I did a search and didn't find anything related to my experience. So here goes.......
I went up to the mountains last Thursday (To escape our dry heat
) and had my nephew help me hook up the Pacer. We always cross the safety chains and had the link bolts placed so they gave enough room to turn adequately and were not too loose (I thought).
We had just driven through 18 miles of washboard dirt road (a shortcut) and came out on an asphalt paved 2 lane mountain road. After going 15-20 mph for the last 18 miles I sped up to about 45 mph as dusk was approaching.
I had gone over a number of cattle guards so I thought nothing about the one coming up.
As I hit the cattle guard there was a tremendous bounce followed by a tremendous noise. The trailer started bouncing left and right (I actually thought it was going to roll over) and there was a horrific grinding noise. I thought I had blown a tire and was resisting the urge to brake and instead let off the gas and downshifted to slow down. In the meantime my nephew who was following me was yelling on the handi-talkie " Look out UJ, something's wrong and there are huge sparks and debris are coming off the Airstream"
As I finally brought the tow rig down near stopping speed I actually gave it a little gas to pull over to the side of the road to get away from the center, once I realized it was staying attached.
Once we got out and assessed the damage we saw that the hitch coupling had disengaged from the ball and hanging on the chains. While the safety chains had held, they were long enough that the tongue jack post (Which was fully recessed) had been gouging out big chunks of the asphalt for about 700ft or so. The trailer was sitting about 3 inches above the asphalt and dragging the road had ground about 2 inches off the bottom of the post. Whew!
It seems that while the hitch looked properly seated and locked it was not as the cattle guard later proved.
The good news is there does not appear to be any significant damage to the Airstream and I will be putting new safety chains on and keeping them a little tighter.