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Tow Bar electric fault

6384 Views 13 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  MrAntara12

I dont know if im putting this on the correct bit.
Here it goes, iv been having problems with my tow bar electrics, i have a Witter fixed tow bar fitted with the dedicated wiring loom (13 pin). My light on the dash decided to flicker a couple of weeks ago but now has come on permantl forno reason, so at the minute i have no parking sensors and indicators which are flashing too quick. I thought i knew what the problem was. I took a small relay off the car which is near the fuse box and replced with a new one as i thought it wasnt working. I have also checked theinline fuses but they all seem fine. I still have the green tow bar light on my dash. Can anyone give me any advice as my electrics are now out of warrenty. Im going away next week and need to fix this problem other wise i wont be able to charge the battery on my van while driving and also my fridge wont work while towing.

Would a bad earth somewhere be the problem?? i think it could be the actual socket maybe a wire has come loose? BUT im only guessing?

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Hi and welcome,i think I would check the 13 pin socket for a loose connection,maybe touching together.
Hi and thanks i will have a look later on, I think it is something to do with the socket, but I'm just guessing!
I have worked for a caravan company and had something similar,when the plug is pushed into the socket it detects the caravan is connected and puts the green light on the dash,i wondered if there is a loose connection in there making it think it is connected.
Hi Cadds

Would I have to take the socket off? It did flicker for a while but now it's constantly on!
I would take the socket off for ease,you could take it to a towbar specialist to have a look shouldn't take them long to check it out and they have the test equipment to do it.
Thanks, least I have an idea what maybe wrong!
If you unplug the plug car end does the light go out, if so I would give both ends a clean with wd40 and reconnect just incase got damp, keep us all informed
well here is an update! I unplugged the socket at the back of the car and the green light has now gone, indicators and parking sensors work! so I WD40'd the socket and put it back together and the green light has come back on the dash and I'm back to square 1!!
so does this mean my 13 pin socket is faulty?
Well here is another update, been to the place whereI bought the tow bar from and they took the 13 pin socket apart. There was lots of water in the actual socket which was making the electric go bonkers. I have found out today that there is a sensor in the 13 pin socket which tells the car when there is a trailer on the car! So basically that sensor/switch has been damaged by water so i have had to get a new 13 pin socket puton my car to solve the problem. The new socket will be done in the next few days!
So be aware, if your green tow bar is on your dash and you dont have a trailer on the back then you could have a simular problem to me. (also if you leave the problem too long you can also burn out the relay on the seperate wiring loom (the one which powers your fridge and leasure batter, you have to buy the wiring loom to get the relay as you cant just buy the single unit)

Iv been told by the tow bar specialist that this is a comon problem with these 13 pin sockets, the only way of stopping the corrosion on the switch is by putting holes in the bottom of the socket which allows the water to escape.

The socket is costly £48 and the relay has cost me £43 so far!! so get some holes put in your 13 pin socket other wise you will have to do what iv been doing!!!

Also my tow bar and electrics are two year old which is the usual time when this starts happening!You wont be able to change the 13 pin socket for a normal one as your green light wont come on the dash and your trailer stability control wont work!

Hope this helps anyone.
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Did they show you this 'sensor' in the 13 pin socket ?, I assume you mean the one you plug your caravan / trailer lights into when you say 13 pin socket.. I ask because it's the first time I have ever heard of a sensor, I thought the trailer light was triggered by pin 12 and 3 (3 being earth).
The charge circuit for the caravan battery and fridge power has nothing to do with the trailer indicator light on the dash board, it is a seperate harness so as far as I know it could be missing and the trailer indicator light still work.
I'm not trying to pick holes in your good cooment, it's great to see shared experiences I am more hoping to make sure your money is being taken / spent fairly...

Yes I was shown the sensor/switch, if you look at the socket on your car, as long as it's a new shape antara with the dedicated wire loom you should have a 13pin socket, you should see on the top left a very small switch! To be honest I didn't know anything about this switch. It's all wired up through the dedicated loom. The problem is if water gets into it then you will get what I got, a constant green light on your dash!
The other wiring loom for the fridge and leisure battery won't put your light on the dash, but if the car thinks there is a trailer on the back the relay will stay open as it's thinking it's running your fridge and charging your leisure battery! So it is linked in some way! And after a long period of time the relay will fail!
You really need to take the cover off your 13 pin socket to see this switch, it's connected to two wires! It's a simple but clever way of telling the car the trailer is on the back, it's also tells the cars ecu it needs to use the trailer stability control in certain situations! The other connectors on the 13 pin socket are for your lights and earth!
I only found all this out from the tech who was trying to get the switch to work but couldn't due to the water damage!
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I'm interested in this post, when you talk about 13pin socket, are you referring to the one you plug the caravan plug into next to the tow ball ? Out of curiosity I stripped my 13 pin socket and it has no more than 13 cable connections and 13 cables... Nothing else, I thought the dash board light was triggered by a circuit being created between pins in the plug when you connect the caravan but your mention of some kind of switch has me wondering whats, what..
When you look at you socket on the car, you shoud have two cables connecting to a switch! I'll be putting pictures on at some point!
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