Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-23-2013, 02:17 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
1964 17' Bambi II
Pennington , New Jersey
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 7
Blog Entries: 5
Baffled by 1964 Bambi II taillights

On our 1964 Bambi II the taillights have three wires for two bulbs. I believe that the three wires are: red = clearance, yellow = turn, green = stop. One of the two bulbs appears to be for clearance lighting and the other is a standard two filament stop/turn bulb.

The PO spliced a four wire connector into the original umbilical cable. As best I can tell, the splicing looks accurate. I compared the wires on the four wire connector to the wire color legend stamped on the owner's certificate mounted in the closet. Looks correct, left turn to left turn, right turn to right turn, etc.

I'm now trying to install a new taillight fixture that has only the standard two filament bulb. I connect the red wire to one of the bulb socket leads and the yellow wire to the other. Here are the crazy results I'm getting:

With the clearance lights OFF, when I turn on the turn signal, the thin filament lights up and when I press on the brake the thin filament again lights up. The thick filament NEVER lights up despite the fact that I have two separate wires running to the two separate leads coming out of the bulb socket!

With the clearance lights ON, the thin filament lights up and remains lit. When I turn on the turn signal the same thin filament flashes. When I turn the signal off, the thin filament is again continuously lit. When I press on the brake, nothing happens, I presume because the thin filament is already lit. NOTE: If I disconnect the yellow wire, but leave the red wire connected, the thin filament gives off only very faint continuous light.

My starting questions:

1) With the clearance lights ON, why is the filament barely lit when I connect only the red wire. It should be either ON or OFF, but never dim, right? And then if I reconnect the yellow wire to the other lead, it turns bright again even though neither the turn signal nor the brake are engaged.

2) With the clearance lights OFF, why does only one filament light up when engaging the turn signal or brake despite the fact that I have the two separate wires on the two separate leads.

I would love some advice on this one. I'm afraid that the it's some sort of grounding problem and that I am going to have to remove panels to chase down the problem.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!
__________________

__________________
motrbungalow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 02:47 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
TG Twinkie's Avatar
 
1974 Argosy 26
Morrill , Nebraska
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,139
Images: 2
Blog Entries: 5
I will assume the three colors come from the trailer. And that you are working with the left side.
Green=Tail/marker
Red=Left Turn/Brake
Yellow=Backup
If you are replacing the entire fixture. First make sure you have a good ground/common connection.
The "thin" filament is the Tail/marker
The heavier filament is the Turn/brake
If you don't have a backup light. Then tape the wire off and leave it disconnected.
Faint burning lights indicate a voltage drop is occurring somewhere in the circuit. Chances are it is a bad ground/common connection.
To clarify: the turn signal and brake lights use the same filament in the bulb. The tail light uses the smaller of the two filaments.
The outside of the bulb socket is the ground/common side of the circuit. It usually is grounded by the mounting screws for the fixture.
If you don't have it mounted with a good connection to ground/common, you will get weird results.
__________________

__________________
Knowledge: "A gift to be shared. A treasure to receive."
TG Twinkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 03:36 PM   #3
Moderator Emeritus
 
overlander64's Avatar
 
1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,396
Images: 183
Send a message via Yahoo to overlander64
Baffled by 1964 Bambi II taillights

Greetings motrbungalow!

Quote:
Originally Posted by motrbungalow View Post
On our 1964 Bambi II the taillights have three wires for two bulbs. I believe that the three wires are: red = clearance, yellow = turn, green = stop. One of the two bulbs appears to be for clearance lighting and the other is a standard two filament stop/turn bulb.

The PO spliced a four wire connector into the original umbilical cable. As best I can tell, the splicing looks accurate. I compared the wires on the four wire connector to the wire color legend stamped on the owner's certificate mounted in the closet. Looks correct, left turn to left turn, right turn to right turn, etc.

