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Old 04-07-2006, 11:48 PM
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wiring for trailer

Since I lost my Jeep (another story) I'm going to have to wire the new driver to hook up to a trailer. All I need is tail-brake-turn. A long while ago I read an article that said with about 3 cheap diodes you could convert a tow vehicles separate turn signal and brake wires to brake/ turn. I know you can buy the converter, but I like to do things myself, and besides it would be cheaper, and why buy something if you can make it yourself at a fraction of the cost? Does anybody know what the set up would be? I'll only be towing a light utility trailer. I don't think this car will have the harness built in as I checked the owners manual under trailer towing. It said "Don't tow trailers". I guess I should put a tranny cooler in too.

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Old 04-08-2006, 02:42 AM
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Doc here,

You should not need Diodes at all...

Is the trailer Prewired ? Or will you be wiring that also? IF prewired,All you need do is verify the bulb filament wires, and that the bulbs are duel Filaments.

The lower , (less Brighter) Filament will be the tails..and should both be hooked together, left and right..

The upper , (more brighter) Filament will be the brake/Turnsignals..one for each side.

Locate these wires in your trailer plug , as to their Pin orientation . Match the truck side plug to the trailer pin orientation.

Verify on the truck which are tails, after doing that splice your trailer tails going to the truck plug in there..

I Advocate Soldering and a few sleeves of shrink tubing instead of those cheepie crimps (unless you like lights that flicker and blow fuses).

Next verify your left turnsignal/brake wire, Splice and run that to the proper pin on the plug.

Verify the right Turnsignal/brake wire , splice and run it to it's proper pin on the plug.

Lastly , and always overlooked..Get the largest wire gauge the plug will accept without shorting, and attach it to your fourth pin, the other end will go to a Frame Ground. Burnish the area, use a star washer and a proper bolt and lock washer to terminate it on the frame.

The trailer end , do the same on the ground wire and run that wire all the way to the area of the lights..burnish that area, use a proper star washer and bolt with lock washer.

You should have a reliable system that should last for years.

Doc
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Old 04-09-2006, 12:43 AM
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Thanks Doc, but the tow vehicle has separate turn signals and brake lights. How do wire to the trailer which has combination turn/brake lights. Thats what I meant about the diodes. I know you can get the converter, but I like a challenge and would like to "do it myself". Any thoughts?
Crown
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Old 04-09-2006, 12:57 AM
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Doc here,

OK, I am more confused than ever..

Are you saying the Trailer has a single element bulb on each side and nothing else?

you should have : (on truck) Tail one element..turn signal/brake light second element

On trailer : one element = Tails Second element = brake turn signals..

If you don't have that, the system won't work anyway .. there would be no way to distinguish between brake , turn or tail by luminance ..IE..It may function fine with the tails on but you'll never see the turn signals / brakes on the same filament ..

Tell me more about the trailer lighting hook up..

Doc
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Old 04-09-2006, 01:10 AM
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What he is saying is that the tow vehicle has amber turn
signals and red brake and tail lights.
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Old 04-09-2006, 01:54 AM
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Doc here,

OK, what car are we dealing with here? If that's the case (and signals are separate from the brakes..(and I guessing here, correct me if I am wrong) The car has a red tail light and brake light and is a duel element bulb..The amber flash unit is a single element and wires directly to the column switch without incorporating the brake lights?

If that is the case, then you need to run a pair of diodes like you said, one from the brake lamps , one from the turnsignals into a junction , (each side 4 diodes)

Left side of the car and trailer..

Trailer Brake Turn signal Brake lamp on car
Trailer brake turn signalTurnsignal on car..

The cathode ends tie together as one wire and head off to the trailer as a single wire..The anode ends go to their respective turn/stop functions

Do the same for the right side..

There is a potential drawback here though, IF the signals and brake lights are separate on the car and not wired through the signal selector column switch..you won't be able to see a brake/turnsignal function at the same time..both elements will be on at the anode..

whereas the column signal selector shuts off the brake lamp to the selected signal side..in other words..right selected with brake on, flash, dark flash..

So I guess it all comes down to :Is your brake lamps wired through the turnsignal switch or not..?

If they do not go throught the turnsignal switch, let me know ..I have an Idea with a couple of relays that might get you past that problem..

Doc
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Last edited by docvette; 04-09-2006 at 02:00 AM. Reason: I befor E except after a 12 pack....
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Old 04-09-2006, 10:54 AM
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That's exactly right Doc. Sorry I couldn't explain it better. The cars a 2001 Mazda Protege. I don't think the brake lights go through the turn signal switch, but I'm not sure. How would I check? I'll see if there is a separate fuse for the brakes and turn. How do the store bought control units work? as I said, I read that you could do it with diodes, but I couldn't wrap my brain around the fact that with the brake lights ON, power to the element would be constant, even with the turn signal on. Looks like I wasn't being as dense as I thought. Thanks for your help!

Crown
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Old 04-14-2006, 12:09 AM
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Hey Doc

Docvette,

did you do any more thinking about the trailer electrical set up? I picked up the hitch today and I'm going to put it in tomorrow. If I can't figure the wiring out I guess I'll pick up the converter. I think Canadian Tire has them for about $50.00. Thanks for any help you can give me.
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Old 04-14-2006, 12:35 AM
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Doc here,

OK, confirming the Brake lamps do not go through the TS switch?

Correct?

Doc

Ok I looked up the wiring for the Madza..and it appears the Signals and brake lights do not run through the signal switch..

Playing around with a few relays, coming up with combinations of lock/latch relays, you either end up with a part count too high to be worth the money and also be reliable....or you send the problem to the other side of the circuit..and when it works might not be long enough in duration to give a decent "off" time..Scrap that idea..

Honestly, I think the CHEAPEST quickest method would be just go get a set of Lamps for the trailer..single filament and mount them close to the brake tails..run those as the turnsignals..cost ya about 10 Bucks a shot...at like auto zombie..

Or the next step would be the converter..for $50 bucks it's not a bad option..considering the hassle and reliability factor plus parts..

Doc
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Last edited by docvette; 04-14-2006 at 01:17 AM. Reason: added info
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Old 04-14-2006, 10:46 AM
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Thanks Doc, the converter it is. C
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Old 04-14-2006, 05:08 PM
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Doc here,

KEWL.....Let us know how it turns out..

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Old 04-16-2006, 12:03 AM
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Hey Doc,

It's not so easy to find those converters now. Most of them are for specific cars, and as the car I have now is not supposed to tow anything, nobody has it. (or makes it as far as I know, although I had no trouble getting a hitch- go figure). I lucked out at Crappy Tire. Found a generic one that somebody had brought back. No instructions with it but wire connections were on the side of it, and its in and working. Went on line for wiring diagram (EBSCO), which was wrong. Figured it out tho. Thanks for your help! C.
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Old 04-16-2006, 12:09 AM
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Doc here,

KEWL, glad to hear you had some success!

Did you score the converter for less than $50? hope so..

Anyway good to hear you got it!

Doc
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