Electrical Gremlins!
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Old 08-21-2013, 07:45 AM   #1
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Default Electrical Gremlins!

Sorry about the rant. Figured I should get that out there first.

Did a haul out for a friend yesterday ( part of the payment for a family hunting lease), and on the trip home last night I lost a headlight and all of the trailer lights went wonky. Get unloaded today, and i go over the lights on the trailer. Re-did the ground, checked all the bulbs, and checked the connections. Found nothing wrong, but every time I turned on the running lights and the turn signals, every light on the d@mn thing started flashing. Went over it again, hooked up, same problem. Drove over to the neighbor's place, tried his trailer. At that point, I found out that the problem is my truck's wiring.

Drive back to the shop, and I start going over the wiring in the back of the truck. It had one of those "quick connect" wiring harnesses installed. I replaced the trailer plug on it, no joy. Tool out my tail lights, and direct wired an new harness and plug, success! All of the lights were working again.

At least until I went under the truck to unhook that QC harness. After unhooking it, I had no Liscence plate lights, no tail lights, and no trailer lights. I start jiggling the connector, the marker lights start flickering on and off. Then, all of the sudden, no lights at all. I get the multi meter out to check voltage at different points of the wiring, Somebody broke my meter and didn't tell me. The ground strap on my circuit test light ripped out of the base of the light, and I had to borrow one from my uncle. Finally found the problem, after 5 hours of wire chasing.

It seems that one of the truck's previous owners decided to add a 7 way trailer plug and a trailer brake. Good idea, especially if you do any serious towing. The problem is that at some point in the years between 1992 and 2007 when I bought the truck, these parts were installed by someone who should have never had a tool in their hands. The 7 way was piggy backed off of the main harness, the trailer brake off of that harness, and to top it all off, some meat head went crazy with a set of wire cutters when these parts were removed. None of the connectors were taped, no di-electric grease was used, and the bare wires were just left dangling under the truck. There is no way to describe what is hanging there without using the word cluster. ( Those who are or were military will understand where that is going) Looks like I will spend a good sized chunk of time tomorrow replacing part of my wiring harness, laying on my back in the dirt, and catching up on my iron intake.

Sorry about the rant folks, but I had to get that out.

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Old 08-21-2013, 10:20 AM   #2
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I know how you feel brother trust me I have a F250 long bed crew cab it's an 88 and I figured a lot of issues with it but for some reason she wants to die when I put her in reverse and she doesn't want to idle. still have no clue what's going on with her.

It's just odd how trucks want to act sometimes, I got the truck for $400 and they had a piece of garden hose where the oil cooler was suppose to be. Good luck to ya brother I hope you get things sorted out.

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Old 08-21-2013, 01:26 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unclebear View Post
I know how you feel brother trust me I have a F250 long bed crew cab it's an 88 and I figured a lot of issues with it but for some reason she wants to die when I put her in reverse and she doesn't want to idle. still have no clue what's going on with her.

It's just odd how trucks want to act sometimes, I got the truck for $400 and they had a piece of garden hose where the oil cooler was suppose to be. Good luck to ya brother I hope you get things sorted out.
Did you try changing the idle air control valve????
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:45 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by kfox75 View Post
Sorry about the rant. Figured I should get that out there first.

Did a haul out for a friend yesterday ( part of the payment for a family hunting lease), and on the trip home last night I lost a headlight and all of the trailer lights went wonky. Get unloaded today, and i go over the lights on the trailer. Re-did the ground, checked all the bulbs, and checked the connections. Found nothing wrong, but every time I turned on the running lights and the turn signals, every light on the d@mn thing started flashing. Went over it again, hooked up, same problem. Drove over to the neighbor's place, tried his trailer. At that point, I found out that the problem is my truck's wiring.

Drive back to the shop, and I start going over the wiring in the back of the truck. It had one of those "quick connect" wiring harnesses installed. I replaced the trailer plug on it, no joy. Tool out my tail lights, and direct wired an new harness and plug, success! All of the lights were working again.

At least until I went under the truck to unhook that QC harness. After unhooking it, I had no Liscence plate lights, no tail lights, and no trailer lights. I start jiggling the connector, the marker lights start flickering on and off. Then, all of the sudden, no lights at all. I get the multi meter out to check voltage at different points of the wiring, Somebody broke my meter and didn't tell me. The ground strap on my circuit test light ripped out of the base of the light, and I had to borrow one from my uncle. Finally found the problem, after 5 hours of wire chasing.

