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Old 03-11-2009, 11:19 PM   #1
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marker lights issue

Hello all,

Got a good one for folks to ponder.

Couldn't get my marker lights to work this year when I pulled the trailer out. So today I pulled it into the shop to do some testing.

I used a battery with some wire leads to the trailer pigtail and the lights wouldn't turn on. There was defintely a draw with an arc forming on contact and the wire heated up to the point where it felt like it would melt if it remained on the (+).

I detached the rear marker on the door side of the coach and added juice there to the wires. All the rear marker lights went on including the tail light markers but none of the front 4 markers turned on.

I went to the door side of the coach up front and pulled that marker light and added juice there. All the markers came on.

I went back to the pigtail on the tongue and added juice there again. All the markers on the coach again turned on.

Now I'm a bit concerned that I've somewhat eliminated avenues to pursue now that everything is working fine again. I did leave the pigtail and all the lights on for about 20 mins with a 10amp fuse hooked up in the mix to make sure there wasn't a short that would melt wiring. The fuse didn't break and the lights were fine for the time I had them on.

Anyone have any ideas as to what might have caused this? Appreciate any insight.

Take care,
Lode
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Old 03-12-2009, 04:40 AM   #2
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Good Morning Jason,

Long time no hear. I can't help you with your lighting problem, but wanted to say "hey". How are things going on the truck camper ?

Kitty, KD & Harley

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Old 03-12-2009, 05:30 AM   #3
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Lode,

It sounds to me like a short to ground in one of the marker lights that you pulled. When you removed them to test the lights, you may have eliminated the short without realizing it. When you re-installed them, however you reconnected the wires apparently fixed the issue. Or just the inherent wiggling around of the wires may have eliminated a short near one of the lights.

It's also possible that the short is in the pigtail and just moving it around stopped the short. It that is the case, then the problem will almost certainly reappear.

FWIW, my Sunline's 12vdc wiring to the markers and tail lights has wire nuts twisted onto bundled wires for the various connections. Having done a lot of upfitting to cars and trucks over the years, I know that wire nuts are one of the worst ways of connecting wires in a vehicle. They can work loose over time, and they do nothing to prevent corrosion or oxyidation of the wiring. And, if not correctly installed and then taped off, they may leave enough bare wire exposed to cause a short.

Anybody else got an idea?
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Old 03-12-2009, 09:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Collins
I know that wire nuts are one of the worst ways of connecting wires in a vehicle. They can work loose over time, and they do nothing to prevent corrosion or oxyidation of the wiring. And, if not correctly installed and then taped off, they may leave enough bare wire exposed to cause a short.
I couldn't agree more, they're junk in any weathered situation. The do make them packed with dielectric grease but I'm pretty sure they're for home wiring splicing. Never seen these type of nuts for small wiring. I guess you could 'make your own' easy enough. I've fallen in love with the heat shrink butt end connectors you can get all Walmart. The splice is completely sealed once your done.

Thanks for your response.

My apologies, I should've told you I replaced all the lights on the whole camper when I bought it last year with LED markers. When I did that all of the wire nuts got tossed and I made sure my splices were weather proof.

I think you might have hit the nail on the head with that front marker light on the door side of the camper having a short. The back of the new LED base plates are very low profile and the wires basically get squished behind it when I mount the light base to the camper. Very possible I hit the edge of the (+) wire with one of the screws when I was putting in on and pentrated the wire shielding causing it to ground. I'll have to pull that one off again and take a closer look.

Also, when I was doing the testing on the trailer pigtail's plug I had removed it and was using the raw wire end to eliminate the 'bad plug' possibility. When I put it all back together I did install a brand new plug for a little piece of mind.

Ultimately it'd be extremely helpful to have a wiring diagram of the external travel lighting in case the problem persisists but haven't come across anything. I guess I'll just wait and see what happens.

Thanks again,
Lode
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