Uhaul trailer brake lights issue - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-08-2011, 05:42 PM   #1
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Name: Astrid
Trailer: U HAUL 1984
Nova Scotia
Posts: 20
Uhaul trailer brake lights issue

W plugged in the trailer lights to the van to test the break lights and signal lights plus running lights.

The running lights work fine. The left break and signalS are good.The right signal light and break light didn't work at all. We thought the bulbs were burned out, so we switched the bulbs from the left side to the right side and found that the bulbs on the right stayed on but they wouldn't turn off at all, also they didn't flash as if you were turning right. also the bulbs that would not work on the right side worked fine on the left.

what is wrong with the right side? wiring looks in , excellent condition.

Help.

ASTRID
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:15 PM   #2
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Trailer: 2004 13 ft Scamp Custom Deluxe
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Originally Posted by Astrid N View Post
W plugged in the trailer lights to the van to test the break lights and signal lights plus running lights.

The running lights work fine. The left break and signalS are good.The right signal light and break light didn't work at all. We thought the bulbs were burned out, so we switched the bulbs from the left side to the right side and found that the bulbs on the right stayed on but they wouldn't turn off at all, also they didn't flash as if you were turning right. also the bulbs that would not work on the right side worked fine on the left.

what is wrong with the right side? wiring looks in , excellent condition.

Help.

ASTRID
If you have a battery powered adapter towing light box on your TV, then it is likely gone bad. Those are the exact symptoms I have seen twice... then I bought a larger capacity box. Each of the two expired just after the warranty did!

If you have a fourplug you should buy one of those little L.E.D. testers which plug right in, they are only a couple of bucks and it would eliminate or confirm whether the problem was in the trailer while confiming the TV's trailer wiring condition. Like this...
http://www.etrailer.com/Tools/Curt/I26.html
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:32 PM   #3
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Trailer: 28' Bigfoot Silver Cloud
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As Floyd mentioned above, get a cheap plug adapter with indicator lights that fits on the end of your tow vehicle plug. When this is plugged in, it will show you if the problem is with the TV wiring or elsewhere. The adapter lights will glow and flash along with your TV lights as you go through regular lights, brake lights, and turn signals.

If everything looks good on the TV, then you have to check out the wiring and plug for the UHaul. As my wife will tell you, I check our lights every time before taking off and usually something is wrong! These old trailers have multiple places that things can go wrong.
1. The plug connection may be bad on the trailer end. I often have to clean the metal connections so that they make good contact. Wiggle them around a bit to see if better contact is made. I usually have the same symptoms you described with one side not working. Sometimes even the plug needs to be replaced to get things right again.
2. Check the bulb housing in the light assembly. My old assemblies in our VT often wiggle the bulbs loose, so I clean those and sometimes put a little aluminum foil in with the bulb to hold it secure during travel.
3. Check to see if you have power to the light assembly. It sounds like you do, but you don't have total control. You will need to go into the area under the right seating area to get at the wiring to this light. Remove the cushion, take out the screws in the cover, and lift it out of the way. If your trailer is like mine, many people have messed around in there and the wiring may be in various stages of repair/disrepair. Check all the connections to make sure they haven't wiggled loose. I usually put on new screw-on connectors to make sure things are tight (after scraping the ends of the wires clean). You may also have a bad ground connection, so trace that wire, too. Bad grounds cause a lot of problems!
4. You may need to replace some wires. I never was able to find the break in a wire to my right light assembly a couple years ago, so I put in a long bypass wire from the TV plug to test it. Sure enough, one of the wires that snakes along under and through the trailer was bad, because the lights worked fine with the bypass wire. I simply cut the bad wire and patched in the bypass, putting it through the tongue and running it up and under the trailer to the assembly. I'm sure someone with a good circuit tester could have found the problem easier, but this worked for me.

While frustrating to find the problem, it was very satisfying to have it working again! Good luck with your trouble-shooting. I'm sure some other helpful folks here will offer some help on how to use a circuit tester to check for circuit continuity (Is there power flowing?).
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Old 09-10-2011, 07:35 PM   #4
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
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I had to do a little rewiring on our 84 CT13. It has the original tail lights, red on bottom, amber on top. Uhaul used a different color code than I'm used to. For one thing their ground wire is black, on your standard flat 4 prong plug the ground is white, so that threw me off for a while. Using a spare car battery, jumper wires and an automotive test light to check what wire did what I did some rewiring inside the trailer at the tail lights. Now both amber & red are tail lights plus stop/turn lights. Uhaul probably had it wired originally as red being tail & stop, and the amber being turn although the amber part of the lens has a double filament bulb so not sure what else it was. There were two separate wire cords at the tongue, one for each tail light. This is where their conversion to the round tail lights would simplify things, especially when using a trailer wiring adapter in the tow vehicle. Bob
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:07 PM   #5
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Trailer: Scamp
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When there are problems with tail lights, always always always make certain you have solid ground connections, and do not depend on the hitch to provide a ground connection.

