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Old 07-19-2015, 11:42 AM   #15
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2007 25' Classic
Hutto , Texas
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Everyone says that the chains should be crossed to catch the trailer tongue in case of a hitch failure.
While that makes sense, a more immediate reason is to prevent binding on turns. The inside chain at the TV is the outside chain on the TT and vice versa. You would need to have them very short indeed to cause much binding in all but the most severe turns if the chains are crossed properly.

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Old 07-19-2015, 11:56 AM   #16
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I just got back from a trip pulling a U-Haul rental trailer. The chains were way to long, and the gent that hooked up to my truck ran the chains through my hitch and hooked into the chain itself. The were safety clips on the hooks to prevent them from unhooking.

I currently camp in a 19' Scamp Fifth Wheel towed by a Nissan Frontier. I'm gathering information for a future upgrade.
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Old 07-19-2015, 12:16 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Minno View Post
No, that is NOT a good solution to the problem. You need to shorten the chains. Are the quick links on the trailer rated for the weight of the trailer? If yes, then shorten the chains by moving them a few links. 2 or 3 oughta do it.

The chains are supposed to hold the tongue of the trailer up off the ground in case the hitch or ball fails. They way you have them over the hitch head, if the hitch fails, the head will dig into the road. Not a good thing.

There is no way the chains could ever hold the tongue off the ground. They just can never be that short. The chains are there to keep you trailer attached to your vehicle if the hitch fails. If your hitch fails, you are in for a rodeo and some damage, but you won't have that trailer careening off into space, other vehicles, or people.
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Old 07-19-2015, 12:40 PM   #18

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Zanadude Nebula , WNY
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Question Off the ground.... in.

Your trailer has separated, break-away switch is working, trailer brakes getting full power, brakes locked-up, chains under tension & crossed under tongue helping to keep said tongue off the ground and pole-vaulting the trailer.

In theory, anyone willing to test it?

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Old 07-19-2015, 12:52 PM   #19
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As far as crossing chains, most if not all states mandatory to cross chains underneath, not over top.
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Old 07-19-2015, 02:42 PM   #20
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Warning about twisting chain.

Twisting of chains to shorten them will decrease the load capacity of a chain. This is a fact published by many chain manufacturers who warn against this practice. My Airstream which I bought new, came with quick links which I used to shorten the length of the chains.

I have a neighbor who is a tool and die engineer who warned me when he saw me hooking up one day. I thought it might be an old wives tale and did some searching at various chain manufacturer's web sites. They all contain warnings that twisting chain in order to shorten its length will result in deceased load capacity when the chain is subjected to a load.

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Old 07-19-2015, 05:42 PM   #21
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Safety chains are supposed to be just long enough to let them be slack in a tight turn, but definitely not dragging the ground. They are crossed you show in your photo, to catch the tongue if the hitch head pulls out of the receiver. That way the tongue won't fall and dig into the ground. Be sure to purchase a quick link that has at least the same rating as the chains...they should be rated for at least 3000 4000 pounds pull to match (X2) your trailer weight. You can also use a Grade 8 bolt and nut and washer to gather up any slack. Use the biggest diameter bolt that will go through the links.

As for the safety applying the brakes, if the safety actually pulls out, that is a good thing. I still want the tension of pulling the trailer with the chains to keep some upward lift on the tongue. I see way too many trailers with the safety switch cord so long it will never pull out as long as the chains are still attached.
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Old 07-20-2015, 07:30 AM   #22
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I always like to go to the source to check ...

I like the internet and my smartphone.
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Old 07-20-2015, 07:42 AM   #23
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My thanks to all for this post. I have not been crossing my chains but will be doing it now. Thanks
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Old 07-20-2015, 07:54 AM   #24
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All you have to do is twist the safety chains to make them shorter. Twist them individually, not together. Leave enough to make turns without binding or getting too short.
Cross and cradle- left chain over right chain like an X- this is to catch the trailer tongue if it were to become separated from the tow vehicle and keep it from hitting the ground. Cross and cradle will also take up a little slack.
Do not drape the chains over anything over anything.
Do not thread the break away brake cable through the safety chains. Do not attach the break away brake cable to the safety chain hook. Attach the break away break cable separately so the it will be independent and do what it is supposed to do if the trailer becomes separated from the tow vehicle. If the break away brake cable is too long, thread it through itself as many times as it takes to get it the right length. Leave enough slack so that it doesn't pull and engage the trailer's brakes while turning. Allow yourself enough slack to turn.
Do not let the umbilical drag too low. Drape it over the weight bar to keep it from dragging. Use a zip tie if you need to. Leave enough slack to turn without binding or coming unplugged.
Rule of thumb for me: Nothing hangs below the jack. Everything is about even with the jack/battery box/spare tire/L-brackets for the weight bars. Safety chains crossed and cradled hanging about as low as the jack- break away brake cable about the same, following the same arc- umbilical about the same, following the same arc.
All of these practices/habits make for a safe, trouble-free, stress-free towing experience.
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:38 AM   #25
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Well it happened to me, boat trailer jumped off the ball (not latched properly) and the safety chains kept the tongue from gouging the road and making a bad situation worse.
A police officer was right behind us saw what was happening and turned on the blue lights. His only comment was "Glad the chains held".

Lucky for us it happened before we got on the highway and were only doing 40mph.
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:44 AM   #26
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Some have referenced the use of "Quick Links" (aka Screw Links) to adjust chain lengths and this is an effective solution. Just be aware that the one's typically sold at the big box hardware stores are not usually rated for the anticipated loads a disconnected trailer would impart.

This is because they are only threaded on one end of the connection rather than on both ends. Mallion Rapide and Kong are two reputable manufacturers of rated Screw Links that can be purchased for reasonable prices.

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Old 07-20-2015, 08:50 AM   #27

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Question Twist & shout

read here

Next, a visual inspection of the hooks, chain, wire rope or synthetic straps should be performed. Check for broken wires, damage to chain such as cracks, nicks, gouges, wear and stretch, kinks, twists and latches on hooks for proper function. Per ASME B30.16, all hoists must be equipped with a safety latch that is working properly unless the application makes the use of a latch impractical as determined by a qualified person.

....and here

Check #4 -Knots, Twists & Kinks Make sure chain is not twisted, knotted or kinked before lifting load. Slings should not be shortened with knots, bolts or other make-shift devices.

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Old 07-20-2015, 08:59 AM   #28
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I'm just going to get shorter chains. Mine are cruddy anyway - maybe get stainless steel this time.


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