correct way to attach breakaway cable - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 11-27-2018, 10:38 AM   #1
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correct way to attach breakaway cable

Hi folks
We recently picked up our new 19' at the factory, and the great people there ran us through orientation, and then hooked us up to our car.
I noticed after we left that they had attached the breakaway switch cable to the safety chain with snap ties, and then attached the cable end loop into the chain hook, which attached to the car.
This is our 4th camper, and I had been taught somewhere long ago that the switch cable should be attached directly to the vehicle, and made slightly shorter than the chain. I looked it up on you tube, and found several links that verified that is the correct way. If the trailer comes off the hitch ball, the switch cable will pull the plug on the breakaway switch and activate the trailer brakes, even though the chains are still keeping the trailer attached to the car.
This would prevent the trailer from slamming into the back of the car.

This seems logical to me; anyone have a different opinion?

I called Dave, the parts guy at Escape and he said he would look into it.......
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Old 11-27-2018, 11:09 AM   #2
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Hi: dpiano... IMHO there will be several "Correct" ways to do this. Major thing is...DO IT!!! Alf
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Old 11-27-2018, 11:13 AM   #3
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Zip tying to the safety chain if I understand this correctly would not allow the breakaway switch to operate as it’s designed, so I’m in ur camp on that being incorrectly done. The breakaway switch has to free when the ball comes out of the coupler and the trailer drops back on the safety chains. The setup you describe would prevent that until the chains break. First I’ve seen this mentioned, however, wonder if it was a one-off or they’re sending trailers out with this setup? Good that you called it in to them.
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Old 11-27-2018, 11:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg A View Post
Zip tying to the safety chain if I understand this correctly would not allow the breakaway switch to operate as it’s designed, so I’m in ur camp on that being incorrectly done. The breakaway switch has to fire when the ball comes out of the coupler and the trailer drops back on the safety chains. The setup you describe would prevent that until the chains break. First I’ve seen this mentioned, however, wonder if it was a one-off or they’re sending trailers out with this setup? Good that you called it in to them.
Escape attached the safety cable to the chains & hook on my 2017 21.
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Old 11-27-2018, 11:39 AM   #5
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The breakaway cable should go to a permanent part of the tow vehicle. Nothing that can break or become disconnected. This is what Escape's own manual says too. Whether it is short enough to engage the brakes when still connected to a tow vehicle by safety chains is a matter of preference I suppose. The purpose of the technology is not to protect your tow vehicle it is to protect others if your trailer were to become completely disconnected.
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File Type: jpg breakaway.JPG (142.7 KB, 175 views)
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Old 11-27-2018, 01:03 PM   #6
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Breakaway

The cable from the breakaway switch should be removed from the safety chain hook, all tie wraps removed, cable adjusted to the appropriate length and fitted with a carbiner separately attached to the tow vehicle. I have been told that the way Escape does it does not meet regulations. YMMV
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Old 11-27-2018, 01:16 PM   #7
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Breakaway carabiner

After 4 years of towing with the cable attached incorrectly, I switched a couple of months ago to using a carabiner attached to the receiver alongside the safety chain.

I am glad this is being mentioned. I fear many have been doing this wrong, probably from day one.

Sliding along on the trailer jack post foot is not the best way to stop a trailer, but it does work at 5mph in Glacier National Park, Apgar Loop A.
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Old 11-27-2018, 01:43 PM   #8
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Reace showed me how to connect the breakaway cable to the vehicle.
He first put a loop in the cable so it would not drag on the ground or get caught on anything.
He then put the end of the cable through the 'R' clip and around the pin that holds the WDH on the receiver. Then the 'R' clip was placed on the pin.
Hoping this blowup will help.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg With WDH2.jpg (118.1 KB, 178 views)
File Type: jpg R-pin.jpg (183.6 KB, 140 views)
File Type: jpg Rclip .jpg (116.2 KB, 162 views)
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Old 11-27-2018, 01:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkirk View Post
The cable from the breakaway switch should be removed from the safety chain hook, all tie wraps removed, cable adjusted to the appropriate length and fitted with a carbiner separately attached to the tow vehicle. I have been told that the way Escape does it does not meet regulations. YMMV
I don't have a bumper pull, but a 5th wheel. When Dennis delivered my trailer to Sumas, he said to change the loop on the end of the break away cable to a caribner. BUT he also warned to get a GOOD carbiner and not one of those aluminum ones designed to keep your keys attached to your belt. You don't want the carbiner to break before the switch is activated. One of these days I'll go to a mountaineering shop and buy a carbiner manufactured for rock climbing...
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Old 11-27-2018, 02:24 PM   #10
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We replaced the factory supplied breakaway with one of these from Fastway. Nice.

https://www.fastwaytrailer.com/zip-breakaway-cable

IMG_0192.jpg
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Old 11-27-2018, 03:03 PM   #11
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I always had mine loosely threaded thru the chain to keep it from getting tangled, then connected to the receiver via a caribiner.

