Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • BenF

      Forum upgrade   12/10/17

      Hi everyone, As you're probably aware, we've been in the process of upgrading the Caravan Talk forum software for a while. I can now confirm that the software has been upgraded and we're fully up to date. Please note that this new software is quite different in appearance and function, so may require a bit of relearning. We are in the process of refining the look, features and experience to make it a bit better and more familiar. If you spot any issues please let us know in the feedback forum. Unfortunately any posts between Monday morning and now have been lost. This is due to when the database snapshot was taken for the upgrade, this may also affect new members since then. We do apologise for this, but we have tried to keep disruption to a minimum. We are already aware and working on the following issues: PayPal payment issues for CT Supporters Forum design, lack of CT branding including colours Temporary loss of reviews databases Navigation bar needs refining We will keep this list up to date, so please check here before posting new updates, or to keep on tabs of our progress. The software was upgraded in order to provide you with a more secure, reliable, faster experience, whilst providing us with more tools to improve the features and options for the forum. Thank you for your continued support. Ben and the CT Team
chrisn7

13 pin story

Recommended Posts

Last time we were out was with a BMW X5 and every circuit via the 13 pin plug was working fine. Then we changed to a BMW 5GT, and I duly ordered an fitted a new towbar, and dedicated Westfalia wiring kit. Off to the van to test, only to find the fridge doesn't power up on 12v, and turning on the left flasher with sidelights on has the whole lot blinking too. So there must be a fault with my new wiring, since the van was ok last time?

I can't see anything wrong, but this car's electronics are way more complicated, so maybe I have missed something. Still the mutiple flashings typically suggest a poor earth somewhere, but I know those in the car are good, they've only just been done and tested to be so. My trailer socket tester says the socket is good, and separate testing with a meter says 12 v is available for the fridge. ...so maybe it is the van at fault after all.

Off with the rear light to check the lamp connections, and find that the water seal across the top of the light is mostly missing, so I order up a new self adhesive silicone seal - another job to do when that arrives. ..but the lamps are all ok.

What else? Time to check the 13 pin plug - the sticker still on it shows its the original, now 6 years old. In our ownership, its always lived under the A frame cover with its green cap on. Now its a Sargent plug with just 2 plastic barbs holding halves together, meaning its not actually waterproof, and Ahaa there we have it -  rust all over the place inside so its totally shot. Stripping back some insulation, I find, as expected, that water has tracked way back along the cable, so the cable is scrap too. Its not worth the effort of cleaning it up, and I hope it hasn't tracked back as far as the van's fuse box.

Ok, off to our major Swift and Bailey dealer in Huddersfield for new 13 core cable, and, you won't believe this, their parts department hasn't got a single centimeter of cable in the place! They also tell me that different manufacturers are using different colour wires - there's no standard code.

On to the local towbar specialist, and he does indeed have 2 lots of 13 core, one of which happily is correct for my van. The other has different colours, and has thinwall insulation so the overall cable is thinner and lighter, but I noted that there was only one heavy cable instead of the usual 3. Man says this new cable can accept higher loads due to less insulation - I don't know, so I'll stick with what works this time.

Luckily, I already have a spare 13 pin plug, so I can at least get that part of the wiring done - or can I? How the heck do you get into an assembled plug? Had to Google that to discover its done with the green cap, so if don't have that you are stuffed.   Finally I can high on solder fumes tinning the wire ends, threadlock all the securing screws and that end at least is ready for my visit next weekend to the van in storage.

Oh and just to cap it all, I looked under the van at the back in case of any loom damage, and spotted a tiny area of wet wood- the skirt above it has a small crack in the sealant (that's after a factory warranty repair to both sides) , so yet more to keep me going.

It's all fun isn't it?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

. ....don't forget to cover the terminals with silicon/dielectric grease :-)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks AW - I did cover them with Waxoyl as I have in the past - I did the whole towbar with this as well, its part of my toolkit for rust prevention:)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, chrisn7 said:

Thanks AW - I did cover them with Waxoyl as I have in the past - I did the whole towbar with this as well, its part of my toolkit for rust prevention:)

Waxoyl on electrical connections and bulb terminals etc. is an excellent way of protecting electrics.

I have been doing this for more than20 years, rarely if ever have any problems once contacts etc. have been protected with waxoyl, I cannot commend it's use highly enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I had to replace the 13 pin plug on the caravan (LH indicator not working as yellow No1 had come loose and on examination discovered an abortion so replacement plug needed!) I forgot to put the heat shrink tubing on the cable before attaching the plug. ..... it's still wrapped in gaffer tape. ..... one day . .. ;-) !! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

-and the saga continued:

after replacing the 13 pin plug, full of expectation, went over to van, to re-install the entire cable from plug to van's fusebox, but what's this - the leading edge of the gas locker floor is very wet? something else to look at now - more below.

Eventually hooked up to the van and the side lights are now ok, but the left flasher causes all the brake lights to flash as well. So with the rear lights checked and new plug, its back to the car (again) to check everything against the Westfalia manual,  and to find that all is done as required. Still, I have one suspicion where a wire is connected to the car's rear left light cluster. The instruction is to connect to the brake light blue/green wire (done) but there is a green/blue wire too. Installed wife with foot on brake to test which of these really is the brake light and yes, the instruction is wrong! So, hopefully that is solved.

The fridge still doesn't power up, yet the rear view camera which uses the same power and ground wires works fine. The car (BMW) is one where the alternator goes into an idle mode when the car battery is fully charged, and I read recently of people arriving with the leisure battery unable to power the motor mover due to this feature, so I am wondering if the voltage is insufficent to bring the fridge to life - the car socket showed just 12. 4 volts - is this enough?

And the wet floor? Well, as water runs down the front of the van, it runs in between the front panel and the A frame fairing which is pushed under the panel, but extends to go under the leading edge of the gas locker floor, so the water cannot help but soak the floor. Another job.

Overall, that one wire has led to the vans rear lights being found not to have their water seals in place; the 13 pin plug to be corroded; a slight area of wet floor at the extreme left corner being found and poor drainage to the front panel creating more wet floor. What a pain in the neck, but at least they have all been found before becoming serious problems. ....

If you have a Swift fairing like this, you might want to check the gas locker floor too

IMG_0835.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×