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Old 11-06-2017, 09:18 AM   #1
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1968 17' Caravel
Marblehead , Hasslechusetts
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 146
Product Review: Brahma Trailer Wheel Lock

This is an unbiased product review and evaluation, not an advertisement. This information is offered gratuitously as a service to my fellow Airstream trailer owners to help them select an anti-theft device to help protect their trailers from thieves. I am not an employee nor do I have any financial interest in any companies manufacturing or marketing these devices. I own a vintage 1968 AIRSTREAM CARAVEL that is very valuable and dear to me and I needed to find the best way to secure it against theft. Before buying something quickly I decided to research the subject thoroughly because a quick decision could be disastrous.

There are two ways to try to secure a trailer. You can put a locking device on the hitch itself or you can put one on one of the wheels to keep it from turning. The problem with any locking device is that nothing is absolutely foolproof and a determined thief if given the time and opportunity will defeat it. The trick is to make it difficult and time-consuming to defeat the locking device.

A lock on the hitch does not offer much protection because the cheaper ones can be quickly removed with a sledge hammer and cold chisel. A good one will deter the amateurs and slow down the others. Often thieves simply use your safety chains to attach it to, their hitch bypassing any locks that may be on the hitch. It was clear to me after a bit of research that you need to also immobilize the trailer and the best way is to lock the wheel.

One point regarding hitch locks, and I think it is a big one, is that thieves back up to the trailer and use your own safety chains to secure it to their hitch without attempting to put the hitch on the ball. They often do not even raise the Jack, as it soon gets knocked over going down the road until they can get to a safe location.

The are a number of wheel locks on the market but the weak point is that wheels can be removed and replaced. The trailer is gone. Some locks also secure the lug nuts that attach the wheel to the axle. The only way to defeat this would be to jack both wheels off the ground and lower them on a dolly; a method that would eliminate most theft attempts. This arrangement made a lot of sense to me so this is the way I decided to go. It also made the decision somewhat easier because I could only find five different devices on the market that met the criteria I set.

It is important to note that when installing any wheel locking device on a dual or three wheel trailer the lock MUST be on the rear-most wheel.

The three devices I physically examined are:

TRIMAX
WHEEL CLUB
BRAHMA WHEEL LOCK

I also did some research on these devices but did not actually inspect them:

CALIFORNIA IMMOBILIZER
UNIVERSAL BOOT

I am sure all five devices would slow a thief down and offer some level of protection but, of course, security comes in various degrees. However here are my conclusions and what I learned about each one.

The WHEEL CLUB ($58 from eTrailer) did not effectively cover the lug nuts on my wheel. I was able to get a wrench on the nuts and could have presumably removed the wheel. I also felt that a sledge hammer, cold chisel or Sawzall would remove the device completely in a short period of time.

The TRIMAX ($133 on eBay, up to $200 elsewhere) and the number of cheap clones costing as low as $44 shipped that looks somewhat like the "Denver Boot". It did cover my wheel sufficiently to make removal difficult. The TRIMAX has two locking adjustments; one closes and opens the jaws on the wheel and the other adjusts the wheel cover. The clones do not have this second locking adjustment. TRIMAX uses a tubular lock similar to the ACE locks used on vending machines. They are challenging to pick but not impossible especially for a professional. I thought that it could be removed pretty easily using a cold chisel or an impact dent puller especially the wheel cover.

The UNIVERSAL BOOT is produced by a Canadian company located in Montreal. Their product looks very similar to the TRIMAX. Their ULTIMATE ANTI-THEFT WHEEL BOOT costs $580 without a lock and ranges up to $700 with several locking options. They also offer a "Fat Boy" version for wider wheels. I did not actually examine these products but it certainly looks robust and heavy. UNIVERSAL BOOT sells a lower priced model starting at $289 but it did not look as intimidating and solid as the higher-priced models.

Another Canadian product that appears very intimidating to the potential thief is the CALIFORNIA IMMOBILIZER. It looks like a cage that surrounds the wheel and effectively covers the lug nots. It looks solid and robust but in speaking with their representative on the phone I quickly determined it would not fit on my AIRSTREAM CARAVEL because my wheel does not have sufficient body clearance. The only downside I noticed is that it is heavy, bulky and does not appear to be stored easily when not on the wheel. I cannot comment on the locking device because I did not actually examine one.

