Serious question on trailer brake lights. - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-10-2013, 04:48 PM   #15
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Can someone tell me:

Who would I get to check under side of scamp and where and how do I check for good grounding.
jumper cables or a piece of wire bare on each end or preferably with alligator clips on the ends, touch one end of wire to clean bare spot on trailer frame, other to clean spot on car hitch or frame, that should confirm good ground. I have a few test wires of various lengths with alligator clips on them always in my tool boxes. have even run a long wire directly to ground on light to diagnose a ground problem. Auto parts store should have a bulb socket brush to clean socket and contacts, KD tools #139 is one. Be sure lights are off when using it or you'll cause a short right there, you can even use it to clean the bulb base. Everyone should carry one of those plus a simple test light and extra bulbs and fuses. Anyone that does mechanical work or trailer work should be able to inspect the underside. Exploding tire can do a lot of damage.
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Old 08-10-2013, 05:07 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Infogypsy View Post
Can someone tell me:

Who would I get to check under side of scamp and where and how do I check for good grounding.
There is no DOT lighting wiring under a Scamp. The only wiring usually underneath a Scamp is for brake actuation,and not lighting.
As for physical damage...any competent layman with handyman skill level 3 or above should be able to detect any.
I live in Illannoy just 50 miles from lndiana, off of I-80 contact me direct if you need help.
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Old 08-10-2013, 06:48 PM   #17
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Floyd, if the blown tire took out the brake wiring, is it possible that a short there could blow a fuse in the turn or brake light circuit? I assume that when the tire blew the brakes on the tow vehicle were used to stop, therefore power would have been in the stop light and trailer brake circuits for a short period of time. A member on the tnttt forum had a tire blow on some old sticky trailer, maybe a Scotty, or something similar, and it went right through the wheel well and beat up some of the camper interior. I'm still thinking the blown tire caused the light problem, but I could be wrong. Like the rest of us, without seeing the trailer, it's guesswork.
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Old 08-10-2013, 07:19 PM   #18
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Sorry. I'm female and 69 and until right brained. What's the vehicle ground? Is it a spot on vehicle or an invisible place where electricity goes? Or ? Once I learn all this I will be a master.
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Old 08-10-2013, 08:30 PM   #19
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On 12 volt systems you have a positive and a negative terminal on the battery. Modern vehicles use the negative as the ground. So with a simple light you have power from the positive terminal of the battery going to the contact on the base of the light bulb. The side of the bulb is "grounded" back to the negative side of the battery. This ground circuit could be a wire right back to the battery, but many times with a car or trailer the vehicle frame acts as the ground circuit. So in this case assume the trailer bulb socket has a ground wire that goes to the trailer frame. The car has a ground terminal in the plug that most likely attaches by a wire to the car body or frame, and the battery negative terminal also connects to the body. So now if all these connections are tight and clean we have a good continuos ground circuit. But if there is a bad connection somewhere, lights will act in weird ways that make no sense at all, one typical thing is with a turn light on and tail light on the marker lights may faintly blink. Lights may not work at all. As previously mentioned sometimes a ground wire is not used in the plug and the ground circuit must go through the trailer coupler and ball, and that doesn't always provide a good enough connection. Therefore my previous description of running a test ground wire to see if this is the problem. Does any of this make sense or clarify it for you. Someone else may explain it better.
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Old 08-10-2013, 08:41 PM   #20
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Get it now. Thanks. I am feeling rather depressed tonight over my beautiful Scamp not usable without any brake lights or turn signals. Even getting it to a trailer repair is going to be a problem, although I probably drove home 300 miles without any braking or turn lights on trailer. It seemed like it was braking fine though and the inside trailing braking indicator was working fine so perhaps it is an electrical problem. Not sure how to test grounding still but perhaps I can find a trailer place here in our rather small town and get a repair person to fix it without my trying to figure it out myself. Feeling rather sad about how much harder it is than I thought it would be. The trailer has been kept in great shape and the owner did a fabulous job of giving me instructions and making sure I was good. Just an unforeseen thing that the tire blew up and the back of trailer lights not working. The inside lights in trailer work fine - a different battery and all that I am sure. The back lights worked great before I started my 8 hour drive; I tested them all - right and turn, hazard, etc. Will call a trailer place on Monday and tow it in there. Thanks for all the support. I appreciate it.
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:11 PM   #21
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Floyd, if the blown tire took out the brake wiring, is it possible that a short there could blow a fuse in the turn or brake light circuit? I assume that when the tire blew the brakes on the tow vehicle were used to stop, therefore power would have been in the stop light and trailer brake circuits for a short period of time. A member on the tnttt forum had a tire blow on some old sticky trailer, maybe a Scotty, or something similar, and it went right through the wheel well and beat up some of the camper interior. I'm still thinking the blown tire caused the light problem, but I could be wrong. Like the rest of us, without seeing the trailer, it's guesswork.
It is really not possible that a wiring failure on the brake circuit could affect the DOT lighting. They are separate wiring circuits each fed by the TV.
Some TVs have separate trailer service panels. You could check the fuses on the TV if it has such a panel. A freak surge or coincidence could have caused a blown fuse, but I doubt it.
Remember, the Scamp Dot lighting Harness is on the opposite side of the trailer from the blown tire.
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:08 AM   #22
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Get it now. Thanks. I am feeling rather depressed tonight over my beautiful Scamp not usable without any brake lights or turn signals. .......
The problem is likely a simple one and not hard to fix.

