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Old 03-15-2005, 02:15 PM
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Rockman Rockman is offline
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Trailer Rewiring

One project that has been on my "To-Do" list for the last year or so was to get all the lights on our trailer working properly. The trailer is in good condition as it is garaged all the time. Our boat sits on our lift for most of the season.

When we bought our BF200 in 1996, from day one, the lights on the trailer never worked properly. Since we didn't do much trailering back then, it wasn't a big deal. Now that we have a full size pickup, we have done alot of trailering.

My first idea was to just take it to the general boat dealer in town and have them fix it, whatever the probelms may be. It is a good shop but I am afraid of getting raked over the coals and a bill for $1,500 for labor, etc. I could just buy a new trailer for that much. My other idea was to do it myself but I have not had much experience with lights on the trailer or truck. I have installed fog lights and backup lights, but that is about it.

The problems we had were that the running lights on the trailer do not work at all, so traveling at night is not a good thing. The directionals work fine. The brake lights work fine.

So what does everyone suggest? Is rewiring the trailer feasible to do? Or should I try to troubleshoot my problems first and then as a last resort, rewire the whole thing myself or have the dealer do it?

The truck we have is a 2500HD with the HD towing package and all the light attachments, etc.

Thanks in advance for your help!

RM
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  #2  
Old 03-15-2005, 02:32 PM
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jsonova99 jsonova99 is offline
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Good question, I gave up on mine and ordered a new trailer. I had no lights working, a fair amount of rust, an no place to work on it.
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Old 03-15-2005, 02:34 PM
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The lights on a trailer are about the simplest wiring problem you could take on. Would probably take a day and cost $25 to start over and run new wires to everything (assuming your actual fixtures are good). I'm going to do the same this summer and do good soldered connections rather than the cheap 3M crimp connections (which are the source of my problems).

Last edited by jake; 03-15-2005 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 03-15-2005, 02:38 PM
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A friend of mine and I rewired my Prostar 205 trailer in approximately 2 hours. I had one bad lighting element that needed to be replaced, but that was it. Then, for good measure, I sold it and got the 05 X-30 as a replacement
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Old 03-15-2005, 02:52 PM
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IIRC.
1. disconnected all lights, labelling wires as we went,
2. Tagged, with masking tape (all we had) the ends of the old wires with their functions (Brake - L, Brake - R, etc.)
3. Taped and tied new wire to old at the rear of the trailer.
4. Pulled old wires out, thus pulling new wires in.
5. Pulled large slack loops in leg wires for fender mounted clearance lights. (So we would have enough wire to wire them in)
6. Spliced running lights in and crimped connectors on.
7. Remounted Brake light elements
8. Spliced new 4 element plug onto hitch end.

Hope this helps
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  #6  
Old 03-15-2005, 02:57 PM
FrankSchwab FrankSchwab is online now
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Here's a good diagram of the standard 4-wire trailer lighting. It's probably a half-hour job for someone who knows what they're doing, an hour job if you want it to last forever (soldering connections rather than crimping, etc).

The easy way is to go down to Pep Boys (or the equivalent auto-parts store in town), and get a trailer-wiring pigtail . It'll have the four-position plug on it, and 25 feet or so of wire to stretch to the rear lights.

The only tricky part is that, if your trailer is like mine, you have an extra set of red clearance lights on the side of the trailer, and an extra set of taillights. Wire the extra red clearance lights the same as the amber clearance lights shown, and wire the extra set of taillights the same as the displayed lights.

Connecting the wires together is relatively easy. The cheap, easy, but not long-lasting approach is to use the crimp-on splices that they'll sell where you bought the wiring harness. There are cylindrical ones that attach two wires together:
Butt connectors
as well as devices meant to clip onto an existing wire to provide a second tap (the way the clearance lights are wired:
Splice tap

The better way is to solder the wire connectors together, and use heat-shrink tubing or a gob of electrical tape to insulate the joint.

