Sort of fixed the lights- one problem, though - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-27-2013, 12:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobbie Mayer View Post
Starting all over was my original plan but it isn't that easy the way they are wired. And that would not have helped what turned out to be the problem with them shorting out.

However I am very tempted to get some trailer lights (prewired) and run the wiring harness under the frame and mount the lights on the bumper. I don't have 12V in the trailer (there are some light fixtures but no battery at the moment and no real good reason to fix them.) It would just be nice to have all the lighting accessible. Then the taillights on the trailer can be purely decorative.
Your trailer's existing running lights would be purely decorative, too, though...

Francesca
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:58 PM   #16
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In that picture I would say that the black wire is the ground and the bulb grounds through its base, through the socket which is attached to the light base plate, then through that black wire which is held on to the base plate by one of the mounting screws, and then that black wire completes the ground circuit, but to who knows where. So there are a few points where the ground connection can be lost. Probably the easiest way to check the ground circuit is with a separate piece of wire with bare ends, or better yet an alligator clip on each end. Take one end of the wire, touch it to the bulb socket, thereby eliminating the other points of lost connection, then clip the other end to where you know there is a good ground, such as the trailer frame, the other bulb socket or base plate assuming that light works OK, or to where the ground from your tow vehicle attaches to the trailer, most likely the trailer frame, but you will have to determine that. All this will tell you if there is a ground problem, which is the most common issue. I'm wondering how wires could have been reversed on the light if it is so hard to get at it. A simple test light makes light problems much easier to resolve. All these repairs are quite easy for me after working on big trucks and trailers for so long, but sometimes it's hard to explain just how to diagnose the problem to someone for whom it is just not their field of work. If you were closer I would gladly fix it for you.
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:45 PM   #17
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The ground problem seems to be fixed. The problem now is the reversed wires. They are very obviously reversed as the right bulb works differently than the left one. I think it was installed wrong in the first place, most likely. (I never noticed before as my old car didn't have daytime running lights, so I was never testing both running light and turn signal at the same time.) I haven't had a chance to try to sort it out yet- it may be simple or it may be a hassle to get at, depending on where they are spliced in. The wires come out in the little cupboard under the wardrobe, but the door opens out towards the back door so to work on it really requires taking off the little cupboard door, minimum. I do have a test light and this time all I have to do is switch the two wires- and hopefully there will be enough extra to work with.

Once I get them all fixed I want to put LED bulbs in the fixtures.
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:00 PM   #18
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I never liked to do this, but sometimes it was necessary to splice in an extra piece of wire, which of course made for more connections and more points of possible failure. Is it possible to pull off the whole tail light assembly and pull wires out there. Or can you put a new bulb socket in, or just the insert with the wires, drill through the light base and feed wires to the inside and splice them. And in the picture it looks like there are two bulb sockets?
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:22 PM   #19
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The bulb socket apparently came prewired; there is no exposed place to solder or otherwise connect wires. This is an old light fixture from when tail and turn lights were two different bulbs. I'm not sure how two wires (from two bulbs) got connected to one bulb- seems odd to me even though I do understand how the two filaments in the single bulb works as two lights would have. It's possible at that point they took out a single-light socket and put in the dual purpose socket. Anyway, I don't know if I have enough wire to pull through or not. I hope I won't have to splice any- it was a splice like that that was causing the previous problem. We just figured out the wires were switched as we were putting the covers back on- no more time that day to work on it- and I won't get back to it before at the very least this weekend.
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:26 PM   #20
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Looking at my own picture, I think I should be able to pull at least an inch of wire through, cut through both, and splice. But what I hope I can do is switch them at the other end of the fixture wires so that I don't have a new splice.
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:04 PM   #21
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Optional Alternative lights

Hi Bobbie,
I had similar problems with my trailer lights, and basically removed rust from sockets, redid splices with soder, dialectic grease and shrinkwrap, AND made sure grounds were to rust-free metal, especially the ground connection near the trailer plug.
However, as a 'plan B' back-up, in case of any future light problems on the road, I am going to get a magnetic trailer light kit from Harbor Freight. You pop the magnetic lights onto your rear bumper, run the wire assembly under or over the trailer, and plug into the tow vehicle. You mentioned this idea in a previous post, so it sounds like you've seen this product before. With one of their coupons, it's only $9.99. I'd check the specs on this product to see if the wiring is long enough for the length of the trailer. If that's no issue, this kit sounds like peace of mind to me.

Good luck,
Fran
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:16 PM   #22
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Thanks, Fran, yes, I was thinking of that as a backup. Then it's there if the lights fail. I thought once I was done with a boat I'd be done with weird light problems! (I should have had those magnetic kind on the boat trailer.) But now that I figured out the switched wires problem I think that will make a big difference in brightness of the lights.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:24 AM   #23
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Replacement parts are available for the bulb sockets, that would give you new contacts with about a 4" or so piece of wire. With our trailer I replaced all the light wiring, and also installed tail/ turn/ stop lights on the rear bike rack, which gives me two sets of rear lights. Those bike rack lights are wired separate from the tail lights, the wire for them runs all the way up to the tongue where I made a plug setup where they can be plugged in separate from the other lights, and also a rear plug if I want to remove the rack.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:41 AM   #24
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I haven't seen replacement sockets, but the contacts are fine, anyway. In fact, I guess that's my clue that they've been replaced at some time (probably that's when the wiring got reversed.) Which means I should be able to reach the connections to reverse them back. But I really like the idea of a spare set of lights so will be making a trip to Harbor Freight.
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