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Old 06-22-2009, 09:25 PM   #1
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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1964 Overlander Exterior Light Problems!

Greetings All!

Electrical problems are not one of my better areas, and this one is proving difficult for a good friend who is an experienced do-it-yourselfer. The problem is as follows:

The coach has been inactive for three years while I saved for the necessary black tank replacement. Now that the tank has been replaced, I discover that there is an issue with the exterior lights -- the only functional lights on the whole coach are the left turn and brake light -- none of the clearance nor any of the right side brake/turn, clearance/running lights, or license plate lamp. The electric brakes, however, are fully functional. The following have been tried to this point:
  • The 7-Pole Blade connector on the tow vehicle has been replaced with a heavy-duty 7-Pole Pin connector. The contacts in the three-year-old blade connector were very badly corroded.
  • The 7-Pole Blade connector on the Overlander has been replaced with a heavy-duty 7-Pole Pin connector. The contacts in the six-year-old blade connector were very badly corroded.
No changes were noted as a result of this move -- the only lights that work are the left brake and turn signal. The electric brakes also continue to be fully functional.
  • The umbilical junction box has been opened, and all of the wire nuts have been checked for tightness as well as for obvious signs of corrossion.
    • One question has arisen regarding a "black box" into which the blue wire from the umbilical is connected -- is this an automatic reset circuit breaker, and it is something that might need to be replaced?
      • No changes were noted as a result of these steps.
  • The right rear tailight was removed, and a new LED replacement unit was temporarily installed. There was no change -- still nothing from this location.
  • One of the clearance lights on the front of the trailer had a bad bulb and the socket was badly corroded. The socket was cleaned and a new bulb installed with no change in the operation of the running lights (none functioning).
Our plan of attack for tomorrow is:
  • Re-work the connections in the umbilical junction box. Is there any consensus on whether it would be better to continue with new wire nuts? -- or would it be better to utilize crimp connectors?
  • Re-work clearance and marker light connections starting with the two suspicious lights first. Does anyone know the order in which the marker and clearance lights are daisy-chained??
  • Replace license plate lamp and holder with new stainless steel reproduction. The current assembly is very rusty despite having been purchased new from Airstream less than seven years ago. The current lamp does not illuminate, but my guess is that it is daisy-chained with the running lights.
  • My friend and I are both baffled about the right side brake and turn signal. If re-working the umbilical junction box does not solve the problem, any ideas on where or what to try next??
I am not certain whether any of the following facts would have any impact on the trouble-shooting process, so thought that I would list them.
  • All three house batteries are present and fully charged.
  • The solar system is functioning perfectly.
  • All interior 12-volt appliances and accessories are functioning properly.
  • The Trace Inverter/Charger system is operating as designed.
  • When departing a primitive campground on the first trip of the season, two loose wires on the A-Frame hitch caught in some weeds and were pulled away from the hitch. They do not appear to have been pulled out of their places in the umbilical junction box. They appear to be the wires for the breakaway switch, but this isn't certain as the electric jack is another accessory that was installed six years ago.
    • Since the above incident, the electric jack has protested operating twice. Both times, it responded properly when tried a few hours later.
Any hints or tips on how next to proceed will certainly be appreciated!!

Kevin
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Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:36 PM   #2
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1955 26' Cruiser Overlander
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You said you didn't have running lights anywhere, basically one wire, the right stop/turn is working, nothing else. Have you verified that there is 12v coming from the tow vehicle on those other lugs, or rather have you applied 12 volts to each terminal of the plug then verifying with a volt meter that you have 12 volts at the fixtures? The front clearance wire would come in a different place from the rear so with both out I was thinking it must be up in the tongue area or tow vehicle. Not sure but if its your 99 suburban, it may have seperate fuses for each of the trailer circuits.
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Old 06-22-2009, 11:12 PM   #3
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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1964 Overlander Exterior Light Problems!

Quote:
Originally Posted by goransons View Post
You said you didn't have running lights anywhere, basically one wire, the right stop/turn is working, nothing else. Have you verified that there is 12v coming from the tow vehicle on those other lugs, or rather have you applied 12 volts to each terminal of the plug then verifying with a volt meter that you have 12 volts at the fixtures?
The volt meter checks are part of tomorrows routine -- the major effort today (heat index of 103) was to install the new pin-style connectors on trailer and Suburban. The lights performed identically with either the Suburban or Cadillac attached. As a double-check, all of the lights on the Minuet worked when connected to either tow vehicle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by goransons View Post
The front clearance wire would come in a different place from the rear so with both out I was thinking it must be up in the tongue area or tow vehicle. Not sure but if its your 99 suburban, it may have seperate fuses for each of the trailer circuits.
It is possible that we may have blown a fuse in all of the wire shuffling installing the new connectors. I will have to check that in the morning. It wouldn't surprise me if a fuse may be blown as one of the wires on the right tail light showed signs of having been very hot (melted insulation).

I have really suspected corrosion in the wire nuts found in the umbilical junction box. Redoing each of these connections is among our planned projects for tomorrow.

I was really taken by surprise when this happened as I have had absolutely no problems with the Overlander's lights during the time that I have owned the coach (since 1995). I have had to replace the blade-connector once every three years, but beyond that the lights have been trouble-free.

Thanks for the ideas for additional points to check!

Kevin
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Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:47 PM   #4
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Problems Solved!

The gremlins have been found and repaired. The gremlins were as follows:
  • The biggest and potentially most dangerous gremlin was the 45-year-old umbilical cord. It looked good where it was visible, but once it passed through the banana wrap it had a section about 6" long that had been rubbing on a pass-through hole where the grommet had disintegrated. The following leads had been completely severed:
    • Green -- Running Lights
    • Brown -- Right Turn
    • Blue -- Charge Line
      • The following leads were chaffed but still working
        • White -- Ground
        • Orange -- Backup Lights
      • The only lead that hadn't been damaged was the Yellow -- Trailer Brakes
  • The second issue turned out to be the license plate light. The six-year-old license light and holder that I purchased from Airstream was so badly corroded that it wasn't grounding properly.
  • The third issue was a clearance light that had been damaged in a hail storm which had resulted in water infiltration that led to corrossion causing a ground problem.
  • Two fuses had blown in the Suburban, but it isn't clear whether this may have been related to some of the trouble shooting that we did.
All that remains now is to replace the two weakest clearance lights and a few burned out bulbs in the other marker lights and I will be ready to depart for the International Rally.

Kevin

P.S.: Had it not been for my friends who helped with this project, I would have had to cancel my trip to the International Rally. They stuck with the project when I had to seek an air conditioned room when the heat index rose to 103 degrees on Monday -- and today it hit 105 degrees. I miss the dry heat of Western Kansas -- it was so much less objectionable than this wet heat.
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WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:01 PM   #5
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Glad you found it!!
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LOOKING FOR A COUNTER HEIGHT KREFFT REFRIGERATOR!!
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