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Old 08-24-2014, 06:35 PM   #1
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1976 25' Tradewind
xxxx , Delaware
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My tongue was a mess! Extreme PO hack.

So my trailers PO did plenty of hacks and I'm trying to remove a lot of them. There is one issue I have left on the tongue. See if you can follow this one.

He installed extending flood lights on each side so I am assuming he could see at night. Here they are behind the propane tanks. I removed them because I think they make it look messy and the plastic housings are cracked and brittle.
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He also has a 12v plug and 2 switches, one going to the flood lights and one to the 12v plug. I removed all that.
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Here is the mess of wires he has hanging down and looking nice and safe under the tongue.
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Here is now after I cleaned it up.
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And here is the 34 pounds of steel etc I removed from the tongue! Yes I weighed it. :/
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He also had 2 dummy 7-pin plugs sitting in front of the tanks. Why, I have no idea. I removed them.
Here is my main problem. below those there is another 7-pin plug which is wired to the brakes. Now, I thought the brake line was supposed to be in the main 7-pin plug which is on the trailer and still works as such? All the wires on the trailer outlet are there and complete and power all the exterior lights, main power etc as they are supposed to. The picture shows the wiring on the plug on the tongue but it connects to nothing but the brakes. It's confusing me. I can't make use of two 7-pin plugs at once. This is a hack right? Can someone figure it out? If it's not a hack, then excuse my ignorance and please explain this for me?
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Old 08-24-2014, 06:38 PM   #2
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Maybe the RT sensor cap on the wiring will give a clue? I can't figure out what that is/means...
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Old 08-24-2014, 07:17 PM   #3
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I can think of one good use for a dummy 7-pin receptacle: it gives you a place to put your umbilical plug when you are parked, so the cord stays out of your way, and the plug stays dry. But I've never heard of anyone bothering to do this.

On my AS, I have a propane tank cover, and I can tuck by umbilical under it to keep it dry and tidy.
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Old 08-24-2014, 07:33 PM   #4
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He also had 2 dummy 7-pin plugs sitting in front of the tanks. Why, I have no idea. I removed them.
Here is my main problem. below those there is another 7-pin plug which is wired to the brakes. Now, I thought the brake line was supposed to be in the main 7-pin plug which is on the trailer and still works as such? All the wires on the trailer outlet are there and complete and power all the exterior lights, main power etc as they are supposed to. The picture shows the wiring on the plug on the tongue but it connects to nothing but the brakes. It's confusing me. I can't make use of two 7-pin plugs at once. This is a hack right? Can someone figure it out? If it's not a hack, then excuse my ignorance and please explain this for me?
The fact that there are two 7-pin sockets leads me to wonder if one of them is wired with a jumper so that when you plug the umbilical into that socket it lights the tail and clearance lights from the trailer battery. This is popular with some folks in campgrounds--there was recently an Airforums thread about it.

The other socket might have a turn signal flasher inside, connected so the brake-and-turn lights flash, powered by the coach battery, when the umbilical is plugged into that one. Might be a handy thing to have if you had to unhitch the trailer and leave it alongside the road for some reason.

Just a guess.

The previous owner apparently liked lots of 12 V lighting. I'll bet the two 12 V flood lights were to light his flags at night.
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Old 08-24-2014, 07:34 PM   #5
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Was the PO trying to cobble up something to actuate the brakes when he was moving the trailer with a tongue dolly instead of the TV?

You've done a good job of cleaning up quite a mess.
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Old 08-24-2014, 07:43 PM   #6
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Was the PO trying to cobble up something to actuate the brakes when he was moving the trailer with a tongue dolly instead of the TV?
Good thinking! And I'll bet you're right.

I thought about doing something like that myself. Both of our Airstreams have been light enough to move by hand on a paved, level surface. (1,700 and 4,000 pounds GVW, respectively.) The 1960 Pacer came with a "nose wheel" to let you do that--but if the surface started to slope a little you would want some way to apply the brakes!
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Old 08-24-2014, 07:48 PM   #7
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1976 25' Tradewind
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I have yet to figure this PO out! :/

Nuvite-F, it's an interesting idea. I guess I should have mentioned that when I picked up the trailer from the most recent PO (which is not the PO who did the hacks) neither of the 7-pin plugs worked. I had no lights towing it home except the 2 backup lights worked as brake lights when I plugged into the trailer outlet. ??

The PO did say they had to wire their TV to match the previous POs wiring. Nothing was stock. And they couldn't tell me what plug they used because the husband had developed Alzheimer's and she never did the hookups. since then I rewired the trailer plug to be what it was supposed to be so I could tow it with my stock-wired hitch. I never thought I would have an issue with the second plug on the tongue. Such a mess.

So if you are correct in what he was trying to do, or even if it's not, any ideas how I can fix it? What do I need to do to get that massive break line to where it works with the main trailer plug? Or do the brakes work on both plugs? I guess I need to test the brakes with each plug to see what works and what doesn't.
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Old 08-24-2014, 08:00 PM   #8
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Another question. Does the original brake line run within the chassis/belly pan? (I have a 76 tradewind BTW.)
The line from the tongue plug to the axles is exterior/exposed under the belly pan. Is this just extra? And my original brake line should still be there?
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Old 08-24-2014, 08:04 PM   #9
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Was the PO trying to cobble up something to actuate the brakes when he was moving the trailer with a tongue dolly instead of the TV?

You've done a good job of cleaning up quite a mess.
This is my vote! Does the unbilical to the TV ALSO have an active brake wire?
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Old 08-24-2014, 08:33 PM   #10
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What do I need to do to get that massive break line to where it works with the main trailer plug? Or do the brakes work on both plugs? I guess I need to test the brakes with each plug to see what works and what doesn't.
Sounds like you have quite a mess there, all right. What you need to do is get in there and trace wires and reconnect as needed to get you back to the RVIA standard 7-pin configuration.

(I would bet your trailer brake wires go to both connectors, however. That would be the logical way to do it. The extra connector doesn't hurt anything.)

This link may help.
Trailer Wiring Diagrams | etrailer.com

The brake wiring is simple. All trailer brake magnets (2 per axle) are connected in parallel to Pin 2 (blue) of the 7 pin connector. (The other terminal of each magnet is grounded to the chassis.)

On a new Airstream the trailer brake wires are routed inside the belly pan, but I have seen them run outside the belly pan in cases where the axle has been replaced. It really doesn't matter as long as the wire is adequately secured and protected.

Wiring wise, you are likely to see just about anything in an old Airstream. (Although you do have a rather extreme case! )
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:25 PM   #11
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I would guess the two dummy plugs were for UCord plug storage. Not a bad idea if they don't get wet.
The other plug may have been wired for a different TV. Which might not have been to today's standards. And the secondary UCord is missing.
Just a guess.
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:36 PM   #12
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On my '72 Trade Wind, the brake wires run through the tongue and A-frame, and then exits the A-frame and runs loose to the middle of the belly forward of the wheels, where it then connects to the X extensions that run to each wheel.
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