The wire colors as utilized in the 1964 Airstreams were as follows:
  • Red = Left Turn Signal
  • Green = Running Light
  • Black = Stop Light
  • Brown = Right Turn Signal
  • Blue = Charge Line
  • Yellow = Electric Trailer Brakes
  • White = Ground
The backup lights on the 1964 were optional, and I am not certain how the wiring connections were changed to work with the 7-terminal connector. I do know that I had a number of problems when installing the LED conversion on my '64 Overlander . . . a good ground at the fixture is an extremely important step . . . and absolute cleanliness of contacts at both tow vehicle and trailer ends are also important. As I remember, on my installation with LEDs, the brake and turn wires needed to be joined and connected to the Turn/Brakie terminal on the LED fixture . . . then the Running Light wire was connected to the Runnling Light terminal on the LED fixture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by motrbungalow View Post
I'm now trying to install a new taillight fixture that has only the standard two filament bulb. I connect the red wire to one of the bulb socket leads and the yellow wire to the other. Here are the crazy results I'm getting:

With the clearance lights OFF, when I turn on the turn signal, the thin filament lights up and when I press on the brake the thin filament again lights up. The thick filament NEVER lights up despite the fact that I have two separate wires running to the two separate leads coming out of the bulb socket!

With the clearance lights ON, the thin filament lights up and remains lit. When I turn on the turn signal the same thin filament flashes. When I turn the signal off, the thin filament is again continuously lit. When I press on the brake, nothing happens, I presume because the thin filament is already lit. NOTE: If I disconnect the yellow wire, but leave the red wire connected, the thin filament gives off only very faint continuous light.
The results that you are getting are typical with the Vintage wiring colors/functions. When I searched out the original 1964 Airstream wiring schematic for the Umbilical cord, most of the issues resolved themselves . . . other than a very touchy ground situation on my LED conversion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by motrbungalow View Post
My starting questions:

1) With the clearance lights ON, why is the filament barely lit when I connect only the red wire. It should be either ON or OFF, but never dim, right? And then if I reconnect the yellow wire to the other lead, it turns bright again even though neither the turn signal nor the brake are engaged.
The Red wire is your left turn signal, so it should only be illuminated when the tow vehicle's left turn signal is activated. The 1964 Airstream wiring diagram calls for the Yellow wire to be electric trailer brakes . . . but I wonder if it may be connected to the charge line circuit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by motrbungalow View Post
2) With the clearance lights OFF, why does only one filament light up when engaging the turn signal or brake despite the fact that I have the two separate wires on the two separate leads.
The stop light signal should be transmitted over a Black Wire while a Red transmits Left Turn and a Brown transmits Right Turn. On my '64 Overlander, the left side required connecting the red and black wires and the right side required connecting the brown and black wires to get the turn signal/brake light functions to work. The Green wire was running lights on both sides. I know that these wire colors fly in the convention of today's standardized wiring, but that was Airstream's design for 1964.

The original Bargman 99 light fixtures on our 1964 Airstream utilized the skin to baseplate for ground. My LED conversion fixture had a separate ground wire that was terminated and then screwed to the original Bargman 99 baseplate with a stainless steel screw and some dielectric connection grease. I still periodically need to clean and retighten the grounds at the fixtures to keep everything functioning properly.

Good luck with your project!

Kevin

P.S.: You may also find that there have been changes in your Bambi II's umbilical cord junction box. The junction box is covered by a rectangular or suqare panel in the front curbside corner bellypan. Installing a new umbilical cable and cleaning up the wire joints in the junction box solved a number of strange issues with the various tail light and running light circuits.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 7wayplug1964-65.pdf (28.3 KB, 34 views)
__________________
Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
overlander64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 05:07 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
Becky B.'s Avatar
 
1964 17' Bambi II
Vintage Kin Owner
Schererville , Indiana
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,617
Images: 19
I can't help you with your wiring, since we tore ours out & rewired, but I'm happy to see another Bambi II here!
__________________
Becky


1964 Bambi II
1988 Avion 32S
Becky B. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2013, 05:46 PM   #5
1 Rivet Member
 
1964 17' Bambi II
Pennington , New Jersey
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 7
Blog Entries: 5
Kevin,

Thanks for the diagram. It agrees exactly with the wiring for the umbilical cord. However, the wires to the light fixtures themselves do not match the wires in the umbilical cable. The wires at the fixture are red, green, and yellow on both the left and right sides.

