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Old 11-09-2007, 10:54 PM   #43
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Ah but you are assuming safety chains are actually supposed to do something. Mostly likely some congress crtitter or someone they knew got hurt or killed by a wayward trailer. Hey if we can do something then everyone will feel better (TSA).

The break-away setup is much more effective. This comes from first hand experience. See my website.
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Old 11-10-2007, 08:37 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecatsandi

The break-away setup is much more effective. This comes from first hand experience. See my website.
My parents lost their trailer in a highway accident. Yes, chains broke, but the force was far in excess of the trailer weight. At this point, I'd rather not see the trailer become a missile heading into other traffic.

I'd really like to see some high level discussion of "why"

Great photo's, I always learn from seeing others accidents. I appreciate your having posted them (saw them from link on another thread).
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Old 11-10-2007, 08:50 AM   #45
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This is the SAE's definition of safety chains:

Quote:
Trailer safety chains as defined in SAE standard J684 of June, 1990 for trailer couplings, hitches and safety chains - automotive type:
Safety Chain is defined as an assembly which provides a secondary means of connection between the rear of the towing vehicle and the front of the trailer (or towed vehicle); it includes link chain and all attaching means, or an alternative system. The purpose of Safety Chain is to retain connection between the towing vehicle and trailer in the event of separation of the trailer coupling from the ball or the ball from the hitch, long enough to bring the vehicles to a stop. It should not be construed that safety chains can ensure that vehicle control or connection will be maintained in the event of vehicle incidents such as loss of control, rollover, jackknife, collision, etc.
It makes sense to me that the chains should hold if the ball comes detached and that the chains will break if the situation gets worse. Once the chains are gone, it is up to the break away system to stop the trailer.
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Old 11-18-2007, 08:45 AM   #46
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Thanks for that quotation. Looks as if the connection is expected to be limited by external circumstances. I'm going to continue to look and see if I can't find guidelines specific to replacing chains/attachments.
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:11 PM   #47
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Ended up doing...

Since starting this thread I did some additional reading on how "aircraft cable" is made versus something like a winch or tailgate cable. Also, took a look at the current chains and the wear they had from the links rubbing each other. So, I went ahead and opted for the cables. Was able to find 6,200# hardened stainless links to connect the cables to the a-frame. Also:

- changed the break away switch and mounted it on a pivot bolt as recommended by the manufacturer
- replaced the umbilical port on the trailer and the cable with parts from Airstream
- changed the break away wiring - added reinforced connectors and wrapped them in heat shrink insulation
- checked the coupler for wear and cracks after a commercial trailer dealer warned me how often he sees that in older trailers - also checked the ball rating (26,000#)

Still to do:

- install replacement coupler latch from Airstream
- hook up the cables and extend them to check the adjustment needed on the break away cable
- just ordered a Prodigy P3

Whether the choice of cable over chain was right is something I hope to never find out. Regardless, this has to be way better than the dog chain and original break away switch that was on the old girl. I've used bigger S hooks on a kids swing than were originally on the trailer.

Now if we can just get all the other projects done so we can tow her somewhere...
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Old 04-15-2008, 11:03 PM   #48
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"Whether the choice of cable over chain was right is something I hope to never find out. Regardless, this has to be way better than the dog chain and original break away switch that was on the old girl. I've used bigger S hooks on a kids swing than were originally on the trailer."

Yes, the attachment on my trailer A-frame is something that looks like I could render useless with a pry bar. I'm not so pleased with the hitch receiver attachment either.

Anyone?
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Old 04-23-2008, 05:57 PM   #49
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(Three different safety chain quotes. The 3rd is the big truck requirements; see [d][3])

ASAE ANSI/ASAE S338.5 May 2006
1 Scope

1.1 This Standard covers the specifications for an auxiliary attaching system to retain a connection between towing and towed . . equipment in the event of separation of the primary attaching system long enough to bring the machines to a stop. It should not be construed that this auxiliary system can ensure that control or connection will be maintained in the event of incidents such as loss of control, rollover, jackknife, or collision.

