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Old 07-20-2010, 11:05 AM   #1
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Breakaway Cable wore through..

and fell apart in my hands when I dropped it off at storage! At least we were done travelling, but now I need a replacement before we take off in 3 weeks. Where can I get a replacement for it quickly? Wondering if I could find a suitable replacement at Lowe's/Home depot.

Thanks!
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:16 AM   #2
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You can make one yourself with parts from a hardware store. Its just a length of cable and some clamps/fasteners.

I am concerned that you say it wore through. There shouldn't be any significant wear on this part, identifying the source of this wear and removing it should be a high priority.
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:23 AM   #3
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Whack,

I just did this to my trailer. Got it used and the cable was worn through as if it had been dragging on the ground. Home Depot will have everything that you need. The key here is getting it long enough to attach to the frame somewhere but not too long as to drag.

Good luck.
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:37 AM   #4
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Yeah, i'm wondering that myself. It's very possible that it was dragging on the ground under the chain. I've since stopped wrapping it in the chain, and use a chain link to the truck directly instead of trusting the chain clip thing(something I bought at a trailer dealership).
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Old 07-20-2010, 12:07 PM   #5
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The break away cable should be such a length that it would be activated following a decoupling of the hitch but short enough that the chains remain attached. Ideally in a break away situation the chains would remain attached providing some control over the trailer while activating the brakes. If the break away cable and the chain are the same length (or if the cable is longer) the brakes will not be activated in a break away event. I believe the cable should be from the brake activator to the TV with no intervening attachments. No doubt, others will chime in with other ideas but that is my understanding.
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Old 07-20-2010, 01:16 PM   #6
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The break away cable should be such a length that it would be activated following a decoupling of the hitch but short enough that the chains remain attached. Ideally in a break away situation the chains would remain attached providing some control over the trailer while activating the brakes. If the break away cable and the chain are the same length (or if the cable is longer) the brakes will not be activated in a break away event. I believe the cable should be from the brake activator to the TV with no intervening attachments. No doubt, others will chime in with other ideas but that is my understanding.
This is an often debated point , One I disagree with but fortunately have never put to the test.

I feel the breakaway should activate only after the safety chains have failed. If it activates earlier you have a brake lockup situation on the trailer which will then slam back against the chains stressing them severely.

Ideally, if , say the ball breaks, the tongue SHOULD drop onto the crossed safety chains and it should be possible to make a gentle controlled stop.
That means a long cable, so the trailer has seperated from the TV before the trailer brakes come on. Having the brakes lock or come on strongly while still attached to the trailer could create some dicey situations, particularly when slippery.
I know the WBCCI safety guy agrees with this, however his predessor did not
Hopefully none of us will ever have to test either arrangement,
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Old 07-20-2010, 01:58 PM   #7
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I'll vote for the longer cable. To me, the breakaway is a very last option if the safety chains do not hold. If the tongue drops into the chains, I'll still have a brake connection and can stop the trailer gently.
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:22 PM   #8
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Hijack Warning!!!!


Crossed Safety Chains?

I thought proper routing was straight up each side of the tongue to the hitch. Am in incorrect? If so, I will change promptly.
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:33 PM   #9
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Hijack Warning!!!!


Crossed Safety Chains?

I thought proper routing was straight up each side of the tongue to the hitch. Am in incorrect? If so, I will change promptly.
I also was guilty of this at first. By crossing them under the hitch, in the event of an emergency they will catch the hitch and keep it from slamming onto (and possibly catching on) the pavement.
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:33 PM   #10
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Hijack Warning!!!!


Crossed Safety Chains?

I thought proper routing was straight up each side of the tongue to the hitch. Am in incorrect? If so, I will change promptly.
Crossed is absolutely correct and is enforced some places by law. The crossed chains have two advantages.
  1. When you turn, the outside chain is not unduly stretched.
  2. If the ball fails, the crossed chains form a basket to prevent the tongue digging in. That would probably break the chains or their attachments.
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:44 PM   #11
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Btw

Texas Administrative law requires that the chains prevent the tongue from dropping to the ground. Here is a quote from the manual:

(d) Specifications for safety chains.

(1) Two separate and individual safety chains shall be used simultaneously in all situations where safety chains are required.

(2) The two safety chains will be of equal length, long enough to permit free turning of the vehicles without placing stress on the chains, and attached to the towing vehicle equidistant right and left of the point at which the vehicles are connected. They must be of appropriate length to allow for them to be crossed under the tongue, or connecting apparatus, of the towed vehicle in such a manner that they would prevent it from coming into contact with the road surface should the vehicles become detached. In no event will the safety chains be allowed to contact the road surface during movement of the vehicles.
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:44 PM   #12
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......... and the chains should not be twisted to shorten them and keep them from dragging.

there are lots of threads on this if you use the google search.
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:07 PM   #13
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We had our breakaway cable break, probably from dragging on the road. First thing was to knot the two ends together as a quick fix. Eventually I went to Lowe's and got some braided wire of a little better gauge than the OEM wire, bought 2 split bolt connecters (these are electrical parts), looped the wire and secured it—one end in the switch end. A carabiner was used at the other end.

When we bought the trailer we were told to thread the wire through the chains, something that seemed weird to me. It would, in effect, shorten the wire, but it seemed to me to interfere with the operation of the breakaway.

Long or short wire? My thought is that if the umbilical plug detachs after the hitch fails, the brakes cannot be activated except by the breakaway. A long wire would prevent this. I'd rather have the trailer brakes engage as early as possible instead of the trailer slamming into the back of the tow vehicle.

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Old 07-21-2010, 02:43 AM   #14
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Hi, I also had a cable wear out. I believe that it wore out because of driving on snow and ice. This allowed the chains to drag on the ice between the wheels. My chains never dragged on pavement. Or possibly on gravel in camp grounds. After that I never run the cable through the chains. Looking at the angles of the cable while threaded though the chains to the breakaway switch, was at such a bad angle that I don't think it would have worked. Or the cable would have broken before it pulled the plug.
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