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Old 09-24-2011, 03:04 PM   #29
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Based on the pictures, I would say that the TV and trailer crossed over the road and then impacted the guard rail. That would explain why the trailer landed on the side that it did. The guard rail is not damaged in the front of the pictures, but has several impact points past the wreck.

Everything at this point is purely speculation. Often an accident like this is the combination of several factors. The pictures are a graphic reminder to all of us that things can go terribly wrong when towing.

Please be careful out there...



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Old 09-24-2011, 03:40 PM   #30
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Has anyone ruled out a failure of something on the trailer happening first causing the trailer to flip and whipping the TV with it? Axle failure? Blowout(s)?

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Old 09-24-2011, 04:08 PM   #31
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hitch receiver failure

i think about it every minute...since june when backing into a camping spot the receiver on my GMC....just fell off....i think what if i had been going down the highway at 60 or so and that sucker had....after many miles of stress ...just decided it had had enough and came unglued.....

to me if that happens...then the receiver and hitch plows down into the pavement and the trailer just starts flipping and the truck...hopefully out runs it......
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Old 09-24-2011, 05:28 PM   #32
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King', it is the early '00's GM trucks that had the bad receivers and you got one, and Bob too. The tongue and whatever is attached to it may plow the road, but if the safety chains are attached to something that stays on the truck, it will follow you.

Richard, I thought about him crossing from the other side to hit the guard rail straight on, but he pulled over to the right to let people pass, so it must have been a 2 lane road. After the dust settled, the Airstream must have blocked the road.

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Old 09-24-2011, 05:31 PM   #33
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Very glad to hear nobody was seriously injured.

Appears the Staties are there. If they conduct an investigation, it may provide more insight (traffic accident investigations are public record). From the pix, there's no GPS on the EXIF data. Anybody know the location/county?
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Old 09-24-2011, 05:36 PM   #34
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Between Pipe Creek, TX and Bandera, TX. Bandera county Texas
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Old 09-24-2011, 05:36 PM   #35

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Images: 1 was and still is a weak point with GM.

IMHO....If it looks like this, replace it.
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AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 09-24-2011, 05:43 PM   #36
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Wow. Glad no one was injured. There are certainly a few scenarios that could have played into this crash. From the description of out of control swaying just prior to loosing it. I might suspect improper trailer load distribution as the initial cause of the control issue. Regardless of the type of hitch, if you load you trailer to heavey in the rear you will loose control at speed with maneuvers. That being said. I have inspected my GMC factory hitch. Looks fine to me. However it is the stock tube type. I am going to replace my factory hitch with a Reese class v receiver #41930 on Monday. DIY 30 minute job. Cheep insurance after seeing what could happen. Thanks to every one for this wake up call.
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Old 09-24-2011, 06:09 PM   #37
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I think we may never know what was the cause, and what was the result. We do know the rig was west bound, began to sway, crossed over to the eastbound side, hit the guard rail, the truck going over the rail, and as I said before, the trailer turned onto the curb side, the truck ended on the other side of the railing, and on the drivers side.

It is possible the truck rolled 1/4 turn to the Left, but the trailer most definately rolled 1/4 turn to the right. No matter if the truck rolled to the left, or right, it rolled either 1/2 turn farther than the trailer, or 1/2 turn the other direction.

There were no tire failures, and no axle failures.

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Old 09-24-2011, 06:40 PM   #38
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Hoo Boy! Sobering stuff for newbies like us. Thank heaven no one was seriously hurt.
Certainly plan to check and double check everything on a regular basis. Worried that we may not recognize a problem since we have so little experience. Paid very close attention today as they explained the hitch, sway bars etc. when we picked up the trailer from the dealership. Asked lots of questions.
Trying to educate ourselves as much as we can here on the forums and safety is our #1 priority.
Thanks for the information, folks. Forewarned is forearmed.
Claude & Marianne

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Old 09-24-2011, 07:36 PM   #39
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Huge torque involved here to shear off the hitch receiver/compress the tubing and deflect the frame mounting plates, which indicates the trailer/TV were still connected at failure.