In conducting my research of the five devices I found a third Canadian product, the BRAHMA WHEEL LOCK, that offers me the protection I need. Designer John Clarke and his company, Classic Industrial Design, of Burnaby BC, offer a solid, well-made wheel lock that impressed me as very difficult to remove device at a reasonable cost ($220 plus shipping).

Well designed, heavy (35 pounds) but lies flat for storage. Tubular, (ACE-style) lock but redesigned for higher security. Keys are copy-protected and numbered. Company keeps two spare keys on hand in case you lose the four that are supplied with the lock. Even though some wheel-to-body clearances are tight (2-1/4") on my 17' AIRSTREAM CARAVEL I was able to confer with John Clarke, the designer, as to whether or not it would fit. After sending dimensions and drawings he was able to determine it would.

Here is why I chose to entrust my Airstream to the BRAHMA Wheel Lock:

It was intelligently and sensibly designed. The mechanism that controls folding arms prevents them from being removed from the body of the lock although they can be turned so it can lie flat when not in use. The internal lock is faces downward to make tampering or picking attempts much more difficult. This also keeps rain water, Canadian-style winter slush and corrosive ice melting chemicals out of the lock mechanism. I find this feature really ingenious. Designer John Clarke even provides three very good reasons for storing the BRAHMA with the lock in the LOCKED position.

The BRAHMA wheel lock is robust and heavy-duty. It cannot be removed by deflating the tire. Any attempt to cut through it using a hack saw or Sawzall would take a long time and make a fair amount of noise; two things thieves don't want. The deep dish steel rim wheel cover fits snugly and is fully adjustable with eight different settings. For those with alloy or other wheels where the rim is flush with the tire there is an optional cover available for $20 additional.

There is a learning curve to the installation and removal routine. However once you have done it a few times you will get used to it and it will become second nature.

Regular maintenance consists of lubricating the moving parts with SAE 30 oil so everything will operate smoothly. The BRAHMA is bright red so potential thieves will see it and be deterred. They will most likely look for another target and leave your trailer alone.

The selling price is reasonable for a device of this quality. It is sold direct by Classic Industrial Design for $230.00 plus shipping the cost of which is depending on how far you are located from Kent WA which is the US shipping point. I live on the East Coast and paid $45.00 for FedEx Ground shipping which took a week.

John Clarke told me the only trailer using a BRAHMA Wheel Lock that was ever known to be stolen had the device on the front wheel on a tandem axle despite their warnings against doing this. The thieves jacked it up and away it went.

The one negative point is very small and almost not worth mentioning. The assembly manual is well written but the photos are not very clear. Fortunately the document is available in their web site with clear colour photos so it isn't really an issue.

My final comment is that for well under $300 delivered I have peace of mind knowing my AIRSTREAM CARAVEL is as secure from theft as I can make it without building a special garage in which to store it. When I travel it is as secure as it is parked at my house.

See you down the road.......

Mister Mike......

BRAHMA TRAILER WHEEL LOCK
Designed by John Clarke
Made by Classic Industrial Design Ltd.
7491 Aubrey St., Burnaby, B.C.
Canada V5A 1K6
Phone: 604-291-7655
Toll Free: 1-866-981-7655
email: ldclassics@outlook.com.

Web site: http://brahmalock.com/


Copyright 2017 Michael Crestohl
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Old 12-10-2017, 04:06 PM   #2
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Another approach

I appreciate the extensive explanation and the research.

My concern is the weight and bulkiness of the Brahma lock as well as the expense.

I have not bought anything yet, but would like to know whether you think this would work:

1. Buy a less expensive and lighter device such as the Trimax wheel chock. $52. 4 lbs. As you point out, these do not prevent the wheel from being removed.

2. On the wheel with the device, install a Gorilla Guard II wheel locks which replaces the lug nut with a nut that cannot be removed. $16 . No additional weight. This prevents theft of the wheel which makes the wheel chock an effective deterrent. These are sold in packs of four for automobiles so that there is one nut per wheel and prevents the wheels from being removed.

