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Harbor Freight Utility Trailer Wiring harness corrosion

Posted By: dx92beater

Harbor Freight Utility Trailer Wiring harness corrosion - 12/29/18 12:49 AM

Hi,

I have a folding heavy duty harbor freight trailer that I put together several years ago. I have probably had to repair the wiring harness about 30 times. The story is always the same. I come outside and another portion of the wire corrodes. I replace about a foot of wire only to have another section break. I heat shrink, solder, and use corrosion proof wire nuts like these which have been great at actual splices...but then the rest of the harness still fails....

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BW0YFS/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I am not interested in making my own harness out of wire. I'd just like to buy something from Amazon etc., that doesn't do this.

I HATE HATE HATE wiring after so many years of working in automotive electrical for years so the idea of a pre-made harness appeals to me. Burnt out with building my own harnesses and I live out in the boonies so don't want to travel all over to make my own.

The trailer is stored outside. I don't see anyone else having to make these repairs every month and I am sure that plenty of trailers are left outside.

Could anyone suggest a pre-made wiring harness that is more reliable than the harbor freight?

Thanks
Posted By: supton

Re: Harbor Freight Utility Trailer Wiring harness corrosion - 12/29/18 01:10 AM

I suspect all of them are cheaply made.

Sorry, can't be of help. I too had the harness on my HF trailer fail; I did patch it a couple of times. I think I bought something at the local lumber store. Much better wiring. But I'm guessing that, after a few years, it too will be shot. UV damage and all. I think I ran a ground wire to each taillight, rather than trust the metal frame.

I wonder if slapping some household paint onto the wiring will extend its life. I wish I had done that to the trailer after buying it, as the red paint has long since faded, and large chunks have peeled away. If I buy another, I plan to slap house paint onto it--anything--just to further seal it up.
Posted By: Trav

Re: Harbor Freight Utility Trailer Wiring harness corrosion - 12/29/18 01:31 AM

Take the harness off and make a new one, that's the only way you get to control the quality of the wire, connectors and sockets. This should be a very easy and quick one to do.
Posted By: eljefino

Re: Harbor Freight Utility Trailer Wiring harness corrosion - 12/29/18 01:44 AM

I suspect the HF insulation is what's terrible-- yours sounds permeable to water!

I have their magnetic towing lights-- total rubbish. 22-24 gauge wire in there causes enough current drop that the running lights dim when the blinker goes on.

To answer your question, this kit and everything else on amazon looks remarkably like what HF uses. Even the submersible stuff looks the same! This seems to be a curse of the industry.

I'd start over, on the assumption that your insulation has UV rot, then paint the wire as others suggested, and try to run it inside the frame rails where it sees less sun and abuse.
Posted By: Colt45ws

Re: Harbor Freight Utility Trailer Wiring harness corrosion - 12/29/18 01:56 AM

Trailer and wiring problems go together like husband and wife. I STG they are the worst. At the rental shop that was the most common problem behind the hydraulic surge brakes failing.
I agree with making your own even though you dont want to. Would you rather make your own or get another like the one you have now and have to constantly repair it again.
Posted By: Driz

Re: Harbor Freight Utility Trailer Wiring harness corrosion - 12/29/18 02:46 AM

Just grab a whole new light and loom set. It’s the only way to fix crappy trailers and takes a lot less time and hassle. Besides , we all know HF usually has really cheaply made something wherever they can get away with it. I wonder if they’ve fallen all the way to 😒copper coated steel wire yet😜
Posted By: dx92beater

Re: Harbor Freight Utility Trailer Wiring harness corrosion - 12/29/18 03:18 AM

Thanks so far. I have a brand new HF set that they gave me under some recall. Scared to install it though! I did actually run this mess inside the frame rails. I had no idea that I was not alone in this!
Posted By: Trav

Re: Harbor Freight Utility Trailer Wiring harness corrosion - 12/29/18 03:36 AM

So just duplicate the one they gave you with quality USA made tinned copper wire and better connectors/sockets.
If its external wire like this I only use marine tinned copper wire, it makes for a much more corrosion resistant setup.
Posted By: chainblu

Re: Harbor Freight Utility Trailer Wiring harness corrosion - 12/29/18 04:32 AM

Originally Posted by Colt45ws
Trailer and wiring problems go together like husband and wife.