It seems that one of the truck's previous owners decided to add a 7 way trailer plug and a trailer brake. Good idea, especially if you do any serious towing. The problem is that at some point in the years between 1992 and 2007 when I bought the truck, these parts were installed by someone who should have never had a tool in their hands. The 7 way was piggy backed off of the main harness, the trailer brake off of that harness, and to top it all off, some meat head went crazy with a set of wire cutters when these parts were removed. None of the connectors were taped, no di-electric grease was used, and the bare wires were just left dangling under the truck. There is no way to describe what is hanging there without using the word cluster. ( Those who are or were military will understand where that is going) Looks like I will spend a good sized chunk of time tomorrow replacing part of my wiring harness, laying on my back in the dirt, and catching up on my iron intake.

Sorry about the rant folks, but I had to get that out.
I feel for ya man. At work I mostly just do engine work but if a truck needs to go and the normal electrical guy is tied up it will come to me. I cant even begin to count how much time I have spent chasing electrical grimlins.
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:48 AM   #5
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all i can say is, when working on the electrical of any vehicle, a wiring diagram is your best friend. i have chased more problems in the past, that after getting a wiring diagram, usually got me heading in the right direction to repairing the problem.

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Old 08-22-2013, 02:03 AM   #6
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I have to get the trailer wiring on my F150 looked at. None of the lights on the left side of any trailer connected to the truck works. Originally thought it was the wiring on my utility trailer realized it wasnt the trailer when I pulled our camper. Same thing with the boat trailer. All lights work when hooked to my Dakota and wife's Explorer.

Had an issue with the AC in the Dakota last week. AC stopped blowing suddenly, smelled a burned odor for a few minutes prior to ac quitting. After some trial and error I found out the wires going to the blower motor resistor had melted. Guess Im damn lucky my truck didnt catch fire....ekkkk!

Ive also got an electrical gremlin in my work truck. About once or twice a month the ac will stop cooling. The shop guys cant find the problem because by the time I write up the problem and get the truck in the shop, its working again. They say it could be a number of things.

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Old 08-22-2013, 03:25 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Axxe55 View Post
all i can say is, when working on the electrical of any vehicle, a wiring diagram is your best friend. i have chased more problems in the past, that after getting a wiring diagram, usually got me heading in the right direction to repairing the problem.
Not always I have a 69 ford pickup that has been messed with by some previous owner. Rear turn signals quit working fronts worked fine started chasing wires with my trusty diagram, nothing matched.

Turns out after a winter of screwing around with it, the tilt telescoping steering column came out of a '66 Cadillac.

Found that diagram and finally figured out the problem.
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Old 08-22-2013, 06:09 PM   #8
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thanks for the replies guys. Found the problem, It was the connector that joins the tail light harness to the main harness. Broke out the hanes manual, look at the wiring diagram, and chased the wires. Removed all the cr@p that was left behind by previous owners, and made a new connector. I now have lights again, truck and trailer both. Took 'em out for a 15 mile shakedown run, no problems.

Thanks for listening.

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Old 08-22-2013, 06:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragunovsks View Post
I have to get the trailer wiring on my F150 looked at. None of the lights on the left side of any trailer connected to the truck works. Originally thought it was the wiring on my utility trailer realized it wasnt the trailer when I pulled our camper. Same thing with the boat trailer. All lights work when hooked to my Dakota and wife's Explorer.

Had an issue with the AC in the Dakota last week. AC stopped blowing suddenly, smelled a burned odor for a few minutes prior to ac quitting. After some trial and error I found out the wires going to the blower motor resistor had melted. Guess Im damn lucky my truck didnt catch fire....ekkkk!

Ive also got an electrical gremlin in my work truck. About once or twice a month the ac will stop cooling. The shop guys cant find the problem because by the time I write up the problem and get the truck in the shop, its working again. They say it could be a number of things.
Good luck with that one Bro. No lights at all on the left side, hmmm. What year is the truck, and what style \number of pins on the plug? If it is a Quick connect style instead of a hard wired one, I would have to question the condition of that connector. That is about all that comes to mind for now.
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Old 08-22-2013, 06:31 PM   #10
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I guess this proves Murphy is a alive and well!!!
And he must have worked on your truck!

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