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Old 03-22-2009, 06:10 PM   #1
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Saturn questions from new owner

I have a 24' 1996 Sunline Saturn that I recently purchased used. This is my first trailer, and I'm definitely a newbie to all of this. The preparations have been going good so far, but I have a couple of questions that I could use help on:

1. There seems to be a city water, and a non pressurized water input. How do you use the non pressurized one? Just pour water in?

2. I have combed through all the documentation I have, and can't seem to find any type of monitor panel in the trailer for tank levels, etc. Maybe my model doesn't have one?

3. I'm really sorry if this seems dumb, but: I'm not sure how to hook up to the battery. The terminals that are there consist of 2 white wires, and a red wire? I was expecting a black/red or maybe white/black??

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Keith
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Old 03-22-2009, 07:11 PM   #2
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Re: Saturn questions from new owner

Quote:
Originally Posted by kkeduda
1. There seems to be a city water, and a non pressurized water input. How do you use the non pressurized one? Just pour water in?
Yes, just unlock it, remove the cap and fill with water. If you are in a campground with city water hookups, you really don't need to fill the tank although most of us will travel with the water tank at least partly full so we can flush the toilet, etc. during a stop. Your battery has to be hooked up, charged, and the pump operating correctly to pressurize the water system from the tank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kkeduda
2. I have combed through all the documentation I have, and can't seem to find any type of monitor panel in the trailer for tank levels, etc. Maybe my model doesn't have one?
It's possible that there isn't one. If there is, it would likely be a white panel on the wall somewhere in the galley with some lights and switches on it. This was the model of monitor that was used in the mid to late 1990's:

It should have momentary buttons for battery, fresh, gray, and black. Pressing each of those buttons will (ideally) tell you how full the tanks are. It's a 12vdc system so you'll probably need your battery hooked up and charged for it to work. There may also be a switch on that panel that turns on the 12 volt pump. If you have a separate switch for the pump and the hot water heater (if yours has the 110vdc option), then most likely there is no monitor for the tanks and battery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kkeduda
3. I'm really sorry if this seems dumb, but: I'm not sure how to hook up to the battery. The terminals that are there consist of 2 white wires, and a red wire? I was expecting a black/red or maybe white/black??
There should be an 8 ga. red wire and the same size white wire. These are your main positive (red) and ground (white) to be hooked to the battery. The second white wire should be a smaller gauge, probably 14 ga., and if you trace it, it should go directly to the breakaway switch on the A frame near the battery. (On my trailer it is a black wire, but is bundled with the postive red battery wire.) This switch is designed to lock up your trailer brakes in the event of a breakway from the tow vehicle. There is a length of steel cable that is to be secured to the tow vehicle separate from the hitch system. On the trailer end, this cable is connected to a plastic block that plugs into the breakaway switch. If there is a breakaway, the cable yanks the plug out of the switch housing and engages the switch which sends full 12vdc directly to the brakes.

So, presuming that you find that smaller white wire goes direct to the breakaway switch, it should be connected to the positive side of the battery. I would agree that makes it a bit confusing; one white being ground and the other being positive. It is possible that it was rewired at some point and installer used whatever wire was available. On mine, the postive to the breakaway is black. Go figure.

Again, presuming that the smaller white wire is the breakaway, I would tie wrap it to the positive red wire so that when you remove the battery for winterizing, you'll remember to hook it up correctly in the spring.

If that smaller white wire does not go to the breakaway, please try to trace where it does go, and we may be able help you figure out what it is. If it does not go to the breakaway, I suggest you not hook it up until you are certain of what it is for.

Also, if you can tell us the model number of your trailer (mine is a T-2453 for example), it is sometimes useful in figuring things out. Most stuff in our Sunlines is not model specific, but locating items in various models is easier if we know the model number.

I will also suggest that you spend some time reading the Sunline Travel Trailers forum and the Repairs and Maintenance forum. There is a wealth of knowledge in the various message threads and many times the answer to a question is already there. It is also helpful to figure out the Search function as it can help you find specific info in a real hurry.
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Old 03-22-2009, 08:25 PM   #3
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I looked at the only pictures I had handy for a '96 Saturn, and it happened to be a 22B. I didn't see a monitor panel on it, so I suspect they didn't have them in '96.

They did have them in the '97 Saturn models however, so depending on where your VIN lies in the model year, the later '96's may have had monitor panels installed. I'd have to do further research to see if this could be a possiblity. Just don't be surprised if you go to look for one and it's not there.

