Running lights stopped working

Discussion in 'Lighting, Interior and Exterior' started by Orchid, Dec 2, 2016.

  1. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    All of our exterior lights were working up until last trip. Hooked up, and on our pre-trip check, the running lights and one brake light were not working. Fixed the brake light by replacing a blown fuse. Went ahead with the trip, as it was only a couple of hours away and daytime travel.

    Now that we're home, trying to figure out the problem with the running lights. Brake lights and turn signals work fine. We plugged it in to SIL's truck at camp site to test and same problem, so it's a problem on the trailer, as opposed to the tow vehicle.

    Any advice on where to start?
     
  2. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    first thing to check is the ground wire, next check the wire going to the running lights for good contact from the plug
     
  3. JT2

    JT2 Member

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    Yep. This sounds like something simple; finding it is the problem.

    Clean each pin on the trailer connector very carefully, getting all the corrosion and crud off the pins.
    Connect firmly to TV , turn on lights. Markers should (might) work.
    If not, jiggle the wire harness at back of trailer plug to see if it's a loose wire inside the connector. (If so, lights should flicker as you jiggle.)

    If still no joy, check the ground connection to the trailer frame.

    Identify the appropriate wires (from the wiring chart) and check them visually from the trailer connector as far as you can. Look for nicks, breaks, loose connectors, and other obvious problems.

    Do NOT start disassembly, socket checks, etc until you've eliminated all the simple stuff at or around the front of the trailer.

    Good luck; keep us posted on what you find.
     
  4. unclemark

    unclemark Overland Park, KS

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    When I installed a seven-pin adapter on my tow vehicle, part of it plugged in "permanently" into the existing 4-pin connector. About a year afterward, I began intermittently losing lights. By this fall, the lights were utterly unreliable, even though I'd spent a year trying everything short of rewiring both vehicles. Well, there was another thing I didn't try: unhooking the four-pin adapter and cleaning all those pins. I finally tried that this fall, and I've had no more problems.
     
  5. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    Okay Kids, I put this question up before we left for vacation so I'd have some leads to try when we got home.

    Tuesday is the day that we address this problem. Thanks to those that offered suggestions. Giving it a bump in case anything has anything to add before we go total Griswold on it. [;)]
     
  6. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    Indicates it's a trailer problem but
    say's slow down a little.

    Take a look at these diagrams.
    http://sloanbooks.com/wiring/7-pin-rv-plug-wiring-diagram
    Check the current at the top left pin to determine if you have power to the running lights from the truck. If yes, then it's definitely a trailer problem.

    If no then you need to start working backward on the tv. You should find, near the back of the TV, something like this:
    http://www.etrailer.com/Custom-Fit-Vehicle-Wiring/Curt/C55336.html. Check both the input and output sides of the circuit box to see if you have power on all circuits. If you have power on the input but not the output you probably need to to replace the box. If no power on the input I'd start looking for another fuse.
     
  7. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    Thanks for the advice! We plugged it into two different vehicles with the same results ... my van, and my SIL's truck.

    I will take a look at the diagrams for sure. We did check all the fuses in the camper. Could it be a fuse in the TV? I've never thought about checking those.
     
  8. Beecoach

    Beecoach Member

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    Probably 90% of these kinds of problems are because of a bad ground somewhere.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  9. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    The running lights, brake lights and turn indicators are fused from the tv. The don't interact with the camper systems at all.
     
  10. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    I apologize for sounding argumentative, but a blown fuse in our camper fixed the brake light that was out. I know that for 100% fact because I did it myself.

    A bit of Googling has me thinking you are spot on.
     
  11. R00

    R00 Active Member

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    Then your trailer is wired incorrectly. There should be no fused wires between the trailer receptacle and the light fixtures themselves. The manufacturer is required by law to wire the trailer's signalling capabilities independent of its other 12v systems.
     
  12. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    This is not good news. However, I suspected as much when we could turn the cargo light switch into a roof light switch by reversing two wires.
     
  13. R00

    R00 Active Member

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    *facepalm*

    Neither of those have anything to do with signalling. And it's entirely possible to change the source of power from one RV fixture to another by swapping wires at the source.

    I think I've said this recently on this forum or another, but you should really Google some electrical theory. "Swapping wires" to test things is a very scary way of going about it. Pop-ups burn fast. So fast you'll be looking for a garden hose and it'll turn to ash. Please invest in a decent electrical test meter and the knowledge to use it.

    Also, a garden hose is the wrong way to put out a pop-up electrical fire. Guess I should disclaim that. Keep an ABC extinguisher on board and inspect it regularly.
     
  14. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    If the fuse you changed that fixed the brake light was in the camper then that definitely points to a ground issue in the trailer. I had assumed the fuse was in the tv.

    When the circuit is disrupted the current will find any possible path to ground, even backfeeding through other circuits. Because both 12 volt systems share a common ground, the trailer frame, when you replaced the fuse you gave the current a new path to ground.
     
  15. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    I told you we are Griswolds ..... [LOL] Never got to it today due to excessive pain. Have emergency ortho appointment Thursday, so the lights are on hold again.

    You probably don't want to know that we left it as a light switch for the ceiling lights for awhile because it was convenient. Now we changed it back to it's original duty as cargo light switch, in case it was any kind of culprit in the running light issues, which doesn't appear to be the case. Still going to leave it as intended.

    Interesting .... It was a fuse inside the camper. What you just said above actually makes sense to me! I get excited when I have a clue what people are talking about. I mean when I'm out of my comfort zone. [:D]
     
  16. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    After dealing with this for a few weeks, we have found the problem.

    I refuse to admit to all the things we did / checked to try to find this problem, as I'm sure it would result in a good laugh to more knowledgeable folks. [LOL]

    I will say that the ground wire from the battery (I think, without going out and looking) was half exposed, so we thought that was the problem for sure. Cleaned some new wire and got it firmly under the metal thing where it belonged. No love.

    Today, after some other interesting pursuits, we decided to check light bulbs, even though they were working for brakes and turn signal. Found a bulb in one of the main taillights with a corroded base and one burned filament. Replaced. Problem solved.

    OH. MY. GOSH! We practically had the entire camper a piles of sawdust and wires on the ground over a stupid bulb. Live and learn ....
     
  17. JT2

    JT2 Member

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    First, good on ya' for tracking it down and figuring it out. Well done!

    Fear not, and file it under "Stuff Happens."
    In my dealership shop days I once watched a highly knowledgeable and reliable technician spend 12 hours taking a car to pieces to track down bizarre taillight behavior. He was our best electrician and followed the book exactly, which required starting the troubleshooting at the battery. He had to remove half the dash and all the seats and carpets to check wiring, connectors, etc. from front to back.
    What'd he find? A shorted double-filament bulb in a brake light...one filament burned out, drooped and touched the other one, causing a disco effect when the turn signals were used. (And for the other shop rats around here, yes, the factory paid the entire warranty claim to the shop because he followed the service procedure as written AND documented every step in writing.)
     
  18. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    Thank you for this! [:D]

    It does make me feel less ridiculous. We had just begun to tear the van (tow vehicle) apart when I decided to check the bulbs. I didn't think it would be a bulb since they were all working as brakes and signals, but just decided to do it anyway. Apparently, they are like a Christmas tree ... one goes out and you're in the dark.

    I put off until tomorrow putting everything back together. We have lots of stuff torn apart on the camper. [LOL]
     

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