Scamp Taillights Acting Funny - Fiberglass RV
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Old 04-20-2020, 04:13 PM   #1
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Name: Brett
Trailer: 2000 Scamp 19'
Virginia
Posts: 46
Scamp Taillights Acting Funny

So, I am a new owner of a 2000 19' Scamp. When I use the turn signals, I get all sorts of strange things: the left turn signal will turn on the emergency flashers and the right turn signal won't do anything at all. I have confirmed that everything on the truck end is okay with my multimeter. I'm relatively new to this stuff, but I'm thinking this is a grounding issue? When I took apart the taillight casings, I also noticed that there was a crack that let water into them, so there is some corrosion. I noticed that there is what looks to be a grounding wire pigtailed into the left taillight. It then runs into the back of the Scamp and is pigtailed to another wire that isn't attached to anything. I've attached pictures. I'm assuming this is the problem but I don't know what to do next. Should I ground that wire to something...and if so, what? I couldn't find a main ground anywhere on the scamp. Thank you!
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20200420_170913.jpg   20200420_170756.jpg  

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Old 04-20-2020, 05:49 PM   #2
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I'd seek out a wiring diagram first. Hopefully Scamp can provide, or check the document center on this forum. I found a wiring diagram for my 1977 Trillium in the document center, very helpful!!

Typically the running and tail lights should ground back to the tow vehicle.

Actually, the wiring diagram below looks pretty helpful. It includes wire color, which is the first step. I also see a ground going back to the TV.
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Old 04-20-2020, 06:03 PM   #3
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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That wire tap is about the most amateurish thing I have ever seen. Perhaps it was an attempt to solve a problem with a bad ground (negative) connection. Or perhaps he tapped on for something like a backup camera. I have some doubts that your flashers and turn signal problems are directly related to it, but I feel sure that the person who did this hack job has likely also done some other inventive Rube Goldberg monstrosity which unfortunately cannot be identified from a distance, and perhaps not even so easily when on site.

I would not give up on it just yet, but ultimately you might be better off doing a complete re-wire from scratch.

Note.. this is the generic Scamp wiring schematic but it is really not so much help with the running lights in what I suspect is a heavily modified trailer.
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Old 04-20-2020, 06:45 PM   #4
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Name: Brett
Trailer: 2000 Scamp 19'
Virginia
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Uh-oh...that doesn't sound good. Yeah, I figured it was a bad mod when I found that. The two wires were duct taped together...I don't know much about electrical, but I do know that isn't the way to do it. Funny enough, everything else on the Scamp works fine (brakes, emergency flashers, runnings lights. Any suggestions on even where to begin? I'm at a little bit of a loss right now.
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Old 04-20-2020, 06:58 PM   #5
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Trailer: Scamp
Wisconsin
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trouble shooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by brettrae View Post
So, I am a new owner of a 2000 19' Scamp. When I use the turn signals, I get all sorts of strange things: the left turn signal will turn on the emergency flashers and the right turn signal won't do anything at all. . Thank you!
First of all, with all disconnected from the tow vehicle, get rid of that green wire. Next insulate the bare wire with RTV or liquid tape to keep the moisture out of the wire. Take the lamps out and clean both the sockets and the lamp base. Do you have a 4 or 7 pin hookup? You can power the different light circuits from the plug if it is a 7 pin.The RV has 3 electrical systems, you are only working on the one that comes from the tow vehicle to run the DOT required lights. Your book has a typical Scamp wire diagram in the back.( I have had that rivet that makes the ground connection fail to make connection.)
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Old 04-20-2020, 07:07 PM   #6
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OK It's a seven pin

