No flashers if key not in ignition? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 06-25-2013, 01:33 AM   #1
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Cory Hilby's Avatar
Trailer: Compact Jr 1972
Posts: 127
No flashers if key not in ignition?

Hi friends,
I recently bought a "new" (used) tow car (a 2010 Toyota RAV4 V6) which has the factory tow prep package on it. The package doesn't include the light harness nor hitch, so I just had those put in at the dealer I bought it from. (It turns out they sent it out.)

I noticed that my trailer's turn signals, when attached to the new light harness, work in unison with the car's. So do the tail lights when the headlamps are on. But the emergency flashers only light up on the trailer when I leave the key in the ignition in "accessory" position. If the key is out, the car's blinkers flash, but the trailer's don't.

I don't think it's the trailer as I don't remember anything like this before and also I have one of those red lights you stick in your 2x 2" hitch receiver when you're not towing. It acts as an added brake light, etc. But it also only flashes with the car's emergency flashers if the key is in the ignition.

Is this what is supposed to happen? Last time I was at that dealer, the shop BS'd their way on a couple of other things, and since they didn't even put the harness in, I'm afraid they'll tell me yes that's the way it should be even if it isn't.


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Old 06-25-2013, 06:03 AM   #2
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
Posts: 3,710
Here's a possible explanation, note that I say possible since I can't see what they did. Some trailer wiring set ups use a "powered" adapter. This adapter uses a power wire from the battery to the adapter, which is connected into the vehicle tail/stop/turn light wiring. This adapter senses what light is on but doesn't take power from that light to work your trailer lights, the wire from the battery is what provides the 12 volts to the trailer lights. Now IF that is what is installed in your tow vehicle, it may have been wired so that power to that adapter is there only with the key on. Most likely that wiring adapter is stuck behind an interior panel, although recently I found one under a car exposed to the weather with non sealed connectors, not a good installation.

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Old 06-25-2013, 06:13 AM   #3
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Name: Roy
Trailer: 1972 boler American and 1979 Trillium 4500
Posts: 4,852
I agree that your 4 ways should work without a key. Call your local DMV or DOT to verify before heading back to the $tealer$hip.
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:34 AM   #4
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Name: Eddie
Trailer: Casita Indy.
Posts: 1,406
I agree with Bob. Your tail light adapter is wired to Aux. power it needs to be hooked to the battery buss.
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