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


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Old 02-23-2013, 07:18 PM   #1
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Sort of fixed the lights- one problem, though

So I towed my trailer over to a friends to work on lights (I have no driveway; garage opens onto the street.) They were out when I left home, turn signals ON when I arrived, then intermittently went on and off, then off. Weird, weird, weird. We cleaned up the contacts on the 4 way plug and got the turn lights to be more reliable but one was brighter than the other. Went and bought a tester and new bulbs and figured out the tail light wire had a short (six inch) spliced section that was only intermittently working, so bypassed it and got the taillights to stay on. One (the opposite one) brighter than the other. So I look: the bulb has a thick filament and a thin one and they are connected on the left so the turn signal is the thick one (brighter) and on the right so the turn signal is the thin one (harder to see.)

It isn't obvious to me where this would have been reversed in the wiring. Anyone have any idea? I assume it is probably where the lights were connected to the wiring harness (which runs inside the trailer to the back.) These lights were originally set up for two bulbs (light and turn separately.)

Anyway, they work now, but one tail light is brighter which makes its turn signal hard to see.
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:54 PM   #2
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... one tail light is brighter which makes its turn signal hard to see.
... and the brake light hard (perhaps impossible) to see, and confusing the brake and turn indications (one bright light when braking, looks like a turn), and the tail light (on the too bright side) annoying to following drivers.

The tail circuit is the one which goes to both tail lights - it ideally should be the same coloured wire at each side. It needs to connect to the dimmer (thinner) filaments of the bulbs.
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:08 PM   #3
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I can understand that. I just don't know how to fix it as the wires disappear back into the trailer and I don't know where they were wired backwards. The way it comes off the car there is a green wire and a yellow wire, each to one light, and then a tail light wire. The light fixture itself does not have a place to connect wires- they are built into it and run into the trailer where, presumably, they were attached backwards to the wires coming from the car. Hmm, I guess I can pull them through a bit, cut them off, and splice them to each other if I can't see where they were put together backwards in the first place. It's possible I can see where they go inside the trailer- we looked at the other side but not the side that is wired backwards (this was the last thing we figured out before quitting.)
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:49 AM   #4
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I know you want to fix the problem at the source, but what about fixing it at the socket itself. Are the wires crimped or soldered to the socket. Could you remove and reattach?

- edit -
re-reading your last post. "the light fixture itself does not have a place to connect wires- they are built into it and run into the trailer..." I guess I found the answer?
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:58 AM   #5
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The wires just disappear into the socket base, nothing to wire there. But I do think that if there is enough loose wire I can just swap them out and splice them outside the trailer, inside the lens cover.

Oh, and the corner of the lens cover broke. Anyone know if you can get those types of covers? It's like an open-backed box that fits over the metal plate that holds the fixture and then screws into the back of the trailer. Roughly 5 inches square.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:38 AM   #6
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I have seen bulbs put in wrong, not real easy to do as the pins are staggered, but it can be done.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:42 AM   #7
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Oh, and the corner of the lens cover broke. Anyone know if you can get those types of covers? It's like an open-backed box that fits over the metal plate that holds the fixture and then screws into the back of the trailer. Roughly 5 inches square.
Bobbie, do you have a picture?
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:57 AM   #8
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Pictures Here. The red cover sits about two inches off the back of the trailer (hard to see the 3-d in the picture. (Scroll about halfway down that thread.)
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:59 AM   #9
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I have seen bulbs put in wrong, not real easy to do as the pins are staggered, but it can be done.
The bulb is in right. I don't think it would fit wrong but maybe- but I checked that, anyway. Interesting I noted the weak turn signal on the above link- I just didn't realize why, then.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:58 PM   #10
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Pictures Here.
Is the black wire in this picture supposed to be ground, and is it "attached" at the near corner by means of the light's mounting screw? If so, I highly recommend connecting it instead to the trailer's ground wiring, since the fiberglass surface the light's attached to is a VERY poor choice for ground.

I had a similar lighting situation while out in the boonies, and the culprit proved to be exactly this, though in my case the lights were on an aluminum surface- surely slightly better for ground than fiberglass but inadequate nevertheless.

Installing a true groundwire solved the problem in my case.

Francesca
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Old 02-24-2013, 04:07 PM   #11
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I would buy new trail lights and start over.
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Old 02-24-2013, 04:44 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
Is the black wire in this picture supposed to be ground, and is it "attached" at the near corner by means of the light's mounting screw? If so, I highly recommend connecting it instead to the trailer's ground wiring, since the fiberglass surface the light's attached to is a VERY poor choice for ground.

I had a similar lighting situation while out in the boonies, and the culprit proved to be exactly this, though in my case the lights were on an aluminum surface- surely slightly better for ground than fiberglass but inadequate nevertheless.

Installing a true groundwire solved the problem in my case.

Francesca
It's apparently grounded via a wire on the back attached to the screw. That does not seem to be the problem (I originally thought it was.)
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Old 02-24-2013, 04:48 PM   #13
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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.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:32 PM   #14
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Bobbie, you ought to be able to get to your wiring through a cupboard or under-bench storage bin. Once you do, it's simple; you just need to switch the two colored wires, one of which is taillight and one of which is brake light. I'd just cut them and resplice them together again, switching wires as I did.
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