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Old 10-02-2016, 10:24 PM   #1
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Had a bad experience with dielectric grease

I used dielectric grease on the 7 pin connector for the first time (and last time), (trailer side) when I returned from my last outing in June.

Getting ready to leave in the morning, I hooked up and plugged in. No trailer lights, none. After a couple of hours of screwing around, I concluded it was the connector. Finally got it working but it wasn't easy.

After doing some googling, I've found that there is quiet a bit of discussion about the application of dielectric grease. Some feel it's better used for permanent connections or tight fitting connections where the grease can't act as an insulator.

Anyway, no dielectric grease on my trailer connector again. I guess there is something to the saying; "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".
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Old 10-02-2016, 11:11 PM   #2
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I pack all my Molex style connectors with di-electric grease, spark plug boots and battery terminals too, but trailer connector cords... WD 40 only. Besides, WD smells good..lol

I use di-electric grease on the boot side of the connectors, on the lugged connections. Push to commect...WD.
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Old 10-03-2016, 12:05 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SidecarFlip View Post
I pack all my Molex style connectors with di-electric grease, spark plug boots and battery terminals too, but trailer connector cords... WD 40 only. Besides, WD smells good..lol

I use di-electric grease on the boot side of the connectors, on the lugged connections. Push to commect...WD.
Same. Di-Electric grease prevents corrosion from di (2 types of metals) making an electrical connection. It protects them from the outside air. It does not make for a better electrical connection.

You want to use a solvent to clean the connection. But your trailer plug will never be connected long enough at a time for the grease to be necessary.
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Old 10-03-2016, 12:14 AM   #4
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Always good to have an expert answer. Thanks.

I heard that WD 40 was good for arthritis but that could be a wive's tale...
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Old 10-03-2016, 12:57 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SidecarFlip View Post
Always good to have an expert answer. Thanks.

I heard that WD 40 was good for arthritis but that could be a wive's tale...
Only if taken as a suppository spray!
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Old 10-03-2016, 06:40 AM   #6
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Have always used Dielectric grease with no problems.......7 way plug for truck/5th wheel......satellite connections and any extension cords I use outside for my 5ver.
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Old 10-03-2016, 06:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SidecarFlip View Post
Always good to have an expert answer. Thanks.

I heard that WD 40 was good for arthritis but that could be a wive's tale...

I've heard that too....and the guy swears by WD-40 for his arthritis.

Back to topic. I've used dielectric grease for years on trailer plug connections without an issue. I use it on the rubber part of the toilet stopper when winterizing as well.
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Old 10-03-2016, 07:43 AM   #8
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Dielectric grease is a non-conductive, silicone-based grease that's designed to seal out moisture and prevent corrosion on electrical connectors. It also disrupts the flow of electrical current, which makes it good for lubricating and sealing the rubber parts of electrical connectors.

dielectric [dahy-i-lek-trik] a nonconducting substance; insulator.

Great to use on the inside boots of spark plugs
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Old 10-03-2016, 12:52 PM   #9
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This is quite long(and informative) so read it at your leisure.

Dielectric Grease vs Conductive Grease
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Old 10-03-2016, 01:36 PM   #10
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A good read and basically how I use it (before I read the article).
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Old 10-03-2016, 02:00 PM   #11
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I have used dielectric grease for everything outside in the weather except battery posts. If you can't make an electrical connection when using dielectric the terminals are shy of the spring pressure needed to scrape the grease clean of the contact surfaces. Or the contact surfaces are corroded from weathering without grease. Don't use regular grease as it conducts and can cross-feed current between contacts and cause real havoc, especially with LED tailights. Regular grease is OK with battery posts because you want conduction between the post and clamp.
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Old 10-03-2016, 07:25 PM   #12
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On the other hand.....
I had a problem with spiders nesting in the female end of the 7 pin connector. Dielectric grease solved the problem.
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Old 10-03-2016, 07:33 PM   #13
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Dielectric grease

f5moab had the best answer in my opinion.
Dielectric grease is an insulator and not a conductor. If there is not enough contact force to squeeze out all of the grease out and cut through the oxide layer to allow metal to metal contact, then it will cause contact problems. Oxide layer is just "rust" on copper/tin.
Bi-metal galvanic corrosion is usually not an issue as most connectors use copper/tin on both sides. Copper to aluminum contacts is not good and will always corrode over time.

The best way to clean electrical connectors is with a spray can of electrical contact cleaner that you can buy at any auto parts store.
Also make sure that your connector terminals have good spring force to create good metal to metal contact and a good "wipe" action when the connectors are pushed into each other.
Good contact force with good wiping action will solve most contact issues except for heavy corrosion/oxide build up. Then you need to clean with 150 grit or higher sand paper, but be gentle to be sure to not sand away the copper/tin plating on the contact.

Yes, if you have good contact force like Molex connectors have or if your 7 pin round connector has good contact force, then the "wipe" will cut through di-electric grease. But with all things equal... di-electric grease will never improve electrical contact. It will prevent oxide build up because it seals the contact from the oxygen in the air. WD40 is not good for electrical contact either, but it is thinner than grease and it does provide lubrication that can help improve the contact force so it can help sometimes, but be sure to clean it off later with the spray contact cleaner. Clean contacts and good contact force is the best way to provide good electrical connections.

Thanks
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Old 10-03-2016, 07:49 PM   #14
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If you don't use dielectric grease, be sure to use something else to protect the metal terminals from corrosion. It is so much easier to protect than to sand or file the terminals later. I have used dielectric grease in my auto repair business for many years with NO PROBLEMS. I keep a tube in my truck tool box and another in the camper.

Happy Camping!
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Old 10-04-2016, 04:55 PM   #15
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Thanks for the feedback. In retrospect, as mentioned I believe I started using it after some oxidation had already occurred and the extra lubrication and non conductive nature of the grease prevented a good connection. Also as mentioned, my 7 pin connector does not feel very tight. I don't think it's wiping the grease off as it goes in.

It's interesting that sometimes something that seems so simple can present a problem when you least expect it. But all is good, I got it cleaned up and we are on location after an uneventful trip. Thanks for the help. I just keep on learning.
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