1980 trillium both left tail lights out, possible fixes? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-27-2021, 02:11 PM   #1
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Name: Colleen
Trailer: Trillium
WA
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1980 trillium both left tail lights out, possible fixes?

Hi all,
Before starting a recent camping trip we noticed both bulbs on the rear left light were not working. We took off the lens and found considerable rust in there--I was surprised as I thought I had sealed it up pretty well... sigh. Anyway, if cleaning the rust off the terminals exterior sockets doesn't work, is there another suspect to check next? I was told grounding is often an issue but still have not delved deeply into the rear gauchos to investigate.

Thanks for any help you can give. (I also want to buy replacement bulbs (incadescent) but am not sure which they are as both bulbs were toast after we removed them. Are there specs on these you can provide off the top of your head?) Again, much obliged,

Colleen
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Old 03-27-2021, 03:59 PM   #2
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You are absolutely correct about the grounding issue.
Take you multimeter and check to see if you have power to the hot side, You will need to put the - lead of the meter to the frame.

Once you solve the issue and after cleaning out the fixture to insure good connection be sure to coat the inside with dielectric grease. That will keep moisture out in the future.

Here is a good tool to use instead of a multimeter.
https://www.harborfreight.com/6-12-v...psugg_q=tester
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Old 03-28-2021, 11:12 AM   #3
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Name: Michael
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Good luck Colleen trying to seal your lights, but if you are able to get this to work, please share it as this is very difficult to do. I've tried repeatedly and had some success over the short term but eventually leaks develop. Dust (I travel back roads extensively) always gets in and often water as well.
Both bulbs out on the same side would initially suggest a problem with the fixture itself or a problem with the ground wire for this fixture.
If the fixture is rusted, I would start there. Cleaning the rust off may make it work temporarily and indicate the problem. Once rust is initiated, it will come back when moisture is present and moisture is usually present from numerous sources. Best course of action is to replace the fixture and avoid future problems.
Check to see if you've lost the ground to the fixture buy running a piece of wire from the chassis to the metal part of the fixture. If this is the problem, running this wire should make both bulbs of the fixture work.
You can check for power to the fixture using a multi meter, a test light or a bulb in a socket. Make sure you have a good ground to the chassis. You can ensure your grounding point is good by first testing a light you know is working.
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Old 03-28-2021, 11:40 AM   #4
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I had trouble with water collecting inside the lenses also. I solved the problem by drilling a 1/8" hole in the bottom of the lenses at the lowest point. Water then has a way out and very little dust gets in. Has worked great for me.
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Old 03-28-2021, 12:49 PM   #5
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Trailer: 1979 Boler B1300
New Hampshire
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On my 1979 Boler, the ground for the taillights went to rivet on the fixture. When my right taillight went out, I drilled out the rivet and replaced it with a brass bolt. Problem solved.
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Old 03-28-2021, 01:51 PM   #6
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Once you clean the sockets up, look at the pins inside the socket, if there’s 2 contacts use an 1157 bulb, if there’s only one, use an 1156,
I use a dielectric grease to coat the bulbs. There are many thoughts about using it, in my case I find it works.
A battery brush will have bristles that are almost the size of the socket and makes cleaning it easier
Joe
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Old 03-28-2021, 04:34 PM   #7
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Our Trillium 4500 ground/negative wires from the towing lights are white. They are not bonded to the frame but instead return back through the trailer to the 4 pin/7 pin towing plug. The positive wires from left taillight (green = parking light, brown = stop and left turn) return back through the trailer to the 4 pin/7 pin towing plug.

Interesting that there are two left taillight bulbs, our Trillium 4500 taillights only have one 1157 bulb used for parking light function, left turn light function and stop light function.
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Old 03-28-2021, 06:07 PM   #8
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
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Myself the guts inside my 1977 Trillium tail lights were in terrible shape. The wiring to the lights themselves were fine. So I replaced the guts with sealed LED tail lights and kept the original housings and lenses. On the side marker lights I just replaced with sealed LED units. Very low cost.

I used temporary magnetic trailer lights from Harbor Freight to get my trailer home from the seller.

Different from some brands the Trillium lights actually have a ground wire.
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Old 03-29-2021, 08:44 AM   #9
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The tail light lenses on a Trillium seem to have the ability to collect water and never release it. I have drilled small holes in the bottom of the lens to help with drainage. The best way to deal with the resulting corrosion is to replace the guts with LED modules. There are a number of ways to do this. I have used the tail light assemblies that Princess Auto sells:

Click image for larger version

Name:	Princess Auto <a title=Tail Lights.JPG Views: 4 Size: 19.1 KB ID: 140040" style="margin: 2px" />

https://www.princessauto.com/en/led-...t/PA0008059545

Once you pull them apart, inside there is a sealed module that includes running lights, signal lights and a license plate light. All of these lights are much brighter than the original. This module fits inside the Trillium tail light:
https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...ild-65775.html
https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...2-a-52356.html
https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...tml#post270659
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Old 03-31-2021, 12:20 PM   #10
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Name: Colleen
Trailer: Trillium
WA
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Thumbs up Thank you so much!

I want to thank you all for your responses -- really helpful and it is so good to know this collective expert trailer craft is available. I'll update when the parts arrive. Again, thank you.
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Old 04-04-2021, 02:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
The tail light lenses on a Trillium seem to have the ability to collect water and never release it. I have drilled small holes in the bottom of the lens to help with drainage. The best way to deal with the resulting corrosion is to replace the guts with LED modules. There are a number of ways to do this. I have used the tail light assemblies that Princess Auto sells:

Attachment 140040

https://www.princessauto.com/en/led-...t/PA0008059545

Once you pull them apart, inside there is a sealed module that includes running lights, signal lights and a license plate light. All of these lights are much brighter than the original. This module fits inside the Trillium tail light:
https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...ild-65775.html
https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...2-a-52356.html
https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...tml#post270659
This is exactly what I did on our 1980 4500 trillium also. I bought a spare set and carry them with me in case.The first set I put on had a section of the leds quit working after a year and I just bought another set and repaced the bad one, about 6 months later the other side did the same thing so I used the other new one from the second set. I have since bought another set that I carry as spares. They are cheap enough and small and light weight enough to throw them under my furnace with other small items for repairs on the road. The are a lot brighter that the original 1157 bulb even when mounted inside the old light housing and can be seen from farther away, better for safety.
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Old 11-05-2021, 07:10 AM   #12
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Name: Rick
Trailer: 2014 Trillium
Delaware
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Found out it is better to remove the two bolts and pull out wires to connect new lights. I actually got stuck in the compartment and had to holler HELP for 10 min until a neighbor came to pull me out. Note: don't know why but when I followed the wire diagram matching colors- the right light was dull so I had to switch the green and brown!
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