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Old 06-04-2013, 07:55 PM   #1
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surge from truck and irregular blue circuit

Hi members, I could use your help.
I took 2 steps back (or more) this weekend with our Amelia Airstream. Back in December my truck was stolen by some druggies in Omaha. They were thankfully caught and the truck was in bad, but repairable, condition. Among the many elements of destruction they managed to break off the truck's wiring plug receptacle (female end) that I plug my trailers into. I had not done any towing since then.

This weekend I moved my Airstream to a different part of the yard to work on more interior painting. I plugged in the trailer to the Dodge to see if any running and rear lights on the AS had blown over the winter. There was a smoky smell inside of the trailer like burnt electrical. Long story short, the repair guys who fixed the truck's trailer wiring harness mis-wired it. I'm not sure what power went where, but I do know that I now have the following problems on my Airstream:
- blown electric jack (there was not a fuse protecting it).
- weird blue circuit connectivity (this is the one that charges from the tow vehicle): sometimes working, but then cuts out. This is running on the AS battery - I do not want to plug it back into the truck until I re-wire the truck. The overhead (over stove) control panel battery gauge and panel lights are working intermittently.

Luckily a few other fuses popped and that was it. My stereo didn't blow, which was a concern since it was on that blue circuit. Also, I have 3 new Fantastic vent fans installed but I put them on the other fused circuits (violet, yellow, etc.) when installing them, so they were unaffected.

The previous owner of the Airstream - or his service person - had re-wired the inside of the trailer plug or "tow vehicle connector" in the service manual (which I do have): The hot for the jack and breakaway switch, tow vehicle hot, and blue circuit were all connected on the same post on the 25 amp circuit breaker, therefore rendering it useless. I did buy a new circuit breaker and will wire it properly after I get some feedback from you all.

Here are my questions:
1. Is the electric jack gone or can I replace some switches and/or electric motor brushes? I wired it directly to a lawnmower battery and don't see any life in it.
2. Where should I start looking for the fried wire insulation, loose connection, and / or other problem with the blue circuit? What type of splicing or connections are used where the blue circuit goes in multiple directions (I'm not keen on pulling off interior ceiling panels - especially that long one running down the middle of the trailer). I don't want to plug it in again to the tow vehicle unless I have clean power running through it. I have checked the 12-volt fuse panel, stripped the blue wire back a bit and connected with fresh exposed wire. I've also removed the wire off of the tow vehicle connector on the inside of the trailer, but there is little difference in performance. The electricity is not clean and constant.
3. What should I say to the collision shop that mis-wired my truck? I've thought about showing him the trailer (not ideal since I'd have to tow it to him), blown truck fuses, and mis-wired trailer wiring receptacle. I've thought about asking him to replace the jack, or at least a, "what can you do for me to keep my business?"

Thanks for the wisdom.
(We're also pseudo interested in selling the Airstream if you're interested. It is a lot of vehicle for my wife to handle and we'd likely get a truck camper. Asking $4,500.)
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:35 PM   #2
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2003 25' Safari
Riverside , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purdytj View Post
Hi members, I could use your help.
I took 2 steps back (or more) this weekend with our Amelia Airstream. Back in December my truck was stolen by some druggies in Omaha. They were thankfully caught and the truck was in bad, but repairable, condition. Among the many elements of destruction they managed to break off the truck's wiring plug receptacle (female end) that I plug my trailers into. I had not done any towing since then.

This weekend I moved my Airstream to a different part of the yard to work on more interior painting. I plugged in the trailer to the Dodge to see if any running and rear lights on the AS had blown over the winter. There was a smoky smell inside of the trailer like burnt electrical. Long story short, the repair guys who fixed the truck's trailer wiring harness mis-wired it. I'm not sure what power went where, but I do know that I now have the following problems on my Airstream:
- blown electric jack (there was not a fuse protecting it).
- weird blue circuit connectivity (this is the one that charges from the tow vehicle): sometimes working, but then cuts out. This is running on the AS battery - I do not want to plug it back into the truck until I re-wire the truck. The overhead (over stove) control panel battery gauge and panel lights are working intermittently.

Luckily a few other fuses popped and that was it. My stereo didn't blow, which was a concern since it was on that blue circuit. Also, I have 3 new Fantastic vent fans installed but I put them on the other fused circuits (violet, yellow, etc.) when installing them, so they were unaffected.

The previous owner of the Airstream - or his service person - had re-wired the inside of the trailer plug or "tow vehicle connector" in the service manual (which I do have): The hot for the jack and breakaway switch, tow vehicle hot, and blue circuit were all connected on the same post on the 25 amp circuit breaker, therefore rendering it useless. I did buy a new circuit breaker and will wire it properly after I get some feedback from you all.

Here are my questions:
1. Is the electric jack gone or can I replace some switches and/or electric motor brushes? I wired it directly to a lawnmower battery and don't see any life in it.
2. Where should I start looking for the fried wire insulation, loose connection, and / or other problem with the blue circuit? What type of splicing or connections are used where the blue circuit goes in multiple directions (I'm not keen on pulling off interior ceiling panels - especially that long one running down the middle of the trailer). I don't want to plug it in again to the tow vehicle unless I have clean power running through it. I have checked the 12-volt fuse panel, stripped the blue wire back a bit and connected with fresh exposed wire. I've also removed the wire off of the tow vehicle connector on the inside of the trailer, but there is little difference in performance. The electricity is not clean and constant.
3. What should I say to the collision shop that mis-wired my truck? I've thought about showing him the trailer (not ideal since I'd have to tow it to him), blown truck fuses, and mis-wired trailer wiring receptacle. I've thought about asking him to replace the jack, or at least a, "what can you do for me to keep my business?"

