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Old 03-25-2013, 01:50 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by robwok View Post
I recently had new chains put on, and they were wayyyy to long. New to towing, I just grabbed a bungie to keep them from actually touching the ground. A friend showed me that you can run the chain through the link in the TV, then hook the chain back on itself to make the chain as short as possible. The carbiners, hooks, etc do not have to attach to the TV, they can hook back to the chain itself.
It can be done, but it's not a "best practice". Chain develops its maximum strength in line with the long axis of the chain links. When "shock" loaded, going from slack to tight suddenly, the chain has a reduced strength. Trailer safety chains are sized to take this shock loading into account. BUT, if you loop a chain back upon itself, at least one link in the chain, where it's looped over the attachment point on the receiver, will be loaded sideways, which causes at least a 50% loss of strength in those sideway-loaded links.

In other words, when you loop safety chains back upon themselves, it becomes possible to break an otherwise perfectly good chain if an accident happens like the ones described in this thread.

A better method of taking up slack is to move the carabiner from the end link to a link farther back from the end, and just let the excess chain dangle. You can tie up the dangling excess links termporarily by using a cable ties to tie them loosely back to the chain. Because they're no longer in line with the carabiner, they're no longer load-bearing, there's no problem with tying them back this way.
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:22 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Melody Ranch View Post
I felt and heard the thump......looked in the rear view and saw the horrifying sight of the Bubble weaving side to side, nose low...
Woohoo! Wild ride, but a happy ending. Thanks for reminding us once again about how important those seemingly almost optional little safety pins really are. These experiences - especially when shared - are great at refreshing our memories, and best when they come at no cost (beyond the extra adrenaline pumping through your heart). Glad all is well.
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:26 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
one link in the chain, where it's looped over the attachment point on the receiver, will be loaded sideways, which causes at least a 50% loss of strength
Never would've thought of that. All that extra money on new, thick chains - and then some of us are cutting their potential strength in half during the precise time when they're needed most. Thanks so much, great advice.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:00 PM   #32
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using chains that are to long

When the chains are to long just give them a couple twists and they will shorten up to your desired length. You can then cross 'em and hook up as normal. I wish I had a couple chains of any length this morning......I do now.
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:46 AM   #33
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When the chains are to long just give them a couple twists and they will shorten up to your desired length. You can then cross 'em and hook up as normal. I wish I had a couple chains of any length this morning......I do now.
Twisting chains is a BAD thing. Links are sideways - just like using a caribiners - you'll put stress on the weak sides of the links. Also if your trailer comes off the hitch ball, the stress on the chain will be torqued in a circle as well as the regular straight line from the weight of the trailer.

Shorten the chains properly if they are too long.

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Old 03-26-2013, 03:10 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Melody Ranch View Post
About three miles into the trip, on a country road I passed over a small bridge which had a small hump/bump as you came off it. I felt and heard the thump......looked in the rear view and saw the horrifying sight of the Bubble weaving side to side, nose low.
"Deja Vu all over again" (attributed to Yogi Berra)

Wow...glad to hear your ending was as good a one as mine was. That is a frightening feeling as you figure out how to slow down gradually while trying to keep everything upright.

As an aside and a follow up,I came home yesterday from a 4 day trip and as my nephew was latching the ball he explained to a friend of his how he had latched the ball on our trip where a cattle guard bounced it off. This time I got out of the TV and double checked it myself that the hitch ball and chains were securely fastened. They were. Sure enough, seven miles of dirt road later the bolt came out of one of the safety chains and it was dragging on the highway.

Apparently I needed another wake up call and then you posted of your difficulty.

It keeps us all on our toes and reminds us to check everything each time we venture out.

Speaking of replacing safety chains, what size, type and psi rating are recommended for replacement chains?

Again, glad to hear that you and the Bubble are OK......


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Old 03-26-2013, 05:00 AM   #35
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Speaking of replacing safety chains, what size, type and psi rating are recommended for replacement chains?
The minimum breaking strength of EACH chain should be at least the same as the maximum trailer weight. This gives you a 2-to-1 factor of safety.

Unfortunately, there's no easy way to equate chain link size to chain strength, because link shape also has an effect.

It also makes a difference what material the chain is made of. Galvanized chain has a lower strength than uncoated steel chains of the same size and link shape because the heat of the galvanizing process interferes with the tempering of the chain.

Best advice is, buy trailer chains from a store that has a chart showing the strength of each size and type of chain they sell, and choose a chain from the chart based on the trailer weight.
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