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Old 06-21-2009, 06:39 PM   #1
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replacing umbilical/rewiring trailer connector

I did a quick search and didn't see what I am looking for (although I know it is here, somewhere). Using a defunct laptop and having trouble doing anythingn efficiently tonight....

Anyway, I dropped off the Silver Olive with a RV repair guy who came recommended by some Airstream folks this afternoon. I wanted him to rewire the trailer connector to meet the current standard (as I'm pressed for time right now). We definitely were not talking the same language for this work. Me, or him???? He suggested he rewire the trailer and put in a fixed umbilical from the trailer. Hummmmmm - I'm not certain if this is what I want or not. I can see some pros to this (less connections to maintain) and cons (if it goes, requires more work to repair).... What do you all think? Is this a common modification?

I need to let the guy know which way I want to go tomorrow a.m. I think I'd rather keep the umbilical completely separate but really don't have a solid reason.

Laura

I'll post later about my new Revo's for the truck = when I have a computer that I'm not fighting with! But so far, I do not feel the need for a kidney transplant.
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Old 06-21-2009, 07:13 PM   #2
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replacing umbilical/rewiring trailer connector

Greetings Laura!

Neither of my coaches have this feature, but I wish that they did. It would make it easier to keep corossion at bay. It also makes for one less thing that a vandal could damage during periods of storage (the two "trailer ends" on the umbilical cord would be protected during periods of inactivity by storage inside of the vehicle). An umbilical cord that is stored out of the weather should outlast a permanently mounted one by several times. If it were me, I would definitely keep the original style separate umbilical cable -- it also makes repainting the hitch much easier as the umbilical doesn't need to be painted around.

Kevin

P.S.: I know that you didn't ask this, but my suggestion would be to give consideration to changing to the "self-cleaning" heavy-duty "round-pin" type 7-pole connector. After fighting my blade type connectors for nearly 15 years, I am ready to take "Inland" Andy's advice and convert both my trailers and tow vehicles to this type of connector. They are only marginally higher in price, and they seem to be of much better construction.
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:47 AM   #3
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Thanks for your thoughts Kevin. So, I'm guessing yours all have permanent/fixed umbilicals. Were they originally like that, or were they modified from separate umbilicals? You reinforced my thoughts on it remaining separate (due to vandalism). The RV repair guy mentioned that the round pins are better than flat as well. But he then said that direct wiring is even better. Sigh.

One hour to make my final decision. Anyone else with a comment on this situtation?
Laura
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:59 AM   #4
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I would say keep the umbilical wire with the plug on each end. Wire the end going to your truck with the usual flat connectors (called "7-way flat") and your trailer with the 7-way round. The socket that the plug goes into on the trailer may be old and tired. If it's original, it is grey colored and will say Signal-Stat. No longer available. The new ones are made by Pollak. They will fit exactly the same as the original. You can re-wire these yourself. The wiring colors need to be paid close attention to as they may be different between the truck and trailer. Go by function and position instead and you'll be fine! Good luck!
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:05 AM   #5
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Do what he said

DEPeakMD said it right. Your RV guy will do the wiring correctly for you I am sure.
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melody Ranch View Post
DEPeakMD said it right. Your RV guy will do the wiring correctly for you I am sure.
Wish I was that confident. As I mentioned, I felt as though we had some trouble communicating!!! Every time I said rewire the trailer connector, he said that it couldn't be done and he would refer to altering the umbilical. Huh??? I hope my call to him this a.m. goes better. I almost wish I'd just done this job myself as it doesn't seem complicated, at all, to me. I was just trying to save some time in preparing for my trip and thought he could bang-out a few things for me in a shorter time. He's also putting in a fantastic-fan. I reminded him to get the interior closeout that's for an airstream (matching the interior radius) and he replied that it wasn't necessary because there's such limited radius in the ceiling at that point anyway. Waa-Waa

Laura
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:30 AM   #7
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replacing umbilical/rewiring trailer connector

Greetings Laura!

Quote:
Originally Posted by funkill View Post
Thanks for your thoughts Kevin. So, I'm guessing yours all have permanent/fixed umbilicals. Were they originally like that, or were they modified from separate umbilicals? You reinforced my thoughts on it remaining separate (due to vandalism). The RV repair guy mentioned that the round pins are better than flat as well. But he then said that direct wiring is even better. Sigh.

One hour to make my final decision. Anyone else with a comment on this situtation?
Laura
Yes, both of my coaches have always had the fixed umbilical cords. The separate umbilical cords didn't become a standard feature until the 1970s (mabe 1969 for the first year?). I don't believe that Argosy ever added the separate cord -- probably a cost saving move since the line was supposed to be a mid-priced introduction to the Airstreaming lifestyle.

Kevin
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:42 AM   #8
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We've done several Fantastic installs. The easiest way to do this is go the International, make coffee and sit and watch the guys from Fantastic do it! But a curved closeout is still necessary, or else you'd have to hand trim it to fit. It's a pretty tight fit, too. Not much room for play. Also make sure those things are sealed up extremely well. They can leak really bad! It's not just slap the foam gasket on and screw it down. Search here and you'll find more helpful advice. Lots of sealant is required!

You're right, the wiring's pretty simple. It just takes some attention to detail. Look at the truck's connector. Typically the diagram is on the cover plate. Then match that up with a new plug. You can look at the inside of the plug on the trailer. It will be behind your gaucho and under a plastic cover plate. Just unscrew and you'll see the wires and their relative positions. The owner's manual will have the trailer's wiring colors/functions.

Honestly, from what you've said. I would say get your trailer back from him now before something goes really wrong. Then come back here and we can help you do this stuff, or at least make sure you're armed with all the information to have it done correctly. Especially nervous about someone cutting on your coach who doesn't really understand Airstreams. They are a different breed!
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