Indicator problem on Fiat Ducato (Autotrail)

Sep 9, 2014
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33,266
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Summer 2014
Autotrail Dakota 2005 -Ducato base.

Checked all the lights today and discovered that the left turn indicator seems to operate the reverse beeper, albeit in a muted way. If I select reverse the beeper doesn't work at all.
The reverse light functions though.

The motorhome is fitted with a towbar and electrics (12N socket) I recently cut off the tie-wraps securing the cable to the towbar so I could repaint the towbar - cable wasn't disconnected from the loom. I can't help but wonder if this is where my problem may be.
A quick nosey underneath and it seems that no junction box has been used to connect the tow electrics into the loom; looks a mess of insulating tape.

Having said that, from what info' I can ferret from the net the 12N socket doesn't have a pin for reverse lights so maybe a red herring?

I can't find a wiring diagram or the wiring colour codes for the rear lighting, can anyone help with that info?

Finally, is the reverse beeper a simple connect from the reverse switch on the gearbox or would it be connected into the reverse light in the rear light cluster?

Looks as though I'm going to have a fun few hours, days even, grovelling around sorting this out!

Thoughts or advice gratefully received!

David
 

jonandshell

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Generally, lights making other lights work is because the light being switched on has lost its negative return path.
In this case, the indicator has found a path back to negative via your reverse light/beeper!
The solution is to check all plugs and bulb holders for corrosion and bad connection.
Bearing in mind many convertors use crap unsealed plugs and lamps, it will take you a while!
The good news is that all the stuff you need to replace will be available as standard parts at you local auto electrical factors.

Good luck!
 

jonandshell

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Once you are sorted though, prevent future problems by filling the said connectors with grease or waxoyl.

DO NOT USE SILICON GREASE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nothing will ever work again if you do that!
 
OP
J
Sep 9, 2014
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Once you are sorted though, prevent future problems by filling the said connectors with grease or waxoyl.
!
Oh the irony Jon...just spent the last week waxoyling the entire chassis, I do hope the waxoyl isn't the cause of my problems!!

David
 

Badknee

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I would have thought the buzzer would pick up its power from the rear light cluster. That's where I would start. As said the indicator bulb is finding an earth through a filament which can make a lot of lights flash. Check the indicator out first though. Good luck.
 

TheBig1

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are you certain its the reversing beeper and not the audible relay tell tall for the towbar electrics? too much of a coincidence that you touched the towbar wiring then this happens. i would put money on it being a bad earth connection feeding back through the 12n wiring
 

Tootles

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Beat me to it Big...........If there's a bad earth, the towing indicator beeper can sound off when the indicators are used, but it wont be as loud as when the towing lights are plugged into a trailer etc.
 

Scout

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autotrail rear light clusters are known for getting water in, might be worth having a look in the rear lights for corrsosion/water. I drilled small holes in the bottom of mine to allow any water a route out, no more problems since.
 
OP
J
Sep 9, 2014
169
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Coach built
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Summer 2014
are you certain its the reversing beeper and not the audible relay tell tall for the towbar electrics? too much of a coincidence that you touched the towbar wiring then this happens. i would put money on it being a bad earth connection feeding back through the 12n wiring
Your post had me scratching my head last night..."audible relay tell-tale" Never heard of it (poor pun I know!) This is the first vehicle I've had with a towbar, so a bit of a learning curve.

Anyway, went for the easiest job first and checked out the bulb sockets first, all we're fine except the reverse lamp, heavily corroded and probably best with a new one soon. Discovered the reverse warning beeper is connected via scotch locks except it wasn't connected - one wire missing the teeth in the connector, it wasn't working...so what was I hearing? Selected reverse and the warning was very audible! Tried one indicator and there was a beeping, tried the other indicator no beeping.

Eventually discovered the indicator beeping coming from a "lump" in the wiring well wrapped in insulating tape, there is a similar "lump" on other side of chassis which I assume will be the same but doesn't beep. Didn't have time to unwrap them and have a look.

Tell me if I'm write or wrong:
* I don't think I have an issue with my wiring at least as far as all the rear lights function as they should and all with similar intensity.
* There are two audible warnings for the indicators associated with towing one for each side?
* These indicator warnings shouldn't be stuffed under the chassis right at the rear of the truck. They're for my benefit when towing and should be heard in the cab? What are they warning me of exactly?
* Should they work when NOT towing, if so do I have an issue with wiring, or do I have duff audible warning indicator on the side that doesn't beep!?

Sorry if it's a bit lengthy, just thought it best to get as much info' in as possible.