Safety Chains: Must always be cross hooked

Safety chains are a requirement and should be crossed under the tongue of the trailer so that the tongue will not drop to the road if it becomes separated form the hitch. Always leave enough slack so you can turn. Never allow the safety chains to drag on the ground and never attach the chains to the bumper.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Trailer Classification: Safety Chain Breaking Force - Minimum
Class 1: 2,000 lbs. (8.9 kN)
Class 2: 3,500 lbs. (15.6 kN)
Class 3: 5,000 lbs. (22.2 kN)

The strength rating of each length of safety chain or its equivalent and its attachments shall be equal to or exceed in minimum breaking force the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of the trailer.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
8.11. SAFETY CHAINS: Two safety chains, each of sufficient length for the coupled towing truck and trailer to make
full turns without binding.
8.11.1. Each chain shall be of sufficient length for crossing beneath the tongue to form a cradle which shall
prevent the tongue from coming into contact with the road surface if the trailer hitch becomes
disconnected.
8.11.2. All chains, welds and attachments to the trailer shall have an aggregate breaking strength greater than the
gross weight (trailer and payload) of the unit being towed.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER REGULATIONS

Subpart F —Coupling Devices and Towing Methods

393.70 Coupling devices and towing methods, except for driveaway-towaway operations.

(a) Tracking. When two or more vehicles are operated in combination, the coupling devices connecting the vehicles shall be designed, constructed, and installed, and the vehicles shall be designed and constructed, so that when the combination is operated in a straight line on a level, smooth, paved surface, the path of the towed vehicle will not deviate more than 3 inches to either side of the path of the vehicle that tows it.


(c) Towing of full trailers. A full trailer must be equipped with a tow bar and a means of attaching the tow bar to the towing and towed vehicles. The tow bar and the means of attaching it must —

(c)(1) Be structurally adequate for the weight being drawn;

(c)(2) Be properly and securely mounted;

(c)(3) Provide for adequate articulation at the connection without excessive slack at that location; and

(c)(4) Be provided with a locking device that prevents accidental separation of the towed and towing vehicles. The mounting of the trailer hitch (pintle hook or equivalent mechanism) on the towing vehicle must include reinforcement or bracing of the frame sufficient to produce strength and rigidity of the frame to prevent its undue distortion.

(d) Safety devices in case of tow bar failure or disconnection. Every full trailer and every converter dolly used to convert a semitrailer to a full trailer must be coupled to the frame, or an extension of the frame, of the motor vehicle which tows it with one or more safety devices to prevent the towed vehicle from breaking loose in the event the tow bar fails or becomes disconnected. The safety device must meet the following requirements:

(d)(1) The safety device must not be attached to the pintle hook or any other device on the towing vehicle to which the tow bar is attached. However, if the pintle hook or other device was manufactured prior to July 1, 1973, the safety device may be attached to the towing vehicle at a place on a pintle hook forging or casting if that place is independent of the pintle hook.

(d)(2) The safety device must have no more slack than is necessary to permit the vehicles to be turned properly.

(d)(3) The safety device, and the means of attaching it to the vehicles, must have an ultimate strength of not less than the gross weight of the vehicle or vehicles being towed.

(d)(4) The safety device must be connected to the towed and towing vehicles and to the tow bar in a manner which prevents the tow bar from dropping to the ground in the event it fails or becomes disconnected.

(d)(5) Except as provided in paragraph (d) (6) of this section, if the safety device consists of safety chains or cables, the towed vehicle must be equipped with either two safety chains or cables or with a bridle arrangement of a single chain or cable attached to its frame or axle at two points as far apart as the configuration of the frame or axle permits. The safety chains or cables shall be either two separate pieces, each equipped with a hook or other means for attachment to the towing vehicle, or a single piece leading along each side of the tow bar from the two points of attachment on the towed vehicle and arranged into a bridle with a single means of attachment to be connected to the towing vehicle. When a single length of cable is used, a thimble and twin base cable clamps shall be used to form the forward bridle eye. The hook or other means of attachment to the towing vehicle shall be secured to the chains or cables in a fixed position.

(d)(6) If the towed vehicle is a converter dolly with a solid tongue and without a hinged tow bar or other swivel between the fifth wheel mounting and the attachment point of the tongue eye or other hitch device —

(d)(6)(i) Safety chains or cables, when used as the safety device for that vehicle, may consist of either two chains or cables or a single chain or cable used alone;

(d)(6)(ii) A single safety device, including a single chain or cable used alone as the safety device, must be in line with the centerline of the trailer tongue; and

(d)(6)(iii) The device may be attached to the converter dolly at any point to the rear of the attachment point of the tongue eye or other hitch device.

(d)(7) Safety devices other than safety chains or cables must provide strength, security of attachment, and directional stability equal to, or greater than, safety chains or cables installed in accordance with paragraphs (d)(5) and (6) of this section.

