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Old 02-11-2007, 10:47 AM   #15
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exactly!

mine broke when i was loading my harley in the bed!

ask roger, he was there!

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Old 02-11-2007, 10:52 AM   #16
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And mine broke when the tailgate unlatched while my son was making a right hand turn. The tailgate opened up, dropped down, snapped the passenger side cable, rebounded up and slipped out of the mount on the right hand side. You can picture the rest. The tailgate fell off, hit the ground and then swung around on the driver's side on the one holding cable as the tailgate bashed in the rear quarter panel. Ouch.
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Old 02-11-2007, 11:00 AM   #17
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If you do use coiled cables, please get ones that have thimbles and steel, not aluminum, swaging sleeves.

I wouldn't use these.

I like chains.
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Old 02-11-2007, 11:16 AM   #18
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Question

Another thought (I'm getting a headache!). Wouldn't you want the breakaway cable longer than the chains so that the brakes wouldn't activate while the trailer was still connected with the chains? Wouldn't this apply to the electrical umbilical too? Since the chains are usually attached to the hitch, the safety factor seems to apply to the ball retainer failing, or failing to lock it. If the hitch breaks, the chains go too, no?

I'd love to trade all of this conjecture for someone else's experience.
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Old 02-11-2007, 12:58 PM   #19
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The Thought Process

Here's what I'm thinking on this:

- asked earlier about replacing the ORIGINAL chains on our 71 as I didn't think they looked hefty enough - many here said go ahead and do that if for peace of mind only (the originals put on by Airstream are 1/4" links and S hooks)

- looked at chains and the max. rating I found locally was 10,000 - 5000 per chain

- the trailer weighs 4,600 empty so let's call it 6,000 fully loaded either way it's overkill - IF we simply let the trailer down on the chains or cables - but what force is there if it breaks away during towing....

- chains are often too long and twisting them weakens them as was mentioned above - cables can stretch/weaken when stressed/abraded multiple times such as a tailgate or support cable

- in this case the cables - if ever used (perish the thought) - will be one time and one time only

So my logic was the lenth is right to support the trailer without it dragging the ground (should it break away) and we pick up an additional 4,000 lbs. of security. Plus they self coil and won't drag the ground. I'm also installing a new breakaway switch with a cable long enough that the brakes won't activate unless the cables fail.

That is, if I can figure out the trailer connection of the cables without creating the proverbial weak link. (it's amazing how much thought process one will expend on their Airstream)
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Old 02-11-2007, 03:14 PM   #20
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Here's hoping that none of us acquires the authority that goes with first-hand knowledge!
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Old 02-11-2007, 03:16 PM   #21
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I have been thinking about this also. If the hitch ball fails and the trailer is only connected by chains or cables, why would you not want the brakes to fully engage? At the point of seperation the trailer will most likely find a direction of it's own based upon the level of the road and other factors. With the brakes controlled by the brake controller (if the umbillical does not detatch) they should not lock and the trailer would then pull the rear of the TV in whatever direction it was heading or push the TV foward with the propane bottles. If the umbillical detaches, you would surely want the brake switch to activate. I would like to hear what others think before I change my setup....
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Old 02-11-2007, 03:26 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidz71
Sorta like the GM tailgate cables, right John?
Craig! Thanks for reminding me. I broke both my tailgate cables a couple weeks ago, and forgot all about it! I need to go to Dodge and pick up two.

I think that I don't know enough.

I believe that the ratings on the chains is conservative (hence less likely to fail), and I suspect that the rating on the cable is right there. I know that a sudden jerk can exert more than several times the actual weight pulled, so I would think that failure can be caused by momentum working against you, even when the ratings are observed.

So what works in my driveway at 5 mph might be totally inadequate at speed. I wonder why there are no systems to help avoid that jerk (or help absorb/soften/spread it) when a trailer disconnects from a TV. Even train couplers have springs.

This seems like kind of a static rating applied (not necessarily appropriately mind you) to a dynamic situation, however I would guess that some variables could be estimated well enough to mitigate.

