Got a problem with my trailer wiring on my truck.

Anything electric, AC or DC

Got a problem with my trailer wiring on my truck.

Postby cracker39 » Sat Sep 02, 2006 4:11 pm

OK, I wanted to not have to buy the $75 plug and connector that fits a socket under the back of the truck. Then, the conenctor won't fit my trailer plugs, so I'd have to buy a plug and make an adapter...another $10. I decided to wire it like I did my other truck.

I used the wire splicers to connect all wires for the connector to the appropriate wire running to the lights, and ran a 12 ga. wire for the ground to a bolt on the frame. I know the ground is good.

Here's the problem, and it is the same problem with both camper and boat trailers that are wired exactly the same, and both worked with the old truck connector, which is wired the same as I did on the new truck.

The brake lights and tail lights work fine. When I put either trailer plug into the connector (which is new), and turn on the turn signal, it blinks once or twice and stops. It doesn't blow any fuses. I can remove the plug and use clip wires from the connector ground and one turn signal to the same sockts on the plug, and the one turn signal will work. When I plug them up and try either one, it blinks and dies.

My first thought was bad ground, but I tried running the ground wire to different points on the frame of the truck with the same results. The only thing I can see that might be a problem is that the wires running to the turn signals on the truck are 16 ga or less, nowhere as big as the 14 ga wires I am using. Any suggestions? Other than spending $90 or so for the dealer supplied plug setup.
Dale

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Postby stjohn » Sat Sep 02, 2006 5:10 pm

replace the flasher under the dash with a heavy duty one Sounds like it might be getting hot and not working properly might not be the promblem
but it really needs to be replaced w/ aheavy duty one when towing a trailer anyway there not but 3 or 4 dollars :D

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Postby jimqpublic » Sat Sep 02, 2006 6:21 pm

Does your truck have separate brake and tail lights? (I assume yes since it's Japanese). If so, did you install a "combiner" module which merges the brake and turn circuits from each side? If not I suspect that's your problem.

You don't have to spend $75, the basic modules are about 20 or so. Here's the page at etrailer.com: http://tinyurl.com/hvv39

PS- When I wired up my Subaru I used a relay based module for my trailer lights so they only draw signal current from the car lighting circuit and use power from my charge line. It's called a "Modulite" and was $50, but allows 25 watts for each turn signal and 60 watts for the running lights.
http://tinyurl.com/hj5rn

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Postby cracker39 » Sat Sep 02, 2006 8:18 pm

Yes, it has separate brake and turn signals, but so do my trailers. I run 5 wires. Brake, tail light, right turn, left turn and ground. So, I don't need a combiner module. This is the way I've wired all my trailers. I never had much luck with the combiner modules anyway. The turn signal lights were always too dim, so I started using separate turn signals on the trailers too. So, that's not my problem. If I don't find a resolution in the next week, I'll just spend the money for the dealer connector unit.
Dale

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Postby cracker39 » Sat Sep 02, 2006 8:19 pm

PS: I use the round 6-wire connector and plug...5 in a star pattern and one in the center (which isn't used).
Dale

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Postby Steve_Cox » Sat Sep 02, 2006 9:15 pm

Dale,

Mike's answer was pretty good, heavy duty flasher relay.

Cheap Heavy Duty Turn Signal Relay $2.95
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Postby sdtripper2 » Sat Sep 02, 2006 11:54 pm

Mike and Steve:

Do look forward to seeing if Dale's fix is this 3 buck part.
You guys exemplify what makes this forum a source of
help and quick responses.

I guess the key to the trouble shooting is that it happens
that the flashing stops on both trailers eh?
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is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards." -------Theodore Roosevelt

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Postby cracker39 » Sun Sep 03, 2006 6:37 am

Thanks, Guys. The flasher relay never occured to me. But, that seems as good an answer as any, as the flashing stops on both sets of trailer lights with the new truck, and both work fine on the old truck. I'll have to find it on the new truck and get a HD replacement.
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Postby cracker39 » Sun Sep 03, 2006 8:37 am

I'M DOOMED.
These new vehicles are getting so that a DIY'r can't do anything anymore. The oil filters are even nearly unreachable without special tools.

Anyway, I can't find a conventional flasher relay like the one pictured in the link above. Under the hood, in the plastic boxes, I find two square plug in items (maybe relays?), one for trlr rt turn and one for trlr left turn, and a 10 amp fuse marked trailer tow. It looks like I'll end up getting the dealer provided plug in connector for the back. I don't want to mess with the electronics on the truck, and I doubt that they have any optional relays anyway as you're supposed to use what they give you (or sell you for big $$ that is).

