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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a 2011 F-250 that tells you info about the brakes and trailer. I noticed yesterday while towing tractor and 2 full pallets of mulch it kept jumping around from saying trailer connected to trailer not connected. That basically means that it quit detecting the brakes for that moment of time. And kept jumping back and forth (not safe because the trailer brakes stop working at that point). When I got home I notice that my trailer plug was really HOT and I mean hot! This a gooseneck by the way so it plugs into the bed. Wondering which way the heat went I felt up the lead going to the trailer and after about 24 inches it wasn't hot any more. The female plug in the truck bed was extremely hot as well.

Any ideas what could be causing the problem and excessive heat build up? Not sure where to start looking first.

Thanks!
 

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Heat, without a blow fuse which would indicate a short circuit, indicates high resistance. Intermittent information indicates connection failure. Most likely cause is a worn or corroded connection on the plug
 

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I have a 2011 F250. When I had that problem on my gooseneck, it was in the trailer brakes. Sounds like something is shorting out.

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Heat, without a blow fuse which would indicate a short circuit, indicates high resistance. Intermittent information indicates connection failure. Most likely cause is a worn or corroded connection on the plug
I have a 2011 F250. When I had that problem on my gooseneck, it was in the trailer brakes. Sounds like something is shorting out.

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Is the power connection a fuse or a circuit breaker? My brake controller has a self resetting circuit breaker. If you have a short, the circuit breaker will open, when it cools it will reset itself. :dunno:

Time to break out the multimeter.
 

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Is the power connection a fuse or a circuit breaker? My brake controller has a self resetting circuit breaker. If you have a short, the circuit breaker will open, when it cools it will reset itself. :dunno:

Time to break out the multimeter.
Yep DMM or VOM will certainly help here. I would first recommend a visual and mechanical inspection of the connector as that's where the heat is it would indicate that is where the problem is.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'll take the trailer wire plug apart and see what I find in there first and report back.
 

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Overheating of the trailer socket and plug usually are an indication of corrosion, high resistance causing voltage drop and high current load across the poor connection. Clean both sides of the connector terminals, apply some dielectric grease and you should be ok.


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This ^^^^ plus open up the plug and socket and check/clean/tighten those connections too.
 
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Curious which brake controller you have?
Prodigy?

If your magnets in the backing plates are worn through...you will get similar results to what you described from your controller.

The heat in the wire is another issue & perhaps related to above.
IDK
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well I had time to work on the truck and trailer today. I started with the trailer plug, took it apart checked all the connections and put some more grease on it. That didn't fix the problem. The Barnes under the truck for the goose neck plug was my next stop. I took it apart, all looked good and tight plus new grease. Didn't fix. Unplugged the gooseneck harness at the bumper/factory plug. It had got some water in it and minor corroding. I thought ahha, cleaned it all up put new grease in it and put it all back together. And.....still didn't work! Started checking fuses pulled every fuse with the word trailer in it. They were all good!

As of today they don't work at all. Truck info center in the gauge cluster says trailer connected, I can see the gain amount and all. But when I even touch the brakes it says trailer disconnected. When I let off the brakes it says trailer connected and all is back to normal. All lights work perfectly.

At this point I'm at a loss. Beer comes out:). Only one other thing I haven't thought to check. Maybe it isn't the truck. I go up to my father inlaws and plug in his camper. Works perfect!!! I step on the brakes and the gain goes up just like it should.

So tomorrow evening I guess I'll start trouble shooting the trailer. Glad to know it isn't in the truck though. For some reason it senses the bakes are there but when you press the brakes it looses connection. Aaaaaahhhhhh!!!!
 
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I'd be checking the trailer's chassis ground connections first.
 

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When you got to the point where you said it shows connected until you put your foot on the brake, I was thinking it's in the brakes of the trailer itself. Something there is shorting out. I would start at the brakes themselves. and look for anything making contact in the mechanical portion that shouldn't be.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ok so I got the brake problem fixed. Some idiot that wired up the plug before me just twisted the wires together and wrapped them in electrical tape. There were literally wires sticking out of the tape. Put all new heat shrink connectors on all wires and BAM!! they work!

