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Old 09-07-2009, 05:27 PM   #1
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Haunted trailer?

I think someone is messin' with me! My trailer lights in the rear mysteriously came on by themselves one afternoon. I wasn't hooked up to any power. I turned the battery switch to off & they went off. I have put new LED lights on the trailer (all but the rear tail lights) & when I hooked up, none of my lights work. The only ones that work are the rear turn signals (not sure about the brakes, no one was there to help me out). What's up? I soldered the connections & put shrink tape over the extra wire. The LED's only had one wire like my previous regular lights (that I just replaced last year, but decided to go LED after I polished). Any suggestions? By the way, I'm REALLY electrically challenged, so please use layman's terms! Thanks!
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Old 09-07-2009, 06:08 PM   #2
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There is a way that you can make the trailer clearance lights and tail lights come on without the trailer being hooked up to the tow vehicle. You can do this by connecting the contacts in the trailer umbilical on either side of the lug key. If these two contacts were exposed an touched the frame of the trailer or some other metal, the lights would come on. Cutting the battery off would turn them off.

Actually, I like the Airstream Ghost story better.

Brian
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Old 09-07-2009, 06:40 PM   #3
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The first place I would look is inside the umbilical cord plug for a whisker wire short between 2 of the connections for the lights coming on mid day.

As for none of the marker lights not working I would also look there for a loose wire.
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Old 09-07-2009, 09:04 PM   #4
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Well, the DH looked in the umbilical cord plug for me. He found a short that would cause the light to go on. Whew! No ghost. That's the good news. The bad news is that none of the lights work yet. He put on a new umbilical cord that I happened to have lying around (project for a previous trailer). He thinks there must be a short somewhere, but we ran out of sunlight. I guess I'll look to see if any fuses in the box are blown. I really hate electric! Thanks for the hints on the umbilical cord!
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Old 09-08-2009, 08:33 AM   #5
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If you have no lights and did not blow a fuse or start a fire you do not have a short. You have an open.

I would apply 12 volts to the parking light wire at the junction box where the umbilical cord connects. If you have lights the trailer wiring is fine. Then apply 12 volts to the connector at the end of the umbilical. If no lights the cord is bad. If you have lights the problm is is the TV. Test the source side of the TV plug. If you ave power there the problem is in the plug. If no power there the problem is in the TV. Most likely the parking light fuse.
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:36 PM   #6
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I'm at work, but my son is at home trying to fix this problem for me. He said the TV had a blown fuse, so he replaced it. As soon as he plugged in the trailer, it blew again. He says there is a short somewhere in the lights. As I said, I replaced all the lights with LED's. Are there any tricks to finding a short? He seems to think it's inside the wall of the trailer & maybe I pulled a wire & stripped it or something. What do we do next?
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Old 09-08-2009, 04:58 PM   #7
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Yes, follow my instructions above. I forgot to mention you have to open the connections at each test starting with the junction box connection and test by applying fused 12 volts to the light side of the connection. Then reconnect and move forward to the next test point. If the fuse blows the last thing tested is the location of the short.

If the fuse blows at the ts=est at the junction box I would start removing the lights and look for a crushed wire to the trailer under each light fixture.
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Old 09-08-2009, 09:02 PM   #8
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Okay, now I'm being dictated to by my husband and son about what they've done & what questions they have, so here goes....

Where does the trailer umbilical connect to the trailer wiring harness?
Are there any places where you can access the wiring harness for exterior lights?

So far, we've replaced the plug on the end of the umbilical.
Removed all the running lights including the rear tail lights and checked the sockets and wires for shorts.
We've been unable to find where the umbilical connects into the trailer. The 12 Volt circuit breaker box behind the couch does not appear to have connections for the umbilical.

Where would the access be for the exterior lights?

Thanks.......
Becky, Bill & Paul
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Old 09-08-2009, 09:03 PM   #9
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Oh, now a quick question from me....
I put an awning rail above the rear window. Would a rivet have any possibility of running into a wire there? I'm assuming no, since that's where they're always mounted, but maybe that's where we're running into the problem?
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:05 PM   #10
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Under the front drivers side of the trailer you should find a cover that when opened you will see the umbilical cord connection to the trailer wiring.

You may have gotten ahead of yourself by removing the lights with first testing that the problem is in fact in the trailer. Look at the test sequence I noted above and locate the short area before removing things.

It is unlikely a rivet could cause the short unless you skinned a wire and that wire then came to rest on the rivet, not likely.
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:11 PM   #11
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If you do not find a cover under the trailer the connections will be at floor level under the front window. If you have a front couch lift it and you should see the cord coming into the trailer.
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Old 09-09-2009, 06:14 AM   #12
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Thanks, Howie. We'll take a look at it tonight after work again. I'm so bummed about this......
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Old 09-09-2009, 06:46 AM   #13
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I just ran out & looked for a door where the umbilical comes in to the trailer. The cord goes directly into the bottom of the trailer. Behind the couch there is the univolt and the 12V circuit breaker box. There are also the wires from the battery there. I don't recall there being a door that we covered when we recarpeted. We might have to remove the couch to see really well what is behind there.... no door from what I can see.
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Old 09-09-2009, 08:25 AM   #14
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Here are some pix that might help....ran out before work & am posting while here...
The first one is before we redid the inside. I don't remember a hatch, but my memory isn't always great!
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