Taillight Converter Issues – Curt 56146

Update: 08/26/2015 – After a long day trip of some 765 miles I’ve concluded that the Curt Converter is a viable tail light control device for the 2013 Spyder ST. The new Hopkins’s unit that they replaced the second failed unit with is going onto EBay for some lucky shopper!

Update: 07/24/2015 – After a day-trip of some 200+ miles I’m happy to report that the trailer lights are still working! I’m not ready to celebrate yet, but this is certainly good news. I happened to be at the Dealership where I bought the bike yesterday and learned that BRP had replaced the converter of their hitch with a different model after experiencing too many failures! Didn’t bother to ask why I wasn’t notified nor why I didn’t receive a (free) replacement under warranty.

Update: 07/20/2015 – Took a short trip around the eastern edge of Colorado Springs to test the new trailer light converter installed on my Can-Am Spyder… It worked fine during this short trip, and was working after I parked the bike and trailer back in my garage. I’m not announcing victory yet but each small trip to test the converter will add to my confidence that the trailer lights are going to continue to work properly during a longer, overnight trip on the bike.

After the second Hopkins brand taillight converter failed I decided to try to find another brand of taillight converter to replace the Hopkins unit on my Can-Am Spyder ST. Hopkins dominates this market so I was not surprised when my searches using Google and Amazon displayed the same taillight converter unit that I had purchased back in December of 2014 for the first replacement (that failed!). See the https://myspyderstuff.wordpress.com/2014/12/14/2013-spyder-st-hitch-converter-replacement/ link for a detailed description of that first replacement.

After several searches a number of taillight converter units by the Curt manufacturer were listed among the Hopkins units. I then went to Amazon to try to find any of the Curt units that would be compatible to the wiring requirements of the Spyder, that is, that the number of inputs to the converter and the outputs were identical to the trailer hitch wiring loom already installed on the Spyder. This was a bit difficult to do since neither the pictures of the several models of Curt converters were detailed enough to visually verify the number (and colors) of input and output wires. I finally found one (Curt 56146) unit that looked to be close, if not an exact electrical replacement for the Hopkins 46365 kit. I ordered it, taking a chance that it would work!

After receiving the unit it was clear that the wires into the input side and output side were functionally a match for the requirements of the trailer wiring hitch on my Spyder. As the picture below shows the color and function of each wire is exactly the same except for the color of the battery wire in the loom and the battery wire of the converter.

IMG_2091This picture shows the wiring loom input and output sections with the Hopkins unit removed from those loom ends. The Curt unit has had the wiring on both the input and output sides cut to shorter lengths for soldering to the loom ends. Note the shrink wrap tubes installed on each of the wires prior to soldering so that the shrink wrap can be moved over the solder joint to prevent any shorting of those connections.

The white card in the upper right of the picture shows the wiring colors of the loom end wires and what they control on the trailer. This diagram resulted from testing the electrical output of each wire on the input side of the loom for function and testing the electrical input on each wire on the output side of the loom for function to the trailer. The colors of the wire of the loom match the colors of the wire on the Curt unit except for the battery wire as noted above.

IMG_2096The picture above shows the output of the Curt unit soldered to the output side loom of the hitch wiring loom, with shrink wrap tubes in place and ‘shrunk’. The input side wires have already been soldered, with an inline 10-amp fuse box soldered into the battery wire connection. The shrink tubes have not yet been positioned and shrunk at this point in the process. The 10-amp fuse box is a requirement from the instructions accompanying the Curt unit.

Installing the newly wired Curt unit onto the bike has been covered in the referenced blog article so it will not be repeated here. Needless to say when I turned the key of the bike and ran through the several functions that the trailer lights should show, I was ecstatic to see each function showed the appropriate result on the trailer…. i.e. everything worked!

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the trailer wiring problems have been solved. If after a number of trips the trailer lights continue to work I will conclude that the problem has been solved with the Curt unit or the wiring loom of the bike itself is at fault with some sort of electrical surge that is damaging the trailer hitch taillight converter. We can only hope that the problem is solved.

I will update this article after several trips with the tow-behind trailer noting that the trailer lights are continuing to function or the Spyder wiring loom has some sort of electrical fault!


About justanoldguy

Retired Computer Programmer. Born and Raised in Missouri. Graduated from Missouri School of Mines in 1964. Retired in 2003. Moved to Colorado in 2010. Enjoying good health and 'front range'. Touring frequently on Can-Am Spyder motorcycle. Skiing during the Winter months at Monarch Mountain Ski Area (for free!).
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