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Old 11-10-2013, 06:09 PM   #1
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1977 31' Sovereign
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Matching up 7 Way Plugs

My 73 AS expects a 7 way round pin style connection. My 2003 Suburban has a 7 way bladed style connection. I'd prefer not to change the vehicle as I tow other things besides the AS. Do I need to build my own cable or is it recommended to change the socket on the trailer?


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Old 11-10-2013, 06:33 PM   #2
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Easiest would be to just change out the trailer plug, no reason to build an all new cable.


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Old 11-10-2013, 06:51 PM   #3
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modesto , California
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Just a thought.
All the newer vehicles have the blade style plugs, right?
So if some one wants to take you Airstream, all they have to do is, hook up, plug in and go, right?
Why not make a pigtail conversion? That would make it harder for someone to hook, plug and run away with your trailer.
When I refurbished my 64 Safari I went to a heavy duty round style 7 pin connector for both the heavier duty rating, the same as the big rigs have, and maybe added security.
Granted if they want it they will try and get it. However I will make it as hard as possible for them.
Just sayin.
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Old 11-10-2013, 07:11 PM   #4
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I would just swap out the trailer plug.

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Old 11-10-2013, 07:24 PM   #5
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Matching up 7 Way Plugs

Greetings Razinni!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstreams!

Originally Posted by Razinni View Post
My 73 AS expects a 7 way round pin style connection. My 2003 Suburban has a 7 way bladed style connection. I'd prefer not to change the vehicle as I tow other things besides the AS. Do I need to build my own cable or is it recommended to change the socket on the trailer?

I concur with Batman who posted above. The round-pin style connector has proven to be far less troublesome than the blade-type RV connector on my trailers. I was convinced to convert my Overlander to the blade-type connector when I purchased it in 1995 -- after more than a decade of annual problems with corrosion with the blade-type connectors (and the ensuing replacement), I returned to the pin-type connectors in 2008 and haven't had any problems since converting. The modern heavy duty round-pin connectors are "self-cleaning" so corrosion doesn't have a chance to build-up.

The one caveat with your coach is that even the round-pin connector on your Airstream probably isn't wired to the "industry standard" pattern for the device (so an off-the-shelf round-pin to blade-type connector likely won't work properly). Wiring to the industry standard permits the purchase of a round-pin to blade-type converter that you can carry in the event that your trailer must be towed by an "emergency" vehicle that only has the blade-type connector. I wired my Airstream, Argosy, and flatbed trailer to the modern 7-round-pin connector standard and have round-pin outlets on each of my tow vehicles. I have had to have the Argosy towed by an "emergency" tow vehicle when the alternator went out on my Cadillac and the standard off-the-shelf converter worked beautifully with the tow companies standard 7-blade RV receptacle.

Good luck with your deliberations!

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)
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:46 PM   #6
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1977 31' Sovereign
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Well I'm still in the dark but what I've done is that since I had two pigtails one with round and the other with bladed ends. I manually wired the colors together white to white etc... and, the only lights on my rig is the clear light on the drivers side blinks to the emergency flashers.

I didn't have my tester with me so trial and error was all I have. I relied on the diagrams from etrailer. Blue is brakes Black is 12v White is ground. The 12v system in the trailer is working. I'm going to go tomorrow to remove the inspection cover and see what I find. But, if anyone has an idea on the round pin plugs for a 73 sov I'd love to see it, especially if its different from standard.
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Old 11-11-2013, 03:39 PM   #7
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You will have to use a battery and a length of wire to figure the wiring out. Run a ground to the trailer from the battery, and with the positive wire start touching the other wires from the plug and see what lights go on. If you get a really big spark you found the ground wire.
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Old 11-11-2013, 04:18 PM   #8
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1969 29' Ambassador
1970 21' Globetrotter
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Airstream - Function - Industry

Red - Left turn/stop - Red
Green - Tailight/clearance - Green
Brown - Right turn/stop - Brown
Blue -.. Charge line - Black
White - Ground - White
Black - Backup lights - Yellow
Yellow- Brakes - Blue

