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Detached for Repairs at Saddleback Butte Having prised ourselves out of the sand, our destination is Lancaster where the delights of a visit to the dentist await. Between my appointment in the morning and Sterlings in the afternoon the indicator/brake lights on the rig decide to go on the blink again, repeatedly blowing the fuse on that circuit. We experienced the same problem back before Christmas but on that occasion it mysteriously corrected itself. No such luck this time around.

It’s stressful enough driving without brake lights or indicators at any time but in a strange city with unexpected right turn only lanes, road works and the usual mayhem of rush hour, it’s no fun at all. We continually expect someone to rear end us as the reassuring clicking of the indicators vanishes yet again.

Sterling spends the best part of the next three days hunting the problem to it’s lair and as always I watch in amazement as he disconnects various lights, testing resistance and looking for patterns as he goes. We’re on our second small packet of 20 amp fuses by this stage and while theories abound there’s still no hard evidence to back any of them up. Things get serious as he starts to dismantle the steering column, removing the ignition key barrel in his quest for the multi-function switch. All to no avail, it’s working as expected. The brake pedal switch is next in his sights but after a prolonged fight to release it, it also proves to be fully functional. There’s nothing for it but to buy an extra large packet of fuses and head out of town to somewhere he can continue the quest.

Original Umbilical Configuration Numerous hours under the rig, identifying and following various wires finally results in a clue indicating that the problem is definitely not in the cab of the truck but in the wiring under the utility body. The question is: where? More time under the truck and it’s finally tracked down: it’s in the umbilical connection between the truck and the camper. Umbilical with Protective Loom This connection carries the main power lines between the two parts of the rig enabling the camper batteries to charge off the truck as we’re driving. The plug also carries the wires for the lights on the camper and it’s the one responsible for the brake/indicator lights that has been caught between the two parts of the rig, tearing the insulation and causing a short. Once found it’s a comparatively easy fix along with some remedial work to prevent it happening again.

So, after countless hours of speculation, hair pulling, dismantling various systems, scrambling under the truck and burning eleven fuses, Sterling finally smiles as he depresses the brake pedal, flicks on the indicators and all lights are as they should be. We’re good to go!

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