Help! No brake lights on tear

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Help! No brake lights on tear

Postby kiacker » Mon Jun 11, 2007 10:30 pm

Am looking for some help. Just finished my tear and hooked it up to the truck for the first time. It uses a 4 pin connector to the truck. HF trailer & trailer harness. Tested the lights & all the clearance lights work. The brake lights are 3 way lights (universal stop, turn, clearance & not the ones that came with the HF trailer) - both the brake lights are on (as clearance lights), the turn signals work OK, but when I hit the brakes there is no change. All the lights are working normally on the truck. I ran thru the brake light wiring & re-did some connections thinking they were loose but it didn't help. I wondered if maybe it was the ground connection, but figured the affected brake lights wouldn't work at all if that was the case. (Can a bad ground affect just the stop light portion of a light?)

Boy am I stumped! Here I was all fired up to take it out for the first trip tomorrow, but I'm not going anywhere until I get this figured out!

:cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:
Lisa

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Postby dhazard » Mon Jun 11, 2007 10:46 pm

The paint on the new trailer is a very good insulator. Most likely you are not getting a good ground to the lights. To fix this take a wire and run it from a ground on the trailer plug (the white wire) to the bolt for the tail lights, the lights will probably work.
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Postby madjack » Mon Jun 11, 2007 10:55 pm

DHAZARD wrote:The paint on the new trailer is a very good insulator. Most likely you are not getting a good ground to the lights. To fix this take a wire and run it from a ground on the trailer plug (the white wire) to the bolt for the tail lights, the lights will probably work.


...that would be the first thing to try...but the BIG question is...do you have seperate brake and signal lamps on your tow vehicle...if so, you will probably need a converter to adapt then to traler lights that have the same bulb for both brake and blinkers....
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Postby Dale M. » Mon Jun 11, 2007 10:56 pm

Your brake lights and turn signal lights use same bulb element, if you fix brakes, you will probably fix turn signal.... OF brakes lights are on as tail llights you have wired "tail lights" to wrong filiment in bulb...

Yes ground may be a problem, if chassis is bolt together then its probably a poor ground unless you carried the ground wiring all the way through to the trailer to lights...

Also problem may be tow vehicle.... What wring system does it have? Is it a two bulb system stop - tail - turn signal, then you need a converter in system to make it a single bulb system, stop/turn - tail.

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This graphic shows ground bonded to trailer frame. IF your frame is bolted together, its probably best to carry ground wire to each light fixture.

Here is a little light bulb science...

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Postby kiacker » Tue Jun 12, 2007 12:14 am

Arggh! OK, I went thru all the grounds & ground down the paint at each attachment site to the frame. I then wired them all together (since it is a bolt together frame) & attached them to the ground on the trailer plug - no change. :x The tow vehicle is an 89 Ford Ranger with a Hoppy wiring adapter that connects in to my current wiring & has an adapter/converter for the 4 pin trailer connector. The truck uses a single bulb for stop, turn, and park. The trailer has no turn or brake signal when truck lights are off. When truck lights are on, turn signals then work but still no brakes. What a frustrating problem!
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Postby Tear Les » Tue Jun 12, 2007 10:05 am

kiacker wrote:Arggh! OK, I went thru all the grounds & ground down the paint at each attachment site to the frame. I then wired them all together (since it is a bolt together frame) & attached them to the ground on the trailer plug - no change. :x The tow vehicle is an 89 Ford Ranger with a Hoppy wiring adapter that connects in to my current wiring & has an adapter/converter for the 4 pin trailer connector. The truck uses a single bulb for stop, turn, and park. The trailer has no turn or brake signal when truck lights are off. When truck lights are on, turn signals then work but still no brakes. What a frustrating problem!
Lisa


Hi Lisa,

You're working on two vehicles at once which multiplies the troubleshooting by many orders of magnitude. Divide and conquer! That is...disconnect the trailer from the tow vehicle both physically and electrically.

Step 1: make sure the the connector on the tow vehicle is working properly. I'm assuming you have a flat-4 connector, right?

- The male pin that sticks out is ground (white)
- The first hole next to that is the running lights (brown)
- The next hole over is the left brake/turn signal (yellow)
- The final outside hole is right brake/turn signal (greeen)

I find it easiest to use a test light (they're cheap) [Well really the easiest is a connector tester which just plugs in and they're not expensive but most of us don't have one.]. Turn on your parking lights (running lights) and connect the alligator clip of the test light to the male pin (which is ground). Insert the test light probe into the hole next to the pin (the running lights) and it should light up. If not there's a very good chance that the white ground wire on the truck side is not grounded. Try clipping the alligator clip to a (clean) metal part of the truck chassis and try that first hole again. If it works it's definitely your truck-side ground wire.

Assuming the running light circuit is working go turn the key to the "on" position and turn on your left turn signal. Now (with the alligator still on the ground in) go insert the probe into the second hole...the test light should flash. Then go and switch on the right signal and test the last hole...the test light should flash.

If all is good with the truck you're done there. Don't forget to turn the ignition switch back off. Ah...we didn't check the brake lights. Well, that's because if the turn signals work, unless the bulb filament is burned out or there's a fuse blown under the dash, if the turn signal works on that side so does the brake lamp. If you have someone that can press the brakes then you can check them too. Clip onto the male pin for ground and while the brakes are on check the second and third holes...both should light up.

