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Durbanite

Checking caravan lights and 12v connector

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When your caravan is in for a service, how do they go about it to check the 12n & 12s plug/cables connection and also the caravan lights to make sure that they are all functioning correctly?  We have the 13pin electrics. 

I am asking as we collected from annual service and the offside rear lights would not function.  We were unable to ask the dealer to check as it was Sunday and they are closed.  The ATC came on, but went off when I fiddled with the plug.  Fiddling some more the lights then operated and ATC light turned green.  However after about 50 miles on the motorway the offside lights malfunctioned again.  No issue on nearside lights.  On arrival back at storage ATC light red and offside lights not functioning.  Nearside lights no issue even when wiggling connection.

We had this same issue last winter and thought it had been rectified as no issue over the summer months and also going to the dealer.  The towbar and electrics were fitted last October and the vehicle went through a MOT in September.  I am not sure if the issue is with the connection on the caravan side or the vehicle.

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Maybe you could unscrew the car socket and the caravan plug to check if the wires inside them are connected and not loose and also if the wires are corroded at the connections.

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Sounds like an intermittent earthing fault on one lighting circuit.

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Long story but be patient. We had exactly the same last year, coincidentally we had it when we picked the caravan up from its service in February and the lights were showing defective on the car panel after about 5 minutes driving. I stopped in a layby to look at the caravan lights to ensure the lights really were defective and it wasn't just an incorrect report on the car panel, and the stop or tail lights were faulty. When we got home I had a look inside the 13pin plug on the caravan and it was full of dirty water. There was corrosion on 2 terminals. I fitted a replacement plug bought locally and noticed it wasn't very well made, but fitted it anyway, with the intention of replacing it in the summer when the weather would not be cold (it was foul at the time). The one I took off was just as badly made as the new one. I forgot to replace the plug this summer because its been ok, UNTIL last trip out and it played up. I have just purchased a decent quality plug - a genuine Jaeger, and it arrived 1/2 an hour ago! What a coincidence eh? I will fit this before our next outing in 2 weeks.

The cheapo ones being fitted by Swift etc and sold as every brand name for about a fiver are rubbish. useless weather seals, dodgy screws, dog rough plastic moldings. The genuine and original German made Jaeger plugs are dearer but what a difference. I paid £17,95 for mine inc delivery.

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26 minutes ago, Jaydug said:

Sounds like an intermittent earthing fault on one lighting circuit.

My thoughts also but last year and again earlier this year the fitter removed and replaced the connection on the car even though it was not even 6 months old.  Tested and it worked fine until we went out with the caravan and it failed again when it came for us to return home.  It was freezing cold at the time.  I unplugged the caravan from the car, plugged it in and no issue for several months until now.

32 minutes ago, Paul1957 said:

Maybe you could unscrew the car socket and the caravan plug to check if the wires inside them are connected and not loose and also if the wires are corroded at the connections.

I have asked the fitter to check as it should still be under warranty plus the fitter has a very good reputation.

18 minutes ago, Ern said:

The cheapo ones being fitted by Swift etc and sold as every brand name for about a fiver are rubbish. useless weather seals, dodgy screws, dog rough plastic moldings. The genuine and original German made Jaeger plugs are dearer but what a difference. I paid £17,95 for mine inc delivery.

You could be correct regarding the quality of the plug as we had an issue with the one on our 2011 Delta as it kept turning around when trying to connect up.  Resolved when the Jaeger was fitted by the dealership.

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The most likely cause of your problem is loose/corroded/burnt contacts in the 13 pin plug.

During a service the technician should plug into a test box to do a full check, but how many do?

Anyway with an intermittent fault it could easily pass one minute then fail as soon as plugged into the car!

Poor quality plugs don't help either.

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16 minutes ago, Stevan said:

The most likely cause of your problem is loose/corroded/burnt contacts in the 13 pin plug.

During a service the technician should plug into a test box to do a full check, but how many do?

Anyway with an intermittent fault it could easily pass one minute then fail as soon as plugged into the car!

Poor quality plugs don't help either.

As a matter of interest how would they go about checking the 12v connector and lights on the caravan?

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Habitation service I don't think covers position lights and a 13 pins socket is only looked at for wear and tear . I find these 13 pin plugs are very poor connections and some times take plugging in and out a couple of times to make contact .

 

Just checked myself as never had any issues and calls for condition and operation .

https://habcheck.co.uk/page/what-is-a-habitation-check?gclid=Cj0KCQiA5dPuBRCrARIsAJL7oeixnCJ_y4RNuK2DuiTiO66NedxQfC7VjT2rZWAPsaNoRsE814VyA0AaAjmSEALw_wcB

 

Dave

Edited by CommanderDave

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13 minutes ago, Durbanite said:

As a matter of interest how would they go about checking the 12v connector and lights on the caravan?

My dealer has a box of tricks, about the size of a caravan fridge with loads of lights, switches and plugs, and a built in battery.

Simply a case of plugging in, flicking the right switches and seeing what happens.

It takes either 13pin or twin 7s and can test both cars and caravans.

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25 minutes ago, Durbanite said:

As a matter of interest how would they go about checking the 12v connector and lights on the caravan?

 

Maybe they could splash out 19 quid for one of these

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Trailer-Lighting-Caravan-Examiner-Battery/dp/B07YSJCW59/

 

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5 minutes ago, Lost in France said:

 

Maybe they could splash out 19 quid for one of these

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Trailer-Lighting-Caravan-Examiner-Battery/dp/B07YSJCW59/

 

I trust that a professional mechanic would use something a little more comprehensive and thorough than this!

