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Old 05-25-2016, 02:13 AM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Freedom Elite 28Z
State: New York
Posts: 4
THOR #4344
Question Clearance Light Ground Fault

I'm brand new to this forum, so thought I'd lead off with tough one (at least for me).


I have a 2012 Thor Motorcoach, Freedom Elite, 28Z.

My front clearance lights are not working. I took the amber lenses off & found 1 bad bulb, but nothing looked too bad. Checked connections, and got no results. I know that grounds can be a problem on RVs so I connected a ground wire back to the negative on the battery and whalla....all the lights work. So.... I have a bad ground connection.

Now, the problem is, I have no clue where to look next.

Or....is it worth looking for the broken/corroded ground lug or can I just link to ground somewhere else?
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Old 05-25-2016, 11:53 AM   #2
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THOR #3789
Me personally I would just run the new ground wire in such a way you don't see it and call it a day. All the time you have left after that just enjoy life and have a beer....
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Old 05-25-2016, 01:22 PM   #3
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Freedom Elite 28Z
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THOR #4344
Agree with you Mustang94...checking to see if anyone has encountered this before...good news it that these are daisy chained, so connecting a ground to any one of them will make them all work. I just don't see an easy way to run the wire & if someone knows where the ground wire would be, that might be the quickest fix.
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Old 05-25-2016, 02:39 PM   #4
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Model: Vegas 24.1
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THOR #2142
FE28Z,

Better to say "...where the ground-wire SHOULD be" as over the past year of ownership of a Vegas 24.1 there seems to be a bit of "variance" in where/how/if things are placed/installed.

Good Luck.

Doc
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Old 05-25-2016, 03:15 PM   #5
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2013 31L
State: Florida
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THOR #908
I had issue on mine, with the type of fixtures used, actually hold moisture inside.
here was a thread on it.
Front Clearance light gasket problem

Looks like the pictures might be removed though....
here is a picture of the type I have
https://goo.gl/photos/nD2xgaGorfJLcCE96
and with the lens off
https://goo.gl/photos/cH5g1DCZrZ4MAqh48
and the shotty gasket
https://goo.gl/photos/BAZyKBNwKjoowSdy9

I assume yours are the same type....

Anyway, these are mounted on the thin FRP sheet of the nose, and not grounded to structure. I don't recall exactly the wiring layout off hand, but as I recall they connect daisy-chain fashion, i think it was over to the driver's side, where it finally dived down into the coach to the control switch and power..... simply two wires form each socket feeding through a small hole under each fixture, to a splice connection..... as I recall.

I would suspect
1st a corroded socket
2nd a corroded connection in or under the socket
3rd potentially a loose/bad connection in one of these lights, in the daisy chain circuit

I suggest that if it's not in the sockets themselves
look carefully for a way to pull down the ceiling panel. I'm thinking it would be much easier to troubleshoot from inside, where I'm guessing you can see all connections and wires at once....

I never did find what I felt was a sufficient alternative to these fixtures, so i ended up replacing my original ones with the same type, and sealed them best I could. I'm past due getting up on the roof to inspect and maintain....

I'm still figuring that I'll replace them with some sealed LED's some day if they every give me problems again.
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Old 05-26-2016, 05:43 PM   #6
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Freedom Elite 28Z
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THOR #4344
Thanks for the information

BLW2 -
Thank you for the information. Yes, I have the same style of light and agree that it is not a robust design.

If I have to run a new ground wire, the shortest path to ground that I see, would be from the middle clearance light to the vent in the upper bunk area. This is about 18" and I've confirmed there is a good round wire there.

So the approach would be to drill 3/8" hole through the base of the clearance light (under the amber lens) then snake a wire through to the vent area. This would work unless there is no open area (air gap) between the ceiling of the cab and the roof of the RV. Does anyone happen to know if there is a 'gap' between these that I could run the wire through?
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:13 PM   #7
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THOR #908
Quote:
Originally Posted by FE28Z View Post
BLW2 -
Thank you for the information. Yes, I have the same style of light and agree that it is not a robust design.

