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Author Topic: electrical problems?  (Read 1420 times)

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Offline Mary915

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electrical problems?
« on: March 23, 2009, 10:04:16 PM »
I am a pretty new pup owner and have only used my pup several times. Recently I noticed the tail lights aren't working and it was not the bulbs. I asked at the trailer store about the cost of repairs and it was about $300 which I can't afford now. I looked at the wiring but it was very hard to access and there was no sign of any loose wires. Does anyone have any suggestions for repairs. All help will be greatly appreciated.

2000 Coleman Mesa
2006 Toyota Highlander
2 four legged kids

Offline Xolthrax

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electrical problems?
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2009, 10:21:58 PM »
I would start with picking up a trailer emulator and verifying that your TV wiring is OK. Also check the fuses on your TV.

It's odd that both tail lights would be out simultaneously if it's the trailer. The left & right lights use different wires. It is possible that they share a ground and that has gone bad.


Joe

PopUp'96 Rockwood Signature Series 1280
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Offline Skyryder

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electrical problems?
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2009, 12:36:21 AM »
Ditto on what Joe said. Bad grounds can be very troublesome!

$300 bucks sounds way steep to me, could rewire a semi trailer with some left over. $50 even sounds steep with out fixtures. Either way use the K.I.S.S principle, fuses, grounds, connectors, bulbs, oops already checked 'em.

Skyryder
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Offline Woodyrock

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electrical problems?
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2009, 02:11:21 AM »
The prime culprit to check is the grounds. From the manufacturer there is almost always paint (a good insulater) under the ground attachment points. The groung wire can be tight but you may not have a good ground until the paint is removed to bare metal. A coat of dialetric grease is a good thing to coat the ground attachment before tightening it up.Once under the pup, give EVERY electrial connection a coat of the dialectric grease........this will alleviate many problems in the future.

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Offline Mary915

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electrical problems?
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2009, 08:18:42 AM »
Hi Joe,

Thanks for the advice. I don't mean to sound stupid but where would the ground wire be? Where would the fuses be? and what exactly is a TV. Also what is a trailer emulator? I have to try to make these repairs on my own for now and I am open to learning.

Mary

1989 Coleman Chesapeake
Toyota Highlander

Edited by - Mary915 on March 24 2009  08:21:15
2000 Coleman Mesa
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Offline Xolthrax

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electrical problems?
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2009, 09:20:14 AM »
Laugh Out Loud

Mary, sorry for all the jargon & acronyms. It gets to be like a second language after a while.

TV = tow vehicle. Look in your owners manual to determine where the fuses are. Usually they're located under the dash by the driver's left foot. There is also usually an additional fuse panel under the hood somewhere. The owners manual is sometimes a little cryptic on descriptions of what each fuse is for. Hopefully it will tell you which are for the trailer connector.

A trailer emulator is a little gizmo that you plug into the trailer socket on your TV. The lights will light up to show that there is power at each wire. For instance, you step on the brakes and the left and right brake light indicators will light up. To be honest, you could accomplish the same thing with a multimeter if you have one. The one in the link is a 7-prong. If you have a flat 4-pin connector, you can get one for those, too. Wal Mart sells them for a few dollars.

The ground wire is a harder question. It is very likely that your brake lights share one ground wire. It should be white. It will go from the light fixtures to the frame somewhere. They are behind the body panels and can be difficult to access. On mine, I had to remove the metal trim cap along the top of the back panel and detach part of the back panel. If you have a flat 4 prong connection, there should be a green wire coming from the connector that runs to the right tail light. There will also be a yellow wire running to the left light. Follow them and you should be able to see the white ground wire somewhere near one of them. If you have a round 7-pole connector, it should be a brown wire to the right and a red wire to the left. I stress the word should because even though it is the standard, there are no guarantees that the manufacturer followed that color scheme.

If you find the ground wire at the light fixtures, I would suggest getting some tap splices and attaching a new ground wire to them and attaching that new wire to the frame (bared and greased as Woodyrock mentioned). You simply can't have too many ground connections. I have several redundant ones in potential trouble areas. I've had to chase down ground issues in the past, and I don't want to do it again Sarcastic.

Good luck.


