Mechanic advice needed

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JD
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Fri Aug 17, 2007 12:53 pm

I am not a great mechanic and even less qualified in auto electric. Still, I would like to save some money and fix this myself. Funny thing, this is how my problem started :)

I forgot to plug in my lights the last time I brought the boat bake from the lake. The road totally wasted the flat 4 pole connector. So with a battery and alligator jumpers, I thought I had figured out which wire was which. I was wrong. I plugged in my repaired connector to the truck, started the truck and tried the signals. The signals blink 2-3 times and then quit. The 10a signal fuse and the 15a stop light fuse are burned out. Replacing the fuses nets the same results.

Do you think this is fried wires? The flasher I kind of know about under the dash? The flasher I didn't know about that someone suggested, that is supposed to be in the steering column? Where do I start? I will be out staring at my truck for a while and come back hopefully for some words of wisdom.

JD
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Mark
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Fri Aug 17, 2007 1:01 pm

Fixing trailer wiring is an art in itself! I just spent way too much time with mine when getting ready to pull my bike to Sturgis.

One thing I did find that was extremely helpful was a tester that plugged into the 4-prong connector on the vehicle. The tester has 3 or 4 lights that showed you the blinkers, tail lights & brakes. This gagdet was under $3 at Walmart and made testing the wiring on the vehicle super easy. If the wiring on the vehicle tests OK, then you know the issues are with the trailer wiring.

Mark
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Robert
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Fri Aug 17, 2007 1:16 pm

Hi JD,


To find which wire is which w/o a tester as Mark has, have someone press brake peddle, switch turn signal lever, etc....


Then as each is placed in the powered position, place one meter lead to a connector wire and other to good vehicle ground.


Scrape back paint or rust and get metal to metal with lead.



Hope this makes sense, it is a PITB until you understand it, then it is really fairly simple.


Best solution is to throw the flat 4 way in trash and get a truck mounted plug in outlet and compatible plug for boat.


Gotta run.


Take care and best wishes,
Robert
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JD
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Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:38 pm

I will probably be back for help with the trailer wiring. Right now my problem is with the truck. Somehow when I hooked up my so-called repaired trailer plug to the truck, it fried the truck's signals and brake lights. Pretty bad situation since I had to postpone all of todays work to work on the truck. It is double bad because I burnt up the truck playing hookie yesterday to go fishing!

So looking at the truck wiring, it appears that the signals (4 wire import style - amber turn lights) is on a completely different circuit than the stop lights, both of which are burnt out. I don't think the problem is in the flasher, because that is not in the circuit with the stop lights. This is making me think burnt wiring. So I figure I should disconnect the wire harness to the trailer plug and see if that is what is causing the short. This is all factory tow-package stuff and real pretty and all. All wires in nice plastic conduit like jackets, connectors that almost need a manual to figure out how to get them off and on, little hooks to hold everything up real nice. Anyways, I follow the wire jacket from the tow plug up and around and it goes up a hole in the left back corner of the vehicle, inside the bed area to behind the tail light. There is no access door in the bed or inside corner of the truck and the dang tail light assembly has no screws! My first thought is that the light must pry off and snap back on. My second thought is how my first thoughts like this always seem to mess me up worse. Then I envisioned a $200 tail light assembly busted to pieces because of the crow bar.

Anyways, I hate newer vehicles. I did all my own car work up until 1980 or so. I quit because cars started getting stupidly complicated. Really, how hard should it be to remove a tail light assembly? I think I will get this thing fixed and sell it. It is a real nice truck, but I think I want a 1971 Super Camper Special F-250. Build the thing like new, a perfect paint job and I would have a truck for life. Sure won't have to worry about it getting old and losing value.

If anyone knows about Toyota turn and stop light problems, your help would be greatly appreciated. Again, I fried something when I hooked up a trailer to the truck lights. Flashers, relays, control modules, I don't know where the problem would be.

JD
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Mark
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Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:50 pm

The vehicle I was messing with also had separate bulbs for turn signals. In that case, I was trying to add a wiring harness. Never did get it fully functional, but at least got trailer lights to come on, so away I went.

These newer vehicles seem to have lights and sensors for everything. Actually a person can get into a bad habit of not checking stuff and thinking everything is OK because a sensor didn't go off. Heck, I don't hardly even check my tire pressure anymore because I have a gauge that tells me when my tire pressure is low (and it works great!) Definitely makes one lazy.

Otherwise gotta be a way to get those rear light assemblies off. Come to think of it, ours just popped off. No screws required.

Mark
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hvac1000
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Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:09 pm

Most import cars will need an adapter since they use a different wiring method. I put one on a corolla all track a few years ago for a friend of mine. I got the adapter at K mart but that was years ago. I am sure they are available at Lowe's or Home Depot or places like that.
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JD
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Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:37 pm

OK. got it fixed. Thanks everyone for your replies. I ended up taking it to a shop where I know one of the main mechanics. He printed up some schematics and studied them. He kept trying different fuses trying to isolate the problem and popping them. He then tried circuit breakers instead of fuses, I am thinking to save on the fuses. And the lights magically started working. He switched the breakers back to fuses, and everything still works. He said, "Damn, I am good". He charged me a 6 pack of diet Pepsi and sent me on my way.

