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Old 08-07-2019, 11:54 AM   #41
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I vote for not weaving thru the chains. My worry. If you have a disconnect and the chains break. I feel it is possible that the cable will also break due to friction on the chain links without pulling the tab and turning on the brakes. I suppose attaching the cable to the chains with a couple of small very weak cable ties would be a solution...
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Old 08-07-2019, 12:02 PM   #42
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I vote for not weaving thru the chains. My worry. If you have a disconnect and the chains break. I feel it is possible that the cable will also break due to friction on the chain links without pulling the tab and turning on the brakes. I suppose attaching the cable to the chains with a couple of small very weak cable ties would be a solution...
I agree . the chains wreak havoc on the break -away cable . If TT comes off and is held to TV with the safety chains i would want the pin to pull out to get max breaking from TT while trying to maintain control with the TV . it's going to hit the back of TV and that's why there are chains . bettewr to slam into the back of truck then use truck to control to a stop then have the TT running wild down the hwy
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Old 08-07-2019, 01:05 PM   #43
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I believe I answered your questions in post #23 of this very same thread.
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Agreed.

A break away switch and the brakes that are actuated by it, are designed for a ... well... you guessed it... a complete break away.

You really only want those brakes coming FULL on (as when the pin is pulled) when the trailer comes completely uncoupled (chains and all) from the tow vehicle. They are designed to help slow the trailer ONCE IT BECOMES DISCONNECTED from the tow vehicle so it isn't a free wheeling projectile going down the road unattached.

There is no way I want those brakes full on when the trailer is hanging from the safety chains. Talk about a wild ride on a mustang or bucking bronco!...
Forgive me if you think I'm being dense, but I don't see how this answered my real question, which was: Are the chains long enough that the plug will get pulled out of the truck?

It would seem to make logical sense that, if your cable is shorter than the chains you'd have the situation you talk about, where the brakes will be full on but you're still hooked up by the chains. Therefore, you'd want the cable longer than the chains - but only if the answer to my question is that the trailer brakes won't unplug if you come loose from the ball and are still attached by the chains.
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Old 08-07-2019, 01:20 PM   #44
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Forgive me if you think I'm being dense, but I don't see how this answered my real question, which was: Are the chains long enough that the plug will get pulled out of the truck?

It would seem to make logical sense that, if your cable is shorter than the chains you'd have the situation you talk about, where the brakes will be full on but you're still hooked up by the chains. Therefore, you'd want the cable longer than the chains - but only if the answer to my question is that the trailer brakes won't unplug if you come loose from the ball and are still attached by the chains.
OK... so your question is about the 7 pin Bargman connection coming unplugged from the truck?

I thought you were referring to the breakaway coming unplugged while the chains are still attached.

Yes... your 7 pin connection should have enough slack so that if the trailer uncouples and rests on the chains, that it won't unplug. And neither should the pin in the breakaway switch.

Contrary to what someone said a few posts ago... you do NOT want that wild bronco of a trailer attached by chains to your tow vehicle with the brakes full on!

Each wheel's magnet, brake lining and adjustment is slightly different and so when the brakes are full applied (by pulling the pin) each wheel will brake and react differently.

I have witnessed two trailers that have uncoupled with the brakeaway pin pulled and the brakes applied full. One remained on the chains with the pin pulled, one disconnected completely. The violent swerving and bucking of the trailer caused the guy with it still attached to the tow vehicle to wreck. That scenario isn't something I want hanging onto my vehicle via nothing but chains! The second one swerved violently back and forth for about 600 yards before flipping.
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Old 08-07-2019, 01:36 PM   #45
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OK... so your question is about the 7 pin Bargman connection coming unplugged from the truck?

I thought you were referring to the breakaway coming unplugged while the chains are still attached.

Yes... your 7 pin connection should have enough slack so that if the trailer uncouples and rests on the chains, that it won't unplug. And neither should the pin in the breakaway switch.

