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Old 08-17-2012, 10:23 PM   #1
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Palo Alto , California
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Why you should inspect / replace your breakaway switch

I am pretty sure my breakaway switch was original to my trailer - so 13 years old.

It was a Tekonsha model 2010. A brand new switch (the exact same model) is only $9 shipped from Amazon, so I decided to replace it.

When I removed the old switch, I found the interior to be almost completely rusted out. It felt like it was full of sand from all the loose metal inside. While it did pass a continuity test on my circuit tester after I pulled the pin, I have no confidence that it wouldn't have melted and failed with significant current passing through in a real emergency.

You can get an idea of how rusty the inside of the switch was from the picture below. Note that it looked fine on the outside.

I definitely did not expect this to be an item that would wear out - so just a heads up that they should be inspected and replaced periodically.

Even with soldering and heat shrink tubing the leads for the new switch (improving on the old wire nuts and electrical tape from the factory) - te total time to install was less than 10 minutes.

Here is a link to a new switch on amazon - Tekonsha 2010-P Nylon Breakaway Switch with Weldable Tab : : Automotive
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:26 PM   #2
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Ottawa , ON
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Thanks for the tip, ddruker. Imagine what mine wouold look like at age 38!

If it's to be, it's up to me.
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:15 PM   #3
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1976 31' Sovereign
Bothell , Washington
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 176
I completely agree, but I was wondering if anyone has a little antidote of when the break away switch was actually used.... Then once a couple of those have been posted, I'll have the wife read the posts, and I'll spend more money on my "baby" (she says she's not jealous).
Did you want fries with that?
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:55 AM   #4
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1974 31' Sovereign
1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
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Posts: 19,570
Most breakaway switches have tags that advise replacement after 5 years or so.
As for reasons to do this... A friend of mine was towing his trailer on the interstate when it popped off the ball, and took off across the median. It hit an oncoming car head on and seriously injured the occupants of that car. When all was said and done, my friend and his insurance company had to pay millions because he failed to maintain the breakaway switch as specified.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:49 AM   #5
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1999 30' Excella 1000
Nellysford , Virginia
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So, I have a question about "inspection" of the switch. I read that advice on the Forum just after we got our 1999 a year ago April. I went out and "pulled the pin" but could not get it back in to save my life. Broke it trying. Ordered new one from Amazon. Installed. All is fine. QUESTION: How shall I test the new one without going through the same experience? Step-by-step instructions?
Greg and Linda Heuer
'99 Excella 30 w/HAHA - The Silver Otter
'08 Chevy LTZ 2500HD 6.6 DuraMax
TAC VA-18 | WBCCI 1927 - Unit 149 | AIR 53869
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:46 AM   #6
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1955 22' Flying Cloud
mapleton , Utah
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If you are worried about the new switch bench test it before installation,quick and simple. All you would need is a multimeter set on Ohms to check for continuity.

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