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Old 09-07-2015, 08:28 PM   #1
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1973 31' Sovereign
Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 8
'73 Sovereign Electrical HELP!!!

O.K. Previous owner seems to have disabled electric brakes on running gear.
I took apart the 7-way plug and found the wires in disorder with the "yellow" electric bake complete disconnected. Here is an image of what i found.
It would appear that while most of the stop, tail lights and reverse go off the the right, the brake wire is the only on the goes off to the left. But quickly it ties into a heavier white wire. I have no idea what the red wire connected to the white wire are. Any thoughts?
https://www.flickr.com/photos/134308...posted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/134308...posted-public/


Lastly, it looks like I do NOT have continuity of my turn signal or reveres all the way to the back, so I need run a "new" set of wires back there. Any thoughts on how to best route this wire loom without tearing out the wall panels?
https://www.flickr.com/photos/134308.../in/datetaken/
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Old 09-08-2015, 04:36 PM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Welcome to the Forums!

The first thing you might want to do is get a copy of the service manual for the '73 year. This will have all the wiring diagrams, plumbing, step by step repair instructions, and so forth.

Now onto your electrical issues, you may have already realized it, but the wiring color scheme used in the '73 trailers does not match the modern standard, and the organization of the wiring at the plug does not match the modern standard either.

I have attached a pdf of the '73 scheme, and there is a link to a "modern" diagram from eTrailers.com below:

Trailer Wiring Diagrams | etrailer.com

good luck!
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Old 09-08-2015, 06:30 PM   #3
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1978 31' Sovereign
Hot Springs , Arkansas
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Belegedhel nailed it. Once you know for sure which is which, I recommend soldering and heat shrink tubing for your repair. It will return peace of mind down the road.
Welcome, and let us know how it went.
Clayton
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:32 PM   #4
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1966 17' Caravel
Newport , North Carolina
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So are you using this as? I noticed in the picture that your baby has some other issues like the particle board on top of the original floor and the rusted out tail light frames. How does the trailer frame look? Hopefully all is superficial and you have some wonderful camping adventures. Please keep those pictures coming and share your adventure!
Cliff
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Old 09-08-2015, 09:39 PM   #5
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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So... A few more thoughts, as I dig through my recollections of the trailer wiring: As I recall, only the brake wire goes to the left through the wall and eventually through the floor and so on (note that there may also be connections for the break-away switch). All the other wires that start at the plug should go up and around the front window, and eventually across the roof of the trailer, and down to the back corner. So, if you have wires going left and right, either the left/right orientation means nothing, or the previous owner has done some creative rewiring that may take some time to sort out.

Having looked at your pictures, and seeing that light can that has become a rust blob, I would recommend that you need to drill out the rivets that hold the can in the cast tail light housing, and disconnect the wire (you may have access to it from inside the trailer as well). Once you have access to the wire, you will know for sure what color you should be looking for at the plug, and you will be more accurately able to check for end-to-end continuity. Throw the rusty can away and decide what to do as a replacement. You can buy parts from Outofdoorsmart.com or Vintage Trailer Supply.

Good luck!
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Old 09-09-2015, 07:58 AM   #6
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1973 31' Sovereign
Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania
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Thank you all for your responses. Let me address some of your great advice.
1) Yes, I do have concerns about the frame and will be removing and replacing the front sub-floor section with the intent to check that steel frame -or what is left of it. Then too I can gain some added access to those wires that are giving me fits.
My concern here is that no write-ups have been done about partial floor replacement. Everybody goes straight to the shell-off restoration, which I am trying to avoid.
2) As for the tail lights, the plan is to replace the cans with 4" LEDs.
3) I've spent a fair amount of time researching trailer wiring diagrams on the web and in the old Airstream manuals. I think I got it straight now, although one mystery remains: there is one wire (green) that delivers power to the right hand turn signal and brake light and another wire (yellow) that delivers power to the left hand turn signal and brake light. However, the LEDs have three wires, one for turn signal and one for brake light, and a ground, yet I only have one wire per side (one yellow and one green) do I pigtail the two LED hot leads together? That doesn't make sense to me. It seems like I would need a relay of sorts that would "read" when both green and yellow where hot to power the brake lights. Does this make any sense?
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Old 09-09-2015, 08:10 AM   #7
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1973 31' Sovereign
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Mystery Wire

