Indicators just stopped working

Aug 19, 2018
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weird - electrics on van and car been working fine last few months (and years before) - just hooked up van and no indicators - all other electrics fine (7 pin) . voltmeter showing unstable 3 or 4 odd volts when indicators are on so problem looks to be with car - bulbs are all fine on van. no obvious wires out on plug or further up on wires before disapear into car. another weird bit when the lights are on and indicators are on the car dashboard giving no indication that indicators are not worjing ie double speed flash - when no car lights its showing one of the indicators are not working (both are not working! )
any tips before i spend a small fortune with the towbar man?
ive not heard of this before but could the bus/relay be faulty ? need replacing ?
thanks
paul
 
May 7, 2012
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I would take the bulbs out and clean the contacts. A bit of dirt or other contamination can easily be the problem.
 
Aug 19, 2018
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thanks - ive done that and tried a seperate trailer board with same problem - deffo coming from the car it seems - no voltage going through connector
 
May 24, 2014
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Cant help you with an answer, but I have a wierd one a little similar to yours. We have just changed the caravan, and when the indicators are on whilst caravan is hoked up, I am getting the double speed flash, yet all the bulbs are working fine.
The only thing different with this caravan is that all the lights are LED and I wonder if that is causing the anomaly.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Thingy said:
Cant help you with an answer, but I have a wierd one a little similar to yours. We have just changed the caravan, and when the indicators are on whilst caravan is hoked up, I am getting the double speed flash, yet all the bulbs are working fine.
The only thing different with this caravan is that all the lights are LED and I wonder if that is causing the anomaly.

I suspect that it is the caravan LEDs causing the car to flash at the faster rate. You can buy LEDs that now have the resistor wired in rather than have to connect your own one into the circuit.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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What make and make of caravan?
13 pin or12N?
Two possible problems.
If you have a recent Swift, could be the LED module .
Or just a bad earth on your car towbar electrics .
Check the wiring back to itsearthing point.
 
May 24, 2014
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I now have the answer to my problem but it may be of use to others here:

this info is driect from Sargent:
Code:
Some tow vehicle electrical systems may not be fully compatible with the LED road lights fitted to modern trailers and caravans, including the new range from Swift. In cases where problems are identified, an electronic control unit (VLM4) can be ordered direct from Sargent Electrical Services Limited for installation in the caravan. This unit simply plugs in-line with the 13 pin car connection cable at the rear of the caravan towing fuse box.

The normal price for the VLM4 is £46 but a special arrangement with Swift can provide units to verified Swift owners for a cost price. NOW SENT BY 1ST CLASS

Following continuing vehicle testing, we are producing two versions of the VLM4. VLM4-A for the majority of vehicle systems and VLM4-B for some later BMW models. Please ensure that you provide clear vehicle details below we will then select and send the appropriate unit. Due to the complexity of some vehicle systems we cannot guarantee that the VLM4 will work with all manufacturers OEM or after-market towing electrics solutions.

This part is currently only available for installation in Swift Caravans.

https://sargentltd.co.uk/shop/product/led-road-light-electronic-control-unit/240
 
Jun 20, 2005
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Thingy said:
I now have the answer to my problem but it may be of use to others here:

this info is driect from Sargent:
Code:
Some tow vehicle electrical systems may not be fully compatible with the LED road lights fitted to modern trailers and caravans, including the new range from Swift. In cases where problems are identified, an electronic control unit (VLM4) can be ordered direct from Sargent Electrical Services Limited for installation in the caravan. This unit simply plugs in-line with the 13 pin car connection cable at the rear of the caravan towing fuse box.

The normal price for the VLM4 is £46 but a special arrangement with Swift can provide units to verified Swift owners for a cost price. NOW SENT BY 1ST CLASS

Following continuing vehicle testing, we are producing two versions of the VLM4. VLM4-A for the majority of vehicle systems and VLM4-B for some later BMW models. Please ensure that you provide clear vehicle details below we will then select and send the appropriate unit. Due to the complexity of some vehicle systems we cannot guarantee that the VLM4 will work with all manufacturers OEM or after-market towing electrics solutions.

This part is currently only available for installation in Swift Caravans.

]https://sargentltd.co.uk/shop/product/led-road-light-electronic-control-unit/240
https://sargentltd.co.uk/shop/product/led-road-light-electronic-control-unit/240[/quote
Thingy , that’s the thing I had in mind. Now here’s the conundrum , best answered by the Prof. My daughter in laws parents had this very problem with their new Challenger three months ago. Swift charged them £26 for the unit but paid the dealer to fit it.
This seems very wrong to me. Surely the module should be part of the oem and not an on cost to the New owner?? :angry:
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Dustydog said:
...Now here’s the conundrum , best answered by the Prof. My daughter in laws parents had this very problem with their new Challenger three months ago. Swift charged them £26 for the unit but paid the dealer to fit it.
This seems very wrong to me. Surely the module should be part of the oem and not an on cost to the New owner?? :angry:

Morally I'd agree that swift should supply a caravan that will work with all tow vehicles, but in fairness, Swift do not know what car with its individual quirks will be used to tow the caravan, so you could put the boot on the other foot and say the car manufacturer should supply the correct signals to run the trailers road lights, So who do you blame?

If you look at construction and use regulations, as with so many bits of legislation all it tells you is the required end result, not necessarily how to achieve it. In this case the road lights must illuminate when required with the correct colour, intensity, and position on the vehicle, It does not say the power has to be a constant 12Vdc. This lattitude opens up several alternative strategies for car makers with regards how the cars lights are controlled.

So I suspect that legally both the car and caravan manufacturer have met their respective standards, so neither is legally obliged to remedy your situation, as they have no contract with you.

