TRAILER SAFETY CHAINS

58Ford

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BX23s, LA340, BT603, RCR1248
Jan 1, 2022
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Warn too! Interestingly enough, I just did the grapevine in a 40ft Motorhome pulling a Ram 1500. All told I am over 65 ft. The hitch is Freightliner and the tow setup is Roadmaster’s Nighthawk. Here is Roadmaster instructions, pretty clear the cables should be crossed!


• The safety cables must connect the towing vehicle to the towed vehicle, frame to frame.
• Make sure there is enough slack in the cables to allow for sharp turns — if there is not enough slack, the towing system will be severely damaged when the mo- torhome turns a sharp corner.
• Make sure the cables are not too short — if you use a receiver hitch extension or other equipment that ex- tends the distance between the towed vehicle and the motorhome, the standard cables may be too short. If the cables are too short, the towing system will be severely damaged when the motorhome turns a sharp corner.
(Safety cable extensions in a variety of lengths are available from ROADMASTER.)
• Make sure the cables are not too long — the cables should not hang down to the extent they may catch on obstructions, or drag on the ground. This much slack could
cause damage to the towing system, the towed vehicle, or the motorhome.
If the cables are too long, wrap the excess cable around the tow bar to take up the slack. Make sure there is enough slack in the cables to allow for sharp turns.
Damage caused by using safety cables of an incorrect length is not covered under warranty.
• Always cross the cables under the hitch receiver, as shown in Figure 9. In the unlikely event the tow bar sepa- rates from the motorhome, crossing the cables will help prevent the tow bar from dragging on the ground, which can cause the tow bar to “pole vault” the towed vehicle.
Failure to follow these instructions may cause prop- erty damage, personal injury or even death.
 
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lynnmor

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B2601-1
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We all have different experiences and it's absolutely your right to disagree.

I've built trailers and have been pulling trailers for decades, and what I've learned is that a properly sized, quality receiver that's bolted to the frame of the tow vehicle, in combination with a quality hitch and quality coupler with good chains goes a long way to safe operation.

I only use B&W and Curt hitches on my F250, the three "serious" trailers have Demco couplers, the truck has a Titan Class V receiver properly bolted to the frame with Grade 8 hardware. I've NEVER had a trailer come off the coupler, NEVER!!!! I don't rely on someone else to hook up a trailer that I'm pulling and I do routine maintenance on the trailers.

The point is, a lot of the fairy tales and urban legends come from the experiences of Darwin award recipients that think that some magic bullet will cover their lazy, ignorant, cheap a$$es.

And this has what to do with crossing chains???
 

fried1765

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Kubota L48 TLB, Ford 1920 FEL, Ford 8N, SCAG Liberty Z, Gravely Pro.
Nov 14, 2019
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We all have different experiences and it's absolutely your right to disagree.

I've built trailers and have been pulling trailers for decades, and what I've learned is that a properly sized, quality receiver that's bolted to the frame of the tow vehicle, in combination with a quality hitch and quality coupler with good chains goes a long way to safe operation.

I only use B&W and Curt hitches on my F250, the three "serious" trailers have Demco couplers, the truck has a Titan Class V receiver properly bolted to the frame with Grade 8 hardware. I've NEVER had a trailer come off the coupler, NEVER!!!! I don't rely on someone else to hook up a trailer that I'm pulling and I do routine maintenance on the trailers.

The point is, a lot of the fairy tales and urban legends come from the experiences of Darwin award recipients that think that some magic bullet will cover their lazy, ignorant, cheap a$$es.
One of those "Darwin award recipients" nearly killed my family and me on I-95, thirty years ago, when his unchained (?) trailer broke loose at 80MPH, some number of yards ahead of me.
 

fried1765

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Kubota L48 TLB, Ford 1920 FEL, Ford 8N, SCAG Liberty Z, Gravely Pro.
Nov 14, 2019
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Eastham, Ma
Warn too! Interestingly enough, I just did the grapevine in a 40ft Motorhome pulling a Ram 1500. All told I am over 65 ft. The hitch is Freightliner and the tow setup is Roadmaster’s Nighthawk. Here is Roadmaster instructions, pretty clear the cables should be crossed!


