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Old 03-16-2008, 03:43 PM   #1
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1960 22' Safari
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Wiring identification help needed

I'm trying to get my "new" 1960 safari ready for a trip to the smoky mountains in 2 weeks. The trailer was rescued from the weeds last fall. There are two electrical plugs coming out of the front of the trailer between the frame rails. The driver side one has four pins in the connector and is in good shape (the cord plugging into it only has two wires though.) The one on the passenger side is so rusted shut that I can't get the plug out of it and it obviously needs to be replaced. But I don't know what any of the wires are for at all. The passenger side one has several small red wires and one enclosed bundle (almost looks like an old smaller version of romex). Can anyone give me advice as to how to figure out what is what so I can replace them and get it working? Thanks for any help you have to offer.

Doug
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Old 03-16-2008, 04:01 PM   #2
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Wiring identification help

Greetings Doug!

I seem to remember that this arrangement was found on coaches that didn't come from the factory with a house battery. The cable with the appearance of "Romex", I suspect carried the 12-volt "charge" and ground so that the coach could have lights when stopped from the car while the balance of the running lights could be disconnected by pulling the other cable. By '64, the Univolt was standard and the cable was a single one similar to what is the norm today. I have several friends and acquaintances with '60 and '61 coaches that originally had similar setups and I believe that this was the explantion of the "twin" cables.

One possible method of checking would be to use a 12-volt battery equipped with wires having alligator clamps -- then check each wire to determine its function. My understanding is that there wasn't any apparent wire color/function relationship at that time in Airstream production.

Kevin
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:16 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice Kevin. Do you suggest I randomly start applying 12V to different wires and see what turns on? Isn't there a chance I'll fry something?

There was an aluminum box on the front of the trailer with two wires going to it. The box was narrow and wide just below the front window. It looks like a battery may have been in there at one time. I've gotten myself into a challenge this time!

Doug
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:24 PM   #4
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Doug,

I am just guessing here, but based on what I have seen in older units the "small romex" is most likely the brakes, check to see if they are connected in together. The other small red wires are most likely the clearance lights and brake/tail lights. Trying this out with a 12 volt power supply (battery) is a good idea, you will not fry anything doing this just leave anything on for too long especially the brakes, and of coarse make sure your grounded well or it wont work at all.
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Old 03-17-2008, 08:55 PM   #5
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Dave and Kevin. I pulled out my little portable 12V power supply and found one wire that was not bundled with the others and that was the ground. Putting 12V across the rest revealed my running, brake and blinker lights. It seems likely that the other "romex" type is the electric brakes (which I'm not using.)

So I'm guessing that the two wires in the other plug are to supply 12V to the trailer from the vehicle. I was planning on installing a battery. Should I attach the battery to that plug? I haven't been able to trace yet where those wires go. But I'll keep trying unravel the electrical tape around this mystery! Thanks for the advice, it's been a real help.
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:17 PM   #6
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Doug - the box you reference is the original battery box. It held what I would call a tractor battery - long and narrow. You can still get them at Tractor Supply or other farm supply store, if you want to keep the original setup.
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:24 PM   #7
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Wiring identification help needed

Greetings Doug!

If the 12-volt side of your electrical system is comparatively original, there isn't a power converter/charger as those did not appear until '64 (at least as standard equipment). The cord connecting to the tow vehicle was the only means of charging the battery (the oblong compartment accepts an agricultural 12-volt battery used by some John Deer tractors from the same time period). Those who I have known with coaches having this setup have usually combined the wiring such that a single connector can serve as with a more recent coach. It is one of those areas where personal preference and the degree to which you want to rettain original features can be a guide.

There are also two methods that those with whom I am acquainted with this era coach have employed to charge the battery (beyond what the tow vehicle can accomplish during the day). The simplest and most direct is to carry a small trickle charger that is attached to the battery each evening at the campground. The other method is to utilize a new power converter/charger with the attendant modifications to the wiring.

If you haven't located your 12-volt fuses, you might find that they are glass screw-in fuses similar to those utilized in homes of similar vintage. My information says that automotive type fuses didn't make their appearance until the Univolt was adopted.

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:32 PM   #8
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Thanks guys. I think I'm all set. Now I need to start learning about how to choose the right battery or batteries for our trailer. I know there are a ton of threads to read. Time to get to it. Thanks for all the help.

Doug
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