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Old 07-08-2020, 06:45 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Hood River Oregon
Posts: 11
Suddenly...No tail lights, running lights or license plate light.

I plugged our '2000 E350 Chinook into a 4 pin trailer connector hooked into our small utility trailer. All was good until... I lost my tail lights, running lights and license plate light on the Chinook. I disconnected the trailer (which still had turn indicators lights) The turn indicators, back-up and break lights still work on the Chinook, but not the tail lights, running lights or license plate light.

I combed through my owners manual looking for the appropriate fuse or relay but tail lights are not mentioned as far as I can see.

Any advice? Many thanks!

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Old 07-08-2020, 08:25 PM   #2
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Location: Corvallis, OR
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Did you lose the front corner running lights as well?

The E-series has 2 fuses for the running lights. One under the dash, one under the hood in the power distribution box. The under-hood fuse powers the factory trailer light circuit, but RV upfitters often use that for the coach running lights too. But if your coach didn't come with the factory tow wiring, somebody may have spliced into the coach wiring, in which case would probably be powered by the under-dash fuse. I believe the owner's manual calls that circuit "marker lamp".

2000 E450 dually V10 wagon
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Old 07-09-2020, 01:47 AM   #3
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Location: Boulder, CO.
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Take it from someone who hates tracing electrical gremlins (who does?) and had to tear things apart today just to find that the last thing I did the night before was to put a screw through the bottom of the passenger side sill attaching something underneath that went right into the door locks harness, rendering them inoperable from a blown fuse, which in turn meant a shorted or grounded wire.....get yourself a decent little volt meter and test the continuity on all your fuses. I got a Klein unit at HD that has an audible beep if the fuse is good and more importantly, a few phone-a-friends on speed dial to talk me through it
'03 Ford E350 7.3L Diesel
(de)SMB'd Custom RB-50
Quigley 4X4 w/Deavers & Agile Offroad's R.I.P. package
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Old 07-10-2020, 06:59 AM   #4
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^^^Another invaluable tool is a Ford EVTM for the particular year van or E-Series you're working on. I myself couldn't imagine tracking an electrical issue without one.

Looking around on eBay which is my normal go-to source for such things I don't see any 2000 E-Series EVTM's though. Time permitting I'll send inquires out to several sellers who might have one but not listed. Should I find something I'll post it here or contact you via PM.

Usually I don't advise using an EVTM from a different year but for the 2000's something from 1999 to 2001 would be close. If nothing else you'd have circuit paths but wire colors and pin locations slightly different so know that if you buy one from those years.

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Old 07-12-2020, 12:55 PM   #5
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Hood River Oregon
Posts: 11
Thanks for your advice!

Thanks! What was turning into a bit of a rabbit hole for me was in fact quite simple if only I had read my Chinook owners manual rather than my E350 manual. A helpful member at sent me a link to a thread explaining the rather unique (weird and poorly conceived) method that Trailways/Chinook wired trailer lights. At the factory, they pirated juice from a fuse in the E350's interior fuse box (#14), ran the wire to an auxiliary box with 4 fuses dedicated to various tank heaters, cup warms etc. 1 such 7.5amp fuse is for running (marker lights) lights, tail lights, the license plate light and the trailer lights. All on one 7.5amp fuse. Bad idea. Too much wire and load. I replaced the fuse and will now switch over my trailer lamps to LED. Incandescent lamps draw to many amps and continuously blow the fuse. Here is the link to the whole story.
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