• The safety cables must connect the towing vehicle to the towed vehicle, frame to frame.
• Make sure there is enough slack in the cables to allow for sharp turns — if there is not enough slack, the towing system will be severely damaged when the mo- torhome turns a sharp corner.
• Make sure the cables are not too short — if you use a receiver hitch extension or other equipment that ex- tends the distance between the towed vehicle and the motorhome, the standard cables may be too short. If the cables are too short, the towing system will be severely damaged when the motorhome turns a sharp corner.
(Safety cable extensions in a variety of lengths are available from ROADMASTER.)
• Make sure the cables are not too long — the cables should not hang down to the extent they may catch on obstructions, or drag on the ground. This much slack could
cause damage to the towing system, the towed vehicle, or the motorhome.
If the cables are too long, wrap the excess cable around the tow bar to take up the slack. Make sure there is enough slack in the cables to allow for sharp turns.
Damage caused by using safety cables of an incorrect length is not covered under warranty.
• Always cross the cables under the hitch receiver, as shown in Figure 9. In the unlikely event the tow bar sepa- rates from the motorhome, crossing the cables will help prevent the tow bar from dragging on the ground, which can cause the tow bar to “pole vault” the towed vehicle.
Failure to follow these instructions may cause prop- erty damage, personal injury or even death.
[/QUOTE)

BINGO !!!!!
 

mcmxi

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One of those "Darwin award recipients" nearly killed my family and me on I-95, thirty years ago, when his unchained (?) trailer broke loose at 80MPH, some number of yards ahead of me.
Hey, I'm all for chains. Chains are there for a reason, just don't see any need to cross them. In the event of a collision the trailer could separate from the coupler regardless of how well made. In that event one would hope that the trailer would remain attached to the tow vehicle rather than go rogue.
 

mcmxi

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And this has what to do with crossing chains???
Only that the two reasons presented for crossing chains are bogus ... that's all. If you want to cross chains then that's your prerogative, but I won't until I learn of a valid reason to do so.

After hooking up the trailer, I lower the jack and crank the handle until the truck starts to lift at the rear to make sure that the hitch and coupler are properly connected.
 

fried1765

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Kubota L48 TLB, Ford 1920 FEL, Ford 8N, SCAG Liberty Z, Gravely Pro.
Nov 14, 2019
1,458
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Eastham, Ma
Only that the two reasons presented for crossing chains are bogus ... that's all. If you want to cross chains then that's your prerogative, but I won't until I learn of a valid reason to do so.

After hooking up the trailer, I lower the jack and crank the handle until the truck starts to lift at the rear to make sure that the hitch and coupler are properly connected.
Soooooo......... The manufacturer caution quoted in post #24 is ....... "bogus"?
 

mcmxi

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Soooooo......... The manufacturer caution quoted in post #24 is ....... "bogus"?
Wow! In this day and age with all that we've been through over the last couple of years you believe everything that's put out by agencies, manufacturers etc. I'll do my own thinking thanks.

You might be amazed as to how often the information put out by a manufacturer is at the whim of a single individual. Product managers do this all the time in the firearms industry.

Too bad Mythbusters is no longer in production. This would have been a good one for them. Kind of along the same lines as the myth that a dropped driveshaft will flip a car or truck.
 
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fried1765

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Kubota L48 TLB, Ford 1920 FEL, Ford 8N, SCAG Liberty Z, Gravely Pro.
Nov 14, 2019
1,458
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Eastham, Ma
Wow! In this day and age with all that we've been through over the last couple of years you believe everything that's put out by agencies, manufacturers etc. I'll do my own thinking thanks.

You might be amazed as to how often the information put out by a manufacturer is at the whim of a single individual. Product managers do this all the time in the firearms industry.

Too bad Mythbusters is no longer in production. This would have been a good one for them. Kind of along the same lines as the myth that a dropped driveshaft will flip a car or truck.
If you opt to believe that crossing safety chains is a fable or myth....then .....so be it.....for you!
 
