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Old 12-06-2008, 03:49 PM   #1
Rivet Master
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1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,188
Amazing what a good ground can do for you!

Last Friday evening we were loading up the 310 for its maiden trip to its new home in Kentucky. We loaded it down with a lot of nicely painted 1951 Dodge pickup parts that are waiting to be put on the truck I'm restoring. We figured the Motorhome would provide a nice cushy ride for the parts. We also hooked up a flatbed trailer loaded with Susan's Isetta. Susan was hoping to get an early start in the morning and all that was left to do before she pulled out was to verify the trailer lights were working properly. Since it was late and we were both tired we put that chore off till Saturday morning. Big mistake.....

So Saturday morning I'm standing behind the trailer and signal Susan to go through the paces of checking the lights. First thing that happened was when she pushed the brake pedal all the lights started flashing on the Motorhome AND the trailer. What the . Next she tried the turn signals and same problem, all the lights would flash .

My first inclination was there was a ground problem between the trailer and the Motorhome. I checked that out and it wasn't the problem (or so I thought). I poked away at the problem for a LONG time and we even went so far as to pull the LED lights from the rear of the Motorhome and replaced them with standard bulbs. No go.

After thinking about the problem for quite a while I felt it HAD to be a ground problem. We verified the trailer was ok by hooking it up to our F350 pickup. No problems there. So we reconnected to the Motorhome and I set about tracing down the problem. I finally isolated it to the ground connection between the hitch connector on the Motorhome and the Motorhome frame.

The hitch connector was mounted to the aluminum bumper and thats where the ground wire from the female hitch connector was grounded. As a quick test I hooked a wire from the steel frame to the hitch connector and everything worked fine. It would appear there is enough corrosion between the aluminum bumper and the Motorhome frame to cause high resistance making the ground connection useless.

I ended up running a wire from the ground connector located on the frame at the rear to the hitch connector itself and problem solved. Unfortunately Susan ended up getting about a 2-1/2 to 3 hour late start . All because I didn't consider the corrosion posibility between the aluminum bumper and frame.

Hopefully sometime next year I will be able to go through ALL of the ground and electrical connections on the Motorhome. I'm sure after 24 years they are in need of attention.

Air forums # 1674
1974 20' Argosy Motor Home
1974 31' Excella trailer (parting out, as of 4/1/2015 I have wheels, brake drums, windows & holding tanks left to sell)
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