I think the flasher capacity is the problem, and I'm not sure it can be solved like in older vehicles where you can just plug in a heavier flasher relay. I guess it's off the the dealer tomorrow and ask questions.
Dale

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Postby Jiminsav » Sun Sep 03, 2006 11:43 am

Keep us posted Dale, I'm sure others will have this problem in the future.
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Postby Dale M. » Sun Sep 03, 2006 12:39 pm

cracker39 wrote:I'M DOOMED.

Anyway, I can't find a conventional flasher relay like the one pictured in the link above. Under the hood, in the plastic boxes, I find two square plug in items (maybe relays?), one for trlr rt turn and one for trlr left turn, and a 10 amp fuse marked trailer tow. It looks like I'll end up getting the dealer provided plug in connector for the back. I guess it's off the the dealer tomorrow and ask questions.


Get "factory" wiring connector if your truck does not have one..

Sounds like there may be relays driving the actual trailer lamps. Flasher probably controls the relays. did you pull relays to see if turn lamp operation completely stopped (on either side) ..... If you can't find flasher (follow the ticking noise?) maybe there is not a flasher and flasher function is part of computer system.... Sounds like you need to either tap "factory connector" (harness) on rear of vehicle (root around in rear wiring harness find unused connector) or get factory connector and plug from dealer (easiest solution).

Also check online sources to see if there are special harness available for your model trick.... Places online that sell trailer wiring supplies and hitches may list a special harness, that may be your first clue... What is make and model and year of truck?

I know on my late model Chevy truck the trailer lamp system is totally separate from vehicle system... Separate fuses for lamps and relay for controll when brake lights or flashers are in operation even tail lamps... Recently had experience with a newer Ford truck and trailer lamp system seemed to be separate from vehicle, at least the fuse block had fuses labeled for appropriate "trailer" lights.....

Whole problem may be where you tapped into wiring.... You may have gotten into vechicle wiring and not seperate trailer wiring circuits...




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Postby cracker39 » Sun Sep 03, 2006 7:40 pm

Dale, you're probably right about all that. I tapped into the truck wiring just like I've done in the past, right where the wires go to the bulbs. But the trucks keep getting more sophisticated with the computer systems and this is the first one I've owned that seems to have a separate trailer system for turn signals. When the flashers are on, I hear the clicking sound, but under the dash, there doesn't seem to be an actual flasher relay...or at least, nothing I recognize as a flasher relay...no round aluminum object.

I do think that the turn signal system for the truck turn signal lights was designed to be used just for just that, and not to support the drain of additional lights. Tomorrow, I'll take another look for a flasher relay and if I don't see one, I'll go for the dealer connector. I found one online, but it still cost $66, so I wouldn't save anything after paying shipping. Besides, if I get it from the dealer, I have support if it doesn't work right.

The truck is a 2006 Nissan Frontier. You don't find as many products, especially electrical, online for Nissan as you do the other trucks, and that includes Toyota. I even had to have a local auto parts store order my VentShade bug deflector and window vent visors. They had them in the store for Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Toyota, GMC, but not for Nissan.
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Postby Dale M. » Sun Sep 03, 2006 10:22 pm

Some of the new flashers may look llike just another relay... Square plastic, black box....

You probably can still get by the with out the factory harness (probably has wrong plug on it anyway) if you can find a "tail" someplace user back of truck that needs a plug stuffed into it... Factory plug will probably be 7 pin (actually blades) "RV" style socket. .... Seems to be industry standard....

Six pin in actully "commercial" truck connector....

Lots of good information here...

Harness for Frontier

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Postby cracker39 » Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:58 am

That's the harness I checked on at the Dealer. I found a towing guide at the Nissan site and down loaded it. It has a lot of detailed info, including these excerpts from it:

“A trailer’s taillights, stoplights, and turn signals must be wired* into the tow vehicle’s electrical system. …. Direct splicing … of trailer lighting may cause damage to your vehicle’s electrical system and malfunction of the trailer lighting. …. NOTE: Improper or poor quality trailer harness may affect your vehicle’s electrical system. Use only a Nissan approved wiring harness, or consult your dealer or a professional supplier of towing equipment for compatible equipment.”

* See the SPECIFICATIONS section of this guide for wiring harness information specific to your vehicle.


So, I will get the proper harness kit and make whatever adapter I need to get the signals to my 6-pin connector I already installed on the hitch. Since I am not sure there is a local "supplier of towing equipment for compatible equipment", I'll get it from my Nissan dealer. After spending The $$$ for the truck, hitch, and a cap, trying to save a few bucks at the risk of something not working correctly, or, worse yet, causing electrical problems, just doesn't seem worth it. I'll do it right.
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Postby angib » Mon Sep 04, 2006 9:04 am

cracker39 wrote:“Use only a Nissan approved wiring harness”

To mis-quote Mandy Rice-Davies: "Well, they would say that, wouldn't they?"

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