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Old 01-16-2014, 04:15 PM   #81
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I'll raise my compulsive hand, but I got an excuse: I'm retired. These pictures may be of interest here.

It seems clear the amount of chain slack is critical to whether or not the tube will be an issue in an emergency.
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Old 01-16-2014, 04:34 PM   #82
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Great pics Myron!

1) It is obvious from your photos that the coupler wheel should be removed when transporting the trailer and the jack should be brought up to its highest setting. (I wonder if the coupler wheel is rated for highway speeds? )
2) When the coupler is down and resting on the chain, your emergency break away cable is still connected, and is unlikely to disconnect unless the chains completely break. With the coupler down and resting on the chains, you had better hope that the trailer electrical cable does not detach from the tow vehicle or there will be no brakes at all. With my own trailer, I am not sure that I could rely on the trailer electrical cable remaining plugged into the TV. I think this is convincing me that I should shorten my own emergency disconnect cable to activate the brakes if the coupler detaches and falls onto the chains.
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Old 01-16-2014, 04:54 PM   #83
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santacruzer - thanks for that info. Knowing Reace, I am confident that those threaded connectors he supplied are of sufficient breaking strength, but your points about the thread being potential problems has me ready to switch to the ones Paul posted.

I think that Myron's pictures also illustrate why the trailer brakes need to be activated if uncoupling happens. The brakes should pull the trailer away from the tow, tighten the chains, and hopefully then allow them to cradle the coupler well above the pavement -- at least in theory that is!
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Old 01-16-2014, 05:20 PM   #84
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I'm also going to replace the carabieners with clevis hooks. Really like 'em, so thanks, santa, for the tip. Must also shorten my chain slack by probably at least two links, depending on jackknife turn restrictions. Thinking very seriously about not towing any more with the swivel wheel attached, though that decision pains me. Pictures don't lie. As for the brake away cable, it seems to me it's value is strictly for when the two vehicles have completely separated and the trailer is bouncing freely away on it's own. That issue aside, so long as the 7 pin is attached, thinking in a pinch I got brakes that work, so I'm good.
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Old 01-16-2014, 05:43 PM   #85
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This has been a good discussion, with Myron's photos very interesting, and supporting why I take off my wheel and keep the pole all the way up! Chain slack is very important, you only want enough to be able to turn without binding, and I imagine that will be a case-by-case matter. I think I keep mine a little tighter than I see in Myron's #1 photo, but it's hard to tell. I try to keep all three connections (chains, electrical, breakaway) away from each other as much as possible. I personally don't like the idea of weaving the breakaway cable into the others. I've had my electrical connection come loose, and if it were tied into or attached to the breakaway cable, there's a chance the trailer brakes could suddenly be activated even without the tongue coming uncoupled. I think the intention of the breakaway switch is for total separation of vehicle and trailer, i.e., failure of the safety chains. That said, I've been nosing around the web and can't seem to find a definitive answer either way.
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Old 01-16-2014, 06:36 PM   #86
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Just an observation on Myron's use of the caribiner type hooks that Escape provides. I am not sure where I picked this up, I have never visited the Escape factory, but my method of using the chains was to loop the chain through the opening on the vehicle side receiver and then use the caribiner hook to keep it taut and secure. In other words, the caribiner was joining two links of the chain well past the hitch and after going through the receiver. The effect of this is, the weight of the lost trailer was put on the chain, the strongest part of the equation. The caribiner was carrying very little weight and did not require the strength of a link of chain.

In Myron's photos there is enough slack in the chain, loop it through the hitch receiver and now use the carabiner to lock the two lengths of chain.

That said, the clevis hooks I recommended are much easier to use. Installation can be done with a pliers and now is the time you can make adjustments for proper chain length.
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:06 PM   #87
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Also worth noting from Myron's pix is that the jack wheel is facing backwards ( assuming the trailer is moving forward ) and that when an event happens, it may be facing any direction, left, right.

And, the attachments that Thoer pictured are the ones I have on my chains. I don't know what they are called but those are not carabiners, in my mind. I've been using mine for five years and they are a PIA, but I try to remember to keep the threads lubed with white grease.
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:12 PM   #88
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I'd like to expand the conversation to include how to keep the electrical connection from TV to trailer secure. As mentioned, I've had mine come off several times. My buddy dropped his and wore the plug down so far that it needed to be replaced.
I have tried re-usable zap-straps to keep the cap pressed against the plug, but I'm still not satisfied.
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:21 PM   #89
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I tape mine with electrical tape around the plug cover -seems to work.
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:22 PM   #90
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Appears that the connectors Thoer and I are using are called Quick Link.
I found this one on the Rona site ( useless since it doesn't rate it in lbs. breaking strength or anything else ).
I think I'll stick with these because I know when they are closed and they will not accidentally come open.
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:27 PM   #91
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I've had the same problem of the electrical connection coming disconnected. I've tried a number of fixes, all of which are a nuisance. It seems the little nub at the top of the vehicle plug shifts up and releases its very tenuous hold, and the plug just works its way out. Most effective cure has been a piece of light baling wire around the nub and the plug, but I really want to find a better, and easier to use, strap arrangement.
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:33 PM   #92
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Yes, Fudge, I agree my use of Escape's chain links in the picture is wrong. Just returned from the hardware store. They didn't have the right Cevis hook, but did have them heavy duty (rated 900 lbs) stainless steel, spring loaded carbiner loops. I bought one ($8bucks). Will use it your way. Also got two Grade 8, 5/16ths hex bolts, one for the swivel wheel, one for the coupler lockdown.