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BigG

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Mcmix

i’m glad to hear you to take such care in hooking up your trailers. But all the care in the world will not prevent an accident from happening. The chains crossed underneath the hitch prevent the hitch from dropping down into the ground and may allow the tow vehicle to pull the trailer from the roadway and prevent any accidents or injuries.

if I remember right you had a top link fail and you had to repair it. I believe it was on your Kabota tractor and Kabota is a pretty good manufacture and yet you had a failure. Your hitch on the truck or the trailer may also have a defect and become damaged and such a minor act of crossing the chains may prevent any additional damage. So why not cross them?

In addition here are the regulations from the DOT:
Generally, separate safety devices at the front and rear of the draw bar could be used to satisfy the requirements of §393.70(d) provided the safety devices are attached to the draw-bar and the vehicles in a manner that prevents the drawbar from dropping to the ground in the event that it fails or becomes disconnected. Also, the arrangement of the safety device(s) must be such that the vehicles will not separate if the draw bar fails or becomes disconnected.

And I know the DOT is far from perfect but it says cross your chains.
 

lynnmor

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B2601-1
May 3, 2021
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In addition here are the regulations from the DOT:
Generally, separate safety devices at the front and rear of the draw bar could be used to satisfy the requirements of §393.70(d) provided the safety devices are attached to the draw-bar and the vehicles in a manner that prevents the drawbar from dropping to the ground in the event that it fails or becomes disconnected.
Good luck with that on many common trailers we might use for utility or camping. People go on and on about the chains forming a cradle, as if the trailer tongue will not go forward and under the truck while it is grinding into the pavement. If you think that the trailer brakes will keep the chains taught you would have to have super skills to grab the hand control the split second that the coupling comes undone, and then have the presence of mind to stay off the truck brakes and stop with only the trailer brakes while wrestling the wheel one handed trying to control a disconnected combination. Ain't gonna happen.
 

fried1765

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Kubota L48 TLB, Ford 1920 FEL, Ford 8N, SCAG Liberty Z, Gravely Pro.
Nov 14, 2019
1,458
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Eastham, Ma
Wow! In this day and age with all that we've been through over the last couple of years you believe everything that's put out by agencies, manufacturers etc. I'll do my own thinking thanks.

You might be amazed as to how often the information put out by a manufacturer is at the whim of a single individual. Product managers do this all the time in the firearms industry.

Too bad Mythbusters is no longer in production. This would have been a good one for them. Kind of along the same lines as the myth that a dropped driveshaft will flip a car or truck.
If you opt to believe that crossing safety chains is a fable or myth....then .....so be it.....for you!
The fact remains, that when two chains or cables are provided, it is recommended by trailer manufacturers that they be crossed, as a safety enhancement.
 
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58Ford

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BX23s, LA340, BT603, RCR1248
Jan 1, 2022
143
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SW Washington
Good luck with your insurance claim if you intentionally disregard manufacturers instructions! Usually one of the first thing a claims specialist would look at when determining if your claim is legit. They love it when when you know better than the manufacturer.

I also run a breakaway kit with an air reservoir to fire the brakes on the Toad if it separates from the Motorhome. Could I get away without The extra hassle and expense? Yep, in most states but I feel it’s the responsible thing to do because you know… shit happens sometimes no matter how much you plan or think you know.
 
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BigG

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Good luck with that on many common trailers we might use for utility or camping. People go on and on about the chains forming a cradle, as if the trailer tongue will not go forward and under the truck while it is grinding into the pavement. If you think that the trailer brakes will keep the chains taught you would have to have super skills to grab the hand control the split second that the coupling comes undone, and then have the presence of mind to stay off the truck brakes and stop with only the trailer brakes while wrestling the wheel one handed trying to control a disconnected combination. Ain't gonna happen.
I have over 1,000,000 miles of dragging a trailer across the state of Florida. The closest thing I’ve ever had happened to me was witnessed by a state trooper as he was writing a ticket. The front tire of my dually blew out at 75 miles an hour. I was in the passing lane to avoid the trooper when it blew. I kept my truck under control kept my foot out of the brakes and eased it over to the side of the road. The trooper came up to me as I was changing the tire and said something to the effect of “I thought for sure I’d be calling the wrecker for you when I heard that tire pop. You did an excellent job to get off the road safely.