Never heard of regulations that covered this?
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Old 11-27-2018, 03:31 PM   #12
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Reace's trick with the pin that holds the WD head or ball mount into the receiver is presumably just done because the cheap standard breakaway cable has only a loop on the end, not a clip. I spent the couple of bucks, and bought a security snap for chain or cable.

I wouldn't attach the breakaway switch cable to the safety chains in any way. The breakaway cable and its fittings are weak compared to the safety chains, and I wouldn't want the any part of the breakaway cable to be pulled apart (by a chain being pulled tight) before it pulls the plug out of the breakaway switch.

This seems pretty simple to me: hook the cable on the hitch receiver - the safety chain loops are usually the easiest part with a conventional hitch. With a fifth-wheel or Andersen Ultimate it would be best to go to somewhere fixed to the truck, rather than to a removable part of the system that might not have been pinned properly (causing the separation that the breakaway switch is there to handle).
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Old 11-27-2018, 03:35 PM   #13
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Ours was hooked up to the safety chain as well and we questioned that method but were assured it was fine. We weren't really comfortable with that setup so now, after this thread, we'll go back to the "old" way of hooking up the breakaway cable.
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Old 11-27-2018, 03:53 PM   #14
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Stupid question here: Does a 5th wheel trailer require a break-away cable? How about safety chains?
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Old 11-27-2018, 04:40 PM   #15
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Hitching up

I have attached the cable to the receiver for many years. Years ago,I had a mower trailer come off the hitch, ( Ball size was changed and I did not know it) at 65 mph on the interstate in Omaha. After the trailer tongue smacked the tailgate the trailer got wacky enough to actuate the brakes because the safety chains were too long and the weight on the trailer was too far back and the tongue went up in the air instead of down on the paving. When the brake cable activated the brakes the trailer drug to a stop, smoking the trailer brakes. Changed out the tailgate a few days later and that was the only real damage. After that I have always been careful with loading, safety chain length (crossed) and brake cable setup.
That was over 40 years ago. I have a supply of coated 1/8 inch cable, ferrules, cable cutters and a swaging tool so I can replace my cable if it starts looking kinked or suspect, or put a little necklace on a coyote whichever comes first. I use zip ties to double back excessive “free” links of safety chain for keeping the hanging lengths out of the way.
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Old 11-27-2018, 04:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilola View Post
Stupid question here: Does a 5th wheel trailer require a break-away cable? How about safety chains?
Yes to the break away cable. Chain are not required on a "standard" fifth wheel hitch but are required on a gooseneck style. I think there was some cases where chains were NOT needed on goosenecks.
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Old 11-27-2018, 04:49 PM   #17
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Related issue. Does anyone activate the switch to see if it works? Does it reset properly?
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Old 11-27-2018, 05:07 PM   #18
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My understanding is the breakaway cable should be shorter than the safety chains so that in the event the hitch comes out of the ball mount the trailer will brake and you can control the stop (with the hitch supported by the crossed safety chains).

If the hitch comes out of the ball and the brake is not applied it could cause considerable damage. Anything that could impede the breakaway cable from being pulled such as attaching to safety chains, etc, may not engage the brake in an emergency.
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Old 11-27-2018, 06:09 PM   #19
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Does a 5th wheel trailer require a break-away cable? How about safety chains?
The point of the breakaway switch and cable is to apply the trailer's brakes if it becomes detached from the towing vehicle. While a fifth-wheel hitch is considered less likely to become accidentally uncoupled than a ball hitch (that's why safety chains are not required), a failure could still cause the trailer to become detached and so the breakaway system still makes sense (and I believe is generally required). Yes, it is very unlikely, but clipping on the breakaway cable doesn't seem like a big deal to me.
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Old 11-27-2018, 06:13 PM   #20
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This makes the most sense to me. Bypass the safety chains except I run the cable through the same tow mount opening they hook onto and loop cable back to the break away thing, as seen here. I did dehitch once and can confirm my way works fine.

Reset simply by re-inserting it.
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File Type: jpg emergency.jpg (51.1 KB, 55 views)
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