This doesn't format right when pasted, hope yoy can follow it
Airstream did not use "industry colors till around 83 or 4
Rick Davis 1602 K8DOC
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:21 AM   #9
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I just went through this exact process. First, your factory wiring in a '73 doesn't match any modern standard, note the explanation of colors immediately above. I bought an "RV" lead from Northern Tool that had a 7 flat connection on one end and free wires on the other. To add to the confusion, the maker of this lead was out to do me a favor by building in the "adaption" from the conventional 7 flat wiring distribution to "RV" color distribution, which caused me some confusion. I then acquired a 7 pin round connection and wired it onto the other end of my pigtail. Next, I reconfigured my Airstream wiring on the back side of the wall socket to mate with the pigtail properly. I figured that at least this way, there is recognition of some kind of standard, be it round plug, or flat from the socket on the trailer on out. The next headache was getting my over-engineered tow vehicle to recognize that I have a trailer connected with LED lighting, which meant acquiring and installing resistors in parallel to the taillight circuit.
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Old 11-13-2013, 01:11 PM   #10
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I placed a socket on the frame of my Airstream and made a 5' long cable with plugs on both ends.

I recommend this approach. The umbilical cables are easily damaged, and it is much easier to repair or replace them off the trailer. It is also possible to make different cables with varying lengths and connectors to deal with multiple tow vehicles.
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Old 11-13-2013, 02:01 PM   #11
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Here are the two styles of 7 pin connectors. Either keep the old round style on the end of your cord that plugs in to the AS and then add a new connector for the TV following the color coded wires for the old style. Or buy a new cord and keep the new style that plugs in to the TV and add the old plug using the color codes. Works on my 1976.


Don Hardman
1976 31' Sovereign
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Old 11-13-2013, 07:29 PM   #12
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Adapter 7 Way (Blade) to 7 Way (Round Pin)

Adapter 7 Way (Blade) to 7 Way (Round Pin)

Adapter 7 Way (Blade) to 7 Way (Round Pin) Hopkins Wiring 47595
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Old 11-29-2013, 08:57 PM   #13
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1977 31' Excella 500
Zavalla , Texas
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It's crazy how many different wiring schemes there are! Seems like I've had to get the multimeter out too many times to verify which one I am using for what.

Up until a few weeks ago, I had a 7 pin round connector on the trailer and then a 7 blade flat connector on the truck... and a two headed umbilical to go between. Just a few weeks ago, I opted to simply get rid of the trailer side connector and I added a junction box to the frame rail, kind of between the propane bottles and trailer body.

One reason I did this was to simplify the wiring (another was that I didn't want to punch a hole in my brand new aluminum replacement panel). The extra trailer side receptacle and plug just complicated the wiring without much benefit. Now, if the cord gets damaged, I can just buy the pigtail connectors that are sold at camping world etc. and wire it up to the easy to access junction box. I used a remnant from a damaged umbilical cord to get from inside fuse box out to the new junction.

I was also installing the corner segment protectors that would have covered the place on the trailer where the old 7 way round receptacle was located. I ended up just putting a patch panel over that spot. Not sure if your 70's trailer is the same as mine in this spot as it seemed like someone in the past had done some modifications to this stuff on mine.

Here's the junction box I got... it has 7 terminals inside and they are labeled for function and one color standard... Conntek 10000 BX Trailer 6 or 7 Pole Junction Box: Patio, Lawn & Garden

Click image for larger version

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ID:	200945

It's a nice quality box and weather tight. I lucked out and the color labels worked for my wiring scheme.

Another tip would be to use google image search to try to find trailer wiring diagrams. For some reason I've never found the etrailer site to be very helpful when it comes to the 7 way wiring color schemes I've been using.

WBCCI #1711
Texas Gulf Coast Unit, Texas Airstream Harbor
Angelina National Forest, Zavalla, TX
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