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Roadmaster Smart Diode 7-Wire to 6-Wire Wiring Kit Installation - 2018 Chevrolet Equinox

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How to Install the Roadmaster Smart Diode 7-Wire to 6-Wire Wiring Kit on a 2018 Chevrolet Equinox

Hey, everybody. How's it going Today, we're gonna be going over and showing you how to install the Roadmaster smart diode wiring kit here on our 2018 Chevrolet Equinox. So a wiring kit is gonna be one of the components that we need to successfully flat tow our vehicle here. Now, the wiring is simply gonna transmit these signals from the motor home to our towed vehicle here. That way, we can let other motorists on the road know what signals we're gonna be making, allowing us to arrive to our destination safe and sound. Most cases, the vehicle is gonna block the taillights on the motor home.

Therefore, if we didn't have any way to transmit those signals, no one around us is really gonna know what we're gonna be doing, which could create errors and possibly collisions. So there's many different types of the wiring kits that you can use to successfully transfer the signals from the motor home to the vehicle. This certainly isn't the only one. But this is sorta gonna fall under the classification as a diode wiring kit. Now, some of the other options are gonna be a bulb and socket kit.

So a diode wiring kit is gonna be pretty much splicing into the factory wiring with sort of a module in between to help protect everything. A bulb and socket kit, we're actually gonna be drilling into the taillight housing and installing an extra bulb. I really don't like these. There's not a lot of room for error with those in regards to your drilling, and it can also lead to leaks, possibly damage the taillight housing. So they're definitely not my favorite.

And some of the other options, I'm sure you guys have all seen these before, especially if you flat towed or just seen others flat towing on the road. They're pretty common, and that's gonna be a simple magnetic set of lights that just sit on the hood of the vehicle. Then, you run a wire over the roof, into the motor home. And those do work, but they're usually not the greatest option. You have to deal with the scratching of the paint with the magnet, and that's a big issue for those.

And they're also kinda unsightly 'cause we're gonna be routing that wire over the roof. So it's definitely not a permanent thing. If this is a vehicle that you're gonna be flat towing consistently, you're really gonna wanna look into the other two options, whether that be the bulb and socket or the diode. But as we said, there's some issues with the bulb and socket that I don't really like. The diode wiring kits are really the best option. This particular kit in here is a really great option as well. So Roadmaster actually offers a couple different kinds of diodes. Now, some of the older kits, they just come with the standard diodes and those work great for a lot of vehicles. But this technology is progressing in these vehicles, the taillight circuits are more complex. For this particular vehicle here, it has what's known as a variable voltage taillight circuit. Therefore, all of our signals are actually set on one wire. Therefore, the tail, the stop, and turn for each side, they sit on one wire. And how the vehicle deciphers that is it sends a variable voltage depending on what circuit that is. That way, the taillight and the computer knows which one to illuminate. Now, this is great technology. You know, it cuts down on the amount of wires. It's a little bit more seamless, but the older diodes weren't able to recognize that. With the smart diodes here, it's gonna be able to pick up on those variable voltage, letting us know which circuit needs to be activated, so we don't have any issues here with our kit. So in regards to the actual smart diodes, we have two different options. You have a kit that just comes with the wiring and the diodes, everything you need to pretty much set it up with the exception of a trailer connector umbilical cord. Now, if you already have a tow bar that has one of these built in or you're just simply reusing one from an old setup, that's probably the kit you're gonna wanna go with. But if this is a completely new installation, you don't have any of the other parts, you're gonna wanna opt for the kit that comes with the umbilical cord as well as the trailer connector. It's more of a complete kit and gonna be geared more for you guys that are setting up your vehicle to flat tow for the first time. But again, there is options depending on what we need, so we don't have extra parts we're not gonna be using. So this particular kit here is gonna provide us with the most basic signals we need to remain legal, and that's going to be the stop and turn signal circuits for both the driver and passenger side, as well as the taillight circuits for both sides as well. So it's gonna have all the basic functions we need to remain legal driving out on the road. So if you opt