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Old 07-27-2013, 03:44 AM   #1
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New toad lighting

Picking up new toad," really DW new suv " today. 2014 Grand Cherokee, for braking think i will go with AF one, but need ideas on signal lights. Not real crazy about cutting into wiring harness on brand new car. thinking i like second set of lamps for turn signals and running lamps. Maybe some LEDs if room in tail lamps? Think brake lamps will work with AF one is activated ? Looking for some input. Thanks....
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Old 07-27-2013, 04:36 AM   #2
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May I ask what AF means?
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Old 07-27-2013, 04:38 AM   #3
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http://www.smibrake.com/air-force-one.html
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:03 AM   #4
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Thanks!
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:23 AM   #5
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AF = Air Force one , sorry for that, i see abbreviations and don't know what half of them mean....
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Old 07-27-2013, 03:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by gio8856 View Post
Picking up new toad," really DW new suv " today. 2014 Grand Cherokee, for braking think i will go with AF one, but need ideas on signal lights. Not real crazy about cutting into wiring harness on brand new car. thinking i like second set of lamps for turn signals and running lamps. Maybe some LEDs if room in tail lamps? Think brake lamps will work with AF one is activated ? Looking for some input. Thanks....
Well Sir,
First off, congrats on purchasing one of the finest ( in many's opinion) SUVs on the market. The Grand Cherokee is without a doubt, one nice looking and very well designed and thought out vehicle. We've had two of them. An '04 and an '07. Both were "Overland" models with all the bells and whistles one could imagine. The '04 was 4x4 and the '07 was a 4x2 (big mistake, should have gotten the 4x4 model.

Anyway, as for your lighting. People on here and other forums have the hardest time "tying" into the factory wiring of vehicles for setting up brake, running and turn lights. I've done it for decades. New cars, old cars and in between cars and NEVER, repeat NEVER had any issues. But, it's entirely up to you, it's your car, or, should I say it's YOUR WIFES CAR!!!!

Now, ordinarily I'd try and talk you into tying into your new cars wiring because it would work, and work flawlessly. But, if I'm correct here, I'm almost positive that Chrysler adapted a newer, more complex form of wiring for their lighting system in the newer jeeps etc. That system is called the "CAN BUSS" SYSTEM. While simple in theory, the actual wiring is quite different than all the previous years. So, tying into it IS OUT!!!

I personnaly hate the idea of drilling into the backside of those light housings and installing auxiliary sockets and bulbs. It's a preference thing. Many have done it and it's worked, I just don't like it. The primary reason is, about 99.9999% of the time, you have two bulbs within approximately 1" of each other and, based on certain brake/turn/vehicle applications, you have two CONFLICTING SIGNALS being sent from the same light housing.

You see, some vehicles power up the brake lights, even when the key is not only off but, completely out of the ignition. So, if you're all hooked up and towing down the road and, have the lights setup with two bulbs an inch apart, then, apply the brakes(in the coach which, applies them in the toad via the AF ONE) and put the turn signals on at the same time, you'll have a brake light and a turn signal both coming from the same exact spot in the same housing. See what I mean? Because the brakes are being applied in the Grand by the AF ONE brake application and, the turn signal is being sent via the coach system.

Now, if you were following yourself, which signal would you see in the Grand, the turn signal or the brake light signal? Now, if your Grand is NOT one of those vehicles that activates the brake lights with the key in the off position, then you'll be just fine. I don't know if it does or doesn't.

I've "T-eed" into the tail light wiring on a dozen vehicles without ever encountering ONE issue. One Toyota pickup, seven different Jeep Wranglers, a brand new 2011 Honda CRV and, our present toad, a new 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 Extended Cab truck. All done the same exact way. And, yes I did use diodes to isolate the signals from being sent to the front of the towed vehicle.

And, I did not get those high priced diode kits from Camping World or, any other RV supply outlet. I used a $3.00 pack of three from Radio Shack. They all worked flawless. A diode is a diode, no matter what kind of cover you put on it. So, in the end, what will you do with your wifes new Grand, in terms of lighting, at this point, you have three choices that will work. One, magnetic lights with the hideous wires hanging all over the place, (yeah that looks good on a brand new Grand while towing it down the road) or two, the newer style wireless lighting system of which I have no experience with, or three, drill your holes in the back of those light housings and install your auxiliary bulbs.

Now, one more thing, I just read a recent thread of a gent who wired, I think a new Jeep (not sure which model) and if I recall, he said Chrysler did some sort of "pre-wire" for towing up front some place. I think he said he just tapped into it with plug and play items and he was done. Not sure where I read that. But, maybe some thing to look into. Good luck with the wiring and your new Grand, the DW is insanely jealous.
Scott
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Old 07-27-2013, 03:49 PM   #7
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As far as installing separate bulbs in the brake and tail light section, it is really easy to stop the brake light from coming on when the turn signal is on, just look above the brake pedal where the brake switch is located and insert a remote switch (location is your choice) and flip the brake light off while towing. Problem solved!

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Old 07-27-2013, 03:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
based on certain brake/turn/vehicle applications, you have two CONFLICTING SIGNALS being sent from the same light housing.

