Osv4

Trailer Light Issues

9 posts in this topic

Hi All,

Hoping someone can assist.

We have an 18 foot Crownline inboard sitting on a 2013 Dunbier trailer.

I hooked up my car and immediately got the notification that the right hand trailer lights aren't working. Jumped out to have a look and found that the right hand side taillight has no indicator, light or brake working. The left hand side and side markers on the trailer work without a problem. It is an LED system.

After a closer look and some questioning my dad said he had to move the boat a week ago and he 'tapped' the trailer with his tow bar. It appears he has pinched and cut the wires near the Flat Plug. Since the system is plug and play (maybe factory) I could see that the flat plug was unpluggable from within the trailer. Had a spare one from previous trailer and hooked that up. 

The LED light has 9 LEDs in the panel for brake and 9 for indicator. Out of the 9 LEDs in the light, only the middle one blinks and lights up with brakes. The other 8 do not work at all.

I spoke to a local marine shop/mechanic and they said it would be 3-4 hour job (at $100 per hour) + parts (approx $100-150). So I am looking at $500. Their reasoning was that it is better to strip it and replace the whole lot since it is hard to find what the issue is.

So the questions are:
- What does it mean if ONLY 1 LED out of 9 is working? Is it a busted light? Pinched wire? Its happened previously, and it just fixed itself while driving?
- Can I buy a brand new plug and play kit? I was told that most would not actually be long enough. I can see there are many on eBay/a shop/Supercheap but I dont have heat guns and soldering irons to do the complete job.

Any other ideas?

Thanks in advance!

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I've been down this road a few times. Unfortunately what the marine mechanic told you is correct. Finding faults in trailer electricals can be a bit of a needle in a haystack and if you're paying someone to spend hours doing it, it often works out more economical to just replace the whole shebang. Particularly if the cables have been fed through the frame. The advantage of doing this is that you will have no joins in the wiring from the lights through the plug that may end up with salt water in them and crap out eventually.  I reckon your options are:

1) Ask your mechanic or even an auto electrician to repair that cable or replace it with your ebay one - if it will only take them half an hour it may be worth a try.
2) Get a trailer light board for a hundred bucks, you just have to remember take it off before backing down the boat ramp. http://www.supercheapauto.com.au/Product/SCA-Trailer-Light-Board-7-Pin-Flat-LED/375489

3) Bite the bullet and replace the wiring harness + lights

 

Edited by Smasher

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If the wires are pinched and cut as you say then isn't that the likely source of the problem? Why did you use an old plug rather than just reconnecting the one already on the trailer? That way you are just changing one thing at a time (makes it easier to identify the fault).

Also how old is the trailer? It is common for the wiring to corrode after 10 years or so and you are better off replacing the lot in that case (if there is no obvious source of the problem) - or do what I did and get a removable light board.

 

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Hi all,

The trailer is 2013.

My original idea was to re-wire the cut wires on the current connector and see if that fixes the issue. The problem was that my dad has now done this the 2nd time and there isn't enough cable to re-wire the same one so we tested it with a different one.

We identified the issue to be the cut wires, after replacing the connector, the left hand side worked but the right hand side only had 1 LED.

Funny enough, we were testing on my dads Hilux. I don't know why, but I said let's try my car and see what happens. So we hooked up my one and noticed that the lights were working better. I then started 'wiggling' the connector between the car and the boat and ALL of the lights started working. We put it back on the Hilux and it all just worked.

Is there a problem with the connectors? I mean we have 2 and both in the end did the same thing during the test.

What I did:

- Took a small flathead screwdriver and slightly opened/expanded the connectors on the trailer side of the plug

- It gave me a better/tighter 'fit' and all lights worked

However, my suspicion is that if I hit any bump on the road the plug can move from the perfect position and lose connection. Is there a way to improve this connection?

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My new trailer had a issue with the pins not wide enough once i fixed it with a flat blade all is well.

Should be fine as long as the individual wires are secure properly inside the plug housing.

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10 hours ago, Osv4 said:

Hi all,

The trailer is 2013.

My original idea was to re-wire the cut wires on the current connector and see if that fixes the issue. The problem was that my dad has now done this the 2nd time and there isn't enough cable to re-wire the same one so we tested it with a different one.

We identified the issue to be the cut wires, after replacing the connector, the left hand side worked but the right hand side only had 1 LED.

Funny enough, we were testing on my dads Hilux. I don't know why, but I said let's try my car and see what happens. So we hooked up my one and noticed that the lights were working better. I then started 'wiggling' the connector between the car and the boat and ALL of the lights started working. We put it back on the Hilux and it all just worked.

Is there a problem with the connectors? I mean we have 2 and both in the end did the same thing during the test.

What I did:

- Took a small flathead screwdriver and slightly opened/expanded the connectors on the trailer side of the plug

- It gave me a better/tighter 'fit' and all lights worked

However, my suspicion is that if I hit any bump on the road the plug can move from the perfect position and lose connection. Is there a way to improve this connection?

Not likely that you will have a problem once you've opened up the pins a bit and got a "solid" connection. You just need to keep an eye on what's working and tweak the pins where necessary, if there's a problem. Good job you tested it with your vehicle, eh? bn

 

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It was mostly just luck. It was actually the fact that when connected to the Hilux all the lights, besides rear right worked. With my car, the side markers did not work either, so I started wiggling the lights and eventually they all started working.

The cables in the plug are solid enough but the pins are a little weird. Had to play around with it for a bit.

I can see that one of my female ends in the plug on the car has some oxidation on it from salt water. Is it worth putting some WD40 on it? Would that make the connection any better?

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4 hours ago, Osv4 said:

It was mostly just luck. It was actually the fact that when connected to the Hilux all the lights, besides rear right worked. With my car, the side markers did not work either, so I started wiggling the lights and eventually they all started working.

The cables in the plug are solid enough but the pins are a little weird. Had to play around with it for a bit.

I can see that one of my female ends in the plug on the car has some oxidation on it from salt water. Is it worth putting some WD40 on it? Would that make the connection any better?

You'll find that you have loose/corroded connections.With anything electrical if you have intermittent problems,99% of the time it boils down to this.

You mention you "wiggled" the connector and the lights worked.This tells me there is a loose/dirty connection.

You mention that there is corrosion on the female terminal and if you should use wd 40? Yes,use wd 40 and clean the contacts out.

With anything electrical you want clean,tight,corrosion free connections.

As for that mechanic wanting to charge you all that money for what  is a simple job my advice is FIND A NEW ONE.

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