Was this something you considered? Do you have any comments?
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Old 12-10-2017, 04:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistermike View Post
This is an unbiased product review and evaluation, not an advertisement. This information is offered gratuitously as a service to my fellow Airstream trailer owners to help them select an anti-theft device to help protect their trailers from thieves. I am not an employee nor do I have any financial interest in any companies manufacturing or marketing these devices. I own a vintage 1968 AIRSTREAM CARAVEL that is very valuable and dear to me and I needed to find the best way to secure it against theft. Before buying something quickly I decided to research the subject thoroughly because a quick decision could be disastrous.



There are two ways to try to secure a trailer. You can put a locking device on the hitch itself or you can put one on one of the wheels to keep it from turning. The problem with any locking device is that nothing is absolutely foolproof and a determined thief if given the time and opportunity will defeat it. The trick is to make it difficult and time-consuming to defeat the locking device.



A lock on the hitch does not offer much protection because the cheaper ones can be quickly removed with a sledge hammer and cold chisel. A good one will deter the amateurs and slow down the others. Often thieves simply use your safety chains to attach it to, their hitch bypassing any locks that may be on the hitch. It was clear to me after a bit of research that you need to also immobilize the trailer and the best way is to lock the wheel.



One point regarding hitch locks, and I think it is a big one, is that thieves back up to the trailer and use your own safety chains to secure it to their hitch without attempting to put the hitch on the ball. They often do not even raise the Jack, as it soon gets knocked over going down the road until they can get to a safe location.



The are a number of wheel locks on the market but the weak point is that wheels can be removed and replaced. The trailer is gone. Some locks also secure the lug nuts that attach the wheel to the axle. The only way to defeat this would be to jack both wheels off the ground and lower them on a dolly; a method that would eliminate most theft attempts. This arrangement made a lot of sense to me so this is the way I decided to go. It also made the decision somewhat easier because I could only find five different devices on the market that met the criteria I set.



It is important to note that when installing any wheel locking device on a dual or three wheel trailer the lock MUST be on the rear-most wheel.



The three devices I physically examined are:



TRIMAX

WHEEL CLUB

BRAHMA WHEEL LOCK



I also did some research on these devices but did not actually inspect them:



CALIFORNIA IMMOBILIZER

UNIVERSAL BOOT



I am sure all five devices would slow a thief down and offer some level of protection but, of course, security comes in various degrees. However here are my conclusions and what I learned about each one.



The WHEEL CLUB ($58 from eTrailer) did not effectively cover the lug nuts on my wheel. I was able to get a wrench on the nuts and could have presumably removed the wheel. I also felt that a sledge hammer, cold chisel or Sawzall would remove the device completely in a short period of time.



The TRIMAX ($133 on eBay, up to $200 elsewhere) and the number of cheap clones costing as low as $44 shipped that looks somewhat like the "Denver Boot". It did cover my wheel sufficiently to make removal difficult. The TRIMAX has two locking adjustments; one closes and opens the jaws on the wheel and the other adjusts the wheel cover. The clones do not have this second locking adjustment. TRIMAX uses a tubular lock similar to the ACE locks used on vending machines. They are challenging to pick but not impossible especially for a professional. I thought that it could be removed pretty easily using a cold chisel or an impact dent puller especially the wheel cover.



The UNIVERSAL BOOT is produced by a Canadian company located in Montreal. Their product looks very similar to the TRIMAX. Their ULTIMATE ANTI-THEFT WHEEL BOOT costs $580 without a lock and ranges up to $700 with several locking options. They also offer a "Fat Boy" version for wider wheels. I did not actually examine these products but it certainly looks robust and heavy. UNIVERSAL BOOT sells a lower priced model starting at $289 but it did not look as intimidating and solid as the higher-priced models.



Another Canadian product that appears very intimidating to the potential thief is the CALIFORNIA IMMOBILIZER. It looks like a cage that surrounds the wheel and effectively covers the lug nots. It looks solid and robust but in speaking with their representative on the phone I quickly determined it would not fit on my AIRSTREAM CARAVEL because my wheel does not have sufficient body clearance. The only downside I noticed is that it is heavy, bulky and does not appear to be stored easily when not on the wheel. I cannot comment on the locking device because I did not actually examine one.



