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trailer lights driving me insane....help!

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by esoxhunter, May 28, 2008.

  1. esoxhunter

    esoxhunter Livin' the moontime

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    been having an issue this year with my driver side trailer light. I have TOTALLY re-wired the trailer and have brand new lights. The passenger side works perfect, but the driver side only works as a left turn blinker and it is so dim that you can barely see it. My father (previous owner of the trailer) and several other people have said that it is a ground wire issue. The ground connection looked bad with old paint and rust. I cleaned it up and dremeled it down to bare metal and still the same issue. No running lights on the driver side and extremely dim blinker.
    After re-wiring the entire trailer, I am at my wits end. Is there anything else I can try ? ANY help is appreciated.
     
  2. NUM1FIRE

    NUM1FIRE FIREFIGHTER/1ST RESPONDER

    have u checked all the wiring on the vehicle end? maybe a bad connection or bad wire
     

  3. Sounds like you might have a voltage drop on that side. Make sure the plug is good and no damage to the connection for the wiring on that side.
     
  4. DaleM

    DaleM Original OGF Staff Member

    Run a seperate ground from your trailer to your vehicle and you'll solve the problem. Make sure you have a good connection with the bolts on the lights to the trailer frame. Being you have one dim that light isn't grounding good. The extra wire will work. had to do that same thing and now have no problems.
    If that doesn't work let me know. Bring it by my house and we'll fix it. I live really close to the Hilliard Gander store now. So close I can almost see it. :)
     
  5. run a temporary wire from vehicle ground to the trailer light ground ,,I think it is the ground or a damaged wire ,,if the ground does not do it try the other wires from the plug to the light...If you have a meter you could check voltage and continuity
     
  6. esoxhunter

    esoxhunter Livin' the moontime

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    when you say a "seperate ground from trailer to vehicle", do you mean a wire connected to the original ground (where its bolted to the trailer) then back to the vehicle frame ? I'm no electrician ;)
    Wonder if the wife would freak if she saw me drilling into the frame of our new truck LOL
     
  7. DaleM

    DaleM Original OGF Staff Member

    I drilled a screw into the trailer frame and put a wire long enough to reach the wiring plug area. Then connect a wire from the vehicle somewhere close to the wiring connection. Put a male end on one wire and a female plug on the other. When you hook up the light (wiring) plug also plug the 2 ground wires together. After you said a new truck, I'm sure that's your problem. My new truck did the same thing. Again let me know and I can help you get it fixed.
     
  8. esoxhunter

    esoxhunter Livin' the moontime

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    "Then connect a wire from the vehicle somewhere close to the wiring connection"

    as in somewhere into the truck frame close to the wiring area ?

    I think I got ya now.
    Appreciate the help !!!
     
  9. DaleM

    DaleM Original OGF Staff Member

    You got it. Let me know if you need anymore help.
     
  10. esoxhunter

    esoxhunter Livin' the moontime

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    thanks Dale !
    I'm watching the Sox game right now, but I'll get back to work on the trailer tomorrow and let you know how it turns out.
     
  11. This happened to me this spring with my camper trailer. Put on a new hookup from the box to the truck, had almost the same problem you describe. It ended up being a blown fuse under the hood used for, guess what, the exact lights that were acting up. Check your fuses...
     
  12. fishingguy

    fishingguy The Inferior Fisherman

    Dale's remedy should work. I had a trailer that when you plugged the lights in with the trailer not hooked up to the truck, the lights worked poorly. Put the trailer on the ball and the lights worked properly. It's a ground thing most of the time. I did Dale's idea and that took care of it. Also had problems with rust in one of the female holes in the plug. Cleaned it out and put some of that plug grease in and everything worked fine.
     
  13. I agree...Dales remedy will probably work. You can use any blade-type crimp on termination that is male/female to make the truck/trailer connection. You can use a self-tapping screw into the frame or find a bolt on the frame and put the ground wire in between two washers. New chrome hitches are usually the culprit. Chrome is a poor conductor.

