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Old 09-30-2013, 09:35 AM   #1
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How to lubricate breakaway switch?

While I am winterizing, I try to go through my maintenance list before putting the AS to bed for the winter

My manual says to pull out the breakaway pin and lube it with household oil and quickly reinsert it. Somewhere else, the docs say don't remove it.

Has anyone done this and if so, what is the proper procedure? Pics would be even better.

I tried to pull on my pin lightly and dropped some oil in the small gap but would like to doit the right way.

Thanks!
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:11 AM   #2
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Go to Radio Shack and get some die electric grease used to lub switch contacts.

If there is a fuse in the circuit remove it before you pull the pin or disconnect the ground wire on your batteries. When the pin is pulled you are applying Full Current to the brakes. This circuit is designed for Emergency use and is not intended for prolong pin removal.
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:25 AM   #3
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Don't be Timid

Once you have the dielectric lubricant that HowieE recommends do not be afraid to grasp the breakaway switch cable firmly and yank the pin straight forward out of the switch housing. You should do this from time to time and at least once a year. You can only break it if you yank it off-axis. It wants to go straight in and straight out. By the the way you should seek this straight pull when you hook the brake cable to the back of your tow vehicle (never to the hitch itself).
Hope this helps.
Here's a picture of the pin out of the housing:
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alumaholic View Post
Once you have the dielectric lubricant that HowieE recommends do not be afraid to grasp the breakaway switch cable firmly and yank the pin straight forward out of the switch housing. You should do this from time to time and at least once a year. You can only break it if you yank it off-axis. It wants to go straight in and straight out. By the the way you should seek this straight pull when you hook the brake cable to the back of your tow vehicle (never to the hitch itself).
Hope this helps.
Here's a picture of the pin out of the housing:
I pull the breakaway switch on my toad to test it every time I hitch it up, just long enough to hear the brakes working, then I put the pin right back in.

And I carry a spare pin, just in case.
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:49 AM   #5
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An additional comment. Check the cable itself. These cables tend to rust over time and become brittle. A friend had is trailer come free of the TV and the cable failed before it pulled the pin. This resulted in several thousands in damage.

There are 2 thoughts on when the pin should pull in an emergency. One that it should pull before the safety chains tighten applying the brakes while the trailer is still attached to the TV and one the only wants the pin to be pulled after the safety chains have failed and the trailer is completely disconnected and rolling down the highway.

I prefer the first.
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:44 PM   #6
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HOW TO correctly attach your breakaway cable - YouTube
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Old 10-01-2013, 06:43 AM   #7
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I respectfully disagree.

Now, back to lubing. I use a dry teflon lube. No mess to attract dirt and no risk of contaminating contacts....although dielectric grease wouldn't do that.
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Old 10-01-2013, 07:44 AM   #8
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I respectfully disagree.
^
X2

Don't connect to the receiver...keep it up, straight and attached to the TV.

I use this to lube....

Bob
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:03 AM   #9
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breakaway

Completely illegal to hitch that way. Breakaway cable should be attached to solid area seperate from hitch head. Per DOT (dept of transportation)rules.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:05 AM   #10
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Post the rules......this is not the first place I've saw this posted as the proper way to hook the break away cable.

Of course Bob is going to disagree he hasn't seen his ball in years.....


His ball is hidden under 600 lbs of prized hitch.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:08 AM   #11
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Just look at from a common sense perspective, let alone DOT requirements.
Hooking to the ball shaft would only protect you from an uncoupling, not a ball shank failure, a drawbar/stinger/shank failure, nor a receiver failure, nor a pin failure.

I always attach the cable to a body or frame component on the vehicle separate from the receiver/hitch assembly.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:32 AM   #12
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Post the rules......this is not the first place I've saw this posted as the proper way to hook the break away cable.

Of course Bob is going to disagree his ball is hidden under 600 lbs of hitch.
Bob does disagree...as noted above, it covers all the preventable possibilities.

BTW...the ball is hidden by 100lbs of orange, if you feel compelled to ridicule, please do so accurately.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:04 AM   #13
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Please educate me

I have a van. I thread my torsion bar pipe tool through the loop on the end of the break away cable. Put the pipe in the van and close the door. Attaching it around the hitch ball would not activate the brakes if there was a ball or hitch failure.

I have never lubricated the break away switch. I don't want the brakes to activate unless the trailer separates from the tow vehicle. Would I want the switch to be easily activated.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:14 AM   #14
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I have a van. I thread my torsion bar pipe tool through the loop on the end of the break away cable. Put the pipe in the van and close the door. Attaching it around the hitch ball would not activate the brakes if there was a ball or hitch failure.

I have never lubricated the break away switch. I don't want the brakes to activate unless the trailer separates from the tow vehicle. Would I want the switch to be easily activated.
That's an innovative attachment method. Seems fine to me as long as the loop stays on the bar. Lubing really doesn't make it any/much easier to pull, but it will prevent eventual sticking. Also, as the plastic ages, it is conceivable that the cable attachment loop on the brake pin could fracture before pulling the pin. Another good reason to periodically tug the pin out by the cable, simulating an emergency pull. if it breaks, or looks degraded, replace switch.
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