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Old 07-26-12, 09:00 AM   #1
senkosam
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Default Trailer light tips and trouble shooting problems

About three months ago I was having problems with some of my trailer lights working. My brother-in-law found what seemed to be causing the problem - a wire bundle that went to the plug located in the rear of the truck that had a short when raised and lowered. So, I took the truck to my local mechanic who found chewed wires under the main fuse box near the engine where a rodent had built a nest and used the wire's insullation. (I did notice the battery needed recharging once a week.)

Okay, after spending over $800 for the entire wire bundle to be replaced, I got the truck back and after a day or so the problem reoccured. Now I'm gettting steamed because I checked the trailer grounds, redid a few, replaced one bulb and a few wires. Plus I did a simple test that you can do for yourself if you're not sure which circuit is bad - left or right wires or bulbs):

Take a plug that fits the plug from the trailer and has four wires coming from it. Using a 12v battery, attach the ground to the negative post and touch the other three wires individually to the positive post. If the lights work, the problem is in the wires or plug at the truck. I did this test after I was told the the trailer wiring was screwed up but the lights were all bright as could be when I did the test! (I took a picture at night and showed the mechanic.)

So after months of dicking around with a know-it-all mechanic that did not check the rear wire harness or plug adapter I informed him was defective and then charged me for something that did not fix the problem, the truck is back to the shop. That's four round trips back to the shop (gas mileage is about 15 mpg) plus me buying a new wiring kit and bulbs that weren't needed! Worst of all was not being able to fish on the prime days the truck was in the shop that I had taken time off for!

I better not be given a bill!!!!

By the way, the fuse box for the trailer for GM trucks is located in the cab left of the steering wheel, NOT ONLY near the motor as was thought by the FIRST mechanic that worked on the truck.

It's one thing to depend on a computer program to diagnose a problem; it's another to have the the innate ability to trouble shoot and properly repair without one THE FIRST TIME!

Last edited by senkosam; 07-26-12 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 07-26-12, 10:13 AM   #2
F16 1UB
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You took it back to the SAME MECHANIC???? 4th TRIP???? IF you have any more problems ASK the folks on here. The advice is free and most likely correct. Yeah I know hind sight......Good luck
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Old 07-26-12, 10:44 AM   #3
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I had the same issue with a motorcycle years ago. The 4-way flashers did not work when I took it in for inspeciton. Who ever uses 4-ways on a regular basis? So, it fails. Mechanic tells me I need a new wiring harness - $400. Really, well crap I hate spending that much, but I want to ride so I say ok. Picked up my bike the next day and new inspeciton sticker is on the fender and off I go. At the first light I flip on the 4-way - guess what? Awwww c'mon guess! Back to the shop I go, pissed as a swatted hornet. What was the problem? The freakin' flasher ($5 part) was bad. WTF, I'm screaming for the manager, the owner, and I wanna strangle the mechanic. Guess what? Their collective answer - the flasher musta died after the harness was replaced. Only thing that saved their lives is the fact PA is a death penalty state.
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Old 07-26-12, 12:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassboogieman View Post
Their collective answer - the flasher musta died after the harness was replaced. Only thing that saved their lives is the fact PA is a death penalty state.
How convenient. This is one of the reasons I get so freaking pissed at these places....the liklihood of the SAME problem recurring within a few hours but do for a different reason is a milllion to one...but they are so sure of themselves! I just usually take my wallet and move on down the line. It will come back around to them eventually.
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Old 07-28-12, 12:00 AM   #5
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They make this litlle trailer plug with four little leds on it. Plug it in and test the truck lights. If it works then your trailer has an issue.


To simplify the whole trailer I suggest led lights. I got mine from ebay for 45 bucks and never looked back at light issues. Includes wires and lights.

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Old 07-29-12, 12:45 PM   #6
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That's a nice tester except I use a voltmeter and found the plug at the rear of the truck wasn't working properly. The problem with voltmeters is you get 13.5 v readings per plug but intermittently when a wire that goes to the plug is bad. I have a feeling the ground in the plug is shorting out because I get 13.5 for b/u's, signals and all trailer lights with headlights on.

The shop owner's brother (the so called electronic genius) still to this day won't admit he ignored the KISS principle and that the most expensive solution was suggested first (changing the wire harness near the engine). That's a sure sign of a scam or incompetence and most likely the a scam since this garage has done some pretty suspicious jobs based on recommendations not related to the job vehicles were brought in for.

Problem now is finding and honest and competent mechanic.

Thanks everyone for the input.
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Old 08-11-12, 02:07 AM   #7
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Point of discussion awesome. To get more information about boat parts visit here: atlanticmarinedepot
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Old 08-12-12, 03:50 PM   #8
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In all fairness,improper grounding is often the issue and paying others to look for the needle in the hay stack gets costly.trailer is often rusty,wiring a a shambles.
I got a hint of coming trouble after i took my boat out of the barn went to float it and a mouse was on the fender.
Lastly when the wife wants to save you a trip to go get trailer lights dont let her,she will get trailers lights and darn good ones-just not submersible.
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Old 08-21-12, 08:38 AM   #9
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follow-up:

The mechanic hardwired the new plug assembly into the bumper and all trailer lights are the brightest they've ever been. The mechanic found a loose ground in the plug which I told him was part of the problem originally. Of course he still charged me $100 for parts which I thought was steep, though nothing for labor. I b****ed that I shouldn't have had to pay anything period for the months of inconvenience, but the alternative was to take it to someone else and pay big time!



I live in a small community and word spreads when a shop does shoddy work, overcharges or makes people pay for incompetence. I will not recommend them and will inform my friends to not go there. Too bad, they were convenient.
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Old 08-21-12, 09:03 AM   #10
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Actually most places would have a 65 dollar shop fee then what ever they charge per hr+parts-we tend to think its to much they tend to try to make a living.
While NY is more costly than many places being small town 100 isnt as bad as up and coming harbor that would charge you 250.

Last edited by lilmule; 08-21-12 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 08-25-12, 07:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilmule View Post
Actually most places would have a 65 dollar shop fee then what ever they charge per hr+parts-we tend to think its to much they tend to try to make a living.
While NY is more costly than many places being small town 100 isnt as bad as up and coming harbor that would charge you 250.
Read the first post: They've already charged over $800 for work that did not solve the problem the truck was brought in for. $100 for a wire and plug seems excessive and should have been free of charge considering that they didn't fix the problem brought to them in spring.

Were not talking rocket science!
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