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17 Tow Vehicle Wiring




Description

This article is from the Fishing bass FAQ, by Bass Rogue with numerous contributions by others.

17 Tow Vehicle Wiring

When something goes wrong with the lights on a trailer, people
automatically assume the problem is in the trailer. However, reality
tells us something different. A bunch of the time, the problem is in
the tow vehicle. If the "I've seen this problem before" approach
doesn't fix the problem, start with the tow vehicle. First of all,
make sure all the lights are working correctly on the tow vehicle.
Once this is verified, go to the connection at the tow vehicle and
test there. Prove to yourself that the tow vehicle is putting out the
correct voltages on the correct connector pins. Again, I am not a big
fan of using a voltmeter for this task, I prefer to use a bulb with
two test leads. If you prefer, you can also purchase a little LED
(light emitting diode) tester that plugs into the tow vehicle jack
(receptacle). Besides providing a load to draw enough test current,
this tester quickly show when too many lights are coming on. For
example, the running lights come on when the brakes lights come on.

A typical tow vehicle jack is an in-line four-pin jack. It has three
female pins and one male pin. The female pins carry the voltages for
the different lights, the male pin is the ground or return for all the
circuits. Starting with the male pin and working toward the other
side of the jack, the correct voltages and wire colors are:

White - Ground
Brown - Running (tail) lights
Yellow - Left turn/brake light
Green - Right turn/brake light

To test the voltages at this jack, turn on the running lights and then
connect your test bulb between the white wire pin and the brown wire
pin. The test light should come on. Connect your test bulb between
the white wire pin and the yellow wire pin. The test light should
stay off. Connect you test bulb between the white wire pin and the
green wire pin. The test light should stay off. Turn off the running
lights, then repeat this basic test approach for each turn signal and
the brake lights. Remember, always connect one test lead to the white
wire pin (ground) and see what is on the other pins. The test light
should only come on when you are on the correct pin. Also keep in
mind, when testing the brakes, the test light should come on at both
the yellow and green wire pins.

 

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