the tow vehicle’s receiver.

  • 2. Align the pin holes.

  • 3. Insert the receiver’s draw bar pin.

  • 4. Connect the clip to the draw bar pin so that the draw bar pin cannot come out.

For additional security, a locking draw bar pin may be used.

7.3 Connecting the Trailer Hitch to the Hitch Ball

Once the hitch draw bar is connected to the receiver, the trailer may be connected to the hitch ball:

  • 1. Close the trailer.

  • 2. Raise and stow the trailer’s entry step.

  • 3. Raise the trailer’s stabilizer jacks.

  • 4. Verify that the trailer’s hitch is high enough that the hitch ball will not hit it when the tow vehicle is backed up to the trailer. This step may require raising the hitch jack so that the hitch is high enough to fit over the hitch ball.

  • 5. Position the tow vehicle such that the hitch ball is located below the trailer’s hitch. Products are available to assist in the positioning of the hitch ball, such as mirrors, hitch sticks, etc. See your dealer for details.

  • 6. Remove the hitch safety pin and unlatch the hitch.

  • 7. Lower the trailer’s hitch jack so that the hitch is over the hitch ball.

  • 8. Latch the hitch and install the hitch safety pin.

  • 9. Raise the hitch jack all the way up.

  • 10. Remove the hitch jack wheel.

7.4 Connecting the Safety Chains

In the event that the trailer’s hitch somehow falls off the hitch ball, the safety chains help to prevent the trailer from escaping from the tow vehicle. These chains should be connected to the openings or loops which are provided by the tow vehicle receiver, located next to where the draw bar plugs into the receiver. One chain goes to each side, and the chains should be crossed once underneath before being connected to the receiver. The crossing of the chains helps to catch the trailer hitch if it disconnects from the tow vehicle. Leave enough slack in the chains so that they droop approximately half way down to the pavement. If the chains are too tight, they can bind while performing a hard turn. If they are too loose, they can drag on the ground while driving. Be sure that the chains are clipped securely to the receiver so that they do not falls off and drag on the ground.

7.5 Connecting the Break-Away Switch Cable

Trailers with electric brakes will have a break-away switch. This switch connects to the tow vehicle, and it is activated to trigger the trailer brakes if the trailer becomes totally disconnected from the tow vehicle and thus becomes a run-away. The cable should be connected to the tow vehicle receiver along with the safety chains, using a clip or removable chain link. The cable should be long enough that it will not be pulled unless the trailer disconnects, but also short enough that it does not drag on the ground.

The trailer brakes will only work if the battery is connected and has a charge, and the fuses are intact.

In the event that the break-away switch cable is pulled, the brakes will be activated but only so long as the battery holds a charge. Be sure to block the trailer wheels so that it does not roll any further, even if the trailer is essentially destroyed, then reinstall the break-away switch cable into the switch housing again to prevent the battery from being depleted.

7.6 Connecting the Electrical Cable

See Figure 20 (Trailer Cable Plug — Pin Assignments) for a diagram of the seven-pin electrical connector. If your tow vehicle has a four-pin connector, you will have to use an adapter to connect it to the seven pin trailer cable.

Inserting the Cable

The cable and socket have tabs to allow the cable to go into the socket in only one way. Open the door of the socket, align the tab on the cable with the socket, and push the cable into the socket until it stops. Alignment must be correct for the cable to go into the socket, and small adjustments in angle might be necessary.

Once the cable is inserted into the socket, close the door down to the top of the cable such that a tab on the door engages the cable and locks it into the socket.

Testing the Trailer Lights

Once the electrical cable is connected to the tow vehicle, the trailer’s lights and brakes should be tested.

Test the lights by turning on the tow vehicle’s emergency flashers and marker lights1. The trailer’s marker lights and tail lights should be lit, and the trailer’s left and right brake/turn lights should be flashing. Check the tow vehicle’s marker and brake/turn lights as well.

The tow vehicle’s brake controller should display an indicator to show that the trailer’s electric brakes are connected. On some brake controllers, the tow vehicle brake pedal must be momentarily depressed to wake up the controller’s display.

1 Also known as “running lights” or “parking lights”, these are all the extra lights which come on when the headlights are turned on. On most vehicles, it is possible to turn on everything except the headlights, and this is sufficient for testing the trailer’s lights.