-> Tow Rigs -> Just a little story about trailer wiring
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Just a little story about trailer wiring
PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:44 pm Reply with quote
Down in It
Down in It
Joined: 03 Mar 2006
Posts: 5086

For the past several months i have been having an issue with my trailer brakes not working correctly. They would work for a few seconds, then quit, then come back on, then quit again, over and over, and usually decide to stop working at the worst time. Hadn't been a big deal, i had just been moving some light stuff around home so i can make do without brakes, and with the new exhaust brake on the tow rig Cool I was having fun letting it do the work any way.

So i took last friday off of work to do a few things and decided it was time to fix the trailer brake issue. I was getting an "OL" message on my brake box which means overload, which is what it does when the brake signal is grounding out. So i started hunting trying to find out where the tiny little bare spot in the wiring might be. No luck in the main harness, its wrapped in nice thick rubber all the way to the axles. Once before i had a wire that was rubbing inside a brake drum where the wires go to the magnets, so i took off each wheel, each brake drum, all the bearings and checked every square inch of wiring and had no luck.

I was sure i had just missed something but i was having a hard time figuring out where else to look. The wire for the brakes goes to the left front wheel, then splits off to the other three, so i thought i need to start eliminating the problem one "wheel circuit" at a time. So i thought the best plan was to just rewire the whole system from a junction box that i could mount in the toolbox and then i could disconnect one wheel at a time until i found my problem. So i mount the junction box, main power wire feeds it, then ran a seperate wire to each wheel for the power and one to each wheel for ground. This took a good 4 hours crawling around under the trailer on my back, cussing, getting mad, getting filthy, fun stuff.

So i get it wired up, hook up the truck, hold the brake pedal down with a stick and walk back to the trailer junction box. I start disconnecting one wheel at a time, hoping that i would eventually disconnect the problem and the brakes would work.....no luck, they wont work at all. Next i think its my brake controller, call my dad over, hook up his truck to it and bingo it works perfect. Order a new brake controller, wait for it to ship. While im waiting i decide that i have replaced almost every wire on the trailer so i might as well replace the plug while im at it just for the heck of it since it was a few years old and had a little crack in it.

Change out the $9.91 plug and all is well. Guess mine had a little corrosion on it causing the brake pin to not make good contact. hooking up my dads truck and it working was just a coincidence.

So, before you spend 8 hours of your life dissasembling brake drums, rewiring an entire trailer, ordering a new brake controller, and removing most of the skin from your hands with that little piece thats left when you trim off a ziptie, you should probably just try the stupid plug that takes three minutes to change.

Kyle Jeffries
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:37 pm Reply with quote
Global Warmer
Global Warmer
Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Posts: 1931

Ouch!!! Well now you KNOW that all the wiring is good!

The Official NCTTORA Sissy Truck
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:50 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 05 Feb 2012
Posts: 10

O man that sucks
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:50 am Reply with quote
Puppy Mill Maker
Joined: 14 Nov 2005
Posts: 2684

yup sometimes it's the simplest thing.

bandaids are your friend.

new crawler in the works.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:35 pm Reply with quote
Global Warmer
Global Warmer
Joined: 22 Feb 2006
Posts: 1038

It's always best to start at the plug.I've encountered so many plug related problems it's not even funny.

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Just a little story about trailer wiring
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