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technomadia

Oliver Wiring Issue - Help Needed (Turn Signal Fail)

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So we just picked up the new Tundra, and it looks beautiful next to our Orion.

 

But...

 

Testing out the trailer hookup, I noticed that we are having issues with our trailer lights now.

 

The top mounted Oliver light is not coming on at all, and all the other lights on the trailer seem to be shorted together into one circuit. Using the left or right turn signal flashes all the lights on the trailer, including the running lights. And turning on the running lights lights up everything, so that even hitting the brakes makes no visible difference.

 

It seems to be some sort of short.

 

I also noticed that the trailer batteries are not getting charged via the tow vehicle now.

 

I took the Tundra to a trailer supply place and had the 7-pin jack tested, and they say it is definitely not the truck. I did some multimeter testing of my own, and I tend to agree. I think it is just coincidental that it is happening now, and we may have actually gone a while without noticing our tow lights being weird. We certainly haven't done any night driving in a while.

 

I have been trying to trace the problem, and using a continuity tester I noticed that almost all the pins on the cable going into the Oliver seem to be tied together... The LT, RT, electric brake, power, and ground lines all test out as being tied together. Only the running lights and back up lamp pins don't cause the tester to beep.

 

I thought maybe the Bargman cable between the tow vehicle and the front of the Oliver might be the issue, but that tests out fine. The short / issue seems to be somewhere inside the trailer.

 

Questions:

1) Has anyone seen anything like this before?

2) Any ideas what might be causing the problem?

3) Where should I look to trace the wires for all the trailer tow lights?

4) Why oh why isn't there a published schematic for our trailers? :-)

5) It seems really odd that not just the lights, but the charge line and the brakes are showing as tied together. Urhm???

 

Help and wisdom appreciated,

 

- Chris

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I am 80% sure that I checked that we were getting a charge last time we hooked up to move from Hemet to San Diego. We had been in Hemet over a month in one place. I am 95% sure that we checked all the lights before the trip from Sacramento to Hemet.

 

- Chris

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Chris,

 

If you know another trailer owner in the area, you might try hooking their trailer to your Tundra to verify that the cable and plug from the Tundra works properly.

 

Steve

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If you know another trailer owner in the area, you might try hooking their trailer to your Tundra to verify that the cable and plug from the Tundra works properly.

 

As I mentioned, I had the Tundra at a trailer supply place today (getting the new ball mount), and they used a circuit tester to confirm that the truck was working properly.

 

I haven't tried another trailer yet, but I will if I have a chance. But I doubt the issue is in the Tundra.

 

- Chris

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It needs a comercially available adapter ! Seems like they cost about $25. Had to put one on our Nissan 4x4 so we could pull our Ollie with it.

The Toyota's internal wiring circuitry is giving a "all shorted togather reading" to the LED's on your Olliver. We went to a trailer place and they knew immediately what the problem was, installed the adapter in about ten minutes and no problems since.

Each adapter is made for a different Japanese manufacturer's brand name, example, Nissan, Toyota, ect..

Good luck and I really like your new TV, saw it on Facebook !


I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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Mountainborn - this sounds like a promising lead.

 

I've been googling around trying to find anyone else mentioning a problem like this, and I've found no luck. Do you have any more information or a link to the adapter that you can give me?

 

Thanks!

 

- Chris

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Have you installed an electronic brake controller to your new truck yet? If so it might have been wired incorrectly.

 

Charlie P

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Have you installed an electronic brake controller to your new truck yet? If so it might have been wired incorrectly.

 

The symptoms are the same both with and without the brake controller plugged in. The brake controller has a wire custom-fitted to plug right into the wiring on the truck (no splicing involved), so I don't think that is the issue.

 

- Chris

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Technomadia - We upgraded from an 2002 Explorer V6 to a 2006 4Runner V8. Had no trouble with the Explorer. The 4Runner worked for a week and then experienced the very same issues you described. Rt turn signal, rt brake, Oliver light out, battery charger, refrigerator, etc.

 

There were two problems, the first I found on the adapter receptacle end, one of the little flat metal sides was squeezed to the opposite side compared to all the other ones. I think that was a result of my not putting the adapter plug in squarely and carefully as the Toyota connection is tucked under the bumper a bit. Make sure it is pushed all the way in too.

 

That only worked part of the time. I had the truck tested and the alternator and trailer plug worked just fine, but still had the problem intermittently.

 

The other problem was that there were loose wires in the trailer. I didn't find them, but the local RV store found them somewhere, tracking the wiring under the trailer seats. they fixed the problem quickly and we have had no problems since or during a 4500 mile trip in August.

 

Hope that helps!