Thanks for the wisdom.
(We're also pseudo interested in selling the Airstream if you're interested. It is a lot of vehicle for my wife to handle and we'd likely get a truck camper. Asking $4,500.)
Most insurance company repairs are covered for life if you use their recommended shop.I would contact your insurance company and ask where you stand
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:52 PM   #3
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
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I think you need more than the help we might provide here on the forums. Bob 4x4 is right on the insurance company and the truck mis wiring. They should cover it.

I have a hard time understanding how a power jack could be affected by any mis wiring in the truck. It is a simple 12 volt motor with a reversing switch which only changes to polarity for up and down. There is only a possibility of 12 volts coming from the truck, even miswired. I can see no reason the jack would become a problem. And, it would not be in operation unless you operated it with the switch while you had it hooked up.

So, you really need a more professional evaluation of what is going on. Most anything we might say is a guess speculation at best.
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:40 PM   #4
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South of the river , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purdytj View Post
the repair guys who fixed the truck's trailer wiring harness mis-wired it. I'm not sure what power went where, but I do know that I now have the following problems on my Airstream:
- blown electric jack (there was not a fuse protecting it).
- weird blue circuit connectivity (this is the one that charges from the tow vehicle): sometimes working, but then cuts out. This is running on the AS battery - I do not want to plug it back into the truck until I re-wire the truck. The overhead (over stove) control panel battery gauge and panel lights are working intermittently.

Luckily a few other fuses popped and that was it. My stereo didn't blow, which was a concern since it was on that blue circuit. Also, I have 3 new Fantastic vent fans installed but I put them on the other fused circuits (violet, yellow, etc.) when installing them, so they were unaffected.
Probably just the +12v and ground reversed, a common mistake.

Quote:

The previous owner of the Airstream - or his service person - had re-wired the inside of the trailer plug or "tow vehicle connector" in the service manual (which I do have): The hot for the jack and breakaway switch, tow vehicle hot, and blue circuit were all connected on the same post on the 25 amp circuit breaker, therefore rendering it useless. I did buy a new circuit breaker and will wire it properly after I get some feedback from you all.

Here are my questions:
1. Is the electric jack gone or can I replace some switches and/or electric motor brushes? I wired it directly to a lawnmower battery and don't see any life in it.
I doubt very much if there's anything wrong with the jack. If there is, it's probably unrelated to the miswiring.

Quote:
2. Where should I start looking for the fried wire insulation, loose connection, and / or other problem with the blue circuit? What type of splicing or connections are used where the blue circuit goes in multiple directions (I'm not keen on pulling off interior ceiling panels - especially that long one running down the middle of the trailer). I don't want to plug it in again to the tow vehicle unless I have clean power running through it. I have checked the 12-volt fuse panel, stripped the blue wire back a bit and connected with fresh exposed wire. I've also removed the wire off of the tow vehicle connector on the inside of the trailer, but there is little difference in performance. The electricity is not clean and constant.
Problems with wiring tend to be at the terminals and not in the middle of the run. Use a test light and check out each terminal under load. Maybe you'll find a bad breaker or a bad battery connection or some other problem like that.

Quote:
3. What should I say to the collision shop that mis-wired my truck? I've thought about showing him the trailer (not ideal since I'd have to tow it to him), blown truck fuses, and mis-wired trailer wiring receptacle. I've thought about asking him to replace the jack, or at least a, "what can you do for me to keep my business?"
Why would you go to a body shop that has already demonstrated a lack of competence in electrical wiring? They're not going to spend the money to replace the jack, and even if they try to chase demons in the wiring they won't find them.

If you don't have the skills or the friends then you'll have to spend the cash. Sorry, I get that it's not your fault but the world isn't a fair place.
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Old 06-19-2013, 03:09 PM   #5
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1974 31' Sovereign
Tacoma , Washington
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thanks...

Hey everyone,
Thanks for your feedback. I re-wired the truck and will continue to hunt down the issue with the jack. I've got a new circuit breaker for the interior-side of the tow vehicle wiring plug and will get it hooked up soon. I'll let you know if there are other issues.
I appreciate the wisdom.
T.J.
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Old 07-01-2013, 10:56 AM   #6
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1974 31' Sovereign
Tacoma , Washington
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victory! (for now)

So, I've hunted down the problem. For now.
First, I fixed the mis-wiring on the truck.
Second, I've fixed the mis-wiring on the inside of the trailer's pigtail / plug-in from the tow vehicle: where the breaker was rendered useless by a previous owner/technician who put all circuits on one post. I have a new breaker and wired it according to the Service Manual.
Third, I used my multi-meter to figure out what was wrong. The panel light and other items on the blue (#5 in the service manual) circuit from the tow vehicle (charge line) was working sporadically at best. The fuse at the panel had been replaced because I've heard about fuses going bad without looking blown. I put my meter on each of the other circuits (1, 2, 3, 4) which were all reading about 6-7 volts. I now noticed the vent fans were running slow too. The issue was that when the tow vehicle blew the charge line circuit, it somehow damaged the fuse block. The connection between the block from the charge line and univolt is not pure any longer. I think I need a new distribution / fuse block. As a temporary remedy, I put a female connector to act as a jumper from the univolt down to the rest of the fused circuits. I am not making anything dangerous or taking out any fuses from the equation - all circuits are still fuse protected.
See the photos.





I'm glad I tested here before taking out interior panels and chasing down every connection on the blue line / #5 circuit! That was what I thought I might have to do!
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