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Old 03-06-2006, 09:42 PM   #1
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No running lights; Lynn green-faced!!!

Ever since we've owned our 67, we've had problems with the running lights: Mostly work fine, but then poof, nada, zilch, nichts da. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle the greens, and they come back on, but not from a consistent wiggle point. Sickening.

So today I finished up working on our frame sep problem on the right rear and because I'd had to work around some wiring (including a beloved green one), I decided to hook up and test the lights. Turn signals, check. Brake lights, check. Running lights -- ARGH!

Has anybody ever had a vintage model apart enough to know where the greens run to/from to operate the tail and running lights? What I need here is where the leads are underneath that beautiful, shiny skin!


Lynn
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Old 03-06-2006, 10:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eubank
Ever since we've owned our 67, we've had problems with the running lights: Mostly work fine, but then poof, nada, zilch, nichts da. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle the greens, and they come back on, but not from a consistent wiggle point. Sickening.

So today I finished up working on our frame sep problem on the right rear and because I'd had to work around some wiring (including a beloved green one), I decided to hook up and test the lights. Turn signals, check. Brake lights, check. Running lights -- ARGH!

Has anybody ever had a vintage model apart enough to know where the greens run to/from to operate the tail and running lights? What I need here is where the leads are underneath that beautiful, shiny skin!


Lynn
Lynn,
On both of my trailers, the light harness ran down the streetside of the trailer, at a height above the wheel wells.
The 63 had it's umbilical cord hardwired into the front of the belly pan, where it then became part of the trailer wiring.
My 71 had a vehicle end type plug in the front panel behind the gas bottles, with an access panel on the inside to get to the rear of it. From there the wiring ran down the streetside and up, wherever there were runnig lights.
The 63 has side markers, no top markes, but the green wire ( I know, your favorite) was already roughed in at the end caps for marker lights. Musta been optional during those days.
I would check the point of entry first, make sure the connection to the pigtail are solid. There might be corrosion in the connectors. A little detective work goes a long way.
You can also employ a jumper wire. Jumper in the pig tail connector from the charge line to the running light terminal, and see if it's consistent from there. Maybe the trouble is in the tow vehicle connection.
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Old 03-06-2006, 10:43 PM   #3
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I agree with Uwe start at the front and work your way back. The jumper wire is also a great idea . I would look at where the cable comes into the trailer and check the connections there. Have fun searching most electrical problems are hard to find but easy to fix.
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Old 03-07-2006, 03:04 AM   #4
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I thought I would chime in here. On my '65 Caravel all of the wiring for the running/turnsignal/brakes ran under the floor on the curbside. There where only two places that wires ran up for marker lights. One in the rear (streetside corner)for the 5 on the back and one in the front (curbside corner) for the 5 on the front. This wiring was pretty brittle so I replaced it. I had a dead short where the wire came thru the skin on one of the side marker lights. You said you had a 67. I am thinking you have the same style of lights as I do in about the same places. Tracking down wiring probs is a bear. I agree with Uwe and Andrew. Check the TV and where the wire comes into the trailer first. Then work you way back.

1. check fuses in TV
2. Make sure that the running light terminal is working at the TV
3. Make sure that the circuit is good at the point where it enters the trailer.
4. if all this is good check your connections at the junction point where the brakes and charge line splits off. I had quite a rats nest of wires under the front of the Caravel. There should be a plate under the front of some sort you can remove to access the connections.

This should give you some clue as to what is going on with you marker lights. I am assuming of course that your 67 is wired somewhat close to my 65. If they all aren't working the prob has to be up front some place. That is unless you have a short some where. In which case you are just tripping the circuit breaker in your TV everytime you plug the AS in.

There are a variety of ways that they wired these trailers. I am beginning to think that no two are alike. It seems that everytime I read a wiring prob., even on the same year of AS, the wiring differs a bit.

Let us know what you find out.
There are a few different ways to go depending on what you find.
Good Luck !
Chris
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Old 03-07-2006, 05:44 AM   #5
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On my 63, they run in the same place as Uwe's 63, but our '72 had the green wire running up into the main longitudinal rib on the curbside, and running the length of the coach. If ALL the running lights either work, or don't, it is almost certainly a problem from the tow vehicle wiring, to the first clearance light. You could have a bad connector in the tow vehicle plug, a bad wire inside the tongue, or at the connector where the wires go into the coach.
BTW, I found another 63 Overlander, with clearance lights, it is an International model. Possibly that's why Uwe's and ours have none, they are not Internationals.
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Old 03-07-2006, 08:25 AM   #6
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Oh, this is all really good info! I've got about a half a day before the weather goes downhill for the next week, so maybe I'll be able to get out and do some snooping right away!
Thank you!!!

