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Old 08-10-2014, 05:31 PM   #1
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Safety Chain Worn - How Did this Happen?

I have a mystery. As I was unhooking today I noticed the safety chains are both badly worn, as if almost filed through. One link is nearly gone. I know... first thought, dragging on the pavement. Except these links are the first and third links next to the tow vehicle. The middle and lowest hanging links are just fine. More, the mystery is the amount of rust on the wear locations so it didn't happen recently.

My trailer is barely over one year old. I've only towed it about 3,500 miles since purchased and the safety chains are badly worn and ruined. No evidence of any unusual wear on tow vehicle hitch, nor on the Equalizer hitch. Any ideas? Photos follow.




Notice the wear on the third chain link.





This photo shows the wear on the first link.



Another view of the damage.



Photo of damage to link on second chain (fourth link).



A view somewhat replicating the look when hitched. The chains typically hang about 3" above the pavement at bottom. The problem links are towards the front near the tow vehicle, nowhere near pavement. I've never let them drag or forgot to clip on when towing. Due to the amount of rust I know the damage hasn't been reoccurring, at least not lately. I'm stumped. In the short run I thinking of just cutting the bad links out and living with shorter chains. Any thoughts?

- Kurt
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Old 08-10-2014, 05:50 PM   #2
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That is abrasion damage, somehow, somewhere those chains have dragged against something. You could cut them out as long as it doesn't shorten the chains too much.

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Old 08-10-2014, 06:39 PM   #3
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Were the chains shortened when you had the Andersen hitch, and the extra links in front left on but contacting the ground?
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Old 08-10-2014, 07:13 PM   #4
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Sure looks like road rash to me.
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:00 PM   #5
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Since the third link appeared weakened beyond sensible, I cut it off, basically shortened the chain. I have a couple of chain shackles I can use if needed to re-lengthen the chain. The other end is welded onto the Airstream frame. I've never previously cut nor did anything special to the chain, just attached to the same TV as always and took off.

What's strange is the wear pattern. It was obviously ground down against something abrasive, but also held in one position and under pressure. Note how the metal curls up to the side of the grind area. This would seem to omit random pavement abrasion. This is one year old trailer.

I'm stumped. I almost wonder if this is how it came from the factory, or damage happened on way out. The rust would imply some age.





The wear pattern is totally flat. As if secured and pressed very hard against an abrasive. So hard some of the metal curled back over the sides. Strange.



This link was attached directly to the snap clamp that attaches to the tow vehicle. The snap clamp is fine, no wear whatsoever. Link #2 shown here on left is fine.
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:11 PM   #6
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This is road rash.


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Old 08-10-2014, 09:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherzi View Post
Except these links are the first and third links next to the tow vehicle.
I've seen damage on two separate links like this before, and it is rare up near the hooks or at the attach points. I've had owners come in with this kind of damage and have admitted to twisting the chains to take up the slack. The chains rub together in a twisted fashion and the is what it looks like.

I'm not saying that you did twist your chains, but if the link was twisted by accident and you had a long road trip without disconnecting, it is a possibility. And with cheaper and cheaper chains hitting the market they don't take chaffing contact like an expensive set of chains.

I personally ride with my chains five inches of the ground with my hunting trailer. I also permanently set the length so I do not have to do any kind of twisting or zip tieing or links to get the correct hight from ground each time.
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:44 PM   #8
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I use a bungee cord to hold chain off the ground
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Old 08-10-2014, 10:29 PM   #9
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Perhaps the chains were dragged by the hauler who delivered the trailer to your dealer, and you didn't notice until they rusted up and became obvious?
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Old 08-11-2014, 06:45 AM   #10
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I like the twisted chains idea. Makes perfect sense. Could also be road rash. Jim
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:33 AM   #11
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dragged?

I agree with Robert Claus, they may have been dragged by the delivery hauler, and maybe they put new hooks on the end because they were booger-ed up a bit like the chain?

Is those add a links ok to use? Are they as strong? I'd like to add a link or two to my chains cause I think the are little tight in a turn. I haven't used any of those before.
Have a good one,
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:56 AM   #12
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Who Did It?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherzi View Post
...
My trailer is barely over one year old. I've only towed it about 3,500 miles since purchased and the safety chains are badly worn and ruined. No evidence of any unusual wear on tow vehicle hitch, nor on the Equalizer hitch. Any ideas? Photos follow.




Notice the wear on the third chain link.





This photo shows the wear on the first link.



Another view of the damage.



Photo of damage to link on second chain (fourth link).



A view somewhat replicating the look when hitched. The chains typically hang about 3" above the pavement at bottom. ...
- Kurt
You probably did not cause this damage. Would it be possible to contact the previous owner, or selling dealer, to discuss this issue with them? They might be able to shed some light on the cause.
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:03 AM   #13
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I would just put on a new set of chains and call it a day. It's road rash.
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:17 AM   #14
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Ditto what Tater said. New chains are cheap. Not worth loosing sleep over or bothering the P.O..
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