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Old 03-23-2009, 07:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
3. I'm really sorry if this seems dumb, but: I'm not sure how to hook up to the battery. The terminals that are there consist of 2 white wires, and a red wire? I was expecting a black/red or maybe white/black??
The other white wire could possibly be for the power jack, if you have one. Fortunately, it is an easy trace. It should have an in-line fuse or circuit breaker and run straight to the jack.
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Old 03-23-2009, 07:54 AM   #5
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Re: Saturn questions from new owner

Quote:
Originally Posted by kkeduda
The terminals that are there consist of 2 white wires, and a red wire?
The two white wires are both ground. I'm not sure why they had the two, but they are both ground. I had it like that on my '98. I just put a couple plastic cable ties around them to hold them together so I wouldn't get them mixed up. Like the others have said, the red is the positive.

Jon
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Old 03-23-2009, 08:14 AM   #6
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Re: Saturn questions from new owner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunline Fan
The two white wires are both ground. I'm not sure why they had the two, but they are both ground. I had it like that on my '98. I just put a couple plastic cable ties around them to hold them together so I wouldn't get them mixed up. Like the others have said, the red is the positive.
Jon, not challenging you on this, but two issues come to mind.

1. If both white wires are grounds, where is the breakaway wire which should be wired direct to the battery?

2. Even if they are both grounds, I would be more comfortable if one or both of them were traced to be sure before connecting the battery especially if one is a different size than the other. It's very possible that they did wire the trailer with two ground lines; one to chassis, and the other to some where else.

Strange that your '98 had two ground wires and mine has only the one.
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Collins
Jon, not challenging you on this, but two issues come to mind.

1. If both white wires are grounds, where is the breakaway wire which should be wired direct to the battery?

2. Even if they are both grounds, I would be more comfortable if one or both of them were traced to be sure before connecting the battery especially if one is a different size than the other. It's very possible that they did wire the trailer with two ground lines; one to chassis, and the other to some where else.

Strange that your '98 had two ground wires and mine has only the one.
Hi Steve,

Trying this again, Debug problem on this site screwed me up...again!

Maybe the second ground is for the slide out mechanism?

Got a couple pics here:





None of the wires are actually taped to the LP fitting, they are just tucked behind it to try to keep them out of the elements.

On the left are the two white supposed ground leads in question.

Next to that, the gray lead is coming from the jack. The in-line fuse holder was not connecting and was tired, so it was replaced, and the wire color turns to black there. It has the white fuse holder on there.

On the right, wire tied to the 7 way cable, is the two black leads coming from the breakaway. They go into the header crossmember and probably into the junction box behind there.

There's a larger gauge black wire coming out from probably the junction box. I'm guessing it might be for the breakaway?

Both that big black wire and the jack wire appear to be wire tied to the main positive wire.

Everything seemed to work fine on the coach, only problem was the jack. I thought it was just tired from sitting outside uncovered for so many years. I took it off and was ready to throw it out, but my Grandpa took it apart, cleaned it, regreased it, and it works as good as new now. It now resides on my new coach.

I'll admit I never used the breakaway, but I just assumed it worked. The switch itself looked fine.

Jon
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Old 03-23-2009, 10:44 AM   #8
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Jon,

Here's how I think your wires most likely are:

8 ga. RED - Positive for coach
8 ga. BLK - Positive for Slide-Out
8 ga. WHT x2 - Both grounds - one for coach, the other for slider
8 ga. GRY to BLK - Electric Jack (grounds to A-frame)

There are two lighter gauge wires (grey or grn - can't be sure) tie-wrapped to the big black cable on the right in the close-up pic. Those are most likely your breakaways - one hot to the switch from the main junction box, the other is direct to the brakes.

I don't see any 24' Saturn's with sliders in the '96 Saturn brochure, so I can only guess that Keith's 24' trailer doesn't have a slider. Therefore no need for a second 8 ga. ground wire. So that begs the question once again of what is the second white wire, and where is the breakaway wiring?

Keith, if you get this, how about posting a picture of your rig that shows everything just like Jon's pictures above? I don't think we can tell you for sure which wire is which without seeing them.

And we need to know the model number of your trailer and whether or not it has a slide out.
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Old 03-23-2009, 02:30 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the quick replies! This is quite a helpful forum!

1. OK about the non pressurized water.

2. I can't find a monitor panel anywhere, especially like the one described. Since I do have a switch for the water pump near the sink, I assume I just don't have a monitor panel.

How can I tell if the holding tanks are getting near full??

3. I'm attempting to post a picture of the wires coming out of my trailer, and the 3 wires that have terminal ends for the batteries.

I don't have a slider, or a powered jack, so no wires for those.

As you can see, the red and one of the whites are zip tied together. I assume the smaller white is for the breakaway as mentioned. I followed the single larger white and it is grounded on the trailer and waterpipe underneath. The end of that white wire has a dab of black paint on it. Maybe the previous owner did that as a reminder that it goes to the negative?

