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Old 08-05-2006, 12:18 PM   #1
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Belington , West Virginia
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Finally ready to go and the lights don't work

Iíve had my 1976 Argosy 26 for about six months and am finally going to get to use it in a
couple of weeks. When I got this trailer the first thing I checked was the exterior lights
and to my amazement they all burned/worked perfectly. Last night I started getting
everything ready for a trip with the trailer and this involved moving the trailer from my
workplace to my home. I hooked up and guess what? The lights are not working. I have
access to several tow vehicles so the first check was to try another TV. Same thing.
Hereís what I do have:
No running lamps, clearance or tail.
I do have:
Left turn signal.
Right turn signal only dimmer than left.
Brake lights, left brighter than right.
Left reverse light, no right reverse light but with dim right taillamp.
When trailer is connected to tow vehicle there is a periodic click, like pehaps a relay
coming from behind a plastic cover that is on the street side wall next to the waterpump.
Iíll have to remove the sofa and a piece of the paneling to access this cover. What is
behind this cover?
I have checked the wiring with voltmeter just behind the trailer side plug and have power.
However, the wire for the running lights goes from 12 volts down to 6 and back with each
click of what ever is behind the afore mentioned plastic cover.
Where can I access a wiring diagram for this trailer and does anyone have an idea of
where I should look first. in diagnosing this problem? A magic wand would be nice about
now.
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Old 08-05-2006, 12:33 PM   #2
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1992 29' Excella
madison , Wisconsin
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follow the click!

that is the sound of a self resetting circuit breaker operating! you must have a short circuit somewhere.

when you get the cover off you will see the breaker it is a small rectangular device about 1 inch long by 1/2 inch wide with 2 terminals on it.

inspect the wiring in that area for anything obvious that would cause it to operate and report back!

john
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Old 08-05-2006, 12:34 PM   #3
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1992 29' Excella
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are you using the same tow vehicle you successfully used in the past?

john
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Old 08-05-2006, 12:42 PM   #4
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Belington , West Virginia
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John,I've run out of time today to look further but will resume tomorrow. As far as unsing the same tow vehicle, no. But, I have actually only towed this trailer once and that was for only about 5 miles with a brand new Dodge truck. I have a dealership and I am trying it now with other new trucks. Roger
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Old 08-05-2006, 02:54 PM   #5
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rog

the reason i ask is because there may be nothing wrong with the trailer.

it could be that the truck(s) you are trying are wired to the "new" standard and the trailer is wired to the "old" standard.

the clicking could be your trailer battery is trying to power something it should not at the plug.

check this site for reference http://www.marksrv.com/wiring.htm

-then again- you may still have something wrong with the trailer.

just wanted to make sure your trucks and trailer are on the same page to start!

john
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Old 08-05-2006, 08:36 PM   #6
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1960 24' Tradewind
santa barbara , California
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Hello RBolton,

Sounds like you have a poor ground connection .generally when you have the
dim light,and a unusual operation of brake lights ,dim one side etc.The ground
is poorly connected or maybe not at all. the why of it is because moisture
as in dew overnight or rain ,or just the elements cause the umbilical
connector terminals to get corroded ,and they probably look grey if you
look at the trailer plug .Scrape them clean ,you will see the brass as you
clean them .I recommend a rubber cap of some kind to cover the trailer plug
to keep the elements out .That would be the very first and simplest place to start ,clean terminals .The ones on the truck connector are probably clean
as it has the cover protecting it.The incomplete and poor grounds cause
much frustration .It is common and often overlooked ,the breaker issue
with the changing voltage means the breaker is doing its job by cutting out ,reset ,cutting out ,make sure that you have a solid ground at your trailer plug ,then see if the breaker and the troubles return to normal.dim lights
are a certain sign of poor ground connections.

Scott
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Old 08-08-2006, 04:48 PM   #7
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Fixed. Here's what I found. Two problems really. Apparently the back-up lamps get their ground from their adjacent taillamp. Thus the problem of having one back-up lamp that was not burning and the taillamp next to it coming on dim. A little cleaning and wiggling is all it took. I fixed this after taking the trailer plug apart and adding power to each circuit separately. But the bigger, more frustrating problem was that none of the running lamps burned and when connected to TV or isolating this wire from the trailer plug and hooking directly to a 12 volt source while grounding the trailer resulted in tripping a breaker that was obviously the first part to start down the assembly line. Accessing this relay was really going to make my head hurt. Dead short to ground but where? There is no exposed wiring inside this trailer except in the bathroom closet and as near as I can tell it has nothing to do with the exterior lighting. The wiring you can get to on the exterior exits through a wire sized whole with just enough length to reach the sockets. You'd think there was a copper shortage when they built these things.My first post to this forum a few months back had to do with the fact that I was replacing the license plate bracket and lamp assembly and only had about an inch of wiring protruding from the body. I soldered a few more inches of wire on and neatly tucked it in behind the lamp. And PINCHED the darn wire. Not sure why it worked when I installed it or how the wire rubbed through just sitting there, but it did. I used and air orbital sander on the steel part of the roof and perhaps the vibration from that did it. Who knows? But that was the problem.I pray I never have to work on the interior wiring for the exterior lighting. I'll convert it to kerosene lamps first. Thanks for the input.
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Old 08-08-2006, 05:59 PM   #8
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1973 31' Excella 500
Morristown , Tennessee
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RBolton,

Glad to know you got your problem fixed on a 1975 box. I just bought a 1973 31' Excella and not all of the external marker lights or interior 12 volts are working. Hope it is just bulbs and corrosion but I haven't even started to look. Although Airstream was frugal with the wire, it apparently was placed in a way as to not rub or corrode.

Hope I have the same success that you have.

Joe
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Old 08-09-2006, 01:38 AM   #9
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1960 24' Tradewind
santa barbara , California
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RBolton,

Glad you got it fixed ,that little bit of info on the lic plate lamp wire are the clues I listen for from customers in my repair business .Helps alot ,and you
know now that your circuit breaker does in fact work .That cutting out the
breaker does ,saves the wiring from melting due to the short.I also would have thought they would have a fuse as well somewhere .My 60 has 2 glass
house type fuses ,one for 12volt ,one for 110 .

Scott

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Old 08-09-2006, 07:01 PM   #10
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Scott,

I was slow to check the license lamp because it worked after I installed it. But, I figured it was best to check all external connections before I took a roto-zip to the side of my trailer. I'm sure that would have been the easiest route to get to the circuit breaker. Well, maybe I would have cut through the interior paneling. The sofa would have hid the hole. There may be some fuses located in the vicinity of the breaker. The only other fuses I've found are one glass type below the 110 breaker box and three blade type fuses in the converter. I don't think they have anything to do with the exterior lamps.

The fact that it turned out to be an easy fix renewed my confidence in the old girl though. Thanks for the support.

Roger
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