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Old 06-08-2014, 04:53 PM   #1
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Turn signal not working

Hoping you can help...
Our left turn signal of the trailer (Escape 19, 2012, LED) isn't working.
The turn signals / brake lights on our truck all work fine.

3 of the lights (bulbs) do illuminate on the left assembly when the headlights are on, but the rest of the left assembly's lights don't come on when applying the brakes nor when using the left turn signal.

The tail light unit is sealed, so we haven't popped off the red plastic cover.

(Right lights correctly come on with right turn signal and with braking.)

They all worked a month ago. And full left assembly did work for two short pulses today as I backed up, then they stopped.

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance for help.
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Old 06-08-2014, 05:17 PM   #2
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Clean all contacts between the trailer and truck ( with the ignition off ). When I had a similar issue, the mechanic found a poor connection between the 7-pin plug and wiring going forward on the tow vehicle, so you might have to trace wiring. Probably would help if you said what the tow vehicle is.
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Old 06-08-2014, 05:53 PM   #3
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My problems of that type have all been solved by cleaning the connectors on the 7-pin lug/socket. Usually it's been enough to just blow them out with compressed air. Once in a while I have had to use a little emery cloth or very fine sandpaper - be sure to blow out the grit afterwards.

In your case I would concentrate on the left turn/brake light: 7-Way RV Trailer Connector Wiring Diagram | etrailer.com
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Old 06-08-2014, 05:57 PM   #4
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Thanks for helping me think this through...

Tow vehicle is a Tundra (2004).

My neighbor tested the [outlet, the thing you plug the trailer into] of the truck and said that he thought all the prongs were giving power. (Sorry if my phrasing is in correct... my lack of knowledge.) Though he was testing it with just a single clip device, so I'm not certain whether that the tow vehicle can actually be eliminated as a source of the problem.

We used steel wool on the prongs on the truck side of the plug in and a touch of dielectric grease (Super Lube) on the trailer side. Should we try anything else for cleaning it?

Further ideas / clarification?
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Old 06-08-2014, 06:04 PM   #5
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Jamman/Doug/Karen,
Thanks for the link and info. I'll go have another go at cleaning it, now that I see which of the 7 to focus on, plus your method.
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Old 06-08-2014, 07:00 PM   #6
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More info

Ok, we have scrutinized this in more detail.
Here are some more facts for you Sherlocks out there...

if these are the bulbs of the tail light assembly:
A BBBB A BBBB A
The A lights of left tail light assembly behave well- blinking left turn if the truck headlights lights are off, remaining solid if headlights lights are on.
The B lights of the left tail light assembly are actually on but extremely dim, not flashing with the turn signal, nor brightening with brakes applied while headlights on.

Right tail light assembly behaving properly.

(Yes, used Jamman's sandpaper/air technique.)

So, where lies the problem? (Something causing the B bulbs to not behave.)
And, what should we do?

Many thanks.
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Old 06-08-2014, 08:30 PM   #7
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Trailers need running lights - on with headlights/parking lights - not real bright but clearly on. They also need brake/turn lights - on solid brightly when braking and flashing brightly on OR bright/dim on when the turn signal is going. Compare the A/B bulbs on the left and right. Some tail lights use dual filament bulbs to meet both needs, some have dedicated single filament bulbs.

It *sounds* like you might have actual bulbs - my newer trailer has LEDs. If you have real bulbs I would remove the red lens covers - should be 2 (or 4 or ?) screws in the body of the lens - not the ones (rivets?) holding the fixture on the trailer. Then remove each bulb and clean the bulb and fixture contacts - an eraser works well if it looks pretty decent, steel wool or sandpaper if it looks cruddy.
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Old 06-08-2014, 08:44 PM   #8
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The left side of the trailer's tail light assembly is misbehaving.
The right side of the trailer's assembly is behaving properly.

I hesitate to remove the cover-- it is beautifully sealed.
If is seemed like an individual was misbehaving, then I'd consider it... (well, I'd likely ignore it). But this seems like a pattern that all of the similarly designated ones are not behaving properly.

To reiterate using my A and B light designations, it is only the B positions (of the left tail light assembly) which are not behaving.
But this makes me unable to signal a left turn with my headlights on.

Maybe I should email Escape? (Did I mention, we leave on a trip... figures. LOL)
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Old 06-08-2014, 08:57 PM   #9
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You could make only right turns and lane changes.

The fixture should be sealed (caulked) to the body. IF there are bulbs, the lens cover should not be sealed - might be a gasket. There is usually a part number on the lens/fixture - that might help identify it.

You can email ETI but the big rally is just ending so they may be a bit slower than usual responding. Or you can take it to an RV/trailer repair or hitch/wiring shop.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:08 PM   #10
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Before you start taking components apart determine if the problem is in the wiring circuits of the truck by using a tester such as:
7 Way Trailer Connector Vehicle Tester Tow Ready Wiring TR20117
If the truck circuits test ok, the problem is in the TT. A good diagnostic procedure is to start with the truck. Based on you symptoms the problem sounds like the converter is the culprit. The converter combines the turn signal and running light circuits that are OE on the truck into a single circuit output to the trailer connector. Such as:
Hopkins Wiring for Toyota Tundra 2004 - 46255
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:40 PM   #11
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On my RAV4 there is a four-pin connection between the 7-pin and the front of the vehicle. It was exposed under the vehicle, and it was the culprit. Cleaned that and got things working.
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:14 PM   #12
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We had exactly the same situation 4 weeks ago.

