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Old 08-09-2008, 07:59 PM   #1
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1967 17' Caravel
Thompsons Station , Tennessee
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Tow lighting problem

Hey all. I rewired my umbilical cord last weekend on my '67 Caravel, and tried to test it this weekend. I hooked it up to my truck, and I got brake and turn signals. But, after I turned my headlights on, nothing worked. I am going to try hooking a battery lead to each pin tomorrow to see what I find, but I was just curious if anyone had any thoughts to what I have wrong.

Oh- for what it is worth my truck only came with a 4 pin wiring connector- so I bought a 7 pin adaptor. I haven't hooked up the brake, charge and auxiliary lines yet, but I wouldn't think this would cause me any problems.

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-09-2008, 09:22 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by modarch View Post
Hey all. I rewired my umbilical cord last weekend on my '67 Caravel, and tried to test it this weekend. I hooked it up to my truck, and I got brake and turn signals. But, after I turned my headlights on, nothing worked. I am going to try hooking a battery lead to each pin tomorrow to see what I find, but I was just curious if anyone had any thoughts to what I have wrong.

Oh- for what it is worth my truck only came with a 4 pin wiring connector- so I bought a 7 pin adaptor. I haven't hooked up the brake, charge and auxiliary lines yet, but I wouldn't think this would cause me any problems.

Any thoughts?
It's fairly common that the circuits used for the lighting in the trailer are overloading the TV's capacities. What will probably fix your problem straight away is a 'powered tail light converter' that uses a hot lead from the battery to power the trailer's lights rather than drawing from the TVs tail light circuits directly. They are easy to install.

Did your 7 pin adapter have the extra wires for +12VDC, ground, brake and aux. molded into the rear of the new 7-way? If not, you might want to get one of those also.
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Old 08-09-2008, 09:38 PM   #3
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Sound like you’re run across the bane of all vintage owners. Ground faults. Did you check/connect the ground wires in the TV and trailer?
Another common problem is the exterior light housings are pop riveted to the body and after 40-some years they get so corroded that they no longer pass current under load.
The brake/turn filament in the bulb finds a ground through the running light circuit path via the running light filament. When you power the running lights the ground goes away.
My taillight housings were so bad they needed to be replaced. At one point it got so bad the trailer brakes would cut out when the running lights were turned on. Not so good on rainy days.
Haven’t had any issues since I cleaned all the grounding points on the lights, frame and TV umbilical connectors.

Good luck,
Tom.
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Old 08-09-2008, 10:15 PM   #4
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If the trailer checks out OK with your battery hook up, don't overlook fuses in the tow vehicle. Some have fuses for the trailer cicuits only. These could be blown but the vehicle lights would work normally.
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Old 08-10-2008, 10:45 AM   #5
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1967 17' Caravel
Thompsons Station , Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
It's fairly common that the circuits used for the lighting in the trailer are overloading the TV's capacities. What will probably fix your problem straight away is a 'powered tail light converter' that uses a hot lead from the battery to power the trailer's lights rather than drawing from the TVs tail light circuits directly. They are easy to install.

Did your 7 pin adapter have the extra wires for +12VDC, ground, brake and aux. molded into the rear of the new 7-way? If not, you might want to get one of those also.
My 7 pin adapter that I got from the auto parts store had a female end 4 pin connector (the ground was blank) and then extra wires for +12VDC, ground, brake and aux. as you described. It didn't matter that I didn't have the extra wires hooked up other than ground before I tested, correct?

I will look into the powered tail light converter.

Thanks.
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Old 08-10-2008, 10:51 AM   #6
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1967 17' Caravel
Thompsons Station , Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Nugler View Post
Sound like you’re run across the bane of all vintage owners. Ground faults. Did you check/connect the ground wires in the TV and trailer?
Another common problem is the exterior light housings are pop riveted to the body and after 40-some years they get so corroded that they no longer pass current under load.
The brake/turn filament in the bulb finds a ground through the running light circuit path via the running light filament. When you power the running lights the ground goes away.
My taillight housings were so bad they needed to be replaced. At one point it got so bad the trailer brakes would cut out when the running lights were turned on. Not so good on rainy days.
Haven’t had any issues since I cleaned all the grounding points on the lights, frame and TV umbilical connectors.

Good luck,
Tom.

Tom- this may be my problem. I did notice that the green was acting as a ground when I was using my multi-meter to check the umbilical connections. Something is odd and I will have to dig into it deeper. I know for sure that my white colored cable is grounded to the frame, I ground down a nice area on the frame under the subfloor where the umbilical enters the floor cavity from the A-frame, and bolted it tight. Is it possible that the ground isn't transferring properly from the frame to the skin?
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