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Discussion Starter #1
I recently rebuilt a 4x8 Utility trailer.



Whole thing got sanded down and repainted.





Put a new 2x6 deck on top that I stained.





Mounted a wheel chock up front.







I bought a new light kit from Harbor Freight and it is giving me fits.





I was an Avionics Tech for 12 years so I'm not a novice at troubleshooting electronics, but I give!!!

These lights have got me stumped. I installed everything from scratch, brand new.







I followed the instructions to the letter.

I ran the brown/yellow down the left side and the brown/green down the right side, I made sure nothing got pinched or nicked as I ran the wires. Made the connections at the lights correctly, browns to browns, greens to greens, yellows to yellows. Installed the side marker lights with new self tapping screws to the frame(one of the screw goes through the light bulb ground mount) and connected the single output wire to the browns on each side.



Up front at the harness connector I installed a new terminal lug on the white ground wire and connected it to the trailer frame with a new self tapping screw, it is well grounded.



My problem is this...



When I turn on the parking lights everything lights up fine. When I turn on either directional all of the lights flash....both rears and both side marker lights. Doesn't matter which directional I turn on same result.

With just the parking lights on and I step on the brake all the lights go out!!!



I have tried connecting it to three different trucks all with the same results. So the problem is in the trailer. I have taken all the bulbs out and inspected them and the wiring inside the light housing units as well. I can not figure out why it is doing this. I'm starting to feel like Clark Griswald over here!




Now here is the real kick in the pants!!! I bought a similar light kit from Wal-Mart and installed it on my boat trailer and it does the same damn thing.



Anyone???
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I think I have a weak ground. I'm going to try running a new ground between the truck and trailer. I'm also going to install a ground block and run ground wires from all the lights to it. I think that will fix the problems.
 

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You could try removing the paint between the screw and the metal. Had some grounding issues on an old mini bike and eventually scraped some paint of and voila!
 

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Looks nice. Glad you had a chance to step away and consider the ground connection. That was my guess as I read along.
 

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This may not be your problem but it is one that has driven me crazy in the past. The trailer has standard trailer lighting with combination brake and turn signal bulbs while the tow vehicle has separate brake and turn signal lamps. The only way to get everything working seems to be to purchase a trailer light converter. Most auto parts stores and Wal-Marts have them.



Grounding on trailer lights is a common problem. Some people go so far as to run ground wires to all the lights. It would be helpful if the trailer light kit manufacturers would include the ground wire, but I guess the extra 97 cents of cost would drive them out of business. Just me venting.



Good luck with your project.
 

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i'm banking on it being a grounding problem as well...i just helped my grandfather sell one of his home-made trailers to a friend of mine and we installed a light kit from walmart on it and had similar problems
 

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I think I have a weak ground. I'm going to try running a new ground between the truck and trailer. I'm also going to install a ground block and run ground wires from all the lights to it. I think that will fix the problems.
I guarantee it is a ground problem.

I've been an electrician for over 3o years and EVERY "trailer-wiring" problem I've ever encountered, was traced back to a bad/intermittent/missing ground connection.

Tell tale signs: Both lights flashing simultaneously...lights flashing alternately with tow-vehicle's lights...turn signal lights coming on when brakes applied...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I went back over the entire thing today with a buddy and a fluke meter. I re did all of the conections, cleaned all the grounds and they are good, but the problem remains the same. I think I'm going with Mad Macs idea and pick up a converter. Nuthin else makes sense. Never had five wires kick my ass so hard.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I gave up on it, hooked it to the truck and left for our trip with it still all jacked up. Just stopped for gas and checked it. It is working fine now, go figure !
 

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When you repainted and rebuilt the trailer, the front Y and the bed frame (I noticed it tilts) didn't have a good metal to metal connection.



After a few miles of bouncing down the road the paint got pushed aside and ground was complete.



Don't forget to re-torque all bolts after a couple of trips.
 

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I watched 4 A&P certs, guys who worked on commercial airliners, spend 3 hours trying to get tow lights on a car to work after they assured me they had confirmed a good ground. Walked up with a jumper wire, one alligator clip on the coupler, one on the license plate bolt on the bumper, everything started working. Took my jumper and went home without saying a word. Seems grounding through the tow bar was iffy, at best. Same goes for tilt trailers. When I worked for a trailer manufacturer EVERY light issue was a ground problem. Hook the white wire on the trailer side of the plug to the main frame, not the tongue. Use a ring terminal soldered to the wire and an electro-plated (zinc or cadmium are fine) self-tapping sheet metal screw with a serrated (locking) flat surface against the ring, not a nut and bolt, as the threads in the frame will make a better contact than a flat washer. Then use a Nyloc nut on the screw to keep it from vibrating loose.



Many factory installed trailer plugs are grounded to a slip-on "nut" that has no direct contact with the frame if any corrosion, paint, or rust preventive coating is present. Ask any auto tech how intelligent auto engineers actually are. The first production Corvette rolled off the end of the assembly line and suffered major electrical failures--none of the engineers thought to include ground wires in the harness. The fiberglass body would not ground.
 
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