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Hooking Up Trailer Lights

So you finally got the new boat and trailer. Do you have a trailer lights connector on the back of your vehicle? It's easy to install.

Just go to your favorite parts store and get a three-way light plug. You may want to get some colored wire while you are'll may need a little to add to the plug-in at the vehicle, and the trailer. Get a test light while you are there, too. You'll need it, now and later. While you are at the parts store, let's get a kit to hook the wires up with. They should have a kit that contains a pair of wire pliers, some butt- connecters, and some blue connectors where you can tie a wire into another wire without cutting it.

If the package doesn't have enough connectors in it you might want to buy a package of each. You'll need three of the connectors to tie into the main wires underneath the vehicle; at least three butt connectors (blue) to hook the trailer lights to the other end of the connector. Aw, what the heck, get some extras, you never know when you'll need 'em.

Go to the back of your vehicle and locate the lights plug-in from underneath, behind the bumper. Hook the test light alligator clamp to a clean bolt, or a clean part of the frame for a ground. Turn the running lights on... you don't have to turn the headlights on. Now, go back to the rear of the vehicle, locate the brown wire (normally the park/tail lights) and take the test light and push the tip through the insulation. The test light should come on. If it does, that will be your tail light... sometimes known as the running lights. Have a pad and pen (or pencil) close by. Write down "brown-tail".

Then go turn the tail lights off and turn the ignition switch to the "run" position. Turn the left signal light on. Is it blinking? Good. Now go back to the back, note: if you are two, one of you can stay at the steering wheel and work the controls. At the wires under the rear of the vehicle again, look for a "yellow" wire. Insert the tip of the tester into the yellow wire... does the tester blink? Good. Write on your pad (the paper pad) "yellow- left turn".

Have the right signal light turned on. Look for a "green" wire. Test it. If the test light blinks, then you have found the right signal light wire. Write it down.

Your new plug in should have these colors also. Plus, there will be a "white" wire. That's for ground. Now, take the connector that hooks the two wires together, slip the open end onto the brown wire. Take the brown wire from the plug-in and push it into the open end of the blue connector... it will not go all the way through, but make sure it has bottomed out. Take a pair of regular pliers and squeeze the little metal tab through the connector and the wires. Pull the cover over the wires and clip it in place.

Do this with the other wires, making sure you match the colors. Note: If the colors are not as I mentioned, then write them down as to what they; purple-right turn, etc. Let's get a cup of coffee, or something, then we'll tackle the trailer.

Your new trailer should have the rear lights hooked up already. All you should have to do is connect the plug-in up to the wires at the tongue of the trailer. If that is the case, look at the wires, are they brown, yellow, green, and a white one? If they are not, you will have to have a test wire, one that's "hot" and touch each of the wires (except the white one) and look to see what light comes on. If you touch a orange one and the tail lights come on, then you know to hook the brown to the orange. Just for simplicity, let's say that the colors are the same. Both wires should have a quarter inch of insulation cut off. If it doesn't, take the wire pliers and strip the wire about a quarter inch from the end. Take the two brown wires, the one from the trailer and the one from the plug-in, and get one of the blue butt connectors. Push one wire into one end of the connector. Take the new wire pliers you bought, or that came in the kit, and crimp the connector onto the wire. Insert the other wire into the other end of the connector and crimp it.

Now you have the plug-end connected to the wires. When you plug the two ends together and turn the lights on, you should have running lights on the trailer. The signal lights should work also. Check them. The brake lights work off the same wire as the signal lights, so if the signal lights are working, and the brake lights are working on your vehicle, they should be working on the trailer. You'll probably have to have someone push the brake pedal as you watch the lights at the end of the trailer... I know your leg is not that long. Be sure to tie or tape the wires so they don't hang to the ground or get in the way when you turn the trailer real sharp... like back in to the boat ramp.

Let's go fishing!

JC Witney (Marine) US/WW
JC Witney supply boat parts and accessories including: Boat Seats & Seating, Boat Trailer Accessories, Boat/Watercraft Covers, Electrical, Hydro-Stabilizer, Marine Manuals and Marine Tools.


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