All in all, not a difficult job. If the wiring in your trailer is currently in good condition, it'll be easier and cheaper to just have someone figure out what's wrong; from the diagram, you can see that it's probably a problem with the brown wire. It might be a problem in your vehicle; in my explorer, the running lights are on a seperate fuse from the brake/turn signals. Since it appears that you have had the problem in two different vehicles, there are two possibilities that leap to mind:
1. There is a short in the brown wire that blows the fuse in your vehicle
2. The brown wire is simply broken someplace.
Diagnosis should be quick and easy.
1. Is there 12 volts present at the vehicle's connector at the brown position when you have the vehicle lights on? If not, check the fuse block - if the fuse is blown, there's probably a short in the brown wire on the trailer.
2. If there is 12 volts at the vehicle connector, then the brown wire is probably broken. Find out where (follow it all the way back on both sides), and using one of the butt connectors, fix it.

Good luck,

/frank
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Old 03-15-2005, 03:12 PM
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rem_pss308 rem_pss308 is offline
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I concur with above. It doesnt take that long to redue everything.
Less than $50.00 to replace all four lights, gaskets, and the light bar in the center undernieth. New plug, and wires.
I would solder all connections, and use heat shrink.
It will last a long time after that.

If you want to repair your existing setup, then get a volt meter, and check at the plug on the vehicle first. if everything is working properly there, then check the wires a few inches back from the trailor plug.
The volt meter should have metal points and they can be inserted into the wire to get a connection.
if everything is working there. then go back to the first light, and check it, then the next, and so on. Check both sides of the butt connections. You will probably find that the electricity is not going thru the butt connections due to corrosion. or that the light assembly's are bad.

Hope this helped some.
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Old 03-15-2005, 03:36 PM
Lance Lance is offline
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Concur with all that has been said. This should be within your grasp if you have wired up fog lights. Of course you have to keep track of more than plus and minus but not much more.

The one problem that I have had on my trailer is that the ground wire on the trailer side (white) was clipped off and not connected to anything. The ground was established through the hitch itself which was not ideal. I might not remember the resulting symptom exactly correctly but basically when I turned on one of the blinkers the alternate taillight would blink at the same time. Somehow the alternate taillight was being used as a grounding path back to the vehicle.

I fixed the problem by clamping a fairly heavy guage wire (like 14 guage) with alligator clips at each end between the trailer and vehicle. This solved the problem but was just one more thing to do.

I rarely trailer my boat now so haven't done any more with it. I believe the correct solution would be to connect that white pigtail to the trailer frame.

Bottom line, if you see funky problems like this make sure your ground is good.
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  #9  
Old 03-15-2005, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockman
One project that has been on my "To-Do" list for the last year or so was to get all the lights on our trailer working properly. The trailer is in good condition as it is garaged all the time. Our boat sits on our lift for most of the season.

When we bought our BF200 in 1996, from day one, the lights on the trailer never worked properly. Since we didn't do much trailering back then, it wasn't a big deal. Now that we have a full size pickup, we have done alot of trailering.

My first idea was to just take it to the general boat dealer in town and have them fix it, whatever the probelms may be. It is a good shop but I am afraid of getting raked over the coals and a bill for $1,500 for labor, etc. I could just buy a new trailer for that much. My other idea was to do it myself but I have not had much experience with lights on the trailer or truck. I have installed fog lights and backup lights, but that is about it.

The problems we had were that the running lights on the trailer do not work at all, so traveling at night is not a good thing. The directionals work fine. The brake lights work fine.

So what does everyone suggest? Is rewiring the trailer feasible to do? Or should I try to troubleshoot my problems first and then as a last resort, rewire the whole thing myself or have the dealer do it?

The truck we have is a 2500HD with the HD towing package and all the light attachments, etc.

Thanks in advance for your help!

RM

Rockman

Those side markers are crap. If all else works you could just about bet money its just the ground on the marker lights. Get a new bulb and go around to each marker and clean up and or re-attach the ground..



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  #10  
Old 03-15-2005, 05:30 PM
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east tx skier east tx skier is offline
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Rockman, with such good advice, it really boils down to whether or not you're up to the job. If you're up to it, you've got plenty of instruction right here. If you're not up to it though, you don't have to take it to a dealer. On some issues, your local auto mechanic or trailer shop will probably be happy to do the job and most times, will let you furnish the parts, many of which can be obtained at Wal*Mart.
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