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Old 12-05-2021, 11:03 PM   #1
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2018 25' International
Bakersfield , California
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Bonehead mistake, now what?

Yesterday I accidently damaged the 7 way cable on my 2018 25 ft. International when unbeknownst to me a section of cable was under my jack plate as I was unhitching my trailer. You guessed it I brought down the jack and put a massive amount of load to my cable. The load was so severe it bent and pulled the 7 way plug out of my 2019 Ford F-150 bumper socket (see photo of damage).

Initially I thought all was well when I found all the signals and lights were functioning. It wasnt until I tried to move my trailer I found the electric brakes were activating when the 7 way plug was put in its socket. My guess is I caused damage within the cable making the brakes activate when power is applied to the cable. I also wont rule out the plug and/or its bumper mounted recepticle socket were damaged by my actions.

I am on a tight budget and would like to try and fix my stupid mistake. Any ideas on troubleshooting this and possible repairs would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and Merry Christmas!!!
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Old 12-05-2021, 11:15 PM   #2
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Gotta be half a dozen videos on youTube about 7-pin trailer connectors. Watch the videos, get the tools, do the job.
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Old 12-06-2021, 06:02 AM   #3
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The first thing I would do is determine whether or not the brakes are activated when NOT plugged in to the tow vehicle. If they are, your batteries will get a workout.
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Old 12-06-2021, 06:12 AM   #4
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Assuming that you didn't damage the socket on your truck, a temporary fix to get you home might be to split open the outer jacket and separate all the internal wiring. Check for any that are broken, and then carefully tape any broken/split insulation with electrical tape. If any wires are actually cut or broken you'll need to fix them with butt connectors first.

My guess is that you crushed things hard enough to push the conductors from multiple wires through the insulation and caused some shorting.
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Old 12-06-2021, 06:30 AM   #5
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Have you looked behind the bumper at the truck harness and receptacle?

The cable was under the jack plate and got crushed. Very likely the insulation under the black outer sheath is damaged and the CHARGE line wire is touching the BRAKE wire. At minimum open the sheath and inspect but if it's crushed time to replace the cable.

This is one I got into on a utility trailer with a crushed cable, similar internal damage.

Gary

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Old 12-06-2021, 06:36 AM   #6
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The trailer brakes are not activating when the 7 way is disconnected from TV.

After some further research it seems short of replacing the entire 7 way cable a common fix is a weatherproof junction box and a new 7 way cable/plug. Most reviews of 7 way replacement cables indicate they are not wired to US specs. I dont have an ohm meter but I do have a simple light tester. Hopefuly I can use it to figure out how the new cable is wired and properly connect it to my existing cable.
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Old 12-06-2021, 07:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckysgt663 View Post
Most reviews of 7 way replacement cables indicate they are not wired to US specs. I dont have an ohm meter but I do have a simple light tester. .
luckysgt663,

I replaced my entire cable earlier this year. The Hopkins 20048 is 11' long, flat blade mounded plug and each position, color and wire gauge matched my 2007 AS cable config.

https://hopkinstowingsolutions.com/?.../7-blade/20048

Now add a multimeter to the tool box, you will appreciate having one. And yes it was a little bit nasty for a first R&R but I chose not to use the junction box on the tongue just so I didn't have another set of connections in this cable. I do have a few tips if you decide to do a full cable.

Gary
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Old 12-06-2021, 07:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckysgt663 View Post
The trailer brakes are not activating when the 7 way is disconnected from TV.

After some further research it seems short of replacing the entire 7 way cable a common fix is a weatherproof junction box and a new 7 way cable/plug. Most reviews of 7 way replacement cables indicate they are not wired to US specs. I don't have an ohm meter but I do have a simple light tester. Hopefully I can use it to figure out how the new cable is wired and properly connect it to my existing cable.

