Trailer Light Gremlins

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Trailer Light Gremlins

Postby hattonv » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:33 pm

Noticed my right brake lights weren't working, opened the light and water poured out of the waterproof unit. When I replaced the tail light none of my lights work. Checked the fuses in the truck and not blown. Any ideas?
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Postby m_snow » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:42 pm

Car lights ok? then recheck your car/trailer plug. If all lights are out it sounds like a bad ground to car or ground to trailer.

When you need to change them go LED. More expensive but worth it.

GL!
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Postby hattonv » Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:31 am

Car lights are tip top. Will check the plug tomorrow. How do I check the ground?
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Postby dancaravelle267 » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:18 am

If it happened after changing right brake light then I'd go back to that. I'd check the ground and connections there.
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Postby AndrewT » Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:15 am

http://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to ... uit-tester
Have a look above and get yourself a test light, also never assume that the new bulb is ok , test it in another socket.
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Postby Cruzomatic » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:22 am

Yeah, I agree with Snow above. I converted everything to LED and was way impressed with the results. Could tell a huge difference in brightness and the look was way better.

I purchased everything from www.etrailer.com. They had the best prices around and their shipping is fast.

As for your current problem, double check your ground there at that tail light.

Let us know...

Good Luck.
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Postby hattonv » Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:47 pm

Got the turn signals working but when I turn the running lights on none of the trailer lights work. Anybody have this happen before?
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Postby Cruzomatic » Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:54 pm

Check the fuse in your truck that controls the trailer lights.
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Postby Chappy » Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:54 pm

If you have a swing away tongue, check that there's no rust. I had some surface rust building up and lost my ground. I sanded and repainted, and then ran another grouind to the main frame of the trailer. No problems since.
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Postby Bezdonr57 » Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:30 pm

sounds like a bad ground. Easiest way I use is get a long piece of wire, find a really good spot on the tow vehicle chassis for a ground and attach th other end of this wire to a really good clean point on the trailer. PITA for permanent solution but if the lights work with the added ground then improve the onnection through the standard connector.
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Postby dancaravelle267 » Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:21 pm

I would say main trailer ground is bad
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Postby taffy3 » Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:08 pm

Based on what you wrote you have a grounding issue. In addition, as you noticed your big red flag is the water in the light housing. Trailer lights are notorious for being pretty cheap and not very reliable. Water infiltration is a huge problem. I'm not sure weather the LED's that others mention are sealed potted units. If they are they might be worth a look but you'd have to make the call weather they are worth the additional expense.

You will probably have a grounding wire that is attached to your trailer. On the beam under the bow is a common spot. The grounding wire is attached under a screw with a ring connector. That screw is probably all rust. Replace the screw with a stainless steel one or at least coat a new one with grease as I'll explain in a moment. Clean up the trailer metal too where the ring connector attaches.

Assuming that you are sticking with stock bulbs take apart each and every light fixture and check for corrosion. You'll probably find plenty. Clean each fixture until you see shiny metal on all surfaces. A Dremel tool works great for this as does emery paper. You might find fixtures that are so far gone that you cannot get to clean metal. In that case replace them. Once clean check for continuity with a ohm meter (should get zero ohms). Then, take some dielectric grease and apply it liberally to all metal parts in the light fixtures. Apply the grease to your trailer harness as well. You can actually fill the male and female parts of the trailer plugs with grease, I do!


If after all of this your lights still don't work you need to check the crimps that are used to connect the various wires. Trailer builders seem to like these cheap PVC crimps. They're usually blue. I like to replace these with decent nylon heat shrink crimps that are used in proper boat electrical systems. The blue crimps are OK for automotive use but you don't dunk your car in the lake every time you use it, do you?

This might sound like a lot of work but if you tackle a couple of fixtures at a time over a day or two you'll get it done. Once cleaned and greased up good (replace those cheap crimps too) you're lights should be good for quite a while. I take mine apart every couple of years to reapply grease. Do it every year near salt water.

http://www.permatex.com/products/automo ... Grease.htm

http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?pat ... &id=112217

Hope this helps and good luck,

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Postby hattonv » Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:20 pm

Problem fixed. Chappy was right. Got fed up with it, took it to Bay Marine and they called me the next day and said come get it. Turned out the swing arm was rusted and prevented a good ground. Cleaned a joint and didn't charge me a dime.
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Trl lights

Postby foyboy062 » Fri May 24, 2013 2:49 pm

The best thing you can do for your lights is Ground the trailer and don't rely on the hitch for the ground. That is what the white wire is for! Make sure the light assy's have a clean connection to bare metal and you will eliminate 1/2 of your lighting issues. Use water proof light assy's as well. Travel with some extra bulbs and a circuit tester and you'll get no hassle from officers Friendly and Courteous.
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Re: Trl lights

Postby Felix » Fri May 24, 2013 4:37 pm

foyboy062 wrote:Travel with some extra bulbs and a circuit tester and you'll get no hassle from officers Friendly and Courteous.


To add to what foyboy mentioned...

Don't even bother with bulbs, just switch to LEDs and never have a problem again. Well, at least from the actual lights.
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