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  1. #1
    Petty Officer 1st Class cwhite6's Avatar
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    Default Disconnect trailer wiring?

    I have been seeing some folks on here that say they disconnect the trailer lights from the towing vehicle at the plug before putting in or pulling out their boat. I have never seen this before. I was raised just backing in with them hooked up. Always worked for me. How many of ya'll actually disconnect the wiring before backing in? Why?
    2008 Carolina Skiff J16
    1994 Nissan 25hp

  2. #2
    Master Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    Very few do it here, I sold a boat not long ago to a guy from Michigan who says he always does, the theory being that it keeps a short from happening when being dunked in the water, specifically the possibility of a short going back to the tow vehicle. I've never done it because as soon as you pull the soaking wet trailer out of the water and plug the lights in to go home, the same thing occurs if it's going to at all.
    Love the life you live, live the life you love-Bob Marley


  3. #3
    Petty Officer 1st Class cwhite6's Avatar
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    That's kinda what I was thinking. Plug a wet connector to your vehicle. I just rewired my trailer and I made sure that I soldered the connections at the harness to the lights. I then pulled a shrink wrap tube over the connection and sealed it. Should be waterproof. I was just wondered because I see it alot on here.
    2008 Carolina Skiff J16
    1994 Nissan 25hp

  4. #4
    Lieutenant Commander bassboy1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    I used to. Once I forgot, and did blow a couple fuses. Then, I got LEDs, and they are truly the greatest thing since sliced bread.
    http://www.shareaproject.com/pages/p...,p,482,00.html
    Click above to view my 1542 jon boat project.

  5. #5
    Petty Officer 1st Class cwhite6's Avatar
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    Quote Originally Posted by bassboy1 View Post
    I used to. Once I forgot, and did blow a couple fuses. Then, I got LEDs, and they are truly the greatest thing since sliced bread.
    I am thinking about putting LEDs on my trailer. I just got my boat and I replaced one tail light as it was corroded all to heck. I also just rewired it with a kit last weeked because there was a short in it blowing fuses. Everything works fine now. I need to replace the other light because it is dimmer than the new one. I may just replace both with LED lights and keep the new one as a spare.
    2008 Carolina Skiff J16
    1994 Nissan 25hp

  6. #6
    Master Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    LED's are the bomb and apparently bombproof because I had one fill up with salt water months ago and it still works, I keep checking it and thinking it'll be blown but it keeps on working.
    Love the life you live, live the life you love-Bob Marley


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    I have also wondered this. We usually unplug it from the trailer and put the connector in a position where it wont go under the water. That way when you plug it back in its dry so you dont need to worry.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    In a perfect world, it would work but like today I was poking holes in the wires tracing a short with a meter and I'm sure at some point water will get in the tiny hole and cause an issue. If you dunk in salt water, be prepared to replace wiring harnesses every few years no matter what precautions you take.
    Love the life you live, live the life you love-Bob Marley


  9. #9
    Ensign Shizzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    I have forgotten a few times to unplug, but most times I do. In reality there is a good 5-10 minutes before you are fully loaded and ready to hit the road before you plug them back in anyways.

    Im not really sure it makes any difference, but Ill keep doing it. I dont have LED's BTW
    '68 Alumacraft FD, '65 Johnson 6HP "The Sea Monkey"

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    The hot bulb could pop when cold water hits it, but as long as your lenses are sealed water shouldn't touch the bulb, but on the other hand every single submersible light set I've owned eventually cracks, especially around the lense screws then water gets in there. I unplug mine too just my routine.

  11. #11
    Senior Chief Petty Officer boat1010's Avatar
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    A lot of the trailer lights are made so that the water doesn't actually get to the bulbs. I always leave mine plugged in when I load and unload. In fact I make sure they are plugged in at night when I load. It looks like a landing field when I pull onto the trailer. Some trailers have a hard time when you drive very far and have your lights on, like someone else said the bulbs get hot and then they can crack. If you are on the brakes a long time before you go into the water it will give you some problems too.
    "Spend a little money, save a lot of time"

  12. #12
    Commander 45Auto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    Have never unplugged mine when loading or unloading. Been doing it over 30 years with no problems.
    Any opinions expressed above are worth exactly what you paid for them!

  13. #13
    Supreme Mariner Frank Acampora's Avatar
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    It doesn't cost anything and couldn't hurt, so why not. Kinda like seatbelts: You may never need them. Great! But that one time you do if you are buckled, it helps.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    Frank, got to say that everytime I look at your avitar it reminds me of watching television on your engine cover, what is it a mural of?

