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Old 03 January 2005, 09:16   #1
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4 x 4 Towing warning

Having just spent a heck of a lot of money returning my Rib to the water after a trailer accident and consoling myself that things could have been an awful lot worse I realize that I've done nothing to prevent it happening to anyone else, so here goes.
In October 2003 I travelled from home in Cornwall to Hayling Island and the Hamble to go Rib shopping, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting 2 Ribnetter's namely Searider & Eddo, and having been treated to 2 fantastic sea trials purchased Eddo's Ribtec 535. 15 miles west along the M27 and needing a fuel stop I managed to get lost and had to negotiate a U turn to get back on track, the road was quite bumpy and was governed by a 30 limit, bear in mind I'm towing my new toy and am in unfamiliar surroundings so when I say I was driving carefully I really was!
Over the brow of a hill, downhill toward the roundabout just getting onto the brakes and 'it' happened, bad vibration, sparks in rear nearside mirror, more braking ,nearly stopped- Bang- boat disappears from rear view mirror, re appears on nearside of Land Rover, comes to rest on the grass verge but no longer sitting on the trailer.... Oh S**t.... The trailer had collided with a lampost just before coming to rest and that had 'launched' the boat over the front, flattening the winch post in the process. The trailer was written off, the boat had a large slit in its offside tube courtesy of the Land Rovers side and I'm still 170 miles from home wondering what the hell to do next. Re enter Eddo into the picture, full of advice, sympathy and suggestions and via a local recovery garage we start to get things sorted.
So what happened? This is how we see it, the Land Rover is fitted with a Dixon Bate tow assembly, a quality piece of kit but on this occasion let down by the tow ball itself. It would seem that the bumpy road caused the tow ball and pin to jump out of its holders releasing my Rib onto the unsuspecting public. Either the gold passavate retaining pin that is supposed to stop this happening sheared from the gentle bouncing (it was gentle bouncing) or the pin was never in place, I remember putting it there the day before and Eddo, myself and son attached the Rib to the Land Rover, checked it and checked it again, I find it hard to believe that not one of us noticed the pin was missing. Attached are 2 pic's, the first being the assembly as was (minus retaining pin) the second is my current assembly with 2 large retaining nuts and a pin as well. I would highly recommend anyone with a similar adjustable hitch to obtain the later, as I said at the outset this could have been much worse, this happening at speed just doesn't bear thinking about.
Anyway 'Blister' is now back on the water and yes I've heard every joke about popping a Blister there is!
One final point, just after the accident there was debris all over the road including a 4' X 18" piece of fibre glass, I knew or at least thought I knew it was a part of my Ribs hull, convinced I'd written the Rib off I was to say the least relieved when Eddo was able to point out it was the cover off the top of the lampost!!
Anyway Happy ribbing in 2005 and safe towing.
Kernow
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Old 03 January 2005, 10:10   #2
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i find no matter what tow bar i have i always chain the trailer from the a frame to the bars on the tow bar,just to be on the safe side. i would hate to be in a situation like kernow its bad enough losing a wheel let alone your pride and joy
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Old 03 January 2005, 13:28   #3
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Kernow,

I'm going to give you a suggestion - get rid of that towball immediately.

The design of it is flawed - before you added the double locknuts, it relied on a single lynchpin to retain the ball and pin assembly. As you found, it can easily become removed (simply catching clothing or footwear could have easily sprung it off). Now you've rectified that, but the whole assembly still relies on a single R-clip to retain the assembly on the vertical steel risers. If that R-clip is removed, the pin would inevitably vibrate out and you could be in the same situation again.

I was concerned when I looked at your photographs, as my neighbour uses a universal coupling to tow plant to site for his business, so I went to have a look at his coupling (also made by Dixon Bate) and it's completely different - the ball is cast as part of the coupling, and the pin is located behind the ball, completely independently, like this: http://www.dixonbate.co.uk/html/universal_coupling.htm

Did you have a breakaway device of any type fitted?
If your trailer is unbraked, then you should have a substantial cable (similar to CPL101 from TrailerTek) from the trailer chassis linked to a secure fitting on your towbar structure. If this had been correctly fitted, it would have prevented most of the damage sustained in the accident. TrailerTek catalogue: http://www.trailertek.com/trailer-parts-catalogue.pdf