I did exactly that. I bought a Bargman junction box (just like the one inside the trailer) and a short replacement cable. Also get, if you don't have, a package of crimp lugs and a crimper (not expensive at Walmart) to ensure good connections in the box. I mounted the box on the A-frame near the jack, cut the existing cable (be careful, the charge line is connected to your trailer batteries) and wired by matching colors from the old cable to the new one. Be sure to get a quality cable. The first one I got had only one finger for each contact. I found one that had two fingers that pinched the truck pin to make a good connection. I paid a little more for the quality cable at retail from a local camper dealer so that I could inspect it before I bought it. They had good cables and not so good cables.
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Old 12-06-2021, 08:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckysgt663 View Post
The trailer brakes are not activating when the 7 way is disconnected from TV.

After some further research it seems short of replacing the entire 7 way cable a common fix is a weatherproof junction box and a new 7 way cable/plug. Most reviews of 7 way replacement cables indicate they are not wired to US specs. I dont have an ohm meter but I do have a simple light tester. Hopefuly I can use it to figure out how the new cable is wired and properly connect it to my existing cable.
Not sure what you mean by US specs. Not all of the cords follow the same color coding, but if the wire size is the same and the plug end is the same they'll still work. You'll just have to adjust the color code accordingly.
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Old 12-06-2021, 10:29 AM   #10
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Don't know if you travel to cold weather but where you're going to replace the 7 pin cable I would suggest one for cold weather if so. Mine was blue in color, got it from E Trailer. Not a bad job to do, it came marked and color coded. Hope the truck plug wasn't damaged. Good luck.
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Old 12-06-2021, 10:29 AM   #11
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I made a “bonehead” mistake with my 1997 Safari. The 7 way cable came down on the highway and rubbed through. I was driving on the I90 and as I approached the tool booth near Buffalo I had no trailer brakes. Scary.
I pulled off and went to Home Depot and purchased some butt connectors and a crimp tool.
I sat in the parking lot and cut each cable joining them with a butt connector. After I had reconnected I wrapped the joined section in black tape.
One returning home I purchased and replaced the entire cable.
I also have an F-150 and I believe you can replace that 7 way plug fairly easily.

Hope you managed to get back on the road.
Be safe
Regards,
Keith Stamper
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Old 12-06-2021, 11:22 AM   #12
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I have replaced two 7-way cords recently with this cord and box from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 The cord is long so you might want to shorten it. I just installed the box on the A-frame and connected the wires. Very happy with both installations. Good luck.
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Old 12-06-2021, 11:27 AM   #13
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Our last update to our F 150 resulted in our trailer lights always being on so even in the day time you can check that your plug is in (separate from the trailer light status option in the dash controls). Of course now the PD can tell easier if you have lights out. They claim it was a Gov. mandate.
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Old 12-06-2021, 11:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
Assuming that you didn't damage the socket on your truck, a temporary fix to get you home might be to split open the outer jacket and separate all the internal wiring. Check for any that are broken, and then carefully tape any broken/split insulation with electrical tape. If any wires are actually cut or broken you'll need to fix them with butt connectors first.

My guess is that you crushed things hard enough to push the conductors from multiple wires through the insulation and caused some shorting.
AGREE

Been There Done that
Use crimp-on connectors to reestablish the broken wires. You have probably damaged the brake wire and the 12 V supply wire to the trailer and they are now connected...direct short
I successfully patched up my umbilical and it worked for several months until I got home and replaced it.
When you do replace, suggest you install a junction box under the trailer rather than replace inside the cabin. Wires are often run into inaccessible places. A new umbilical wall run about $40

My accident (twice) was the extra long umbilical left over from a former Hensley Hitch, that got pinched under the tongue and hitch head during a tight turn. Watch how you route the cable when hooked up. Passing it through the clevis pin loop on the ball release lever works for a lot of people.

