lights on trailer won't turn off. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-17-2014, 10:51 PM   #1
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Name: Adam
Trailer: SurfSide TM 14
Oregon
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lights on trailer won't turn off.

About a year ago I rewired my Surfside and all was well, now when I hook up the trailer all the lights come on and and won't turn off. Seems like a ground issue but I don't know where to look. Any suggestions would be great.

thanks,
adam
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:15 PM   #2
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
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Adam, what do you mean.. won't turn off? Are you hooked up to shore power (current bush)? Did you disconnect from the tug? More info, please...
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:16 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adamfisher View Post
About a year ago I rewired my Surfside and all was well, now when I hook up the trailer all the lights come on and and won't turn off. Seems like a ground issue but I don't know where to look. Any suggestions would be great.

thanks,
adam

Hello Adam. Which lights? The interior lights are powered by your battery/ converter. The turn/ stop and running lights are powered by your tow vehicle and are actually three seperate circuits.

Usually a ground issue stops things from coming on. But if the switch is wired on the cold (ground) side of the light then a short to ground would cause the light to come on. If the switch is wired correctly on the Hot (12 volt) side of the light, I would suspect a shorted switch or a 12 volt short after the switch. If it's the turn/stop and running lights, a short in the umbilical could be the cause. Good hunting, Raz
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:08 PM   #4
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The lights (marker and brake lights)are on when hooked to the car, turn signals and everything else unresponsive. I'm thinking there is a ground somewhere. I don't have a manual to see if the white wire on the trailer needs to be grounded .
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:12 PM   #5
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Thanks for replying, I'll keep hunting.
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:48 PM   #6
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Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
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The ground wire from the tow vehicle has to be connected so that all the trailer marker and tail lights ground to it. The question here is where is power coming from with your vehicle light switch off, and I assume key off. One possibility is if you have a wiring adapter in your tow vehicle that is powered, that is it uses battery power of the tow vehicle to operate the trailer lights, rather than power from the lights themselves. I have one of these on one of my vehicles. So it's possible you have a ground issue, or some other wiring problem, or even a defective wiring adapter. I've heard of them going bad. A simple test light or a multi meter will help diagnose the problem.
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Old 02-18-2014, 09:10 PM   #7
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Bob raises a good point. In my Subaru there was a small wiring modular unit hidden under the carpets in the rear that the wiring harness clipped into. I had 1 of them fail after about 3 years and strange and not so wonderful things happened to the trailer lights.
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Old 02-18-2014, 09:48 PM   #8
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In my case, the problem was a 4-pin connection under the vehicle. The contacts had become corroded. A cheap $3 tester identified the problem.
My mechanic charged me nothing, cause, he said, he didn't do anything. And then advised me to get both the 7-pin tester and a 4-pin tester ( at Princess Auto for less than $12 for the pair ).
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Old 02-18-2014, 10:10 PM   #9
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30 years as a truck mechanic in the Northeast proved that corrosion was the major cause of light problems. Probably 50% of repeat work was light related. We learned that the best thing was when we made any exterior wiring connections was to make them easy to find later because no matter how we tried to seal them they would eventually be infiltrated by salt and water and corrode. With most modern cars now the trailer wiring connections are made inside the car minimizing weather exposure.
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Old 02-19-2014, 05:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adamfisher View Post
The lights (marker and brake lights)are on when hooked to the car, turn signals and everything else unresponsive. I'm thinking there is a ground somewhere. I don't have a manual to see if the white wire on the trailer needs to be grounded .
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Bob raises a good point. In my Subaru there was a small wiring modular unit hidden under the carpets in the rear that the wiring harness clipped into. I had 1 of them fail after about 3 years and strange and not so wonderful things happened to the trailer lights.
If the lights were not coming on, then I would suspect a ground but as they are staying on, there is more likely a short to 12v. I would first inspect the umbilical and plug for damage. Try bending it around while plugged in. If nothing there then as suggested, the light converter could be faulty. Look for a small box with wires on the ends. It may need to be replaced. Raz
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:38 AM   #11
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Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
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Question is; are they on with key and switch off. That info will help with diagnosis. etrailer has some wiring videos that may be helpful to OP. Should be simple to figure out to someone with automotive electrical experience, but may be a lengthy explanation to someone who does not have the knowledge or tools.
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
In my case, the problem was a 4-pin connection under the vehicle. The contacts had become corroded. A cheap $3 tester identified the problem.
.
As my tug travels on salt covered roads in the winter and although the tug does have a cover over the plug I have had problems with corrosion on the prongs as well. Had to clean up the connection prongs a few times on the tug side in order to get everything working as it should. Once I started using dielectric grease the frequency of problems due to corrosion decreased. Unfortunately it doesnt take care of the issues of corrosion on the back side of the plug where the wiring enters the plug though. Had the charge line from the tug malfunction after a few years due to corrosion at the rear of plug. Required removing the tugs plug in and cleaning up all the wiring into it. My new tug seems to have the rear area of the plug better protected from the elements so will see if that changes as well.
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