I must admit my limited flight training has brought me to the point of full inspection of my trailer rig prior to departure. I do the walk around...That means checking tire inflation, torque on wheel and shear bolts of hitch assembly,lubing WD bar sockets, and making sure ball socket connection is sound. As further evidence of "weird" behavior, I have "Remove Prior to Flight" flags attached to all my stabilizer jack pads deployed when I camp.

I am truly happy our fellow traveller survived this ordeal. Drive safe and sensible and enjoy the journey.

I think Andy could repair the damage...
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Old 09-24-2011, 07:44 PM   #40
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Also being no expert...I'm in SteveH's camp here...

From the pics, it seems...

1. the sway started
2. it got to the point that the trailer whipped far enough 'out' to lay over on its side
3. the TV was then just along for the 'ride', and as the trailer 'twisted' onto it's side, this 'twisting' motion rotated the tubular member on the trucks hitch, breaking away the welds, separating the two vehicles...
4. you can clearly see in the pic of the rear of the TV, that the tubular part of the trucks hitch has been 'reformed' to those 'twisted' configurations...

I think a TV hitch that uses a heavy 'box' member between the frame rails (as apposed to a 'tube' member) could handle the 'twisting' moment much better than seen here...

This extreme 'twisting' still has to cause something to 'break' in a situation like this, one could only hope that the trailer coupler would be the weaker link to break apart, or uncouple, therefore keeping the safety chains still attached to the TV!

Looking again at the two pics, regardless of the 'cause' of the sway/accident, the FACT remains that the attachment point of the TV's hitch receiver to the round tubular cross member was the ultimate 'weak point' in this hook-up - that's where it broke loose! That's not acceptable, as you also lose the attaching point of the safety chains!

If I had a TV hitch with a tubular cross member similar to this one, I would REPLACE it before towing my treasured Airstream ONE MORE MILE!

I think that should be the highlighted message...!

Nasty stuff, in any event, ruining one's day - but 'stuff' can be replaced easier than one's body - glad you're all OK...
Ray & Pat; Morada, CA
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Old 09-24-2011, 07:58 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Tin Trekkers View Post
Hoo Boy! Sobering stuff for newbies like us. Thank heaven no one was seriously hurt.
Certainly plan to check and double check everything on a regular basis. Worried that we may not recognize a problem since we have so little experience. Paid very close attention today as they explained the hitch, sway bars etc. when we picked up the trailer from the dealership. Asked lots of questions.
Trying to educate ourselves as much as we can here on the forums and safety is our #1 priority.
Thanks for the information, folks. Forewarned is forearmed.
Hang in there Tin Trekkers, you are approaching this exactly right. Don't let it scare you but do let it make you pay attention. Even veterans can get a little lax and that is usually when things go wrong.

I don't know how folks post from two different contributors, but in the post right after yours someone talks about walk arounds and "remove before flight" flags. My flight experience taught me the same thing. And my dear wife made me some "REMOVE BEFORE STREAMIN" flags. I put one on the curb side front stabilizer, one on the steps and one on that darn hot water heater door to remind me to cut it off.

None of those would have prevented this, but walk-arounds are the point. It is all any of us can do. I am sure people wreck often, but you sure do not see this often enough to make me scared. "More Cautious" is the key for me.

I am so glad they are safe!!!
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Old 09-24-2011, 08:47 PM   #42
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I will probably take some heat over this, but I will say it anyway.

This is not a 23 or 25, it its a 31. That is a significant difference in length.

You can quote all the Toyota specs to me you wish, but you would never convince me to tow a 31 foot trailer with one.

That, in my opinion, is a lot of tail to wag a small to medium size dog, Hensley or not. If you tow a long trailer with a smaller TV, a lot of the margin for error is deminished and everything must be done with that in mind.

I do not know whether or not there was any equipment failure or what the driver actually did. I do believe that if the driver moved over a bit too quiclkly and slowed at the same time, it could have induced a sway as mentioned.

I have never used a hensley, but I tow with a Propride. I have experienced fairly stong sideways forces when braking and turning at the same time,especially when the brake controller is set lightly.. I could see that inducing a fairly significant sway with a long trailer and light tow vehicle at or near expressway speeds.

I am not saying that this is what happened, I am simply saying that I think it could happen with the scenario I described.


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