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Old 07-11-2017, 01:09 AM   #1
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Left turn signal / electrical

Daughter and son-in-law are taking my 17B camping for the first time on Friday.
Was instructing him on backing the trailer yesterday and noticed that brake and signal lights weren't functioning. Got out the electrical contact cleaner spray and signal testers and went to work, cleaning connections.
So far, I'm good at the four-pin connection. Get L and R and tail. However, with the tester, at the seven-pin connection to the trailer, I'm getting nothing. Before messing about, I had the right turn and backup lights on the trailer functioning. Left turn and brake were not working.
My trusty mechanic told me to go to U-Haul for a solution. He said he could mess around for hours and not find the problem. U-Haul works on trailer wiring all the time, he said.
I'm not likely to get into U-Haul before Friday. Suggestions welcome.
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Old 07-11-2017, 01:33 AM   #2
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It sounds like you're using a 4-pin to 7-pin adapter, the usual solution for a vehicle which is only available with a 4-pin connection. One of the four pins carries the ground connection, but the adapter doesn't use it; the ground wire and contact in the 4-pin are suitable for the lighting, but not adequate for the lighting plus brakes plus battery charge, so the adapter has its own ground wire (connected to the vehicle body or a wire to the battery negative terminal).

If all of the connections in the four-pin are good, and all three of its lighting circuit connections (left, right, tail) through the adapter are good, but the ground connection for the 7-pin is bad then nothing will work. That doesn't explain some lighting circuits working and not others - intermittent ground connection, perhaps?
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Old 07-11-2017, 01:57 AM   #3
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Thanks.
Yes all the lights on the 4-pin tester light up. From there the wires go up to the left, rear compartment. Couple components in there, but I didn't wire it so I have no idea what is what. I'll have a look, take a picture and report back.
This issue with the left turn signal has been intermittent over the past couple years.
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
...This issue with the left turn signal has been intermittent over the past couple years.
A bit off topic, but a number of years ago I had a problem with a Pontiac Sunfire in which the intermittent wiper switch only worked once in a while, and never when it was raining.
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:31 AM   #5
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Glenn, apparently from what you are saying, you have both the round 7 pin connection and a flat 4 pin on the Rav? The flat 4 pin is working correctly but not the round 7 pin? Did your Rav come with the 4 pin and then when you had the hitch work done, did they add the 7 pin?

My Highlander came with the 4 pin and I had Toyota rewire for a 7. They used the wiring already there for the 4, and added the extra wiring for a 10 gauge power supply wire and the connection of the brake controller. In my case the removed the 4 and replaced it with a 7.

I'd guess since your 4 pin is working, that the problem lies in the connections from the 4 over to the 7.
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:39 AM   #6
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A bit off topic, but a number of years ago I had a problem with a Pontiac Sunfire in which the intermittent wiper switch only worked once in a while, and never when it was raining.
Hi: ice-breaker... I totally understand an "Intermittent wiper" switch only working intermittently!!! LoL
The simple solution to gbaglo's problem is to only make right turns. Takes a little longer to get back home. Alf
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:42 AM   #7
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Most of my problems with lights over the years have been related to a bad ground connection. If your 4 pin functions are working it must be something between the 4 pin and the trailer. That leaves the 4 to 7 pin adapter. I would trace and check the ground first as Brian suggests. If that doesn't work and I wanted to leave for a trip and not worry about scheduling with a shop I would cut out the adapter and wire in a new one, but making sure I ran my own independent ground to a nice new clean spot on the frame. I don't think you need to mess around up in the vehicle compartment as that is likely just the wiring harness components feeding the 4 pin.

Since your older lights are not LED, check the bulb and/or corrosion at the bulb socket. You could have multiple problems.
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Old 07-11-2017, 10:31 AM   #8
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Pretty good advice given. If none of that pans out before Friday you could also borrow my magnetic set of boat trailer lights. I carry them with me. I had a problem on the road once. Since then I just carry the portable set of lights and can hook them up until I have time to troubleshoot.

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Old 07-11-2017, 10:40 AM   #9
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I donno.

Decided to ignore the 7-pin tester and just hooked up. Left and right turn are now working. I'm guessing brakes too, since I don't have anybody to assist at the moment.
For clarification, the wiring, including brake controller and charge line were run by an installer who did the hitch. Under the vehicle on driver side is a 4-pin connection. It's 4-pin to 4-pin ( not 4 to 7 adapter ). That is the connection that seems to need regular maintenance. Thinking of smearing some dielectric grease where the plugs meet.
I cleaned the tail light sockets about a month ago and have world's largest collection of spare bulbs.
Anyway, things seem to be on track. Gonna shoot pix for next time.
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Old 07-11-2017, 10:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
I donno.

Decided to ignore the 7-pin tester and just hooked up. Left and right turn are now working. I'm guessing brakes too, since I don't have anybody to assist at the moment.
For clarification, the wiring, including brake controller and charge line were run by an installer who did the hitch. Under the vehicle on driver side is a 4-pin connection. It's 4-pin to 4-pin ( not 4 to 7 adapter ). That is the connection that seems to need regular maintenance. Thinking of smearing some dielectric grease where the plugs meet.
I cleaned the tail light sockets about a month ago and have world's largest collection of spare bulbs.
Anyway, things seem to be on track. Gonna shoot pix for next time.
Hi: gbaglo... I've found sometimes doing nothing is the best thing to do!!! Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
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Old 07-11-2017, 11:07 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
I donno.

Decided to ignore the 7-pin tester and just hooked up. Left and right turn are now working. I'm guessing brakes too, since I don't have anybody to assist at the moment.
For clarification, the wiring, including brake controller and charge line were run by an installer who did the hitch. Under the vehicle on driver side is a 4-pin connection. It's 4-pin to 4-pin ( not 4 to 7 adapter ). That is the connection that seems to need regular maintenance. Thinking of smearing some dielectric grease where the plugs meet.
I cleaned the tail light sockets about a month ago and have world's largest collection of spare bulbs.
Anyway, things seem to be on track. Gonna shoot pix for next time.
Glad you got it going. The 4-pin to 4-pin configuration is just the way they easily handle the lighting functions on a typical aftermarket 4-pin to 7 pin adaptor.

www.etrailer.com/Wiring/Tow-Ready/30717.html
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Old 07-11-2017, 11:54 AM   #12
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Hi: gbaglo... I've found sometimes doing nothing is the best thing to do!!! Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
As I was taught as a youngster by someone much older and vastly more experienced than me, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Probably had something to do with my love of tearing things apart to see how they worked, but being much leas adept at getting them back together so it worked again....
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Old 07-11-2017, 01:03 PM   #13
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As
Probably had something to do with my love of tearing things apart to see how they worked, but being much leas adept at getting them back together so it worked again....
You too.

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Old 07-11-2017, 01:26 PM   #14
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I attempted to fix my dad's Kodak 35 rangefinder camera. Needless to say, that didn't go well. He was remarkably calm.
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Old 07-11-2017, 04:42 PM   #15
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Left and right turn are now working. I'm guessing brakes too, since I don't have anybody to assist at the moment.
The left and right combined stop/turn signals are made by a converter, from the separate signals of the RAV4's wiring. With both working independently, they must work together as the stop (brake) function, unless the converter itself is flaky (which can happen).
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