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Old 07-08-2009, 07:57 PM   #1
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1968 26' Overlander
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No running lights or tail lights...

Hi all,

When I towed my 1968 AS home a couple of weeks ago all the exterior lights worked, IE: L/R turn signals, running lights, brake lights and tail lights. Today I was checking to see if any of the bulbs need replacing and discovered that the running lights and tail lights are no longer working. The turn signal and brake lights are working properly. I don't think I did anything to effect the lights, but who know, maybe in my fumbling around maybe I did cause a problem.

I don't think it is the bulbs since 1) they were all recently working and 2) the brake and turn siginal lights work.

Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions as to what the problem could be.

Thanks for your help.

Pete
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:14 PM   #2
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Check the fuse on your tow vehicle, and the trailer to TV connecter. Adios,John
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:20 PM   #3
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All the lights on the TV work as they are supposed to, so I would think that would rule out a fuse as the problem.

The connection between the TV and AS looks good as well. As I said, everything was working a week or so ago so I don't "think" it is the connection.

Thanks...
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:27 PM   #4
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Depending on how new your TV is it will have a seperate fuse for your trailer lights. On my seven pin conecter the TV portion gets dirty and I sometimes lose a circuit till I manually clean the connecter. My 1995 F350 has seperate fuses & relays for all circuits on the 7 pin connecter. Adios, John
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:33 PM   #5
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First check to see if there is power at the socket. Those lights are chassis ground. Remove the bulb and check it with the meter---make sure the meter is set for DC (past experience from a good friend--another story!).

If nothing seems to work, try this---be careful as any ground you make will blow the 20amp fuse---in fact have a couple of extra fuses handy. Run a jumper with an alligator clip from your fuse box (circuit side of the fuse clip--)so you have a known 12v power source right by the lights. This way you can test circuit continuity and ground. Be sure to disconnect the circuit wires before using power from the jumper. Once you are set up connect the jumper to the hot side of the socket--the light should come on. If it doesn't test the light using the jumper and a second jumper connected to the AS skin/frame or any grounded part. If the light works you may just have some corroded sockets.

It may just be a case of old corroded sockets. That was part of a problem I had. I ended up just replacing the lights and sockets with LED sets and sealing them in.

I had a rear running light that would not power up no matter what I did. The amber rear curb side running light was also dead (same circuit). I ran a jumper from the middle running light to the side that did not work, now both are operating just fine. There was obviously a defect in the wire between the running lights since that circuit is a ground return.

If every thing still is dead

Be sure to put the jumper clip on the right circuit...(make sure the circuit fuse (20 amp)and the 12V feed fuse (30 amp?--I think) is good. If all other 12v are working it is not the main fuse. While I think of it, change the circuit fuse with one of the other fuses and see if there is still a problem. It only happened once to me but I did have a 20 amp fuse that looked perfectly good that was a dud.

Just a theory of mine but I try to avoid towing in the rain. I have noticed a lot more corrosion on rear lights than anywhere else--not just on AS...pretty much all brands. I suspect the vacuum caused by towing sucks some water in and eventually causes corrosion...of course there are a number of other things that cause the same problem.

Good thing we have an edit button....Diesel1's response reminded me...it would be best if you disconnected the tow vehicle during the tests I describe or you could blow fuses in the tow vehicle--this I know from first hand experience. What I am describing is just testing the circuit in question...tow vehicle connections is a different set of tests.
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:54 PM   #6
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I will check to see if the TV has a fuse for the trailer lights. It is a 1996 Dodge Ram 1500 and only had a 4-pin connector. I had a 7-pin and brake controller added before I got the AS. I guess it is possible that the 4-pin connector has a fuse in the TV and it is blown. Will look into that tomorrow.

Thanks.
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Old 07-08-2009, 09:31 PM   #7
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Just a thought, on my 73, all the lights were wacked out, I never thought I would find the problem, it was my old 1973 truck to rv connector all along.
today I took the thing apart, did some tighting up, then took a drumel tool with a chain saw sharping bit and gently brightened up all the sockets, just plugged it in and , glory to be, everything works. now Id like to find out what to spray into the sockets to protect them from corrosion, any ideas? good luck with your streamer, John
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Old 07-08-2009, 09:41 PM   #8
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Just a thought, on my 73, all the lights were wacked out, I never thought I would find the problem, it was my old 1973 truck to rv connector all along.
today I took the thing apart, did some tighting up, then took a drumel tool with a chain saw sharping bit and gently brightened up all the sockets, just plugged it in and , glory to be, everything works. now Id like to find out what to spray into the sockets to protect them from corrosion, any ideas? good luck with your streamer, John
Silicone spray and more silicone spray. It's impossible to put to much on the connectors.

Use the same stuff on new window and door gaskets which will extend their life.

Andy
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Old 10-16-2009, 08:33 PM   #9
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exact same thing happened to me tonight. I will check to see if my TV (2004 Nissan Titan) has a seperate fuse for the running lights.

Thanks.
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Old 10-17-2009, 07:42 AM   #10
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I had the exact same problem with the running lights two different times. The first time it was one of the pins on my truck connector. It got pushed back so it was not connecting with the connector on the cord that goes from the truck to the trailer. I used a needle nose pliers and pulled it back into position. The second time it was a wire on the Cord that came loose from the pin on the cord that connects to the trailer. It was still attached but very loose. It was tightend down and now it works great.