If I have to run a new ground wire, the shortest path to ground that I see, would be from the middle clearance light to the vent in the upper bunk area. This is about 18" and I've confirmed there is a good round wire there.

So the approach would be to drill 3/8" hole through the base of the clearance light (under the amber lens) then snake a wire through to the vent area. This would work unless there is no open area (air gap) between the ceiling of the cab and the roof of the RV. Does anyone happen to know if there is a 'gap' between these that I could run the wire through?

Safe money then, is on corrosion right at the fixture. The bulb socket. This is where you probably need to spend some time looking.

The foam gaskets compress, then eventually melt (you can see it in my earlier photo), and the fixture design funnels water right in. It's not really set up to cause a roof leak, but water does get held nicely in the little cup-like fixtures

but to answer your question.
there is a gap, under the radius nose cone surface anyway. the wires from the fixtures just hang more or less loose in there. I was able to pull them out to splice in the new fixtures, and then feed it back in.
It was tricky though, since there was not enough slack to really pull some of them out nicely. the wires are anchored inside that void somehow.

But as for fishing a wire..... as you are getting back to the flat roof area, there is a metal frame structure, and insulation in the void.

As I tried to get at earlier, I think a better approach would be to figure out how to remove the ceiling in the overcab bunk area. I haven't done it, but based on my poking around up there I feel like it would likely be fairly easy to pull loose.... find the trim covering a seam or at the perimeter to get an edge to work from.

The outside skin forming the radius is thin FRP, on the order of 1/8in thick. You can deflect easily when pushing on it....
as you can the ceiling panel, which seems to be a thin sheet material of some kind too...
so Based on what I saw from the outside with my light fixtures removed, I feel like there's a more or less open void, and you could see all the wiring quite easily.
From there, if you really do have to run new wire you could just follow the path of the original harness.... but I would doubt you would need that as I'm betting it's either corrosion or simply a poor connection someplace.

If you do go this route, I would appreciate seeing some pictures!

oh, another thought.... unlikely I'm guessing, but let's say that it is bad wiring someplace other than at the fixtures.... might be worth checking at the other end of the harness first, if you can figure out where that is.... just to verify that the problem isn't down at the switch or someplace else other than the roof.
I'll bet you'll find the harness diving down to the frame and underside, in the wall behind the driver's seat. According to the crude diagram I was able to get from Thor, it looks like its a brown wire and a white wire going to these lights.


And one last thought for now.... I was just at Camping world over lunch. They had some clearance lights on shelf, that looked like promising replacements.
LED Cab Light; Amber; 15 Diode - Optronics International Llc CBL22AS - RV Clearance Lights & Lenses - Camping World
You'd probably be left with some screw holes to fill, and probably some ghosting in the finish where the lights aren't exactly the same size/shape..... but I'll tell you, if I ever have to dig back in up there I'll be looking for something like these almost certainly.
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:21 PM   #8
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THOR #908
I went back and looked... sadly, it looks like I didn't take any pictures when I had the fixtures off.
Oh well, Not much to see anyway.... just a small hole drilled though the FRP sheet, with a couple wires loosely passing through it, then a couple other holes from the mounting screws....along with a goobered up mess of silicone caulk from where the dealer tried to "repair" it.
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Old 05-27-2016, 02:40 AM   #9
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Freedom Elite 28Z
State: New York
Posts: 4
THOR #4344
I will take your advice

I think the first thing is to spend more time with each light. I can easily make sure that there is or isn't a corrosion issue. If I have to lift the base up, then it becomes a bit more work, due the caulk around the base.

I'm a little leery about taking the ceiling down only because of the cosmetics involved in getting it back in place. (But, wont rule it out.) I really appreciate the tip on the brown and white wire. That makes total sense to me & I will be spending some time looking for that.

Will be offline for Memorial Day weekend, but will be back into the RV the following weekend. Have a great Memorial Day and thanks again for the info!
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