If the truck was ok it's time to check the trailer. The easiest way to do this is with a battery (any small 12-volt will do). I use a couple of jumper leads with alligator clips at both end and, IMPORTANT, an inline fuse (5 to 10 amps will do) in the positive lead. If you have a short in the trailer wiring you don't want to find that out by melting one of your jumper wires (especially not when holding it!).

The trailer connector is just the opposite with regard to the pin-to-hole population. With the fused lead clip onto the positive battery terminal then clip the other end onto the first pin (next to the hole), this is the running lights. Now clip the ground jumper to negative terminal on the battery and the other end to the hole (I just insert one side of the alligator jaws into the hole and the other side is outside holding on). All the running lights on the trailer should come on (if you have really bright taillights the bulbs are inserted incorrectly and the brake filaments are energized rather than the taillight filaments).

If the runnnig lights don't come on then you have a bad ground. Move the jumper from the hole in the connector to the frame. If the lights come on it means the wiring harness is not getting a good ground. If the lights still don't come on you need to check their individual ground to the frame.

Next move the positive lead from the first pin to the second; the left turn signal light should come on...and it's the only one that should be on and it should be bright.

Next move the positive lead from the second pin to the third; the right turn signal light should come on...and it's the only one that should be on and it should be bright.

If you've got both the tow vehicle and the trailer working at this point reconnect everything and all should be good.

I thought the '89 Ranger was a Mazda pickup? Most Japanese cars have separate turn signals (not part of the brake system). Are you sure this isn't the case on your Ranger (I don't know them at all)? If they are indeed separate you need a taillight converter (available at almost all auto parts stores).

That was a lot of typing, and probably reading, but doing it that way I can test and diagnose a vehicle or trailer problem within 5 minutes because I'm not trying to work with both units at the same time.

Good luck and best wishes! :thumbsup:
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Postby Dale M. » Tue Jun 12, 2007 11:08 am

Good tutorial by lblampman...

IF you do all the tests for trailer... And it still does not work... Go back to truck wiring..... You state its a HOPPY connecter with CONVERTER.... Converters are a constant source of problems..... They only work half good, half the time.... Yes it could be bad right off the sales rack...

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Postby dhazard » Tue Jun 12, 2007 12:27 pm

Admins, This is a good place for a sticky
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Postby asianflava » Tue Jun 12, 2007 3:07 pm

lblampman wrote:I thought the '89 Ranger was a Mazda pickup? Most Japanese cars have separate turn signals (not part of the brake system). Are you sure this isn't the case on your Ranger (I don't know them at all)? If they are indeed separate you need a taillight converter (available at almost all auto parts stores).


No, they are different. Mazda made pickups for Ford in the late 70's early 80's, the small Ford Courier. Then the Fords and Mazdas were two totally different trucks until 93 (1994 model year) when Ford started making trucks for Mazda.

I had a similar problem with our TV. All the trailer lights worked but the brake light on one side would not come on. I tested the grounds, bulbs, and wiring and they were all OK. I ended up hooking it up to our other vehicle (Ironically it was a Mazda/Ranger with a Hoppy T harness) and everything worked. I ended up getting a new trailer harness for the other TV, the logic box must have gone bad. The block on the bottom of the Hoppy T harness is the same deal. You may want to try plugging it into a different vehicle that you know is OK.
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Postby kiacker » Tue Jun 12, 2007 3:08 pm

Thanks so much guys!!! Followed lblampman's instructions (thank you so much for taking the time to do that!) & used a voltmeter to check things. Found the problem was on the tow vehicle/truck side - when I would turn on 1 turn signal both signal pins lit up! Went back to the auto parts to to get a different T connector & harness and after a little modification it fit on the truck connectors & now works. I was jumping up & down & screaming that I was so happy to get the damn thing solved, that my neighbors asked me if I was OK. :D Heck ya! I'm more than OK NOW!

Taking her out on her maiden voyage in a few hours. My poor dog can't wait! Image Image

Thanks again for all your help! (More pics in my album.)
Lisa

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Postby madjack » Tue Jun 12, 2007 4:14 pm

:applause: :applause: :applause: ...the #1 problem with trailer lights, are bad grounds...the #2 problem is bad converter boxes...sure glad you got it found/fixed with no other problems...now quit hangin' 'round here(for now) and take that doggie for a ride :thumbsup: ..........
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Postby Tear Les » Tue Jun 12, 2007 10:57 pm

Well doggone Lisa (no pun intended! :lol: ) that is one great looking tear! :thumbsup: I like the dog too; we have a couple of Blue Heelers.

Glad to hear you got things going and you're off on your trip! :vroom:

Have fun! :Flippin Burger:


P.S. --- It's just LES...lblampman sounds so darn formal! :SG (can I change my user name?)
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Postby madjack » Tue Jun 12, 2007 11:51 pm

lblampman wrote: (can I change my user name?)



yes you can............................... 8)
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Postby bledsoe3 » Wed Jun 13, 2007 2:07 am

Excellent information Les. I see the mad one has made a sticky to this thread.
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Postby Tear Les » Wed Jun 13, 2007 8:58 pm

bledsoe3 wrote:Excellent information Les. I see the mad one has made a sticky to this thread.

:shock: What happens next? Can I still stay? :o

Ok, Mr. Mad One... Can you change my user name to Tear Les (maybe that's too corny :lol: ) or is that something I can do?

Thanks! :thumbsup:
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