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    Trailer lights-gctid396967

    So I sold my trusty 1952 Monday, and when we hooked it up to the buyers tow vehicle, no lights.

    When I bought the boat last year, the first thing I did was put new lights and wiring on the trailer. I never checked them since. After a little testing, I found that the bulbs were blown out and the sockets were rusted badly. Bulbs were not extractable.

    I figure the bulbs popped when I dunked them in the 48 degree ocean water. They are the normal bulbs which get pretty hot. I never unplugged them as I figured it didn't matter. I forgot to unplug them a few times out at the lakes in AZ with other boats and nothing bad happened so I figured why waste time.

    The boat I bought a few weeks ago had trailer lights that didn't work (of course) so I put new wires and also bought the LED's this time. Hopefully those are sealed, and even though they are not supposed to get hot, I plan on unplugging from now on.

    Any thoughts?

    Do trailer lights only last a year in salt water?

    #2
    Most trailer lights leak. Newer "waterproof marine" models have the light sealed in a plastic globe. This protects the light, but not the wiring. Wiring needs to be installed w/o snap connectors. The less connections underwater, the better. If you do have to make a connections, soldier and seal with liquid tape.

    http://www.basspro.com/Optronics-Wat...a-00006a9a4c51

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      #3
      if a year, when Ive had regular trailer lights that werent sealed I always (almost) unplugged them and when I got home I sprayed the lamp sockets with wd40 that will extend the lights indefinately. almost every time I didnt unplug them I blew a bulb. Leds should be well sealed but keep in the habit and unplug. I have a ritual I go thru at the launch ramp that involves straps,plugs and lights

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        #4
        My trailer is 5 years old, gets used 40% in salt water, the lights are LED ones which are factory equipment. Still doing their thing. I added 3 more side lights on each side, for better visibility when I bought it and everything is OK.

        I do freshwater wash it when returning home form salt every time.

        2 of the ramps we use, in salt, have hoses and fresh water (free) so you can flush the engine. I use them to rinse the traler.

        Heres a heads-up on a problem you will have. The trailer lights and the wiring harness are coupled together with crimp on connectors. (Don't tell me how yours are filled with silicon, etc and won't leak. Yeah, right) Water will intrude. What I did was to cut out the crimpons. Strip off the insulation. I use a 3" length of fa(s)t food soda straws. Slide it over the wire and do a long splice. Solder it. Then, liberally coat the wires with RTV, and slide the straw over the splice and goo. Let it dry. Then another coat over the assembly and it will not intrude. The bad part about water intrusion, is when it corrodes to the point where the lights become intermittant, the water has seeped up the wire a few feet. If you try to repair it, you are working with corroded wire. Then, replace the harness and lights.
        Captharv 2001 2452
        "When the draft of your boat exceeds the depth of water, you are aground"

        Comment


          #5
          captharv wrote:
          My trailer is 5 years old, gets used 40% in salt water, the lights are LED ones which are factory equipment. Still doing their thing. I added 3 more side lights on each side, for better visibility when I bought it and everything is OK.

          I do freshwater wash it when returning home form salt every time.

          2 of the ramps we use, in salt, have hoses and fresh water (free) so you can flush the engine. I use them to rinse the traler.

          Heres a heads-up on a problem you will have. The trailer lights and the wiring harness are coupled together with crimp on connectors. (Don't tell me how yours are filled with silicon, etc and won't leak. Yeah, right) Water will intrude. What I did was to cut out the crimpons. Strip off the insulation. I use a 3" length of fa(s)t food soda straws. Slide it over the wire and do a long splice. Solder it. Then, liberally coat the wires with RTV, and slide the straw over the splice and goo. Let it dry. Then another coat over the assembly and it will not intrude. The bad part about water intrusion, is when it corrodes to the point where the lights become intermittant, the water has seeped up the wire a few feet. If you try to repair it, you are working with corroded wire. Then, replace the harness and lights.
          That sounds reasonable, but I think saltwater intrudes through the wire insulation too.

          I have cut old trailer wire several feet from any open end and it is black from corrosion. I don't think water would seep several feet in.

          Comment


            #6
            The lights didn't work on the new owner's truck, but did they work when you hooked the trailer up to your vehicle? I've had light issues when a fuse on my truck blows.

            Just a suggestion.

            Comment


              #7
              Ifallsguy wrote:
              The lights didn't work on the new owner's truck, but did they work when you hooked the trailer up to your vehicle? I've had light issues when a fuse on my truck blows.

              Just a suggestion.
              No, the boat trailer lights. I tested his trailer plug lead, and after cleaning out the corrosion, all but the right turn signal worked. We replaced both trailer light assemblys and all lkights work now, except the right turn signal. But thats his vehicles problem.:livid:

              Comment


                #8
                green650 wrote:
                That sounds reasonable, but I think saltwater intrudes through the wire insulation too.

                I have cut old trailer wire several feet from any open end and it is black from corrosion. I don't think water would seep several feet in.
                Wanna bet?

                Think about it-- the end of the wiring is at the lights and being submerged. Maybe only a foot or two, but water creates a pressure of about .43 PSI per foot of submerged. This would force the water "up" the wiring. Now, take this over many launchings, over a few years.....

                Most wiring uses PVC insulation. If not old and dried out, water should not impregnate the insulation.

                The best quality wiring uses teflon insulation and plated conductors. Its expensive, but thats what the gov't specifies for military hardware. They want the "MW" option--(must work)

                My old trailer which I had for 15 years had the harness replaced twice, before I discovered the "trick" in my previous post. Corrosion came all the way to the mid point of the trailer in the wiring.
                Captharv 2001 2452
                "When the draft of your boat exceeds the depth of water, you are aground"

                Comment


                  #9
                  +100 :right

                  The twisted wires inside will also work like a wick and transport the water a LONG way even without any pressure. Soldering the connections is a bad idea as the solder stiffens the core and under vibration the wire will break just next to the joint unless it is supported well beyond the connection point with a shrink tube. Your straw does the same job as the shrink tube and keeps the vibration away from the solder joint which also seeps under the wire insulation.

                  The best connection you can make for vehicle wiring (and boat):

                  get non-insulated butt joints, the version without a center stop. Remove the insulation the length of the butt connector, twist the ends. Put a double wall shrink tube at least 3 times the length of the butt connector over one cable end. (Double wall means there's an inner layer of hot glue). Push both ends into the butt connector so you can just see the end of the wires on the other side. Crimp with the correct tool. Center the shrink tube over the butt connector and shrink it well.

                  If you are a fan of double safety you can paint the surface of the connection with liquid tape first. Let it partially dry before you move the shrink tube over. Liquid tape only (w/o shrink tube) is a bit of a risk. When the stuff ages it tends to separate from the PVC insulation of the wires and water will intrude.

                  My memory may be wrong but isn't marine wire supposed to be tin plated?????

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