electrical problems?

Discussion in 'Power - Site Power/Batteries/Generators/Solar' started by Mary915, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. Mary915

    Mary915 Camping.....This is the lilfe

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    Mar 22, 2009
    Miami, FL
    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.
     
  2. 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 <i>both</i> 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

    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp">'96 Rockwood Signature Series 1280
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle">'07 Ford Explorer
    <i>Wherever you go, there you are.</i>
     
  3. Skyryder

    Skyryder Proud user of the K.I.S.S. Principle

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    Jan 14, 2009
    Helena, Mt
    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
    '72 Starcraft & <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_jeep.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Jeep">
    Helena, Mt.
     
  4. Woodyrock

    Woodyrock New Member

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    Sep 15, 2008
    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.

    <img src=../Images/flags/ca.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Canada"><img src=../Images/flags/us.gif border=0 align=middle alt="United States">
    Me, older; she, younger
    Louie, four footed kid
    2009 Flagstaff 228 BH
    2007 Expedition
    20' Stripper
     
  5. Mary915

    Mary915 Camping.....This is the lilfe

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    Mar 22, 2009
    Miami, FL
    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
     
  6. <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_lol.gif border=0 align=middle alt="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 <b><i>should</b></i> 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 <i>should</i> 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 <i>should</i> 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 <b>can't</b> 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 <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_sarcastic.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Sarcastic">.

    Good luck.


    Joe

    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp">'96 Rockwood Signature Series 1280
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle">'07 Ford Explorer
    <i>Wherever you go, there you are.</i>
     
  7. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

    11,599
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    Oct 3, 2007
    Waterford, Ct
    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
    04 Grand Cherokee

    Edited by - Raycfe on March 24 2009 10:28:29
     
  8. twstdpear

    twstdpear Party like it's 2012!

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    Jan 18, 2009
    Northern VA
    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

    08 Fleetwood Yuma <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu_closed.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp Closed"><img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle"> 03 Honda Odyssey

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

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

    11,599
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    Oct 3, 2007
    Waterford, Ct
    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.

    83 JaycoJay 806
    04 Grand Cherokee
     
  10. daddyzgrl1

    daddyzgrl1 I'd rather be camping!!!

    361
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    May 21, 2008
    Kingsport, TN
    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.

    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_sarcastic.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Sarcastic"> Me
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_dog.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Dog"> Buddy
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_jeep.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Jeep"> TV
     
  11. 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

    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp">'96 Rockwood Signature Series 1280
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle">'07 Ford Explorer
    <i>Wherever you go, there you are.</i>
     
  12. Mary915

    Mary915 Camping.....This is the lilfe

    9
    0
    Mar 22, 2009
    Miami, FL
    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
     
  13. Mary915

    Mary915 Camping.....This is the lilfe

    9
    0
    Mar 22, 2009
    Miami, FL
    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
     
  14. daddyzgrl1

    daddyzgrl1 I'd rather be camping!!!

    361
    0
    May 21, 2008
    Kingsport, TN
    Only if the were all that cheap of a fix.<img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Smile"> Glad your rig is ready to roll now.

    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_sarcastic.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Sarcastic"> Me
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_dog.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Dog"> Buddy
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_jeep.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Jeep"> TV
     
  15. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

    11,599
    10
    Oct 3, 2007
    Waterford, Ct
    Great, hope all your repairs are that easy.

    83 JaycoJay 806
    04 Grand Cherokee
     
  16. Mary915

    Mary915 Camping.....This is the lilfe

    9
    0
    Mar 22, 2009
    Miami, FL
    I think I spoke to soon. I turned on the car again and this time no lights came on. The break lights don't come on when I hit the break and the indicators don't blink. When I spread the grease around on the ground the lights came on again so it seems to be a ground issue.

    I would need to access the tail lights but it is very difficult from the inside. Does anyone know if the back panel, where the tail light assembly is, comes off?

    1989 Coleman Chesapeake
    2006 Toyota Highlander
     
  17. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

    11,599
    10
    Oct 3, 2007
    Waterford, Ct
    Not a Coleman owner but, Raise the roof and before you pull the rear bed out look behind the top edge of the rear panel. You may be able to see the backside of the rear panel for how it is mounted. I would bet that it is riveted on. I looked at the parts manual online and it listed rivets. The taillights may even riveted to the panel. As before, use your test light and check the plug connector on the TV first. If you put the 4 way flashers on, you will get a blinking test light at 2 of the connectors. Lots of luck

    83 JaycoJay 806
    04 Grand Cherokee
     

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