for the kit that comes with the umbilical cord and the trailer connector, this is gonna allow us for extra circuits. So a lot of times, vehicles require a charge line, which is basically a power wire run from the motor home's battery to the vehicle's battery. This allows us to charge the vehicle's battery. That way, when we get done flat towing, we don't have a dead battery when we go to head in town. Now, this particular kit doesn't actually come with that charge line, but it does allow you to run this through the umbilical cord, using the extra slots in the six-way connector, which gets mounted on the vehicle. And then, we have a nice, sturdy umbilical cord here. This is very durable. They last a long time. These are really my favorite umbilical cords on the market. This particular option here is coiled as well. That way, you don't have to worry about it dragging the ground. As you can see, we have a tow bar here without any guides or anything. So that coiled connection there really helps to keep it tight to the bottom of the tow bar, so we don't have any sagging, possibly damaging the cord. So in regards to kit components, regardless if we get it with or without the cord, we're gonna get pretty much everything we need to set up the vehicle side. And that's gonna be the wiring harness that runs from the front of the vehicle to the rear with the taillights, our two diodes, and then all of our miscellaneous wire connectors that we're gonna need to make these connections. You will, however, need a crimping tool, possibly a wire-stripping tool. And we have some cost-effective options here at etrailer if you'd like to pick up one along with your kit. So the real workhorse here of this kit is gonna be the actual diodes themselves. Obviously, we have the wires that are gonna be carrying our circuits, but the diodes, they really serve an important role. And what these things really do is they're gonna work to separate the vehicle from the motor home and the motor home from the vehicle. Now, the reason that's important is, let's say we have an issue with a wiring on the vehicle, could potentially short out the vehicle's taillights, and then if everything's connected without a diode, that same electrical short is gonna transfer to the motor home and possibly affect those lights as well. And we certainly don't want that happening. What that diode does is it's gonna prevent that electricity from backfeeding from one side to the other. Therefore, if there's an issue with our vehicle here, it's not gonna affect the lights on our motor home and vice versa. We have an issue with the motor home, the diodes are gonna stop that electricity from flowing to the vehicle and preventing any issues here as well. So overall, it's just more or less a safeguard. So in regards to installation, this one really isn't that bad at all. The bulk of the installation is gonna be running the wire from the front to the rear, so it is gonna take you a little bit of time. But I wouldn't say anything is particularly challenging. You guys should be able to get this done in a few hours. We only have to make one splice here on either side into the actual vehicle. And I know a lot of people don't like to do that, but it is very minor. It could easily be reversed. And again, it's only one splice per side. You will need some tools. We talked about that a little bit. Just some common hand-crimping tools and wire-stripping tools, but that's pretty much it. Definitely attainable, something you guys might already have in your toolbox. That being said, let's go ahead and jump into that installation, so we can show you guys how easy it really is. So to start our installation today, we're gonna take our bonded wiring harness here. Now, we're gonna find a point at the front of the vehicle to tie this off too. And then, we're gonna run the wiring harness from the front to the rear where our taillights are. Now, I would like to point out that obviously, we have our bumper cover off, so our vehicle looks a little bit different than what yours would look like. Now, we can still do this with the bumper on. It's gonna make things a little bit harder in regards to securing the actual connector there and obtaining the wires to the back of the connector. So I definitely recommend doing this when you finish the base plate installation before you put the bumper on. But again, we can still do it with the bumper on. It's just easier with it off, which is what we're gonna be doing here. So with that said, I'm just gonna take one end of our harness here. I'm just gonna tie it to where we have the trailer connector mounting bracket. Most of your base plates are gonna come with one of these, so go ahead and just take some wire here, tie it to that bracket, and you wanna make sure you leave yourself some extra slack, about six to 12 inches of extra slack there, just so you don't run into any issues when you go to connect the trailer connector. So I'm gonna go ahead and tie it off like so. And now, we're gonna take the other end of this wiring harness. We're