    Tim
     
  14. Esox, your problems sound similar to what I had on my trailer a few years ago. Follow what I did and I think you will be able to solve it. Just like you I was having issues with certain lights working and then they would go out when I braked. I checked my wiring on the vehicle and determined that was not the issue. I verified that by hooking the plug up to another vehicle and yielded the same result. I was stumped so I decided to buy a whole new trailer light kit and install it. Imagine my frustration when I hooked it up and came up with the same result.:mad: This did however lead me to the right answer because prior to mounting the new lights I had hooked them up to the vehicle plug and everything worked great. I then knew that the only thing I had different was that in order to test the lights before hooking to the trailer I had to use a separate wire run from the ground to each light fixture. So I then took 2 long wires and mounted them on the ground at the front of the trailer and pulled them back to the light fixture and mounted them there. Voila! Everything worked brilliantly! What I was able to determine was that although the trailer is all metal it is actually hooked together at the "Y" via bolts. The trailer had been painted and the paint was hindering the current flow from the front to the back of the trailer, thus rendering the trailer itself as a useless ground conductor. What I did then was pull those two wires back through the trailer frame (initially I tested it with them on the outside) and then I mounted then directly to the light fixture. In doing this I had totally eliminated the use of the trailer as a ground.

    So in short I would suggest to test this by doing as I did and mount a temporary wire to the ground at the front of the trailer. You can do so by either disconnecting the current ground coming from the trailer plug and using a wire nut to connect them or just put them under the same bolt that is currently holding the ground from the plug to the trailer. Then take the other end and connect them to your light fixtures. This will save you the trouble of fishing the wires through the trailer frame in the event that this is not your problem.

    I hope this helps.
     
  15. If Esox's problem is like mine I doubt that Dale's remedy will solve it. My problem was not that I was not getting a ground connection from the front of the trailer to the vehicle but rather that I was not getting a ground from the back of the trailer to the front. Once I determined my problem I actually made a quick fix on the trailer to further support my theory by taking a bridge clip and forcing it over top of the two sections of my trailer frame where the front beam joins up with each arm to form the "Y". That solved it as well so I was able to determine that my lost ground was in that joint where those two beams were bolted together. I just then went ahead and put the wire all the way back to avoid any future headaches. It has been about 6 years and I have not had any issues since.

    If it were me I would try my suggestion before drilling on the vehicle. You can start out by trying to bridge the connection between the center beam and the left side beam. Even vise grip would work to test the theory if you can get them connected to the beam provided they are making contact with the metal and not just the paint coating.
     
  16. esoxhunter

    esoxhunter Livin' the moontime

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    hmmm, interesting point Toolman.
    when the lights were working properly, I was hauling the boat with a '90 Toyota pickup that had a ball hitch that was not exactly shiny. Now I haul with an '04 Explorer and the hitch is new.

    another interesting point. The first time I hooked the boat up with the new truck, I tested the lights and the one I'm having trouble with actually fried complete with a small puff of smoke. The lights have been replaced, but I'm thinking that has something to do with my current issue..
    Checked the fuses as well...they are fine.
    I have to work today and my wife took the truck to work this morning so I have not been able to work on it. Will try again after work tomorrow.

    thanks to everyone for the advice. You are a helpful bunch !
     
  17. esoxhunter

    esoxhunter Livin' the moontime

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    my light fixtures are all plastic except for the bolts that hold them to the trailer. Is this what you're referring to ?
     
  18. misfit

    misfit MOD SQUAD

    yes doug.the lights are grounded through the bolts.
     
  19. Yes. What he said.;) I terminated my ground wires on on the bolts at the lights.
     
  20. get a test light and check for power that side either brown or yellow if you dont hah power its the trailer contecion the plug might be bad check both male and female whatever color your light is with running lights on if male is dead check female , they make a pin prick with a light to find hot wire , check tow rig too i had same problem had yellow wire no power at light with turn signal on checked had power at plug was at conetion to back if not , if no power check power on tow rig same color wire its shoud have power if not there is your problem dan noll