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To Diode, Or Not To Diode -- That Is The Question

Tail light wiring Diodes Tow car tail lights

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#1 Bluebirds

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 06:38 PM

Hi all,   Getting ready to outfit new toad to flat tow behind diesel pusher Class A.   Looking for feedback help, garage that 'may' be hired to install Blue Ox baseplate, says they never run separate tail light bulbs, always use diodes on mfr wiring harness. Last toad had separate wires & bulbs, we felt this was less likely to cause warranty issues, and / or, less likely to create battery drains, since tail bulb separate wired draw power from MH tow harness, not toad 12v.   Would appreciate hearing from those who do 'diode' and those who don't.   Thanks mucho!


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#2 hermanmullins

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 08:18 PM

Bluebird, I have done it on four Vehicles and have never had a problem.

Herman
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#3 kingfr

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 09:13 PM

I would not tap into the electrical system at all on today's automobiles with computers running everything! A 2012 -2014 auto is way different from prior vehicles.


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#4 DickandLois

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 11:37 PM

Bluebird,

 

Could you post the make and model of the toad you are considering for the group.

 

As Frank posted some are more of a challenge to wire then others. 

 

For some users of the form wiring is not within there skill set. One can always look and glean some information from one of the suppliers of kits to make things work, or buy one of there kits. While others can build something that works without wiring into the existing wiring harness.

Your handle is Bluebirds, and if you own one, your knowledge is better in regards to the wiring on the coach them most of us.

Diodes are used more and more on the newer vehicles and that can make things more challenging.

 

Just a little slow tonight !! think you mentioned a 2014 Grand Cherokee in another post.

 

Rich.


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#5 howdymi

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 06:34 AM

I have had 2 toads in the past with diodes installed and no problems.  However our latest 2014 toad requires the battery is disconnected when towing so I installed the seperate bulbs.


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#6 jrwitt

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 09:46 AM

Hi all,

 

Getting ready to outfit new toad to flat tow behind diesel pusher Class A.

 

Looking for feedback help, garage that 'may' be hired to install Blue Ox baseplate, says they never run separate tail light bulbs, always use diodes on mfr wiring harness. Last toad had separate wires & bulbs, we felt this was less likely to cause warranty issues, and / or, less likely to create battery drains, since tail bulb separate wired draw power from MH tow harness, not toad 12v.

 

Would appreciate hearing from those who do 'diode' and those who don't.

 

Thanks mucho!

 

Just a minor note about your comment about drawing power from the MH harness, not the toad 12v.

 

If you wire with diodes, you still draw your power from the MH harness. Even if you disconnect your toad battery, the lights will still work when he MH harness is connected. The diodes are there to keep the 12v from the MH harness from feeding back up the toads wiring and damage sensitive electronic equipment.

 

I don't know if you said what kind of toad, but check for a wiring harness made specifically for your make model (toad). It has all the diodes already installed and just plugs into the existing toad wiring harness. I think that either Roadmaster or Blu-ox make these. Maybe both. I know I saw some online but not sure where.

 

Good luck to you,

       Jack


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#7 mrboyer

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 01:05 PM

I have and would continue to use diodes.  If second bulbs are installed, they are not at the best location to be reflected; therefore, they do not meet DOT regulations. There are over 100 regulations on tail and brake lights.


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#8 Walt2137

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 01:31 PM

If you are using a toad braking system Its a little more to consider when installing Diodes, the brake lights will overide the signal light from the coach, you need to install a brake light relay kit. Another way is use a light bar or wireless toad lights. see below

 

http://www.etrailer....r/RM-88400.html


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#9 John_Harris

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 03:43 PM

My 07 Jeep Liberty has separate tail/brake and signal lamps. Made most sense to me to add a third dual element bulb and direct wire from harness. Turns out Jeep anticipated this and had plenty of space in the upper housing for the "extra" lamp and even provide a recessed cutting outline to make the location simple. Lamp is as bright as the original tail/brake light. Kept it simple, but realize each car/coach combination may be different. But, that is what worked for me.


