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Old 09-14-2010, 04:35 PM   #1
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Do Toad Light Cables Wear Out???

I have a round, 7 pin light cable for my Ford Explorer Toad. It's 3.5 years old and has 30,000 miles of use. Recently, about half the time I connect I need to play with it to get the connections working.

Do these cables wear out in this time frame or is there a good "fix" for the connection problem? It seems the problem is with the connection at the coach and not the toad. I've had limited success using a spray contact cleaner.

Any tips or insights would be appreciated.



Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

2007 Itasca Ellipse 40FD
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Old 09-14-2010, 04:43 PM   #2
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On each end (coach and toad), the cord plugs into a connector that has small pins on the end of each wire. I have found when connections are not always good that it helps to gently spread the pins inside the connector. They have thin slots in the pins, and the pin heads can be gently spread by inserting a thin knife blade of similar tool into the slots. This can help the pin to make a better connection to the cable end when it is plugged in.

There can also be problems inside the connector if the cable end comes loose ...this can be caused by pulling on the cable itself when disconnecting rather than pulling only on the connector body.

Paul (KE5LXU) ...was fulltimin', now parttimin'
'03 Winnebago UA 40e / '05 Honda Odyssey toad
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Old 09-14-2010, 04:51 PM   #3
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Rick, the connectors get worn, also the wiring can break, especially at the ends where they get flexed all the time. The broken wires can cause an intermittent connection as well as a totally open connection.

As AFChap mentions, you may be able to spread out the split pins in the male connectors, but if it is the female side (the cord side) you may have to replace the connector.

If the connector is removable (i.e. you can take apart, not molded onto the cable) you can relatively easily remove it, noting all the connections, re-strip the wires and replace it with a new one. New ones can be had from Northern Tools, some auto stores and even Wal*Mart (they actually have a good trailer lighting and electrical section).

Even if it is molded, you can replace it with one from the above sources, just cut the old connector off, leaving enough of the cable on the molded connector to strip it back and meter out to which pin each color wire connects.

Stewart, Brenda and kids
2008 Newmar Canyon Star 3410
2006 Roadtrek Versatile 210
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:03 PM   #4
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We had a problem with the tow brake system whereby the warning horn would sound and the lights on the dash unit flash, indicating a fault. No joy after phone calls to manufacturer, Newmar etc. Finally the night before I had an appointment at Camping World for them to check it out, I pulled the large plug from the motorhome socket to inspect it.

What's this rattle? I wondered. So, I took the plug apart, and there was the culprit. This plug has 7 blade shaped pins (I think & it's raining so I'm not going out to look!) plus a center round pin with a hold-down nut to attach the wire to. This pin is not used in my setup, but, the hold down nut had worked itself off the threaded post and was rattling around inside the plug - and shorting out the pins for my tow brake.

So yes, in my mind there a is a finite life to these things and they at least need to be checked on a regular basis.

Mark & Sheila Heilman & The 3 Fur-Ball Princesses - Nikko, Mai-Thai & Andy
'07 MADP 4523, 2012 GMC Terrain SLT 2 wd
Blue Ox Alladin Tow Bar, M&G Engineering Dinghy Braking System

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Old 09-14-2010, 07:34 PM   #5
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Do these cables wear out: YES

But more than likely there is corrosion on the pins or sockets

With power OFF (I'm thinking battery disconnect) use a brush on the "Socket" both on the motor home and on the car.. Then there is another brush for the cable plugs.

And/or treat with De-Ox-It Gold.. From Radio Shack.. In fact do use this after cleaning.

If you can open the plugs (if not molded) Check for the old RV problem of a few screws loose.. Many RVers have a few screws loose.. The Metal Kind that is.
Home is where I park it!
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Old 09-15-2010, 11:23 AM   #6
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thanks all. I've got some things to check out once it stops raining here in Minnesota!
Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

2007 Itasca Ellipse 40FD
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Old 09-15-2010, 05:27 PM   #7
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Hi RickO,
I think you have the right idea. Please consider adding cable maintenance (both ends) and the sockets to your annual list of things to do. It is on my list and has eliminated the false alarms that sound if the system thinks the toad has broken away from the coach.
2005 Newmar KSDP 3910 + GMC ENVOY XUV 37K lbs Moving Down The Road
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:37 PM   #8
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If it is the type with plugs that can be disassembled, then remove the set screw and pull back the cover. It probably has set screws for each wire. Many of us have found these are not tight...even on a new cable assembly.
Fred & Vicki
St. Augustine, Fl.
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Old 09-16-2010, 07:31 AM   #9
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I agree Fred. I kept blowing a fuse for my running lights. Had a heck of time figuring out what was causing the problem. As I was about to give up and call in a repairman I happened to pick up my cable to store it and something told me to check it out. Did and found loose wires that were shorting out. Retightened the wires and all was fine.
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:10 AM   #10
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Yup, we too went through a period of fussing with toad lights, blown fuses, etc. Had electrical techs at various service places tryin to figure out what was wrong and coming up with ALL kinds of theories. They never did solve the issue permanently!!

Then, we had occasion to stop by the place we'd purchased our first rig from. Outfit named Stenzel's RV on the Iowa side of the border from Elmore, MN. The owner of Stenzel's still farms, but sells rigs also and has but a single Tech working for him. No overhead, great pricing. ANYWAY, mentioned toad light problem to this tech, who removed the power cable between coach and toad, slightly SPREAD those pins mentioned by Paul (AFChap above), and......haven't had a problem since and it's been 5 yrs.

Sometimes it's the MOST insignificant thing....and....tech experience DOES make big difference.

Steve & Lynette

2014 Newmar 3103 BAYSTAR/Triton V10 w. Banks/05 Honda Element toad
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