Joe

PopUp'96 Rockwood Signature Series 1280
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Wherever you go, there you are.
Joe
[PU]'96 Rockwood Signature Series 1280 [TV]'07 Ford Explorer
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Offline Raycfe

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electrical problems?
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2009, 10:23:43 AM »
If the taillights on the TV (car) work than the fuses are OK. If the taillights are out on your car, post the year make and model and we can find the fuse location for you. For troubleshooting a basic cheap "testlight" can be a big help.

http://mypage.direct.ca/k/kdomries/testlight.html
83 JaycoJay 806
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Edited by - Raycfe on March 24 2009  10:28:29
Ray, Jin and Quincy,
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Offline twstdpear

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electrical problems?
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2009, 11:23:21 AM »
Raycfe,

Not necessarily. I recently troubleshot a problem with our Expedition. It's parking lights worked fine, but the pup's parking lights wouldn't work. The pup worked fine when hooked up to our Odyssey. It turns out that we had a blown fuse on the Expedition, and it had a separate fusebox in the engine compartment containing fuses for the trailer connectors (among other things).

I believe it's been this way since last summer when I rewired the utility trailer because they were abraded off, and probably had shorted.

Jeff

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Edited by - twstdpear on March 24 2009  11:32:10
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Offline Raycfe

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electrical problems?
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2009, 11:41:03 AM »
Yes the factory does a nice job on some vehicles. A test light at the bumper plug would be an easy check. We have to wait and see what Mary has for a TV.

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Ray, Jin and Quincy,
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Offline daddyzgrl1

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electrical problems?
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2009, 11:53:32 AM »
If you have a local auto parts store you may be abel to have one of them come out and hook the emulator up instead of you having to buy it. I know on my jeep if I wire a trailor the way it should be everything will work till I turn my head lights on then nothing. The pup is the only thing that the jeep can tow, which bites cause I now have a new TV (tow vehicle). Like the guys are saying though, check your TV first then work your way to the pup. I would check the ground wire on your TV first, the connection may not be good, it will be the white (should be)wire that is going into your connector, sometimes if you had the wiring done by a professional it could be inside a panel in the back of your vehicle, but look for the white wire that may be attached to your tow hitch "for no apparent reason", this will be your ground wire. Good luck. Hope this helps.

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Offline Xolthrax

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electrical problems?
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2009, 12:27:03 PM »
Maybe it's a Ford thing, but my Explorer also uses separate fuses for the trailer. As a matter of fact, my Freestyle, which doesn't have a tow package available (as well it shouldn't), had the extra towing circuits built in from the factory. That made it a little easier when I installed the brake controller & accessory power.


Joe

PopUp'96 Rockwood Signature Series 1280
Tow Vehicle'07 Ford Explorer
Wherever you go, there you are.
Joe
[PU]'96 Rockwood Signature Series 1280 [TV]'07 Ford Explorer
Wherever you go, there you are.  Gilwell Troop 1 (Owl Patrol)

Offline Mary915

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electrical problems?
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2009, 06:34:08 PM »
Your post was really helpful and I first checked out the TV connections with one of those testers that look like a screw diriver and I think they are ok but they don't light up consistently so I am going to actually check the fuse next.

As for the ground wire, I found it. It is coming out of the chasis through a hole and it is on really tight. I could not get it off. I am not sure the back panel on mine is removable.

From the inside I was able to access the wiring but it is really difficult to work on them. I disconnected the white thingy that connects the wires that go to the front from the wires that go to the tail lights and tested it. The ones that run to the connector that connects to the TV two of them lit up but two did not. I am not sure what that means.

If I could remove the back panel at least I could check if the wires were all connected and follow your suggestion for the ground. The thing is that those lights were working a short time ago and now nothing and the pup has not been moved.

I really appreciate everyones help and suggestions. I will be posting some pictures soon. Thanks
Mary

1989 Coleman Chesapeake
2006 Toyota Highlander
2000 Coleman Mesa
2006 Toyota Highlander
2 four legged kids

Offline Mary915

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electrical problems?
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2009, 06:43:28 PM »
I finally got the trailer lights working. I checked the TV plug and then the fuse and they seemed to be correct. I got a small tube of dialectric grease and smeared it on all connections and just started the car and all the lights came on. What a simple solution and it only cost 99 cents. Thanks everyone for all you help and advice.

What a great forum this is and you all have inspired me to do some renovations on my pup.

Thanks again.
Mary

1989 Coleman Chesapeake
2006 Toyota Highlander
2000 Coleman Mesa
2006 Toyota Highlander
2 four legged kids

Offline daddyzgrl1

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electrical problems?
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2009, 06:51:09 PM »
Only if the were all that cheap of a fix.Smile Glad your rig is ready to roll now.

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Offline Raycfe

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electrical problems?
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2009, 06:51:50 PM »
Great, hope all your repairs are that easy.

83 JaycoJay 806
04 Grand Cherokee
Ray, Jin and Quincy,
2000 Coleman Cheyenne, [PU]
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