Contrary to what someone said a few posts ago... you do NOT want that wild bronco of a trailer attached by chains to your tow vehicle with the brakes full on!

Each wheel's magnet, brake lining and adjustment is slightly different and so when the brakes are full applied (by pulling the pin) each wheel will brake and react differently.

I have witnessed two trailers that have uncoupled with the brakeaway pin pulled and the brakes applied full. One remained on the chains with the pin pulled, one disconnected completely. The violent swerving and bucking of the trailer caused the guy with it still attached to the tow vehicle to wreck. That scenario isn't something I want hanging onto my vehicle via nothing but chains! The second one swerved violently back and forth for about 600 yards before flipping.

consider the fact that not many have the experience of a TT coming unhitched and controlling said TT with the TV as should happen . for me I want the pin pulled if unhitch but chains still connected . this way the TT is breaking while you get control of and get that a-frame under the TV slow the whole rig down . if you suffer damage which you won't avoid in a situation like that it's better then the tt hitting someone else IMO
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Old 08-07-2019, 01:44 PM   #46
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consider the fact that not many have the experience of a TT coming unhitched and controlling said TT with the TV as should happen . for me I want the pin pulled if unhitch but chains still connected . this way the TT is breaking while you get control of and get that a-frame under the TV slow the whole rig down . if you suffer damage which you won't avoid in a situation like that it's better then the tt hitting someone else IMO
You are right, not many have the experience.

I do not want the pin on the breakaway to pull because you then have NO control over the trailer braking. It's full on and as I said, violent things can/do happen.

With both the breakaway AND the 7 pin intact on an uncouple, (hanging on chains) at least you have some manual input and control over the trailer brakes.

And let's face it... there are FAR more uncouples because someone forgot to latch the coupler than there are complete breakaways. Why would you want to possibly have the trailer violently jerk, flat spot the tires or worse, cause you to wreck when you could ease on the brakes and come to a controlled stop?

Just my 2¢.
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Old 08-07-2019, 01:55 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Mrs.Shockley View Post
Wouldn't you still be plugged in and have your regular trailer brakes in that situation? Or are the chains long enough that the plug will get pulled out of the truck?
The breakaway cable is there as a safety device. The port of last resort if you will. The wiring harness may or may not remain attached. It may come out or be damaged by whatever event caused the disconnect.
If I understand how it works, the cable will pull a pin in the box under the trailer and that engages the brakes...yes?
Correct
So if it's hooked through the safety chain, but NOT independently hooked to the TV, then if the chain becomes unhooked, the pin will never pull.
Correct
If it's hooked, whether thru the chain or otherwise, independently to the TV, then the pin would pull if the chain came loose, Not if it is independent but it might also get tangled up and pull just because of the chain...and not because the chain is loose. Possibly, but highly unlikely IMO. It takes about 40 pounds of force to pull the pin

Do I have this right?
A good video I found
If you want to be sure there is slack enough for turns, then hook up and make a tight turn in a parking lot. Stop in the middle of the turn and take a look at how much slack is there.
According to an answer on E Trailer, the RVIA recommends the cable be LONGER than the chains. I could not confirm that on the RVIA website but, ok. I disagree. My thing, and this comes from years and years towing boats, is the sequence of likely events that would happen. Trailer comes off but chains on: driver is startled and hits the brakes on the TV. If, and that is a big if, the electric is still hooked up then it should be ok since the trailer brakes will activate too. If the electric is not connected, the trailer rams the back of the TV quite probably spinning it out. It gets ugly because the chains are still connected and the trailer is freewheeling while the driver likely has the brakes to the floor.
Trailer comes off, chains on, pin pulled: TV is jerked by the trailer because trailer brakes engage. Driver panicks and jams brakes but that is a non issue because the trailer is slowing and is not likely to slam into the back.
My way may not be 100% perfect, sure, but that is the way I am comfortable with. Especially having seen a few trucks dragged or pushed into the water when the chains yank on the TV on a wet and slick ramp. Man did I learn young to either hook up 100% or not at all. So many boat owners thinking "aw, it is just a 1/4 mile to the ramp..."
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Old 08-07-2019, 02:12 PM   #48
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Mine is thru the chains as was my last trailer, as well. Both were set up by the dealer and I plan to keep it this way. Everybody has good points for and against it. I feel that the weakest 'link' will end up being where the chains connect to the trailer. When this fails, the cable and chains will still be connected to my TV and will actuate the brake as designed. Just my $0.02.
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Old 08-07-2019, 03:30 PM   #49
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You are right, not many have the experience.

