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Old 08-24-2004, 05:56 PM   #1
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OT - Trailer Lights on boat trailer

I know this is OT but....

Some of you have boats and are familiar with tracing problems. This is a trailer dipped in salt water.

Right blinker gives a weak 'hazard light' w/ both lights blinking. Left does exactly the same.

Stop (brake) lights give nothing. Running lights OK.

Test light shows everything OK at the 4 prong connector. Took off the white ground and cleaned it up.

Changed both bulbs and cleaned up the contacts with a dremel on the back and on the side (ground). I have the type with the brown running with the green on the right and seperate brown running with the yellow on the left inside frame.

The bolts holding the lights to the trailer are very rusted and corroded. Could that be a problem with ground?

TIA,
Steve in Sav'h
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Old 08-24-2004, 06:04 PM   #2
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I would use a test light on the rear lights and see if you can see what the problem is - put the clip on the frame and pointer on the + terminal of the light - if it lights you know wiring is OK and you have a ground problem somewhere.

Ken
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Old 08-24-2004, 06:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken J
I would use a test light on the rear lights and see if you can see what the problem is - put the clip on the frame and pointer on the + terminal of the light - if it lights you know wiring is OK and you have a ground problem somewhere.
Ken
Ken, When on the right blinker and BOTH sides are blinking then the test light will blink on the + terminal of both lights when it should just be the right side. Same for the left blinker.

Nothing for the brake light. So I'm not sure how that helps....

Open for suggestion....
TIA
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Old 08-24-2004, 06:57 PM   #4
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steve

here is what i do with malfunctioning boat trailers, or any other utility trailers.

rip it all out and start from scratch.

you will be way ahead in the long run, by not tearing your hair out in the short run.

yes, corrosion is a problem!

john
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Old 08-24-2004, 07:23 PM   #5
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John is onto the best solution for repair. But if you want to try replacing just the light assemblies first it might be ok and work out fine.

However if you are set on fixoing this problem without replacing anything, then yes it definately sounds like the light assembly has lost its ground or it may not be getting good enough ground from the tow vehicle, but it sounds right to be somewhere in the ground as this is usually what occurs with dimly lit lights or flickering lights.

Good Luck on the fix........
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Old 08-24-2004, 08:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG
John is onto the best solution for repair. But if you want to try replacing just the light assemblies first it might be ok and work out fine.
Good Luck on the fix........
Thanks Guys!
No problem on replacing the light fixtures. Just looking to see if I was missing something..

I may have to cut them off is the reason for looking around. Think I'll replace bolts with SS and then coat them with undercoating before dipping in salt water again.. It's ferocious in it's corrosion!!

Steve
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Old 08-24-2004, 09:22 PM   #7
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confucious says

Bad, Bad Bad, ground!
Almost all of the time, problems with DC lighting on trailers is the direct result of a bad ground connection.

I have seen the exact indications you have and chased for many moons before some one advised of bad grounds, they were all so right.
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Old 08-24-2004, 10:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smily
Bad, Bad Bad, ground!
Almost all of the time, problems with DC lighting on trailers is the direct result of a bad ground connection.

I have seen the exact indications you have and chased for many moons before some one advised of bad grounds, they were all so right.
Smily
Thanks! I am sure you are right!!

I didn't know if the bolt mounting the light to the trailer was the ground or not. So plan to cut old rusted bolt off and replace w/ new one first. If that doesn't fix it, Then off to the store for new lights.

With 4 trailers it's just hard to keep up with all the lights...

Steve
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Old 08-25-2004, 04:26 AM   #9
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Funny you bring this up.

Last Saturday my curb side taillight on my pontoon boat trailer would go out if the lights were on and the brakes were applied. It worked fine if the lights were off but I knew I would be returning late at night and I hate for my trailer lights not to be working just right.

I tried everything you did. New bulb, spring the contacts, checked the hook-up at the truck.

Decided to try replacing fixture.