In conducting my research of the five devices I found a third Canadian product, the BRAHMA WHEEL LOCK, that offers me the protection I need. Designer John Clarke and his company, Classic Industrial Design, of Burnaby BC, offer a solid, well-made wheel lock that impressed me as very difficult to remove device at a reasonable cost ($220 plus shipping).



Well designed, heavy (35 pounds) but lies flat for storage. Tubular, (ACE-style) lock but redesigned for higher security. Keys are copy-protected and numbered. Company keeps two spare keys on hand in case you lose the four that are supplied with the lock. Even though some wheel-to-body clearances are tight (2-1/4") on my 17' AIRSTREAM CARAVEL I was able to confer with John Clarke, the designer, as to whether or not it would fit. After sending dimensions and drawings he was able to determine it would.



Here is why I chose to entrust my Airstream to the BRAHMA Wheel Lock:



It was intelligently and sensibly designed. The mechanism that controls folding arms prevents them from being removed from the body of the lock although they can be turned so it can lie flat when not in use. The internal lock is faces downward to make tampering or picking attempts much more difficult. This also keeps rain water, Canadian-style winter slush and corrosive ice melting chemicals out of the lock mechanism. I find this feature really ingenious. Designer John Clarke even provides three very good reasons for storing the BRAHMA with the lock in the LOCKED position.



The BRAHMA wheel lock is robust and heavy-duty. It cannot be removed by deflating the tire. Any attempt to cut through it using a hack saw or Sawzall would take a long time and make a fair amount of noise; two things thieves don't want. The deep dish steel rim wheel cover fits snugly and is fully adjustable with eight different settings. For those with alloy or other wheels where the rim is flush with the tire there is an optional cover available for $20 additional.



There is a learning curve to the installation and removal routine. However once you have done it a few times you will get used to it and it will become second nature.



Regular maintenance consists of lubricating the moving parts with SAE 30 oil so everything will operate smoothly. The BRAHMA is bright red so potential thieves will see it and be deterred. They will most likely look for another target and leave your trailer alone.



The selling price is reasonable for a device of this quality. It is sold direct by Classic Industrial Design for $230.00 plus shipping the cost of which is depending on how far you are located from Kent WA which is the US shipping point. I live on the East Coast and paid $45.00 for FedEx Ground shipping which took a week.



John Clarke told me the only trailer using a BRAHMA Wheel Lock that was ever known to be stolen had the device on the front wheel on a tandem axle despite their warnings against doing this. The thieves jacked it up and away it went.



The one negative point is very small and almost not worth mentioning. The assembly manual is well written but the photos are not very clear. Fortunately the document is available in their web site with clear colour photos so it isn't really an issue.



My final comment is that for well under $300 delivered I have peace of mind knowing my AIRSTREAM CARAVEL is as secure from theft as I can make it without building a special garage in which to store it. When I travel it is as secure as it is parked at my house.



See you down the road.......



Mister Mike......



BRAHMA TRAILER WHEEL LOCK

Designed by John Clarke

Made by Classic Industrial Design Ltd.

7491 Aubrey St., Burnaby, B.C.

Canada V5A 1K6

Phone: 604-291-7655

Toll Free: 1-866-981-7655

email: ldclassics@outlook.com.



Web site: http://brahmalock.com/





Copyright 2017 Michael Crestohl


I have been using the Brahma wheel lock for a few years. (Did a great deal of research and comparison to competitors before purchasing. ) It is easy to attach and detach. The design is well thought out and effective. Compared to the price of the trailer , it is cheap protection in my opinion.
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Old 04-20-2018, 10:12 AM   #4
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2018 27' Globetrotter
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I just saw this thread on locks. I independently had done similar research on trailer locking devices and also selected the Brahma for my 27FB Globetrotter. After more experience with it I will post another reply with my opinion of it.
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Old 04-20-2018, 11:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLDINS View Post
I just saw this thread on locks. I independently had done similar research on trailer locking devices and also selected the Brahma for my 27FB Globetrotter. After more experience with it I will post another reply with my opinion of it.


