U haul ct13 help with tail lights - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-12-2012, 12:16 AM   #1
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Name: Becky & Dave
Trailer: U haul '85 CT13
Oregon
Posts: 37
U haul ct13 help with tail lights

The tail lights were working but are not now. The running lights and tail lights are on the same circuit and the running lights work. Any ideas?
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1985 U-haul 13'
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Old 08-12-2012, 06:57 AM   #2
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Name: JoJo
Trailer: Former CT 13 Owner
Connecticut
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Yeah, I have taillight gremlins as well. I.m sure you know that you should make sure that the feed from the TV is good, there's a good ground and that all the WIRING from the flat four plug TO the lights is good. Check the wiring connection AT the lights, the sockets and the bulbs. Age, moisture and dirt can all have a deleterious effect and in combination can put your electrical out of business. Question: If I'm so smart how come my lights don't work?
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Old 08-12-2012, 07:36 AM   #3
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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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There are scotch lock connectors all over those trailers, those blue pinch on things, which in my opinion are no good. There are connections in the furnace area and under the sink. My wiring was cracked and bare wires where it came out the tongue under the trailer. I rewired the whole thing.
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Old 08-12-2012, 01:23 PM   #4
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Name: JoJo
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Hey Bob! Given your opinion about the "scotch lock connectors", what would you recommend in lieu of them.(BTW I agree with you. Those things hide everything inside.)
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Old 08-12-2012, 02:50 PM   #5
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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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The scotch lock connectors are a big NO NO where they will be out in the weather as moisture can easily get in them and cause corrosion. When I worked on trucks we used connectors that had shrink wrap on them. Some of the butt connectors even had a spot of solder in the center so that it melted when heating the shrink wrap. Those buttconnectors are about 40 cents each! It can be a little difficult to connect multiple wires with them, usually you can only get two wires in each end of the larger yellow ones. Red is the smaller size, blue next, yellow the largest wire size. So you can get two or three 16 gauge wires in each end of a yellow connector. Another wiring solution is to get a terminal strip, mount it inside the trailer, and make your connections there. Because of production times, many campers are wired the quickest and easiest way, not the best way. I rember a motor home my inlaws had many years ago that was a tangled mess of wiring under the dash because the coach manufacturer used those scotcklocks everywhere to tap into the chassis factory wiring!!
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Old 08-12-2012, 03:13 PM   #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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Uhaul wiring, here's the way ours was. There were two cords coming out the tongue, the one on the right was for the right tail light, turn and stop light, plus some of the marker lights. The cord on the left was for left tail light, turn and stop, plus the remaining marker lights. The marker lights were fed up from floor level near the center on each side of the trailer, tapped into the tail light wire with, you guessed it, scotch lock connectors!! I ran 14 gauge, four wire flat, trailer wire along the outside of the tongue, up through the floor on the curb side where the original wire was, back to the right tail light area and connected those lights and a tail and ground to the marker wire that is behind the closet. From the right tail light I then continued my wire to the left tail light, made my connections, and continued with a tail and ground wire to the marker light wiring under the sink . I am only using the red part of the tail lights at this time. I still haven't figured out why the amber part has a double filament bulb, unless it was for standardization of production. I also have another wiring harness from the tongue to the rear bumper for lights on a bike rack when that is on the trailer. Other Uhauls may be wired differently. If you missed the thread, someone is working on reproducing the Uhaul tail light lenses, and I'm hoping he is successful and can make them solid red, eliminating the amber part.
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Old 08-12-2012, 04:43 PM   #7
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Bob. Thank you so much for your thoughtful and comprehensive comments.
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Old 08-12-2012, 06:21 PM   #8
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I replaced the scotchlock connectors by stripping the wires locally, soldering, then painting with liquid electrical tape (T joint). Or you can solder and use shrink tape.
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Old 08-12-2012, 07:28 PM   #9
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Tom. Can I just call you Tom ? Good point with the stripping, soldering and sealing. Very solid and reliable.
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Old 08-13-2012, 07:30 AM   #10
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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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Solder is always a good connection, and heat shrink tubing is available in various sizes. I have a mini torch that uses butane, those canisters to refill cigarette lighters, that I use for the shrink connectors. In the trucking business here in the northeast we always had corrosion problems from road salt, even in factory molded connectors. It should be much less of a problem with campers because it is unlikely they will be used much in those conditions. I also like that liquid tape for some situations.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:11 AM   #11
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Becky... As noted earlier in this thread, the culprit can be many different places. However, I find the tow vehicle to trailer plugs to be the biggest problem for me. My lights were working erratically recently and I discovered that the ground wire plug connection between the two plugs had worked itself almost loose (the connection inside the rubber plug broke). I spliced in a new trailer plug (flat 4) and everything is working fine again.

By the way, if our trailer lights on our UHaul work well for at least a week, my wife considers it a great accomplishment. She just figures I'll be fixing something in the wiring every trip. Old wires and old connections...
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:00 PM   #12
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Name: Becky & Dave
Trailer: U haul '85 CT13
Oregon
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Everyone thanks for all the help. Dave was able to fix the problem with some new connectors, shrink tubing and changing some wiring. Presently all lights are working. He has also fixed the stoves exhaust fan and installed a new manual water pump. We have other items in mind but none are a necessity. We are just about ready to take our first trip!
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Old 08-13-2012, 07:25 PM   #13
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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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Kevin, I had the same problem recently, wire broke right at the plug. I have so many trailers that I keep one or two extra plug sets on hand. blame it on the foreign made stuff. When we travel I carry a wiring connector kit too, and usually a lockout kit as there is always someone with the keys locked in their car, most of the time it's our daughter!
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Old 08-13-2012, 08:59 PM   #14
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Alright Becky, sounds like you're good to go

Please post a couple of camping pictures, we've been following your trials and tribulations... we'd love to see some successes
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