If your trailer is braked, then you should have a breakaway cable fitted which actuates the trailer handbrake in case of the trailer being detached from the vehicle. It's common practice to put this breakaway cable over the towball to reduce the curvature as it's designed to break after actuating. In this case, the breakaway cable wouldn't have been effective once the towball became detached form the vehicle. So an additional cable or chain like Carly suggests may have some value, as long as it's looser than the breakaway cable to allow handbrake operation. This chain would also stop reverse breakaway incidents which have occured on slipways. See the post by Jackwabbit on this thread: A warning to all
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Old 03 January 2005, 14:09   #4
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kernow

i would all so strap the boat to the trailer lot of ways of doing this
but i should think its commen practise to do so this would prevent the boat from leaveing the trailer in all accidents

all the other rib net member ive met and my rib is straped at the rear and at the winch not just by the winch itself by a strap by other means

all so get rid of that tow bar kit as richard b say it got to many thing that can still go wrong

sorry to hear what happen

dan
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Old 03 January 2005, 14:09   #5
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Hi Richard
Thanks for the input, yes I take your point about the R clip on the horizontal retaining bar, admitedly it does need a tap with a hammer to fit it but then again once bitten etc. A longer bar with locking nut and pin would seem to be the answer and you may like to suggest that to your friend who does the plant towing. If you look on your link to the Dixon Bate site under towing you'll see they still supply the exact same type with just the R clip as the retainer.
The trailer was a braked one with a brakeaway cable fitted, I attached it to the lowest towing bracket bar and yes it did break having applied the brakes, sadly for me a few more feet and I'd have stopped reasonably uneventfully (with steady hands just like Ozzy Osbourne!) Unfortunately the lampost caught the trailer nearside wheel and away it all went. I just wonder how many people are using these hitches exactly as I was.
Kernow
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Old 03 January 2005, 14:10   #6
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But you've still got a similar situation on the cross pin. Stick a big high tensile bolt through there. Use a thick washer and a nylok nut to terminate it.

When using these type of spring retaining pins, be sure to fit a washer between the retaining pin and the bracket.


Edit: I see I'm too slow!
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Old 03 January 2005, 14:17   #7
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Hi Dan, thanks for that, I had the winch strap, a backup from the towing eye to the trailer to stop bounce and 2 ratchet straps across the tubes, they all snapped but remember the trailer stopped dead from about 20 /25 mph and although the boat is reasonably light I guess some 600 kgs plus takes some stopping.
Kernow
PS the landy is a V8 !
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Old 03 January 2005, 14:20   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard B
...an additional cable or chain like Carly suggests may have some value, as long as it's looser than the breakaway cable to allow handbrake operation.
This is not allowed. If the trailer is attached to the vehicle by additional means the restraint must be capable of preventing the towing coupling and/or trailer from contacting the ground. So a long chain or cable is out.
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Old 03 January 2005, 14:33   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kernow
Hi Dan, thanks for that, I had the winch strap, a backup from the towing eye to the trailer to stop bounce and 2 ratchet straps across the tubes, they all snapped but remember the trailer stopped dead from about 20 /25 mph and although the boat is reasonably light I guess some 600 kgs plus takes some stopping.
Kernow
PS the landy is a V8 !
sound like the tow bar did it then with a lamp post for the last bit
i use the front and rear towing eyes with ratchet straps to the trailer as you
say my ones are only rated to 600kg so they do have limits

ps no td5 any more l200 warrior now no cold nights lying under it
putting bits back on that fell off

hope you have good fun now you are out on the water

just think about lying in the cold must go finnish removing the anti foul from the
rib
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Old 03 January 2005, 14:47   #10
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I FULLY AGREE WITH RICHARDS COMMENTS ON THE HITCH .....

I would bin your hitch today, and pick up the suggested replacment... I know 2 people who have had similar experances with with the clip working loose and shering off . One guys compresser came loose , but he had it chained on, it hit the ground and made a mess of the coupling and brake/handbrake asembely... not to mention the gouge in the road. THE second guy had a 2 ton rock breaker on a trailer , and it came free, but the runaway brake kicked in and it stoped in the island of a dual carrageway , no one hurt or damage done.... he reversed up to the trailer hitched up again , put a bolt in, this time insted of a pin ... drove to his yard.. unbolted the hitch and f**ked away ........