I am thinking that I had a stuck relay. For some reason, the circuit breakers held the circuit together long enough for it to reset the relay. So now I have a truck again.

Problem is, I now have to rewire the boat trailer tomorrow, because I am going fishing Sunday. Rewiring the trailer is how I started this mess. Wish me luck!

JD
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Greg
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Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:48 pm

JD, If you are using the "flat 4" connector it goes like this. White is ground, brown is tail lights, yellow is left turn, green is right turn. If your TRUCK has seperate turn & brake lights (yellow turn & red brake lights) on the back you can do one of two things either buy a converter that converts the seperate turn/brake lights into 1 for the trailer, the last price I knew of was around $50. or you can go with a 5 pin connector & add seperate brake lights to the trailer. I would not have a problem with the 5 pin method if you only haul this trailer. If you pull other trailers you would still have problems with the lights on those trailers. The flat 4 is the most common connector used, most every rental yard uses them. Greg
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JD
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Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:21 pm

Hi Greg,

My Toyota has the factory tow package that has the converter already installed. It has a 4 pin coming out. The boat trailer was the problem. I think it is the original Tracker wiring, but it does not go by the same color codes. So what I have is 4 unknown wires that I need to determine where they go in the 4 pin. I thought I had it figured out right when I installed the new plug. After thinking about it today, I am thinking it may be right anyway. What may have happened it as the plub was being shredded by the road all the way home, the bouncing of the wires may have created cuts in the wire where it goes into a drilled hole in the frame. Then when I hooked up the boat to go fishing, the wires got in the right position to short out on the frame, and then causing the relay in the truck to get stuck. I will work on it tomorrow and and find out. Thanks for the help.

JD
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Greg
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Sat Aug 18, 2007 6:54 pm

JD, It should still be the same color code on the plug, if not on the trailer end you should have (on the plug) 1 exposed pin & 3 insulated pins. The exposed pin (white wire) is the ground, next to that is the first insulated pin (brown wire) that is the tail light, the next 2 green & yellow are the turn signal wires. Some trailer makers run two wires up each side of the frame (1 tail & 1 turn) and splice them at the plug.
It almost sounds to me like you are intimated by it, don't be. There is nothing you can hurt or blow up if it's not right. the worst that can happen is you blow a few fuses. take your time and approch it logically and you will be fine. Greg
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JD
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Sat Aug 18, 2007 9:19 pm

Hey Greg,

Guess you would of had to been there. I wasn't intimidated at all the first time I repaired the plug that was worn off of the trailer wiring. But when I hooked it up to the truck and lost all tail light function in my truck, that made me question my DIY wiring skills. When replacing the burnt fuses did not correct the problem, I was in an unknown territory. There's the flasher, 2 relays, the converter, the switch and the wiring. But with the help of my friend, the problem corrected itself. Again, all he did was blow more fuses until he decided to use circuit breakers instead. I am thinking the circuit breakers kept firing away at the flashers until one of the relays became unstuck. Replaced the circuit breakers with fuses, and all is good.

The trailer wiring is still not working properly. I pulled out a large section of the harness through the tongue area of the trailer. I found two things there. A huge wear area in the wiring that caused the short that started this whole mess and a piece of heavy jacketed corded wires spliced into the wires from the lights. This is what threw me yesterday. The heavy cord type wire has white, black, red and brown wires. That is why it was hard to know which wire went where until I got the splices pulled out.

Now I have spliced it all back together the heavy wire brown going to the trailer green/brown and yellow/brown wires, the heavy black to the trailer green, the heavy red to the trailer yellow and ran my ground white wire on the trailer to the white wire in the heavy cord. I installed the white, brown, yellow, green plug to the respective wires. When testing from a battery, all lights appear to be working fine. When hooked up to the truck, the left signal worked properly, the right signal flashes on both left and right lights and the running lights only light the right light. So, although better than what I had yesterday, I am still working on it.

So if anyone can tell through all this rambling what might be wrong in my plan, I would truly appreciate the insight. I am sure that one way or the other, I will have the trailer fixed tomorrow.

JD
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Mark
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Sat Aug 18, 2007 10:56 pm

Definitely sounds like your right blinker and tail light wire are switched.

So are you saying you never made it fishing today?

Mark
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JD
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Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:10 am

Oh noooo. Lucky for me, I was going to take my good friend and neighbor, who happens to have a very nice 2005 Bass Tracker. So we loaded up his boat and took off. Didn't do much good. It was very windy, making it hard to control the boat or feel the bait. By noon it was too hot for my partner, so we headed in. Caught a few though.

JD
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Greg
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Sun Aug 19, 2007 6:45 am

JD, Did Bubba open a trailer division?
It sounds like a ground problem in the right side to me. Look close when you use the right T/S and see if it is actually the tail lights that are flashing (the side markers will flash also).
One other thing to check. If you are using the style of light that uses the push lock connectors (usually the square style with side marker built in) I have had problems with the push locks & corrosion. Greg
"If I can't fix it, I can screw it up so bad no one else can either."

altasnowman
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Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:03 pm

Hi JD, think Mark hit it on the head,sounds like you have wires on right side reversed. have had many problems like that on trailers i used to haul. some other driver has problem with lights, and decides to rewire trailers to his truck. gotta love them that don't know what they are doing. Later Rudy
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