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Old 07-22-2012, 10:01 AM   #1
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Safety chain or not for 5th wheel

for anyone that has asked why a 5th wheel doesn't require safety chains; it isn't because it is in the bed or as i was under the false impression...break away brakes.

Found the answer in Conn DMV. read abt safety chains... it's the king pin and the lockable hitch. if it has a ball, it requires safety chains. (if u have converted to an in bed ball, u will need safety chains).

That is the most direct answer i can find. tried looking it up under my state requirements and can't find anything that direct.

DMV: Inspection of Trailers
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Old 07-22-2012, 10:55 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimh View Post
for anyone that has asked why a 5th wheel doesn't require safety chains; it isn't because it is in the bed or as i was under the false impression...break away brakes.

Found the answer in Conn DMV. read abt safety chains... it's the king pin and the lockable hitch. if it has a ball, it requires safety chains. (if u have converted to an in bed ball, u will need safety chains).

That is the most direct answer i can find. tried looking it up under my state requirements and can't find anything that direct.

DMV: Inspection of Trailers
As you discovered, ball trailers also have brakes and do require chains.

Bed balls have positive locks similar to 5th wheels, but due to how the laws were written regarding ball type hitches also require chains.
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Old 07-22-2012, 02:47 PM   #3
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the part that surprised me was that the goose neck had to have chains. i've seen a few 5th wheel travel trailers that were converted to in bed ball coupling. i didn't know they required it.

a couple years ago, i went into the st police station here and asked abt 5th wheels and chains. the only thing they could find at all was that electric brakes were required above a certain weight rating. (the weight rating apparently applied to all trailers...my cargo trailer has break away brakes).

I had heard that the reason chains weren't required was because it could drop into the bed. got to watching 18 wheelers and they didn't have safety cables or chains between the truck and trailer. now if they are pulling multiple trailers, they have safety cables between the trailers.

Live and learn, i had to see it in print to believe it.
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Old 07-22-2012, 02:54 PM   #4
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If an 18 wheeler becomes unto hooked the air brakes will lock up .
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Old 07-22-2012, 02:54 PM   #5
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As with too many of our laws; common sense, logic and real world conditions have nothing to do with it....!
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:13 PM   #6
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amen jd
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:13 AM   #7
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the only difference between the ball and pin, that i can see, is that u can hook up the ball w/o locking it and drive off. the pin automaticly latches (most of the time) but the trailer would stay when u drive off if not latched.

if the trailer came loose, i believe i would rather let it go than take me with it.
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:01 AM   #8
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if the trailer came loose, i believe i would rather let it go than take me with it.
If it stayed connected (by the safety chains cradling the A frame) I think you would have a better chance of stopping the combination safely without involving other drivers.

1) Trailer cable stays connected - you control trailer braking with the TV while tugging against the chains.
2) Trailer unplugs and break away engages the trailer brakes full on and yanks on the TV still stopping the combination as a unit.

If the camper breaks away, (unchained or improperly chained - IE not crossed under the coupler) the A frame and coupler digs into the road surface potentially flipping the trailer off its wheels and it becomes an unstoppable 10,000 pound ballistic missile. This is a hazard to everyone on the highway except you.

I think I would feel pretty bad about that. Fighter pilots have nightmares about bailing out of stricken aircraft over populated areas knowing that the falling jet will kill innocents on the ground. During my flight safety training, we talked and studied about pilots who rode their aircraft in, fighting to control where the wreck occurred trying to miss large buildings and schools.

We talk about them as "Heroes" (and they ARE - no doubt), yet most have made that peace with themselves long before the event. (It is a "pilot thing" anticipating the worst that could happen and having a "bag of tricks" to pull from if it does happen.) "What would I do if?" is a way of life.

"Letting it go" would not be an option for me, I think.
I believe I would rather ride it to the wreck and fight it all the way.
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