I purposely installed a metal 7-pin receiver on my hitch instead of the black carbon/plastic ones you see everywhere, just because the spring lid is far stiffer and stronger and will hold the connection more robustly. That's the best idea I have for that.
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:34 PM   #93
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While I have also converted to the clevis hooks fudge brownie uses, we use quick links quite a bit in theatre rigging. There are rated versions - for example a theatrical supplier called Rose Brand sells them.

The problem is there are also knockoffs that are not rated - you need to be careful which you buy. One other problem with them - if you put a strain on them while open, it will ruin them since the threads will no longer line up with the captive nut. Probably not a big problem when using them to connect trailer chains, but we used hundreds of them & it always seemed that the one you dug out of the bin was stretched out of line...
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:50 PM   #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
I'd like to expand the conversation to include how to keep the electrical connection from TV to trailer secure. As mentioned, I've had mine come off several times. My buddy dropped his and wore the plug down so far that it needed to be replaced.
I have tried re-usable zap-straps to keep the cap pressed against the plug, but I'm still not satisfied.
Glenn - did your Rav come with a tow package or installed later? The 7 pin connection that came on my Tacoma clamps down firmly and has never let the plug slip out. Maybe you need to replace the connector on the RAV side.
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:02 PM   #95
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The electrical was done at the dealership by a private installer that Toyota brought in for hitch install.

Back to the chains, what holds that latch closed on those clevis hooks pictured?
I looked up clevis hooks at Home Depot and they were just open. No latch.
My concern is that they work under tension when lifting a load, but with a slack chain that bouncing might allow the chain to come loose.
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:05 PM   #96
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I also have had the receptical fail. The spring that forces the cover down on the plug corroded and broke. The replacement will likely also fail. Has anyone tried the EZConnector? http://ezconnector.com/

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Old 01-16-2014, 08:23 PM   #97
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These are 12600# rated and have a spring closure: Curt Manufacturing 81940 1/4 In Clevis Safety Latch Hook Are these the size people are looking at?
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:33 PM   #98
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Ok, just so there's no confusion on hookology ...
Re Clevis hooks without the spring latch...had the same issue. No latches on available Clevisis.
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Old 01-16-2014, 09:04 PM   #99
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Ok, just so there's no confusion on hookology ...
Re Clevis hooks without the spring latch...had the same issue. No latches on available Clevisis.
The carabiner you show is not likely rated to carry loads such as from the safety chains. Both the quick links and the Clovis hooks would likely be fine.
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Old 01-16-2014, 10:37 PM   #100
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Another, even better reason for not leaving a ball mount in the receiver long term, or really for any extended time when not towing is the bloody thing sticks out and away from the bumper and you never really appreciate that until your shins send you a painful message.
That's another reason I don't leave the ball mount in!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MyronL View Post
Using a carabiner style clip for the cable loop through the chains hole and then connected to the chain? That, and what fudge brownie said, works for me...
Through the chain loop, yes, but why this obsession with interconnecting everything? Why not just hook the carabiner on one of the chain loops of the receiver? Simpler is better, and involving the safety chains in the breakaway cable configuration adds no benefit.

Quote:
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At 50 mph if the coupler jumps off the ball and becomes cradled in the safety chains, in my humble opinion it is not a good thing for the trailer brakes to manually lock up. The trailer coupler will be nested in the chains, and I would want the trailer tires to turn freely while I slow down to pull over, not dragging half-hazardly on pavement.
I see the desire for automatic application of the brakes, but like Myron I don't want to drag a trailer with locked-up tires that is skidding out of control. The ideal would be to put a resistor in the breakaway electrical circuit to provide a more moderate level of braking, but I currently just connect it directly and risk the skidding... but I can't guarantee if the breakaway switch will trip before or after chain breakage.


As for hardware style, I was only suggesting the carabiner style for the breakaway cable, not the safety chains. If you use any kind of hook for safety chains, I strongly suggest any style with a latch so it will not fall off, rated as mentioned for the full weight of the trailer.
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