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#10 TonyinSC

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 04:51 PM

 In a hurry to hit the road I bought a set of magnetic lights. Simple 4 wire, works on anything  I tow. (I know TACKY)  I'll go with diodes when I decide what will be my only tow.  Tony


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#11 Foretraveler

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 07:57 PM

We have a new 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee, a major high tech machine with computers running everything.  We find diodes no problem. 

 

But I was concerned about warranty relating to cutting OEM wires, but found a GREAT new product that uses diodes in a small central package and comes with male & female plugs eliminating wire cutting.

 

It is called TowDaddy.  We easily installed it ourselves and have been using it on our Jeep for almost tow years without any problems.  And recommend it very much.

 

http://towdaddy.com/

 

Barry & Cindy


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#12 belsen

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 12:17 AM

Just finished wiring up my brand new Lincoln MKZ Hybrid for towing 4 down.  I'm a retired electronic engineer and felt comfortable tapping into the latest in LED lighting BUT only after investigating the voltages at the various segments.  I used 6 diodes to connect to the left, right and middle brake/turn/tail lights.  Since the car lights are led, I first confirmed that they are powered by 12 volts.  The current draw is so small for led's that I was able to use a small gauge 3 pair telephone cable to run from the rear of the car up to the front where the 6-pin trailer connector is mounted on the Blue Ox baseplate.   My motorhome and car have separate turn lamps so I didn't have to use diodes to isolate brake/turn circuits.  Three of the diodes tie into the 3 sections of tail lights that go across the full rear of the car.  One diode for the middle brake light, and two more for the left/right turn lamps.

 

I looked into the Blue Ox wiring kit for my car, but I could see that it was a "drill and insert a bulb" type of design.  Well with new led fixtures, there really isn't a reflector section available to drill a 1/2 inch hole since the led's are distributed evenly throughout the light assembly. 

 

   


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#13 Bluebirds

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 04:48 PM

Hi and thanks to all.

 

The toad is a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland. The coach is a 2013 Winnebago Journey 36M.

 

I am not sure if the toad tail lights are LED, but I'm thinking we see a 'normal sized bulb' inside the reflector space? First glance it does look like there should be enough space to add a bulb, or LED bulb separate kit. does anyone know about the 'separate' brake, turn light wiring scheme on the overland (ref Belsen ). For sure, also have concerns about the 'computer' high tech stuff on the toad.

 

walt2137 raises another item regarding brake over riding tail signals from the coach. We have a BO Patriot brake (used on prior toad, mixed results and some frustrations). We can order the break-away cable and install so new toad could also use Patriot. However, we are also looking into ReadyBrake (surge type).

 

Wow! So many things to check out, and the good news is we have time in winter months to get research, decide, and hope we choose wisely!

 

(Note: prior toad, we just took toad to BO, they did base, tow bar, and wiring ...we took for granted it would work, and everything BO installed worked fine. But toad was a different story- the 2013 Ford C-Max hybrid toad had a slew of battery parasitic drains that in 14 months, 5 totally dead batteries and tow-in on wrecker, each tow-in dealer did this n that, software, parts replaced in some cases, in the end Ford Corp still seems unable to FIX the 12v battery parasitic drains. Too Frustrating! C-Max had 40 mpg, and great little car ... Until it wasn't running and dead! Ugh.). We will look into all ideas, links you have shared, and will post back on what we decide. Please know how much it helps to have help from all of you. Thanks!


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#14 ticat900

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 05:26 PM

I would not tap into the electrical system at all on today's automobiles with computers running everything! A 2012 -2014 auto is way different from prior vehicles.

 

Lights are not run by any computer. Tapping into 2013 tails light and using diodes works perfectly well whether LED or standard bulbs.

 

I have done both.


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#15 Rosco

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 01:44 AM

I had battery Drain problems with both Chev Blazer an Current Dodge Dakota.

 

Installed a battery isolator on battery and after I shift to Neutral I screw open then Insert a plastic washer and tighten down on plastic.

 

No more dead batter.y Everything works fine when as first step of unhooking PU I reconnect battery then do the shift into drive. This is with 2002 Dakota PU.

 

They used diodes when running the hook up wires at shop that I bought the Roadmaster Tow bar from.

 

I also copied the instructions for shifting in an out of four wheel to neutral from Owners manual an have them in plastic folder by Center Console.


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