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Trailer wiring. 4 wire? 5 wire? 6 wire?

 

 

 

 

Let’s start here; trailer wiring can be confusing. Nothing is the same except you tow the trailer. Let’s talk about the differences in the 2 lighting types.

‘Domestic Lighting’
Aka 4 wire.
This is where your turn signals and brake lights are combined on the same wire and bulb.

‘Import Lighting’
Aka 5 (or more) wire.
This is where your turn signals and brake lights are different wire and bulbs.

If you look at the picture above, you can see the light on the left has no separate turn signal as compared to the other light. As styling evolves (especially with the use of LEDs), it might be harder to visually determine if your tow vehicle is an import or domestic type.

On your trailer, it’s usually pretty simple to determine the type. Count the number of terminals on your plug. If you have 4 connectors, it’s a pretty safe bet you have domestic type wiring. If you have 5 (or more), you are probably import. The extra wire could be anything from an interior light to brakes (usually only on a camper).

HEY! This is really important. There is no ‘industry standard’ for trailer wiring in the Powersports Industry. Be sure you compare wire function and not just wire color.

Here is a handy chart to tell you what you are going to need based on the tow vehicle and trailer.



TRAILER → domestic import
TOW VEHICLE ↓
domestic nothing needed 2 to 3 Converter
import 5 to 4 Converter nothing needed
2014+ HD* nothing needeed HD CanBus module



*starting in 2014, Harley switched to a CanBus controlled lighting system. All bikes except the CVO Limited (2014/15) and Road King (all) require our Harley CanBus module. See our application chart for the most current info.

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How to properly activate a battery.

This applies to the standard lead type battery that you add the acid to. Why is this important? Well, these batteries have a memory. If you dump the acid in and throw a quick charge on it, you might as well take $20 out of your pocket and set it on fire. That battery will never have a ‘full’ charge. Here is how you do it right.

 

 

 

First, get the tools you are going to need. You will be playing with acid, so have some safety glasses. Make your mom proud. Also get out a good quality trickle charger. I’m using one from Kisan Technologies.

Remove the foil strip.

Now you can see the fill ports. Note they are pointed. That’s so they will pierce the foil on the acid container.

Pull off the plastic cover, but hang on to it. That’s what you use to seal the fill ports later on.

This shows the foil seals after being punctured. I forgot to get a pic of the before. Just imagine foil covering the hole.
Oh…DO NOT puncture the foil. The battery will do it in the next step.

Place the acid container over the fill ports. Make sure you have your safety glasses on. Now gently push the acid container down puncturing the foil. Let the acid drain. Sometimes you need to lightly squeeze the acid container.

Once all the acid is in, cover the fill ports with a wet paper towel.

Attach your trickle charger. Leave it alone until your charger shows its done. That’s it. Now it’s a waiting game.
Once your charger turns green, shuts off, sends you a text or whatever it does to indicate you are fully charged, throw on some gloves and remove the paper towel (there will be some acid on the paper towel).

Install the black sealing cap that was on your acid container. Safety glasses. Don’t forget em.

This material © Electrical Connection. Print authorization is granted for standard and digital media when credit is given to the author to include the website.