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Old 10-17-2009, 09:06 AM   #11
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now Id like to find out what to spray into the sockets to protect them from corrosion, any ideas? good luck with your streamer, John
Was at the Dodge dealer having the emergency break repaired and all my fluids changed out ... got to talking trucks with an old boy in the waiting room ... he is an auto worker here in town and he assembles trucks. When I told him about my random "lamp out" warning light and said that I would probably have to WD-40 all my lights he just looked at me and said "Lithium grease." I must have had a stupid expression on my face because he went on to say "You know, that white stuff you spray on your door latches ..." I knew what he was talking about and asked "Doesn't it short out?" He goes "Nope. You'll have no more problems ... did my whole truck." I haven't tested this yet but will probably do one tail light assembly to see first.
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Old 10-17-2009, 09:46 AM   #12
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Was at the Dodge dealer having the emergency break repaired and all my fluids changed out ... got to talking trucks with an old boy in the waiting room ... he is an auto worker here in town and he assembles trucks. When I told him about my random "lamp out" warning light and said that I would probably have to WD-40 all my lights he just looked at me and said "Lithium grease." I must have had a stupid expression on my face because he went on to say "You know, that white stuff you spray on your door latches ..." I knew what he was talking about and asked "Doesn't it short out?" He goes "Nope. You'll have no more problems ... did my whole truck." I haven't tested this yet but will probably do one tail light assembly to see first.
Bob
WD-40 is basically a cleaner that can be used for electrical terminals.

For long term terminal protection use "silicone spray."

The white lithium grease is good, but messy. I use it on my garage door hinges.

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Old 10-17-2009, 10:12 AM   #13
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No Lights

Pete,
Don't forget to check where the umbilical cable attaches inside the trailer. Some times one of the nuts will back off causing intermittent lights.

Like others I clean the connectors regularly. I prefer the LPS products, such as LPS ElectroClean for cleaning and the LPS heavy duty silicone to lube.

Also run you hand along the umbilical cable to be sure it has not possibly dragged the asphalt and scraped through one of the wires or check for any crimps where the wire may have been pinched during a sharp turn.
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Old 10-17-2009, 01:19 PM   #14
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now Id like to find out what to spray into the sockets to protect them from corrosion, any ideas? good luck with your streamer, John
Caig DeoxIt D5. Cleans and protects, made specifically for electrical connections.

Works wonders on dirty switches, too.
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Old 10-18-2009, 08:23 AM   #15
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I went down here to a trailer place and had them check the connector, they were very good at what they did, got me all set up with the running lights and the brakes, its very comforting and important that everything is working right, they also recommended that I just wire in the whole pigtail to the Airstream permanently, it makes perfect sense to me, that way I wont have to worry about the connectors getting worn out and loose in time.
John123
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Old 10-18-2009, 10:05 AM   #16
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It's possible that you have the same issue we had with the 67: The connection between the long "pigtail" that leads to the tow vehicle and the native wiring. We fought at off-and-on battle with running lights and tail lights (but not brake and signal lights) for several years, and lost continually. Finally, with help from folks here, I found the connection. There's a little hatch door, probably screwed or riveted in, on the bottom of the rig toward the right front. Remove it and check all connections. (If memory serves me right, that circuit is the green one.)


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Old 02-19-2010, 08:18 PM   #17
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This has been a very informative thread, after having the repair shop set up my Airstream lights, everything worked fine, after a good trip camping last summer, all lights worked, then the next trip, back to the same problem, no, blinkers, one brake light worked, no running lights. I,m back to the drawing board. then I hooked up my cargo trailer in which everything worked fine for years, well thats all messed up, perhaps there is now a short in my truck, oh boy.
John
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Old 02-19-2010, 09:41 PM   #18
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check the wiring at the plug of the tow vehicle.
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Old 02-20-2010, 08:53 AM   #19
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Quote:
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There's a little hatch door, probably screwed or riveted in, on the bottom of the rig toward the right front. Remove it and check all connections. (If memory serves me right, that circuit is the green one.)
Lynn
I had allowed myself to forget my running light problem . I can (or could last time I checked) jump wires at the pigtail and get lights- just not with the light switch. Its interesting that so many of us have the same issue of the running lights falling out while the turns and brakes do not. Its a PITA not being able to tow after dark or in the rain.

Lynn, I didn't even know about that hatch. Do all have them? One more thing to remember to fix.
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:21 AM   #20
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I'm not sure if all of them have the hatch in that particular location, but it must be near the front someplace. The big wire bundle, wrapped in rubber/plastic and leading to the truck, must attach someplace to the native wiring of the trailer. This bundle is sold as a unit, so to speak, with one end terminating in a plug, and the other ending with a wad of individual wires sticking out. It's the end where it connects to the trailer that seems to be a source of these problems.

But not that surprising, if you think about it. The connections have been down there, getting wet from time to time, for the last 30-40 years. I probably need to go down and check another of them, because I have the funny-fuzzy feeling that the charge wire is not doing its job to charge up the trailer battery while underway.

Oh, and Rodney, we owned the trailer for nearly ten years before I discovered the hatch, and that was only because somebody else here in Airforums told me to get down on the ground and look!


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