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Old 06-15-2020, 10:02 AM   #1
Boz
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Default Safety Chain Issues

The original Lippert tongue Jack that came on my 2016 Fun Finder 26RBSS failed after a couple of Summers. I replaced it this weekend with a Husky Super Brute and when I was cleaning up the wiring underneath, I noticed the issue with the safety chains show in the attachments.

It is a little concerning to me because we purchased this until new off the lot and it has never had an instance where it has "ridden on the chains" that I can remember. As you can see it looks like it did at one point though.

My question is has anyone seen something like this before? Is it a big deal? An easy fix? The way that plate is bent and rusted I feel like I am going to have to find myself a welder...

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-15-2020, 12:40 PM   #2
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It looks sort of like someone accidentally tried to pull the trailer with the chains for a few moments. (Whoever did that, he stopped doing that in about a second -- the noise would be horrendous.). If this had been done repeatedly (unlikely!), the mounting plate would eventually crystallize and break.

But rather than welding on a new plate, I think you'd be OK if you were to remove the bolts and "sandwich" the bolt holes between much stouter washers. (The existing washers look pretty thin.). And then I would put another big stout fender washer over the link. You will need a longer bolt.

Not sure if you should drill out the hole and use a larger bolt, though. My concern would be weakening the metal plate.

Good luck!
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Old 06-15-2020, 03:40 PM   #3
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I would never trust safety chains bolted to that thin metal plate. As you can tell that's not a strong point. My opinion would be to find a welder and have them reinforce the plate and weld the chains to the frame.
You may only get one chance when things go wrong.
If you're like me, that co-pilot is precious cargo.

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Old 06-15-2020, 04:08 PM   #4
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Alan's approach is wise -- why take a chance?

Having said that, lots of trailers have the chains bolted to exactly that kind of plate. So apparently the manufacturers think it is adequate. That does not mean they are right, though!!
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Old 06-17-2020, 12:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by APD View Post
I would never trust safety chains bolted to that thin metal plate. As you can tell that's not a strong point. My opinion would be to find a welder and have them reinforce the plate and weld the chains to the frame.
I second this... those washers being the only thing keeping those chains from coming off those bolts is terrifying.

Now I gotta check mine!
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Old 06-18-2020, 05:45 PM   #6
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I knew a fellow that moved mobile homes or manufactured homes for Morgan Drive Away all across the USA. He sawed the safety chains 3/4 thru. Said if the mobile home came loose, he wanted to have his truck to drive home. LOL

Personally, I moved about 100 mobile homes a year for some 10 -12 years. Only ever had one come unhooked and the safety chains held but wouldn't matter as the home acted as a brake stopping the truck. It had been remodeled w/heavy sheet rock and the hitch 'cup' that goes over the ball peeled off like it was made of paper after going less than 25 miles. LOL
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Old 06-19-2020, 08:42 AM   #7
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I unfortunately had a trailer come off when I was a youngster. I was towing a small U-Haul trailer in my old 69 Ford Fairane. The guys at U-Haul hooked the trailer up to my ball hitch themselves, and I didn't have the sense to check it. I assumed they knew what they were doing. Apparently they didn't lock it down and it came loose on me. They didn't cross the safety chains, and again, I didn't have the sense to know or check. So the tongue didn't cradle in the chains, just fell to the freeway and dug in. The trailer corkscrewed around and around, the safety chains wound up and over the hitch causing the entire back end of my car to get bent up before I came to a stop. Luckily because I was driving a land yacht Ford, I didn't flip.

I lost almost everything in that move. My car was still driveable, but it was ugly as sin being bent up. And to top it off, U-Haul didn't check the insurance box, nor ask me if I wanted insurance (again, I was a youngster and didn't know better) so I had to pay for the trailer. $6000, my insurance didn't cover towing accidents because my car wasn't setup to tow in the first place and I didn't declare I had towing intentions.

Lesson learned the hard way.

I tell my wife that story when she asks why I triple check my tow connections before we leave home, when we stop for gas and food and when we leave the campsite.
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Old 06-19-2020, 10:04 AM   #8
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This is an excellent article about safety chains and connections.

https://mechanicalelements.com/trailer-safety-chains/


Here are the safety chain requirements for each state.

https://www.rvia.org/system/files/me...equirement.pdf

Note - strong enough to prevent separation.
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Old 06-21-2020, 01:43 PM   #9
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Boz, your post prompted me to go out immediately and check my safety chain connection. Sure enough, the chains on my 2013 FunFinder F-210 UDS are attached the same exact way, except the plate is not all bent up like yours. Not sure what I'm going to do yet, but I might just drill thru the frame and bolt it up to that. By the way, how does your new Husky tongue jack work? I actually have a Husky Brute 4500# jack coming as we speak. The old LCI was really groaning lately and I don't trust it anymore.
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Old 06-22-2020, 05:27 AM   #10
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Default Safety chain fix

When I first got my 244RBS the safety chains were too long for my hitch set up. Further investigation showed mine bolted same as others, including the bent plate. Easy fix was two large chain couplers , come up and around the jack post.
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Old 06-22-2020, 07:22 AM   #11
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If the break-away switch isn't working (and properly set up) any safety chains can become Un-safety chains. The battery, brakes and chains have to be able to work together if SHTF.
I adjusted the break-away cable length right after we purchased the rig (it was way too long) and I make it a habit to test the break-away switch ever so often. Just for a little peace of mind.

