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Old 09-21-2021, 01:55 PM   #1
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1978 Argosy 24
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2021
Posts: 8
Is it the marker lights, or the wiring, or both?

So I just picked up this 1978 Argosy 24 and overall it's in pretty decent shape. My first project is to get the exterior marker/running lights working as I'll need to tow this from Texas to Oregon soon.

I bought an adapter that goes from the round 7-pin connector to the blade style on my SUV as step one plugged everything in.

Here is a picture of what seems to be working:




After doing this initial test, I took off some lens covers and all the bulbs appear to be in good shape and not burnt out... the rest of the light unit interior appears (to my inexperienced eye at least) to also be in decent shape.








Any advice from the experts on further diagnosing the root cause? THANKS!
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Old 09-21-2021, 02:52 PM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Welcome to the Forums!

The first thing you need to do is figure out if the 7 pin plug has the original configuration or has been modernized. In the original configuration, pretty much everything will be mixed up. I would expect that you would have trouble with the signal lights, brake lights, etc. From your picture, I would guess this is the first issue, though you could have others as well. You really will need a volt-ohm meter that you can use to test continuity from the pin to the light in question.

All of those marker lights are daisy-chained together, so if you lose the wire upstream of any of the lights, they will all be out. Each light is grounded to the shell for a return, so the ground to the shell could be resistive, or the main ground from the DC system to the chassis could be missing or corroded.

Good luck!
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Old 09-21-2021, 04:39 PM   #3
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1978 Argosy 24
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2021
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
Welcome to the Forums!

The first thing you need to do is figure out if the 7 pin plug has the original configuration or has been modernized. In the original configuration, pretty much everything will be mixed up. I would expect that you would have trouble with the signal lights, brake lights, etc. From your picture, I would guess this is the first issue, though you could have others as well. You really will need a volt-ohm meter that you can use to test continuity from the pin to the light in question.

All of those marker lights are daisy-chained together, so if you lose the wire upstream of any of the lights, they will all be out. Each light is grounded to the shell for a return, so the ground to the shell could be resistive, or the main ground from the DC system to the chassis could be missing or corroded.

Good luck!
Thanks for the warm welcome :-)

I'm not certain if anything has been modernized... doing my best to search and learn about the systems on this trailer.

Here is a photo of the trailer plug:



Perhaps I should dive into the wiring diagram and see if I can wire up the harness to the blade style plug.
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Old 09-21-2021, 07:28 PM   #4
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1973 21' Globetrotter
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Your best bet would probably be to just replace the round pin receptacle on the front of the trailer with either a modern flat blade variety, or just get an umbilical with a plug for your tow vehicle on one end and loose wires on the other, and hard wire it in place. But again, you are going to have to get a modern wiring diagram (available from etrailer.com), and then figure out what wire goes where on your trailer, and wire the plug to be compatible with your vehicle.
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Old 09-22-2021, 09:45 AM   #5
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2017 30' Classic
2022 Interstate 24X
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PachariAdv View Post
Thanks for the warm welcome :-)

I'm not certain if anything has been modernized... doing my best to search and learn about the systems on this trailer.

Here is a photo of the trailer plug:



Perhaps I should dive into the wiring diagram and see if I can wire up the harness to the blade style plug.
Hi

That pretty much settles the "has it been modernized" debate. That version of the 7 pin has not been put on new vehicles for a long time.

Simple answer is to buy a new / modern / up to date 7 pin with the cable already attached. Feed it in to the front of the trailer along the same route the old one took. You likely will find points on the old cable that are in pretty tough shape as you do.

Once you have it into the trailer, you likely will find a terminal strip that connects the 7 pin cable to the trailer wiring. This is where the fun starts. One wire is ground and that should be easy to spot. There is one that goes to the 12V bus, your voltmeter is your friend here, it will read 12V to ground on that terminal.

The rest ... hmmm... the drill is to apply 12V to each of them in turn and see what goes clunk ( the brakes ) or lights up. Some care is needed here. If there's a short downstream, you don't want to hook the battery straight to it. Some sort of current limited setup (bulb in series with wire, bench power supply ....) would be the best thing to use.