Problem statement number two. Now my tail lights aren't working!!! You have got to be kidding me! So I check the plugs....all good. Next I check the ground under the dove tail for the tail lights. I cleaned it good and put it back together still nothing. At the ground the 3 wire harness adds a second 3 wire harness. So I cut the but splice connector out for the brown wire. It has one wire coming in and two going out. One set of three goes to the two tail lights and a marker light on the left side and the other harness goes to the 3 middle marker, two tail and one marker light. I touched the brown wire to the left side harness and they light up like brand new! I touch the brown wire to the right side lights and nothing. Now riddle me this. Why is it when I twist the right and left brown wires together and touch them with the power wire they don't work. I take that back, the left side that worked on its own barely glows.

About a month ago my dad was following me at night and he said that one of the right side lights would flicker in and out. I'm at a loss. I'm about to just put all new wire to the right side. Could one of the lights have a short and cause the problem I have described?

Sorry if I have missed words and punctuation. Typed all this on my phone.
 

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Check the bulb

Ok so I got the brake problem fixed. Some idiot that wired up the plug before me just twisted the wires together and wrapped them in electrical tape. There were literally wires sticking out of the tape. Put all new heat shrink connectors on all wires and BAM!! they work!

Problem statement number two. Now my tail lights aren't working!!! You have got to be kidding me! So I check the plugs....all good. Next I check the ground under the dove tail for the tail lights. I cleaned it good and put it back together still nothing. At the ground the 3 wire harness adds a second 3 wire harness. So I cut the but splice connector out for the brown wire. It has one wire coming in and two going out. One set of three goes to the two tail lights and a marker light on the left side and the other harness goes to the 3 middle marker, two tail and one marker light. I touched the brown wire to the left side harness and they light up like brand new! I touch the brown wire to the right side lights and nothing. Now riddle me this. Why is it when I twist the right and left brown wires together and touch them with the power wire they don't work. I take that back, the left side that worked on its own barely glows.

About a month ago my dad was following me at night and he said that one of the right side lights would flicker in and out. I'm at a loss. I'm about to just put all new wire to the right side. Could one of the lights have a short and cause the problem I have described?

Sorry if I have missed words and punctuation. Typed all this on my phone.
Before you completely rewire everything, check the bulb. Sometimes it can be in the socket but not quite right and give you that issue. I've even seen an internal short in a bulb do that when a filament bounced up and down. If it's difficult to run the wiring, I would just jump wires to the light directly to see if that works correctly. If it's good at the truck and the light works, you know the problem is in the wiring. Intermittent failures are a pia.

Treefarmer
 

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Before you completely rewire everything, check the bulb.
+1

Also check to make sure the bulbs on both sides match (part #'s) and are the correct bulbs to begin with. Someone may have had an issue at some point and replaced a bulb with the wrong bulb. Different bulbs have different resistance values and can give you the exact symptoms described.
 

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Some trailers are wired like the "old" strings of tree lights where if one bulb goes out the whole string goes out. Some are wired like the "new" strings where a bulb being out doesn't affect the rest of the string.

If your trailer is wired like the first example, any sort of problem with the bulb can cause everything on that side or everything "after" that bulb to go out, flicker, light weakly, etc.

I would suggest at least figuring out the wiring scheme on your trailer so that you better understand how to chase issues down with a multimeter (and get a multimeter if you don't already have one).
 

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Discussion Starter #17
One other thing I forgot to mention. The right side that doesn't work, the brake lights and turn signals work. Only thing not working is the tail lights.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Found the culprit!!! Everything works perfectly now. And the brakes work 3 times better than they did when I bought it last year!! I'm guessing they weren't getting enough current being just twisted together. Obviously right since they quit working. When the trailer was empty I would have the gain set at 6 to 6.5. When I took it for a test drive today they locked up and about sent my forehead into the steering wheel. Now empty the gain is just right at 3.5! Wow what a difference a good connection can make. The tail light issue was a skinned ground wire to one of the rear marker lights. Put a new connector in and BAM brights as day. Thanks for all the wonderful tips. I learned a lot for all of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
 

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