I do not want the pin on the breakaway to pull because you then have NO control over the trailer braking. It's full on and as I said, violent things can/do happen.

With both the breakaway AND the 7 pin intact on an uncouple, (hanging on chains) at least you have some manual input and control over the trailer brakes.

And let's face it... there are FAR more uncouples because someone forgot to latch the coupler than there are complete breakaways. Why would you want to possibly have the trailer violently jerk, flat spot the tires or worse, cause you to wreck when you could ease on the brakes and come to a controlled stop?

Just my 2¢.
I would prefer it the other way . I want the pin pulled while still having chains attached this will help in my opinion in controlling the whole rig . not having the pin pull you are counting on your brake controller to apply enough brakes to the TT as to the TV . you'll need to slam on the TV brakes and that's not what you want to do . with full braking applied to the TT i think you will have better control with the TV . since the TT brakes are weaker they will not slow down the TT nearly quick enough it will require using the trucks brake to come to a controlled stop again IMO
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Old 08-07-2019, 04:05 PM   #50
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If your trailer brakes are set up properly, the tow vehicle's brakes stop the tow vehicle and the trailer brakes stop the trailer. Anything else and you don't have something dialed in correctly.
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Old 08-07-2019, 05:37 PM   #51
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If your trailer brakes are set up properly, the tow vehicle's brakes stop the tow vehicle and the trailer brakes stop the trailer. Anything else and you don't have something dialed in correctly.
it a perfect world . we can discuss this till we are blue in the face . I simply do not agree with your reasoning . though the TT brakes assist in braking it's not a 50/50 split . of course if it were then the argument of needing a bigger truck with bigger brakes for going down grade is BS
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Old 08-07-2019, 06:09 PM   #52
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The whole purpose of the breakaway cable is to engage the trailer brakes in case of complete detachment from the tow vehicle. It is to keep the trailer from going into oncoming traffic at full speed. The instructions on my breakaway cable said specifically not to weave the cable through the chains. If the chains separate from the tow vehicle, the cable has to pull the pin out of the brake system on the trailer to activate the trailer brakes. Weaving the cable through the chains increases the chances of the cable breaking away from the tow vehicle instead of the trailer, defeating the whole purpose of the cable.
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Old 08-09-2019, 09:00 AM   #53
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Well, I'll be the first to admit I was wrong. I talked to some folks back in the marine industry where I got all my towing experience. From my earlier post, where I said I have seen trucks dragged into the water when a trailer came off, it is likely because the owner only hooked up the coupler and a chain (maybe 2) where the breakaway was through the chain or attatched to the chain hook. This is pretty common practice towing your boat from the parking spot to the ramp or from your home down to the community ramp. Way too often they forget to latch the coupler or even knowingly leave it unlatched because "hey, it is just for a minute".
Anyway, the accepted method is for the cable to be only slightly longer than the chains but NOT attached in any way to the chains (save for a loose zip tie to keep it from flopping about). The electric connector should have at least enough slack to maintain connection with the chains fully extended. That way there is braking control (use the manual lever!) if the trailer is hanging on by only the chains. Full lock up of trailer brakes could cause the trailer to swing and sway with your TV attached.
FWIW, most folks probably have too much slack in the chains to begin with. When they are crossed, not a lot of slack is needed for tight turns.
Sooo.... yeah, I have been doing it wrong.
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