Same for me. After much analysis, picked the Brahma. Cheap protection. Easy to install and take off.
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Old 06-10-2018, 05:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLDINS View Post
I just saw this thread on locks. I independently had done similar research on trailer locking devices and also selected the Brahma for my 27FB Globetrotter. After more experience with it I will post another reply with my opinion of it.
I have had the Brahma for about 4 months now and I love it. Good peace of mind knowing it would be really tough to get off. One comment if you are buying one. The customer service lady told me I needed the flatter disk since my 2018 Globetrotter had cast aluminum wheels. That was an extra $30. Well it turn out the deeper "standard" disc works better, so save you $30 and don't get the flat disc lug nut protector.
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Old 08-21-2018, 11:38 AM   #7
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Thx for the great review as I have been looking at this product versus a hitch lock. This seems to be the best option for my Classic
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Old 08-21-2018, 01:49 PM   #8
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What size did you order for your Airstream? The WL-001 or WL-002?
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Old 08-22-2018, 08:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLDINS View Post
I just saw this thread on locks. I independently had done similar research on trailer locking devices and also selected the Brahma for my 27FB Globetrotter. After more experience with it I will post another reply with my opinion of it.


Now that you have a few months of use how do you like the Brahma? I am considering this versus a hitch lock.
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Old 08-23-2018, 04:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgg123 View Post
Now that you have a few months of use how do you like the Brahma? I am considering this versus a hitch lock.
I am very pleased with the quality of the Brahma, but there are some small drawbacks.

I have been using it now for about 4 months and have taken 2 trips with it. I have the WL-001 model. When I bought it the people at Brahma looked at the picture of my wheel on the the 2018 Globetrotter and told me that I would need the additional dish for mag wheels. This was not true, The standard dish was the one that worked so they got me for that additional money. Not that big of a deal but if you have the same wheels as the Globetrotter you do NOT need the mag wheel dish, the standard one is fine.

The lock itself is wonderful, it goes on and off pretty easy after you get the hang of it. The folding arm and the screw that hold them in place is great. So I am 100% please when the lock is in use. I do wish the holes for the lock mechanism were spaced a little closer. The lock is too loose in one hole and very hard to get into the next tighter locking hole. I usually fiddle with it to get it into that tighter hole but it has to on just right to get the locking plunger to go in.

Storage is the issue that I have a problem with. It is pretty big and I cannot get it into the storage compartment of the AS unless I take off the propane tanks, not gonna do that very often. So I end up keeping it inside the trailer in the bedroom or in the back seat of the truck. I kept the original box to store it in, but it is pretty big. Its pretty heavy too. The other issue with storage is the disk that goes over the lugs does not fit into the box once you bolt on the attachment fitting, so you have to store that is a second place. I am scared the 2 parts are going to get separated and I won't be able to use the lock if I forgot the disk somewhere.

As far as performance my lock has not been "tested" yet, hope it never is. The idea is with the big, bad and very visible Brahma on the wheel a potential thief will just move on to a different target.
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Old 04-07-2019, 11:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLDINS View Post
I have had the Brahma for about 4 months now and I love it. Good peace of mind knowing it would be really tough to get off. One comment if you are buying one. The customer service lady told me I needed the flatter disk since my 2018 Globetrotter had cast aluminum wheels. That was an extra $30. Well it turn out the deeper "standard" disc works better, so save you $30 and don't get the flat disc lug nut protector.
I will be picking up a 2019 27 Globetrotter. Would you recommend the same? (Flat disc)
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Old 10-25-2020, 03:05 PM   #12
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There's another thread HERE regarding an Airstream that was stolen. Several people who responded indicated they use the Brahma Lock to deter trailer theft.

I looked at the Brahma Lock web site. Interesting product. It stores compactly and looks easy to use. Might consider it. A few things come to mind. Hopefully a Brahma Lock owner can address the following:

1) Please show a picture installed on an Airstream. I don't think our tire has much clearance between the outer sidewall and the inside of the wheel opening. Wondering how that vertical leg of the "Y" actually fits.