But because of the way retail law applies in the UK, the car or caravan seller may be obligated. It strictly depends on what the contract wording includes as the customers specification.

In Dustys case, if the customer makes it clear to seller that they want to tow the new caravan with a specific car, and the caravan seller does not check or add a caveat to the contract about subject to comparability, if the caravan is not compatible, then the seller is in breach contract, especially when they were aware of the tow vehicle to be used. The seller is liable for the cost of purchase and fitting of any parts to remedy the situation as they have supplied goods that are not fit for purpose.

The same principle would apply for a customer who has a caravan and is changing their car.

If the contact is non specific about towing compatability then the problem falls outside of the contract and is up to the customer to sort and pay for.

Swift's offer to supply the necessary part at cost, and with free fitting is more than they are obliged to do. It is not an admission of fault or liability.

horeher, it's an acknowledgement of an incomparability that affects some outfits and a
 
May 24, 2014
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The cost of sorting this out is minimal and in that respect Im not miffed. What has angered me is that a Swift dealer should be aware of this as these modules are ONLY made for Swift caravans. Had they had the decency to tell me I would have simply said "do it, ill pay".

What makes it worse for me is that at handover, the handover guy actually did my lights check for me, it could/should have been mentioned then.

Now Im faced with a DIY part which is best descibed as extremely fiddly by those that have done it, and some said it was a right ******* to do, please fill in your own expletive. It all depends on where and how the road fuse box is mounted.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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Prof,
playing the devil’s advocate I suspect Swift and possibly others thought leds would look good. They didn’t think about the interface with current car technology. The fact the caravan manufacturer has come up with a solution makes me suspicious :whistle: SonsFil has towed two earlier caravans with his car,13pin no problem. This year’s Swift needed the modification.
Chicken or egg :woohoo: :evil:
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Dustydog said:
Prof,
playing the devil’s advocate I suspect Swift and possibly others thought leds would look good. They didn’t think about the interface with current car technology. The fact the caravan manufacturer has come up with a solution makes me suspicious :whistle: SonsFil has towed two earlier caravans with his car,13pin no problem. This year’s Swift needed the modification.
Chicken or egg :woohoo: :evil:

I can't answer for Swift, but if I were asked to provide a set of LED lights for a trailer, I'd expect to find signals at the trailer socket of 12vdc for each circuit that needs to illuminate a trailer light. I would have to also ensure the requirement for bulb failure detection was also in place. That's as much as a trailer manufacturer can realistically do. They can't be expected to add circuitry to accommodate each car manufacturers idiosyncrasies. Tow the caravan will a different car and it might be perfectly ok.

However, whilst LED lighting seems to be the way most car roadlights are going for both efficiency, and quality of illumination, the power saving benefits of us8ng LEDs on a trailer are not worth the effort. Bulb failure is quite rare on a caravan as they are not generally used enough to wear out.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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ProfJohnL said:
Dustydog said:
Prof,
playing the devil’s advocate I suspect Swift and possibly others thought leds would look good. They didn’t think about the interface with current car technology. The fact the caravan manufacturer has come up with a solution makes me suspicious :whistle: SonsFil has towed two earlier caravans with his car,13pin no problem. This year’s Swift needed the modification.
Chicken or egg :woohoo: :evil:

I can't answer for Swift, but if I were asked to provide a set of LED lights for a trailer, I'd expect to find signals at the trailer socket of 12vdc for each circuit that needs to illuminate a trailer light. I would have to also ensure the requirement for bulb failure detection was also in place. That's as much as a trailer manufacturer can realistically do. They can't be expected to add circuitry to accommodate each car manufacturers idiosyncrasies. Tow the caravan will a different car and it might be perfectly ok.

However, whilst LED lighting seems to be the way most car roadlights are going for both efficiency, and quality of illumination, the power saving benefits of us8ng LEDs on a trailer are not worth the effort. Bulb failure is quite rare on a caravan as they are not generally used enough to wear out.

I think that most caravan bulb problems tend to be due to corrosion on the contacts or wiring defects/poor contacts/earth and LED would not be immune. However LED bulbs do light quicker than incandescent bulbs and some have advocated them on safety grounds as they attain full brightness quicker than incandescent bulbs. However how much quicker to make a safety difference to a driver isn't clear. But some car makers loose the benefits by hiding brake lights or indictors within a cluttered cluster. VAG have some poor examples of light positioning. Although as cars gain more autonomous safety systems then the quicker LED indication of a vehicle in from braking would make a difference and no doubt sensor/transmitter on the brake pedal would give even earlier warning.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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This is interesting and explains the problem for me.
https://www.caravantalk.co.uk/community/topic/94042-flickering-led-road-lights/
 
Aug 19, 2018
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i dont have a swift and they are not LED's so my issue is still the same - any other ideas out there?
 
Jun 20, 2005
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prbrown said:
i dont have a swift and they are not LED's so my issue is still the same - any other ideas out there?
Have you traced the wires back from the plug to the point they have been linked into tecars wiring harness.? Check the Earth in particular.
 
Aug 19, 2018
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No, not properly yet - OH had the car all day yesterday. I'm a little nervous fiddling around in there to be honest - but wouldnt the earth issue affect all the other road lights too? they are all working fine.
Thanks
 
Nov 11, 2009
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prbrown said:
i dont have a swift and they are not LED's so my issue is still the same - any other ideas out there?

I think that I would contact a fitting centre of your towbar manufacturer or mobile fitting service where the auto electricians may be able to advise or carry out checks on the complete set up. If you are not confident in tracing circuits and monitoring them then some professional help might be required.
 

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