Using side marker lights as turn signals - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-16-2006, 07:26 AM   #1
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Hi Everyone

Have gutted my 13 ft boler and as such have access to the wiring. Would like to make the outside running/marker lights flash, so when I turn left the left running lights flash and the same with the right. Has anyone ever done this mod. Do I modify the wiring or need new side markers as well

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Al
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Old 12-16-2006, 08:44 AM   #2
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Hi Everyone

Have gutted my 13 ft boler and as such have access to the wiring. Would like to make the outside running/marker lights flash, so when I turn left the left running lights flash and the same with the right. Has anyone ever done this mod. Do I modify the wiring or need new side markers as well

Cheers
Al
I assume it would be easy enough to connect the marker lights to the same circuit as the tail lights. I don't know if you are using a 4-pin or 7-pin connector for the trailer. It would be easy enough to connect as a temp. connection and see how it works. I don't know about the legality of the mod. tho. Another consideration is the wiring circuit... your wiring/fuses may not be able to handle the additional current. In that case it might be possible to convert both to LED's to reduce the current required to illuminate.
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Old 12-16-2006, 10:31 AM   #3
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Hi Everyone

Have gutted my 13 ft boler and as such have access to the wiring. Would like to make the outside running/marker lights flash, so when I turn left the left running lights flash and the same with the right. Has anyone ever done this mod. Do I modify the wiring or need new side markers as well

Cheers
Al
I'm wondering if that's legale. You might want to find out before doing this.
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Old 12-16-2006, 11:01 AM   #4
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Each state has a law about side markers. Check your DMV a codes.

My side markers come on when the running lights come on. I think (But am not sure) that this is a requirement for all trailers in California that are not utility trailers.

Law or no, mine will stay the way, it makes sense to me.
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Old 12-16-2006, 11:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Hi Everyone

Have gutted my 13 ft boler and as such have access to the wiring. Would like to make the outside running/marker lights flash, so when I turn left the left running lights flash and the same with the right. Has anyone ever done this mod. Do I modify the wiring or [b]need new side markers as well

Cheers
Al
I have also been interested in doing this kind of mod. [b]IMHO you need a 2nd set of lights; I have purchased an additional amber set, and plan to mount them just above the existing amber side marker lights toward the front of the coach. You need to keep the original marker lights intact. I don't recommend adding a duplicate set of red lights toward the rear.

My trailer's color code has a GREEN wire feeding the existing side marker lights. For the new added lights I plan to tap into the RED wire for the left side and the BROWN wire for the right side. Keep in mind that these will light when you [b]brake as well.
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Old 12-16-2006, 11:41 AM   #6
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Most USA branded vehicles use the brake lite as the turn signal so the side marker will come on when you turn and when you apply the brake. To get around this and have it blink only when turning, you would have to run a separate pair of wires from the Front Turn signals to the egg because the front turn signals do not come on when the brake is used.

This is not the case for the foreign branded vehicles that have separate bulbs for turn and brake lights. In that case, you would be required to have additional cable connections from the tug to the egg.

I installed an additional LED turn/brake yellow lite up towards the front of the egg (5th wheel) where it transitions up from the egg to the truck. It comes on when I brake and flashes when I turn and I don't care about the state dot crap. You see turn signals on the sides of mirors, the sides of pickups, small cars, big trucks, the sides of tractor/trailers all blinking so I went ahead and put the lite where it will be visable to the person in the blind spot next to the egg when I either need to stop or notify of a turn.
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Old 12-16-2006, 03:23 PM   #7
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As Darwin explained, if you are using a combined brake/turn system you will need to go to a separated scheme so that your side turn signals don't come on with the brakes. Some more notes on that:
  • even tow vehicles (such as my Sienna) with separate (from the brake) turn signals typically have trailer wiring adapters which provide combined brake/turn signals
  • converters are available which provide the separate signals instead of combining them
  • if using a 6-pin connector without brakes, or a 7-pin RV connector with unused auxilliary pin, or a 7-pin commerical connector, there are enough pins to carry the separate brake and turn signals without another connector
  • if you want to keep combined brake/turn lights on the rear while controlling separate side turn signals from the tow vehicle, then you do need another connector (or some much less common connector with 9 pins - there is a 9-pin Bargman like the usual 7-pin RV connector, and various other designs usually in military use)
Having already experienced a circuit capacity problem with my tail/marker/clearance lights (due to the large number of them), I agree with John/Sandy's concern and solution: I would use LED lamps (for both existing and added units) to keep the current requirement down.