Ain't that the truth!
Posted By: tcp71

Re: Harbor Freight Utility Trailer Wiring harness corrosion - 12/29/18 05:36 AM

Try etrailer. They might have better name brand stuff.

https://www.etrailer.com/dept-pg-Wiring.aspx
Posted By: Linctex

Re: Harbor Freight Utility Trailer Wiring harness corrosion - 12/29/18 11:03 AM

I bought a good Reese trailer light kit with wire from Lowe's

Honest 14 gauge wire inside, decent connector, etc.

Going on 6 years with no problems.

Never, ever buying the cheap wire ever again.
Posted By: dlundblad

Re: Harbor Freight Utility Trailer Wiring harness corrosion - 12/29/18 11:42 AM

Storing it outside is what's killing it. Storing it outside on dirt would make it even worse.

Not what you want to hear, but you'll need to make your own as I doubt the trailer has parts support.
Posted By: 4WD

Re: Harbor Freight Utility Trailer Wiring harness corrosion - 12/29/18 12:23 PM

Originally Posted by Trav
So just duplicate the one they gave you with quality USA made tinned copper wire and better connectors/sockets.
If its external wire like this I only use marine tinned copper wire, it makes for a much more corrosion resistant setup.


^^^This ... tin plated copper wire is good quality and can flex without failure ... As noted - some of the good marine wires apply
Motor Control Cabinet wire tends to be tin plated copper as well ...

I have magnetic lights that came from a farm and ranch supply - Since I was unsure of the wire quality - I put LED bulbs in the light housings ... Store them in dry place ...
Posted By: AVB

Re: Harbor Freight Utility Trailer Wiring harness corrosion - 12/29/18 04:00 PM

When I was maintaining tractor trailers we always used cheap orange extension cords. They held up well to over the road use with salted roads.
Posted By: themaxx

Re: Harbor Freight Utility Trailer Wiring harness corrosion - 12/29/18 05:07 PM

Here is an expensive option, but it's as close to bullet proof as you're going to get.

Truck Lite makes excellent wiring harnesses and light systems for semi trailers. Start with the Super 50 junction box and built from there. Each light gets it's own sealed harness from the junction box to the light. All crimped connections ( ring terminals ) are sealed inside the junction box. Where each harness plugs into the light use a dab of truck lite corrosion inhibitor grease on the connecting pins.

Even the grounds are hard wired to the J box.

You'll have to piece your system together, and the Truck lite online catalog can be a bit overwhelming with all the options but for me it's worth it and customers are happy with the reliability.
Posted By: dlundblad

Re: Harbor Freight Utility Trailer Wiring harness corrosion - 12/29/18 08:29 PM

Originally Posted by themaxx
Here is an expensive option, but it's as close to bullet proof as you're going to get.

Truck Lite makes excellent wiring harnesses and light systems for semi trailers. Start with the Super 50 junction box and built from there. Each light gets it's own sealed harness from the junction box to the light. All crimped connections ( ring terminals ) are sealed inside the junction box. Where each harness plugs into the light use a dab of truck lite corrosion inhibitor grease on the connecting pins.

Even the grounds are hard wired to the J box.

You'll have to piece your system together, and the Truck lite online catalog can be a bit overwhelming with all the options but for me it's worth it and customers are happy with the reliability.


Awesome first post and thanks for the info.
Posted By: Mitch

Re: Harbor Freight Utility Trailer Wiring harness corrosion - 12/31/18 04:53 AM

I did this to my Scamp trailer almost 12 years ago, still working well
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