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Old 10-15-2016, 03:14 PM   #1
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1992 25' Excella
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Cleaning ground connections on frame

25', 1992 EXCELLA

I want to clean all the ground connections on my trailer chassis, starting with those most likely to suffer from corrosion. I found one on the driver's side of the rear bumper assembly, and two under the very front of the trailer on a frame crosspiece. Where else should I be looking? Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Doug
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Old 10-15-2016, 03:22 PM   #2
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The one at the rear is the ground for the 120 volt city power coming from the breaker panel. Those at the front are for the 12 volt system.

I would be supersized if they need attention but if you want to open the connections I would put them back together with internal spider washers against the frame.

if you are having ground problems with the exterior marker lights I would check the conditions at the fixture first.
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Old 10-15-2016, 03:52 PM   #3
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I have the same three ground connections that you found - two at the front, one at the rear

My trailer brake performance had been less than stellar and in trying to improve it I replaced all the ground connections - all were extremely corroded.

Brakes are much better now - but then, at the same time I also replaced the complete brake assemblies and also found the wire connections to the individual brake magnets in very questionable shape so I have no idea what really made the most improvement!

The three ground connections did look in pretty rough shape though! I used new connectors, cleaned the frame to bright metal and applied grease to the connectors once installed.


Brian.
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Old 10-15-2016, 10:21 PM   #4
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I think one of the front ones is grounding the propane line.
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Old 10-16-2016, 10:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
I have the same three ground connections that you found - two at the front, one at the rear

My trailer brake performance had been less than stellar and in trying to improve it I replaced all the ground connections - all were extremely corroded.

Brakes are much better now - but then, at the same time I also replaced the complete brake assemblies and also found the wire connections to the individual brake magnets in very questionable shape so I have no idea what really made the most improvement!

The three ground connections did look in pretty rough shape though! I used new connectors, cleaned the frame to bright metal and applied grease to the connectors once installed.


Brian.
Thanks. Poor brakes are what I'm trying to fix, also. I'm getting 12.4 volts to the truck bumper 7-wire receptacle, but only 8.6 to the one brake magnet I checked so far. My friend suggested cleaning any ground I can find, just for good measure, so that's what I did. Next, when this rain stops, I'm going to check the voltage at that wheel again, as well as amps, and voltage drop along the wires. Hopefully, I can figure this out.
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Old 10-16-2016, 04:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
The one at the rear is the ground for the 120 volt city power coming from the breaker panel. Those at the front are for the 12 volt system.

I would be supersized if they need attention but if you want to open the connections I would put them back together with internal spider washers against the frame.

if you are having ground problems with the exterior marker lights I would check the conditions at the fixture first.
"Supersized"????
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Old 10-16-2016, 04:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
I have the same three ground connections that you found - two at the front, one at the rear

My trailer brake performance had been less than stellar and in trying to improve it I replaced all the ground connections - all were extremely corroded.

Brakes are much better now - but then, at the same time I also replaced the complete brake assemblies and also found the wire connections to the individual brake magnets in very questionable shape so I have no idea what really made the most improvement!

The three ground connections did look in pretty rough shape though! I used new connectors, cleaned the frame to bright metal and applied grease to the connectors once installed.


Brian.
I'm not sure how the brake wires are connected to the harness, never been under there, (too old I guess.) But......
IF AS is using 'Marrettes' (wire nuts) then you need to apply a little grease, (Silicone Grease is best) to the inside of the nut, then spin it on your wire joint. Reason?
Steel spring inside the nut; copper wire going in; two dissimilar metals; road salt=electrolyte=galvanic reaction= corrosion.


Grease or 'specific' paint applied to the finished ground is a very good thing.
Every aircraft has it applied to their 'grounds'.
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Old 10-16-2016, 06:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug C View Post
Thanks. Poor brakes are what I'm trying to fix, also. I'm getting 12.4 volts to the truck bumper 7-wire receptacle, but only 8.6 to the one brake magnet I checked so far. My friend suggested cleaning any ground I can find, just for good measure, so that's what I did. Next, when this rain stops, I'm going to check the voltage at that wheel again, as well as amps, and voltage drop along the wires. Hopefully, I can figure this out.
Good luck with your work Doug. Surely improving the grounds cannot hurt.

I'm not sure what the best thing to do would be if the wiring is bad - I think I would be inclined to run completely new wiring, maybe in conduit clipped under the belly pan - otherwise it would seem to me to be quite a job getting inside the belly pan.

Also that way, it would be much easier to access the brake wiring in future if ever needed.

