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Old 05-15-2014, 07:19 PM   #1
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New Break-Away Switch

Hello All
Just installed a new break-away switch, my question is where should the cable be attached on the tow vehicle, the cable is only long enough to reach the ball on my LDH. I would think it should attach some where on the tow vehicle. I know the purpose is to apply the brakes if the TT totally separates from the vehicle. after breaking the saftey chians, but it's no where near long enough.
Help !!!!!!
Jim
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Old 05-15-2014, 10:24 PM   #2
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It should be attached to the frame, so if your hitch pops out or the receiver breaks off it still yanks the switch. You can get some lightweight chain or cable and a shackle to extend it.
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Old 05-16-2014, 07:50 AM   #3
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I think ideally, the brake comes on while the chains are still connected so you can stop and the trailer doesn't crash into your truck.
If the whole thing comes off, it's all too late.

Point being, you have to set it so the brakes come on when the chains are still connected. This is the kind of fine tuning that's often skipped.
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Old 05-16-2014, 12:50 PM   #4
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I connect mine in the same locations as the chains, and as stated above the cord is shorter than the chains.
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Old 05-16-2014, 03:48 PM   #5
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I used to hook mine to the same place as the chains.. Then a pair of brackets broke and dropped the croos bar the hitch is welded to .. Safety chain loops and all.. Thankfully the US-Gear brake lead had some extra length so when I stopped.. SO DID THE CAR.

New brackets are superior, Cable now hooked... Elsewhere.
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Old 05-18-2014, 10:29 PM   #6
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This was a great question. I have always assumed the switch MUST be connected straight to the tow vehicle as stated above - same place as where the chains connect to the tow vehicle.

Some people call the break-away switch the "last line of defense" after the safety chains fail - hence the switch is independant of the safety chains. However, there are no clear SAE standards on where the switch is connected. That leaves it open to interpretation. There are statements in SAE guidance that the breakaway switch is to stop the trailer in the event it becomes disconnected from the tow vehicle. Disconnecting from the tow vehicle can mean from the hitch ball or completely isolated - again interpretation. Did manage to find one state that says the switch may connect to the first chain link - California regulations. Connecting the switch to the safety chain's 1st link should be legally acceptable... but Bartlettj was right on with extending the cable to the tow vehicle - this is the safest set up.

Another trip to Home Depot and more Travel Trailer mods... how fun!
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Old 05-19-2014, 03:24 AM   #7
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So now is the question is, does the switch activate while safety chains are still attached or once the safety chains fail ??????
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Old 05-19-2014, 04:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bartlettj View Post
It should be attached to the frame, so if your hitch pops out or the receiver breaks off it still yanks the switch. You can get some lightweight chain or cable and a shackle to extend it.

Agreed
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:29 PM   #9
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The question posed so far is: should the safety switch be set to trigger before or after safety chains fail? I recomend a different approach: Set the safety switch cable length long enough so that it won't trigger during any tight turn. I am more concerned with the switch triggering acidently during a turn as I leave a gas station than triggering too late. I treat this switch like a seat belt - not so tight it is uncomfortable, but still there in case I need it.
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:31 AM   #10
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I believe the breakaway cable should be set to activate AFTER the chains fail. Reasoning : the trailer wiring should still be attached and brakes can be applied proportional with the controller vs the breakaway being full on only. You may need to release or have less brakes during an event.
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:40 AM   #11
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How did my Father do it back in 49 where we hauled a 35 footer TT up the Sierras without even brakes on the TT?
Just curious, How often has anyone heard of a TT coming unglued from the hitch going down the road, if attached properly?
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Old 05-20-2014, 02:50 PM   #12
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NFLCamper-- That's the way i thought of it. If the breakaway cable is set long enough only to activate if the saftey chains fail, the trailer come off the hitch and is being pulled bu the chains the electric cables will still be attached and i will have breaking control, other than a full brake lockup if it is set to trigger while chains are still holding!
Mounting the new switch to the same location as the old, the cable is not long enough for either.
Jim
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Old 05-21-2014, 08:25 AM   #13
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Get a new cable at Tractor Supply, Northern Tool, Camping World, or automotive store with trailer supply selection.
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