Last summer, a class action lawsuit was filed in a Montana federal court against Forest River, Inc. This lawsuit alleges that all Forest River fifth wheels built between 2002 through 2022 are equipped with an unsafe wiring system. 50 pages of documents accuse the manufacturer of not safely insulating and protecting wires between the towing vehicle’s seven-way cord junction box and an RV’s battery. This can increase the risk of a short and creates a hazardous condition.
The documentation also states that the units were manufactured without having a fuse or circuit breaker installed to protect the wiring system. Should a short occur between the seven-way junction box and the battery, the unprotected wire will overheat, which can create a fire risk.
If you own a fifth wheel or travel trailer, your unit is equipped with a seven-way cord and junction box. Outside of the risks outlined in the above-mentioned class action lawsuit, poorly installed seven-way cords and/or junction boxes can also cause brake failure.
Inspecting the seven-way cord and junction box
The following pictures were shared with me by one of my Facebook group members. I wanted to share some tips with you to keep you safely on the road.
As you can tell from my sea of red arrows, I am concerned about several items.
- The junction box appears to be held in place by zip ties, instead of being secured in place with fasteners.
- It appears that the seven-way cord is pulled out of the clamp socket. It should have a second metal/rubber clamp to secure onto the frame.
- There is a lot of wiring that is floating around. It should be covered and secured into place.
Alternative seven-way cord and junction box
If you are looking for an alternative seven-way cord and junction box, THIS is an excellent option. This weatherproof 8-foot cord is connected to a sturdy junction box. This junction box comes with color-marked 7-poles that can be easily identified.
Standard wiring schematic
For the most part, RVs will follow the below standard wiring schematic. But not all 7-pin plugs will be wired according to this same color pattern. Before you start changing wires, confirm the operation of all systems.
- Red = left turn signal/stop
- Brown = right turn signal/stop
- Green = tail lights
- Blue = electric brakes
- Yellow = backup/reverse or auxiliary lights
- Black = 12V battery connector
- White = ground wire
Know before you go
I hope this serves as a reminder to inspect your junction box and tow cord wiring before you hit the road. Make sure that your cord and junction box are secure and in good shape before traveling. This will ensure your safety and the safety of those behind you.
More from Dustin
Dustin owns and operates California RV Specialists, an independent RV repair shop located in Lodi, CA. He thrives on sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm of RV repair and maintenance with his team, customers, and virtual friends.
Be sure to check out his YouTube channel where he shares what’s going on in the shop and the product offerings in the store. Dustin is also very active on Facebook. Join his group, RV Repairs and Tips – What’s in the shop!
Dustin proudly operates the business alongside his wife, Ashley; but the true pair that run the show are their Boston Terriers, Arvie and Hitch.