I'm not a big fan of the whole belly pan idea, especially up here in Canada where road salt in winter can wreak havoc with it - lots of corrosion between the belly pin and steel outriggers and also impossible to get the salt residue out once it finds its way i from wet and salty winter highways when we head south!.=



I did find that the actual copper wire to our magnets was quite black and corroded at the connectors. I scraped it back to shiny copper as best I could and soldered the connections to my new magnets then used waterproof shrink tube.

I recently bought a clamp type multimeter that can measure not only AC but also DC amps - very handy.

I then made up an adapter to temporarily install in the umbilical cord so I could access the brake wire and put the clamp meter on it to test. I measured close to 15 amps flowing from the truck to the brake circuit with a full brake application.

I think that is good as each magnet should draw around 3 amps.

I also used the old magnets to make up a "dummy load" so that any time I have any doubt in my mind as to whether or not the built in brake controller in my truck is performing properly, I can just plug in the dummy load and measure the current with the clamp meter.

All seems good now, but if I encounter future problems I will think seriously about running all new brake wiring!

Brian.
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Old 10-16-2016, 06:27 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by MelGoddard View Post
I'm not sure how the brake wires are connected to the harness, never been under there, (too old I guess.) .

Haha, at nearly 74, and with osteoarthritis of the spine, I'm no spring chicken either as my good lady wife reminds me, but I try to keep young by lots of exercise, riding a motorcycle, and tinkering with a hobby car and Airtream among other things! I do think it all helps!

There were no Marr connectors on my trailer - I bought it used and don't know what was original.

I found a mish-mash of of scotchlock type connectors, crimp butt connectors and plain old twisted wires with electrical tape!

I have replaced all with soldered wires and weatherproof shrink tubes - the sort with hot glue inside.

Seems to do the job, but I have since heard from some folk that soldering may not be the best as it can cause the wire to become brittle and fracture with flexing due to the suspension.

So far so good anyway!


Brian.
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Old 10-17-2016, 08:23 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
Haha, at nearly 74, and with osteoarthritis of the spine, I'm no spring chicken either as my good lady wife reminds me, but I try to keep young by lots of exercise, riding a motorcycle, and tinkering with a hobby car and Airtream among other things! I do think it all helps!

There were no Marr connectors on my trailer - I bought it used and don't know what was original.

I found a mish-mash of of scotchlock type connectors, crimp butt connectors and plain old twisted wires with electrical tape!

I have replaced all with soldered wires and weatherproof shrink tubes - the sort with hot glue inside.

Seems to do the job, but I have since heard from some folk that soldering may not be the best as it can cause the wire to become brittle and fracture with flexing due to the suspension.

So far so good anyway!


Brian.
Brian;

I'm 76, with heart and COPD and all that crap.
But I'm a former hiker/backpacker, (done the Bruce Trail twice, once solo) and I still get out walking as often as I can.
The only times that I have been under the FC is to check that the brake's backing plates had those little rubber plugs installed in the adjustment slots.
AS and dealers, seem to be rather short on that, and dirt/crud can get into the brakes. Never did look at wire attachments.
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Old 11-01-2016, 03:44 PM   #11
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1992 25' Excella
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Update on electrical problem - voltage drop

Iíve done some testing of voltages in the braking system and have discovered that my biggest voltage drop happens between the bumper receptacle and the point where the trailer brake wires are located under the front of the trailer body.

With the engine running and trailer brakes turned up full blast, Iím getting 13.7 volts to the 7-wire receptacle below the truck bumper. However, when I plug in the trailer to the receptacle, and measure voltage just under the front of the trailer body, with the brake controller still turned up full blast, I get only 11.9 volts. Iím losing 1.8 volts between those two points. The trailer plug is brand new, but the 7-wire cable is original from 1992.

Does anyone know where between these two points I would most likely find a restriction? The main cable goes under the trailer tongue to under the front wall of the trailer, then up into the front wall of the trailer. (The 12-volt distribution panel is on the front wall of the trailer.)

The two wires that feed the brakes come out the same hole that the main seven-wire cable goes into under the front wall of the trailer. These two wires are not the exact same wires that came from the bumper and disappeared up into the wall. The ones coming out of the wall and feeding the brakes are in their own separate two-wire protective sheath. So, it appears that there must be a connection I am missing. I donít think the brakes are on a circuit breaker, because the voltage to each circuit breaker doesnít change whether or not the electric brakes are on. Somewhere in this area, the breakaway electric brake switch is tied into the system. I suspect this connection might be dropping some voltage. Does anyone know how to access this connection?

I want to minimize the voltage drop in the system. Can anyone offer any advice?
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