JCW
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Old 12-07-2021, 04:27 AM   #15
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Excellent Advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acheron2010 View Post
Gotta be half a dozen videos on youTube about 7-pin trailer connectors. Watch the videos, get the tools, do the job.
After you go through a video or two and check ALL the connections inside of both plugs, more than likely the issue is in the trailer plug, if nothing found, the seven wire cord is smashed and you’ll have to splice in a section from the smash. Use the heat shrink butt connectors, probably the blue ones. Cut all the wires to a different length while matching that length to the new piece of cord. This is so you don’t have a ball of butt connectors in one spot. Then you’ll need about a foot of 3/4 or 1 inch heavy duty heat shrink….the kind with the hot glue inside. Everything else you need to know will be in the videos.
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Old 12-11-2021, 04:51 PM   #16
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Found the damage

The damage to my rig occured where the 7 way cable exits the trailer frame as can be seen in pic. Behind the damage the cable exits the boxed frame and runs a short distance to the point it enters the trailer body. Not much area to place the all weather junction box and wire in the new cable with plug. not sure if it would be easier to put the box inside the trailer?
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Old 12-11-2021, 06:25 PM   #17
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The good news is that you found the problem.

Time for a new 7-wire cord, complete from one end to the other.

On mine Airstream had connected the 7-wire to the main harness with crimp connectors inside the front of the trailer behind the furniture. I added the junction box with screw terminals when I installed the new 7-wire cord as it will make it easier the next time.

My though is that it's better to replace the whole thing anyhow, as splicing cords together just gives extra potential weak points where voltage drop can occur.

It does look like you're missing the rubber grommet where the cable goes through the frame, so either find the grommet if it got pushed out of place or wrap all those wires in a short length of rubber hose to protect them from rubbing through in the future.
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Old 12-12-2021, 11:40 AM   #18
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Hi

Once you replace the 7 pin connector, the cost savings vs a connector plus cable "assembly" are pretty small. Labor hours wise, running a new one vs splicing, waterproofing, and strain reliefing a repair .... not much difference.

If indeed saving $6 on the repair and possibly having it fail in a couple years is worth the money then go for a bunch of splices ....

Bob
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Old 12-13-2021, 06:43 AM   #19
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Big Difference!

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Once you replace the 7 pin connector, the cost savings vs a connector plus cable "assembly" are pretty small. Labor hours wise, running a new one vs splicing, waterproofing, and strain reliefing a repair .... not much difference.

If indeed saving $6 on the repair and possibly having it fail in a couple years is worth the money then go for a bunch of splices ....

Bob
Well….By the time you disassemble half the trailer to get to the junction box then route the new 7 wire to it which the trailer was built around then reassemble you are looking at a couple days vs an hour or two. Properly spliced using heat shrink hot glue connectors will last as long as the trailer!
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Old 12-13-2021, 05:53 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
Assuming that you didn't damage the socket on your truck, a temporary fix to get you home might be to split open the outer jacket and separate all the internal wiring. Check for any that are broken, and then carefully tape any broken/split insulation with electrical tape. If any wires are actually cut or broken you'll need to fix them with butt connectors first.

My guess is that you crushed things hard enough to push the conductors from multiple wires through the insulation and caused some shorting.



Good comment. SHORTING BECAUSE OF THE SMASHING OF THE 7-PIN CABLE is the cause at its most basic. It will likely run the batteries down if the shorting applies the brakes. I HATE trying to work with this cable. It was likely damaged at a point too far from just cutting it off and reattaching the female connector and hoping that it reaches the truck. Also, when repairing it, I would solder the cut ends of said cable before attaching it to the female connector to ensure a good connection. Put some dielectric grease on the wire ends before connecting as well, because it resists corrosion, the enemy of conductivity. Sometimes you also have to rehab the female 7 pin connecter due to corrosion, with a needle file or the like to restore bare brass for conductivity. Good luck with it. Might be time to call in the pros, especially if you have to add on a foot or two of cable in order to reach the socket connector on the truck...........or replace the entire cable on the trailer back to the first splice.
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