Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Trailer Repair

With spring in the air it's time to make sure all things cowboy are ready to run. The horse trailer ranking high on the list. The electrical connection between truck and trailer is always an important component. In our case, both truck and trailer need attention. 

The cord connecting the trailer to the truck is just too short. Many times I have turned sharp and pulled it out of sorts. 

The plug on the end was broken as well. 

And the other half on the truck was just as bad. 

So I went to see my buddy Ryan at Absolute Auto.

They've got all the trailer parts you'd ever need, and then some.

Quality parts as well. I'm a Pollak guy. 

So we started in. I bet I've reconnected these wire a half-a-dozen times. This is the breaking point when the tension gets to much. The terminals on top are an abandoned junction point. 

So I got a longer cord and wired it back in. I like to stagger the butt connections so they aren't just bunched up in one spot. Less bulky if you put conduit on them and looks more professional too. 

Then strip the insulation on the wires back about 3/8 of an inch. I like this kind of scissor stripper. 

Then crimp on the new butt connectors. Good heavy pliers are important here. It's easy for this kind of connection to pull apart if not crimped hard. 

These are heat shrink butt splices, which keep the moisture out and help prevent corroding. A heat gun works well, but so does a lighter in a pinch. 

Don't get me started about the importance of a good ground! Every time Dad calls with a wiring problem I always ask, did you check the ground!?


 Then to replace the seven pole plug on the end of the cord. Again, strip back about 3/8 of an inch. Also, don't strip back too much of the big black insulation so that it's not inside the plug when you slide the cover back over. 

Most trailers are going to have the standard yellow, brown, green, white wiring code. But a 7 pole is labeled different. This is the second reason Dad will call me. Here's the correct combination from the wire to the plug: yellow to red, green to brown, brown to green, white to white, red/blue (brakes) to blue. 

Then to the truck. Zip the screws out. If they are rusty, work them back and forth instead of forcing them out. Dealing with a broken screw can double the time of the job. 

Hopefully the guy that put the last one in gave you enough slack to work with. 

Pull the set screws out and expose the wires. The truck end is more prone to corrosion because there is power at these terminals even when not hooked up to a trailer. 

Again, 3/8" will do. 

However, some of these wires are a heavy gage. Therefore, it's ok to split them around the clamping screw. 

Good and clean. Make sure there are no strands of wires sticking out anywhere. The color code is usually the same combination as the trailer. 

As you go back together, make sure and tuck the conduit back under the plug clamp. 

Giddy up. 

Good combination. On this rig I run the cord through these hydraulic hoses so it doesn't get caught on the parts of the flatbed as I turn. Been there, done that. 

Never go short in the land of plenty! I added 2' to the length of the cord and probably should've added two more feet! Oh well. Should still work. The cool thing about gooseneck trailers is that you can jackknife them to about a 90 degree angle. A properly hung cord should just pivot around with the ball coupler. 

Works good. You don't want to get too sentimental here. Fixing trailer electrical cord connections is pretty routine maintenance. No matter how hard a guy tries to keep them in good shape, something unexpected always happens to damage them. We do what we can. Proper length is important, but so is right routing. You also don't want to tie the loose cable up to the top of the trailer. If so, when you turn it has no slack to spare and breaks your cord. Dangling in the bed of the truck is the best, then it just has to pivot. Looks ranch ready to me. On to the next one.  

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