gonna route it all the way to the rear of the vehicle. We're gonna go ahead and do that now. And then, we'll show you the path that we took. So you can see, we have our wiring tied off to the trailer connector here. And then, I went ahead and went up and over the crosstube here of our base plate. Just use a couple zip ties to secure it to the top of the base plate. That way, it doesn't fall down, get intertangled in our intercooler. We have another zip tie here, and then you can clearly see our bonded four-pole going on the bottom of the vehicle now, sorta up above this panel. I do have it zip tied here, sorta securing it to that frame rail, the crossmember. Now, we're gonna come up and over this panel here. Now, you should start to see this wire coming out from the bottom of the frame. Just snuck it between the space between the frame and the panel. And now, we have some more zip ties here, securing it to the bottom of the frame rail. You need to be careful when we get in this area here 'cause we have the mounts for our lower control arm, so everything there is gonna be moving. We wanna make sure we stay away from that. Come up and over here, there's gonna be a nice little tab here. We can use a zip tie, and we're gonna jump over here to where all our lines, we have our fuel lines, our brake lines, just all the lines. We have another zip tie here. And then, basically from this point back, we're gonna have it secured to the existing lines here, sorta behind this panel. You don't have to remove this panel completely, but if you have a 10-millimeter socket, you're gonna see these plastic nuts on the outside here. So just remove the ones on the perimeter on this inside here. Then, we should be able to pull down that a little bit, and then we can just simply sneak our wire behind that panel. From this point here, almost all the way to the rear, we're gonna exit our panel, coming out here at the back. And again, we just have some more zip ties securing it to existing wiring and lines. And then, we're gonna come beside the fuel tank here, up and over the filler neck for the gas tube. Now, we need to be careful when we get to this point here. So this is the rear subframe. We have more moving components, so we wanna make sure we steer clear of those. It's kinda hard to see, but our wire is gonna go up and over our crossmember here. You can kinda see we have a couple zip ties up in here. That's gonna ensure that the wire doesn't come down and get tangled up in the coil springs or the control arms. So it's very important that we make sure we tie this off. And now, we're gonna come up and over the subframe. I have another zip tie here, securing it to the top of the frame rail. From here, we're pretty much just gonna go out and around. And now, I'm sorta behind the rear wheel well here in this area here. You can see, we have a couple more zip ties securing it to some lines up there. But that's where we stop. This is the rest of our wire. Next, we're gonna go up top, and we're gonna pull this wire through once we remove the taillights. So now that we have the wire ran to the rear of the vehicle, as we said, we need to go ahead and remove the taillight assemblies on either side. So in order to do that, you're obviously gonna need to open up the hatch here. In this sorta area here, you're gonna see these two little plastic covers. So we're gonna take a flathead screwdriver. We're just gonna pry open that cover like so, and that's gonna reveal a Torx screw. We have one on the top and on the bottom here. Just like that. And then, we're gonna take a T15 Torx bit and remove both of those screws. And then, once we get both of these out, we should be able to pull the taillight assembly away from the vehicle. Now, keep in mind, these kinda are stuck in here a lot sometimes, so just need to be careful that we pull straight out. But it does take a little bit of maneuvering and wiggling back and forth. Very rarely do they just come off really easily. So just get a good grip on 'em on the sides here and just pull straight out as best you can. Just like that. And now, we can go ahead and undo our electrical connectors here. Now, I will say, yours are gonna look a little bit different than what we have here 'cause this particular vehicle has some aftermarket trailer wiring. But nonetheless, what we're gonna do is we're just gonna remove the bulbs from the taillight assembly by just twisting those out. So that one was a little bit harder to twist there, so I just went ahead, depressed that tab on the top there to remove it like so. So here's what our two factory connectors look like. So we have this large rectangular green one and a small gray one. So what we're gonna do next is we're gonna take a trim panel tool. We have a little push connector down here that's just sorta holding our wiring to the body of the vehicle. We wanna pull that away to give us a little bit more room to work. So I'm just gonna get a trim panel tool or a flathead screwdriver, whatever you have, just sorta pry open that. Pry it up just like so. What