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Author Topic:   securing trailer wiring
ebwalk posted 03-04-2013 11:03 AM ET (US)   Profile for ebwalk   Send Email to ebwalk  
I am renovating my trailer and sprayed a nice coat of paint on it. Now it is time to redo the lights. How can I capture the wire runs in the 'U' channel of the trailer? I am not really a fan of the two ways I know: Electrical tape around the whole channel every three feet or Plastic wire ties. I was thinking about putting it in the corner of the channel of the 'U' and 'gluing' it with a dab of caulk every foot or so. Any better ideas out there? Thank you!
Buckda posted 03-04-2013 02:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
You could drill a hole about 1/2 inch in on the bottom of the U channel and then run wiring conduit - either the black split plastic stuff, or go whole hog and use some PVC tubing for conduit and run the wires down the bottom of the U channel...use the hole to run a plastic zip tie to hold the wiring in place. You'll only need a hole every 18 inches or so...That's what the manufacturer did on the inside of my I-beam aluminum trailer. Looks neat, and holds it securely in place.
Buckda posted 03-04-2013 02:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Forgot to add - if you have a painted steel trailer, you'll want to go back and put paint on the inside of each of those holes.

ebwalk posted 03-04-2013 03:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for ebwalk  Send Email to ebwalk     
nice! thanks.
gnr posted 03-04-2013 03:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for gnr    
Are you familiar with the little clips made for that purpose?

Bottom of the clip is sized to fit snuggly on the edge of the channel. Top of the clip is sized to snuggly hold the wire.

Buckda posted 03-04-2013 03:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
The clips work fine - once. Once you re-wire the trailer, they're shongo. Also - they will rust and aren't coated (they can chafe a hole in your wire insulation). Every opportunity I've had to replace them on the various trailers I've owned, I've taken it to replace it with a system as described above. It looks neater, no chafing, no rust and no worries. But that is not to say that there aren't other viable options/alternatives. That's just what I do.

ebwalk posted 03-04-2013 04:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for ebwalk  Send Email to ebwalk     
I am not. I have not noticed this item in west marine...but wasn't aware of them. Do they work well?
ebwalk posted 03-04-2013 04:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for ebwalk  Send Email to ebwalk     
Buckda, thanks. I think I will try this conduit
contender posted 03-04-2013 04:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
I do not have lights on my trailer, they are removable, I made a U channel out of teak with a bolt and wing nut that hang on the outside of the lifting rings, I just lay the wires in the boat, do one or two raps around the winch post and plug them in to the back of the truck. NEVER (my light are over 30 years old) have I had a problem with this method, lights are never in the water, can use the lights on other trailers, and the licence is attached to the same. No holes in the trailer, No wire problems, never have to fix them, never get a broken lenses, and better to see when behind the boat...
ConB posted 03-04-2013 04:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for ConB  Send Email to ConB     
Drill a single hole big enough for a zip tie to pass through, in and back out but not big enough for the ratchet retainer to go through. Do as many holes as you think you need to keep the wire in place. May be 2' or 3' a part.

De-burr and paint the raw steel.

Pass the leading end of the zip tie though the hole on the opposite side of the wire go around the wire, back though the hole and into the ratchet part of the zip tie and snug gently up.

The black zip ties are said to be UV resistant.


gnr posted 03-04-2013 05:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for gnr    
Yea, The clips are a one time use thing but they do work very well for that one time and are as cheap and easy as it gets.

I found out about them when I rewired my trailer. I had the 25 year old trailer for ten years when I stripped out the old wiring which was held in by clips. I don't know how long it had been there before that. The clips in use then were still holding strong.

You can get them at West Marine or many hardware stores.

tmann45 posted 03-05-2013 10:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for tmann45  Send Email to tmann45     
I am trying a zip tie mount with adhesive pad, but they don't stick very long on a galvanized trailer.

I bought some like this ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1362495536&sr=1-3&keywords=zip+tie+ mount that take a zip tie and some like this ref=sr_1_6?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1362495536&sr=1-6&keywords=zip+tie+ mount that you can just slip the wire into the clip.

I would think that adhesion would not be a problem on a painted or aluminum trailer that has a nice smooth shiny surface.

ebwalk's post gave me an idea, I might try removing the adhesive pad from the mount and gluing on to the trailer frame using 5200.

tmann45 posted 03-05-2013 10:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for tmann45  Send Email to tmann45     
That second link is not correct, here is the right one MICRO-PLASTICS-INC.-RELEASABLE-ADHESIVE-BACKED-WIRE-CLIPS/1.html
Tom W Clark posted 03-05-2013 10:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Those adhesive pads won't last.

The clips are the usual and easy method used my most trailer manufacturer that used channel. They will scratch the paint on installation.

The better, though slightly more time consuming method is to just use nylon cable clamps. ProductDisplay?catalogId=10001&partNumber=385740

You can put them exactly where you want them and attach them to the frame with the fastener of your choice. I'd just use pop rivets because it will be clean. The hydraulic lines on my galvanized trailer are attached with this method, and it keeps them visible where I can inspect them and they do not rattle around in the tubing of my trailer frame.

dfmcintyre posted 03-05-2013 09:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Tom -

Have you ever seen these used on a trailer?:

The company that I bought my trailer from (Eagle, a Michigan based company) used them to secure the brake lines and wiring.


HawaiianWhaler posted 03-06-2013 08:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for HawaiianWhaler  Send Email to HawaiianWhaler     
FWIW, for my old Katama's channel iron trailer I did like contender said and used removable lights so I wouldn't have to worry about dunking the lights and wires in salt water. All it took was sufficient length of four-conductor cable, an appropriate connector, and a couple of minutes before launching and after washdown. The license plate stayed mounted on the trailer to avoid the issue of being cited for an unlicensed trailer; the lights went into the tow vehicle. That setup worked without fail for the 23 years I had that trailer and was still working when I sold it.

If doing that is not desireable to you, ebwalk, and you are not averse to drilling holes in the frame of your freshly painted trailer then may I suggest you use these ProductDisplay?productId=752946&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&storeId=11151& storeNum=50523&subdeptNum=50566&classNum=50567 if you expect to tie down the wiring once and be done with it, or these ProductDisplay?productId=752956&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&storeId=11151& storeNum=50523&subdeptNum=50566&classNum=50567 if you expect to have to do it more than once. Both allow you to use ty-wraps to snugly hold the wires whereas the cable clamps others have suggested require you to use ones specifically sized for your wires to give a snug hold.

Good luck.

ebwalk posted 03-07-2013 06:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for ebwalk  Send Email to ebwalk     
Wow,thank you for describing your set up and pointing out those cool clips! I spend a lot of time (and money) looking at the west marine catalog but missed those cool clips!
My final update on this subject: when I opened the package of lights I found it included clips ( $29 cheap set from amazon includes side lights ). So for now, I just used those because I have to get the trailer ready to get my new engine. I am finding that while I want to make something as beautiful as the sistine chapel, I am compromising in order to make progress and I console myself by saying " I'll get to that next winter". Hopefully I will, after a great season on the water! But all this knowledge will make me a better boat wright, one step at a time. Thanks all.
outragesteve posted 03-07-2013 10:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for outragesteve  Send Email to outragesteve     
On my Outrage trailer, the wiring runs in the main side beams. It's an EZ-Loader. I just refurbished my MasterCraft ski boat trailer. It's painted steel. I used the tie wrap pads, described above. I was skeptical about them staying on, so I dabbed them with some black 5200 when I mounted them. They are solid and hopefully my "trick" may work for others! Good luck....

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