2) If a thief didn't realize the Brahma Lock was installed or just figured what the heck I'll tow the trailer away going bumpity, bumpity... It think the 3 legs of the "Y" would rip out a significant section of the wheel opening. Your thoughts?

3) Any other comments related to use on an Airstream would be appeciated.
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Old 10-25-2020, 03:26 PM   #13
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we have had the Brahma Lock for 3 years now

IT DOES deter trailer theft.

we also turn off all front power when parked.

This way, our AS look very difficult to take away, thus thiefs move onto an easier target
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Old 10-26-2020, 08:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nvestysly View Post
There's another thread HERE regarding an Airstream that was stolen. Several people who responded indicated they use the Brahma Lock to deter trailer theft.

I looked at the Brahma Lock web site. Interesting product. It stores compactly and looks easy to use. Might consider it. A few things come to mind. Hopefully a Brahma Lock owner can address the following:

1) Please show a picture installed on an Airstream. I don't think our tire has much clearance between the outer sidewall and the inside of the wheel opening. Wondering how that vertical leg of the "Y" actually fits.

2) If a thief didn't realize the Brahma Lock was installed or just figured what the heck I'll tow the trailer away going bumpity, bumpity... It think the 3 legs of the "Y" would rip out a significant section of the wheel opening. Your thoughts?

3) Any other comments related to use on an Airstream would be appeciated.

Our 28' Flying Cloud has a Dexter Lift kit, but even before installing it we had no trouble with clearance between the tire, wheel lock, and trailer side. Can't imagine a thief not seeing it and trying to drive off.
Click image for larger version

Name:	Airstream Wheel Lock.jpg
Views:	8
Size:	145.0 KB
ID:	381841
(pardon the muddy tires: did a bit of off-roading)


Using a belt & suspenders approach the wheel lock is supplemented by a hitch lock
Click image for larger version

Name:	Airstream Hitch Lock.jpg
Views:	9
Size:	150.0 KB
ID:	381842
... and last but not least some intimidation...
Click image for larger version

Name:	Airstream Reptile.jpg
Views:	7
Size:	121.7 KB
ID:	381843


Sorry if the pictures display sideways. If you click on them one by one you should see them in the correct orientation.
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Old 10-26-2020, 10:56 AM   #15
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I have the Proven Industries hitch lock I plan to cut the chains off from the tongue and add a hook at end. THat way I would take off the safety chains when in storage or on sites. put it on while on trip.

I haven't invested on tire locks yet. doing some research as well.
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Old 11-05-2020, 01:22 PM   #16
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We have the California Immobilizer hitch lock. But after reading about stolen Airstreams, I've also cut the safety chains off and replaced the cut links with heavy QuickLinks. Our Brahma wheel lock came today and it went on fine with just the stock configuration - we didn't bother with the "special" Airstream hubcover.

If it the trailer gets stolen now, it won't be because we didn't try.
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Old 11-05-2020, 07:40 PM   #17
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I noticed that no one mention this: Proven Industries Hitch lock does have a feature to add a lock to chains for other SOBs but not for Airstream trailers. There are two holes at bottom to allow big padlocks to put on chains to keep thieves from using the chains but the padlocks could be cut or broken off from chains. I plan to cut the ends of safety chains off the hitch and attach a new quick links hooks at ends of safety chains like djb75 said. I think this is the best way. Safety chains can be reattached only during towing, yes best to take chains off if you plan to park for several hours. It takes patience for better theft deferent. I wish I could add electric shocks to hitch and safety chains..
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Old 11-05-2020, 08:57 PM   #18
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I bought the Brahma Wheel Lock for my 2019 Globetrotter 27 before heading out on a big trip. I was going to have to leave the trailer unattended for several nights in a few places.

I still have my trailer. So far it’s working...

I would say though that “compact” is not the word I’d use for this device, even when “folded” for transport. It does get more compact for storage than it is when it is installed, but it’s by no means small (and quite heavy, which is good).

I think if someone really wants your trailer these devices just make it a little harder. So if I break out the Brahma, I also place locks on my propride latches and lock the chain up with a disc lock and a few other things. I’d say I use this security protocol maybe 5% of the nights I’m out with the trailer and for extended periods of storage.
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