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Old 03-07-2006, 09:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
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BTW, I found another 63 Overlander, with clearance lights, it is an International model. Possibly that's why Uwe's and ours have none, they are not Internationals.
Terry,
Mine was badged as an International, and it had the water filter etc. But no front and rear marker lights on the curved segments, just pre-wired for it. I do not think that Airstream took consistency very serious in the 60's.
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Old 03-07-2006, 09:51 AM   #8
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UWE is right, start at the truck check for broke or corroaded wire at trailer plug connection, check both ends of cord and plug connection at front of trailer. if you start to jump around from front to back you will just end up chassing your tail, I would say that you have a broken or crroaded wire at one of the connections.
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Old 03-07-2006, 10:52 AM   #9
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Yeah, I eliminated the truck as a source. I did testing by sticking one end of a test lead into the hot terminal on the trailer connector and the other end into the various other terminals: Left turn/brake, right turn/brake, brakes, and (akh!) running lights. Which all means that the source of the problem is merely somewhere in the 30 feet between the connector and the tail of the trailer.

So I guess I ought to put on my most wind-proof warm clothing, go out, and start testing before the snow starts falling.


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Old 03-07-2006, 12:35 PM   #10
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I donned my cold-weather gear and went out (and froze half to death) ... and located the problem, I think.

So knowing that the main wire would likely lead from the hitch along the curb side, I got down and looked underneath. Ugh. A patch, not original, was near the front, more or less under where you'd expect all of the wiring to go to the hitch area. The patch was screwed in, not riveted. I removed the patch, and voila! Bunches of wires, all in bright colors, including the green!

Ok, the green from the TV connector was larger (around 10 ga.), and it was wire-nutted to two smaller greens (around 8 ga. each). I took off the wire nut and tested continuity and hot:

Continuity test between connector and patch: Check.

Hot test on small green #1: lighted up the three front running lights and the front side marker on the street side.

Hot test on small green #2 lighted up all of the remaining side markers along with the two tail lights.

Cleaned up the wires, put on a new wire nut, and tested hot to running lights at the RV connector: Our Airstream is a Christmas tree!

Sooooo, thank you to all who responded this morning! Now all I have to do is to quit shivering!


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Old 03-07-2006, 10:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eubank
Cleaned up the wires, put on a new wire nut, and tested hot to running lights at the RV connector: Our Airstream is a Christmas tree!

Sooooo, thank you to all who responded this morning! Now all I have to do is to quit shivering!


Lynn
Woo Hoo !

Glad ya got it figured out.

A question on the side, My Caravel has the three lights across the back on top and across the front too. I hear that those are an option. Terry, Uwe, does this mean that I have a Caravel with the International package ?? I was just curious why some AS's would have them and some don't in the 60' trailers.

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Old 03-08-2006, 08:08 AM   #12
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Cluster lights a 1960s option

Quote:
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A question on the side, My Caravel has the three lights across the back on top and across the front too. I hear that those are an option. Terry, Uwe, does this mean that I have a Caravel with the International package ?? I was just curious why some AS's would have them and some don't in the 60' trailers. Chris
Hi Chris:

The front and rear group of three roof top marker lights were called "cluster lights" by Airstream. In the 1960's, they were not part of the Land Yacht or International trim level packages. Instead, they were a general option available for extra cost on any Airstream. I imagine, but don't know, that some dealers may have had a policy of ordering these cluster lights on all their Airstreams while others didn't. A few customers may had specified them on customer ordered trailers. Informal observations of a very small sample of trailers leads me to think Ohio built trailers had cluster lights installed more often that California built trailers, sorta an "East Coast" thing early on.

The 1965 17' Caravel was a limited production series that was never offered as either a Land Yacht or International trim trailer. The Caravel had all of the standard features the base model Land Yacht except for the automatic gas bottle regualtor, battery charger and voltage regulator, all of which were specifically deleted from the Caravel.
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Old 03-08-2006, 08:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C Johnson
Woo Hoo !
Glad ya got it figured out.
Chris
Yes, well, we've had such a long and sorry history with the green circuit that I prefer to say that I worked on it, and now the lights work -- without necessarily assuming cause and effect.

Lynn
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Old 03-08-2006, 07:38 PM   #14
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Lynn, You did such a good job on this fix and reporting back on your findings that I have sent you Karma. Good going and keep up the good work. Ed
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