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Old 08-25-2014, 12:09 PM   #1
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M.O.C. #11462
Break Away lanyard box

Beware!! While traveling in Washington, my electric brake controller indicated an error. I pulled into the campground and noticed smoke coming from the bed of the truck. The break-away box was smoking and a fire started in the 4 square wiring box. Switched off batteries, disconnected everything, put out the fire before it got into the chase opening above to the coach. I found that the wire passing through one of the holes in the steel frame to the 4 square box had rubbed bare and all the wires were fried, break-away box melted. Yes, there was a fire in the box. About an hour later, another camper that pulled in next to me said his controller was showing an error. I showed and told him what happened to mine, and it was the same problem, just caught in time except for the melted box. This cost me about $500 to have it replaced and rewired.
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:36 PM   #2
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Thanks for the heads up on it.
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:42 PM   #3
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Just another to check once in awhile.
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Old 08-25-2014, 06:34 PM   #4
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Wow. 35 years towing trailers, 13 years pulling fifth wheels, and never had or hearted of that problem. Guess I am just lucky. Another thing to be aware of.
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Old 08-25-2014, 07:49 PM   #5
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Same here. Totally new one for me, but another thing to watch for.
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:49 PM   #6
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I did not have a short or fire, thank goodness, but did have the brakes fail to work one time. Took a bit of sleuthing, but basically had a similar situation. Thought it was the truck controller at first, but it checked out. Then thought it was the wiring in the trailer frame, but that checked out too. So, took the four square box apart. All wires intact, or so I thought. As I wiggled and checked, I saw what I thought was a spark under one of the wire nuts. Discovered that one of the negative (white) wires had not been wrapped tightly with the other ones, and was just "laying" inside the wire nut. The spark was when I wiggled it and it made brief contact. Took everything apart, re-twisted all wires, and securely tightened all wire nuts. No further problems. On new 3425, didn't wait for a problem, opened box, undid all wire nuts and checked wires (found a couple that would have been a problem down the road) re-tightened everything up, and hopefully all will be OK. It is one of the annual preseason checks I now do.
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Old 08-26-2014, 12:02 AM   #7
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Nice to know we just came up the I-15 from California through Montana and Northern Idaho. Spent 24 hours in the rain and on wet roads had similar thing happen with the breakaway switch. Had a supply line short message on the P3 controller. Spent the night just south of the 90, Thought the time of the road would allow things to dry out. In the AM still had same prob talked to my SIL who has been hot shotting (hauling Freight) across the country and into Canada, Recommended to pull the break away check for vapor /steam or smoke from wheels or break away, So I pulled the 7 way from the tv and pulled the break away no signs of any problems or fires.That was a good thing! Plugged the 7 way back in and Message is gone , I did manually activated the brakes did a tug test brakes are working great. SO off we go another 4 hours of rain and there it is again , I pulled off the road and Im thinking hey it worked last time it will work again, so I pulled the breakaway walk around the trailer everything is goo till I get to the breakaway and it is smoking. Yikes, I quickly plug the breakaway in run around the trailer again everything is good, till I get to the breakaway and now the breakaway way is melted wires are melting smoke pouring out of it I grab the cable pull it and only half the pin comes out with the cable. Double yikes grabbed the melting wires by the black wire loom yank them out of the break away, the guts of the switch fall out and the smoke and melting stop. Wow, now what to do?I don't have an extra breakaway so I cut the melted part of the wires off about 4" fold them back and tape with electrical tape. Check the P3 all looks good did the tug test again all is good. That was on Sat. today installed the new breakaway and all is good till i read this post, I think I better check my 4" box tomorrow! Wait why is this happening to us travelling in the PNW???
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