 

PS - hope your Tundra gets better mileage than our 4Runner,...it's comfortable, but a gas hog!

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Mountainborn -- I googled around the entire Internet, and talked with two different RV / trailer stores today. I haven't been able to find any leads on the adaptor that you are talking about. The only thing like it I have been able to find is specifically for towing LED-lit trailers with Porsche, VW, and Audi tow vehicles.

 

No one anywhere I have found has reported using an adaptor with a Toyota.

 

OB1 -- You had the exact same symptoms?? Hmmm.... I wish you knew where they found the lose connector! I spent the day cleaning connectors, testing, and tracing wires. It is the most bizarre thing - and I feel still no closer to having a fix.

 

 

I do think that the problem may be coming from the rear Oliver light. I used my voltmeter to test if the light was getting any current, and it is not. Meanwhile, all the lower lights are getting current in all the wrong places. My guess is that wherever the upper Oliver light branches off from the lower tow lights may be the problem. I think maybe several lines are shorted together here.

 

Does anyone know where this split occurs? I haven't been able to trace it yet.

 

Cheers,

 

- Chris

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The Toyota uses a seperate bulb for each light function. The Oliver uses a common bulb for more than one function.

Here is a web link for one type of adapter:

 

This sort of adapter is needed when there isn't already a trailer light plug installed on the vehicle, and yes - you need to take into account the type of bulbs / tail-lights.

 

But... Our Tundra has the factory tow package, and a standard 7-pin towing connector already installed. The RV supply place tested it, and I've confirmed it via my own multimeter that the jack is putting out the right signals.

 

I don't think the sort of adapter you linked to would help here.

 

The problem seems to be either a short circuit in the trailer, or a bad ground. I haven't been able to track it down yet.

 

Thanks for the help everyone,

 

- Chris

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Chris,

 

Sounds like you're having fun . . . NOT!

 

Two thoughts:

 

1 - If you traded in your previous vehicle at the dealer that sold you the Tundra, is it still somewhere on the used sales lot? Could you hook up your Ollie to its "old friend" and see if it all works? If it does, the problem is in the Tundra.

 

2 - When I had my axle R & R'd, I hooked the Wonder Egg up to the Tacoma and had no connection / no brakes. The problem was with the grounding pin on my Tacoma. Evidently I was getting my ground through the Truck frame - to the hitch - to the trailer. After rotating the hitch 180 degrees to raise the ball, the fresh paint on the hitch precluded the ground from being achieved. The RV Tech simply made a new ground for my truck's connector and all was well.

 

The loose wire under the seats mentioned by OB1 could also be the problem. The factory knows of a potential glitch in the grounding for the trailer connection and pointed my RV tech to somewhere under the seats. Mine happened to be OK - then the tech found the problem w/ my truck.

 

Good luck, amigo.


Pete & "Bosker".    TV -  '18 F150 Super-cab Fx4; RV  - "The Wonder Egg";   '08 Elite, Hull Number 014.


Travel blog of 1st 10 years' wanderings - http://www.peteandthewonderegg.blogspot.com


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Technomadia - Our 4Runner also had the factory installed tow package and since our Oliver worked fine with our old Explorer, I thought it might be the new electric brakes we had installed. They were not the problem. I thought it might be the alternator since the battery would discharge when driving and the refrigerator didn't keep cool. The alternator checked out fine. I thought the trailer connection was screwed up somehow? The output from the vehicle trailer connection checked out fine. It was not the vehicle.

 

Sorry I didn't get the location on the short/loose connection. I wasn't present when they fixed it. It was inside the trailer. I had the four seat covers off so they could try and find the problem. It was somewhere between the line under the front single seat to the back distribution point for the various lights, etc. Once the short/loose connection was solved, everything worked fine, turn signals, brake lights, battery charging, refrigerator keeping cool, etc. No problems since. We do not need any adapter to plug the Oliver 7pin into the Toyota factory connection to make it work correctly.

 

I would guess the 4Runner factory installed trailer connection is the same as the Tundra? Good Luck!

 

OB1

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I just wanted to express my most sincere thanks for everyone's input, sharing of experiences and assistance in helping us diagnose and track this down. (Which we're still in process of doing... but think we're on to something!)

 

Our Oliver community here is priceless.

 

- Cherie

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The Toyota uses a seperate bulb for each light function. The Oliver uses a common bulb for more than one function.

Here is a web link for one type of adapter:

Chris said:

This sort of adapter is needed when there isn't already a trailer light plug installed on the vehicle, and yes - you need to take into account the type of bulbs / tail-lights.

 

But... Our Tundra has the factory tow package, and a standard 7-pin towing connector already installed.

