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In the next 2 weeks, I will be rewiring my entire trailer. I thought this would be a good thread for people to see what it takes to re-do the wiring on a trailer.


The Patient:
1997 16' car hauler, wood deck, brakes on one axle, lighting just behind the fenders, current 6 wire round plug

The Symptoms:
Damaged light housings, and cheap fixtures that cause bulbs to sometimes work and sometimes not. Questionable ground, and non working brakes due to wiring issue. Outdated 6 prong round plug (currently using an adapter to mate it to a 7 prong).

The Surgery:
Completely re-wire a trailer with all new wiring, new tail/stop/turn lighting, new 7 prong plug, and rewiring brakes. Tail light units will be replaced with sealed LED assembles, current 6 wire round plug will be replaced with new wire front to back and the modernly used 7 wire RV style plug.


Any tips, hints, or suggestions - feel free to share. I will be getting pics and getting started in the next few days, in anticipation of a trip to Tellico in just under 2 weeks time.
 

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One of these days, I plan to add reverse lights to mine, as well as rock lights and work lights (with a switch on the trailer). I had similar grief with my tail lights, they were junky and poorly protected. I went with the oval grommet-mount incandescent type, and have been happy so far.

Pete
 

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The double insulated trailer wiring is the shiznizzel...

Things we've done to the Tribemimi assortment of trailers over the years:

Ran all the trailer wiring through flexible metal conduit (sold at HomeDepot etc.) to keep the damn dogs from chewing the wires... tugging them etc. Heck, I had squirrels or rats one chew the insulation off the wires once.

Make a lockable box or slot in your trailer mounted toolbox to lock up the 7way plug when not in use... prevents dog chewing noted above and adds another layer of theft deterent and our law enforcement catching trailer thieves driving it with no lights.

Spliced a 4way connector to the trailer wiring to allow plugging the trail-rig's lights into the trailer's lights (assuming your trail rig's lights are wired for flat towing). This gives you an extra set of brake/running lights more at eye level. Very nice to have at night or towing in inclement weather. Sometimes those two little trailer lights are HARD to see.

Make sure your ground wire is good... don't rely on the ball to ground.

If space allows... the backup lights using the center pin on the 7way plug are greatness. I did this to my RV/Trailer combo and added a switch to make them stay on all the time for loading etc. RV/Trailer writeup
 

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Shop around and see if you can find multi-strand, multi-conductor wire with a good sheath to use instead of the standard flat-four 4-color trailer wire. I found some discount extension cording and used that to wire a trailer recently -- it had good hand and was easy to route -- and with the sheath, was nicely protected even before I threaded it through grommets. Err on the large side of wire size for the wire that connects the tongue and the brake magnets to keep your signal and sensitivity up.

Grommets are your friend when going through steel -- and I'd rather take the time once to drill a bunch of holes and insert a bunch of grommets than deal with zip-tied eventually-gonna-fail repetetive retention rework. Adel clamps are WAY better than zip ties, but if you're drilling a pilot for a screw, you're half-way to a hole you can grommet.

Find a flat metal hobby box or ammo can and attach that to the trailer tongue and run your extra wire into it. You want extra wire -- it seems like trailer harnesses get shorter and shorter every time they get loaned out. :rolleyes: Of course, keeping a full set of adapters in that box will help with that, but the buggers seem to walk away on their own sometimes...

If you're using the lights with the snazzy weather-tite connectors, spring for the corresponding partner and you'll never have to think about those connections again. Everything else should be soldered (big fan of solder sleeves) and shrink-wrapped.

Randii
 

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On the last couple of trailers that I rewired, I put the same female wire connector on the trailer as was on the truck and used a male/male pigtail connector to hook up to the truck. This way there is no wiring that can be dragged on the ground if it is not plugged in, and the pigtail is easily remade.
 

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Easiest/best method I've found is pretty simple. Purchase the standard 24' 4-wire ribbon kit for lighting and add strands for brakes, breakaway box, +12V etc. Build a one-piece tongue length pigtail harness and double or even triple shrinkwrap it. Drill out the frame crossrails and run 1/2" PVC pipe full length for wiring enclosure using couplings with drilled holes at all feed points. Solder and shrinkwrap all connections.

I've done this with every trailer I've owned and it's a two-hour project that I milk for a whole day because I've been so damned orgasmic over the results. Zero problems afterwards during my ownership of each trailer.

Good luck and enjoy.
 

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Another item I have been putting off installing on mine is a dummy receptacle that the wire connector plugs into, to keep the dirt/moisture out. A buddy of mine picked it up at Walmart, said it was fairly cheap.

As for the adapters, I have yet to find one with a female 7-pin and a 4 or 6 pin male plug. My policy is that if you don't have a 7-pin connector, you don't borrow my trailer.
 

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TEX said:
Try not to back into a tree with your new LED's the first time you park the trailer after the rewire ;)


TEX
That is the precise reason I went with incandescent. :D

Pete
 

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I didn't see you mention that you were adding a breakaway battery/switch. Its a nice feature to have. I had one on my trailer that included a button on the side to test the battery and leds to show you when the battery was charging off of the tow rig. You could also test the breakaway feature with another button.
 

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pcorssmit said:
Another item I have been putting off installing on mine is a dummy receptacle that the wire connector plugs into, to keep the dirt/moisture out. A buddy of mine picked it up at Walmart, said it was fairly cheap....
Sound exactly like something I would lose. I'm real bad about setting small gadgets on the bumper while I finish hooking up.... And then driving off. :rolleyes:

To prevent corrosion / keep moisture at bay... I've dabbed the male portion of my connections with dielectric grease. Plug it into the truck and the female portion gets a coating as well. When the trailer is parked, the male portion is positioned such that it hangs in a way that it is protected from water. Since the connection is either plugged (protected) or sitting still (parked), in 4 years, it's collected zero dirt.

Seems to work for me.. And one less thing for me to lose! hehe.
 

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SolidAxleDurango said:
Sound exactly like something I would lose. I'm real bad about setting small gadgets on the bumper while I finish hooking up.... And then driving off. :rolleyes:
Trust me, I'm as bad as it gets about loosing stuff like that. The dummy receptacle is designed to be screwed to the tongue of the trailer somewhere. I normally just make sure the connector is hanging from the trailer, pointing down and off the ground, and haven't had any real problems. Just seemed like a neat idea, and to serve as a reminder to those who might borrow the trailer.

Pete
 

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reneck trailer supplies www.redneck-trailer.com

i rewired, new brakes, the whole thing on my gooseneck
they have all the parts and supplies, and a wealth of how to on their site

i went with their wiring all the wires in a rubber cover, and the junction box
 

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Discussion Starter #20
TEX said:
Try not to back into a tree with your new LED's the first time you park the trailer after the rewire ;)


TEX
Wouldn't matter - they are protected ;)
 
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