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Old 10-14-2013, 01:06 AM   #1
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1968 22' Safari
Soquel , California
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Running Lights Damaged by Polisher

Hello all you Air Forums geniuses...

The folks who polished my '68 Safari did a great job making it look shiny. Unfortunately, they also damaged the wires for the running lights, which I discovered when the lights wouldn't go on and the trailer started shorting out the fuses on my tow vehicle...Ugh.

In taking off and disassembling the 10 running lights, I saw that they hadn't even bothered reconnecting the lights to the wires. Worse yet, the wires of several had been damaged by the orbital sanders they had used, piercing the protective housing which exposed live wiring to the outer aluminum skin of the coach.

I have a few questions for the Air Forums community before I embark on a fix:

1) What kind of connectors do you recommend I use to clamp the wires to the terminal of the Grote running light fixture? And what Gauge wire?

2) Isn't there some kind of protective roll-on or crimp-on splice protector I can use to extend the wires I have to cut back to removed the damaged portions before reconnecting them? and

3) I noted that none of the running lights had any kind of sealant or gasket to keep water from seeping into the hole through which the wiring runs from inside the coach out to the Fixture. Is this normal or did these geniuses neglect to correctly seat the running lights to the exterior of the coach?

Any input is much appreciated. In the meantime it's lights out in Soquel.
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Old 10-14-2013, 04:49 AM   #2
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Sorry to hear about you polishing woes! Who did the work?

If the wires are still sound but just have the covers messed up you can used heat shrink to make a new cover. Or you can cut them back and use a splice connector to lengthen them. Both are available at the home depot or lowes. Just take in a small sectio n of wire and they can get you the right size connectors, heat shrink or new wire of the correct gauge

And post a pic of the shiny new girl!!.
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Old 10-14-2013, 05:53 AM   #3
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I have used the "marine grade". They use shrink wrap/adhesive over the connector.

Many different styles.


Bob
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:32 AM   #4
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Having had our 67 for many years -- meaning that I've fiddled with the running lights several times -- I decided on a differrent route when reinstalling lights after polishing. Of course, one of the most problematic parts was leaks, but, of course, the PO's attempts at repair also included gouging humongous holes through the aluminum under the lights on about half of them. To clean this mess up and make future monkeying easier:

1. Drilling a half-inch hole squarely in the middle under each light, halfway between the two mounting holes. (Old, extra holes sealed with thin patches of plastic sheet, waterproof-glued into place.)

2. Pulling through each original green wire: Cut off bad ends, lengthen as necessary. Dental piks help here.

3. Drilling a hole smack in the middle of the plastic light housing to pass a new wire through directly to the new hole in the aluminum.

4. Installing a new, red wire on the light itself with a push-on connector to attach to the light.

5. Cutting a rubber gasket (old inner tube) to fit the size of the light with three holes: Two for the light hold-down, and a small one for the red-wire power source. Force the red wire through the small hole.

6. Installing insulated, push-together connectors to attach the red wire to the green wiring below the skin.

7. Final installation: Connect insulated push-together connectors and insert into skin. Use a fairly generous amount of blue automotive gasket maker onto the bottom of the rubber gasket around the red wire to create a solid seal around the half-inch hole below. Use Olympic rivets to attach light housing to aluminum skin. (The Olympics provide for lots of tight contact between skin and ground strap within the light. No need to shave off the nipple of the Olympics afterwards; they're hidden.)

And now it's all clean, tight, waterproof, and without the ugly and leaky gobs of silicone sealant around the lights (thanks of the PO). It was a great job to work on lights (and other removed trim) when the weather was too rainy in the summertime to work on polishing.


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Old 10-14-2013, 09:04 AM   #5
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The BIGGEST thing to watch is....protect the trailer side wire for "getting away" from you and disappearing into the wall. THAT is not fun. So, install a good wire connector (I use small blade types)
and I personally solder them on even though that is not necessary. Crimp the connectors on with a real crimper if possible....pliers just won't give you a good permanent connection. Use shrink tube on both sides of the wire (don't forget to slip that inlace before the connector is installed.) Then all the sealing which Lynn mentioned.
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:46 AM   #6
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Soquel , California
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Thank you!

Awesome. The Air Forum Force comes through again...thanks all for the terrific tips.

As for who did the polishing it was West Coast Polishing out of Fresno. Nice guys, good price at $100 per foot and they are good with metal, but not as gentle with a classic as I would have liked: In addition to the wiring damage, they also nicked the Land Yacht emblem on the back (It now reads Land Jacht) and the missing arm of the Y is nowhere to be found). This going to be a harder replacement part to find, but if we pronounce the name in a thick German accent perhaps nobody will suspect anything's missing...

A few questions, and my apologies if these are common terms, I'm just a bit new to the arena:

1) What's PO stand for, Lynn?
2) I assume the skin that you refer to to is the insulating rubber casing on the wire, correct? and
3) One final question that remained unansered, and this goes out to everyone: Did the original factory installation not include a gasket behind the running lights? If true, that could help explain the water damage to the edges of the sub-floor that we had to replace.

And lastly, here's a picture of our 68 all shined up

Cheers,
D
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Old 10-14-2013, 12:01 PM   #7
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While you are doing the repairs, I would suggest new lights should be used. If you stick with the original type you will find that they are inexpensive and look really nice when replaced. If you use a newer type, say an LED you may find little space under it to make the wiring connections, and that will take more time to figure out how to attach the wires.

The original lights were not sealed or have a gasket under them in any of the trailers I have worked on. They did have a bit of sealant where the wires went through the metal shell of the AS to keep the water from following the wires. Often they do leak there. You will find small weep holes in the new OEM lights if they are Groat brand, that keeps the water flowing out (and often in). You do not want to seal them too well to the AS, especially on the bottom. Water that leaks in needs a place to leak out.
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Old 10-14-2013, 12:04 PM   #8
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Ummm....the difference between our 63 Safari and your 68.

Grey cells activating....I believe our light bases' were riveted. I did repair the wiring several times but I believe the lens and socket could be removed for wiring work, base was riveted with a caulking layer between the panel and light housing. I tink...

Bob
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Old 10-14-2013, 12:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Datta View Post
... 1) What's PO stand for, Lynn?
The dreaded Previous Owner.
Quote:
2) I assume the skin that you refer to to is the insulating rubber casing on the wire, correct?
I wanted the water seal with automotive gasket maker to be between the rubber gasket and the aluminum skin; the body of the light is essentially unsealed. And because of the push-on connector from the rid wire to the light assembly, the assembly can be removed without affecting the gasket-skin seal: Just remove the rivets.

Lynn
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