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Old 03-01-2011, 01:36 PM   #1
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1967 26' Overlander
bettendorf , Iowa
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Recommendations to rewire external lights. (Davenport, IA Area)

There's a short somewhere in my wiring on my 26' 1967 Overlander. The lights randomly work and there's obviously a short somewhere. I think my converter may also be an issue as the batteries don't charge when connected to the truck or when plugged at the campsite.

I'm in the Davenport, Iowa area and as much as I appreciate advice on how to fix it myself, I'm done messing with it and I'm not looking for a new project, I just want this to work.

The local Airstream dealer wants $110 an hour to figure out what it is and fix it, but of course, they have no idea how long it will take. *sigh*

Any thoughts?

Thanks! -- John
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:54 PM   #2
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Light Short

If all the lights go out at once it is just the ground on the trailer or tow vehicle.
Dave




Quote:
Originally Posted by jhenschen View Post
There's a short somewhere in my wiring on my 26' 1967 Overlander. The lights randomly work and there's obviously a short somewhere. I think my converter may also be an issue as the batteries don't charge when connected to the truck or when plugged at the campsite.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhenschen View Post

I'm in the Davenport, Iowa area and as much as I appreciate advice on how to fix it myself, I'm done messing with it and I'm not looking for a new project, I just want this to work.

The local Airstream dealer wants $110 an hour to figure out what it is and fix it, but of course, they have no idea how long it will take. *sigh*

Any thoughts?

Thanks! -- John

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Old 03-01-2011, 02:53 PM   #3
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1967 26' Overlander
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masseyfarm View Post
If all the lights go out at once it is just the ground on the trailer or tow vehicle.
Dave
Well, I guess its not that they *only* randomly work, they don't seem to work the way they're supposed to all the time. Sometimes the turn signal will work, other times the turn signal will make the brake lights come on. Sometimes nothing at all happens. You just never know what's going to happen from minute to minute. And this seems to make no difference if its sitting still in the driveway or going down the highway.
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:58 PM   #4
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Electrical diagnostic work is time consuming and unpredictable although a good tech can do it faster than a bad one.

I would guess that you have more than one problem.

No easy answers.
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:59 PM   #5
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Lights

Still sounds like a poor ground to me. Check the ground on both the TV and the trailer, and condition of the plug should be as new, or you should replace the plug.
Have you got another TV to hook up to it to check??? If it is ok with another TV then it is your vehicle.
Most ground problems are the PLUG!!!!!!
I see you have a new TV so start at your investigation at the trailer plug. You will probably find a lot of green in there ---- and I don't mean money.
Dave
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Old 03-02-2011, 09:58 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by masseyfarm View Post
Still sounds like a poor ground to me. Check the ground on both the TV and the trailer, and condition of the plug should be as new, or you should replace the plug.
Have you got another TV to hook up to it to check??? If it is ok with another TV then it is your vehicle.
Most ground problems are the PLUG!!!!!!
I see you have a new TV so start at your investigation at the trailer plug. You will probably find a lot of green in there ---- and I don't mean money.
Dave
The vehicle and towing equipment were new. I'd installed a new plug on the AS as well. I've bought a new vehicle with a factory tow pkg that I will be trying this weekend. The thing is, then I was installing the new plug on the AS, the wire insulation was cracking and easily falling off. I can only reach and fix so much of the wire before it disappears into the frame.
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:20 AM   #7
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Wire

With the update on the info, sounds like you might need a new run of cable to the next accessible location on the trailer????
I will leave the details of that job to someone who has a similar unit and more knowledge of the units wire detail.
If you think this is difficult, then it will cost money to have someone else do it.
I would try to do as much as I can myself to keep the cost down. Then I have the satisfaction of knowing exactly what has been, and what else needs to be, done.
Good luck
Dave


Quote:
Originally Posted by jhenschen View Post
The vehicle and towing equipment were new. I'd installed a new plug on the AS as well. I've bought a new vehicle with a factory tow pkg that I will be trying this weekend. The thing is, then I was installing the new plug on the AS, the wire insulation was cracking and easily falling off. I can only reach and fix so much of the wire before it disappears into the frame.

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Old 03-02-2011, 10:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhenschen View Post
The vehicle and towing equipment were new. I'd installed a new plug on the AS as well. I've bought a new vehicle with a factory tow pkg that I will be trying this weekend. The thing is, then I was installing the new plug on the AS, the wire insulation was cracking and easily falling off. I can only reach and fix so much of the wire before it disappears into the frame.
Look under the trailer, to the streetside front. It might have a rectangular patch, with sheet metal screws on it. Remove it.
This is where your umbilical cord terminates, and where it is connected to the internal trailer wiring.
From there, you can disconnect the flexible cord, tie a wire to it, and slowly pull it out. Make sure you do not lose the wire...
Then, tie the new cord to the wire you pulled through, and use the wire to carefully pull the new umbilical cord into the frame. Pull it in under the coupler, then at teh end push it through the hole on top f the coupler. ( if there is one)
Don't expect a nice and organized wiring box inside the belly, it is pretty much a rats nest of wires and there should also be a pair of circuit breakers.

The wiring code for your umbilical cord:

white -ground ( very important)
black - charge line from vehicle battery/alternator
brown - turn signal right/ brake light
red - turn signal left/brake light
green - running lights
yellow - auxilliary, usually a backup light
blue - this comes from your brake controller and activates the electric brakes on your trailer.

I hope this helps.
It seems you will need a new umbilical cord and plug. Grounding is essential for reliable function. Make sure the white wire does indeed have a ground going to the frame or shell somewhere.
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Area63 View Post
Look under the trailer, to the streetside front. It might have a rectangular patch, with sheet metal screws on it. Remove it.
This is where your umbilical cord terminates, and where it is connected to the internal trailer wiring.
Thanks for the suggestion. I'm anxious to go to the storage place to see if this little door exists. I don't recall seeing it, but then again, I don't think I was looking for it specifically. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this does exist and that the problem can be solved like you said.

Thanks again!
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Old 03-02-2011, 02:10 PM   #10
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1967 26' Overlander
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So over lunch I went to the RV storage place, hooked up the new truck to the AS and everything worked just fine. HOWEVER! I'm not uncrossing my fingers yet because sometimes it does work just fine, but as soon as you start hauling it, it does whatever it feels like. So... I think this weekend I will haul it back to the house, see if things continue to work and if they don't, then I will take a look under the the little door that I DID find there. (thanks Area63)
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:46 PM   #11
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Sounds like a ground problem to me. Start with the simple stuff ,it could be as simple as corrosion in the trailer plug. Make sure it is clean , not corroded , and has a tight fit . I like to test the trailer lights with a battery and a jumper wire set , attaching my ground directly to the trailer and not through the plug. With a trailer this age you never know what has been done to the wiring (especially the umbilical) and you can't always count on the trailer wires being color coded for today's standard . The thing you have going for you is that they do work.

As a side note a couple of us in the Quad City area who are really into the old trailers use J&J Campers in East Moline for a lot of parts and jobs we can't do ourselves. Good luck.
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