As part of my trouble shooting routine I double checked which tow vehicle fuse supplied power to my Ford Ranger brake and running lights. I was a little surprised to see in the fuse listings that the trailer plug had separate fuses for both the left and right turn signals. The one for the non-working side of the trailer was blown. I replaced it and we've done several thousand miles since without any further problem.

We have the double set of rear lights and at the time I wondered if the draw for the double set of lights was marginal for the fuse rating. But since we haven't had any further problem, touch wood, it's probably not going to be a continuing problem.

So I'd say say, check your fuse listing page of the owner's manual for your tow vehicle and see if you have separate fuses for your trailer plug.

Good luck,

Ron
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:26 PM   #13
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I was thinking it was not the truck's issue since the "turn left" signal is getting through to the A position LEDs (when the head lights are not on).

I'm trying to attach a photo.

But apparently it wants to attach upside down. Stand on your head to view, please. (Shrugging shoulders.)

The photo, besides being posted upside down, is taken with the hazards flashing, so that you can get the full understanding of what I mean. All 11 lights should be flashing on left and right, but the left only has the A position LEDs flashing. (Remember to stand on your head to view the left vs. right in the photos. Sigh. )
Attached Images
File Type: jpg photo 1.JPG (267.7 KB, 9 views)
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:41 PM   #14
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I was so focused on trying to attach a photo (which didn't happen gracefully) that I didn't flesh out my question of clarification...

could it really be a fuse or a converter issue if part of the left tail light is working properly?

We leave for a long trip next weekend and so my time is a limited commodity this week... need to know how to proceed so I'm not barking up the wrong tree.

Your input is appreciated!
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:53 PM   #15
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An LED lamp would normally be sealed.

The 11 glowing parts in each lamp assembly are individual LEDs - not bulbs. Since they are all working together in their groups, it does look like a wiring issue.

Behaviour of stop/turn lamps changing with headlight operation usually suggests a grounding problem... or perhaps an internal problem in the converter.
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Old 06-08-2014, 11:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
it does look like a wiring issue.
Wiring of the tail light assembly (thus a trip to an RV place or to Escape this week)?
or
Wiring of my tow vehicle (thus a trip to an auto place)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Behaviour of stop/turn lamps changing with headlight operation usually suggests a grounding problem.
Wait, let me clarify... the A LEDs are behaving properly... they flash when they are supposed to (head lights off and turn signal on) and they are solid when they are supposed to (head lights on). So the trouble is, if I don't do anything, then I will not be able to flash/signal when the headlights are on because it is the B LEDs that are not working.
ie, the As are behaving consistently appropriate. The Bs are consistently dim, not behaving properly.
(Again, the A and B terms are mine, to describe the different functioning of the two LEDs.)

Again, your brain power is appreciated. (Why was everything working perfectly a month ago when we took it to the RV place for repacking the wheel bearings? Murphy's Law. We try!)
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Old 06-09-2014, 12:07 AM   #17
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The picture really helps!

My latest guess is the left tail light fixture is bad.

Method 1:
Take your truck to a buddy's trailer and see if it works OR Bring a buddy's vehicle to your trailer.

Method 2: (I have one - very useful.)
Use a plug tester like Ron cited.

Method 3: (And I have done this, too.)
Use a voltmeter between the truck socket neutral and left turn pins.
Being careful not to short the wires, connect 12V across the trailer plug ground and left turn pins.

Method 4:
Go to a hitch/wiring installer or an RV place. Either should be able to at least figure out whether the trailer or truck is bad and maybe fix it.
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Old 06-09-2014, 12:48 AM   #18
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I vote same as jamman
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:57 AM   #19
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Thanks for your good brain work. We appreciate the input.
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Old 06-09-2014, 11:40 AM   #20
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Re-reading your post and now understanding the AA etc. part I can see your situation is different from ours. Must have had brain fade after the long drive back from the Osoyoss rally

I agree with the previous suggestions. I use method 3 a lot, putting power from a known source directly into the part in question. Trouble shooting by isolation is a good technique. Putting power in at the plug doesn't completely isolate the problem because the problem could still be in the wiring going to the light or the light itself.

Ideally putting the power directly into the light to completely isolate the unit and show if its' working would be most helpful but the wiring connectors, at least on mine, are very difficult to access. I have an old m/c battery that I use for situations like this.

I did ask at the rally if there was a schematic for the trailer and the answer is "No".

I think there should be and, at some point, I will draw one. For example it would be useful to know where items are grounded. I have already found more than one ground and a compromised ground can create problems.

At any rate, keep on trouble shooting and hopefully you'll isolate the problem.

Ron
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