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Old 07-22-2011, 08:51 PM   #1
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Tailights only partially work

Been struggling with this all day, and I can't seem to figure it out. Here's the problem...

brakes lights and back up lights do not work

I've check various wires and bulbs behind the cans, and everything appears to be wired as referenced in wiring diagrams. I checked the ground connections behind the lights and the are all connected. what should i check next?
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Old 07-22-2011, 09:09 PM   #2
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back-up lights fixed. brake lights still out.turn signal works, so it's not a bulb issue.
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Old 07-22-2011, 09:14 PM   #3
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I used a 7-way tester, a small battery charger, a jumper light, and a small multi meter to test and configure the trailer lights at the 7-way.




I had running light problems and no back up lights. I replaced all the clearance lights with LED sealed lights. I replaced all the bulbs in the back lights, polished all the sockets, and reattached a few grounds. While I was at it I replaced all the light lenses.

The 7-way grounds I twisted together, fluxed them and soldered them together with my map gas torch. I tested everything at the 7-way plug with the cord unattached. I tested the cord on the bench. I tested the tow vehicle with the 7-way tester.

When I put it together, I had two wires crossed in the cord end. I reversed those two and everything worked. I have three other trailers and I wanted everything to work on a standard 7-way plug. Any standard 7-way tow vehicle will be ready to go with any of my trailers.

My approach was not to chase problems. I replaced, and repaired everything and it all worked when I was done.
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Old 07-22-2011, 09:21 PM   #4
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Good job! I'm about to check the 7-way. It was re-wired twice by the local Airstream shop. I'm also wondering if my TV may not be wired properly. I guess I'll look at that, too.
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Old 07-22-2011, 09:31 PM   #5
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I'd be lost without my tester.
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Old 07-22-2011, 10:31 PM   #6
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Chances are your trailer is not wired to todays standards. You should first check the plug on your TV to see which pins are for what. There may be a drawing in the owners manual. if not, use your meter and identify each pin and it's function. Your trailer plug may need to be reconfigured. Here is a pin out of my '74, your trailer may be wired like my Argosy. If it is this should work. I don't have backup lights, but they should be wired to the center pin.

One question; Does your trailer or TV have turn signals that are separate from the brake lights?
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Old 07-22-2011, 10:36 PM   #7
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Make sure you have a good ground.

This has caused me and others problems.
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Old 07-22-2011, 10:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
Chances are your trailer is not wired to todays standards. You should first check the plug on your TV to see which pins are for what. There may be a drawing in the owners manual. if not, use your meter and identify each pin and it's function. Your trailer plug may need to be reconfigured. Here is a pin out of my '74, your trailer may be wired like my Argosy. If it is this should work. I don't have backup lights, but they should be wired to the center pin.

One question; Does your trailer or TV have turn signals that are separate from the brake lights?

I had the 7-pin re-wired on the trailer. Before, my TV didn't even recognize the brakes. Now it does and they operate fine. It's just the lights. And yes, my TV has separate turn signals (amber).
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Old 07-22-2011, 11:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adwriter73

I had the 7-pin re-wired on the trailer. Before, my TV didn't even recognize the brakes. Now it does and they operate fine. It's just the lights. And yes, my TV has separate turn signals (amber).
You will need to get an adaptor that combines your turn signal and brake light circuits. They are available at most auto parts stores.
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Old 07-24-2011, 09:35 PM   #10
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You will need to get an adaptor that combines your turn signal and brake light circuits. They are available at most auto parts stores.

Do you know what this adapter is called? Can't find it at the local auto parts store.
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Old 07-24-2011, 09:39 PM   #11
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What happened when you used the 7-way tester?
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Old 07-24-2011, 09:58 PM   #12
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What happened when you used the 7-way tester?
I don't have one. And I'm not real sure I know how to use it to test this.
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Old 07-24-2011, 10:03 PM   #13
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I don't have one. And I'm not real sure I know how to use it to test this.
The trailer turn signal bulb elements are exactly the same circuit for the brake light. They are one in the same.

The issue is with your tow vehicle since it has separate turn signals from the brake lights.

Andy
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Old 07-24-2011, 10:35 PM   #14
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I don't have one. And I'm not real sure I know how to use it to test this.
Just go to an auto parts or trailer store and buy the tester to match your tow vehicle plug. Mine is a 7-way. Plug the tester into the socket where the trailer cord plugs in and run all the electricals . . . brakes, lights, signals, etc.

The tester has a light for each wire in the 7-way. If it's working, the test light bulb lights up.

If the tow vehicle 7-way is wired wrong, nothing's going to go good with the light project:-)
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