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Old 08-21-2008, 06:11 AM   #1
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Crossing Chains

Should chains be crossed? If so, why, where, and, how many times?


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Old 08-21-2008, 06:14 AM   #2
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If yer talkin' about the safety chains, I take the curbside and connect it to the driver's side connection on the tow vehicle and the streetside chain connected to the passenger side of the tow vehicle.

So to me, one cross. I do it because it takes up a little slack. If in fact there is a breakaway from the hitch, less slack gives the chains less ability to build kinetic energy until they bite, allowing them to take hold sooner than later and less stress on the base connector on both the trailer and tow vehicle.

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Old 08-21-2008, 06:16 AM   #3
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One cross as stated above. Basically make an "X". The theory is that the crossed chains will catch the tongue if it breaks loose from the ball and prevent it from digging into the road.


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Old 08-21-2008, 06:42 AM   #4
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Like Azflycaster says the crossed chains make a "craddle" for the tounge to fall in, in case there is separation (and let's hope that never haoppens to anybody).

Just make sure your chains are not too long. If they are too long and would allow the tounge or hitch to hit the pavement / ground then crossing the chains would be pretty useless.
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:57 PM   #5
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Crossing Chains

Crossing the chains under the hitchhead is both sound practice and, I've heard, in some states may be a requirement. We see some trailers dragging their chains on the asphalt, bad for the chains and no help in supporting the trailer coupling if the trailer uncouples or the hitch fails. Also we ran into one fellow crossing his chains above his hitch so his chains wouldn't get greasy. No, no. Under the hitch.
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Old 08-22-2008, 10:19 PM   #6
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I can attest to another reason to cross the chains. Mine seemed to be too long and they dragged the asphalt on a 400+ mile trip. When I arrived and was ready to unhitch, my chain link had been ground in about half way through. Also, it is imperative that you make sure they are not crossed on the outside of your weight distribution bars. In turns you will put too much tension on them and snap them when you enter or leave fuel stations. I found this out the hard way. I now have a new set of heavy duty chains on my Airstream. Yes, I had a long learning curve when I first started towing and I am glad to share my experiences so someone else can avoid the mistakes I made when I was new to towing. Live and learn, and I learned a lot that first year.
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Old 08-22-2008, 10:35 PM   #7
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Crossed YES. But never never twist them to take up the slack. Have them shortened to the proper length.

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Old 08-22-2008, 10:35 PM   #8
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If your chains are too long you can twist a chain around and around to shorten a chain. Each revolution takes up at least a full link distance.

Comes in handy if more than one TV pulls the trailer with different length drawbars.

Best bet is the correct length as Randy stated.

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Old 08-23-2008, 05:05 AM   #9
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You should cross the chains. The reason is that the "outside" chain will be too short if you make a hard turn left or right. It's one of the Laws of Geometry.

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Old 08-23-2008, 05:08 AM   #10
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Old 08-23-2008, 07:58 AM   #11
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Definitely cross the chains (once). Last year I had the misfortune of popping the tongue off the ball in a really bad campsite (very bad approach angle). The crossed chains caught the trailer and kept the tongue off the ground. SCARY!
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Old 08-23-2008, 08:17 AM   #12
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If I had a rig as large and as expensive as yours, I would rap the chains in velvet!! But we can't all be school teachers. 94's right the chains can also be a safety latch even when not heading down the road. My trailer rolled off it's block and pushed the wheel blocks while I was unhitching. Thankfully the chains "crossed" helped to hold and steady it until I could get it under control. 94, can't wait to see you next weekend, we'll have dinner ready.

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Old 08-26-2008, 04:11 PM   #13
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Here is a good argument. DOT has informed us at work that crossing chains is not a safe practice, and to discontinue doing so. Now that being said. The yard men Which I someitmes am, Are instructed NOT to do it. however many of us drivers when leaving the yard Do it! I always crass them for the cradle effect if god forbid she comes apart. I dont know there reasoning behind it, and everytime I ask one they dodge it.
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:30 PM   #14
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"DOT has informed us at work that crossing chains is not safe practice" ...their reasoning may be that if the chains are not equal lengths, and IF the trailer becomes separated the one longer chain may "throw" the trailer around to the other side of the tow vehicle causing further unstability in a very tense moment. DUH!Still doesn't make sense...the trailer isn't supposed to become separated while traveling anyway (IF we are doing things RIGHT!).

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