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Old 11-22-2011, 08:46 AM   #1
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trailer wiring problem

just put on a new wiring harness on my trailer, simple 5 wire harness white-ground, yellow-left blinker, green-right blinker and the two running light wires -brown/red. when i break it shuts off the tail lights, when i use the blinkers it blinks on and totally off, not bright to brighter, the white harness wire is grounded to the tongue, also the tail lights have 3 wires coming out of them, one being white, (assuming ground) i grounded that wire to the rear frame, any ideas what to do to fix?

thanks dave
gowen mi
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Old 11-22-2011, 08:56 AM   #2
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sounds like a bad ground to me. Check that you have a good ground on both side of the connector. Not just that it is tight, but it is a good true ground. Also make sure the area used for a ground is clean and unpainted.

I know you say everything is grounded, but when the taillights and brake lights are used at the same time, it creates the maximum amp load on the trailer lights. If any of your ground connections are weak or bad, you will experience the problem you are seeing.
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Old 11-22-2011, 09:13 AM   #3
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Because your trailer is grounded doesn't mean your tow vehicle is? If you've just installed the ground wire on the trailer - I would look at the tow vehicle side. It's just as important.

FWIW, you can ground through the trailer ball, though that connection can prove troublesome/erratic especially when the trailer hasn't been towed in a while. It usually takes some time/miles to allow everything "working" together to get a good connection. Until that happens, problems like you're describing are not unusual.
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Old 11-22-2011, 09:22 AM   #4
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If you scroll down the link below there is a 5 wire diagram. I recently went thru a similiar project and this was helpful to me. ZI would encourage you to ground the trailer to tow vehicle by wire, not use the hitch ball.



Wiring Diagrams
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Old 11-22-2011, 09:57 AM   #5
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thanks for all the quick responses, did i do the right thing by grounding the tail light ground wire to the frame of the trailer 6 inches from the light?

thanks again
dave
gowen mi
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:05 AM   #6
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You need to ground the whole system, not just one light as it sounds like you may have done. The white wire off the connector needs to go to a ground on the trailer. If you connected to a ground from a light you may not get the grounding for the whole trailer.
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Old 11-22-2011, 11:24 AM   #7
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awesome info, thanks

dave
gowen mi
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Old 11-22-2011, 11:25 AM   #8
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as far as grounding the lights, yes you did right. Sometime manufacturers use the mounting screws. That may provide a weak ground. By attaching to the frame, as long as the connection is paint free, you provided a better ground there.

But as other pointed out, make sure you do the same thing at the trailer plug as well as the tow vehicle plug. All 4 points need a good ground and will provide a common ground between the two vehicles.
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Old 11-22-2011, 09:51 PM   #9
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It seems almost all of my trailer wiring problems have been ground. I have a utility trailer that I replaced all lights and wiring. All of the lights were so dim you could hardly see that that were on. I finally ran a new ground wire from the trailer tongue all the way to each rear tail light. Success. Now all of the lights are bright and easy to see...........hope this helps......ronspradley
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Old 11-27-2011, 01:58 PM   #10
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troubles still

ok, i have checked the source plug by clipping on my ground and touching each connector while checking my breaks, blinkers and running lights, works great...........however my trailer lights are a different story.

i have the yellow wire(left blinker) running right to the yellow wire on the left tail light
i have the green wire(right blinker) running right to the green wire on the right tail light
i have the brown wire running right to the left tail light hooked to brown wire from tail light
i have the brown/red wire running right to the right tail light hooked the the brown wire from the tail light

now for my ground, each tail light has a white wire, i have grounded this wire to the back frame of trailer with the same bad results
also...
i have run a ground wire from the tail light ground wire all the way to the ground on the tongue the identical bad results.

my ground on the tongue was cleaned with a drill wire bush cleaning all paint or rust from the spot and drilled the white ground wire from the harness into the frame with a self tapping screw.

these are the results...
left and right blinker work
tail running lights work

however when i turn on left blinker the light goes on and off not bright to brighter and same with the left

when i press the brakes it totally shuts off tail lights.

i must be missing something very simple, this has been a frustrating problem

help!!!

thanks dave
gowen mi
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Old 11-27-2011, 02:59 PM   #11
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This is the classic ground problem, without a doubt. The question is where are you loosing it? Is this trailer's tongue bolted or welded to the rest of the frame? If bolted, run a jumper from the tongue to the frame. That'll guarantee you aren't loosing it that way. Tilt trailers are famous for that one.
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:02 PM   #12
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The trailer ground must be ran through the trailer to truck plug, forget about trying to maintain a good ground using the trailer hitch. The diagram previously provided (post#4) is correct.
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:18 PM   #13
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wiring

right now i have the ground wires running back from the ground wire on the tail light to the tongue ground and then also the the ground wire coming from the truck with the same results. the trailer is all welded connections nothing is bolted.

i have never been so lost#%@$##

thanks for the help
dave
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Old 11-27-2011, 05:59 PM   #14
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I still believe your problem is a faulty ground. Try not running any of your ground wires to the frame. On your trailer run the ground wires directly from the lights to the plug at the trailer tongue. And feeding a temporary jumper wire from the ground on your tow vehicle battery to the vehicle plug that goes to the trailer. That will at least temporarily give you battery ground directly from the battery to the lights. If that does not work, I think your problem is in the connector you are using for your trailer. That would mean your ground wire is not making a good connection at this plug. Hope this helps.

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