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Old 09-18-2002, 08:58 AM   #1
radioouman
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Trailer wiring harness

I have mounted my trailer hitch on my SW2, and I am trying to do the electrical work now. I pulled the plastic trim piece off (the one that surrounds the tailgate striker post), and I found a connector in the wiring below. Since the connector has a loop of wire and was wrapped with one or two wraps of electrical tape, it seems to me that this is the connector for trailer wiring.

However, I called the local dealers and they say that Saturn doesn't make a trailer wiring harness for the S series cars. Only the VUE.

How have other people done the wiring for their Saturn S-series cars? I have one of the adapters that have leads for stop, left, right, and tail lights, but I don't know where to get power from for each of those, short of trying to splice in at the light itself.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 09-18-2002, 03:26 PM   #2
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This is just for reference for the NEXT time someone looks to run the wiring for a trailer hitch.

(this was done on a 2000 SW2, and should be similiar on the other S cars, although I'm sure that there are small differences...)

First of all, I installed a Draw-tite hitch on my car. This was not overly difficult, but it took the right tools. Before installing the hitch, I highly recommend running the car backwards up a pair of ramps. You'll appreciate the extra space. Make sure you have a good light that you can point under the car and don't have to hold. I used a shop light. Make sure you have a pair of safety glasses!!! THis is very important, since you will be underneath the car and pieces of metal could fall in your eyes.

(Remove everything in the trunk except for the spare tire. This includes cargo liner, cargo net, cargo cover, carpet, spare tire cover, and pull back the insulation that covers the flat area between the spare tire and the plastic side panels. Only pull back the insulation where it isn't glued. Also, remove the plastic trim piece that surrounds the tail gate striker post by pulling it straight up.)

- Begin by removing the nut on the muffler strap. Remove it completely and let the muffler hang.
- Trim back the heat shield on the muffler with a pair of tin snips. You'll need to trim it back so the hitch can slide in between the muffler (shield) and the frame rail the back. As you begin to position the hitch where it needs to go, you'll see how far you need to trim it.
- The hitch is mounted to the edge of the frame rail. A cross section of the frame rail looks like a U with small flats at the top that are used to weld the floor to the frame. You will be mounting the hitch to these flats.
- Position the hitch as far toward the rear of the car as possible, and mark the spots for the rear holes in the hitch. Make sure that your marks are in the center of the flat at the top of the frame member. You will eventually be drilling through them with a 9/16" drill (bigger than a half inch!) so you need to make sure there is room for that hole.
- Start by drilling with a small drill. 1/4" is a good place to start. Increase 1/8" at a time (1/4" -> 3/8" -> 1/2" -> 9/16"). Use HIGH SPEED and don't push terribly hard on the drill!! Drilling with large drill bits on steel is tough.

- Once you have the two rear holes, put the reinforcement bars in the trunk and put the bolt through the reinforcement bar and the hole in the trunk floor. Use the reinforcement bar to locate the holes closest to the front of the vehicle. Make sure they are STRAIGHT so that you drill into the frame.
- Drill the two forward holes from the inside of the car.
- Mount the hitch to the vehicle with the supplied hardware. You will want to seal the holes before you tighten the bolts with a sealant (I used silicon rubber or RTV).
- Tighten the four bolts from the bottom.

- Bend the heat shield back in place, and trim it if necessary.
- Install the nut on the muffler strap.

Now for the wiring.
Saturn does not provide a connector to make the trailing wiring easy. You will need to get an adapter box that has hook ups for left and right turn lights, brake lights, and lights. Draw-tite sells one that does not require power, but some do.

- Remove the screws that are used to hold the cargo net and cargo cover.
- Remove the tail light housing by removing the two screws on the side of each housing.
- Behind the tail lights, unwrap some of the gray electrical tape that is wrapped around the rubber grommet where the wires pass through. Get a long pair of needle nose pliers, and slide them into the grommet from the outside of the car.
- Pull on the plastic piece that is on the inside of the car (behind the tail lights) so that it releases. Next, put the wires for lights, brakes, and the left turn signal through the grommet on the left side of the car.
- Put the wire for the right turn signal through the grommet on the right side of the car.

-Using splice connectors, connect the brake light on the wiring harness to the red wire on the 5 wire connector (for the tail lights). Connect the left turn signal wire to the yellow wire on the connector, and the lights wire to the brown wire in the connector. On the right side, connect the right turn signal wire to the dark green wire in the connector.
- Connect the ground wire in the wiring harness to the screw that is on the metal frame beneath the plastic on the left side of the car. There is a screw (10 mm) that already has a ground strap running to it. Connect the ground wire there.

- Re-wrap the wires and grommets with electrical tape to protect the wiring.
- Attach the trailer wiring adapter box somewhere convenient. If you like, leave it in the trunk, or you can use double sided tape to stick it underneath the plastic trim and out of the way.

Even though this sounds like a very complex procedure, it turns out to work very well. For instance, if something happens to one of the splice connectors, it is very easy to remove the tail light to get to it.
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Old 09-18-2002, 08:56 PM   #3
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Hopkins Manufacturing (HOPPY brand) makes a easy to install trailer harness for many SUVs and pickup trucks.

Rather than having to tap into wires or splice stuff, the harness plugs in at a factory cable junction. Unplug at the junction and plug in the harness between the two connectors you unplugged. The harness plugs and sockets match the factory ones perfectly and are water/dust tight.

Don't know if they make one for Saturns, but if you have an SUV or pickup, this is the best way of wiring and trailer harness by far. I haven't seen any for cars, but I haven't looked either.
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Old 09-19-2002, 09:41 AM   #4
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Yep, I checked on a harness from them, but they don't have one. I would have liked to not have to go in there with those silly splice connectors. At some point I may take those out and create my own wiring harness for it, but for now I'm leaving it alone.
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