I am installing brand new fixtures which I believe had a good ground as I held them against the body during testing. The old fixture actually behaved in the same way.

I believe the problem is likely at the umbilical junction. Unfortunately, I do not have any convenient access panel in the belly pan. I'm not sure exactly where the junction is. The umbilical cable runs down the streetside framerail into the belly pan and from there I think it goes to the streetside wall and that the junction is likely somewhere in the front corner or side wall.

I have some floor rot in that front corner and so am considering opening the belly pan and cutting out the front floor section to replace it. While I'm at it I hope to find that junction and completely replace the old umbilical cable. Ugh, I know that will be a lot of work, but ... if it's got to be done, then that's what I'll have to do.
__________________
motrbungalow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2013, 06:27 AM   #6
1 Rivet Member
 
1964 17' Bambi II
Pennington , New Jersey
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 7
Blog Entries: 5
Figured out which wires are which

I made a little bit of progress on the lights last night. I removed both tail light fixtures and managed to pull the wires out further. The three wires that were connected to the fixture were spliced into other wires that I managed to pull out. Of course the colors of the three wires connected to the fixture do not match the colors of the wires they are spliced into. (By spliced I mean connected via a wire nut.) I have attached a picture of the wires for the right tail light:

As you might be able to see from the picture, here is how the colors were matched:

Inside Trailer -- Connected to Tail Light

Black -- Green
Green -- Yellow
Brown (on right side) -- Red
Red (on left side) -- Red

So, at the tail light: Red = Turn, Yellow = Clearance, Green = Stop

I successfully tested for continuity between the umbilical and the wires in the back. Everything made sense. Tomorrow I will try to clean up all of the wires, reconnect them, connect to my truck and see what happens. I'm not very confident that everything will begin working as expected because I still think I have a ground problem or a short. But at least I now know for sure which wire is which!!!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	RightTailLightWiring.JPG
Views:	70
Size:	112.9 KB
ID:	183470  
__________________
motrbungalow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2013, 07:12 PM   #7
1 Rivet Member
 
1964 17' Bambi II
Pennington , New Jersey
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 7
Blog Entries: 5
Mystery Solved!

I found a very helpful video on YouTube today demonstrating how to diagnose trailer wiring. I tested all the wires at the truck and found they worked as expected. I clamped my test light onto the connection for the clearance light, turned my headlights on in the truck, and then touched the tip of the test light to the trailer. NOTHING! I knew it was the ground wire. I ran a separate wire from the ground on the truck to the body of the trailer. Suddenly, everything worked exactly as expected.

Now, where does the ground wire from the truck attach to the trailer? How much belly pan and/or internal panels do I need to remove to get to the connection?

Here's the YouTube video Testing Trailer Lights and Diagnosing Problems - YouTube

Here is a picture of my working tail lights:
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	photo-5.JPG
Views:	79
Size:	111.5 KB
ID:	183614  
__________________
motrbungalow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2013, 07:50 PM   #8
1 Rivet Member
 
1964 17' Bambi II
Pennington , New Jersey
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 7
Blog Entries: 5
Mystery Solved!

Today I found a useful video on diagnosing trailer wiring problems. I tested each connection at the truck and found no problems. I've suspected my problems were caused by a bad ground so I turned on the clearance lights on the truck, clamped my test light to clearance light wire coming from the truck and touched the other end of the test light to the trailer. Test FAILED! I ran a new, temporary ground wire from the connection at the truck and wedged the wire into the door hinge on the trailer. Suddenly I had lights!!! And all of my lights worked correctly.

Anyone know where the ground wire in the umbilical cable attaches to the trailer? I'd like to fix that connection, if I can get to it.

Here is the video I found helpful Testing Trailer Lights and Diagnosing Problems - YouTube

And attached is a picture of my working tail lights.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	photo-5.JPG
Views:	58
Size:	111.5 KB
ID:	183615  
__________________

__________________
motrbungalow is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
1964


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:56 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.