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Old 09-07-2011, 09:56 AM   #21
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AZP,
I have always wondered if our safety chains were a bit long. I will be sure to get them checked by a professional soon. What changes will you make when hooking up now. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-09-2012, 03:37 PM   #22
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Been there, too! We ended up with the TT stuck under our bumper as we braked to the side of the road. Now, shortening of chains to appropriate length is top priority.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:46 AM   #23
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I was distracted by a neighbor with friendly conversation while attaching my Hensley to the truck receiver and forgot to put the pin in. After traveling several miles and then up mountain switch backs we heard and felt the thud as the trailer became unhitched, Hensley and all. The safety chains worked and with the help of an Airstream buddy we were traveling with we got the trailer all hooked up and were off with no damage at all. Moral of the story....don't get distracted while hooking up your Hensley or any other hitch device!
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:20 AM   #24
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...we heard and felt the thud as the trailer became unhitched...
That wasn't the trailer thudding, that was your heart in your mouth!
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:41 AM   #25
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Brad, Were you there? Hahaha. If it hadn't been for my friend, another forum member, I might have had a heart attack! It was a seriously stressful moment for certain!
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:40 AM   #26
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I have not read all of this thread,but I replaced our saftey chains last year.While hooking up to leave a campsite I found an open link in both saftey chains. These I assumed were the originals as they had the rod that is thur the first link and welded to the A frame. I took the torch and cut them both off. Then I went to Lowes and got new hooks and chain.I went up one size on the chain because I felt the originals were a bit small.
I bought hooks with pins so I could adjust how much ground clearence I have and they can be adjust if I change TV. I can also take them off an store them in winter or when not towing. WORKS FER ME.
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:53 AM   #27
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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.
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:00 PM   #28
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Near catastrophe

Went out and hooked up the new Bubble for a trip to a friends welding shop for some expert care. Hooked up as usual, did a safety walk around, and hit the road for the short trip. 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. At 55 mph the Bubble had become detached from the ball. It remained hooked the the single, rusted out safety chain which I was enroute to have replaced. Now it all came together....a single chain, rusted nearly in two, 55 mph, detached and dragging on the retracted jack. It brought back many memories of formation flights. Trying to slow up without ramming the Bubble up under the rear of the truck. Using the drag of the jack to slow us up to a safe stop while swerving back and forth. Traffic was no problem...thank you!....but it could have been if any had been around. I think the heavy 3/4 ton Super Duty was a saving grace too. A lighter vehicle would surely have joined in the whipping swerves.....this did not. So....had the trailer drag us to a straight ahead stop. I was able to lift the hitch back into place and re latch it. It seemed to lock into place as it should...and the chain re checked. 20 mph limp to the shop. I checked the hitch and can only think that the bump off the bridge flipped up the locking tounge allowing the detachment. I never have used a pin to lock the hitch closed...I will always do so now. Also....two chains and a new hitch being installed now.
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:50 PM   #29
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Quote:
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, 01:22 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, 01:26 PM   #31
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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, 10:00 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, 12:46 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.

Paula
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:10 AM   #34
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Thumbs up Near catastrophe.......

Quote:
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, 04:00 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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