  15. #15
    Lieutenant cbavier's Avatar
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shizzy View Post
    I have forgotten a few times to unplug, but most times I do. In reality there is a good 5-10 minutes before you are fully loaded and ready to hit the road before you plug them back in anyways.

    Im not really sure it makes any difference, but Ill keep doing it. I dont have LED's BTW
    X2 for me and last year I forgot to unplug and burned an $8 fuse out in my truck. I always wash my boat off at the ramp if nobody is waiting or at the staging area when I pull my boat so a good 15-20 minutes has passed. My boat stays in the water three weeks a month so It gets a pretty green slimy ring on it. I found it easier to clean it off when I pull it and it's still wet than to wait until later, let it get baked on then have to clean it off. Been there and done that once too. I'm a slow learner but once usually is enough to teach me. By then I can plug the lights in and I'm good to go.
    Chuck
    "OWN-IT II"
    1986 Four Winns Horizon 190
    1982 Aqua Patio
    50 Hp Two stroke

  16. #16
    Senior Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    My trailer would almost always trip a fuse in the truck when the tail lights got submerged, so I started disconnecting them before dunking. These are older style lights that are probably not sealed.

  17. #17
    Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    I always have, this year I have LED's so may get lazy though.

  18. #18
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    Arrow Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    We have LED's as well. We disconnect, but only because the trailer, has a 5 pin adapter, and the truck has the big round plug. We take it out, so that no one steals the adapter.
    ~~ This boat runs on gas, NOT thanks ~~

  19. #19
    Supreme Mariner Silvertip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    Disconnecting trailer lights is not so much for protection from shorts as it is from cold water striking a hot bulb which is what destroys lights. I always disconnect and I can't tell you the last time I replaced a trailer bulb. If you look at trailer lights from the bottom, some are wide open. The idea being that if you took a water glass and tipped it upside down into a bucket of water it will trap a air at the top. If the lamp is supposedly sealed (but not tightly) it can leak water into it until it reaches the bulb and then it pops. I've seen lots of trailers with one or more lights half full of water.

  20. #20
    Master Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    I never disconnect and rarely blew bulbs either......unless you drive two minutes to the ramp it's gonna be hot from brake lights/tail lights/turn signals whether you unplug it or not.
    Love the life you live, live the life you love-Bob Marley


  21. #21
    Lieutenant cbavier's Avatar
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    Yea mine are open at the bottom so no water can collect in them but the connection still gets wet. I dab a film of white grease in sockets to prevent corrosion around the bulbs. Makes it easier down the road to remove them.
    Chuck
    "OWN-IT II"
    1986 Four Winns Horizon 190
    1982 Aqua Patio
    50 Hp Two stroke

  22. #22
    Fleet Admiral Mark42's Avatar
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?


    I never disconnect either. Never had a problem, either shorts or popped bulbs. Salt water does a job on regular lights, so after a few corroded out bulb sockets, I went with LED's. They do hold up much better.

    I sealed the connections when the trailer was new but water got in anyway after just one season. When changing to LED's, the wire had started corroding about 18" up the wire from the tail lights. But that is not not tinned marine grade wire, so it will corrode fast in salt water.
    1985 Bayliner 1600 Capri Cuddy, 1965 MFG Niagara Custom. >> MFG Video<<. >> MFG Project<< >>Bayliner Hard Top Project<< >>Bayliner Repower Project<<


  23. #23
    Vice Admiral jay_merrill's Avatar
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    I do disconnect. For those who drive late model Chevys, your brake lights, turn signals and emergency flashers are all controlled by a "multi-function" switch, which is located in the steering column. If you blow this and have to replace it, expect to get a bill for about 500 bucks. This is due to both the cost of the unit, and the amount of time that it takes to replace it.

  24. #24
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    Talking Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    Been boating a lot of years, never disconnected lights. dc voltage does not seem to travel as well as ac. in water. otherwise you would blow you truck battery every time you put boat in water. I just don't worry about it. works for me!!

  25. #25
    Fleet Admiral Mark42's Avatar
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    Default Re: Disconnect trailer wiring?

    Would adding inline fuses on the brake and turn circuits prevent blowing expensive electric components?
    1985 Bayliner 1600 Capri Cuddy, 1965 MFG Niagara Custom. >> MFG Video<<. >> MFG Project<< >>Bayliner Hard Top Project<< >>Bayliner Repower Project<<


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