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Old 09 January 2008, 04:55   #31
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I think that the chain MUST be as short as possible, this will keep hitch and ball very close and avoid most of the dangerous movements describes by Nos.

The risk with the breakaway cable is :
- nose of the trailer will go down immediately and hardly contact the road, then ...
- it could be possibly remain stable if no load on the nose (impossible) AND brakes perfectly balanced ... irrealistic

I changed my jockey wheel for a Fulton one. It is attached to the side of the trailer, and when not in use (when you are driving) it is manually moved and locked by a quarter-turn, so it will never go down like standard ones do.

And I have a very short ant strong chain - and the cable. Legal or not.
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Old 09 January 2008, 05:05   #32
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Definately the way to go for jockey wheels - stow sideways on.

It's been stadard for years on farm equipment stands, and gives better ground clearance anyway.

As for
Quote:
but at the point of purchase a lot of peolple will not pay for a higher spec trailer
they will if it's part of the CE marking standard and the manufacturers have no choice!
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Old 09 January 2008, 06:22   #33
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All technical discssions aside, the bottom line is you can legistlate to the point nobody can tow anything, but if the driver concerned ignores the law, 15 reams of paperwork ain't gonna protect anyone, just like the uninsured, untaxed and unknown to the DVLA car drivers with their mobile deathtraps.....

And realistically it's the law flouters who are infinitely more likely to have the breakaway in the first place due to unfit equipment. As the original post described, in theory the trailer concerned should have applied it's brakes......


As a technical observation, the "stay attatched & in control" theory will depend on the mass of trailer vs the tow vehicle, the suspension stiffness of the tow veh, the trailer balance & geometry, the awareness of the driver when it happens, the driver's reactions on realising it's happened (I suspect most would panic & stand on the middle pedal), the road surface / camber......... There's a reason unbraked trailers are only allowed to be half the towing vehicle's mass, and of course if a braked tir is not attached properly, it's not braked...... Tails begin to wag dogs.


I personally reckon that roadside spot checks are the way to go. I.e. enforce the laws that are out there already - they have evolved to where they are now for a reason. If VOSA can do it for LGV & PSV, why not caravans and trailers (or even just cars for that matter)?
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Old 09 January 2008, 06:25   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ian parkes View Post
I also think that trailer manufacturers should be made to work to a higher spec . I don't think even the top brands of boat trailer are built to a standard that is fit for purpose .
I agree fully with Ian.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigmuz7
I agree with that too to a point, but at the point of purchase a lot of peolple will not pay for a higher spec trailer,..
If they want one and there wasn't a crappy alternative, they'd have to.

Given the high cost of replacement brake parts, these could be made from stainless for little more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Limey Linda
Why should the manufacturer be forced to include them?
1) So that we don't have to go to excessive lengths to keep our trailers working.
2) To prevent accidents like the one which started this thread.
3) To give you peace of mind while towing.
4) Because it's a good job, well done...on second thoughts, that one is pie in the sky.
5) Because there are plenty more good reasons but I can't be arse cos I've made my point already.
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Old 09 January 2008, 08:04   #35
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I would think that most trailers from a reputable supplier are fit for purpose when new if specified correctly, is it not the users who remove the fit for purpose tag due to use & abuse.
How many people have their trailer serviced by professional? Or even serviced
(not repaired as that often happens because it has not been serviced)

How many posts are there on here asking about changing wheel bearings etc from people who have no idea(i'm not saying you shouldn't but it makes me think), but then use it to tow their boat, do they also check the brakes, hitch etc at that time or wait for the next problem

How many people buy a second hand trailer and use it with minimal checks if any?

When is the last time you had your trailer jacked off the ground and checked the bearings & set the brakes up, greased the coupling etc?

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Old 09 January 2008, 08:39   #36
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Originally Posted by bedajim View Post
I would think that most trailers from a reputable supplier are fit for purpose when new if specified correctly, is it not the users who remove the fit for purpose tag due to use & abuse.
How many people have their trailer serviced by professional? Or even serviced
(not repaired as that often happens because it has not been serviced)

How many posts are there on here asking about changing wheel bearings etc from people who have no idea(i'm not saying you shouldn't but it makes me think), but then use it to tow their boat, do they also check the brakes, hitch etc at that time or wait for the next problem

How many people buy a second hand trailer and use it with minimal checks if any?

When is the last time you had your trailer jacked off the ground and checked the bearings & set the brakes up, greased the coupling etc?

Jim, you've just given a very good account of why boat trailers should be made more suitable for their use. How often do you do these checks on your car? I'd guess you expect it not to need it's wheels shaken every week to check the bearings haven't rusted. I'd like boat trailers to be the same.
I'm sure the boat trailer builders are aware of the problems but they still use standard road trailer parts. If their argument is that their trailers are suitable only as road transport then they ought to be marked clearly as unsuitable for immersion.
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Old 09 January 2008, 08:43   #37
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1st off, my sympathies go out to the family involved.