we're gonna do next is we're gonna be very careful. We're gonna take a razor knife here. We're gonna begin stripping the fabric tape. This stuff's kinda nasty. It's really hard to get off, but we need to expose these wires here 'cause these are the ones we're gonna be splicing into. So we're gonna take a razor knife there, and we're just gonna begin cutting that fabric tape as careful as we can because we obviously don't wanna cut the wires underneath. So just take your time here and begin removing the fabric tape as best we can. We're gonna go to about where this connection here is, so we're gonna be removing some of the wire loom and the fabric tape as well. So just take your time here, make sure we don't damage the wire, and just get that fabric tape off as best as we can. So we went ahead and got all that fabric tape off there. And again, just be careful that we don't pierce any of the wires. If you do, that's okay. Just make sure you cover it with some electrical tape. But now, we have our two wires exposed coming from our rectangular green connector. So this vehicle uses a very low-voltage taillight circuit. Therefore, all of our signals are actually gonna come from this one wire here. So this is gonna be a yellow/gray wire. And this is gonna carry our taillight circuit as well as our stop and turn signal circuit. So that actually makes things pretty easy for you guys because there's only one wire on the vehicle we're gonna be splicing into. What we're gonna do next is we're gonna take a pair of cutters. We're actually gonna cut this yellow and gray wire about at the center way here. It's where we have it stripped down. I stripped it down pretty much as much as I could before it starts to go behind the bumper there. So let's go ahead and find a good midway point here. Go ahead and click that wire, just like so. Once we do that, we're gonna take our wire strippers here. We're gonna be stripping back some of the jacket on each end of this wire. About a 1/4 inch or so is really all we need. So now that we have our wire cut, we'll take some wire strippers here. Just strip back about a 1/4 inch of the jacket or so. About like that. We need to do that on both ends of the wire. But once we do get it stripped back, we're gonna take one of our connectors here, place that over the wire, and then simply crimp it on. Once you do get it crimped, just go ahead and give the connector a little tug here just to make sure it's nice and secure there on the wire. So now, once we have our two connectors on, we're gonna take one of our diodes here. So we have two different ends. We have an end with three ends, this end with two. The end with two is gonna go to the plug here, which plugs into the taillight. And the end with three is gonna go towards the vehicle. So we're gonna take this one here, coming from the back of the connector. We're gonna attach that to the car brake out. Just like that. And then, this one here is gonna go to the car brake in. Just like that. So the next thing we're gonna do is we're gonna take our white wire strand that you have in your kit, about a foot long or so. And this is actually gonna be for the ground, which is gonna go to this terminal here on our smart diode. So we're gonna take this white wire, and on one end, we're going to crimp on one of those red connectors that we just showed you. And on the other end, we're gonna crimp on a ring terminal, which is gonna come in your kit. You don't have to worry about getting that separate. So there is a spade connector, and on the other end, as we said, we're gonna attach a ring terminal. Once we get that crimped on there, as we said earlier, this end here is gonna go to the spade coming from our diode. And this other end here, we're gonna ground to the inside of the taillight pocket here to bare metal, using the included self-tapping screw in your kit. So the next thing we're gonna do is if you remember a little bit earlier in the video, we showed routing a wiring harness from the front of the vehicle to the rear, so we actually need to use those wires now. So in order to get them up into the taillight pocket here, we need to take some sorta pulling mechanism, such as an air line that we have here. Or if you have a string with a weight tied to it like a nut, we can use that as well. But basically, we're just gonna be sticking that down here between the back of the bumper and the body paneling on the vehicle. We're just gonna be feeding that down until we can get it to come out underneath. So you may need to reach up in there and grab it. As you can see here, we have this side coming from underneath the vehicle, and then we still have our one at the top here. So here's those wires that we ran underneath earlier. So what I'm gonna do is I'm actually gonna take this green wire here. This is for the passenger side, so we don't need this up into the taillight pocket on the driver side. Therefore, I'm gonna go ahead and just cut on the end of the wire there, and we can begin pulling this green wire away from the strand here. 