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Tractor Talk Discussion Forum

Ford explorer trailer hook up.

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Author  [Modern View]

09-17-2010 16:56:46

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My friend's car,
About a 2000 ford explorer with a built in plug for a trailer connector. Turn signal and park lights all work right. Wires from trailer connector, LT, RT, and park, show 12 to 14 volts and blink OK...until we hook up the trailer and place a load on them. Then they drop to about one volt or so. The trailer is a small one and is OK, works good on two other vehicles. Vehicle lights keep on working with no change. Found the fuse and it runs trailer and radio amp, and is OK. Radio runs OK when trailer has voltage dropped out. Is there some other fuse, circuit breaker of relay in between power and the trailer connector that is not in the regular tail light circuit? Kenny

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09-19-2010 15:20:26

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 Re: Ford explorer trailer hook up. in reply to coloken, 09-17-2010 16:56:46  
I found the answer to this and thought some one might search for it in the future. It has relays. Thanks to some one on the internet for the solution.
I got an old trailer with a boat recently and fixing up the trailer necessitated me understanding fully the circuit that was to drive it. The circuit seems to come as standard on the EB model (I have the 91, but hear of it through to 94) and terminates in a 7 pin socket to the left, under the rear bumper. It has a pesky little cover on it that is very useful for keeping it clean but can be hard to move. I would not be surprised if more cars had this connector on than owners knew.
The 7 pin connector has:- 4 grounds: 1 power ground and 3 relay returns (more later) 1 'all lights' 1 'left signal' 1 'right signal' that makes 7? Right? The trailer is not just an extension of the Explorer lights wiring as everybody maybe thinks. The Explorer internal lights each drive a relay (located in the rear tool box, near the washer filler bottle). These relays do not work until the ground return is made by plugging in the special cable available from Ford (hence the 3 extra ground returns above). The idea of this is so that when you drive your boat into the lake and you leave the cable fitted, it doesn't take out the car lights, just the radio!!! This cable, incidentally, is available from Ford for about $35. When the cable is plugged it the relay circuits are made by providing them with a ground return each. Now anytime you operate a signal light, the relay should click in the rear tool box. This relay switch then transfers +12v (positive) through to one of the 3 remaining pins on the connector. One for 'all lights' one for 'left signal' and the other for 'right signal'. This +12v is derived straight >from the power distribution box via the "Towing Electrics and Radio" fuse in the under dash fuse box. The 7 pin connector is very hard to push all the way home (with a good solid 'click'!) and once its home, it should be hard to remove.

So to troubleshoot: 1) Make sure the cable is all the way home, with a click. 2) Make sure the radio plays (if not check fuse link, your user handbook tells you which one). 3) With cable fitted, but no trailer, and ignition to ON, operate signal switch either way and listen for a relay clicking in tool box. If radio plays, and clicking comes from tool box when signaling, you have power all the way to the connector. If you still have no lights, then you have a broken circuit after or in the region of the 7 pin plug or the trailer itself.

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James Rumph

09-17-2010 20:18:27

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 Re: Ford explorer trailer hook up. in reply to coloken, 09-17-2010 16:56:46  
There is a special harness that has to be used on that explorer. I own a 2000 and when mine was wired there a special modual that goes in behind the tail light.

It has a open contact system or something , it's been a few years.

Call a trailer place , there is a special fook up for that Explorer.

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09-17-2010 19:25:34

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 Re: Ford explorer trailer hook up. in reply to coloken, 09-17-2010 16:56:46  
is this plug one of those that runs to one side where the brake lamp harness comes in and 'brakes' the cable and is inserted. if so.. look for loose / dirty connections at the intermediate cable.


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09-17-2010 17:10:24

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 Re: Ford explorer trailer hook up. in reply to coloken, 09-17-2010 16:56:46  
try hooking up a jumper cable from vehicle frame to trailer frame...sounds like a bad ground to me.

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