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First of all, with all disconnected from the tow vehicle, get rid of that green wire. Next insulate the bare wire with RTV or liquid tape to keep the moisture out of the wire. Take the lamps out and clean both the sockets and the lamp base. Do you have a 4 or 7 pin hookup? You can power the different light circuits from the plug if it is a 7 pin.The RV has 3 electrical systems, you are only working on the one that comes from the tow vehicle to run the DOT required lights. Your book has a typical Scamp wire diagram in the back.( I have had that rivet that makes the ground connection fail to make connection.)
OK I just noticed that it IS a seven pin. You can power the differnt light circuits from the plug by jumpering the 12 volt pin to the light circuit under test. Be carefull not to jumper to the ground and note also that the brakes draw a lot of power and will make a small wire get hot.
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Old 04-20-2020, 07:17 PM   #7
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Name: Brett
Trailer: 2000 Scamp 19'
Virginia
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Yes, I think removing that tap will be my first job. I will also test power from the trailer plug to make sure the plug is working properly. I have looked at the wiring diagram, but honestly I still couldn't really decipher where the 12V ground was in my Scamp. I found the ground for the 120v power converter but know that's not it. Is there a place where it's bolted down to the frame so that I can check and make sure it's a solid ground?
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Old 04-20-2020, 07:22 PM   #8
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Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
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Originally Posted by AC0GV View Post
First of all, with all disconnected from the tow vehicle, get rid of that green wire. Next insulate the bare wire with RTV or liquid tape to keep the moisture out of the wire....
A good start... if one could tell what was original and what was added on, then it does sound like a good approach to remove all the added wiring. That might get you back to close to original where you could troubleshoot it. Or if you are lucky it might cure the problem. BTW, this is Liquid Electrical Tape.. it insulates wires and connections. Its a little like paint, and I often use two coats.
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Old 04-20-2020, 07:30 PM   #9
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Name: Brett
Trailer: 2000 Scamp 19'
Virginia
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Will do. Thanks for the suggestions. The problem is that most of that wiring is located behind the rat fur under the bench. I've already removed the bench but was hesitant to pull back the rat fur and insulation...will I be able to place all of that back once I'm done?
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Old 04-20-2020, 07:31 PM   #10
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Name: Rick
Trailer: Scamp
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Green is right turn
Yellow is left
red is backup
brown is tail / running lights
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Old 04-20-2020, 07:42 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by brettrae View Post
... Is there a place where it's [ground' bolted down to the frame so that I can check and make sure it's a solid ground?
1. Dont confuse the 120 VAC system with the 12 VDC or with the 12 volt system (running lights and brakes) powered by the tug. As mentioned, its basically three separate systems. Thats the way to approach it.
2. Scamp does use the trailer's frame for the ground (negative) for the brakes (Tow Veh system). This is not ideal because frame connections tend to corrode. But more important is the ground for the other things.. in your case the running lights.
3. Don't quote me because its late, but I dont think any of the running lights, turn signals or brake lights typically use the frame as an electrical ground from the tug. If they do, its not ideal (see above note).
4. In the diagram (and usually in practice), the white wire is ground. it can share the ground with trailer's 12 volt system, and with the frame.. its all just a zero reference. Or they can be independent on each system.
5. The ground for the brakes is a connection via the fuse box which is a common ground for the trailer (at least on my rig). The place it typically fails is where the brake wires connect to the frame but this will not affect the lights or what your issue is.. it only causes the brakes to fail.
5. Reading what I just wrote I see it can be confusing.. but study it and sooner or later it will be clear.
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Old 04-20-2020, 07:48 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Rick In Mn View Post
Green is right turn
Yellow is left
red is backup
brown is tail / running lights
with a little salt...
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Old 04-21-2020, 10:45 AM   #13
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Name: Wayne & Barbara
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Iowa
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Do yourself a favor and replace those old incandescent bulb lamps with LED tail/stop/turn lamps. Also the side markers.
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Old 04-21-2020, 10:55 AM   #14
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good luck