Thanks to all who've chipped in so far, all appreciated:)

David
 

Tootles

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Usually, there is only one 'beeper' for your tow lights connection....a sealed grey box, something like 4" x 2", with about four wires coming out of one end.
Can you borrow a towboard?? If so, plug it in, turn an indicator on, and trace the 'BEEP'
 

TheBig1

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you only have one beeper for the towbar electrics. it is wired so that if you plug in a trailer etc you should hear a beep beep beep as you indicate left or right. when no trailer is plugged in it will normally be silent

it sounds like your wiring is damaged by the curse of scotchblocks and sticky tape. the earth to the effected indicator is likely damaged so the light is earthing through the beeper circuit. ideally the connections should be remade properly by soldering the joints then waterproofing with heat shrink sleeving. an hours work for an auto electrician, or easily DIY job if you have both the skills and tools
 
OP
J
Sep 9, 2014
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Again, thank you for your thoughts.

This indicator warning tell-tale; what is its purpose and should it be located right at the rear...no chance of hearing it the cab even with the engine off, is it a legal requirement and a MOT testable item?

If the weather holds out today I'll unravel the mess of tape around the beeper ans what's what.
I understand that earth for the indicator maybe a problem, but when looking in the rear light clusters it's a snakes wedding of wires; rather than chase down the indicators own wire, would it be acceptable to cut it and T into another lamps earth cable....I don't understand why each lamp has its own cable snaking away when the could be daisy chained together and finally off to an earth point?

David
 

Scout

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I could be wrong on this but, is it because the van is wired CANBUS ie mulitplexed so that both live and negitive are switched. think of of as SAY a 4X4 grid ( 8 wires) this can control up to 16 outputs.
 
OP
J
Sep 9, 2014
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Straight forward electrics on mine (well I think so!) so no canbus

David
 
OP
J
Sep 9, 2014
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Well that was 6 hours of my time wasted and achieved nothing, still got the tell-tale going off on one indicator.

Perhaps not totally wasted, found one plastic connector (for the side with the correctly functioning indicator) pretty much on its last legs and the wires in the sockets rotten. On the side with the duff indicator wires were chaffed. Looks as though water has travelled through the strands too, no good for soldering and heat shrink.

Whoever fitted the towbar electrics has done a pretty shoddy job, a mixture of poorly soldered and crimped connections all bound in miles of masking tape. Cut out all the bad ones and used choc blok connectors as a temporary repair.
Even the tell-tale box looks grotty inside, water has got in despite the installers best effort with insulating tape.

All the wiring, I assume Autotrails work, looks rubbish too, thin cables bound in tape poorly secured to the chassis which have also chaffed.
Looks as though the best way forward is to renew the tow bar electrics cable, use watertight junction boxes, rewire the chaffed sections and get the lot properly secured in flexy conduit...bah!

David
 
Sep 21, 2013
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It wasn't 6 hours wasted. It was 6 hours spent saving you god knows how much money if you'd taken it to an auto electrician to sort out. He would no doubt have done the same as you, not fully solved it given you some fangled dangled explanation that made no sense to you and charge you an arm and a leg
 
OP
J
Sep 9, 2014
169
104
Funster No
33,266
MH
Coach built
Exp
Summer 2014
It wasn't 6 hours wasted. It was 6 hours spent saving you god knows how much money if you'd taken it to an auto electrician to sort out.
Well, having spoken to two auto electricians you're undoubtedly right. Both wanted me to bring it in and couldn't/wouldn't offer any useful advice...just that sucking of teeth!

Anyway, all sorted now. Bought a new audible relay and fitted it temporarily, a quick play with indicators and silence.
That left me with replacing the towbar cable and the chaffed sections of cable including the two least waterproof connectors I've ever seen - thanks Auto trail.

Found a great tip for cleaning up wires for soldering - as the wiring stood it seems moisture had wicked through the coppers strands and left me with horribly tarnished copper that wouldn't solder.
Get some vinegar; malt, white, whatever. pour into a small glass bottle and add as much salt as will dissolve. Trim the insulation back and get the vinegar solution to cover the strands - works in about 10 minutes if you get the solution a quick heat in the microwave.
Mix up some bicarbonate of soda with water and dunk the wires for about 10 seconds, dry off and it'll solder beautifully!

So having treated all the cables, got some nice soldered joints they were sealed in with some adhesive heat shrink - ought be nice and watertight now!

I also extended the tails on the audible alarm and it's now fitted inside where, if I decide to tow, I'll be able hear it.

Took a lot of head scratching, but for less than a tenner, it's all sorted.

Finally, I couldn't find a wiring diagram for the rear lights...I only wanted it to identify the cable colours to make sure it was wired in correctly. Ryder Towing have a list for pretty much every vehicle ever made which tells you what colour the cables are for connecting the towing electrics.
If useful to anyone they're as follows for a Fiat Ducato based (X244) AT Dakota:
Left indicator - blue/ black
Fog - grey
Right indicator - blue
Brake - red/black
Right tail - yellow black (and number plate light supply on mine)
Left tail - yellow

Thanks to all those who chipped in, you're a helpful bunch!:)

David
 

TheBig1

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pleased you've sorted it. always best when you do it yourself, as you then learn a bit more about your vehicle. when done properly, like you have done, it should be good for the expected life of the van
 
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