'Cause again, we won't need it over here on the driver side. The rest of the wires though, the yellow, brown, and white, we will be running into the taillight pocket here on the driver side. But once we get that green wire separated, we're gonna take our air line tubing or whatever we used to guide behind the bumper and the body of the vehicle, and I'm gonna tie the wires to that air line tubing. Whether you have some electrical tape, that usually works pretty well, or just a zip tie, whatever we have to join the two together, so they don't pull apart. But once we've done that, now, we'll come back up to the top here, take our air line tubing and begin pulling that, hopefully, bringing our wire along with it. So there we go, just like we wanted. And as soon as you get your wire up here, what I like to do is I like to take another zip tie here and just sorta zip tie it to the main lead here of the wiring harness. That way, we don't have to worry about our wire ever falling down. And I would try to get that zip tied down there as far as you can, just so we're not running into any issues with it interfering with putting our taillight back on. So just like that. So once we have our bundle of three wires into the taillight pocket here, we're gonna split each of those. So we're gonna pull the white wire free, the brown wire free, then the yellow wire. The first connection we're gonna make is with the yellow wire. So you're gonna have quite a bit of extra. You're gonna go ahead and cut off that extra. Give yourselves about five or six inches from the edge of the taillight pocket here. And then, we're gonna crimp on one of our spade terminals and attach that to the RV brake terminal here, coming from the smart diode. And now, the other one you're gonna have open is gonna be the center one here for RV tail. So we're actually gonna be attaching our brown wire to that using another one of the spade terminals. However, unlike the yellow wire we did here, we actually need to piggyback that brown wire. So just use the extra you had that you cut off here, and we're gonna attach that to the other end of that spade terminal. So you're just gonna twist those two brown wires together. One of the brown wires is gonna be coming from the front of the vehicle. The other one here is gonna be our jumper, and that's gonna go over to the passenger side. But after we've done that, we should have one wire left over here, and that's gonna be our white wire. So what we're gonna be doing is we're gonna be grounding this one, just the same method that we use to ground the diode. So I'm gonna go ahead and cut off the extra here, crimp on one of our ring terminals, and attach it to the body with a self-tapping screw. And then, last but not least, we're gonna take this extra brown wire or jumper brown wire for the taillight circuit, I'm gonna run this wire back down behind the bumper there, and then we're gonna run that over to the passenger side, along with our green wire. So now that we have all of our connections made, I'm gonna go ahead and resecure our taillight on this side. Make sure you plug back in your factory connections. If you wanted to, you could use the adhesive backing on our diode to attach it to the body. I think I'm just gonna let ours hang because there's not really a lot of room. And if we attach it to some surface in here, it could tear our taillight. So I'm just gonna go ahead and leave it free there. We've got our wire secured, so it's not gonna fall down or pull out any of our terminals. So that being said, go ahead, resecure our taillight. Then, we'll jump underneath and we'll route those two wires that we showed you routing down earlier over to the other side. So as we said, we're back underneath the vehicle here. We need to take those two wires, the brown and the green wires. Now, once we stick them back down, they should come out in this area here. And we're basically just gonna be routing these to the other side of the vehicle. It's pretty simple. We're just gonna be routing them behind the bumper supports here, up and over the flanges to the bumper beam. It's pretty much all the way across behind the bumper here until they're gonna come out on the other side like so. And now, we need to pull these wires up into the passenger side taillight pocket. We're pretty much just gonna use the same method that we showed you earlier with our air line tubing. So just stick the air line tubing down through that pocket there. And once you have it underneath, just tie the two together, and then we'll go back up top, pull the air line tubing through, bringing our wires along with it. So now, we've got both our brown taillight and our green stop and turn signal wire routed up into the taillight pocket here. So what we're gonna do now is we're pretty much just gonna be making the same connections that we showed you on the driver side. So you're gonna get your other diode there. Everything is gonna be pretty much the same. The wire that we're gonna be using is gonna be a white/yellow wire coming from that green rectangular