Tail lights issue on the trailer

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    Posted: 28 Feb 2024 at 2:14pm
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Folks, I'm tearing my hair out and would appreciate some expert help:

My trailer lights are working EXCEPT the tail light on the left hand side, and the little light on the left mudguard. The left hand indicator is going, as is the brake light on that side. 
It's an LED set. After we noticed the issue a couple of weekends ago, we fiddled around with the plug in part where it goes into the truck, and just as we were about to give up, the tail light/side light suddenly started going again.
Now, as I made a last-minute check before heading off to get my trailer warrant - they're out. Grrr.

Given they went briefly before being parked back in the garage, I'm thinking it's not a bulb issue. I figure it's either something to do with loose wiring at some point or the slot where that particular part of the wired plug goes into the back of the truck.

Any ideas for diagnosing and hopefully fixing would be appreciated.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote DIY Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Feb 2024 at 2:25pm
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Because the other side tail light is going, then the socket on the car must be ok.
If they are pre-wired sealed units then find where the two join up and check the terminations. If you are sure you have voltage going to the cluster, then it may well be faulty. It might just be a coincidence that it worked again.
Basically start from the plug and work your way out to the lights checking for voltage or swapping the tail light wires from one side to the other to prove what is faulty.
Hope that makes sense.

Edit- just read that the light on the mudguard is not going as well. This comes on with the tail light so picking it’s a connection/joint issue.
Oh what a smasher - two eggs and a rasher!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Grasshoppa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Feb 2024 at 4:11pm
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Presume there's no issues with other trailers ruling out the plug on truck?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote yknot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Feb 2024 at 4:23pm
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Have you undone cover and checked wires into block connector in plug to check they are all connected and not corroded?
Those that say it can't be done are being overtaken by those doing it.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Feb 2024 at 5:22pm
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Originally posted by yknot yknot wrote:

Have you undone cover and checked wires into block connector in plug to check they are all connected and not corroded?

Yes, I did. But nothing looked untoward. I actually undid all the little screws and made sure the wires were firmly in place before tightening up again. 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Feb 2024 at 5:24pm
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Originally posted by Grasshoppa Grasshoppa wrote:

Presume there's no issues with other trailers ruling out the plug on truck?

Good thought. I don't have another trailer, but can drive to a mate's on the weekend and do that check. 

I've also sprayed some Inox on both parts of the connection, and scraped around with a very small screwdriver - which an electrician mate suggested in case there's a bit of crap on something. I think he said Inox is a conductor, as opposed to CRC. Not sure why.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Feb 2024 at 5:33pm
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Originally posted by DIY DIY wrote:

Because the other side tail light is going, then the socket on the car must be ok.
If they are pre-wired sealed units then find where the two join up and check the terminations. If you are sure you have voltage going to the cluster, then it may well be faulty. It might just be a coincidence that it worked again.
Basically start from the plug and work your way out to the lights checking for voltage or swapping the tail light wires from one side to the other to prove what is faulty.
Hope that makes sense.

Edit- just read that the light on the mudguard is not going as well. This comes on with the tail light so picking it’s a connection/joint issue.

Thanks very much for that input, I've started to unravel the electrical tape somebody - presumably the installer of this set of lights (the second ones) - wrapped around the outside of the wiring, so I can find the joint area.
The Voyager trailer seems to have a design issue (to my eyes) in that the security chain comes out of the same place as the wiring cord, and if you get into a tight backing angle (sideways or over a dip where a beach ramp meets sand) the chain can basically jam the cord against the steel front edge of the trailer bar the split trailer lights cord comes out of. 
I think the electrical tape was put around the cord by installer to try to give it some protection.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Kevin.S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Feb 2024 at 8:16am
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Interesting you mention it's a Voyager trailer.  I had to replace the lights on my Voyager trailer as there were problems.  Turned out the LED lights were actually fine, but they were not very well wired up.  Definitely sounds like you also have a wiring problem. I replaced them with a set that had wires from the lights to the plug without joins.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote DIY Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Feb 2024 at 8:43am
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Just a general tip - if I have to join or splice in a wire I use heat shrink thru crimps. They are filled with glue so once heated and ‘shrunk’ they are completely sealed. I have found them better than soldering and a lot easier.
They are available from electrical wholesalers and probably Jaycar etc.
Oh what a smasher - two eggs and a rasher!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Sufishent Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Feb 2024 at 2:55pm
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Take a little flat screwdriver and open up the gap on the pins in the plug - they tend to close up after a bit of time and you start to see these sorts of intermittent faults. 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote krow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Feb 2024 at 8:20pm
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As above your issue is probably the joint where the two sides of tail lights meet. This will likely be just inside the channel near the toe hitch. Normally the joint is made outside the channel and then the cable and Joint is pushed back out of site. You pulling/moving the plug (and thus the wire) may have created just enough of a connection in the corroded joint to make them work. Or like you said a broken wire, BUT this would have to be past the joint between both sides as one side works. 
Highly unlikely in the trailer or truck plug as one side works. 
Unlikely to be the LED as both side light and rear light would have to be the same intermittent fault. 
Follow the wires back from the plug and expose the joint. 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Mar 2024 at 10:38am
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Thanks for all the input, team. As someone with no clue about this kind of stuff, I appreciate it.
So investigations as suggested by the team - following the cable from the plug to the connectors - revealed the brown wire on one side is fully severed. Not sure how the tail lights came on briefly, but maybe the final complete separation only happened when I unwrapped the electrical tape the installer used. I presume crushing by the chain in the Voyager design caused the breakage - I can't think of any other way it'd be severed. 

So hopefully splicing the brown wire back together should fix the issue. I understand a join mechanism and heat shrink sleeve is the preferred way to do the join for best waterproofing. Fingers crossed, I'll be ready for my warrant next week!
I will wrap the whole thing with lots of electrical tape, and I've crammed some strips of hard foam under the security chain to lift it and try to stop it crushing/pinching the light cables in future. Voyager having a hole in the side of the main trailer beam for the electrical cable to come out of - rather than being in contact with the chain - would be a much more sensible design.


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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote lawabidingpoacher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Mar 2024 at 3:20pm
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Drill another hole and bring wire outside of drawbar away from chain
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote krow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Mar 2024 at 8:12pm
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Glad you located the problem.Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (2) Likes(2)   Quote BotStomper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Mar 2024 at 10:18am
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Cut 15cm off the end of your garden hose, split it and slip it over the cable to "armour" it. Stops it getting kinked as well. Secure with electrical tape. Don't just wrap it with miles of electrical tape, it'll be a mongrel to work on in the future.
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