-- Dan Meyer
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Old 09-11-2011, 07:23 AM   #6
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
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Dan is absolutely right on the ground issue, that can cause a lot of strange problems. With the Uhauls you have to determine what each wire does, as that threw me off at first. As a retired truck mechanic, I've done a lot of wiring, but someone had butchered it up so I started at the tail lights to determine what each wire was. Once I had that done and wired the plug correctly, every light worked. Uhaul sells a conversion adapter to install a round tail light, and they also sell replacement marker lights, but they don't have "Uhaul" on the lens. I believe that an order over $25 is free shipping. Bob
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Old 09-11-2011, 09:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astrid N View Post
W plugged in the trailer lights to the van to test the break lights and signal lights plus running lights.

The running lights work fine. The left break and signalS are good.The right signal light and break light didn't work at all. We thought the bulbs were burned out, so we switched the bulbs from the left side to the right side and found that the bulbs on the right stayed on but they wouldn't turn off at all, also they didn't flash as if you were turning right. also the bulbs that would not work on the right side worked fine on the left.

what is wrong with the right side? wiring looks in , excellent condition.

Help.

ASTRID
What did you figure out? Do you have a turnsignal box on your TV?
Do you have another TV or have a friend with one who could hook -up to your trailer to see if the trailer is fine? If not then you could use a 12V battery source to check each circuit on the trailer by hooking the negative side to the ground wire on the trailer's fourplug, then touching the positive to each of the other posts on the trailer's fourplug and checking for light activation. Of course nothing will flash, but if the correct element(s) light then the circuit is fine.
Btw: Is it safe to say that the system has worked in the past, or is this the first time you've hooked it up?
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Old 09-11-2011, 01:58 PM   #8
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
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Update: Another member pointed out to me that it could be confusing to other drivers that I have the amber part of my tail lights functioning as tail and stop lights rather than just turn lights so I'll rewire to eliminate that condition. So disregard my statement on that. Bob
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:47 PM   #9
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Name: Astrid
Trailer: U HAUL 1984
Nova Scotia
Posts: 20
tail lights

well bottom line it was the fourpin and the junction box needed to be fixed. want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR HELP. I have never been to a site where there are such nice people and so much help, so fast. I love being part of this group. You could all hire yourselves out you know so much. We recently camped with our uhaul and weathered the tailend of a hurricane here in Nova Scotia our front window leaked on to my sleeping bag so working on fixing that. also looking at adding insulation to our icebox as the ice melted really quickly and we had a heck of a time finding block ice. going to make my own, so we will be good for a few days.

oh I do have a problem.... when we had all the rain (sideways and like a monsoon really) WITH WIND we had water come through the top of our door and run down it. regular rain doesn't seem to happen any suggestions ?? the rubber seal is loose and been siliconed in spots but it still leaked though can't blame it, it was abnormal amount of water and wind. maybe put a small window rv awning there??? any thought re that.

Astrid
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Old 09-20-2011, 01:37 PM   #10
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Name: Sean
Trailer: Bigfoot
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For the water coming through the door, you faced a bit of a rare extreme in weather. I would suggest finding weather striping adhesive. Or finding a suitable replacement for the existing weather stripping.
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Old 09-20-2011, 01:47 PM   #11
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Name: Astrid
Trailer: U HAUL 1984
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Originally Posted by Orcus79 View Post
For the water coming through the door, you faced a bit of a rare extreme in weather. I would suggest finding weather striping adhesive. Or finding a suitable replacement for the existing weather stripping.

yes we are looking at new weather stripping options. living here we get a lot of heavy rain and so we will have to think of something.
ASTRID
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:38 PM   #12
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Trailer: 28' Bigfoot Silver Cloud
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We just cleaned off all the old weatherstripping and other gunk around our door and put up a new gasket from PerfectFit.com. Michael J had a long chunk of this that he provided for us at a gathering in Indiana in May. It slips right over the edge of the door opening and does a great job of sealing out the rain. (Trim Seal- Vinyl Quick edge with round rubber bulb on the side.)We also have an "EZE RV Gutter" made out of flexible plastic over our door to channel rain away. (Essential Products RV & Marine - EZE RV Gutters.)

Because of your extreme wind/rain conditions, you may also want to carry a section of clear plastic or plastic tarp. You can wrap the door from the inside out and have any stray leakage run down between the tarp and the inside of the door, right back to the bottom. Yes, our door bottom doesn't fit quite tight so the water can run right back out! ( Keep the top of the tarp barely above the door opening so as not to catch more rain.)

If you need window channel replacements, too, PerfectFit.com also carries those that fit the UHaul windows. That will keep you from having to use the dreaded silicone!
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:19 PM   #13
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Trailer: Scamp 16
Florida
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Trim Seal

Has anyone tried Trim Seal on a Scamp Door?
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:21 PM   #14
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
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I got the EZE RV gutter from Camping World [online] it was about $25, they didn't charge shipping. Haven't put it on yet. Can't figure out just where the front window leaks after going all around it with the flowable silicone that is made for windshield leaks. Will see if the plastic gutter helps. Found it odd that when parked in the rain the side windows leak, but towing in the rain they didn't. Had to reattach some of the door weatherstrip, used 3M "super weatherstrip and gasket adhesive" #08001, which is tan color, it's also available in black. Bob
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