As you spot what's what, put a label on it. Over the coming years, that will come in handy.

Fun !!!

Bob
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Old 09-22-2021, 09:57 AM   #6
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1978 Argosy 24
Dallas , Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

That pretty much settles the "has it been modernized" debate. That version of the 7 pin has not been put on new vehicles for a long time.

Simple answer is to buy a new / modern / up to date 7 pin with the cable already attached. Feed it in to the front of the trailer along the same route the old one took. You likely will find points on the old cable that are in pretty tough shape as you do.

Once you have it into the trailer, you likely will find a terminal strip that connects the 7 pin cable to the trailer wiring. This is where the fun starts. One wire is ground and that should be easy to spot. There is one that goes to the 12V bus, your voltmeter is your friend here, it will read 12V to ground on that terminal.

The rest ... hmmm... the drill is to apply 12V to each of them in turn and see what goes clunk ( the brakes ) or lights up. Some care is needed here. If there's a short downstream, you don't want to hook the battery straight to it. Some sort of current limited setup (bulb in series with wire, bench power supply ....) would be the best thing to use.

As you spot what's what, put a label on it. Over the coming years, that will come in handy.

Fun !!!

Bob
Thanks for the reply Bob, much appreciated. I have a new plug w/ harness arriving today so I'll be doing exactly as you mention.

I lucked out and the original manual was still w/ the trailer so I have the wiring diagram... but of course will still double check everything to make sure it hasn't changed!





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Old 09-22-2021, 01:56 PM   #7
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1997 25' Safari
Laurel , Maryland
Join Date: Jan 2020
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Plug replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by PachariAdv View Post
Thanks for the warm welcome :-)

I'm not certain if anything has been modernized... doing my best to search and learn about the systems on this trailer.

Here is a photo of the trailer plug:



Perhaps I should dive into the wiring diagram and see if I can wire up the harness to the blade style plug.
Wow! Seeing the condition of that plug. Replace it!
Amazon has replacement cords for situations like this…... Search : RV 7 pin plug.
I replaced mine on a 96 Safari, I got the one with an 8’ cord and connector box. I did shorten the cord a bit costing me the extra time in instal. Took me about an hour? to do it. (using a couple of feet of the original cord and spliced it onto the inside of the trailer tongue. The box makes for a convenient test point, and doesn’t make you tear up the trailer
Doing this you will have a better looking and functioning umbilical cord. Rick
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Old 09-22-2021, 04:02 PM   #8
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1978 Argosy 24
Dallas , Texas
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Thanks for the comments everyone!

I just finished wiring in a new 7 blade plug and that seems to have fixed the majority of my issues. I'm very happy to see most of the lights now working!

A few of the upper marker lights need to be cleaned up due to some corrosion and should be good to go after that... and a few bulbs do need to be replaced.

Is there a resource anywhere that lists out the bulb numbers needed for each light? I may just replace them all for good measure.
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Old 09-22-2021, 04:23 PM   #9
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1978 Argosy 24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PachariAdv View Post
Is there a resource anywhere that lists out the bulb numbers needed for each light? I may just replace them all for good measure.

Heh, not sure how I missed this page before... but imagine that, here it is in the manual!

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Old 09-23-2021, 06:51 AM   #10
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Hi

These days, I would not bother with old style incandescent bulbs. I'd go looking for LED replacements. They will last pretty much forever in this application. Way less potential for "embarrassment" when the cop pulls you over to mention that this or that light is out .... (yes I do have first hand experience with that conversation ..... )

Bob
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Old 09-23-2021, 07:23 AM   #11
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2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , Milky Way
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Yes, Got all ours at LED4RV

Used a pad for the B/U and regular led cluster bulbs for stop & turn.

I used LED's in all exterior except the running lights. Our lights have a removable lens with gasket and need the heat from incandescent bulbs to evaporate the condensation that inevitably forms.

NOTE....I am cheap and wouldn't spend the exorbitant amount for new teardrops that were supposed to be sealed but likely aren't.

Bob
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