Need to rewire my boat trailer

  • Avatar of Steve Plantz Steve Plantz 
    Participant
    Posts: 10,236
    #1235473

    My trailer lights are shot pretty sure I need to rewire the whole thing.

    Are there any kits out there for this? Where would be the best place to go for the most reasonable price? Anyone have any experience with this?

    Avatar of James Holst James Holst 
    Keymaster
    Posts: 16,116
    #586050

    Steve

    No need to fret, Steve, it isn’t that big of a job and wiring kits can be had for a very reasonable amount of money.

    Here’s a cheap / basic kit for $22.99. >>> Trailer Wiring Kit – Northern Tool

    If it was my trailer I’d go with an LED light kit. They’re a bit more money but there’s no bulbs to burn out.

    LED Trailer Wiring Kit

    You can find kits for wiring trailers at just about any hardware store or Fleetfarm.

    avatar Hunter88 
    Participant
    Posts: 139
    #586058

    Ditto what James said Steve. Go with the LED lights if you can.

    avatar johned 
    Participant
    Posts: 54
    #586060

    hi, i am a mechanic with lots of electrical experiance, rewired all of my buddies trailers as well as my own, i live in farmington, mn, close to apple valley. i can do it for way less than any shop can-(and good quality work). just send me a message and we will work it out. glad to help out any fishermen!!! by the way, LED lights would be the way to go.

    avatar jerry b 
    Participant
    Posts: 1,335
    #586062

    My humble but experienced opinion here- – -any splices that you make in the wiring harness should be soldered and covered with heat shrink tubing. I’ve found that the pinch on connectors and anything else that can corrode will eventually raise its ugly head and bite you. The LED (light emmitting diodes) lights won’t pop when you get them wet. I don’t even unplug my trailer wires from the truck since I started using the LED’s- – - jerr

    avatar papajon 
    Participant
    Posts: 175
    #586072

    They aso have a liquid black tape brushes on makks a very nice water tight seal LED lights take less power to run and are brighter. But they do burn out.I have been running they on my semi for about 6 years and have replaced many not near as many as the bulb lights. Thats my 2 cents

    Avatar of nick nick 
    Participant
    Posts: 4,987
    #586078

    Steve when I last rewired (My last trailer) I ran outdoor extention cord for power wires down my trailer, they are well over double insulated, it would take a long time and a really loose wire to ground out a wire. I doubt that trailer will ever need to be fully rewired again, the lights may need replacement in a couple years but I also made sure to leave enough extra wire if you had to restrip the wires in the years to come. Save yourself the hassel of wondering if the new wires are going to last, buy a good outdoor quality extention cord and run those down the frame rails.

    I totally agree with the leds too.

    Avatar of klh klh 
    Participant
    Posts: 3,840
    #586085

    Yep, Northern Tool would be a good resourse for parts. If you can go LED, 4 wires, very basic, make sure cover any rub points with a cover of some point, avoid crimp connectors, solder and shrink wrap as mentioned or as Nick did. Give me shout if need help.

    avatar scenic tackle 
    Participant
    Posts: 727
    #586089

    Oh the joys of trailer lights. Like Nick mentioned I also use extension cord wiring for all my trailers. When I went to buy just extension cord wire I found that you can buy 100′ extension cords and cut the ends off much cheaper then just buying the wire.

    Use your old wires to pull the new wires into place. Place shrink tubing over your wire before soldering every splice. I then used liquid electrical tape over the top just for a bit more insurance.

    When choosing lights I too went with the LEDs and found them to be a little more expensive but very maintenance free. They burn brighter and on my last trailer I went 3 years (before I sold it) without replacing a light and they always worked when I need them. It is always a relief to just hook up your lights and they always work like they are supposed to.

    Avatar of farmboy1 farmboy1 
    Participant
    Posts: 3,638
    #586092

    Steve,

    All good advice above. The other thing to remember is the main problem with trailer lights is a grounding issue. The last time I rewired my trailer, I grounded at each light location, and at the hitch of the trailer. I ran a extra ground wire between them to try to keep a good ground at all times. Since then I have not had any problems.

    PM me if you have any questions.

