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Old 08-31-2010, 11:36 AM   #1
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1974 31' Sovereign
Center Ossipee , New Hampshire
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Tail light wiring

I have just recently aquired a '74 Sovreign. I realize how many posibilities exist but---I have lost the electrical circut to the tail, number plate, and rear side marker lights. The overhead rear triple works. Is there a likely splice or trouble spot to look for? Also, how does one remove the rear light bodies (cast Aluminum)? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks, Charlie
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Old 08-31-2010, 12:01 PM   #2
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1972 31' Sovereign
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If your '74 is anything like our '72, then the tail light bodies are riveted on from inside the trailer. 6 rivets - 3 on the top and 3 on the bottom, through the outer skins and into the back of the cast aluminum bezel.

The wiring harness should run down the center of the trailer, above the center ceiling panel. Once it reaches the rear headliner, there is no easy access to the wiring harness. Not that removing the center ceiling panel is particualrly easy either.

Can you remove the lenses on the tail lights? That would give you access to the inside of the lights, and again, if your '74 is like out '72, the insides of the lights are riveted to the tail light housings. You might be able to drill the rivets out, remove the insides, and gain access to the wiring behind the tail lights that way. Hopefully you can find a broken wire that feeds the tail lights.

Do the brake lights and back-up lights work?

Good luck! I don't think this will be an easy fix.

Chris
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Old 08-31-2010, 12:28 PM   #3
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Our 78 has the rear light harness come down from the center overhead to the curbside (starboard side) stop/tail light assembly...

If you remove the lenses (curbside) and pull out the tin 'cans' that hold the bulb sockets, you can gain access to the wiring behind - the harness connects to the curbside light assemble here, then there is another smaller harness that runs over the to roadside light assembly, with a branch wire (s) that goes down to the Lic Plt light...

Be sure to check the Lic Plt socket to make sure it isn't 'shorted' - I had that problem, the socket used a two contact bulb, and the 'hot' contact was rubbing against the grounded socket - replaced the entire light with an LED unit I made up to cure that problem!

I found many of those small 'twist' connectors on the wiring back there - I used new crimp connectors and heat shrink tubing over them to hopefully avoid any future problems!

Ray
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:26 PM   #4
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I had a similar problem with my 1976 only I didn't have any tail lights or markers. I tested the tail light wire at the 7-way plug and it showed a short. I removed all the marker light fixtures and all the light bulbs in the tail light cans as well as the license plate light. I tested the circuit again and it was open. I believe the problem was a bad light bulb in the tail light assembly, but I'm not positive. I put all new marker fixtures back on and all new bulbs in the tail lights along with all new lenses and it all works.

I wouldn't tear into wiring until I eliminated everything easy to get at like bulbs and markers. My assumption was: Everything's bad. When I work behind somebody else I assume that everything's wrong. That philosophy has spared me the pain and anxiety of laboring under unnecessary delusions. Of course I've kept the necessary delusions.
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:30 PM   #5
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1974 31' Sovereign
Center Ossipee , New Hampshire
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Thanks for the input as removing the right body will be a good place to start. I have back fed the circut and everything works so "no shorts". "If at first you don't succeed" and you know the rest. Charlie
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Old 08-31-2010, 08:00 PM   #6
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Charlie...

Just to be clear, you don't actually have to remove the entire tail/stop/backup light 'housing' to check the wiring...just remove the four screws that hold each lens, then the 'tin' that the socket's mounted in will fall right out, allowing you to get to wiring behind - there's normally plenty of room to get to all the connections...

Ray
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