I suspect that most people towing have an out of sight, out of mind attitude and never consider anything different than whatever is there. Well, I have chains now, crossed under the coupler and they only drag on driveway aprons. I am sure that if it was good enough for the PO, then it's good enough for me. Well, maybe I should reconsider the condition of the old rusty chains and added links. Maybe everyone should focus on it at least once on every trip.
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Old 02-11-2007, 04:06 PM   #23
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I think I am a little aprehensive about the trailer going into panic stop mode while still attached to the TV uncommanded by the driver. Once it breaks totally free, then the locked brakes could impede its progress. The only time the chains or breakaway will likely come into play is if the TV is pulling when the disconnect occurs. So if I were traveling at say 50mph on the flat and the hitch breaks, the trailer (all 4 tons) is possibly hanging on the chains, but still under control of the brake controller-perhaps I could initiate a controlled stop. If the breakaway were to activate, I would lock-up all four trailer wheels stat (disc brakes) and possibly pull the hitch off or break the chains. It's an interesting question
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Old 02-11-2007, 05:35 PM   #24
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Please keep in mind that I'm advocating these cables. I'm only following the advice received here earlier to replace my current wimpy chains. Heck the Coleman I sold when we bought the A/S had 10,000 lb. total chains on it and it weighed 3,400 fully loaded.

No matter what we do it will be better than the small chains on the A/S now (as long as we get the connection to the trailer right). Of course we could also install this puppy and never have to worry about the trailer accidentally bouncing off the ball. The only concerns then would be the ball snapping or the coupler weld failing.
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Old 02-11-2007, 05:39 PM   #25
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Interesting issue, on boats the anchors if not rope, are for the most part chain.

Boat supplies sell two kinds of chain, imported poor welds on each link anf lower quaility steel, and they sell hi grade made in the USA it costs more.

Also you can buy Stainless steel chain the best.

I would never use an S hook or any other type, they just aren't reliable.

the quick links are the IMO only way to go.

THe cable idea first of all 36" is way to long the TT will hit the ground and maybe start fish tailing with all that slack.

Next cable doesn't absorb shock anywhere near as much as chain.

My vote is chain.
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Old 02-11-2007, 06:18 PM   #26
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Quote:
I would never use an S hook or any other type, they just aren't reliable.

the quick links are the IMO only way to go.

THe cable idea first of all 36" is way to long the TT will hit the ground and maybe start fish tailing with all that slack.

Next cable doesn't absorb shock anywhere near as much as chain.
Agree on the S hook issue which is why we liked the hooks shown in the photo above of the cables.

I wanted to use the quick links also - very easy to install and fully closed. Only problem is I can't find anything strong enough. Reese makes the best I can find so far and they are rated 2,500 lbs. max. strength per link - with a note not to exceed the 'working strength' of 1,760 lbs. per link. Anyone know of a source for something beefier?

Thought about the length also. The shortest set of Reese chains I can find are 36"....? 36" is also whats on the A/S now as original equipment. The thought process was - if the chain is mounted back on the frame 24" (linear) - and the towing height is 19 1/2" - the trailer could drop the other 12", once your at a dead stop, and that would still keep it 7 1/2" off the ground. Also thinking that if it breaks lose while towing it - it's not going to drop the full length due to the trailer pulling back on the chains - creating a sling effect. That is until you come to a nice slow stop or make the mistake of jamming on the brakes.
Where's the smiley face for "boy I hope that calculations right".

Really don't know about the shock absorbency thing - suspect that's correct - but I'm thinking the additional 4,000 lb. rating will even that out with 10,000 lb. chains. Will keep looking for that info.
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Old 02-11-2007, 06:24 PM   #27
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Quote:
I believe that the ratings on the chains is conservative (hence less likely to fail), and I suspect that the rating on the cable is right there. I know that a sudden jerk can exert more than several times the actual weight pulled, so I would think that failure can be caused by momentum working against you, even when the ratings are observed
exactly,

that is why chain is load rated with a safety factor of 5 and wire rope is load rated with a saftey factor of 3.

as i stated before, connect a 3/8 chain to a 1/2 improved plow steel wire rope and give it a yank.

even though the wire rope is rated higher it will break first every time.

how do you guys think we get those line trucks out of the ditch?

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Old 02-11-2007, 06:30 PM   #28
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Rob Baker has had the trailer come off the ball while towing. His chains held.
I had one seperate when I rolled the truck. Mine chains broke. I still have one of the broken links as a reminder.
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