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Old 01 August 2007, 17:53   #1
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trailers in the usa and chains etc

could you US guys help me out here, what is the regulation around having a safety chain attaching a trailer to your towing vehicle

over in the uk we have to have a small thin cable connecting the tow hitch or similar to the brake on the trailer so that if the trailer becomes unhitched the trailer brakes go on and the cable will snap leaving the trailer behind you

in the US does the chain have to be strong enough so that if the trailer becomes unhitched the chain keeps it attached to the towing vehicle

do you guys think this is a good idea?
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Old 01 August 2007, 18:20   #2
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Over the years I have been involved in converting US trailers to meet the feckin Icelandic/EU regulations, they use heavier chains (on larger trailers there are 2 of them) than here in Europe but they use a lot more electric brakes and which only few years where accepted in EU. On the boat trailers we import nowdays from US they are all fitted with hydraulic disc brakes again there no mechanical handbrake are fitted so we have to make and add them on. Also change the coupling from 2" to 50mm. Those trailers with disc brakes are lot more robust and do not get stuck in brakes like the feckin European pushrod system.

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Old 01 August 2007, 21:55   #3
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Trailer chains

Trailers over here are generally equipped with two chains strong enough to keep the trailer attached to the vehicle if the hitch were to fail for some reason. I would think there would be some level of liability if a manufacturer were to equip a traller with substandard chains. You must have safety chains on a trailer to legally tow on U.S. roads though I am sure there are some people who neglect to use them. Wire rope or cable is also used by some manufacturers instead of chains.
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Old 01 August 2007, 23:07   #4
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US Trailers with brakes are also required to have the same cable rip-cord to stop the trailer if everything fails. Our trailer laws vary by state. In Connecticut, 3000 lb and over are required to have brakes, other states' laws differ over the weight levels before you need to have brakes. You can get either drum or disc brakes also.
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Old 02 August 2007, 07:59   #5
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Ditto here in Ontario, Canada. My trailer has two chains, plus the brake cable. The one and only time I "needed" my chains (Lesson learned: Don't be yabbin to the service guy while hooking up trailer... ) the "S" hook on one of them straightened out and let go. Fortunately the other held fast.

I subsequently replaced the chains and hooks with much heavier jobbies...
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Old 02 August 2007, 13:36   #6
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Same regs. here in AZ. Just a tip with the safety chains. Make sure that they and the securing points are strong enough. Those cheesy eyebolts from China/ Home depot do not work. Cross the chains under the trailer hitch when hooking up and adjust length so that if the hitch comes free it drops onto the chains before it hits the road. In that way it will not dig in.
Be safe
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Old 03 August 2007, 05:28   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugh Jardon View Post
could you US guys help me out here, what is the regulation around having a safety chain attaching a trailer to your towing vehicle

over in the uk we have to have a small thin cable connecting the tow hitch or similar to the brake on the trailer so that if the trailer becomes unhitched the trailer brakes go on and the cable will snap leaving the trailer behind you

in the US does the chain have to be strong enough so that if the trailer becomes unhitched the chain keeps it attached to the towing vehicle

do you guys think this is a good idea?
Hugh - I think this is the case in the UK (EU?) with unbraked trailers too. If braked then as you describe with cable applying breaks then snapping - otherwise with chain(s) to retain vehicle/trailer link.
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Old 04 August 2007, 22:18   #8
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Hugh; to answer your last question, yes, I think it's a good thing.

Ideally, if the hitch fails, one or two things will happen: First, the tongue will drop down onto the chains, and be held just above the pavement. Some directional stability will be maintained as the chains keep the tongue at least somewhat centered. The trailer will have a tendency to swing the tongue up under the back of the tow vehicle, but that is probably better than having it careen towards a minivan full of soccer playing kids.

The other thing that *may* happen is the breakaway may activate, locking up the trailer brakes. This is why your safety chain setup needs to be really stout.

jky
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Old 07 August 2007, 10:58   #9
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guys

many thanks for your replys, much appreciated

i have purchase a car a tow towframe for towing a car behind the motorhome

http://www.protowframes.co.uk/

however on my tow frame i have a very strong cable together with the brake cable, i beleive if it comes unhitched then the brake cable would apply the brakes but the strong cable would keep it attached to the motorhome,

we do not use this type of setup over here or with chains and i was interested in your general views on it as to if i should use it or not.

i think that if it was set up correctly so the tow arm did not drop onto the ground it woudl be fine, but if the tow arm can drop on the floor then it would not be safe or wise to use it, especially on a car that could swing around and flip over

cheers guys
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