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Old 06-22-2020, 12:15 PM   #12
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etrailer Logo



Length Of Safety Cable on Trailer Breakaway System Recommendation
Question:
Should the cable be slightly longer than the safety chain not applying the brakes until after the chains broke or slightly shorter applying brakes if hitch came off ball but still attached by safety chains

asked by: Jerry N

Expert Reply:
The best length for the cable of a breakaway system like the Tow Ready Trailer Break Away Kit # 50-85-315 that you referenced will be slightly longer than the safety chains.

The breakaway cable should be longer than the safety chains according to RVIA Recreational Vehicle Industry Association. This will activate the brakes in the event you lose the trailer connection and the safety chains fail.
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Old 06-22-2020, 01:16 PM   #13
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Safety chains are not bolted to my hitch.

The toyhauler has a metal loop welded to the bottom of the hitch that goes through one loop of each safety chain. The metal loop is about the same diameter as the safety chain and would contact the roadway first in an 'event.'
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Old 06-22-2020, 07:25 PM   #14
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RVIA isn't towing my trailer. I don't know who's steering that boat.
If my trailer breaks away, I need the trailer brakes to apply, snap those chains tight and bring the trailer to a stop as the tow vehicle stops. Preferably in a straight line. The same reason semi trailers fail-safe and lock the brakes when air pressure is lost during a disconnect. Granted some may disagree but I know what a loose trailer whipping back and forth on the end of two chains will do to a tow vehicle. I'll take the brakes.
My break away cable is slightly shorter than the safety chains.
My 2%.

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Old 06-22-2020, 09:16 PM   #15
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Seems to be alot of different opinions on brake away cable length.

https://forums.goodsamclub.com/index...g/29361389.cfm
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Old 06-23-2020, 06:40 AM   #16
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Opinions do vary. LOL My Daddy used to say that different opinions make for interesting conversation.
I look at it like a trailer sway situation. Everyone should know the cure for trailer sway is to stay off the TV brakes and apply the trailer brakes. This pulls the vehicles back into a straight line, stopping the sway. The reason for that red button on the brake control. A trailer off the hitch but attached by two chains, I think, would be the very definition of trailer sway. Which every way it goes it's gonna pull the rear of the tow vehicle in that direction. Applying TV brakes at that point would only make it worse.
Trailer sway will, usually, give the operator time to react. But a disconnect occurs too quickly. The disconnect switch was made for that situation.
Our TV is way more than double our trailer weight. Most people tow a heavier trailer that would have an even greater effect on the towing vehicle.
It would be quite a surprise if it disconnects and the trailer brakes apply, no doubt. But it's a lot better than being surprised AND then counting the time till the trailer can manage to finally tear loose, break those chains and THEN apply brakes. What happens to the TV during that time?
It's an interesting topic for sure.

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Old 06-23-2020, 07:32 AM   #17
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ADP .... for sure there are many opinions and opinions are just like ah, every person has one. LOL

Oddly, the same holds true for etrailer.com where in different response, their other 'expert' clearly stated what you say here:
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Should the Breakaway Cable be Shorter or Longer Than the Safety Chains
Question:
from truck to switch- should it be longer or shorter than the safety chain? I have heard both ways.

asked by: Terry

Expert Reply:
I would recommend that the breakaway cable be cut shorter than the safety chains/cables that way if the trailer were to come uncoupled from the hitch ball it would come to a stop without slamming into the back of the tow vehicle. For a breakaway switch cable I really like the Fastway Zip Coiled Trailer Breakaway Cable part # FA80-01-2140 for 4' long or part # FA80-01-2160 for 6' long as the coiled design keeps it free from dragging or fraying.

I have also attached a list of our safety chain options for you as well if you need them.

expert reply by: Conner L

So, even the '*experts' disagree and it all depends on who you ask.

Define EXPERT: Ex is a has been and spurt is just a little bit. So an expert is just a little bit of a has been. LOL

I will say this: When I picked up my new toy hauler at the dealership, the service fellow had laced the break away cable thru the safety chain links (BAD) and the break away switch cable WAS longer than the safety chains.

Therefore, I will say to each their own.
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Old 06-23-2020, 12:20 PM   #18
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The break away switch is a safety device of last resort. In my opinion it should never be set up to engage if the trailer is still connected to the tow vehicle with chains. The reason being is that if the trailer brakes suddenly engage while the chains are holding the trailer, it could snap the chains and free the trailer from the tow vehicle. The point here is you want to maintain control of the trailer, but avoid making the situation worst by prematurely activating the trailer brakes and then have the trailer completely separate from the tow vehicle.
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Old 06-23-2020, 01:34 PM   #19
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Opinions do vary.

According to Trailers of the East Coast :

The 2-Fold Purpose of the Trailer Breakaway System
First, should the trailer ever come completely disconnected from the tow vehicle, the breakaway cable will pull the pin from the breakaway switch, turning on the 12 volt power from the breakaway battery, engaging the electro-magnetic drum brakes on the trailer. This keeps the trailer from running down the road causing additional damage after becoming disconnected from the tow vehicle.

Secondly, should the trailer ever become disengaged from the ball-hitch but stay connected to the tow vehicle via safety chains, the breakaway cable will pull the pin from the breakaway switch, turning on the 12 volt power from the breakaway battery, engaging the electro-magnetic drum brakes on the trailer and keeping the trailer from sliding into the back of the tow vehicle while you bring the vehicle to a stop on the side of the road.

The most important part of hooking up your breakaway cable is to insure that there is less slack in the breakaway cable than there is in the safety chains.



I just hope none of us have to find out.....
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