99% of people dont need this type of combined hitch as they never tow plant or heavy trailers ... A simple ball hitch is the most reliable.
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Old 03 January 2005, 17:52   #11
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Dan ,
your right I'm having great fun on the water, my little uh 'experience' made the launch day something special.
So you've swopped your Landy for an L200 then, I must admit those Nissan's do have a good reputation.
Kernow
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Old 03 January 2005, 20:42   #12
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I didn't fancy the type you have either when I was buying a new Towball so i went for the universal coupling with the seperate pin. The chain from the trailer goes in the pin part and the locking hitch onyo the intergral ball, the only way that the trailer can come off is if the whole towball assembly or hitch assembly comes right off car/boat.
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Old 04 January 2005, 04:46   #13
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Hi Kernow

A sad story.
As Richard and others say - junk that hitch.
I also think if you look closely at it you will find it is stamped with 1000kg, which is much too light for towing. The jaws on those hitches flex under load, so it may need a tap to fit but when loaded the pin may well be loose.
I had a 2500kg rated one on the front of my 90 which was used as a recovery point for trialing. It only lasted one good pull out of a gully. I know your boat is quite light, but think about clipping a kerb or dropping a wheel into a pothole.

If you need a pin and ring coupling get cast one with a separate pin and ball, or better still, get a spare slider and fit one with a ball and one with a pin hitch. Better still a NATO hitch for the ring.

Afterthought:- Put an eye bolt through one of the spare holes in the tow bracket and fit your cable to that.
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Old 04 January 2005, 07:00   #14
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Whilst on this topic, check the "safety catch" on the ball hitch itself too; especially if it has EVER been in the water.

I had a very scary incident some years ago when offloading big bales from a tipping trailer: as the load moved aft the lifting moment on the front end of the trailer actually lifted the hitch off the ball, nearly taking me and the kids with it!! It actually rose forwards, through the back screen of our Jeep, wrecking the tailgate, and buckling the roof panel!!

Even though the ball and hitch were always greased, the spring on the safety catch had failed!!! Check yours - launching and recovering can caused significant lift too.
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Old 04 January 2005, 07:19   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Windchill
Whilst on this topic, check the "safety catch" on the ball hitch itself too; especially if it has EVER been in the water.

I had a very scary incident some years ago when offloading big bales from a tipping trailer: as the load moved aft the lifting moment on the front end of the trailer actually lifted the hitch off the ball, nearly taking me and the kids with it!! It actually rose forwards, through the back screen of our Jeep, wrecking the tailgate, and buckling the roof panel!!

Even though the ball and hitch were always greased, the spring on the safety catch had failed!!! Check yours - launching and recovering can caused significant lift too.
A good example of why commercial and military users always have a pin type coupling - a bit noisy in use but so much safer if treated properly!!!
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Old 04 January 2005, 07:40   #16
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We actually used to tow a Rival 32 on a turntable trailer with an "original" Range Rover using some sort of military gun hitch - Excellent device!! The pair we fitted on the front were great for moving traffic on narrow lanes!!
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Old 11 October 2005, 18:46   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codprawn
A good example of why commercial and military users always have a pin type coupling - a bit noisy in use but so much safer if treated properly!!!
as long as you fit the safety pin othwise they can come off which is a bit embarrasing with A/C about

been there done that.....
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Old 20 October 2005, 20:40   #18
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in my experience u spend 5 times as much time shagging around with rib stuff onshore than offshore and get 5 times much trouble from the trailer than the bastarding boat. put on a short chain beside the hitch , you'll be glad when you hear the hitch ramming the bumper, and hang the bastarding engine to the left (not you yankees) and you'll probably only kill a pedestrian instead of causing a motorway pile-up. why di i go on this site after coming home from the pub? must get a young wan.
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Old 21 October 2005, 08:47   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaelforce
in my experience u spend 5 times as much time shagging around with rib stuff onshore than offshore and get 5 times much trouble from the trailer than the bastarding boat. put on a short chain beside the hitch , you'll be glad when you hear the hitch ramming the bumper, and hang the bastarding engine to the left (not you yankees) and you'll probably only kill a pedestrian instead of causing a motorway pile-up. why di i go on this site after coming home from the pub? must get a young wan.
Don't beat about the bush..what's on your mind?
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Old 21 October 2005, 12:01   #20
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Dress to the left

Kernow did dress to the left. Which is why the trailer hit a LAMPOST and not an oncoming!

Ed
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