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Thread: Trailer wiring

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Thornton Colorado
    Posts
    2,003

    Post

    Coyote, Your trailer electrical really shouldn't use the ball and hitch in its circuit. If you start seeing intermittant electrical problems when the ball and hitch are dirty and rusty then the clean ball and hitch are hiding the real problem; a broken or corroded ground wire/connection on the trailer.
    JohnF INTP

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,361

    Post

    #1 - Thanks MB, this has been one of my pet peeves for years, I too spend as much time on wiring on my trailer some years as loading. Of course everything works unitl the load is on!

    #2 Thanks for all the answers guys, what a knowlegable group!

    #3 I'm terrible with electricity so I need some clarity on the ground issue which I think affects both the electric brakes and lighting. When the running lights are on and I signal I notice the signal on the other side dims. The tail lights are bright and everything works great until I turn on the vehicle headlights. Is this a symptom of poor output by the generator or is it a poor ground. If the ground what do you more intellegent types mean by running a common ground.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
    Posts
    6,574

    Post

    "If you start seeing intermittant electrical problems when the ball and hitch are dirty and rusty then the clean ball and hitch are hiding the real problem;"

    There are a couple of things I make no pretense about understanding. Electricity is one of them. However, I've found that fiddling around with either can be delightful or dangerous, depending on how one wiggles this or that. I just remember that when the ball and hitch were shined up the lights came on. Dats all I knows, or needs ta know.
    Nobody ruins my day without my permission, and I refuse to grant it...

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    S.E. Oklahoma
    Posts
    337

    Post

    My comment doesn't "directly" relate to improved methods of wireing, however I'm going to let you in on a little "tip" with trailer wiring that may recover your trailer if ever stolen. I figure not many of your standard trailer thieves read this message board but here is what we've done for years.
    Wire in a switch near the fender (doesn't even have to be hidden) as follows; On the "positive" leg going to the clearance/taillight, tap in a switch where the outbound leg goes to ground when in the on position. Just feed the positive right on thru the feed side of the switch on to the light. Store the trailer with this switch in the on position.
    The way it works is when a thief snatches your trailer in the middle of the night, they typically don't hook up the lights until they are down the road. Once they do, their taillight/parking light fuse is immediately blown. This "may" draw the attention of local law enforcement and the next morning when you report the trailer stolen, be sure to notify law enforcement of your security "trick" and ask thet the call ALL surrounding law enforcement agencies and ask that they poll their night shift folks for anyone who encountered someone broke down working on lights or made a traffic stop the night before etc...Follow up by calling the others yourself.
    In over 40 years our family has had two trailers stolen at night and both were recovered within hours because of this very simple trick. One from the citation information for driving without lighting and the other because the cop stopped to assist the thieves changing three fuses before they finally gave up and left the trailer because the cop wouldn't let them transport it with non working lights.......

    Not brilliant....but neither are the thieves,
    David

    [size="1"][ June 11, 2006, 07:42 AM: Message edited by: David Stewart ][/size]

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Post

    The "environmental splice" advice is very good,
    but let me add that the connectors sold for
    trailers are crap.

    If you can't find the right stuff to do an
    "environmental splice", get yourself some
    UF (underground) rated cable, suitable for
    burying. I've seen it in 4-conductor cables
    and in flexible sizes like #14 and #16.

    I like the Cannon connectors (used on old
    microphones and on all military electronics up to
    at least the Vietnam era.

    These connectors are water-tight, and first plug
    in, and then screw tight with a knurled ring.

    Another hint would be to NEVER trust the frame
    of anything to provide a ground. Run a ground
    wire to each light, so everything gets both a
    "hot" and a "ground". "Rust Never Sleeps", as
    Neil Young sang. He was right.

    Another hint would be to position the vehicle
    connector IN the vehicle somewhere, even if this
    means a silly-looking long cable on the trailer
    end. The trailer-end connector can be covered
    with a cap when the trailer is not in use, but
    the vehicle end is subjected to lots of abuse
    (moisture, mostly) if it is exposed when driving
    around. The covered connectors sold by the
    trailer places and auto-parts stores, are, of
    course, junk.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,131

    Post

    >Another hint would be to position the vehicle
    connector IN the vehicle somewhere, even if this
    means a silly-looking long cable on the trailer
    end.

    So you're thinking the connector is inside the back door of my van and I run the trailer wire through and close the door on it? This sounds good because, as you say, the exposed connector is a large part of the problem of longevity and it's longevity that is my problem. I always get it working eventually, but it's never working by the next time I need it. I'm guess the wear and tear on the trailer wire shut in the door will be less than the wear and tear from the weather and the gravel and the salt on the roads, on the connector.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #27
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Pilot Hill, Northern CA.
    Posts
    811

    Post

    Everything works if you let it... [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Once you see the bandwagon, it's too late.
    www.goldfinch-acres.com

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Crown Point , (NW) Indiana
    Posts
    529

    Post

    [I'm guess the wear and tear on the trailer wire shut in the door]

    Maybe he didn't realize your van had doors?

    Everything works if you let it... for awhile.
    There is always more than one way to skin a cat, that's of course if you're into eating cats.

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