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Old 08-17-2008, 06:31 PM   #1
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Pulling a string on a sweater

My wife is a public school teacher (high school English). Most of the weekend was spent getting her ready for her first full week of work. I did manage to pull much of the carpet up. On the positive side, the carpet came up relatively easily (except the for areas where cabinetry is sitting on it. The floor immediately inside the door entrance is shot. I suspect the deterioration of the door gasket didn't help. Forward and amidships the plywood is relatively good. The bathroom... shot.

The previous owner cut a chunk of plywood and covered it with carpet as the "new" bathroom floor. I removed half. The other half seems to require pulling the toilet. The two bolts/nuts seem fairly straightforward, but I saw a plumbing connection behind the toilet which would seem to require disconnection.

Today, I spent a bit of time playing with the electrical system, or the lack thereof. Yes, the '67 seems to have aluminum wiring. It also has no running lights. Well, there is one light that works when I plug the trailer connection to my truck... the top middle running light (white). OK, that's odd. I pulled out Mr. Multimeter. The white running lights to either side... no power. Rear lights, no power. The ground on the one working light is nothing to write home to mom about. The light flickers when the lamp casing moves.

My first guess... the pigtail for the trailer is wired differently than the 7-pin connector on my hitch. My second guess, I have ground faults from stem to stern. My third guess, wiring shorts. My fourth and best guess, it may be some wicked combination of the first three.

I pulled the RV battery... which was new in 2002 and seems to hold a charge. I cleaned up a few corroded wiring connections. When the truck is hooked up, I have power through the two fuses. When I put the battery back in, I had at least one interior light show some vague interest in lighting.

So, the whole "Cyclops" effect is intriguing, but I'm thinking I'll need all of the running lights in working order before the tin girl goes around the block. Time to open the electrical forum. Oh, and we do plan to take extensive photos of the floor damage and all of the interior. I'll have those up by this week.

Edit: I just scanned some threads and learned that I have a "rat's nest" under an access panel. I went out with a flashlight, took a peek, and yes, there is an access panel with about 10 different types of screws holding it in. I'll pull that and rewire some connections this week... along with making sure the connector is wired correctly.
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Old 08-17-2008, 06:47 PM   #2
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If the center clearance light functions, the others should as well. It is not wired separately from the others, in fact it is wired in parallel, a single wire around to all of them. There are connectors behind each clearance light, so if you remove the fixture, you should be able to access the main wiring for the clearance lights.
I have had this problem, and it turned out to be the grounds. All of them.
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Old 08-18-2008, 05:54 AM   #3
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as Terry said... the grounds are probably bad. In my experience 80% of the time the problem in 12 volt is the ground.
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Old 08-18-2008, 06:27 AM   #4
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I pretty much concluded the white (clearance) lights were on a single circuit and that the problem is probably grounding. I'll also check the grounds on the rear/turn/brake lights and see what we have. I probably should buy a bag of replacement bulbs. Oh, and I guess I'll need gasket material. The original cork gasket on the rear lights is in terrible shape. I also supposed there's some sort of gasket between the light assembly and the skin. Any recommendations on gaskets? Bulbs? Etc?
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Old 08-18-2008, 08:34 AM   #5
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Most auto supply shops cary all of the bulbs that you will need. Just take one of each in as a sample or write down the bulb numbers and they'll set you up. They may also have gasket material that you can use to cut new ones from.
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Old 08-18-2008, 08:49 AM   #6
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try to get the actual bulb numbers used as some bulbs will fit but will have different wattage and burn hotter, sometimes too hot.

some of those lamp styles will be older than the counter helpers but still available.
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Old 08-18-2008, 10:15 AM   #7
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I'll look for the numbers... and I know what you mean about the counter helpers. For the older stuff, we have a local NAPA where a guy can still find someone who knows a bit more than the computer tells them. As for gasket material, I probably have some around but I haven't cut cork since restoring the '52. I was just wondering if someone found a better material for the light gaskets. I see some guys are swapping in stainless hardware. A local hardware store went out of business a few years ago and I was tempted to buy some bins of stainless fasteners. So it goes.
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Old 08-18-2008, 10:46 AM   #8
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DO NOT use stainless steel fasteners on aluminium.
It will eat the aluminium away.


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Old 08-18-2008, 12:06 PM   #9
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Try a truck stop for the gaskets. They seem to have plenty of replacement lights in the regular bulb and newer LED bulb units. If you need to replace the entire fixture I have seen both the "lozenge" and tear drop styles in both incandescent and LED bulb at places like Pilot and Flying J.
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Old 08-18-2008, 02:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remcolent View Post
DO NOT use stainless steel fasteners on aluminium.
It will eat the aluminium away.


Remco
That goes counter to everything I have ever been told. The hinges on most Airstreams are stainless... the professionals repair the door with stainless rivets? Are you sure about that fact? Are you suggesting that one should use steel screws? Zinc plated?
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Old 08-18-2008, 02:19 PM   #11
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If you need the inside of the light socket(the spring and the round disk with wire) NAPA has them as a light repair part.
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Old 08-18-2008, 03:14 PM   #12
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I think Remco is talking about galvanic corrosion.

18-8 Stainless steel, 304, 316 Stainless Steel Corrosion

MAS Note-Galvanic Corrosion

Ideally, I would go with platinum fasteners... but I'm thinking my wife would be less than enthusiastic about our trailer budget. Gold, of course, would not match the aluminum.

The best answer is to use aluminum rivets where possible rather than stainless fasteners. One could also use aluminum screws. This minimizes the voltage difference between the two metals. I'm just not sure the corrosion potential is high enough to warrant the different fasteners... give how long the current fasteners have been in place. Frankly, I don't see myself using the Overlander for another 41 years.
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Old 08-18-2008, 03:27 PM   #13
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galvanic corrosion yes that's it.
On my imperial some aluminum trim panels where screwed with stainles screws on the steel boddy.
The aluminium was eaten away up to 1 inch around the screws only some white powder was left.

Due to this corosion I have seen stainless screws and bolds verry hard to remove out of aluminium after a couple of years.

also in this guidline posted by hampstead
18-8 Stainless steel, 304, 316 Stainless Steel Corrosion
Its the only option that is not recomended.


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Old 08-18-2008, 07:25 PM   #14
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So then why is the stainless hinge and the stainless rivets the hold my door in place not falling away? My trailer is 47 years old and I do not see any evidence of what you are talking of. The only corrosion I have seen of this sort is the old "c" channel where the steel screws holding it down to the plywood were corroded away. I have replaced all my rusted up steel screws on the out side of the trailer with stainless ones. I will get back to you in a few years to let you know how it held up.

I also know for a fact, replacing all the screws with stainless is a common practice of three major restoration shops. Their clients will let you now also.
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