connector. So again, we're pretty much just doing everything that we've already did but over here on this side. So now, you can see here, we have all our connections made, just pretty much mirroring everything we did over on the other side. But once we have all that on, we can just go ahead and simply reinstall our taillights, and then we'll move up to the front of the vehicle, install our trailer connector, so we can test everything out to make sure it's working properly. So now, we're gonna come to the front of the vehicle. As we've said earlier, we're gonna take our wire strand that we routed. What we're gonna do is I'm gonna go ahead and just start peeling back some of these wires here. And I'm gonna end up cutting them because we're not gonna need this much length, but we did wanna make sure that we didn't short ourselves. Just go ahead and peel each of those wires back here. Just like that. Now, I'm gonna go ahead and cut some of the extra slack. We're still gonna make sure we leave ourselves a few inches past the bracket there. Now, the next thing we're gonna do is we're gonna strip some of the jacket off of each of these four wires here. Just about a 1/4 inch or so. And after we strip that jacket off, I always like to twist them. That way, the loose strands don't get hung up. And once we get all these prepped, what we're gonna do is we're gonna take our rubber boot here. I'm gonna slide that over each of our four wires. Back into there like so. And now, I'm gonna take our trailer connector here along with a small Phillips head screwdriver. So on the back of our trailer connector, we're gonna have several different terminals. So these are gonna be labeled. They're gonna correspond with the wires here. Let's go ahead and find this one here. This is RT. So RT is gonna be for the right stop and turn signal circuit. So that's gonna be our green wire. So we'll loosen that screw there, stick our wire into there. Now, it doesn't quite go all the way down. That means we have a little bit too much wire, and that's fine. I'll just go ahead and trim that off. Go ahead and stick it in that little socket there and just simply tighten the screw. So there's that one. Now, we'll move on to the next one here. GD, that's gonna be for ground. So I'm gonna take the white wire. And I think I made these a little bit too long, so I'm just gonna go ahead and trim some of the excess. We're basically just gonna continue doing this for our other wires here. The LT one is gonna be for the yellow wire, and then TM is gonna be for the taillight circuit. Just go ahead, make sure you choose the correct locations there, and finish attaching the rest of your wires. So now that we have all of our connections made here, now, there's a couple more things we need to do before we actually secure this. I wanna test it out to make sure everything's working properly. And then, we'll seal it up, apply the boot, and mount the trailer connector. So we're just gonna take the umbilical from your kit here. Just simply plug it in. And now, you can use your motor home for this if you have that nearby. We're actually gonna be using a test box, makes it a little bit easier on us. But chances are you guys are gonna need to use your motor home. But either way, it should work fine. Just go ahead plug one into the trailer connector, and then the other end into your motor home or in our case a test box. So now, we can go ahead and run through our signals here. You see we have the taillights, the left turn, the brake lights, and then finally our right turn. So now that we know everything's working, we're gonna take some silicone sealer here, and I'm just gonna seal up all of our connections. That way, we don't have to worry about water getting in there, corroding the circuits. And we do offer this as well on our website in the form of RTV gasket maker. But just do as best we can, make sure we fill all the gaps here with silicone. 'Cause again, we're just trying to prevent water from getting in there and causing corrosion, which would then in turn give us lighting issues. But once we get these all sealed up, we're just gonna simply place our boot over the wires. And then, we can secure the connector to our bracket. So now that we have it mounted, we're just gonna simply take our included hardware and secure it to the bracket. Now, these steps could kinda vary depending on what base plate kit you have and what bracket you're using. Most base plate kit manufacturers are gonna include their own bracket whereas the connector is gonna come with our wiring harness here. We'll just simply tighten that down to secure the connector. And then finally, I'll take some dielectric grease here. I'll go ahead and just place them onto the pins inside the connector lid there. Again, just making sure if any water does get in there, that it doesn't corrode the circuits. And that's gonna do it today for our look and installation of the Roadmaster smart diode wiring kit here on our 2018 Chevrolet Equinox..

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