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Troubleshooting Lights Not Working on Trailer  


Were having difficulty getting the brake/signal lights to work with our vehicle. The Airstream can be connected to Dodge, Ford and Chevy truck and the lights work but not with our 4Runner. Do you have any suggestions about the 4Runner wiring that could help us get the Airstream up and running?


Expert Reply:

The best I can do is give you general troubleshooting if your lights are not working, but I've never heard of a trailer not being compatible with a vehicle, as that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, though admittedly I could be missing something. That said, for some general troubleshooting, the first thing to do is take a look at your owner's manual to locate any trailer fuses or relays and ensure they are all there and in working order. If they are, in order to determine the specific problem you will need to purchase a circuit tester if you do not have one - the very handy Cordless Circuit Tester # PTW2979 would be my strong recommendation due to how easy it is to use - and test the connector on your vehicle after disconnecting it from your trailer. Check the wiring going into your harness from your tail lights to see if those wires are carrying the correct signals, if not then the issue is with the vehicle wiring.

If the signals going to your harness are okay, you'll need to test the signals coming out of the harness, and if they are correct then your issue is likely going to be with the trailer side wiring. You will also want to check both your vehicle and trailer connectors for corrosion, which can be green or white in color. A build-up of corrosion can interfere with the signals getting through the connectors so if it is present you are going to need to either replace the plug or clean the corrosion. You'll also need to make sure your grounds are attached to bare metal surfaces and free of any paint, dirt or corrosion.

Finally, check your wiring thoroughly to ensure there are none that are crimped, broken or otherwise damaged. I have added links to a pair of help articles on trailer wiring, including a troubleshooting guide which I highly recommend taking a look at.

expert reply by:
Kyle S

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