So this is the wire that I could really use help with. I annotated the photo for clarity. please check it out at:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/134308...posted-public/
Thanks,
Rod
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Old 09-09-2015, 09:12 AM   #8
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Weatherford , Texas
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Ground to the shell or frame

Quote:
Originally Posted by roddiaz1 View Post

3) I've spent a fair amount of time researching ...
However, the LEDs have three wires, one for turn signal and one for brake light, and a ground, yet I only have one wire per side (one yellow and one green) do I pigtail the two LED hot leads together? That doesn't make sense to me. It seems like I would need a relay of sorts that would "read" when both green and yellow where hot to power the brake lights. Does this make any sense?
It's really not that complicated.

Often, lights, etc. on vehicles use the skin or frame as the ground, instead of adding a third ground wire all the way back to the source. If the connections are clean and tight, this works fine.

Connect the two "hot" wires you have located to their appropriate wire on the LED light unit. (Turn/brake should make the light get brighter.)

Connect the third, or ground, wire to the skin or frame of the trailer. A ring terminal and a sheet-metal screw usually does this very well. Make sure the attach point is not "insulated" with paint or dirt.
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Old 09-09-2015, 11:47 AM   #9
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1973 21' Globetrotter
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See my comments below in blue:

Quote:
Originally Posted by roddiaz1 View Post
Thank you all for your responses. Let me address some of your great advice.
1) Yes, I do have concerns about the frame and will be removing and replacing the front sub-floor section with the intent to check that steel frame -or what is left of it. Then too I can gain some added access to those wires that are giving me fits.
My concern here is that no write-ups have been done about partial floor replacement. Everybody goes straight to the shell-off restoration, which I am trying to avoid.

I've seen several write-ups about partial floor replacements. The Airforums search function is marginal at best. Your best bet is to try a google search from outside the forums using terms like "partial floor replacement airforums"

2) As for the tail lights, the plan is to replace the cans with 4" LEDs.

Make sure you are buying lights that are set up to be compatible with your trailer. I believe outofdoorsmart.com, InlandRV, and Vintagetrailersupply.com all sell some.

3) I've spent a fair amount of time researching trailer wiring diagrams on the web and in the old Airstream manuals. I think I got it straight now, although one mystery remains: there is one wire (green) that delivers power to the right hand turn signal and brake light and another wire (yellow) that delivers power to the left hand turn signal and brake light. However, the LEDs have three wires, one for turn signal and one for brake light, and a ground, yet I only have one wire per side (one yellow and one green) do I pigtail the two LED hot leads together? That doesn't make sense to me. It seems like I would need a relay of sorts that would "read" when both green and yellow where hot to power the brake lights. Does this make any sense?

The wire colors sound like some PO has been in there rewiring so that the original documentation may no longer be valid. But yes, you will have a single wire that carries both the brake and turn signal. You can either wire that single wire to both of the wires coming out of your LED light assembly (which will defy the logic of having two separate circuits in the assembly), or get an assembly with only two wires (one hot, one ground).
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Old 09-10-2015, 09:21 AM   #10
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1973 29' Ambassador
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'73 tail lights and floor

On the floor: When built, the plywood goes under a channel at the base of the top skin. Although some smaller areas of rot can be fixed by plugging with plywood and lots of penetrating epoxy, the floor is part of the structural integrity of the whole, so you may be stuck with a frame off. Gotta do that if the main beams are badly rusted anyway.

On the wiring: It is unlikely that the wiring to the tail lights is bad inside the trailer, and more likely that the umbilical and its connections at both the trailer and the tow vehicle are in need of replacement . Advice of others on new tail lights is good, you will have to remove inside skins to drill out the rivets holding the tail light housing. I would replace the cans with the right parts, line the back of them with foil, and put LED replacement bulbs in.

Final note, get the main beams (and the outriggers) inspected before you go any further, no point in doing other repairs if they are no good.

Daisy ('73 Ambassador 12 years on the road)
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