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The Toad Taillight Wiring

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000511 - I stopped by Crystal Welding and picked up some diodes, trailer connectors, and 4-conductor cable today to wire up the Explorer taillights for towing. I need to get it wired up in the next week so I can pull it to work to pick up Teri and Dani when they return from their trip to Atlanta.

The intent is to connect the diodes Click for full size image into the wires that feed the brake/signal/tail lights, run a cable from the diodes to the front of the vehicle, connect a 6 prong connector to it, and mount the connector to the front bumper. Sounds easy enough.

I purchased 3 diodes Click for a full sized image . One diode is for the tail lights, one is for the right turn / brake light, and the third is for the left turn / brake light.

Installation is pretty simple. Each diode has two "IN" terminals, and and one "OUT" terminal. Click for a full sized image The original toad wire is cut, the feed side is attached to one of the "IN" terminals, and the light side is attached to the "OUT" terminal. The tow vehicle supply wire will attach to the remaining "IN" terminal.

In the rear of the Explorer there is a removable panel that opens a comparment above the wheel well Click for a full sized image . The jack is stowed there, and the towing package relays are installed in there, also. Wiring to the relays and tail lights is accessable through this panel. This is the perfect place to install the diodes.

I probed the wiring connector and relays to locate the proper wire for each circuit. The diodes come with a sticky tape backing, and I attached them inside the compartment. Then I cut each circuit and crimped on a connector that was supplied with the diodes, and attached it to the appropriate diode terminal. After connecting each diode into the existing wiring, I testing to make sure the Explorer still had all lights working properly. It did. Then I connected in three of the conductors in the cable I had purchased, snaked it along the underside of the vehicle, and came out the front grill. The fourth conductor was attached to the body for ground Click for a full sized image . Couldn't be simpler. Or so I thought.

I decided to test the wires by connecting them to the positive side of the battery. I connected the left side brake/turn wire, and happily saw the left side brake light illuminate. Good! Then I connected the right side brake/turn wire to positive. Nothing! Shoot! I then connected the tail light wire to positive. The left side tail light lit up, but the right side light did not. After chasing wires and probing the tail light connectors, I came to the conclusion that the right side lights were not connected to the wiring harness inside the panel where the relays are, as I had originally thought. A check of my Hanes manual confirmed that there is another connector upstream where the right side light harness is split off from the left side. Unfortunately, the manual only gives a rudementary diagram of the wiring, and does not show location in relation to the vehicle. I'm going to have to follow the wires forward to find where the right side is split off, and tap in there. Hopefully, I'll get to that in a day or two.

000517 - Searched for awhile to find where the right hand wires were split off from the main harness. I was expecting to find a connector, but instead, I found that the tail light wire, and the right hand brake/turn light wire were split out inside the main cable under the left rear seat Right brake/turn light split Tail light wire split . I had to remove the seat and pull the carpet back to gain access Click for a full sized image , but once I found the splits, it was a quick job to cut the right side wire, splice in a new wire to the right hand side, and run this to the output side of the respective diodes Click for a full sized image . I had to use a mechanical splice on the output of the diode to connect the new wires Click for a full sized image because I didn't have any more terminals, and had already crimped the new terminals on. It's kind of ugly, but it works. I tested the wires to see that they turned on the appropriate lights, and that there was no feedback.

Next, I mounted the 6-prong trailer connecter to the front bumper Click for a full sized image Click for a full sized image , and connected the 4 conductor cable (which I had previously routed through a rubber plug and along the frame) into the connector. I plugged it into the trailer connector on my pickup, and tested everything. Then I attached the tow bar to the pickup, hooked up the Explorer, and took it out for the initial "test drag".

Everything went well on the test drag. The Remco disconnect worked, the tow bar worked, though I need to weld on some heavier and larger safety chain rings. The tow bar worked well (A friend replaced the ends that connect to the base plate because the pin holes had been wallowed out by the previous owner. He cut the end piece off each one, and welded a new stainless steel piece on with the same size hole.) The lights worked. Everything went well, except for the idiot Spee-Dee Delivery truck driver who was behind me and got upset because I had to slow down slightly to exit the interstate. I guess he got mad because he had to slow down slightly, too. He nearly rammed into the back of me, despite the quarter mile of turn signals and brake lights on the back of the Explorer. I had given plenty of warning. He was cussing me as I exited and he went on by. Oh well, I got his truck number, and I think I'll call his safety manager to have a little discussion and see if maybe he needs an attitude adjustment.

The wiring of the taillights on the Explorer was really easy, once I figured out how Ford had set up it's wiring. I haven't added it all up, but probably have about $90 in parts.

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