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Old 01-15-2014, 09:15 AM   #41
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Who are you quoting Doug?
I didn't find those passages in any of the posted references. Can you provide a link?

Here is a link to a blog article on the subject where the author discusses both scenarios. Guess she couldn't find specific guidance in laws or statutes either.
http://www.title-3.com/BreakAway.htm


Thanks!
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Old 01-15-2014, 09:36 AM   #42
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Paul, just did a quick search, and found this right away. This is a topic well discussed in many trailering forums.

http://bioengr.ag.utk.edu/ExtProg/Sa...ilerBrakes.pdf

I really don't understand the many folks here who are thinking that the breakaway switch should take effect, only if the chains fail. I have never heard of properly attached chains failing. I have heard of, and have had myself, trailers breaking away from the hitch. The idea is to stop safely when decoupling occurs, not to stop the trailer if it is going down the road on its own.

You need the trailer breaks to lock whenever the hitch accidentally becomes detached while towing, otherwise it will come slamming back into you when it does, potentially causing a very dangerous situation. If this was to happen, that would be your first indication that it became uncoupled, and any action of yours to manually apply the brakes would come way to late, even if it crosses your thought process in an emergency situation.

If the breakaway applies the brakes should the hitch decouple, the trailer will pull straight back, allowing you to stay in full control as you come to a stop, even on rain soaked roads.

Driving professionally with vehicles equipped with breakaway controller, it was one of our walk-around checks to make sure that it in fact worked, and that it would engage should it be needed.

I have to confess, I never bothered to set up my breakaway properly on my Escape at first (knew better, but figured nothing would happen to me), and did have it decouple on the road. Fortunately it was on the service road leaving the campground, and sure enough, even at a slow speed, the trailer rammed into the tow vehicle, leaving a canoe imprint on the front window rock guard, and a dint in the Pilot bumper.
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Old 01-15-2014, 09:49 AM   #43
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Thanks Jim.
Guess I'll talk to Reace about it when he sets up the Anderson hitch on my 21.
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:39 AM   #44
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As Jim mentioned, I can't imagine a senario where the safety chains or the actual trailer hitch that is bolted to the frame of my truck could fail. That is why I feel confident that securing the safety chains and break away cable to hitch will work well. To adjust the length of the cable so that it will be guaranteed to work properly is quite easy. Most hardware stores sell the proper cable crimping parts. To me its important that if the trailer comes off the ball that the trailer brakes engage to stop the trailer hammering the back of the truck which could easily cause the truck to be hard to control
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:21 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
Excellent research Doug.
I would conclude then that the break-away cable shouldn't be attached to the same location as the chains ( the hitch receiver ) or the hitch pin.
One needs to find an attachment point on the frame ( which might be difficult, given few vehicles have frames these days ).
I guess one could have a ring welded to the unibody easily enough.
Problem is the terms used. If it's not to be attached to the ball or ball mount, would it be OK to attach it to the hitch receiver?
Hi Glenn

I think you would be safe attaching the cable to the receiver as it should be welded to the vehicle. Its usually the hitch itself that something goes wrong with that causes separation.
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:53 AM   #46
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On our Ford escape we have the small hitch receiver (class 2?)which came stock on our vehicle--the breakaway cable gets put in there with a cotter pin. I believe Reace did this first when we got our trailer. And we do have a good sized loop in the cable...

Our class 3 hitch was added afterwards.
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Old 01-15-2014, 12:02 PM   #47
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...I have to confess, I never bothered to set up my breakaway properly on my Escape at first (knew better, but figured nothing would happen to me), and did have it decouple on the road. Fortunately it was on the service road leaving the campground, and sure enough, even at a slow speed, the trailer rammed into the tow vehicle, leaving a canoe imprint on the front window rock guard, and a dint in the Pilot bumper.
Jim, I am sure that with this past experience, you probably make a concerted effort to make sure things are coupled properly and working before towing. I find that I also learn best from the mistakes I make.
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Old 01-15-2014, 12:24 PM   #48
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"Do it yourself" is the best advice I can offer. When hooking up, I take care of the entire process, so I know that everything has been done and done properly.
My buddy left it to his wife to drop the coupler on to the ball while he did something else. I came by and noticed that the coupler was actually sitting on top of the ball, even though it appeared latched.
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Old 01-15-2014, 01:51 PM   #49
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Do the the trailer brake lights come on when the breakaway cable is pulled? I would expect they do but the trailer is in storage and I can't check. After reading Jim's post, which makes sense to me, I will be shortening our breakaway cable in the spring.
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Old 01-15-2014, 02:05 PM   #50
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I just measured the distance for the cable, 12" from the coupler to the switch. I also measured my tongue weight, full propane, empty water and waste tanks, empty refer, otherwise ready to camp, 550#. Will measure again once I fill fresh tank 50% and with food in refer, ready to roll.
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Old 01-15-2014, 02:51 PM   #51
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I would conclude then that the break-away cable shouldn't be attached to the same location as the chains ( the hitch receiver ) or the hitch pin.
One needs to find an attachment point on the frame ( which might be difficult, given few vehicles have frames these days ).
I guess one could have a ring welded to the unibody easily enough.
Problem is the terms used. If it's not to be attached to the ball or ball mount, would it be OK to attach it to the hitch receiver?
If the chains fail, it seems unlikely to be due to a failure of the receiver's chain loops, and that's where I attach the breakaway cable. It seems even less likely that the receiver will come off of the vehicle structure, and I agree that there is a distinct lack of other attachment points in most vehicles, so I have no problem with the idea of attaching the breakaway cable to the receiver. In some cases there is a tow hook or similar on the vehicle which may be suitably located, and in that case it would be suitable for the breakaway cable.
I wouldn't consider welding on to the unibody for this purpose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
I have never heard of properly attached chains failing. I have heard of, and have had myself, trailers breaking away from the hitch. The idea is to stop safely when decoupling occurs, not to stop the trailer if it is going down the road on its own.
To the contrary, I think a major goal of regulations requiring breakaway switches is to handle complete runaway trailers. Chains do fail (I have no idea how often), because they are often not properly attached. At least two other moulded fiberglass travel trailer manufacturers (not Escape, of course) routinely deliver new trailers with clearly defective and inadequate safety chain installations.

