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Old 05-21-2019, 11:13 AM   #1
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'03 Tradewinds 395LE Trailer Wiring

Hey everyone,

I like this group of National Owners, you are all always extremely helpful. I have an '03 395LE and I'm trying to get my trailer hook up squared away. I have a 6-way plug mounted on the bumper that seems to have been a factory install. There is a small 4-pin harness up under the dash that I am hoping is the trailer controller harness, but I'm yet to test that.

My trailer is a 7-way plug -- IF that small 4-pin harness is the brake controller harness, what adapter should I use to connect the 7-way plug to the 6-way receptacle on the bumper? Or should I just get a replacement 7-way receptacle for the bumper?

The 4-pin harness is not labeled under the dash, so I'm just hoping its the trailer brake controller connection.
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Old 05-21-2019, 07:58 PM   #2
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Update!

So I got under the dash with a multimeter-
That harness doesnít have any 12V anywhere on it. Iím not sure what it is, but I went to the back of the rig and tested the trailer 6-way receptacle. It is 100% functioning, and when my wife pressed the brake, the voltage went to 12V on the brake controller pin. So that tells me it is set up at least. The problem is, there is no gain control on that pin at the moment, so if I hook up a trailer and press the brake, 12V is gonna go to the hubs and lock up the trailer. So I have to find out where the controller plugs in. I have a sneaking suspicion that the 4pin harness under the dash is the connection.

Any ideas? I might cross post this into general MH issues to see if anyone else has insight too.

Thanks!
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Old 05-21-2019, 08:19 PM   #3
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JPaTV-

This link shows the standard 6-pin connector pinouts.

On coaches of your vintage, it was common to come from the factory with non-standard pinouts. For instance, instead of

Left turn/stop
Right turn/stop

it will have

Left turn
Right turn
Brake

If you connect a "normal" trailer or toad to a connector wired with a separate brake signal, it will not work correctly.

Check again; make sure the signals show up on the correct pins.

As far as the brake controller wires go, you can trace them with a wire tracer, or by putting some 12V into the "blue" wire (appropriately).
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Old 05-21-2019, 08:37 PM   #4
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Thanks for your reply!

With the multimeter, I measured this exact layout (photo attached)

When the brake pedal is pushed, the brake pin on the receptacle is energized with 12V. I understand the connectivity to the modern wiring and will address that after I find the location to connect the controller so the pin on the receptacle will work as designed.
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Old 05-21-2019, 08:46 PM   #5
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JPaTV-

In the absence of a trailer brake controller already installed in the coach, no voltage should appear at the "blue" pin when someone steps on the brake pedal. The fact that you get a voltage at that pin now means (to me) that something is not as it needs to be.

In contrast, when someone steps on the brake pedal, you should get a steady 12V at both the "yellow" and "green" pins. Does that occur?
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:20 AM   #6
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You pose a great question- I'm going to get the meter on those pins tonight and see what I come up with. Worst case, I think what I'm going to ultimately do is replace the 6-pin receptacle with a 7 so it conforms with my trailer instead of finding an adapter.

A thought I had this morning after reading your comment was perhaps the brake lights are on the one pin, the turn indicators are on green and yellow, and maybe there is no brake controller "blue" wire ran. This seems the most likely- but I'll get the meter on it later this evening and come back with my findings.

So in this case, if the brakes and signals are on separate pins of the receptacle, it seems I already have the trailer wiring done. I'll probably need the harness that combines the brakes and blinkers (my Mercedes Sprinter had that same wiring), and I'll just have to run the blue wire and hook up the 12V from the battery to the controller. (seems simple... just a lot of wiring!)

I'll come back later and post what I find!
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l1v3fr33ord1 View Post
JPaTV-

In the absence of a trailer brake controller already installed in the coach, no voltage should appear at the "blue" pin when someone steps on the brake pedal. The fact that you get a voltage at that pin now means (to me) that something is not as it needs to be.

In contrast, when someone steps on the brake pedal, you should get a steady 12V at both the "yellow" and "green" pins. Does that occur?

Ok-


So I tested the Green and yellow pins. When the brake is pressed, I get steady 12V on both, and when the blinker is engaged on each with the brake pressed, I do see the blinker fluctuating the voltage. When the brake is not pressed and the blinker is engaged on the respective pin, I see the fluctuating voltage therein.


I also see the same voltage on the brake controller pin when the brake is pressed. So I have 3 pins on the 6-pin receptacle providing braking indication.


I'm stumped.
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Old 05-23-2019, 05:49 AM   #8
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JPaTV-

It's positive news that the LT/stop and RT/stop connections appear to be wired correctly.

I examined a wiring diagram set for a Winnebago of the same era that was built on a Freightliner chassis. It has these six signals, originating on "chassis supplied wiring":

Left turn
Right turn
Parking lights
Ground
Brake
Backup

Here's a hypothesis: Your coach was originally wired the same as above. At a later date, someone wanted to tow a vehicle or a trailer without electric brakes. So, he wired in a 3-to-2 converter (link here), changing the signals to:

Left turn/stop
Right turn/stop
Parking lights
Ground
Brake
Backup

If the hypothesis is correct, you will:

1) Find a converter within a few feet of the coach hitch connector
2) (Perhaps) Find a backup signal on the center pin
3) Either
a) need to run a trailer electric brake controller wire from the dash to the connector, replacing the brake wire that is there, or
b) find the other end of the brake wire that feeds the hitch connector, and redirect it to your trailer electric brake controller.