OOpz ! Yes, that is the way it was with our Nissan. It had never had a factory tow package and we had to add the hitch and wiring harness mod, with the adapter.

Sorry I couldn't be any help with this.


I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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With Andrew's help in Lake Havasu City, we were able to track down and fix the trailer light issues this evening.

 

The problem was with the metal plate that supports the lights behind the rear Oliver sign. The lights ground to the metal plate, and the plate is grounded via a ground wire that is riveted into it. The connector on the ground wire was the same size as the head of the rivet, and over time the connection had gone bad and the ground wire had started to slip off of the rivet.

 

Once we tracked this down and re-secured the ground, the trailer lights all worked great again.

 

Thanks Andrew!!!

 

One other issue we discovered... It seems as if the ground wire coming from the tow vehicle is used for grounding all the trailer tow lights (including the upper metal plate), but this ground wire in our trailer is NOT grounded to the trailer frame or tied into any of the other trailer grounds or to the battery negative.

 

I am not sure whether this was intentionally wired this way, whether a ground has gone bad in our trailer, or whether the factory missed wiring up this connection correctly when they built our trailer.

 

We discovered this when we noticed that the trailer battery would not charge from the tow vehicle while the the trailer was raised off the ball, but it would charge when lowered and the trailer and tow vehicle would ground together via the ball.

 

I have already discovered that the frame grounds in the Oliver are rather skimpy - I am tempted to redo all the grounds in a heftier fashion soon, and when I do that I will tie in the ground from the tow vehicle too. A better ground may even improve our solar charging efficiency.

 

We also noticed this evening that we are only getting a 4A - 6A charge current from our new Tundra. We used to get 12A from our Jeep. I haven't figured out yet why this is the case, though I wonder whether the ground wiring may be the cause...

 

- Chris

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Wow, thanks Chris and Andrew ! We are guilty of using the large storage area where the fifth tail light is, pretty hard, you know, just cramming something in to get it out of the way. I'll bet that can contribute to causing the ground to go bad also. I know that almost every time after an extended stay somewhere, when we do a pre trip lighting check, one or more of the lights on that plate have been disloged by storage items and have to be put back in their sockets.

I'll bet that was a tough one to run down. Lucky you had some quality help with it !


I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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We did get it working, I forgot to check that ground connection on those upper tail lights on our trailer, but I will do that and let you know what I find.

 

However, our Oliver also did not seem to be charging from the tow vehicle either but I realized my tests were with the trailer not on the ball.

 

I found the ground connection that was coming from the 7-pin connector at the front of the trailer past my ground plate. I cut into that cable and grounded both sides to the trailer. I now can charge from the tow vehicle, although I get less than 9 amps. I attribute this to the ground wire coming from the 7-pin connector being 14 gauge wire. This means when we are grounding through the hitch we may get more, but when I have time, I expect we will upgrade that wire.

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Where does the ground wire in the harness coming from the front plug terminate inside the trailer? I too, had problems on our last trip getting (what I felt like was) a good charge from the tow vehicle. Thinking it might be a poor ground connection I tried to trace the wires one evening while we were stopped but never figured out where the ground went to once it entered the trailer. I took all the ground wires off the only obvious grounding point inside the trailer (right beside the converter) but I still got continuity between the ground wire in the plug and the frame so it obviously is grounded somewhere else. Any ideas?

 

Steve


Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

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Where does the ground wire in the harness coming from the front plug terminate inside the trailer?

The ground (white) wire from the 7-pin trailer connector from the factory is connected to the negative side of all of the indicator lights on the outside of the trailer as well as to the metal plate that holds the lights that light up the OLIVER at the rear top of the trailer.

 

It is not tied to the trailer ground in any way.

 

(At least this appears to be the case in our trailer as well as Technomadia's)

I still got continuity between the ground wire in the plug and the frame so it obviously is grounded somewhere else. Any ideas?

If it is grounded someplace in your trailer, I don't know where that would be.

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I am trying to figure out if there is any good reason to leave the ground from the tow vehicle not grounded in the trailer. Was ours done this way on purpose, or was grounding this wire just overlooked by the factory?

 

Has anyone else out there traced whether or not their tow vehicle wiring is grounded?

 

- Chris

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I want to add to this thread that I checked the ground connection in our trailer to the metal plate in the top cabinet where the OLIVER signal lights are.

 

Like Technomadia's trailer, our is grounded with a rivet, unlike theirs, our rivet is larger and the hole in the ground lug is smaller so it is a much more secure connection.

 

I grounded the wire in our trailer and I can't think of any reason not to because otherwise you get the "same" ground through the hitch, just not as reliable a connection.

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