Towing and Headlight Switch issues

rcowan
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Towing and Headlight Switch issues

Postby rcowan » Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:00 pm

Last night I towed my trailer to my friend's house to haul a car for him. Once it got dark a I realized I had an issue with the parking light circuit. It was flashing on/off in quite a random pattern. It was fairly often (pretty much on/off the same amount of time). Luckily I was close to his house so I just drove it to his house to check it out.
Once I got there I immediately pulled the trailer plug out of the pickup socket, disconnecting the trailer lights. It didn't change anything so I plugged it back in. Then I took the dash apart to get to the light switch. (All the time leaving the lights on). I took the switch out and noticed that it was quite warm. I inspected the switch and the wiring harness plug but everything looked good. I put it back together and turned on the lights. Everything was good, I had solid lights....... for a while. Then the flashing started again. I unplugged the trailer again and not instantly, but shortly after that the flashing quit. Plugged the trailer back in and after a little bit (~30secs) I had flashing again. I assumed my switch was on it's way out and the added draw of the trailer lights was causing it to act up.
I left the trailer there and went home. I drove for a little bit over an hour and the parking light circuit was rock solid all the way home without the trailer. I had another used light switch at home so I swapped it in and went to get my trailer this morning. It was light so I didn't need lights but I ran with them just to see what would happen with the new switch. I got very similar results except that instead of flashing lights, they would just plain turn off when the switch got warm.
Are these switches prone to problems or do you think I have a problem with my trailer? I would think that if there was a wiring issue on the trailer, I would be popping fuses so I'm leaning towards replacing the switch, it's just odd that I have two bads ones. Any suggestions? Thanks!
'65 F250 2wd
'79 F250 Crewcab 4wd

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InfoFord
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Re: Towing and Headlight Switch issues

Postby InfoFord » Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:29 am

sounds like you need a new switch

robbragiel
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Re: Towing and Headlight Switch issues

Postby robbragiel » Fri Jul 01, 2011 5:29 am

Your problem is in the truck not the trailer since you disconnected it. I would ck for a loose ground first then replace the switch.
73 F250 CC Shortbed
73 F350 Chassis Cab CC Longbed
02 F350 4x4 CC Longbed Diesel
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All of them are registered and get driven regularly

rcowan
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Re: Towing and Headlight Switch issues

Postby rcowan » Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:24 pm

Thanks for the replies. Sorry for such a late response myself but I couldn't log in for a while for some reason. I'm back now though!

It was the switch. I replaced it and I've been fine now on quite a few more trips with the trailer. Thanks again!
'65 F250 2wd
'79 F250 Crewcab 4wd

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Re: Towing and Headlight Switch issues

Postby OrthmannJ » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:00 pm

Glad to hear you got it all figured out.
1969 F-100
1996 F-350 Crew Cab Powerstroke
Previous rigs:
1978 F-250 crew cab
1994 Explorer XLT
1978 Bronco Ranger XLT
1981 F-100 shortbox stepside Ranger XLT
1994 F-150 XLT S/C 4X4
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68Mercury250Ranger
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Re: Towing and Headlight Switch issues

Postby 68Mercury250Ranger » Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:45 pm

rcowan wrote:Thanks for the replies. Sorry for such a late response myself but I couldn't log in for a while for some reason. I'm back now though!

It was the switch. I replaced it and I've been fine now on quite a few more trips with the trailer. Thanks again!


if you run your trailer lights through a relay instead of directly through the truck's wiring, it could save you another switch. I noticed on the bumpside Ford trucks, when hauling a trailer, the same thing would happen, I used a relay and ran an independant harness for the trailer lights and Electric brake control, and problem dissappeared. mounted everything on the L inner fender close to the firewall. I got a 4 wire insulated bundle from our local truck parts place. 3 lighter guage wires for the lites and one heavier for the electric brakes. I didn't use a relay for the signals because trailer only adds 1 bulb each side , but trailer brake relay and marker/tail lite were installed.
no point in overloading any of that old wiring! ;)

I also had a problem with the headlites going out on highbeams in the 72 Bronco so I ran them on a relay instead of direct, that problem dissappeared too. the replacement Halogen bulbs pull more amps than the old lights too!
summer:RIP 68 Merc, 72 Bronc.
winter> wife: 94 explorer xlt, mine: Barney the powerstroke clubwagon
projects: 93 Bronco 7.3 powerstroke, 70 F250 crewcab 5.9cummins/ZF 4wd
67 Mercury700 on 98 F800 chassis, 91 C350 4x4 diesel Centurion.

compression ignition rules!! :D

rcowan
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Re: Towing and Headlight Switch issues

Postby rcowan » Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:09 pm

Not a bad idea. Thanks for the tip!
'65 F250 2wd
'79 F250 Crewcab 4wd

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