Even aside from legal requirements, I wouldn't want to lose the side marker function, so simply using the existing lights as turn signals seems like a bad idea. That leads to at least three approaches:
  1. as Frederick suggested, add completely separate lamps on the turn circuits, leaving the existing markers alone (may have mounting and aesthetic issues)
    • added lamps at the rear can be amber, which would be more effective as turn signals than the markers (which need to be red)
    • unlike the markers (which only need to be visible in the dark), the turn signals should be bright enough to be noticeable in daylight
  2. replace the existing marker lamps with dual-intensity lamps - one for marker, and a brighter level for turning
    • it might be possible to using the existing lamps and just change the bulbs and holders inside them
    • if using regular bulbs, this means going to dual-filament bulbs or two bulbs, with appropriate holders
  3. use one relay per side to invert the side markers with the turn signal
    • they are on whenever the taillights are on, except that they cycle off during each turn flash
    • they are off when the taillights are off, except that they cycle on during each turn signal flash
    • this could be wired with one input from the taillight circuit and the other from a power passed on by a normally-closed relay which opened by the tail circuit (a logical "not" function); the output to the side turn signals is from the common terminal of the relay
    • this is basically how the combined brake/turn lamps are managed in the wiring of the tow vehicle or converter
I think the side turn signals is a good idea; I find buses, trucks, and cars with turn signals in the front fender or side mirror are much more noticeable when lane changing in traffic.
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Old 12-16-2006, 03:33 PM   #8
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Al,
Beyond the legalities which can be verified with your Alberta equivalent to our Department of Motor Vehicles, I'd try hooking up some LED's temporarily to make sure the flasher, fuse and existing wiring can handle the extra current draw. ` The concept makes sense to me from a safety view point, but there may actually be a negative side which I'm not .
Please keep us posted on your discoveries both on legalities and mechanical practicalities.
You've brought up a very interesting concept which many of us have briefly thought of but never acted upon. Your idea may very well prove to be an inspiration to quite a few of us.

Ann and our Grandson Sean have been baking Christmas cookies and Sean just brought a sample. Error...I forgot to push the keyboard beneath the desk top! Now I've got to turn it upside down and hope I can shake out the crumbs!

Thanks and have a memorable Christmas season.,
Kurt & Ann K.
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Old 12-16-2006, 03:41 PM   #9
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Seems like I've seen big rigs rigged this way, which certainly tells other vehicles they are changing lanes.
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Old 12-16-2006, 03:47 PM   #10
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Al,
Beyond the legalities which can be verified with your Alberta equivalent to our Department of Motor Vehicles...
Hey, Al, I hadn't noticed that you were posting from Calgary. The applicable Alberta regulation is the Vehicle Equipment Regulation (AR322). Here's the entire applicable section:
Quote:
Division 5
Other Lamps

Side marker lamps

39(1) A motor vehicle or trailer must have the following:

( a ) one amber side marker lamp on each side and as close to the front, excluding a trailer tongue, as is practicable;

( b ) one red side marker lamp on each side and as close to the rear as is practicable;

( c ) if it is more than 9.2 metres long, one amber intermediate side marker lamp at or near the midpoint.

(2) The side marker lamp on a motor vehicle or a trailer must not be less than 400 millimetres above the ground when the motor vehicle or trailer is not loaded.

(3) Subsection (1)( a ) does not apply to a trailer that is less than 1.83 metres long, including the trailer tongue.

(4) Subsection (1)( b ) does not apply to a truck tractor.

(5) Subsection (1) does not apply to a motor vehicle or trailer that was manufactured before January 1, 1971.
As I read this, yes, you need front and rear side markers; all trailers do unless they are very short (too small for any travel trailer), or are pre-1971.
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Old 12-16-2006, 04:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Al,
Beyond the legalities which can be verified with your Alberta equivalent to our Department of Motor Vehicles, I'd try hooking up some LED's temporarily to make sure the flasher, fuse and existing wiring can handle the extra current draw. ` The concept makes sense to me from a safety view point, but there may actually be a negative side which I'm not .
Please keep us posted on your discoveries both on legalities and mechanical practicalities.
You've brought up a very interesting concept which many of us have briefly thought of but never acted upon. Your idea may very well prove to be an inspiration to quite a few of us.

Ann and our Grandson Sean have been baking Christmas cookies and Sean just brought a sample. Error...I forgot to push the keyboard beneath the desk top! Now I've got to turn it upside down and hope I can shake out the crumbs!

Thanks and have a memorable Christmas season.,
Kurt & Ann K.
Hi: A good length of Saran Wrap over the key board keeps the crumbs out while still allowing you to type Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 12-16-2006, 05:33 PM   #12
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Thanks Alf, but Christmas cookies are a once-a-year occurence.
Truth be known, as long as I could purchase another keyboard for $10 or so, I'd gladly swap for fresh warm-out-of-the-oven Christmas cookies.
Anyway, thanks for the reminder about Saran Wrap.
So much for the marker light topic. Just interrupted by a long distance phone call from our son in Stevensville, Montana about when he's coming for Christmas.
Kurt & Ann K.
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Old 12-17-2006, 06:32 PM   #13
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I would check the legality locally and maybe get something in writing to show to authority that might not be aware (many things that were not legal, but make good sense, have later become legal, like Hazard Flashers, small wipers for headlights, etc. -- The mill grind slowly...). Makes excellent sense to me.

I would use LEDs because sometimes there is already an excess load on the various pieces of wire and connections between the source and a particular bulb.

When I first plugged in my 91S13 to my '98 Ranger (which has separate relays for trailer lights) after my old '82 Dodge D150, the difference in tail light brightness was astounding -- I dunno whether the old truck was too loaded, or it's wiring was getting sick or the trailer's wiring simply responded better to higher voltage, but the difference was definitely enlightening
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Old 12-17-2006, 08:18 PM   #14
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When I saw how crusty and corroded the old side marker and tailight wires were I abandoned the whole show.
I got a wire kit for a boat trailer and stapled it underneath to the plywood floor.
Why try to clean up a corroded mess? Underneath is dryer and easier to fix.
The only reason the factory put the wires in the wall in first place is because it was easier for them. They drop the shell on the frame prewired. Thus a lot of moisture slides down inside the walls into the wire connections and causes corrosion.
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