Went to Wal-Mart intending to buy a single taillight replacement just so I could get on the road. It was 5:30 am and our WalMart is 24 hours. No one else open at the time. Looked at the replacement parts at the trailer section and found what I needed. Decided to pick up another rod holder so I headed to the boating section.

In the boating section they had full trailer light kits.

I found just what I really wanted. LED, yes a LED trailer light kit. Bought one of the kits. Not cheap at $47.00 for the complete kit, including a new wiring harness.

The LED lights have a 100,000 (11.5 years) array in them and they are SEALED. All stainless bolts and a separate ground wire, which the old did not have. Changed the offending one first and it fixed the problem. Changed the other one to match. Total time 30 minutes.

Now no more spare bulbs to carry and these things are twice as bright as the old ones were with there single automotive bulbs and will never burn out. They have a 10 year warranty on them. I know if I had shopped them I could have got a better deal, but it worked and problem solved. Caught 8 nice catfish on the trip to boot.
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Old 08-25-2004, 08:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobbyW
Funny you bring this up.
Went to Wal-Mart I found just what I really wanted. LED, yes a LED trailer light kit. Bought one of the kits. Not cheap at $47.00 for the complete kit, including a new wiring harness.

The LED lights have a 100,000 (11.5 years) array in them and they are SEALED. All stainless bolts and a separate ground wire, which the old did not have. Changed the offending one first and it fixed the problem. Changed the other one to match. Total time 30 minutes.
problem solved. Caught 8 nice catfish on the trip to boot.
Nice catch! I need to do the same!!

Ya know, I saw those LED lights online and just thought they would be a LOT dimmer, so didn't give them a second thought.

Now I have - since you said they are a *lot brighter*. Nice that they have SS bolts - - great for the salt water here. I also have started coating my leaf springs with spray undercoating, as well as the bolts.

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 08-25-2004, 09:00 AM   #11
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This is them, although these guy are higher than Wal-Mart

Road Warrior LED Rear Lighting Kit

Road Warrior LED Submersible trailer light kit for all trailers under 80" wide.
Totally sealed, submersible LED lights have 100,000 hours rated life. Incredible 10 year limited warranty, never replace a bulb again. This kit includes right & left submersible tail lights, license plate bracket, 25 ft. wishbone wiring harness with connector, 4 ft. trunk wiring with connector, stainless steel hardware, heat shrink wire connectors and instructions. This light kit meets the requirements of SAE/DOT/FMVSS Standards for under 80" wide trailers when properly installed.



http://shop.easternmarine.com/index....categoryID=206
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Old 08-25-2004, 06:40 PM   #12
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Steve

If you want to comfirm your issue, run a jumper wire from a good ground to the light assy. Betca a cold one it's a bad ground where the assembly bolts to the frame of the trailer.

And in the long run ..... take Bobby's suggestion. It's the best long term fix. With new tech lights that are far better than anything out there.

>>>>>>>>>Action
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Old 08-25-2004, 08:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobbyW
This is them, although these guy are higher than Wal-Mart

[b][size=3]Road Warrior LED Rear Lighting Kit

Road Warrior LED Submersible trailer light kit for all trailers under 80" wide.
Totally sealed, submersible LED lights
BobbyW,

Thanks for your suggestion. Went to WM and bought the LED light Kit for $50. Installed with old wiring and it worked... for a time. Then it didn't. Frustrated, I took John HD's idea and routed new wiring thru the frame.

Although this was 2x the cost of 'normal lights' I think being completely sealed will make it last longer with less problems.

Thank all of you for your ideas! We're back in business!

Coated all connections with liquid tape. Think I will coat the submersible bolts in vaseline to help keep corrosion at bay.
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Old 08-25-2004, 09:04 PM   #14
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Steve,

LED operates much cooler than incandensent. So you can leave them on and they will take a dunkin'. And the lites will have a very long service life. Totally worth the extra $.

And the corrosion issue with the mounting does not change. Vaseline is a very short term fix. Use stainless bolts and nuts. Or coat the fasteners with a paint that will take the abuse after the lights are mounted.

>>>>>>>>>>Action
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