The only reason I tell this tail is to prove to you that if you keep your wits about you you can have a good outcome. So when I drag a bumper pull the chains are crossed. And if you don’t wanna cross the safety chains that’s your choice and I hope you never need them.
 
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lynnmor

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B2601-1
May 3, 2021
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I have over 1,000,000 miles of dragon a trailer across the state of Florida. The closest thing I’ve ever had happened to me was witnessed by a state trooper as he was riding a ticket. The front tire of my dually blew out at 75 miles an hour. I was in the passing lane to avoid the trooper when it blew. I kept my truck under control kept my foot out of the brakes and east it over to the side of the road. The trooper came up to me as I was changing a tire and sent me something to the effect of “I thought for sure I’d be calling the wrecker for you when I heard that tire pop. You did an excellent job to get off the road safely.

The only reason I tell this tail is to prove to you that if you keep your wits about you you can have a good outcome. So when I drag a bumper pull the chains are crossed. And if you don’t wanna cross the safety chains that’s your choice and I hope you never need them.
I don't know who you are talking to, but I always use safety chains and cross them. I just don't blindly follow the repeated nonsense of them cradling the tongue and keeping it off the road. Perhaps it happens in some cases with some equipment, but often it would be just luck keeping the tongue up. And yes, I have towed large and small RVs thru 48 states on all kinds of roads, not just interstate cruising. The issue in this thread is someone that doesn't understand basic geometry and can't grasp the idea that the distance changes between the chain connecting points when in a sharp turn.
 

fried1765

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Kubota L48 TLB, Ford 1920 FEL, Ford 8N, SCAG Liberty Z, Gravely Pro.
Nov 14, 2019
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Eastham, Ma
I have over 1,000,000 miles of dragon a trailer across the state of Florida. The closest thing I’ve ever had happened to me was witnessed by a state trooper as he was riding a ticket. The front tire of my dually blew out at 75 miles an hour. I was in the passing lane to avoid the trooper when it blew. I kept my truck under control kept my foot out of the brakes and east it over to the side of the road. The trooper came up to me as I was changing a tire and sent me something to the effect of “I thought for sure I’d be calling the wrecker for you when I heard that tire pop. You did an excellent job to get off the road safely.

The only reason I tell this tail is to prove to you that if you keep your wits about you you can have a good outcome. So when I drag a bumper pull the chains are crossed. And if you don’t wanna cross the safety chains that’s your choice and I hope you never need them.
The real problem here is not whether "you" need crossed chains or not!
"you" may not need them crossed, but I do,..... if I happen to be the guy behind you at 75 MPH.
 

Biker1mike

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I thought trailers also had a safety cable that would activate the brakes in a disconnect.
 
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lynnmor

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I thought trailers also had a safety cable that would activate the brakes in a disconnect.
Yep, under ideal conditions and ideal chain and cable lengths it might even work. Good luck with that. Be aware that when the safety switch is pulled there will be maximum braking and probably tires sliding with no way to turn it off. Plan your disconnects so they happen on straight and level roads with no traffic.
 

Biker1mike

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B6200, Kubota 2030 Front Blade, King Cutter 60" finishing deck
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Yep, under ideal conditions and ideal chain and cable lengths it might even work. Good luck with that. Be aware that when the safety switch is pulled there will be maximum braking and probably tires sliding with no way to turn it off. Plan your disconnects so they happen on straight and level roads with no traffic.
So far my disconnects have all been planned. Either at my destination or in the driveway, Never tested the chains or brake cable. 40+ years of camper towing.
I always crank the jack down to make sure it starts to lift the truck before I crank it all the way up. At gas stops and bathroom breaks I check the hubs for heat and recheck the hitch lock before getting back on the road.