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Old 04-07-2021, 09:29 AM   #1
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Tow vehicle lighting

In the process of installing a Blue Ox tow bar/baseplate and wiring on my 2008 Saturn Astra XR. I contacted Blue Ox re: which parts to use. They sent me a part number for a wiring kit that is separate from the vehicle's for tail/brake lights. I found another one however that taps into the vehicle's wiring using diodes. The latter seems a little easier with not having to drill any holes for new bulbs in the tail light assembly. Does anyone have experience to advise which one is preferred or better?

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Old 04-07-2021, 03:03 PM   #2
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I have done both, I prefer the diode setup.
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Old 04-07-2021, 04:05 PM   #3
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diodes
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Old 04-07-2021, 05:01 PM   #4
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Diodes were easy
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Old 04-07-2021, 05:45 PM   #5
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I've done both....sometimes, drilling into the lens to install another bulb will compromise the lens and allow moisture to get in. It's also difficult to fit the bulb in such a way that it clears the body when reinstalling the lens and clears the OEM bulb internally. Lastly, they typically point in a different direction than the OEM bulb and don't provide the same light output.

When you use diodes, you identify the wire(s) on both lenses that power the taillights and brake lights. You cut them where you can most easily access both ends that you cut. You attach a spade connector to both ends. The wire that runs into the light fixture gets attached to the single connector on the diode. The other wire gets attached to the side that has two connectors. Lastly, you attach the wire running from your coach to the third connector. You have to do this twice on each side.

Sounds like a lot, but goes fast once you figure out the wiring. No matter what, in both situations you have to run wiring the length of the the car. When you do that, buy some split wrap wire covering from Amazon or Harbor Freight to protect the wires.

Years ago, you bought four diodes to do this job, they came in a kit and still do. The newer way is a diode block, where the diodes are all incorporated into a single block with all the wires coming out of the block and labeled where they go. I don't see any like that for your car on the Etrailer website. You might take a few minutes and call Hopkins and Curt wiring harness manufacturers direct, to see what they sell for the Astra. They both have good customer service and will save you time if they have something car specific.
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Old 04-07-2021, 06:02 PM   #6
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This is a case of more than one way to solve a problem. Another option some people do is use a tow light bar either wired or wireless https://www.amazon.com/TowMate-RVHW3...dp/B00T37H9E6/ I saw one guy that dolly towed a while back with one that was on a plank that hooked under his hatch back, when he was ready to hit the road he just put the straps in the back of the car and closed the trunk hatch on them.
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Old 04-07-2021, 06:15 PM   #7
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Both an RV dealer in our town and the auto manufacturer stated to not use diodes. The new complex electrical systems in newer autos do not do well with even the small leakage through diodes. I used a separate led added lights. Yes, you do need to use a hole saw to cut the reflectors for the led sockets. The only electrical connection I added was a 20 amp charge line with a circuit breaker on each end. Without it, the battery would be dead at days end even when started for about 15 minutes twice during the day. The autos electrical load when in accessory has a 7 amp load on the battery. Suggest that you install a charge line. Many auxiliary braking systems will also discharge the battery excessively.
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Old 04-07-2021, 06:23 PM   #8
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I've used the no splice adapter units on my last two toweds with no problems. Got them from eTrailer. Just plug in the factory style plugs and the wires to the hitch.
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Old 04-07-2021, 07:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrboyer View Post
Both an RV dealer in our town and the auto manufacturer stated to not use diodes. The new complex electrical systems in newer autos do not do well with even the small leakage through diodes. I used a separate led added lights. Yes, you do need to use a hole saw to cut the reflectors for the led sockets. The only electrical connection I added was a 20 amp charge line with a circuit breaker on each end. Without it, the battery would be dead at days end even when started for about 15 minutes twice during the day. The autos electrical load when in accessory has a 7 amp load on the battery. Suggest that you install a charge line. Many auxiliary braking systems will also discharge the battery excessively.
It's a 2008 Saturn.....not complex.
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Old 04-07-2021, 11:33 PM   #10
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That's what I was thinking. Thanks
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Old 04-07-2021, 11:34 PM   #11
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Thanks for your help!
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Old 04-07-2021, 11:35 PM   #12
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Thanks for taking the time with such detailed information Don and Mary, much appreciated!
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