VOSA DO perform spot checks on trailers - there's a testing station at j15 of the M4 where they were pulling in caravans last summer. The trouble is, VOSA roadside stations aren't that common and you could tow all year without actually passing an open one.

The only answers are better driver education and more police on the roads.

People don't seem to realise the magnitude of the responsibility you undertake when you get into a car and as a result don't take things seriously. Personally, when I drive anything I make sure it's safe and legal. When I tow (rarely) I ensure that the rig is safe and secure so accidents WON'T happen.

I'm in favour for mandetory testing for ANYONE wishing to tow. The laws and regulations are quite specific for towing a trailer in the UK, but none of them are covered in the cat B test. Nos put me through my paces with a test-standard reversing excercise before he'd let me loose with our RIB and rightly so - that's a hell of alot of money to waste if I cock anything up! Besides that, it gave me the confidence to tow safely, knowing that I could menoeuvre the trailer as and when I needed to.

I think the systems we have now are OK - adding more safety devices to the rig is only adding something else to fail / not be used correctly, and as has been stated already, the problem was that the trailer was simply not fit for use.
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Old 11 January 2008, 14:11   #38
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Brilliant discussion

Tremendously constructive responses - thanks to all. My observations:
1. Point about breakaway cable being safer than secondary permanent coupling by avoiding jack-knife - well surely the main hitch would cause this (ie under extreme braking), but in a sense I think it makes a driver drive (and maintain their rig) more safely knowing their error remains their problem, not someone on the pavement/other carriageway.
2. I am prepared to bet the majority of brakeaway cables wouldn't operate the brakes for more than a split second (police tell me latest design has something that stores the energy of the breakaway to keep the handbrake locked on).
3. Education on maintenance. I wonder how many of us have learned by near misses? I think it should be compulsory to change salt immersed wheel bearings every two years. The new (test passed after 1997) compulsory trailer education only applies to bigger trailers and though I can't see the syllabus anywhere I doubt it deals in detail with things like salt water corrosion.

Conclusion: a practical "What you need to know about safe boat trailing" resource on Ribnet should be compulsory reading for all newcomers.
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Old 11 January 2008, 14:23   #39
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Tremendously constructive responses - thanks to all. My observations:
1. Point about breakaway cable being safer than secondary permanent coupling by avoiding jack-knife - well surely the main hitch would cause this (ie under extreme braking), but in a sense I think it makes a driver drive (and maintain their rig) more safely knowing their error remains their problem, not someone on the pavement/other carriageway.
Erm, that doesn't make much sense? If you mean that hard braking will cause jacknifes, yes it can-if you slow the car faster than the trailer can slow up.but slowing a trailer that's attached but not pushing via a fixed connection (ie towball) is going to make the tail wag the dog.
It's a simple logic question-what's capable of doing more damage to itself and its environment-
Something 20 feet long weighing 1.5 tonnes and out of control but (hopefully) heading in a predictable direction,or something 35 feet long out of control,moving in an unpredictable fashion and with a number of people onboard?
Quote:
Originally Posted by richyrich View Post
2. I am prepared to bet the majority of brakeaway cables wouldn't operate the brakes for more than a split second (police tell me latest design has something that stores the energy of the breakaway to keep the handbrake locked on).
When the brakes are applied by the breakaway cable it pulls the trailer handbrake on. It's like an over cam action-they can't come off until someone manually releases them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by richyrich View Post
3. Education on maintenance. I wonder how many of us have learned by near misses? I think it should be compulsory to change salt immersed wheel bearings every two years.
How on earth would this be enforced?
Quote:
Originally Posted by richyrich View Post
The new (test passed after 1997) compulsory trailer education only applies to bigger trailers and though I can't see the syllabus anywhere I doubt it deals in detail with things like salt water corrosion.
It applies to nearly all braked trailers-I've never seen one under 750kg that's braked.
Quote:
Originally Posted by richyrich View Post
Conclusion: a practical "What you need to know about safe boat trailing" resource on Ribnet should be compulsory reading for all newcomers.
Excellent idea....
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Old 11 January 2008, 14:37   #40
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In that States we use brakes on trailers with safety chains all the time. The brake actuator cable just needs to be short enough to allow the brakes to activate first. Then the cables keep the trailer attached to the tow car. The trailer brakes usually lock up solid and partially drag the tow vehicle to a stop.

Just like you don't want occupants "thrown free" from a car in an accident, you don't want a trailer carrying on by itself, brakes or no brakes.

On the small lighter weight boats+trailers brakes are not required. If they fall off the hitch they don't have enough mass to mess with the tow car that much. They ram the bumper and the car can slowly apply the brakes. I'm actually surprised you folks don't have safety chains required.
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