I agree that the brakes should come on if the trailer is uncoupled and attached to the tug only by the safety chains, although if the electrical cable is still attached manual activation of the brake controller can be used so the breakaway feature isn't needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave macrae View Post
As Jim mentioned, I can't imagine a senario where the safety chains or the actual trailer hitch that is bolted to the frame of my truck could fail.
I agree that the receiver structure failing is highly unlikely, but in some defective installations the receiver has at least partially come off of the tow vehicle structure.

Chains can certainly fail, due to improper installation, rust, wear from dragging on the ground, etc. None of these things will happen to a diligent trailer operator, but it happens to others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PGDriver View Post
I think you would be safe attaching the cable to the receiver as it should be welded to the vehicle. Its usually the hitch itself that something goes wrong with that causes separation.
While I agree that the receiver is a suitable attachment point, and problems usually occur in the routinely detached parts of the system (such as the ball mount and the coupler) rather than the receiver-to-vehicle mounting, receivers are not normally welded to the vehicle, and with modern vehicles they should not be welded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRietkerk View Post
Do the the trailer brake lights come on when the breakaway cable is pulled?
No. There is no connection between the breakaway switch circuit and the brake lights, and to provide this capability properly would greatly complicate the breakway wiring.
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Old 01-15-2014, 03:03 PM   #52
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On our Ford escape we have the small hitch receiver (class 2?)which came stock on our vehicle--the breakaway cable gets put in there with a cotter pin. I believe Reace did this first when we got our trailer. And we do have a good sized loop in the cable...

Our class 3 hitch was added afterwards.
Do you mean that the breakaway cable is connected to the Class 2 hitch receiver, but the ball mount is in the Class 3 receiver? That would be suitable.

Do you really mean a (split) cotter pin? It would make more sense to me to use a hitch pin (like the one used to hold in a ball mount, or a more convenient wire lock style) in the otherwise empty receiver.
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Old 01-15-2014, 03:39 PM   #53
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Never had a "brake away cable" on my old trailers. So that's what that little black box screwed to the frame is for. If this was covered during my orientation it didn't stick.

This is a timely, important discussion for me. Never gave this cable notice as anything but a slightly odd way to keep the 7-pin line properly tethered. Just finished reading my owners manual. There's but one sentance on the subject: "Attach the brake away cable to a secure location on the tow vehicle."

My hitch doesn't have any way to loop the cable on it other than about the big pin, or around the receiver shaft (red arrows), or through the place where the chains are attached (green arrow). Seems logical to run the cable through where the chains go and loop it back onto the big pin. That's bad?
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Old 01-15-2014, 03:43 PM   #54
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Do you mean that the breakaway cable is connected to the Class 2 hitch receiver, but the ball mount is in the Class 3 receiver? That would be suitable.

Do you really mean a (split) cotter pin? It would make more sense to me to use a hitch pin (like the one used to hold in a ball mount, or a more convenient wire lock style) in the otherwise empty receiver.
Yes, breakaway is in class 2 hitch receiver and ball is in the class 3 and we use a big hitch pin for both instances. Locking hitch pin for the ball.
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Old 01-15-2014, 03:47 PM   #55
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Myron, You must have a sleeve pin holding your receiver, slip the breakaway cable thru it, the side opposite your green arrow.
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Old 01-15-2014, 03:53 PM   #56
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One observation can be made from these posts, there so many variables in these hitch set ups that some seem to proper and some questionable. For example, I would never tow a trailer with a pin and sleeve set up, as pictured in #53. It is too easy for someone to pull the sleeve pin and walk away and you would not know it until too late. I always use a sleeve lock, made to lock the stinger in the receiver. I also lock the trailer on the ball while towing. These tow procedures will eliminate anyone from messing with your set up. Just my .02$ worth, the cost of locks are inexpensive, peace of mind, priceless.
One more observation, drill a hole thru the nut holding the ball on the stinger and wire it, learned this while motorcycle racing, everything and anything can come loose.
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:06 PM   #57
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I'm going to run my cable along a chain and add a few inches, connecting them both to the hitch where I normally connect the chain.
I'm not worried about somebody pulling the pin on me ( did that happen once in history? ). And, every time I stop, I do a walk around before continuing the journey.
I do keep a couple extra pin clips after I had one break on me for no apparent reason.
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:13 PM   #58
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This is the kind of pin I have always used. There is no hole to run the cable through. Never gave thought someone might pull it out just to be malicious. Guess I better rethink that.

Actually, I recall once using a combo pin/padlock but after a winter the lock got so badly froze up I had a devil of a time removing it. Went back to what you see here.
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:17 PM   #59
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Just for the heck of it, next time you have the trailer on the ball, try removing that hitch pin.
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:35 PM   #60
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I'm going to run my cable along a chain and add a few inches, connecting them both to the hitch where I normally connect the chain.
That's how Reace set mine up when we picked it up and how I have done it ever since. Looped the end of the cable onto the screw on chain link and connected them both on together.
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