How those electric brakes are activated can make a large difference in efficiency (and mental well-being in panic situations) so an Odyssey Brake Control from Valley Industries was chosen to proportion the energy sent to the trailer's brakes. With four load ranges and an adjustable output, the Odyssey is easily tuned to suit the braking needs of anything from a small single-axle trailer to a heavy four-axle and is basically unnoticeable once adjusted correctly. Aside from the braking part, even a 1,500-pound tandem-axle trailer is noticeable behind the short and light 1/2-ton, so we don't need the trailer symbol on the dash (for the transmission's tow mode) to remind us it's back there. But again, we're used to much longer, stronger, and heavier tow vehicles, and the little 293 does a commendable job of pulling trailers up steep grades-it just has to be spinning fast to do it.
Bettering the Bed
They were pushing a Line-X spray-on bedliner pretty hard at the dealership, but we wanted to do some homework first-not to mention recuperating from the purchase of the vehicle itself. As it turned out, we ended up choosing Line-X after all, and it would've cost less to get it done through the dealer. On the other hand, in the meantime Line-X came out with its Xtra top coat, a Kevlar-reinforced clear urethane mixture made to combat color fade and cuts, so waiting a few months paid off, if not monetarily. A drop-in liner would've been cheaper, but they're not particularly nice to the paint, so the spray-on liner was chosen to keep the bed rust-free and in good shape for a long time. Being able to toss junk into the bed without worrying about the paint may not be priceless, but it was worth the cost of the Line-X.
At $255, the W/T's optional AM/FM/CD stereo was a big disappointment, although it's certainly better than nothing on long trips. Positives include large and easy-to-use knobs for both volume and tuning, but the lousy reception and mediocre sound quality was a bummer in such a quiet vehicle. Part of the problem solved itself when after three months we decided to wash the Chevy and the antenna wouldn't come off. It took some tinkering to get the mast separated from the base at the correct place, but once removed and reattached, the reception improved a lot.
Able to feed enough nicely proportioned electricity to work with up to four-axle trailers, Valley Industries' Odyssey Brake Control is more than capable of serving this 1/2-ton pickup's trailer braking needs. With light loads, setting 1 or 2 out of the four load-range settings works well and the power output setting also remains on the low side. There's enough meat in the plastic panel below the dash to secure the controller (in this case with the optional Slide-In Bracket, PN 37192) to it, using the included hardware.
Wiring the auto-leveling Odyssey was as easy as falling off a log. With the towing package came a "Z82 Glove Box Jumper" pigtail that plugs into (top, left) this "interior electrical center," located to the left under the dash. No towing package? Valley sells plug-in wiring separately. Either way, the pigtail wires are simply connected to the Odyssey's wires according to the instructions. It doesn't get any easier than that.