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Old 06-13-2016, 09:24 PM   #1
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I'm in a pickle! A dark one...

I was planning to be at the tire shop with my 88 Fleetwood first thing in the morning, but all of the sudden this old truck has no lights in the back end...

The interior is fine. I am speaking of tail lights, back up lights, brake lights, even the upper marker lights.

The side lights work to the rear axle, and they come on with the running lights, but no other lights beyond the axle.

Has anyone seen this before? what is my next step? I wonder if anyone knows of a weak spot, or a common spot to check for all these lamps that are dark...
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Old 06-13-2016, 11:52 PM   #2
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Have you been doing any work at the rear of the coach ?
Trailer light wiring ?
On my coach all the lighting circuits that you have problems with run through , one , multi wire connector , on the frame with wires running to each side and lens . I'd say trace the wiring back looking for a connector that has come apart.
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Old 06-13-2016, 11:56 PM   #3
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It really sounds like a bad [corroded] ground.

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Old 06-14-2016, 07:11 AM   #4
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Karl,
Is it just the tail, clearance lights, or does it include the turn signals? If it is just the tail/clearance lights, then it is a broken tail light wire along the frame. If it includes the turn signals, then it could be a bad ground wire.
Frank
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Old 06-14-2016, 09:48 AM   #5
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Thank you for the replies.

It is all the lights beyond the axle. I am thinking as well that it may be a ground, as the marker lights are common with the tail lights, but the brake lights, turn signals and whatnot are not common with them.

I will be looking for a corroded ground, as the camper is rife with them. Up in the cockpit I have entered a new ground bar, and as I find circuit after circuit with bad grounds. I guess it is not a stretch to think I have bad grounds back there as well. I am still looking however.
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Old 06-16-2016, 02:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Have you been doing any work at the rear of the coach ?
Trailer light wiring ?
On my coach all the lighting circuits that you have problems with run through , one , multi wire connector , on the frame with wires running to each side and lens . I'd say trace the wiring back looking for a connector that has come apart.
I cannot find any connector of the type you mentioned, but it makes sense to me too. Any ideas where to find it?

I did check for ground at the light fixtures, and least all the fixtures seem to have a good ground.
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Old 06-16-2016, 03:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
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I cannot find any connector of the type you mentioned, but it makes sense to me too. Any ideas where to find it?

I did check for ground at the light fixtures, and least all the fixtures seem to have a good ground.
Mine (a Winnebago) was above the gas tank on the left side. I had to pull on the wiring harness to get it to where I could disconnect it. It could also be up under the rear cap somewhere.

I would try to find the wiring harness as it goes along the chassis and follow it from just in front of the rear axle to the rear. If you can find where the side markers by the rear axle join the harness, the problem is most likely between there and the rear cap.

One trick you might want to try is to get some liquid electrical tape and a needle. You stick the needle in the wire where you want to check if there is power. Then you seal the wire with the liquid electrical tape. Regular electrical tape is not as good at keeping the elements out and may cause problems down the road.
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Old 06-16-2016, 07:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Mine (a Winnebago) was above the gas tank on the left side. I had to pull on the wiring harness to get it to where I could disconnect it. It could also be up under the rear cap somewhere.

I would try to find the wiring harness as it goes along the chassis and follow it from just in front of the rear axle to the rear. If you can find where the side markers by the rear axle join the harness, the problem is most likely between there and the rear cap.

One trick you might want to try is to get some liquid electrical tape and a needle. You stick the needle in the wire where you want to check if there is power. Then you seal the wire with the liquid electrical tape. Regular electrical tape is not as good at keeping the elements out and may cause problems down the road.
Mine has a large bundle of wires that goes along the frame up near the bottom of the floor, behind the storage compartments. My side markers are in front of the rear axle, and they split off from the wire loom at that point.

Right after, the wire harness goes over the top of the leaf springs, so it is out of sight till it gets behind the wheels, and then I can see it again. I fear the issue may be there, but it is not easy to get to...

Thanks again for your ideas and suggestions...
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Old 06-17-2016, 08:47 AM   #9
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Do you have a voltmeter?

Pull out one bulb and check to see if it has 12 volts on the center contact and or ground on the ring.

That will tell you in seconds what is wrong....not where but why it is bad.
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Old 06-17-2016, 08:51 AM   #10
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Assuming you have checked the fuses.
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Old 06-17-2016, 12:01 PM   #11
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Karl,
To check , take a jumper wire and run it from the negative on the chassis battery to the ground on one of the lights, this will eliminate the ground wire, if this gives you all your back lights, then you know for sure that it your ground wire, you can trace it to find the problem, or run another wire and tie it in to your harness where you can get to it on both sides.
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Old 06-17-2016, 07:07 PM   #12
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Unwrapping miles of electrical tape, and dozens of feet of wire harness, yards of wire loom, and I found a flat 4 wire bundle that went into some tape, and ended...

Last trip of last year, I went to Acres of Wildlife in Maine, and they have a 2 or 3 mile entrance road, that was so bumpy and washboarded that I told them I would never return, and the friend who suggested it and I had words...

Anyway, I thought I survived it, they graded the road over the weekend, so it was actually better on Sunday on the way out.

Now I see that this wire had gone into some repair wiring, with crimp connectors. Often, these wires are fine, but in this case, these wires broke right at the point they would have been pinched by the crushed by the crimping.

So, attached that and had to guess at some of the nonstandard wire colors and paths.

So far, I have running lights back, road side signal markers, back up lights, and brake lights on the driver's side...

Passenger side has running lights, and back up lights only. I could not get the right side blinkers to work, and with this model, the brake and signal lights are the same 2nd element in the running light bulb.

Interestingly, even though I cannot get the right blinker to work, I can get that lamp on with the 4 way flashers...

Brake lights do not work, nor turn signals, yet 4 way flashers do... Yikes!
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Old 06-17-2016, 10:15 PM   #13
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Look for fuse.
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Old 06-19-2016, 01:57 PM   #14
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This pickle is sliced and diced, and back in the jar.

I got my lights working, thanks for all the ideas and help.

There was a point where that 4 wire flat wire did go into 4 crimp ties. I am guessing it was some aftermarket work, but it is hard to tell. Wire colors did swap back and forth some, but I don't know if it was fleetwood or some other person who did all that.

I did have to unwrap a lot of electrical tape, and found lots of excess wire that was folded back on itself, and taped in like that. Not too much wire loom, but some of that as well.

Now, all is working, and while I will use some insulators like electrical tape and wire looms, I think the largest culprit was gravity. There were points where the wire bundle went 3 or 4 feet without being supported. It was not hanging, but surely has room to flop around.

I will bundle it tight, and use an excess of zip ties. At some point I may regret the dozens of ties I plan to use when I button this up, but I will make a very tight bundle, that has very little ability to shake itself apart.
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