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Old 08-21-2015, 03:18 AM   #1
Denver Tom
 
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Default LED Trailer Light Frustration - Add Loading Resistors

I need some suggestions for what to try next...

2008 ERA 2500
Factory wired trailer kit
7 pin round socket
Professional LED trailer light tester at the socket (so trailer wiring eliminated as culprit)
All lights on rig functioning correctly, with no dash error messages

Left signal flashes, but is dim
Right signal returns a rapid flash, almost flutter
No brake lights

I started at the rear and confirmed that all connections at the socket are solid and corrosion-free.

I traced the harness along the frame rail to make sure there is no damage. None apparent.

Driver's seat removed, integrity of harness into Trailer Light Converter checked.

All fuses under dash checked for continuity.

Trailer Light Converter swapped on the hunch that it had failed. Did not alter the results.

Now I'm at a loss for what to check next.

We trailered for many years without any issues. This came out of the blue several weeks ago.

We are in Denver, so not really prone to corrosion, though we have been at the Gulf and Atlantic a number of times.

I'm open to any suggestions that you all might have.

Thanks in advance!!

Denver Tom
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Old 08-21-2015, 03:38 AM   #2
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Default Re: Trailer Light Frustration

Denver Tom,
What "Trailer Light Converter swapped on the hunch that it had failed. Did not alter the results".
The trailer light convertor on the rail in the driver's seat box......or something else.
Do you have a VOM....are you getting 12 VDC at the pins in the 7 way round connector on the
rear of your RV.
Have you ohm'd out the ground to the ground pin in the connector on the back.
Is the trailer you are going to use equipped with incandescent bulbs or LED's?
Do you have a trailer brake controller hooked up?
Hope this helps,
Roger
If you have the MB OEM factory trailer connector there should be a schedule of what wire does what on
the flap/cover.
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OM-651 I4 2.143 liter two stage turbo charged with 36.9 PSIA MAP Limit Valve
7 Speed 7G-Tronic, manually shiftable, automatic transmission.
Suspension Seats, Active Safety Package +, Parktronic, OEM Hitch/wiring
OEM back up camera, Bi Xenon light package, fog lamps, headlight washers.
Had 2006 T1N 3500/158|2010 NCV3 519/3500/144|2011 & 2012 NCV3 519/3500 170
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Old 08-21-2015, 03:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: Trailer Light Frustration

Sailquik -

Thanks for the quick response!

Yes to OEM Trailer Light Converter installed on the rail under driver's seat. That is the one I checked and swapped - which did not correct my issue.

Pro tester and trailer are both LED, not incandescent. The trailer lighting did work fine for the last 6 years with Sprinter/LED on trailer combination.

No electric brake controller hooked up, as loaded trailer 1,500 lbs max.

If I read between the lines, I think your hunch is a grounding issue.

I'll grab the VOM today and ohm-out the ground, as well as verify DC voltage.

Now that I think about it, I did recently have a genny starting issue that was the result of a lost ground.

Thanks again for your advice. Electrical bugs always give me a migraine!!!

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Old 08-21-2015, 03:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Trailer Light Frustration

Sound like!!!!!!!!
Bad grounds and wrong bulbs???
Dennis
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Old 08-21-2015, 04:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: Trailer Light Frustration

Tom,
It was just a guess, but RV's (with all the wood and composite rear body work) seem to have a lot of rear grounding
issues.
Might be worth it to run a #10 or #12 AWG ground wire from the main chassis ground in the seat box or
on the firewall back to the trailer receptacle and a jumper to the steel hitch assembly.
Then your trailer can ground through the hitch or through the dedicated ground pin in the trailer connector.
Solder/shrink the connections, and you won't have any further grounding issues.
Hope this helps,
Roger
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2014 Sprinter 516 series (3500 DRW) 170"/4325 mm wb Hi Top Short Back
OM-651 I4 2.143 liter two stage turbo charged with 36.9 PSIA MAP Limit Valve
7 Speed 7G-Tronic, manually shiftable, automatic transmission.
Suspension Seats, Active Safety Package +, Parktronic, OEM Hitch/wiring
OEM back up camera, Bi Xenon light package, fog lamps, headlight washers.
Had 2006 T1N 3500/158|2010 NCV3 519/3500/144|2011 & 2012 NCV3 519/3500 170
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Old 08-21-2015, 07:19 PM   #6
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Default Re: Trailer Light Frustration

Is the LED trailer new to your rig or has it worked properly in the past?

There have been posts here indicating that LED trailer lights can have issues with the OEM trailer harness option. The incandescent lamps provide more load so are a bit more forgiving for any monitoring the computers do.

Do you have access to a trailer with conventional incandescent lamps? It might be worth backing up to it for a quick real world test.

vic
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Old 08-22-2015, 12:41 AM   #7
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Default Re: Trailer Light Frustration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aqua Puttana View Post
Is the LED trailer new to your rig or has it worked properly in the past?

There have been posts here indicating that LED trailer lights can have issues with the OEM trailer harness option. The incandescent lamps provide more load so are a bit more forgiving for any monitoring the computers do.

Do you have access to a trailer with conventional incandescent lamps? It might be worth backing up to it for a quick real world test.

vic
Yes Vic
I have experienced two incidences of this freak out when connected to U Haul Trailers with LED lighting.
Always something to be aware of!
Dennis
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Old 08-25-2015, 03:24 AM   #8
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Default Re: Trailer Light Frustration

Aqua Puttana and Dennis -

Bingo!

LED trailer lights had worked for the past 5 plus years, but the Sprinter suddenly decided it no longer likes them.

Thanks for all the great suggestions.

I tried them all, then finally plugged in a set of "magnet" style incandescent trailer lights.

All issues suddenly disappeared.

Now I need to either replace the LED trailer lights on the boat trailer, or perhaps more appropriately, figure out how to create enough resistance so that the trailer works again with the Sprinter.

Hey, at least it wasn't the boat that broke this time!!!

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Old 08-25-2015, 04:04 AM   #9
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Default Re: Trailer Light Frustration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denver Tom View Post
...

I tried them all, then finally plugged in a set of "magnet" style incandescent trailer lights.

All issues suddenly disappeared.
...
Denver Tom
Good use of the magnetic lights for testing.

I carry a set with me always. I figure it can keep me on the road when moving my boat. It's not ideal without the side marker lights, but better than troubleshooting on a rainy night.

I would not trust the magnets alone. I use a bit of electrical tape to supplement.
http://www.harborfreight.com/12-volt...9626-8847.html

vic
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Last edited by Aqua Puttana; 08-25-2015 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 09-16-2016, 07:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: Trailer Light Frustration

I found the net to be full of dumb ideas and theories about this problem. Thought I would post the fix here, under a few searchable threads, to solve the issue for fellow Sprinter owners.

Go buy this thing for < $15, I got mine from etrailer.com.

It adds a load resistor so the factory trailer module, when checking for a bulb out, doesn't freak out. Otherwise it freaks out. It's been designed to fix exactly this problem.

You're welcome.

My LED trailer lights would stay on after the key was out, blink fast or not work at all under various conditions and scenarios. Stupidest redundancy programming ever on the part of the manufacturer - didn't even generate a warning light or code. This thing fixes it all.

IMG_1501.JPG
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