Prepping Hal for the Wagon of Science

Hal, a mere Volkswagon Golf, cannot fit two telescopes, related astronomy gear, table, chair, and all of the outreach equipment used at club events. Thankfully, I now have a trailer for this purpose. But Hal needed to be equipped to pull it. Why do I call my car “Hal”? My car sends me messages letting me know when his hatchback is open, or sunroof is open or doors are open. And if there is rain in the forecast, Hal gets extra pissy about these things and lets me know.  When I get these messages on my phone, my inner monologue reads them in the voice of HAL 9000 in 2001 A Space Odyssey being methodically euthanized by Dave…”Dave.. what are you doing Dave….”. So, Hal came to be.

I ordered a hitch and wiring harness from eTrailer and it arrived quickly. Installing the hitch was pretty easy. The instructions were clear and the instructional videos on their website were phenomenal.

However, the instructions failed to mention that you should not close your garage door with the car raised on jack stands and the hatchback open

Add $475 to project cost because I’m a dumbass

The wiring was a little more challenging, but I bought the t-connector kit, which means no splicing!

However, once the harness was in and connected to the trailer, the running lights would not work. The directions and brake lights worked as expected. After some troubleshooting with eTrailer , a replacement harness was shipped.

The replacement harness was installed and the same behavior was observed.. no running lights on the trailer. We contacted the manufacturer and learned that the entire lot of harnesses might be defective. The manufacturer sent a harness to me overnight from an older lot. Shazam! All the lights on the trailer work.


Note: In America, there is an assumption that you need a 10,000 horsepower F9000 Quad Turbo Diesel 6-wheel-drive dually pickup to pull a 700 lb trailer. A little diesel VW Golf does just fine.

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