Worst case, get a set of these for $10 to $20 and put them on the bumper and hook up the wire to your tow vehicle. Use duct tape to double secure them.

This will get you safely to a repair shop or home if you have a problem on the road.
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Old 08-11-2013, 01:57 PM   #23
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Thanks for all the great replies to my trailer lite issue

I am taking the vehicle to Zeibart who put on the hitch first to check connection. Once I get that eliminated or fixed with fuse or whatever it could need, I will move on to other options. J
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Old 08-11-2013, 02:24 PM   #24
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I have one of these to check that the TV (usually someone else's ) is sending the proper signals to the trailer. That way I know whether the problem is TV or trailer very quickly. Vehicle Trailer Wiring 7-Way Circuit Tester - 6 Function LED Indicators - Taiwan : Amazon.com : Automotive

Its great to have in the campground when you see someone anxiously checking their connections.
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Old 08-13-2013, 04:28 PM   #25
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Update on serious question of trailer brake/turn/back lites. Yeah. I took towing vehicle back into ziebart and they found blown fuse in fuse box on drivers side. I believe it is a ground connection issue and now have something to work with. Not the blow out at least. Thanks to all j
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Old 08-13-2013, 06:51 PM   #26
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I don't think a bad ground connection would cause a fuse to blow. One thing I have seen happen only a few times is a filament in a tail light bulb will break and cause a short right in the bulb. It is possible that the shock of the tire blowing out and banging against the trailer could damage a bulb. Not likely, but possible! Do you know what the blown fuse is for, tail light, turn light, stop light? That would help in your search to find the problem. I have an old device that is a circuit breaker on alligator clips, and a small meter the size of a hand held compass. The idea was to hook circuit breaker to a battery, run meter along wiring, when needle reverses that is where the short is. Usually smoking wires showed us first. It may be a process of elimination to find it, disconnecting lights until problem goes away.
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:21 PM   #27
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The fuse according to the Subaru manual is #1 trailer.
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:28 PM   #28
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Arcing is a possible culprit, I assume when the tire blew the trailer got bounced around a bit more than normal. Possibly a bulb bounced enough to creat a gap and then reestablish circut with a jolt of electircity jumping across the gap.

Once you know what fuse blew, you (or your service person) now know what circut that fuse protects. Then it is just a matter of working your way along that circut unitl you isolate the place that is bad. Usually with a test meter.

I tend to start in the middle, at the hitch plug. Is the problem behind me in the trailer when I test at that plug or ahead of me in the TV when I test that plug. Then just continue testing in whichever direction does not test as a good circut.
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