(d)(8)(i) When two safety devices, including two safety chains or cables, are used and are attached to the towing vehicle at separate points, the points of attachment on the towing vehicle shall be located equally distant from, and on opposite sides of, the longitudinal centerline of the towing vehicle.

(d)(8)(ii) Where two chains or cables are attached to the same point on the towing vehicle, and where a bridle or a single chain or cable is used, the point of attachment must be on the longitudinal centerline or within 152 mm (6 inches) to the right of the longitudinal centerline of the towing vehicle.

(d)(8)(iii) A single safety device, other than a chain or cable, must also be attached to the towing vehicle at a point on the longitudinal centerline or within 152 mm (6 inches) to the right of the longitudinal centerline of the towing vehicle.

[37 FR 21439, Oct. 11, 1972; 70 FR 48053, Aug. 15, 2005].
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Old 04-25-2008, 10:42 PM   #50
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Safety Chains attachments, weldable. Each must (as with chain/cable) be capable of handling the max gvwr of the trailer:

Weld-On Grab Hooks - Grade 70 - 1/2" - Mfg# 11-12WGH

Here's the type I have on my trailer. Just doesn't look all that strong
Trailer Parts Superstore - Class IV Safety Chain Loop - 10,000 lbs.

Anyone know enough about welding that I could have specific info to discuss a job with a local welder?
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Old 04-26-2008, 12:14 AM   #51
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Rednax, THANKS!!!!

Rednax -

Thanks to you for keeping this issue at the fore.....

All to easily, important issues like this get pushed aside for things that appear to have 'more interest'.... but really, what could possibly be more interesting than "safety"?

All of us hope and pray that we will never encounter a situation where these safety items come into play.... that said, there are several people on this very thread that have had this "worst case" scenario play out while they were on the highways and byways of this great land.....

This stuff is IMPORTANT, and we really need to pay this discussion some heed.....

I'll let others condense the lessons learned.....

Suffice it to say, "Thanks Rednax" for keep this issue at the front where it deserves to be. I know that I'll take the discussion to heart.

One life saved is all it takes...!!!!!

My personal Thanks to you, Rednax.

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Old 04-26-2008, 08:07 AM   #52
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Well, sir, you are certainly welcome! As the owner of an older trailer -- 25 years -- which has had two previous owners I really have no idea of whether these safety chains have been put to the test. Yes, visual examination reveals no obvious problems, but it is time for a new set of chains and better attaching points on the trailer frame and truck.

I don't believe it will be expensive to do, relatively, but I do wish to "overdo" it just a bit and not really worry about it again (unless, of course, the chains ever have to hold the trailer while under way; "the test").

Any credit really belongs to this site, I have been able to find nearly every question I've needed already being discussed. You Airstreamers are doing an excellent job with this.

My thanks in return. I'm happy to add what I can.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:33 AM   #53
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After reading several threads and doing a few searches on the net I would like to toss in my .02. I have experienced a drop bar failure on which the tounge fell on to the chains with the head still attached. I know that the chains are saftey de rated however the chains only supported the tounge weight + the shock of falling a few inches for me this would be 800lbs x 3 = 2400lbs. The wheels and tires never left the ground so the figure of 7000lbs was not a factor for me. As for stopping the rig we never had an issue because the umbilical was still attached. However even if it had my TV could not exert braking forces in excess of 7000lbs.

Maybe I am wrong but I do know what happened to me and that is real world experience.

PS this is not telling you that you should change to anything less than what you have now.
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Old 09-07-2011, 10:13 AM   #54
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btt, for other thread
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Old 09-07-2011, 10:39 AM   #55
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Texas law says that the chains must keep the tongue from contacting the ground. I can't see how you would accomplish that with 36" cables.

You don't twist chains to shorten them. That compromises strength. You simply adjust the number of links between the A-frame and the hook by moving the hook. If your hooks are not moveable, then buy hooks that are. Get hooks with a safety bail that has to be compressed to remove the hook from the hitch.

One other thing. I have never in thousands of miles of towing ever heard the chains make any noise whatsoever.
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Old 09-07-2011, 11:03 AM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahaska View Post
Texas law says that the chains must keep the tongue from contacting the ground. I can't see how you would accomplish that with 36" cables.

You don't twist chains to shorten them. That compromises strength. You simply adjust the number of links between the A-frame and the hook by moving the hook. If your hooks are not moveable, then buy hooks that are. Get hooks with a safety bail that has to be compressed to remove the hook from the hitch.

One other thing. I have never in thousands of miles of towing ever heard the chains make any noise whatsoever.
You've never dragged the hitch? You can hear 'em then!
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