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  Trailer Lighting Problems Due to Poor Ground

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Author Topic:   Trailer Lighting Problems Due to Poor Ground
skred posted 10-31-2013 12:17 PM ET (US)   Profile for skred   Send Email to skred  
Just offering this observation in case anyone has become frustrated with trying to get your boat trailer lights to function correctly:

The tilt ShorLand'r trailer that came with my 13 Whaler was bragged-up by the seller as "completely renovated." New paint, wiring, lights were evident. Shortly after buying it, the lights refused to behave at all. After at least 6 hours of frustrating testing (even bought a new set of lights), I finally discovered that this "genius" had so thoroughly repainted the trailer (including all the bolts and bolt holes)that there was no bare metal to create an efficient ground connection. I finally discovered that the fact that it was a tilting trailer had actually separated the back half of the trailer from the front electrically. My simple solution was to run a ground wire from the front coupler back to the rear tilting frame member, scraping the paint off and drilling a small screw hole making sure to expose bare metal and making the connection there. Bingo! Once the ground was completed all the light work just fine. Lesson for me was that proper grounding is the first thing to check when trailer lighting malfunctions.

jimh posted 10-31-2013 01:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Yes, i'd guess that poor ground circuit return to battery negative accounts for many trailer lighting problems. In circuits with incandescent lamps, a lamp that is not being illuminated can sometimes act as a low series resistance path to ground, causing even stranger outcomes. It is almost axiomatic to recommend checking the ground circuit first if any sort of trailer lighting problem is observed.

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