Quote:
Originally Posted by brettrae View Post
I've already removed the bench but was hesitant to pull back the rat fur and insulation...will I be able to place all of that back once I'm done?
The good thing is that any wires behind the rat fur are protected from both the Weather and the owner that did that wiring job. The problem should be out where it is easy to get at and somehow the left and right brake lights must be connected together (if they are both full brightness, if they are dim they are in series and it is more likely to be a ground problem) I have never worked on a 19í only 13 and 16 but Iíd start where the cord from the tow vehicle makes the connection to the RV. Please let us know what you find.
People that need to re attach the rat fur are using one of the 3M spray adhesives.
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Old 04-21-2020, 11:00 AM   #15
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On our Scamp, there are the three hot wires visible (running lights, turn signal, and backup light), and then a fourth that can't be seen which is the ground wire that is mated on the other side of that backing plate to the sockets. That wire goes into the Scamp and on ours attached to the white ground wire that runs along the perimeter of the Scamp. You will have to pull the rat fur away near the lights to see it, but that's where the tail light ground wires should attach.
That poorly attached green wire that runs back into your Scamp is not a ground wire, and actually appears to be attached to the running lights hot wire.
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Old 04-21-2020, 12:37 PM   #16
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Here's a picture of the back of your tail light showing where the white ground wires are.
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Old 04-21-2020, 05:31 PM   #17
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Name: Brett
Trailer: 2000 Scamp 19'
Virginia
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A few updates from today:
- I removed the green wire that PO had attached, cleaned all light sockets with steel wool, and covered the bare spots in both of the wires (green and black) leading to the bottom lightbulb with liquid electrical tape. Just to make sure, I tested the lights. This time, my truck's right turn signal makes the left turn signal blink on the Scamp (this is new). The truck's left turn signal still makes the top bulbs blink on both sides.
- I used my multimeter and put one probe in the ground of the 7-pin coming out of the Scamp. I took the other probe and tested the resistance of each of the remaining pins. They all got about 0.8 ohms, which I don't think is great? I had read online it should be closer to 3.2 ohms.
- I then disconnected all of the taillight bulbs and repeated the process with my multimeter. As expected, all of the pins were showing O.L for an open circuit (which is what they should do), until I got to the pin for Right Turn Signal and Brake...this came back at around 2 ohms and tested to have continuity! Definitely not right. So I'm assuming that this means that the wire is connecting with another wire somewhere along the line?

I'm going to start pulling up the rat fur behind the benches to get a better look at the wires. What's the process for finding a bad connection in the wires...just using a multimeter to check for continuity from one connection to the other? Thanks so much
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Old 04-21-2020, 05:35 PM   #18
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Name: Brett
Trailer: 2000 Scamp 19'
Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radar1 View Post
On our Scamp, there are the three hot wires visible (running lights, turn signal, and backup light), and then a fourth that can't be seen which is the ground wire that is mated on the other side of that backing plate to the sockets. That wire goes into the Scamp and on ours attached to the white ground wire that runs along the perimeter of the Scamp. You will have to pull the rat fur away near the lights to see it, but that's where the tail light ground wires should attach.
That poorly attached green wire that runs back into your Scamp is not a ground wire, and actually appears to be attached to the running lights hot wire.
Funny you mention this, I had just noticed those grounds before I came back to the computer. Mine definitely don't look as clean as yours...I see lots of corrosion and dirt. It's hard to pull the light fixtures far enough out so that I can see them clearly, but is it possible to remove and clean the point where the grounds attach to the lights themselves? Or are they permanently attached to the backing plate? If not, my next step will be to trace that ground wire and check its connections.
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Old 04-21-2020, 06:54 PM   #19
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I'm going to start pulling up the rat fur behind the benches to get a better look at the wires. What's the process for finding a bad connection in the wires...just using a multimeter to check for continuity from one connection to the other? Thanks so much
Have you jumpered from pin 4 to the other circuits to see what lights?
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Old 04-21-2020, 07:42 PM   #20
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Trailer: 2000 Scamp 19'
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Have you jumpered from pin 4 to the other circuits to see what lights?
Not yet...I wasn't sure what you meant by that. Are you talking about attaching an alligator clip from the 12V battery power pin on the Scamp's 7 way connector to every other pin on that same connector, aside from the ground? I just wanted to make sure that I understood you. If so, I'll try that tomorrow and see what comes on.
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