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Old 11-15-2014, 06:52 AM   #1
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1994 34' Excella
Kalamazoo , Michigan
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Breakaway cable...a cautionary tale.

I ran into a gent at an AS event who commented that for ultimate safety, the breakaway cable should be attached to the truck frame rather than the hitch, as I think most people do it. I listened politely, thinking "maybe a titch too paranoid...".

...then I saw this in the grocery store parking lot a couple of weeks ago.

Even that oh-so-solid looking hitch is destined to turn to rust someday, and you don't want to be towing when you discover that the paint is the only thing holding the hitch together.

I will be attaching my cable directly to the truck frame, from now on....and paying special attention to the hitch area when I wash the truck, especially in the Michigan winter.



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Old 11-15-2014, 07:06 AM   #2
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1993 21' Sovereign
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This is a pet peeve of mine.
A good friend attached his breakaway cable to the receiver, and snaked the cable through the safety chain as well. The coupler assembly on the trailer failed, the trailer hopped up off the ball, the hooks holding the safety chains either failed or fell off, and the trailer turned into a missile, heading directly into oncoming traffic. Yes, it struck an oncoming car head-on, and killed the two parents in the front of the car.
My friend was devastated, of course, and the children in the car watched their parents be killed by his carelessness.
Every time I see the breakaway cable routed to where it would do no good if the worst happens, the driver gets "the speech". Unfortunately, there are people working at trailer repair shops and dealerships that not only recommend, but actively practice this.
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Old 11-15-2014, 07:31 AM   #3
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Snaking the safety cable through the chains sounds like a truly bad idea. My point was that we tend to trust that the receiver will stay attached to the TV, which ain't necessarily so.


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Old 11-15-2014, 08:05 AM   #4
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I know a person who's hitch separated from his truck, less than 4 years old and no rust, and the breakaway cable attached properly to the truck stopped the Airstream with no damage.
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Old 11-15-2014, 11:54 AM   #5
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I watched the dealership thread the safety cable though one of the chains and then hook it to the chain when I picked up my new (used) A/S last week. Being a newbie, I didn't think much about it until I woke up in the middle of the night about three days ago thinking this was a stupid mistake. I'll hook it to the TV from now on.
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Old 11-15-2014, 12:04 PM   #6
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Recently picked up my 2015 FC 27' from the dealer. The technician helped me adjust the hitch, and at the end snaked the cable through the chain and attached it to the hitch on the TV ! I quickly reattached it to the truck frame ! I've heard stories of the hitch coming off the TV...cable won't do any good then.
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Old 11-15-2014, 01:44 PM   #7
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I put an eye bolt through the sheet metal below the tailgate of the truck. I put a spring loaded hook (like a leash for a dog) on the end of the braided steel wire safety cable. It fastens to the eye bolt so if the add-on hitch falls off, the trailer disc brake system ( powered by the four Lifeline 6ct 6Vdc 300 amp hour batteries) will be energized.
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Old 11-15-2014, 07:31 PM   #8
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I wonder why tow vehicle manufacturers don't provide a proper attachment point for the breakaway switch cable? Even an eyebolt in the bumper might suffice.

David
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Old 11-15-2014, 08:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
I wonder why tow vehicle manufacturers don't provide a proper attachment point for the breakaway switch cable? Even an eyebolt in the bumper might suffice.

David
My F150 has safety chain loops on the underside of the stock bumper, I use them for the break away cable... or safety chains when towing a small trailer.

Aaron
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Old 11-15-2014, 09:08 PM   #10
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I connect mine with a spring loaded carabiner to an eye bolt in the lower left license plate bolt hole. It is totally separate from the hitch. I set the cable length to trigger if the safety chains fail.


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Old 11-15-2014, 11:07 PM   #11
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We toss our inside the hatch (tailgate area) and close the door on it. Still enough slack for turns, but will activate if the whole hitch decides to part ways with the TV.
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Old 11-15-2014, 11:45 PM   #12
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On mine there is a loop in the TV end of the lanyard. I put the loop over the large wrench I use for adjusting my Andersen hitch and toss it in the back of the Jeep. Then close the hatch and it is secure and completely independent of any hitch attachment and no need for any other loops or eye bolts. Keeps the wrench from getting left or lost too, as it is needed to secure the break away lanyard.
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Old 11-16-2014, 05:47 AM   #13
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Good idea SuperTrouper. Maybe I can rig a good attachment point off the license plate bolt hole.

David
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Old 11-16-2014, 11:15 AM   #14
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Here's a pic. Stainless hardware with a locknut. Click image for larger version

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