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Old 05-19-2018, 03:06 AM   #1
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Thoughts on safety chains

I recently read an article about hitching up trailers safely. The article mentioned that the safety chains should cross over in an X pattern underneath the hitch in order to cradle it in the event the hitch ever comes off the ball thus preventing all sorts of really bad things from occurring if the hitch contacts the road.
Problem is, my chains are connected to a single loop welded to a point in the center of the A-frame. It is impossible to make them cross over in an X-shaped pattern. They always form a V-shape due to the single connection point.

Well that brings up what I consider to be a flaw in that design. The two chains connecting to one loop represents a single point of failure. What if the weld holding the loop in place breaks?

Should I consider taking my rig to a welding shop and have them mount each chain to its own loop located at the sides of the A-frame? What do you think?
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Old 05-19-2018, 11:06 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Occupant5143 View Post
I recently read an article about hitching up trailers safely. The article mentioned that the safety chains should cross over in an X pattern underneath the hitch in order to cradle it in the event the hitch ever comes off the ball thus preventing all sorts of really bad things from occurring if the hitch contacts the road.
Problem is, my chains are connected to a single loop welded to a point in the center of the A-frame. It is impossible to make them cross over in an X-shaped pattern. They always form a V-shape due to the single connection point.

Well that brings up what I consider to be a flaw in that design. The two chains connecting to one loop represents a single point of failure. What if the weld holding the loop in place breaks?

Should I consider taking my rig to a welding shop and have them mount each chain to its own loop located at the sides of the A-frame? What do you think?
My chains are too short for creating an X pattern. I believe that rule is meant more for the smaller trailers, boat trailers, u haul stuff, etc. When was the last time you ever heard of an RV coming loose from the hitch?
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Old 05-19-2018, 11:59 AM   #3
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My chains are too short for creating an X pattern. I believe that rule is meant more for the smaller trailers, boat trailers, u haul stuff, etc. When was the last time you ever heard of an RV coming loose from the hitch?
I saw two in my travels last week... One was turned over in the median, the other on the shoulder.

I would definitely consider getting two separate mounting points installed. Sad part is the hooks and chains on most trailers I have seen are grossly undersized, especially the "S" hooks.

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Old 05-19-2018, 12:01 PM   #4
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I saw two in my travels last week... One was turned over in the median, the other on the shoulder.

Aaron
WOW, did they come loose from their hitches? Were they RV's? You must travel in some pretty dangerous areas.
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Old 05-19-2018, 01:46 PM   #5
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WOW, did they come loose from their hitches? Were they RV's? You must travel in some pretty dangerous areas.
I travel a lot for work, typically 50,000 miles a year.

The larger one in the median was a 30+ foot TT, looked like a receiver or vehicle frame failure, the hitch head was still attached and the back of the pickup that had been towing it was pretty beat up and twisted. The second one was a smaller TT 20' range, looked like either a ball failure or trailer tongue failure it was on the shoulder.

First one was on I-26 on the east side of Atlanta, the other on I-75 in southern KY.

IMHO the larger trailer was too large for the tow vehicle, the pickup appeared to be a Chevy 1500 crew cab. The smaller trailer was being towed by a medium sized SUV.

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Old 05-19-2018, 03:08 PM   #6
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I travel a lot for work, typically 50,000 miles a year.

The larger one in the median was a 30+ foot TT, looked like a receiver or vehicle frame failure, the hitch head was still attached and the back of the pickup that had been towing it was pretty beat up and twisted. The second one was a smaller TT 20' range, looked like either a ball failure or trailer tongue failure it was on the shoulder.

First one was on I-26 on the east side of Atlanta, the other on I-75 in southern KY.

IMHO the larger trailer was too large for the tow vehicle, the pickup appeared to be a Chevy 1500 crew cab. The smaller trailer was being towed by a medium sized SUV.

Aaron
I know what you are saying about I-26. That road is like a washboard in the right hand lane. I am so happy they are fixing it. I think most of those type of accidents are due to operator carelessness and the desire for cars to pass and weave through traffic just to get two car lengths ahead. While I was at the RV show in January, many of the RV's had signs on them saying it could be towed by a 1500. On the other hand, I was on I-75 in Kentucky a few weeks back and that road seemed pretty reasonable BUT, only two lanes. Back to the safety chain thing, do you think either was because the trailer became uncoupled?
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Old 05-19-2018, 03:23 PM   #7
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I know what you are saying about I-26. That road is like a washboard in the right hand lane. I am so happy they are fixing it. I think most of those type of accidents are due to operator carelessness and the desire for cars to pass and weave through traffic just to get two car lengths ahead. While I was at the RV show in January, many of the RV's had signs on them saying it could be towed by a 1500. On the other hand, I was on I-75 in Kentucky a few weeks back and that road seemed pretty reasonable BUT, only two lanes. Back to the safety chain thing, do you think either was because the trailer became uncoupled?
Both appeared to be failures of some sort, the large one definitely did not come uncoupled, a large portion of the hitch was still attached to the A-frame. The smaller one was hard to tell, the safety chains appeared to have done their job, the tongue was dropped down on them and the rig was on the side of the road at an angle, no signs of it having dug into the pavement. I am wondering if the breakaway switch activated, most people don't have them set up properly. Personally I would love to see DOT do random inspections of RV setups for proper setup and compliance, however it is a minor statistic in the grand scheme of things.

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Old 05-19-2018, 11:14 PM   #8
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Honestly? I thought it was law of the road, at least here in Ohio. But I'm not sure where I heard it.
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Old 05-31-2018, 03:45 AM   #9
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It is the law in Kansas - don't get caught without your chains in an X pattern. My trailer also has the single point loop but when I pull the chains out straight I can see where I can create the X by sliding one under the other and attaching to my truck. I'll try and get pictures tomorrow.
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