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Old 13 April 2004, 16:08   #1
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Trailer break away cable

Hi bit of advise req, I am doing some work on our clubs RIB trailer, I have just fitted a new breakaway cable for the breaks, its about 4mm dia wire cable, but one of the guys thinks its to thick and strong, he is worried if the trailer did break away the cable would end up towing the boat and possibly doing damage to the towing car, his idea is that the cable should snap after it puts the breaks on, to my mind the important thing is that it puts the breaks on and stops the thing, any comments please.

Nick.
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Old 13 April 2004, 16:26   #2
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I think you will find that the other chap is correct. The breakawau cable idea is to put the brakes on and then snap off disconnecting the trailer from the tow vehicle. A trailer being towed at 60mph on the end of a loose cable could in extreme circumstances flip the car over due to the erratic movement.
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Old 13 April 2004, 16:50   #3
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break away

You can get the correct item from most trailer agents, wire is supposed to part when used.
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Old 13 April 2004, 16:56   #4
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A caravan dealer is your other option, they should stock one.
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Old 13 April 2004, 18:15   #5
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Mine has a curved piece of metal attached to the cable, a bit like a key ring. I thought the idea was that THAT would give and straighten out after it had put the break on and release the cable!? That way it doesn't matter how thick the cable is!

How is yours attached to the trailer?

Mike C
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Old 14 April 2004, 03:14   #6
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Unfortunately speaking from experience I know Mike C is correct, certainly for caravans.

After the hitch fails and the cable activates the hand brake, the cable remains intact and a link of softish metal on the bottom of the hand brake straightens releasing the cable from the trailer.

Moral of the story - do not trust anyone to hitch you up without checking it has been done right !
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Old 14 April 2004, 03:36   #7
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These cables are designed to stop the trailer if the hitch brakes, in practice this is very rare, even if the whole lot flips (tailor and car) the hitch will still be attached. In Aus they use two chains which are designed to keep the trailer with the car, entirely different approach but what do you expect from the Aussies
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Old 14 April 2004, 05:50   #8
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"the cable should snap after it puts the breaks on"

Try here online
www.towsure.co.uk
Bolts & Brackets section
Code B30
Breakaway Cable,(Cost £2.35) A legally required safety device that activates the brakes if car and caravan become separated in transit. It works by pulling the brakes on then snapping. It is illegal to wrap the cable around the tow ball, it has to be fitted onto an independent mounting point.



I have their catalogue and it is very comprehensive including a marine section.

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Old 14 April 2004, 06:06   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Headhunter
...It is illegal to wrap the cable around the tow ball, it has to be fitted onto an independent mounting point.
John
John It is not illegal; in the UK it is ok to use the tow ball. Only in Belgium do you need by law a separate fixing point for the breakaway.
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Old 14 April 2004, 06:20   #10
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John it's not illegal

"A legally required safety device that activates the brakes if car and caravan become separated in transit." etc.etc.

This is a quote from the Towsure website

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Old 14 April 2004, 06:37   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Headhunter
"A legally required safety device that activates the brakes if car and caravan become separated in transit." etc.etc.

This is a quote from the Towsure website

John
Sure but people often get this wrong, EC 94/20 does not call for a separate fixing point. It's good advice but not law.
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Old 14 April 2004, 15:31   #12
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Thanks for the input guys, the one I fitted to our club trailer has the clip as mike c says but I fitted a new cable to this clip, I was thinking the same as mike the the clip would straighten, but to keep everybody happy I will call into a caravan shop and get a new one, apart from the dive club boat I own my own boat and on that trailer I have a heavy chain fitted to the front of the trailer which drops over a hook by my tow ball, so it will stay attached if something fails, the chain is short so I dont think it would sway to much, I would rather the rig stayed intact if something breaks.

Nick.
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Old 14 April 2004, 15:41   #13
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My boat trailer combo was supplied new with a breakaway cable fitted, what purpose does it serve if the trailer is unbraked? At present I have removed the cable and bracket because it makes it impossible to fit my hitchlock.
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Old 14 April 2004, 16:48   #14
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Oooh, I think maybe you should put it back on. Its not a nice feeling seeing your trailer overtaking you.
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Old 14 April 2004, 17:19   #15
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It's an even worse feeling when you meet the owner of the car that your trailer buried itself into after it overtook you . . .

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Old 14 April 2004, 17:41   #16
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Yes, but I feel we may be underplaying this. I know a person who was towing a two horse trailer. It was empty, but must have weighed nearly a ton. It came adrift in transit, overtook him, went through 3 or 4 front gardens before it came to a halt. Luckily no persons were in the way.
I have never owned a braked trailer. But as far as I am aware, it is a minimum legal requirement to have a wire loop from your trailer to go around your towball in order to prevent your trailer from going awol. So I do not understand this idea of a breakaway cable snapping and separating from the towing vehicle.
Think about it. the trailer would go all over the place.

Or am I wrong?
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Old 14 April 2004, 17:58   #17
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I was always led to believe that the purpose of the break-away cable was to apply the trailer brakes. If this cable is hooked around the tow ball and that breaks then the cable is b****r all use to man or beast. On all my vehicles fitted with a tow bar I have a seperate fixing for the cable.
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Old 14 April 2004, 18:22   #18
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On an unbraked trailer you will need something strong enough to physically stop the trailer coming away from the tow vehicle if the hitch comes loose. On a braked trailer the preferred method is for a cable that will apply the trailer brakes then snap.

In my experience you are much more likely to have a problem with the trailer coming off the tow ball rather than the tow ball (or tow bar!) itself coming off. So whilst it may be ideal to have the cable fixed to a separate strong point, but in practice I have no problem with it being looped round the tow ball.

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Old 14 April 2004, 18:22   #19
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On my unbraked trailer the wire was there to keep the trailer attached to the car.
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Old 14 April 2004, 18:39   #20
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Hello John,
I think the wire loop for an unbraked trailer is a legal minimum. A wire with a karribina or clip would be better.
I can see the advantage of automatically applying thr brakes in the event of a disengagement, but if it also separates from the towing vehicle cannot be right.
Nick.
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