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Old 08-04-2014, 09:15 AM   #1
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Help with Trailer Lighting

Hello, all.

Just recently purchased a 1990 Starcraft Starstream popup; I know this is a Jayco forum, but since Jayco ended up buying Starcraft, I am hopefully welcome.

The trailer has a 7-blade connector, and I have recently added the wiring and similar connector to the tow vehicle, a 2014 Kia Sorento. When I connect, the turn signals and brake lights work fine, but when I turn on the running (tail) lights, the left rear tail light on the vehicle goes dark, and neither of the talil lights on the trailer work.

A neighbor told me he'd heard that newer vehicles like mine have smaller gauge wiring that is not sufficient to carry the current to the trailer, but I have never heard of such a thing. Anyone have any other suggestions for what the problem might be before I hook everything up and take it to the dealer?

Thanks very much.
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:33 AM   #2
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May want to double check your ground wire on the trailer. I have had a bad ground cause some crazy things happen on my boat and utility trailer.
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:50 AM   #3
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I agree, this is probably a ground wire issue. Pop-up campers usually don't have good grounds for their lights. More often than not the tail lights are grounded to a piece of aluminum attached to the light fixture itself. It's a wonder they work at all. When I had my PUP after a while I had similar issues. I ended up taking the lights out and running ground wires directly to the frame.

But before you do that get a 12 volt tester. Have someone go through all the lights on the tow vehicle while grounding the tester and touching each connection to verify that juice is getting to the 7 pin connector. If that all works hook up the trailer and check the connections to the lights themselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maddoxdave View Post
A neighbor told me he'd heard that newer vehicles like mine have smaller gauge wiring that is not sufficient to carry the current to the trailer, but I have never heard of such a thing.
Good thing your neighbor isn't working on this for you...
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Old 08-04-2014, 11:17 AM   #4
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X2 on the ground connection.
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Old 08-04-2014, 11:32 AM   #5
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Thanks for the great (and fast) replies, I think I'm going to like this forum.

I should have mentioned that we encountered similar issues when connecting my vehicle to my son-in-law's 4-pin utility trailer (using a 7-4 adaptor). With that information, the test-the-pins suggestion makes the most sense, and I will try to do that tonight.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 08-04-2014, 02:37 PM   #6
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any one with a POP UP is welcome
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Old 08-04-2014, 06:46 PM   #7
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I'm wondering if there's a short between the tail light wire (which is most likely tapped from the left side, and you mentioned the left tail light goes out) and another wire. Since it happens when any trailer is plugged in ...
Check your wiring carefully, including inside the plug on the car.
Do you have a problem when there's no trailer connected?
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:07 AM   #8
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So here's the latest: I tested all the leads on the vehicle, and they all seem to be working, although the tail light lead may have been intermittent (my tester isn't the best, either).

On the trailer, I found the main grounding point, and it was indeed rusty and corroded. So I cleaned/sanded all those connections, as well as the connection to the trailer itself and re-installed.

Hooked the vehicle up to the trailer, and same thing happened: brakes and turn signals work great on both vehicle/trailer, including extended braking periods. Turn on the running lights, and all come on briefly, then left vehicle light goes out as well as both taillights on the trailer.

My question: If it's a grounding problem with the lights on the trailer, why would they work with the brake/signals, as it's the same bulb/fixture?

Next test is tonight, going to hook up the trailer to my neighbor's Explorer to see if things work.

Thanks again for input.
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:21 AM   #9
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Finally had a chance to test the trailer with my neighbor's Explorer, and everything worked perfectly, including the tail lights. That pretty much confirms that the problem is with my tow vehicle, right?
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddoxdave View Post
Finally had a chance to test the trailer with my neighbor's Explorer, and everything worked perfectly, including the tail lights. That pretty much confirms that the problem is with my tow vehicle, right?
Can you do the reverse test, that being using your tow vehicle connected to a trailer other than your own?
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