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Old 01-29-2015, 09:12 PM   #1
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Safety Brake vs. Chock When Hitching

I had a thought the other day when connecting up the 5er. When hooking up you should have a chock/block behind the tires so you donít stress the landing legs when the hitch hits the pin. However, for the chock to work, the tire has to move to get a grab on it. So, how about taking the safety pin out of the trailer brake when hooking up? That has to be more effective since the trailer will not move and you can also check the hitch by pulling forward after raising the legs few inches. Put the safety pin back in and you are ready to go. No need to handle a chock. What do you think?
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:28 PM   #2
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Our electrical is in the box of the truck so I hook up the connection prior to hooking up the 5er. I then use the manual brake lever to lock the trailer brakes as I back up to the pin.

I have observed that unless you hit the pin straight on you get side forces on the landing gear.
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:36 PM   #3
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Pulling the safety pin out just to set the brakes to hitch/unhitch will eventually melt the wires used to activate the brakes. Full amps stored in the batt(s) is applied and the thin guage wires will overheat. This is not a good habit to take up. Also, repeated pulling and reinserting the pin will eventually weaken the snaps and you may have it pull out whenever the wires are inadvertently moved during travel--this would not be a good experience...
Use chocks or the manual lever on the trailer brakes.
Joe
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:44 PM   #4
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Good idea, but my worry would be that Murphy's Law would show up and the switch would decide to not release the brakes.
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:58 PM   #5
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The problem with that is how trailer brakes work. The tire has to turn some to move the lever that moves the shoes against the drum.

So kicking a chock tight behind the tire would work best in this instance.
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Old 01-30-2015, 06:41 AM   #6
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Use chocks and keep the pin a little lower than the plate, this way the front of the trailer lifts taking the weight off the landing gear.
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Old 02-01-2015, 04:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harryc View Post
When hooking up you should have a chock/block behind the tires so you donít stress the landing legs when the hitch hits the pin. So, how about taking the safety pin out of the trailer brake when hooking up? That has to be more effective since the trailer will not move and you can also check the hitch by pulling forward after raising the legs few inches. What do you think?
What do I think? No need to do either. No need for the hitch to hit the pin in the first place. I hook up with the jaws open and just let the hitch 'kiss' the pin. Then get out and close the jaws, if there is a problem, the latch won't close smoothly and easily. The jaws are painted white and a visual inspection is all that is needed as a safety check. I only use chocks on a sloped site. This has worked for 15+ yrs.
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Old 02-02-2015, 08:05 AM   #8
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How about not hitting the hitch pin hard and pushing the trailer with the landing legs down???? Havent had a problem in 20 years.
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Old 02-02-2015, 07:30 PM   #9
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Wingnut60,

The only amps running thru the wires are what the brake magnets draw. It could be hooked to 10 batteries. The wires are sized for the current used and will not melt. The rest you got right.

Just saying
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Old 02-02-2015, 07:39 PM   #10
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On tractor trailer 5th wheels, you set the hitch to lift the gear, slightly, with the brakes applied on the trailer.

Back close to the king pin, hook up the brake wire, adjust the trailer hight, back under.
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Old 02-02-2015, 07:43 PM   #11
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twinboat--
12 amps seems to be enough to get the thin wires very hot. Have had 2 friends who had the wires melt. I am electrically challenged, so just thought that whatever was going thru the wires got them pretty warm if the ebrake is left on very long.
Thanks,
Joe
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Old 02-02-2015, 08:24 PM   #12
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If your friends wires are melting, they have short circuits and must not have 20 amp auto re-setting circuit breaker on the trailer brake controler, battery wire.
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Old 02-02-2015, 09:21 PM   #13
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When the break-away pin is pulled, the brake magnets are powered by the trailer battery directly w/o going thru the brake controller and w/o the voltage drop associated with the truck wiring. So, yes they will draw more current than even the max output from the brake controller. And yes, because it is straight DC and not chopped DC (via the controller) it will cause greater heating of the wires. P.S., you can hear the magnets hum when powered by the controller because it is chopped and therefore not 100% DC, but you will not hear them on straight DC.

Then you consider brake controllers are rarely set to 100% power and very few drivers sit with their foot on the brake pedal for 10-15 min., like would be required while trying to use the break-away circuit as a substitute wheel chock. Then yes there is a much higher probability of overheating the wires than with normal brake operation. All it has to do is just melt the insulation to cause a later failure.

Finally, I would guess that the magnet coil (i.e. internal wires) will get hotter when the drum is not rotating, but that's just a guess. Anyway, any time the break-away pin has been pulled for more than a few min., the entire trailer brake system should be suspect, and for safety reasons no one should suggest or recommend using the break-away system for anything other than it's intended purpose.
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Old 02-02-2015, 09:53 PM   #14
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X2 on the amp draw. The break away switch has 16 ga wires on it even if the trailer is wired with 12 ga wire.
Other than that the wheel has to turn to apply the brake and it only applies the shoes when going forward.
Answer--- Bad idea
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