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Old 07-23-2014, 07:12 PM   #1
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2014 23' FB Flying Cloud
San Antonio , Texas
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The 7 Pin Connection Ripped Out!

We were cruising along at 65 MPH near Green Bay, WI, when the tow vehicle screen announced in red letters: "replace your brake pads right away!"

Why would that happen? We had towed a lot (for us) this summer, about 2400 miles, and the TV was due for annual maintenance soon. I did have one near panic stop when a truck pulled off a farm road right in front of us, and the brake pressure seemed high, but not crazy high.

We got to the RV park (Apple Creek, near DePere, WI - decent place), and backed in normally. Then I saw the umbilical lying on the ground, with frayed wires hanging from one end. The 7 pin plug was still in the TV receptacle, just no wires... and it's mounting plate was twisted 45 degrees inward! The 18 inch adapter pigtail, used for the extra foot or so of Hensley Hitch length, was still connected to the main umbilical. So it must have bound up, and yanked hard enough to bend the bracket and pull out of the plug head! I've always tried to be a conscientious tow-er, and double check that the cable has enough travel, but I surely missed something.

Shame on me. About 150 miles with no brakes or lights. I failed to notice the "NC/no connection" on the Prodigy brake display, and didn't think the brakes were overtaxed based on pedal feel.

Fortunately, a properly matched TV/TT combo, four big disk brakes, reasonable speeds, and a high-end hitch got us through OK. Whew. We're all responsible for safety of ourselves and others, and I hate to think what might have been.

Resolution: The local BMW dealer got us in for service right away, Hensley quick-shipped me a new pigtail. And, you can be sure I'll be watching and double checking connections more thoroughly!

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Old 07-24-2014, 08:09 AM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Your story about the damage to your umbillical serves as a good cautionary tale.

Did you notice any difference in the way the trailer handled during stopping/braking?

I am reluctant to believe that your brakes experienced so much wear in 150 miles of towing on the highway without trailer brakes that it tripped the sensors and sent the "replace brake pads message." How many miles do you have on your brake pads?

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Old 07-24-2014, 09:28 AM   #3
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Virginia Beach , Virginia
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Second or third time out with my Hensley, the extender came loose from the 7 pin. My F-150 said "trailer disconnected" ... and I pulled into a shopping center parking lot ASAP. I did get a few scrapes on the 7 pin plug in the 3 blocks it took me to find a parking lot.

Velcro ties to the rescue. I now use velcro at the plug, at the connecter between the cord and the Hensley extension and to route the cable so there's plenty of play without interference from any protuberances from the hitch.

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Old 07-24-2014, 09:46 AM   #4
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Glad things worked out ok for you.

I've seen lots of people leave too much cable hanging and drag their umbilical on the ground. I've also seen people with short cables that unplug when they turn.

I route my cable from the trailer, under the propane tanks and through the lock on the coupler. The lock has a long shackle so there's movement of the cable if necessary in turns but it keeps the cable out of the way of moving parts.
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:13 AM   #5
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2010 30' Classic
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South of the river , Minnesota
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I have a 24" long spring that pulls the slack in the umbilical up and out of the way.

Also have the umbilical socketed on the trailer end and carry a spare so that replacement is simply a matter of unplugging the old and plugging in the new. Photos and detailed description here:
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:22 AM   #6
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I forgot to plug in the umbilical one time. I drove 45-50 miles home from a campground and drove another 45-50 miles into another trip till someone pointed out that I had no brake lights or turn signals. I got out to check on it and discovered I had never plugged in. I couldn't tell any difference in stopping the rig. I still had 50% of brake pad life on the truck at 35,000 miles.
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:14 PM   #7
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In March this year I went out to California along I-80 to pick up the '48 I've been trying to get for the last decade. Donner pass was snowed over and I was forced to chain up my empty flatbed that I was going to be hauling it back on as well as my TV due to "maximum chain restrictions"

One on the chains broke on the flatbed and it took out the wiring above the tire. Due to snow buildup I couldn't see that the running lights had gone out for several miles. When I finally pulled off I found the problem and there was nothing I could due. I only had the left turn signal/brake operational. From Donner pass all the way down to Sacramento in a heavy snow storm after dark with one light fixture. Talk about butt pucker.

At least I had hydraulic brakes so that was something, and the flatbed was empty so my TV lights were able to light up the trailer deck and rails fairly well, only got flashed once.

"Some things you can tap. Some things you can hit. Know which one is which!"

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