    Brent

    Avatar of david_scott david_scott 
    Participant
    Posts: 2,953
    #586162

    Rewiring the trailer is easy… I use the existing wires to “fish” the new wires through… cut the old wires and make sure the new are attatched solid to the old wires and carefully pull them through(from front to rear). Where the side marker lights connect is definately the weak link. Most of the time there is no problem with the little blue splicing clips.

    Nothern tool, auo parts stores, even Wal Mart has wiring kits(including LED). I highly suggest the LED lights too.. no more taking out crusty broken light bulbs in the middle of the night on your way back from the lake/river… no need to unplug them while loading and unloading.

    If your aywhere around the metro, send me a PM, I have no problem helping you out.

    Avatar of Steve Plantz Steve Plantz 
    Participant
    Posts: 10,236
    #586349

    Thanks for all the tips guys, I should have said that my wiring is shot, actually my lights are in good shape no corrosion at all but I think I will still check out the LED lights. Either way I will definitely go with the outdoor extension cord to rewire the lights. Thanks again for all the tips.

    Avatar of Steve Plantz Steve Plantz 
    Participant
    Posts: 10,236
    #586365

    One more question what gauge wire did you use for the outdoor extension cord? Did you run into any problems running both sides through the hole in the toung of the trailer?

    Avatar of klh klh 
    Participant
    Posts: 3,840
    #586400

    14g

    avatar greg716 
    Participant
    Posts: 312
    #586411

    I second farmboy. Definitely take the time to run ground wires back to the trialer side of your plug rather than using the frame. Since I started doing that, i have had no problems. Well, OK, this on time, at Everts, I backed into a tree and cracked the lens, but that wasn’t a wiring issue…..

    Avatar of nick nick 
    Participant
    Posts: 4,987
    #586434

    My Gauge was $12.99 , I didn’t buy the cheapist, and I didn’t buy the most expensive, just picked a good cord.

    I didn’t have any issues pulling it through my Karavan trailer with the old wires.

    I ended putting in the leds too, even though my lights were still good, That way I knew I was 100% when I was done, made sure to clean the grounds up real nice with a grinder too.

    Avatar of Ralph Wiggum Ralph Wiggum 
    Participant
    Posts: 6,095
    #855312

    To those guys that used outdoor extension cords: How did you wire your side marker lights? Did you just slice open the outer insulation and splice into the wire you needed?

    avatar Box 
    Participant
    Posts: 38
    #855322

    FWIW, we have Shorlander trailer and have a short somewhere. We traced it to the port side and not brake lights… but with fender markers, and the center three gang, there is alot to ry to trouble shoot. I went to our dealer and just wondered offhan if they have shorlander kits – they do! You can buy just the sections you need, and they have the rubber plugs and all ready to just plug and play! Makes it easy, and just like factory. For one side it was $15 for the main run, and $12 for the fender marker light run, and $12 for the center the gang light. So a bit spendy, but once you figure in the wire and heat shrink and connectors, the $35 doesn’t seem so bad…

    If this was a smaller trailer with fewer lights, I would just wire away, but its big with lots of lights, so using the pre-rigged official wires maks sense. Just thought this might help some folks who have shorlander trailers, but I bet it is same for several brands.

    Avatar of nick nick 
    Participant
    Posts: 4,987
    #855349

    oh boy that was quite some time ago, (4 years) I do believe I actually ran another leg from the front, Honestly I can’t really remember, I’d probably be fine, running a single plain wire back up to the lights, I’m much less worried the marker lights working. Really it would probably be just fine to splice in, but I wanted to keep the intergety of the wire as intact as possible. I also made sure to have plenty extra on each run too, in case I chose to clean up the connections down the road.

    Avatar of ted-merdan ted-merdan 
    Participant
    Posts: 963
    #855721

    All great suggestions above – one additional thing I recommend is that you use weatherproof connectors where ever you splice. These are crimp style connectors that have heat shrink that forms a weather proof seal (silicone on the inside of the heatshrink or something like that). I pick mine up at Lowes but they should be available most places.

    Good luck, once it’s done right you are set for a long time!

    -ted

    avatar fireline 
    Participant
    Posts: 755
    #879379

    Quote:


    Steve,

    All good advice above. The other thing to remember is the main problem with trailer lights is a grounding issue. The last time I rewired my trailer, I grounded at each light location, and at the hitch of the trailer. I ran a extra ground wire between them to try to keep a good ground at all times. Since then I have not had any problems.

    PM me if you have any questions.

    Brent


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