TOWING: Taillight converter issues -
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Go Back > Models > Jeep Grand Cherokee & Commander Forums > ZJ Grand Cherokee Forum > TOWING: Taillight converter issues

Steering Stabilizer Brackets...Bolt In Jeep JK Tie Rod Kit!Technical Difficulties

Unread 03-21-2014, 10:14 AM   #1
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1998 ZJ 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Wilson, nc
Posts: 545
TOWING: Taillight converter issues

My 98 did not have a tow package, but the PO had installed a powered taillight converter, this worked fine until it apparently shorted out. I ordered a replacement unit, and replaced it. I used the originally installed plug in pigtails because they were conveniently color coded. I checked to verify the power wire and the signal wires were all correct, and proceeded to solder and heat shrink the connections. So far so good.
Then I checked the output for the correct voltages and placements. And things got weird. The turn signal wire would flash the testlight, but at the same time the running light wire would flash. I figured a bad ground, and ran an extra ground to beef up the factory one. Same issue.
I hooked up my trailer, testing the lights beforehand(they were all good and wired correctly) Nothing.
Then I probed the connection to the trailer, still nothing. Just for giggles I probed all the input feeds to the signals before the converter, all working correctly, Then I probed the power feed, and my probe showed good power, but when a signal was activated it showed a short to ground, same thing with the brake and running lights activated. I removed all the taillights form the equation, still the same issue.
I replugged the lights, and removed the converter, and by using my power-probe, simulated a turn signal voltage going in, still nothing.
Did I miss anything obvious or is it just possible I got a bad unit from the get go? It was a valley unit, ordered locally but sourced from Rigid. I called Rigid, they gave me a number for Valley, but after a few hours of a busy signal I called Rigid back and got someone else, who informed me that Valley was out of business and they no longer stocked that particular part. Weird, because they shipped one to me 2 days ago! They have suggested I return it to my supplier and order a different unit. I just don't want to condemn this one if I missed something.
I've wired a few hundred vehicles for trailers over the years(did 3 complete wiring and surge brake setups on 16ft tandem axle trailers in the past 2 weeks with nary an issue) so I'm pretty sure I nailed it, but, you never know.
Anyone chime in on this?

My ZJ has traction control, I call it my right foot.....
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Unread 03-21-2014, 10:41 AM   #2
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1995 ZJ 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 2,026
I think the screw up happens because the turn signal is separate from the brake and a lot of converters just aren't made well. I got one from Amazon that basically plugs in between the power source and the lights with no soldering required, works well.
Build Thread: "The Jeep" 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo ZJ I6 212k. 20 years 1 family.
'15 Cherokee Trailhawk Currently in Lemon Law Litigation. Demand Letter SENT 6/11/15.
Say NO to the 9-speed!
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Unread 03-21-2014, 11:41 AM   #3
Registered User
1998 ZJ 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Wilson, nc
Posts: 545
UPDATE: Just got off the phone with the supplier, as soon as I gave them the part number(guess I got the right person) they told me to go ahead and return it, and they will send out an updated version. I guess they've had some issues with that style.......Now off to the parts store to get things moving.....I need those lights working ASAP, I've got an 8hr road trip to make, in the dark.
My ZJ has traction control, I call it my right foot.....
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