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Old 01-13-2016, 08:42 AM   #1
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Removing tail and marker lights, '99 Safari

I would like to remove my tail lights and clearance lights in order to facilitate the long deferred R&R due on them. After removing the lenses and screws, the wiring only leaves me about 1/4" of slack to work with. On the tail lights it appears to be the ground wire riveted to the center pot that is keeping things so tight. On my marker lights it's just a general lack of any slack before the wire runs through the protective grommet in the skin. I've tried some moderate tugging to see of there was some slack behind the trailer skin but I'm a bit leery of breaking a wire if I give it any more persuasion.

What is the secret to getting some slack in the wiring so I can remove, repair, replace parts?

Thanks. My apologies if this has been covered previously. Try as I might I couldn't locate any discussion on this.
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Old 01-13-2016, 09:03 AM   #2
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Why not just drill out rivet and replace afterwards?
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Old 01-13-2016, 09:17 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by BambiTex View Post
Why not just drill out rivet and replace afterwards?
With only 1/4" to work with it would be impossible to get my hand behind to pot to attach the ground wire lug onto the rivet to re-rivet. I guess once I drilled out the rivet I could extend that wire to give me some working room but I was hoping there was a simpler solution I was overlooking. Previous to an Airstream, I've removed many a light fixture and always found enough slack in the wiring to allow removal and repairs.
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Old 01-13-2016, 07:29 PM   #4
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I too could not find any wire slack on all my clearance lights when I removed them to replace with new ones (plastic was cracking on the bases). I cut the wires at the fixture and soldered on a short pigtail of the same gauge wire and shrink tubed it. Crimp connections would have been better, but the small diameter of the soldered splice could be fit within the recess of the fixtures plastic base.
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Old 01-16-2016, 05:59 PM   #5
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Others might confirm this but it sounds like the lights were mounted then connections were made to the wiring harness from inside the trailer during construction. This makes sense because the fixtures are required before the leak test, rain bath, on the assembly line. Trying to remember, from my JC tour, if the complete wire harness was installed before or after.

So, could you pop one grommet to test? If connections are behind the grommet you'd want to cut the original connection to avoid multiple crimps.

Guess a call to Jackson Center would clear this up. Those guys have to work on these and should be able to give you a tip to make it easy.

Good luck.
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Old 01-16-2016, 08:13 PM   #6
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So, could you pop one grommet to test?
Patience isn't one of my virtues so I did drill out the pop rivet. The wiring enters a rather large ball of caulking that was squished flat by the center pot. Who knows? there may be plenty of spare wire in the bowls of that caulk ball but I'll never find out. I'm going to solder on some extensions to give me some room to work and leave the rest as is.
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Old 01-16-2016, 10:16 PM   #7
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Others might confirm this but it sounds like the lights were mounted then connections were made to the wiring harness from inside the trailer during construction. This makes sense because the fixtures are required before the leak test, rain bath, on the assembly line.
My thinking, exactly.
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Old 01-16-2016, 10:20 PM   #8
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Patience isn't one of my virtues so I did drill out the pop rivet. The wiring enters a rather large ball of caulking that was squished flat by the center pot. Who knows? there may be plenty of spare wire in the bowls of that caulk ball but I'll never find out. I'm going to solder on some extensions to give me some room to work and leave the rest as is.
Forgot to mention, if your fixtures are like mine, you will need to take a dremel to the back of the plastic body to create the space/pathway for your wire splice.
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