Will this work? Ground wire - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-23-2012, 09:07 AM   #1
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Will this work? Ground wire

One of my taillights blinks on if I hit it or mess with it but then goes out. I'm guessing its the ground wire, maybe. If I just run a wire from the ground wire to the trailer frame, would that serve to ground if that IS the problem? Or will it do something else?

(I really need to replace these &^%*( lights.0
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:43 AM   #2
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It will work.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:44 AM   #3
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thanks. I'll try it.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:50 AM   #4
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Yes it will work. A good idea is to run a separate ground wire from each light all the way to the 4 way plug's ground connection. The frame makes for an unreliable connection.
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Old 09-23-2012, 03:24 PM   #5
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The Battery on the camper is connected to the frame.
On the tow vehicle, the battery is connected to the frame (Chassis) and the white ground wire is also connected to the frame.
On the camper, the white wire may be connected at the converter ground that also has a connection to the camper frame.
The tow vehicle ground is also in the hitch ball that is grounded to the frame and the coupler on the camper is also connected to the frame however the ball/coupler may not always provide a ground path (It's intermittent) and not reliable.

The one thing consistent in all this is that the frame is a path for ground (-DCV).

When you attach your wire to the frame, sand or grind to a rust free, shinny spot and connect. You should coat with something to prevent rust.
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Old 09-23-2012, 03:39 PM   #6
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The problem is that connections to the frame are unreliable, The frame is generally steel, exposed to water and sometimes salt, and prone to rust.

Read any tail light problem thread and see how many end with "I found a bad ground connection to the frame". A separate wire from the hitch on back to the lights will save many an hour of wrestling with tail light problems. Given how cheap a piece of wire is, I just don't understand using the frame as a conductor.

Rant over.
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:02 AM   #7
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Temporary fix right now. I am assuming there IS a ground wire and it is shorting out somewhere. When I'm testing it the ball to coupler is static so I don't think that's the issue. I'll see what happens with a wire to frame.

No battery.

Related question- wouldn't it be easier to mount lights on the frame than the trailer? I need new, brighter, reliable lights; it seems I could run the wires straight back to lights on the frame. Former owner has the 12V disconnected and a mess of wiring which I haven't wanted to redo as it runs all through stuff I don't want to take apart and I'm almost always connected anyway. So if I just got LED taillights and mounted them on the frame, I could by pass everything; leave the existing lights as is or remove them.
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:45 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Thomas G. View Post
Rant over.


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Old 09-24-2012, 11:23 AM   #9
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T............Related question- wouldn't it be easier to mount lights on the frame than the trailer? I need new, brighter, reliable lights; it seems I could run the wires straight back to lights on the frame. Former owner has the 12V disconnected and a mess of wiring which I haven't wanted to redo as it runs all through stuff I don't want to take apart and I'm almost always connected anyway. So if I just got LED taillights and mounted them on the frame, I could by pass everything; leave the existing lights as is or remove them.
Sure, this is how it is done on a utility or boat trailer.

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Go ahead and say it!
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Old 09-24-2012, 05:21 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bobbie Mayer View Post
Temporary fix right now. I am assuming there IS a ground wire and it is shorting out somewhere. When I'm testing it the ball to coupler is static so I don't think that's the issue. I'll see what happens with a wire to frame.

No battery.

Related question- wouldn't it be easier to mount lights on the frame than the trailer? I need new, brighter, reliable lights; it seems I could run the wires straight back to lights on the frame. Former owner has the 12V disconnected and a mess of wiring which I haven't wanted to redo as it runs all through stuff I don't want to take apart and I'm almost always connected anyway. So if I just got LED taillights and mounted them on the frame, I could by pass everything; leave the existing lights as is or remove them.

Hi Bobbie. As has already been mentioned, the issue with using the trailer frame as a wire is corrosion at the connection points. Unlike your car, which uses the metal as a wire, the trailer connections are all exposed to water which sooner or later will lead to a bad connection. The last thing you need is lights that are not working and you unaware of it. Also putting lights on the frame makes them far less visible than on the trailer body. Tail lights and blinkers amounts to 6 wires that reduces to 4 out the trailer. Raz
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:16 PM   #11
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FYI: Harbor Freight sells an emergency 12 Volt Magnetic Towing Light Kit. They are on sale for less than $12. Harbor Freight Tools

12 Volt Magnetic Towing Light Kit

I carry a set for the just in case situation.
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:23 PM   #12
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I thought I saw $18 until I read "coupon required". The details for the coupon are in the ad.

At that price it is worth having a set in case a bulb blows or the weather is really bad. Trailer or not just put them on your trunk for extra visability.

Thanks Darwin!
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:14 PM   #13
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BUT, you DO lose your running lights if you bypass the trailer plug.
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:37 AM   #14
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JoJo Said: BUT, you DO lose your running lights if you bypass the trailer plug.

That is what the magnetic base lights are for. When you lose your running lights you connect up these and continue running. Should your tow vehicle connection be bad, connect the emergency ones to the Camper Battery to light up the emergency running lights. This should safely get you to where you are going but remember, if it is connected to the camper battery, you will not have turn and stop lights.
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