There are some signs that your coach may have been wired for a trailer electric brake controller. See this link. The model year 2003 is on the cusp of being (fairly) certain it was pre-wired (the old "magic eight-ball" toy would return something like "reply hazy, try again.") . If you call Freightliner with your chassis serial number they may be able to help you.

Finally, if you have an owner's manual, does it say anything about the way the hitch connector is wired? Some do.
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:00 AM   #9
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Hey Mark,

I really appreciate your help and insight on this. I'm going to get under it today when I get home and see what I can find near the hitch. I'm also going to check the center pin to see if that's wired for reverse. I did test the center pin when nothing was engaged and it had a very small amount of voltage on it -- something like 0.04V.

So in any event, because its a 6-pin and my trailer is a 7-pin, I'm going to end up changing out the current receptacle on the bumper for a dual 7-pin/4-pin receptacle so once I get the wiring sorted, I should be able to pull with or without brakes.

So what I'm beginning to figure is that I'm probably going to end up running a new blue wire from the dash back to the receptacle and wiring 12V+ and a ground to the dash for the brake controller.

In any event, I'll be back here with my finding. Man, I cant say it again how thankful I am for your help. I wish I could buy you a beer or something.
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:48 PM   #10
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Ok. So I bought the 6-pin to 7-pin adapter and hooked it up. I backed the rig up to the trailer and plugged it in. Blinkers worked, brake indicators did not. In fact, the blinkers are the only things that worked properly. Running lights did not work. Interestingly, when the brake was pressed, the trailer license plate marker lighted up. So, I do believe at this point that the 6-pin was wired for something at one point.



The tail lights on the coach have brake and turn indicators on the same bulb, just as the trailer does. One thing, the trailer has all LED- so do I need an LED driver/converter?



I had originally said that the multimeter showed 12V on the pin that is supposed to be for electric brakes. coincidentally, 12V showed on the blinker pins when the brake was pushed also. So might I need one of those brake/blinker combiner modules to hook up in line before the receptacle? I have nothing in the manual for this trailer hitch setup. The way it is wired seems to be for someone's specific need and not very common for conventional trailers.
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Old 05-24-2019, 04:32 AM   #11
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Justin-

Hmm... I'm not sure the coach hitch connector is OK. Having the umbilical and trailer involved in troubleshooting complicates the process, as each may have its own issues.

For instance, the corss-lightng of the license plate light when pressing the coach brake pedal (which should have lit up all the parking lights, too) could be a sign of:

- a miswire and/or
- a poor or missing ground

I have an idea on how to make an effective, inexpensive test light that you can use while sitting in the coach driver's seat. It will take me a while to figure out. In the meantime, it would help if you inspected the wiring into the connector, as suggested in my prior post. Since you plan on switching to a 7-pin connector, this is not wasted time.

By the way, my family lived not far from Millersville. The area has changed so much that I tell folks "The place where I grew up doesn't exist anymore."
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Old 05-24-2019, 05:43 AM   #12
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Hey mark,

So I’ve used the trailer with my Silverado that has the brake controller on a 7pin hookup. The lights on the trailer all work as wired. So there is definitely something wonky going on with the wiring at the back of the coach. It was later last night when I got to working on it, but I’m going to get my test light out today and see what I can come up with In chancing out the 6pin to the 7pin.

I really appreciate all of your time on this, I owe you one sometime.
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Old 05-29-2019, 10:58 AM   #13
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Trailer Wiring Harnes Configuration

Justin:
This may be of no help whatsoever because I have a Dynomax chassis, but this is what I have.
My coach came with a 6 pin connecter installed. However, the blue wire in the harness was spliced into the rear cap harness feeding the Backup lights. I have an Allison transmission box in my front electrical compartment that houses 4 relays associated with the transmission. One relay provides 12 volts to a backup alarm and lights when in reverse. I never had an alarm and I don't care about having the lights!

I cut the blue lead out of the harness outside the box and connected it to the harness for my brake controller and also reconfigured the rear end splice to my new 7 pin connector. I have no clue why they didn't wire those ccts individually when they built the coach.
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Old 05-30-2019, 08:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeandRuth View Post
Justin:
This may be of no help whatsoever because I have a Dynomax chassis, but this is what I have.
My coach came with a 6 pin connecter installed. However, the blue wire in the harness was spliced into the rear cap harness feeding the Backup lights. I have an Allison transmission box in my front electrical compartment that houses 4 relays associated with the transmission. One relay provides 12 volts to a backup alarm and lights when in reverse. I never had an alarm and I don't care about having the lights!

I cut the blue lead out of the harness outside the box and connected it to the harness for my brake controller and also reconfigured the rear end splice to my new 7 pin connector. I have no clue why they didn't wire those ccts individually when they built the coach.

Hey mike and ruth!

Thanks for your reply! I have yet to get a meter back on everything, but I do know where the Alison box is, and I'm definitely going to look into your idea! I just have to get some free time to dedicate. I definitely need to get this sorted out over the next couple of weeks, and I prefer to not take it into the shop to do it, because I do think I can do this. I'll pop back in and report my finding when I can get a meter on the lines!

Thanks!
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