You see, some vehicles power up the brake lights, even when the key is not only off but, completely out of the ignition. So, if you're all hooked up and towing down the road and, have the lights setup with two bulbs an inch apart, then, apply the brakes and put the turn signals on at the same time, you'll have a brake light and a turn signal both coming from the same exact spot in the same housing. See what I mean? Because the brakes are being applied in the Grand by the AF ONE brake application and, the turn signal is being sent via the coach system.
I believe most/all vehicles will light the brake lights when the pedal is pressed regardless of key in ignition or not. Regardless, when a bulb is added to the towed car, I don't see how there could be conflicting signals from the two bulbs. First, for the auxiliary brake to activate, the brake pedal in the RV must be pressed, so you would have brake lights from BOTH the aux brake AND the MH at the same time. That is exactly how mine works. When the coach exhaust brake OR the brake pedal activates the coach brake lights the added bulb in the car is activated. When the brake pedal of the coach is pressed hard enough to activate the aux brake, the brake pedal is pressed and the car brake light comes on ...two bulbs, both in brake light mode, on at the same time. If a turn signal is added to the mix, when the same bulb is used for turn signal and brake light the law requires that the turn signal take priority, so when you have a shared brake/turn bulb the brake light on that side blinks to signal the turn. If you have separate turn and brake light bulbs, then you have one blinking and one activated as a brake light. If the car tow lights are properly wired, then you should have BOTH the added bulb and original shared bulb blinking whenever the turn signal is activated.
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Old 07-27-2013, 06:16 PM   #9
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I believe most/all vehicles will light the brake lights when the pedal is pressed regardless of key in ignition or not. Regardless, when a bulb is added to the towed car, I don't see how there could be conflicting signals from the two bulbs. First, for the auxiliary brake to activate, the brake pedal in the RV must be pressed, so you would have brake lights from BOTH the aux brake AND the MH at the same time. That is exactly how mine works. When the coach exhaust brake OR the brake pedal activates the coach brake lights the added bulb in the car is activated. When the brake pedal of the coach is pressed hard enough to activate the aux brake, the brake pedal is pressed and the car brake light comes on ...two bulbs, both in brake light mode, on at the same time. If a turn signal is added to the mix, when the same bulb is used for turn signal and brake light the law requires that the turn signal take priority, so when you have a shared brake/turn bulb the brake light on that side blinks to signal the turn. If you have separate turn and brake light bulbs, then you have one blinking and one activated as a brake light. If the car tow lights are properly wired, then you should have BOTH the added bulb and original shared bulb blinking whenever the turn signal is activated.
AFChap,
I agree with about 95% of what you stated. But, I took a sort of impromptu survey a while back and, while I too thought that about 99.999% of the vehicles out on the road activated the brake lights with the key in the off or, even out of the vehicle, I was amazed at how many folks came back to me and stated that theirs DID NOT activate the brake lights in that situation. Now, the car we just sold, an '11 Honda CRV, DID activate them without the key in the car. But, the 2011 GMC Sierra Extended Cab 4x4 that we now use as a toad, DOES NOT ACTIVATE the brake lights with the key in the off position.

So, just how many do, and don't, who knows? And yes, you're right on "de-activating the brake light signal from the toad with a switch. I did just that on one of our previous toads, an '04 Jeep Rubicon. I even went a step farther. I cut the wire on the brake switch, sent it to a three-way toggle switch in the door jamb of the jeep.

Now, when towing, we flipped the switch so the signal from the jeeps brake switch, was sent all the way to the dash of the motor home where it activated a small, LED light, notifying me that the brakes were being applied in the Jeep as I applied them in the coach and the Ready Brake did the braking.

But, when driving the Jeep, we flipped the switch in the other direction so the signal from the Jeeps brake switch was sent to the Jeeps brake lights, as normal.

Now, as far as adding the socket/bulb in the toads tail light housing. If you've got AMBER turn signals in the toad, and are utilizing them for toad turn signals, then the addition of that bulb in the RED housing, right next to the original bulb, will not have any detrimental effect as, a following vehicle behind the toad would see the amber light blinking while the brake lights were being displayed in the red housing. No problem.

But, if you don't have amber turn lights on the back of a toad, as many don't, then you have the situation I described. If you add a bulb to the red housing, and are utilizing the that bulb for triple duty (stop/turn/tail) and the toad you're towing IS one of those that activates the brake lights with the key off, then if you were to brake and turn with the coach, you'd have, as you say, a blinking light (the one you installed) and, a solid one (being activated by the toads brake pedal ). So, you'd have a blinking bulb, right next to a brake light bulb, both activated.

And, the only way to alleviate that is, as you stated and I've done, to install a switch to "DEACTIVATE" the brake lights of the toad, while towing. (or pull a fuse, if that's more appealing than the installation of a switch, but much harder to do on a repetitive basis) That way, the only signals, be it brake, or turn, would be the ones you installed, not the toads. I think we agree on that.
Scott
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Old 07-27-2013, 08:47 PM   #10
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In some cars, the 2013 CRV specifically, you cannot use diodes and tie into the cars lighting system. You must install a separate light in the tail light assy. I discovered this from the Blue Ox web site when I was setting my toad up. Check the web site of the tow bar and base plate you are going to use.
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:31 PM   #11
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New toad is home, real nice. Will look at it in the morning about tail lights,one,two lamps? if a Can buss system or not, my Benz. Sprinter work van is, so have dealt with it before installing hitch and plug for trailer towing, will give a update then. Thanks for the input.....
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:37 AM   #12
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I just finished installing Blue OX hitch, Air Force 1 brake and light wiring to our 2014 Grand Cherokee. I used the tow daddy 3011 wiring kit worked great easy install. Plug and go.
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:08 AM   #13
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I too used the TowDaddy 3011 for my 2012, no extra bulbs or holes, easy to install and works great.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:43 PM   #14
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I just finished installing Blue OX hitch, Air Force 1 brake and light wiring to our 2014 Grand Cherokee. I used the tow daddy 3011 wiring kit worked great easy install. Plug and go.
That's what i was looking for......
Thank you, you just made my job a hole lot more easy....
Hope i can return the favor, same to you Dennis.
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