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Old 01-03-2007, 02:39 PM   #1
novasquid OP
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problem with trailer lights - both turn signals blink

this post isn't directly motorcycle related, but since i bought a harbor freight folding trailer to haul my motorcycle around i thought i'd ask here. :) and besides, you guys are pretty damn knowledgeable about this stuff.

i'm having trouble with the lights on the trailer not working right when it's connected to my 2003 sienna. i bought a wiring harness to go from the car's turn/brake lights to the trailer's existing wiring harness. i thought the first wiring harness i bought was defective, so i returned it. i then installed a hoppy brand wiring kit but it's still having this problem:

with the car's headlights turned off and ignition on, selecting either left or right turn signal will make both trailer's turn signals to blink at the same time, and stepping on the brake pedal will make both trailer brake lights to dimly light up.

with the car's headlights turned on and ignition on, the car's turn signals continue to work properly but the turn signals and brake lights on the trailer no longer work.

in either case the parking lights on the trailer don't work at all. i double checked every connection, fuse, bulb, and everything looks good so i'm at a loss. does the behavior of the trailer lights sound familiar to anyone, and can you clue me in?
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Old 01-03-2007, 02:48 PM   #2
malagato
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maybe you need the converter box between the car and the trailer.I pull a trailer with my bike and direct wiring from the bike to the trailer didn't work, there is a common wire and ground but using the converter box it was fine.
ie left bike blinker wire to left trailer blinker wire, right to right , etc wait a minute there are not enough wires and I am blowing fuses...turns out the trailer was some kinda common ground and the converter took all the problems away...
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Old 01-03-2007, 02:53 PM   #3
novasquid OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malagato
maybe you need the converter box between the car and the trailer.I pull a trailer with my bike and direct wiring from the bike to the trailer didn't work, there is a common wire and ground but using the converter box it was fine.
ie left bike blinker wire to left trailer blinker wire, right to right , etc wait a minute there are not enough wires and I am blowing fuses...turns out the trailer was some kinda common ground and the converter took all the problems away...

you mean like one of these? this is the most recent wiring harness i picked up.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...7397327&rd=1,1
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Old 01-03-2007, 02:58 PM   #4
ilvecchio
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Here is what you should look for. If the Sienna has separate lights for the rear turn signals and the brake lights (I think it does) AND the trailer uses the same light for the signal and brake; then you need the converter. Several years ago US cars generally used the same light for the signal and brake, and trailers did too, so there was no problem. With foreign cars and (now) some US cars there was a separate light for the signal and brake and the converter is needed.

The other option is to install signal lights separate (from the brake) lights on the trailer. I have done both of these in the past successfully.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-03-2007, 04:47 PM   #5
Mercury264
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I have one of the folding trailers and I have never got the lights to work correctly.

Hopefully you will have better luck than me - please post back if you find a solution.
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Old 01-03-2007, 06:08 PM   #6
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What ilvecchio says, except where he says "lights" insert "filaments". Could be a 2 filament bulb and a 1 filament bulb or 3 one filament bulbs.
Old style 'merican uses 2 filaments per side. Metric lights use 3 filaments per side. Trailers are usually 2 filament light fixtures per side.

The conversion box solves the wireing problems. Or learn how to wire up stuff. If you get it figured out you can help all the neighbors.

If you actually wired a connector plug, be sure the correct wire is on the correct post. Also check for loose strands that may have strayed and are touching another post. This can cause weird light shows.

It sounds like you have a 3 filament to 2 filament problem. I would add a couple of extra lights and eliminate the conversion box.

I have a couple of pigtails to hook into the trailer plug and the vehicle plug. With bare loose wires, and a tester, I can then check to see if each is working.

Give it a go. The worst you can do is blow a fuse. Or fry a wire loom. Or destroy the computer. Or burn the car to the ground. And maybe the house. Ha Ha Ha just joking. Give it a try.

I hope this helps. Lots of people have trouble with this. Next time I'll get into color code.
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Old 01-03-2007, 07:34 PM   #7
Frank Warner
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Check the common thing -


the earth, ground or battery neagtive connection

from the trailer lights back to the cars

earth, ground or battery neagtive connection

If that is not connected .. very strange things can and will happen ...
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Old 03-27-2007, 07:02 PM   #8
John_L
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novasquid,

I'd be very interested to hear if you solved this problem and how you went about it. I bought the same trailer for my Highlander and am having the same issues with the trailer electrical. I went down and tested it with another trailer at UHaul and all worked fine so I'm a bit stumped.

would be great to hear if you got a solution.

john

Quote:
Originally Posted by novasquid
this post isn't directly motorcycle related, but since i bought a harbor freight folding trailer to haul my motorcycle around i thought i'd ask here. :) and besides, you guys are pretty damn knowledgeable about this stuff.

i'm having trouble with the lights on the trailer not working right when it's connected to my 2003 sienna. i bought a wiring harness to go from the car's turn/brake lights to the trailer's existing wiring harness. i thought the first wiring harness i bought was defective, so i returned it. i then installed a hoppy brand wiring kit but it's still having this problem:

with the car's headlights turned off and ignition on, selecting either left or right turn signal will make both trailer's turn signals to blink at the same time, and stepping on the brake pedal will make both trailer brake lights to dimly light up.

with the car's headlights turned on and ignition on, the car's turn signals continue to work properly but the turn signals and brake lights on the trailer no longer work.

in either case the parking lights on the trailer don't work at all. i double checked every connection, fuse, bulb, and everything looks good so i'm at a loss. does the behavior of the trailer lights sound familiar to anyone, and can you clue me in?
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Old 03-27-2007, 07:13 PM   #9
Will LC8
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I would check the grounding as well. Some tail lights ground themselves with thier mounting bolts. You already appear to have the tail light converter included in your hoppy wiring kit. If the lights are mounted on a painted surface they will not make a good conection. If that is not you issue with the few posts here with everyone having issues with the trailer lights I would just repalce the trailers wiring harness. You can get a new harness for about $15 and with a trailer that small have it on in an hour.
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Old 03-27-2007, 08:50 PM   #10
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It sounds like a ground problem. Being a folding trailer your trying to ground through the pivot points. I would run a ground wire from each of the taillight mounting bolts up to the ground wire at the tonque {should be a white wire} and hook them to the bolt there. That should fix it.
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Old 03-28-2007, 04:21 AM   #11
BluegrassPicker
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trailer lights

Take it over to Uhaul and they will figure it out in a few minutes.

They have a hand held debugging tool & do this all the time.
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Old 04-01-2007, 04:01 AM   #12
John_L
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Thanks for the tip. I had run ground wires from the unit as a test but not all the way to the front. Hadn't thought of the pivot bolt causing the issue. Ran wires up to the front yesterday and all is good.

thanks for the help.

john

Quote:
Originally Posted by KansasKawboy
It sounds like a ground problem. Being a folding trailer your trying to ground through the pivot points. I would run a ground wire from each of the taillight mounting bolts up to the ground wire at the tonque {should be a white wire} and hook them to the bolt there. That should fix it.
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Old 04-01-2007, 07:53 AM   #13
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Glad I could help.
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