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18 minutes ago, Stevan said:

I trust that a professional mechanic would use something a little more comprehensive and thorough than this!

 

From what's been said above, they don't seem to use anything now, so even that would be an improvement.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Lost in France said:

 

From what's been said above, they don't seem to use anything now, so even that would be an improvement.

 

 

Nothing in this thread either states or implies that any competent caravan mechanic does not have a suitable test device.

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29 minutes ago, Stevan said:

Nothing in this thread either states or implies that any competent caravan mechanic does not have a suitable test device.

 

image.thumb.png.bdc5853cc22f269444a1e36fa3c527ad.png

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According to our service sheet done on 20th Oct, the lights were checked and no issue.  Although it is ticked off it does not mean that they actually did check the lights.  It has been known to us that the sheet is not completed while they are doing the check, but is completed by someone sitting in the office.  The damp sheet only had the words "below 15% written on it".  There were no readings on the caravan diagrams indicating damp levels around the caravan.  For this we paid £250!

However back on track at the moment we are unsure if the car connection or the caravan connection is at fault.  The device mentioned by Lost in France may be one way to check, but by the time it arrives the fitter would have done the check plus once the issue has been resolved when would you use it again?

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52 minutes ago, Stevan said:

Nothing in this thread either states or implies that any competent caravan mechanic does not have a suitable test device.

 

It  would be dead easy to make such a test rig. No complicated electronics.

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Our last caravan service was at Torksey Caravans and they do check the lights. Before setting off to drop it off, I checked the lights and noticed the fog light was not working but forgot to mention it. When collected they said the fog bulb had failed and they had replaced it.

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I am thinking of paying the extra and asking the fitter to replace the Trust Towbar connection socket with a Jaeger 13 pin socket.  May also ask him to do the same with the caravan plug. 

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When Mitsi fitted my tow-bar and 13pin electrics they did a lousy job of weather-sealing the socket on the car, where the wire enters it at the rear.

 

It filled with water (when not towing) and corroded some of the connections inside the socket - I noticed this when I found green gunk on the van plug.

 

Anyway - I took it back, they replaced it and did a better job sealing the socket. I then added self amalgamating tape to the cable entry, and added a cable tie to the cable at its lowest point to encourage drips to drop off at that point.

 

Never had a problem since.

Edited by SteveMilner

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36 minutes ago, SteveMilner said:

When Mitsi fitted my tow-bar and 13pin electrics they did a lousy job of weather-sealing the socket on the car, where the wire enters it at the rear.

 

It filled with water (when not towing) and corroded some of the connections inside the socket - I noticed this when I found green gunk on the van plug.

 

Anyway - I took it back, they replaced it and did a better job sealing the socket. I then added self amalgamating tape to the cable entry, and added a cable tie to the cable at its lowest point to encourage drips to drop off at that point.

 

Never had a problem since.

 

Mitsi wouldn't have fitted it, it would have been farmed out to a towbar fitter.

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38 minutes ago, thebriars said:

 

Mitsi wouldn't have fitted it, it would have been farmed out to a towbar fitter.

 

Pretty sure it was done by them - It was a Mitsi standard kit and the car came out of the service bays area when it was done.

 

It still could have been done by a fitter, but I didn't notice one turn up.

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56 minutes ago, thebriars said:

 

Mitsi wouldn't have fitted it, it would have been farmed out to a towbar fitter.

Practices vary, often dependant on the experience level of the available in house fitters and whether they have capacity at the time. Also depends on availability of local specialists.

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Went back down to the caravan to check lights etc.  Try to connect but it would not clip in correctly.   Went to remove it and to my surprise it came away in two halves.  Try to fit them back together but it comes part again when you try and connect.

I plugged it straight in without the locking part, wiggled the plug around, shook it, swore at it,  but lights worked okay with no issue.  Perhaps this has been the issue all along with the plug making the connection initially and then working loose as we travelled. 

Looks like we required another plug?

12v 13pin connection.jpg

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On 20/11/2019 at 16:40, Durbanite said:

According to our service sheet done on 20th Oct, the lights were checked and no issue.  Although it is ticked off it does not mean that they actually did check the lights.  It has been known to us that the sheet is not completed while they are doing the check, but is completed by someone sitting in the office.  The damp sheet only had the words "below 15% written on it".  There were no readings on the caravan diagrams indicating damp levels around the caravan.  For this we paid £250!

However back on track at the moment we are unsure if the car connection or the caravan connection is at fault.  The device mentioned by Lost in France may be one way to check, but by the time it arrives the fitter would have done the check plus once the issue has been resolved when would you use it again?

 

I bet they asked you of any issues when you took it in ? This saves half their work as majority of the service is items are checked they are operational only . I have watched a service engineer do two caravans in a couple of hours at 200 each .

 

I know from my new caravan servicing brakes only adjusted if needed as they don't do the mileage .

 

I have always said if I was starting again I would do a three day course and buy a van and be a mobile service engineer .

 

 

 

Dave

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4 hours ago, Durbanite said:

  Went to remove it and to my surprise it came away in two halves.  Try to fit them back together but it comes part again when you try and connect

 

 

That sounds as though you've lost a fixing screw.   The two halves shouldn't come apart.

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