Cleaning Trailer Lights - Fiberglass RV

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Old 05-13-2019, 08:50 AM   #1
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ZachO's Avatar
Name: Zach
Trailer: 91 Bigfoot 17
Posts: 1,616
Cleaning Trailer Lights

This won't be news to most of you, but I just had firsthand experience with this so I'll share it.

The blinker lights on my Bigfoot have been very dim since I bought it. Dim enough that they're only really functional at night. In the daylight, they're visible, but realistically someone following behind me could easily miss them. For whatever reason this has just stayed on the backburner and I only decided to do something this spring.

I figured it was a wiring issue, and possibly I'd even need to switch to LED fixtures, but I remember hearing that the contacts do need cleaning now and then. I finally got around to cleaning them. I was pretty shocked! There was a pile of accumulated dirt, almost a quarter of an inch deep in the bottom of the plastic cover. Even the sockets had accumulated dirt inside them. Honestly I'm not even sure how the lights were working at all. I drive a lot of dirt roads so if you mostly stay on pavement you probably won't have that issue.

I blew out the dust with compressed air, sprayed a bunch of electrical contact cleaner in there and lightly sanded the bulbs with emory cloth. The lights could still use a little more brightness, but the difference is incredible. They're perfectly acceptable now, and clearly just really needed a cleaning and nothing more.

If it's not part of your typically spring/fall maintenance, it's worth checking yours out. Certainly better than getting rear ended or having angry drivers behind you who think you aren't signaling or don't have brake lights...

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Old 05-13-2019, 09:13 AM   #2
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Name: Wayne & Barbara
Trailer: Parkliner
Posts: 933
That was a common problem with the old incandescent lamps.
Because you had to change a bulb, now and then, the cover lenses were not sealed. LED units are sealed, plus they tend to be brighter.
For better visibility the lamps need to be up higher than they are on many trailers. And, a high, center, brake light should be standard.
Lastly, turn signal/4-way flashers should be amber, not red.

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Old 05-13-2019, 09:17 AM   #3
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Name: Zach
Trailer: 91 Bigfoot 17
Posts: 1,616
I agree, my lights are a bit low on the trailer. Someday...
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Old 05-13-2019, 09:49 AM   #4
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 1979 Boler1700
Maple Ridge, B.C.
Posts: 329
While you have the cover off you could also polish the metal backer plate for better reflection.
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Old 05-13-2019, 09:59 AM   #5
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Name: Henry
Trailer: BigFoot
Posts: 677
I have the LED Bargman back up lights. Supposedly they are sealed. The housing had one LED (Red) and a Back up (white) incandescent light which I replaced with a White sealed LED. There is a hole behind the incandescent fixture for the wires to pass through. I tried to seal as best I could. The LED light hole was very well sealed by the factory.

It is apparent that the LED lights, although sealed, fit into the black frame which is not sealed at all, and will accumulate dirt and water. I may just again pull out the White LED back up light and reapply sealant in the hole where the electrical wires run from inside the trailer.

I say supposedly sealed LED lights because I swear I see condensation inside the LED lens after a good South Eastern Rain...

My marker lights are sealed LED, but there also I think I see condensation inside the "sealed" lights.

However, just so you know...My wife discounts my credibility... just because I saw a UFO hovering in a remote mountain valley a few years ago...I did...I really did...(in my defense I never said it was a space ship from Mars, or some such...geez).
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Old 05-13-2019, 10:55 AM   #6
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Name: Gilles
Trailer: Bigfoot 25B21RB, 2004
Posts: 656
I had this problem of malfunction with the original lights on my old Bigfoot 15B17G and I replaced them with submersible signaling and positioning LEDs to correct the problem.
I had to polish a back plate to properly cover the space occupied by the original lights.
Bigfoot 25B21RB.
Towed with Dodge RAM 1500 Echo-Diesel, 3.0 L., 8 speeds.
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Old 05-13-2019, 11:55 AM   #7
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Bonair Oxygen
Loon Lake Wa. and Boulder City, Nv.
Posts: 1,672
Just add LED light bulbs. An amazing difference.
Previously Owned: Trillium 4500, Scamp 19', Bigfoot 17', Boler 17'.
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:12 PM   #8
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Name: mark
Trailer: 2017 , Casita 17' SD
Posts: 262
ZachO, I see your BF is a '91. How long since the lights have been attended to?


P.S. good post!
Loving our 2017 Casita 17' SD.
If you have a choice, Please buy, "Made in America"
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:24 PM   #9
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Name: Zach
Trailer: 91 Bigfoot 17
Posts: 1,616
The bulbs themselves? No idea. I'm sure they could use replacement, but with incandescent bulbs, I've always just assumed you run them till they break.
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Old 05-14-2019, 05:58 AM   #10
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Name: John
Trailer: 1978 Trillium 4500, 1979 Boler 1700
Posts: 1,179
ZachO, not bad, there was moss growing in my marker lights when I bought the Boler 17! PO had bypassed the towing lights altogether and was using temporary towing lights.

Actually I replaced all of the towing light fixtures on both the Trillium 4500 and the Boler 17. All LED now.

Trillium 4500 Journal
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