Trailer Lights - Brake Lights Don't Work when Running Lights Are On

Discussion in 'Boat Yard Basics' started by paint it black, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. paint it black

    paint it black Paddling away...

    I just finished installing a set of Pipe Lights I bought on my trailer.
    When the running lights are off, the brake lights work perfectly.
    The turn signals and hazards do as well.
    But when the lights are on, they just shut off when I hit the brakes.
    Does anyone know what the problem could be?

  2. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    Sounds like a bad ground wire.
    Don't assume that just because the trailer is connected to the hitch
    that the trailer is grounding properly. Grease, rust, and dirt can act as an insulator.
    Make sure the ground wire from the lights makes it all the way back
    to the tow vehicles steel frame.

  3. paint it black

    paint it black Paddling away...

    I will check it out again in the morning, but I got the plug on the truck grounded directly to the chassis using a self taping screw.
    Then on the trailer, from the plug it's grounded to the tongue using a self taping screw.
    Then the ground from the light is grounded to the trailer using a self taping screw.
  4. Tom_C

    Tom_C Well-Known Member


    Bad Ground I'll bet Brett's boat on it. Check the crimps on the ground wire.
  5. paint it black

    paint it black Paddling away...

    What can I do to improve the ground?
    I figured it would work with the self tapping screws screwed into the trailer, and frame.
    Think I should sand the area where it sits?
    I never had a hitch on my truck and just put one on last week.
    So I just installed a new Hoppy connector and grounded the ground(white wire) to the frame rail of my truck.
    I used the self tapping screw they supplied in the kit.

    Although, I just realized that the self tapping screws I used on the trailer came painted white.
    Maybe it's not getting a connection because of that.
  6. Frank_Sebastian

    Frank_Sebastian Well-Known Member

    I think you have hooked up the running lights and brake lights backwards. Try reversing the brown wire (should be running lights) with the brake lights.

  7. paint it black

    paint it black Paddling away...

    I tried that as well and it still did the same thing.
    I double checked on the instructions on the kit.
    It says black wire goes to brown, and red wire goes to green/yellow.
    So that's how I have it wired now.
    I'm going to check the ground now by running a long ground wire to the trunk just to see if it works.
    If it does, I'm going to have a hard time running the ground wire through the inside rail of the trailer to the nose because the tip of my "snake" doesn't fit inside the hole on the trailer.
    The hole is too small.
  8. Tom_C

    Tom_C Well-Known Member

    If it does use the same wire to check each connection.

    You can try using a star washer between the frame and connection lug.
  9. iMacattack

    iMacattack busy, too busy

    If these are the LED Pipe lights you NEED to check your GROUND! ;D

    LED light are much more sensitive to poor grounding than regular lights. I don't like using the trailer as the ground for my lights. I like them wired directly to the plug. That's how my Continental Trailer is wired. Much better IMHO!
  10. paint it black

    paint it black Paddling away...

    I need to find a way to run the wire through the trailer rails.
    Like I stated above, the snake I have the tip is too big to fit in the holes on the trailer.
    And I don't want to be drilling holes into the trailer.

    And they're not the LED ones. I bought the regular bulb ones.
    Even though the LED's were only an extra $20, I couldn't justify spending $100 on trailer lights when my boat isn't even done.
    And I still need to spend a lot of money on finishing the skiff.
  11. paint it black

    paint it black Paddling away...

    Reading over on a Pipe-Lights thread on FS Forums.
    A member said something and I figured out a way to get mine wired up.

    I can simply attach new marine grade wire to the existing wires secured on to insure that they don't come off.
    Then just pull out the old wires that are in the trailer, then connect them up inside the pipe that way the connection is completely out of the water at all times.
    This is definitely how I'm going to do it, and I will also have brand new wires inside my trailer.

    Although, since I already glued the lights onto the pvc, I will have a harder time getting it done.
    But if I can pull out the light from the housing, then pull the cables out with new cables attached.
    It shouldn't be a problem.
  12. mark_gardner

    mark_gardner I Love!

    you should be able to wiggle the lens out of the housing so the fact that you glued them together shouldnt be a problem, i havent glued mine yet but used a ss set screw to hold them together just in case i need to get them apart but they are starting to wobble around a bit on the pvc guide post, maybe i'll glue mine this weekend :-/
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