Based on this, I connect the pair of small white and larger red to the +, and the larger white to the -. Correct?


As for my model number, all I can find in manual is 24-A? That's listed on the quality control sheet, and appliance checklist in the front of the manual.



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Old 03-23-2009, 02:47 PM   #10
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That's it, a '96 T-24A Saturn. You'll find it here:

http://www.sunlineclub.com/docs/96Saturn.pdf

Jon
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Old 03-23-2009, 04:32 PM   #11
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Test for Wires

You may have tried this but here goes.

Make sure none of the wires are touching the chassis. Take a voltmeter, put it on the ohms scale and measure the restiance from each wire to the frame of your coach. The ground wire should read less than an ohm or two between it's end and the chassis. Any wire that is connected to the chassis goes to the negative side of the battery.

Again make sure none of the wire ends are touching each other or the chassis. Plug in the trailer, turning your converter on. (As a test your lights shoould now be working.) Measure the voltage between the chassis and each wire. AT least one should be 13 volts or so. That wire should go to the positive side of the battery.

You want to make sure that when you touch the chassis (frame) that you're making contact to bare metal. You can check that you're making good contact by touching two seperate points on the chassis.

Good Luck,

Norm Milliard
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Old 03-23-2009, 05:15 PM   #12
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Keith,

If that second, smaller white wire was tie-wrapped to the heavy red wire when you got the trailer, then it is almost certainly a positive line also. If you are comfortable with a meter, Norm's suggestions are good. If that second wire is in fact the breakaway hot line, you won't get any resistance reading on the meter because the wire goes to a switch that is held open by the breakaway pin It doesn't get power from the converter unless it is also connected to the battery so it can't show 12vdc if you turn on the convertor without the battery. It also can not show ground.

If you test that wire for resistance (ohms) with the battery disconnected and convertor off and it appears dead (no reading), pull the breakaway pin and check the resistance again. Should show nearly as a short to ground on the meter. That'd be a pretty fair confirmation that that wire is indeed the hot line for the breakaway.

I would also suggest that you physically trace that wire as far as you can before hooking it up to anything just to be safe.

My best guess is that it is probably the hot line to the breakaway, but only you can verify that.

As for checking how full the tanks are, for the black tank, turn off the water pump, and hold the toilet flapper open with the foot pedal or hand lever, and shine a flashlight down into the hole. You can gauge how full it is by how close to the pipe the "fluids" come.

Gray water is tougher. If the tank is full, the first sign will be that it will back up into the shower. Best advice there is not to store anything on the floor of the shower. Best way to avoid that is to either dump daily if you have a sewer hookup, or drain off some of the gray water into a "blue tote" on a regular basis.

Just remember that you need a good amount of gray water in the tank when you go to dump the black water. Drain black water tank first, and then the gray. Helps clean things out if you get my meaning.

If you are dry camping and using the fresh water tank, I suggest you fill it fairly often. Short of installing some kind of clear tubing on the outside of the TT to see how much water you have left, the best thing to do is not to get in a position of running dry. I try to top off the fresh tank every other day when we dry camp, but we don't shower in the trailer so our useage is limited to dish washing, toilet flushes, and watering the dog.

If you are hooked up to city water, it's a non-issue as the tank is bypassed and the water pressure comes from the city water, not the trailer pump.
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Old 03-23-2009, 06:05 PM   #13
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Thanks very much Norm and Steve. I think you've answered all my initial questions.

I will use a mulitmeter and check those wires tomorrow and post results in case anyone else looks that this thread with a similar question.

That's all for now, until I have more questions later
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:10 PM   #14
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Hi guys

H’mm this one is a puzzling mystery. I tend to agree that the white taped to the heavy red wire would tend to lead one to believe it was a hot wire. But for what does it feed?





I agree the breakaway needs 12 volts hot off the battery but I have not seen a breakaway yet with a wire that big or is not black from the actual stock switch. Why would they not join the hot 12 volts in the junction box where they need to pick up the brake coil wire anyway? Now mind you I have not seen every breakaway switch made, but is seems very usual for an OEM to make a battery fed break away switch using non conventional white color schemes.

What does stick out also is the yellow ring eye. Yellow insulated terminals normally line up with no 12 to 10 awg wire. Most modern day breakaways are no 14 awg and very thin insulation. Not to say that the prior owner did not do something himself, use white wire as that’s all he had and use an oversize wire terminal on the end.

The prior owner may have spoofed us all and that extra white wire may indeed be a hot feed to some auxiliary device he added….

OK kkeduda you need to trace this out and report back. Us with inquiring minds need to know….

A good point to take away from this, when hooking up something with no markings or normal conventions, for sure trace it out regardless of the color codes.

John

PS. Welcome to Sunline Club. Glad to have you with us.
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