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Old 06-03-2012, 01:17 PM   #1
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Theft problem from back of pick-up tow vehicle?

I've been towing w/ either a closed van (travel trailer) or with my pick-up (5th wheel via gooseneck adapter), and have never had to consider the possible theft problem (I carried nothing in my P/U, or it was locked in my van).

I am about to head out w/ my 5th wheel for several weeks, but I have now installed a B&W Companion 5th wheel hitch that mounts to the B&W turn-over ball base in my P/U (hoping it rides smoother w/o chucking than my g/n adapter), and I plan to carry a Champion 3500w RV genset "up front" in the back of the P/U bed (I know they are socially unacceptable, but I plan only to use it in Rest Areas, WalMarts, etc, where the noise level is high for A/C since in TX/NM/AZ where we're going it's gonna' be HOT).

The Companion hitch is completely removable w/ simple hand tools (sockets and ratchet) or the head comes off w/ NO tools), and of course a 100 pound genset is simply lift-and-remove (though when the P/U is connected to the 5th wheel, it's clumsy for one person to do it).

I DO plan to use 5/16" chain and 3/8" padlocks to chain the genset to the pick-up bed (the front tie-downs, but they CAN be removed w/ Torx head sockets if you get up in there), or alternately the chains and lock hasps CAN simply be cut with 36" bolt cutters (that's how I cut the chain to length). I also plan to use 2 additional chains and padlocks to tie the base of my hitch to the genset (or vice versa if you prefer). I may drill holes and use another chain to secure the Companion head to the base. I will do likewise with my 30gal potty tote (through the handle to one of the chains).

My question is:

Based on the common experience of the group, how many have taken such precautions, and STILL had components stolen? Obviously, I don't plan to be away from the truck for days, and I don't plan to park in high-crime areas (intentionally at least), so I am wondering about your "normal" places like restaurant and shopping parking lots, National Parks, campgrounds at night, etc.

My own guess would be I stand a good chance of getting home w/ what I left with, especially if I cover the genset/blue tote with a blue tarp held down by some 2X4s thrown on top for weight, but I am still curious because my perceptions could be WAY off.

$450 for a genset and a tote wouldn't bankrupt me if they were stolen, but I'd prefer not to have to replace them, so any better "security" measure suggestions you may use would be most welcome as well.

Thanks,
Bob
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:30 PM   #2
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I prefer cable locks to the same size chain. a dull set of bolt cutter has a tougher time with cable vs chain.

Also on top of all that tarp the whole bed and put it all out of sight.
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:33 PM   #3
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Why not bolt the genset down through the bed? You already have holes from the hitch..

98% of the time you will have no problem.. That said, a friend had most of his tools stolen from a locked utility cap while in a Home Depot, so your never truly safe. BTW, his insurance paid for the tools since they where in a locked vehicle..
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:35 PM   #4
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I prefer cable locks to the same size chain. a dull set of bolt cutter has a tought time with cable vs chain.

Also on top of all that tarp the whole bed and put it all out of sight.
You're right about the cables vs. chains, but if you use the kind w/ loops at the ends and use padlocks, the lock hasps can be cut as easily as chain. I've seen lighter duty bicycle cables w/ integral locks, but they are not HD; Is that what you use?

As far as tarping the whole thing, I guess I could use a BIG tarp folded in half to cover the genset/tote when towing, then opened up to cover the 5th hitch when disconnected. I don't have a tailgate (which would help keep things out of sight better).

Bob
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:40 PM   #5
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Why not bolt the genset down through the bed? You already have holes from the hitch..

98% of the time you will have no problem.. That said, a friend had most of his tools stolen from a locked utility cap while in a Home Depot, so your never truly safe. BTW, his insurance paid for the tools since they where in a locked vehicle..
That's an idea if I get some "U" bolts, wrap the genset frame w/ rubber (for vibration), and loosely (just snug not to bend the genset frame tubing) attach nylock nuts under the P/U bed (most folks probably wouldn't climb under the vehicle).

No holes in the bed for the hitch, BTW. THe Companion is ONLY attached via a single 2.5" square piece of steel tubing that engages where the gooseneck ball usually goes. NOTHING else.

Bob
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:44 PM   #6
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One of the main reasons I use a lockable folding cover on the back of my truck. Out of site out of mind.
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:48 PM   #7
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One of the main reasons I use a lockable folding cover on the back of my truck. Out of site out of mind.
If I had a tail gate, or wasn't towing a 5er that would work (maybe a sliding type that would allow leaving 6ft of bed exposed to tow w/ would work if they make 'em).

Maybe a hinged piece of plywood (at the front lip of the bed) that would cover back to the hitch when down (for towing), and could be secured "up" when parked and running the genset?

It would protect the genset from weather, and make it "invisible?" Or at least less visible.

Hmmm...
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Old 06-03-2012, 02:42 PM   #8
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When I camp at the beach they will take cut what ever you have out, I was told by the rangers. so I put a 3/4in bolt with washer through the inside of the gen. through the frame and you can not get the cutters inside the gen. to cut the bolt. Just wanted to be safe. was there one week end someone gave me a list of the stolen bikes and gens. over one night. So. Cal. beach.
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:09 PM   #9
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We have a 6500 watt Yamaha generator mounted on a platform over our propane tanks on our TT. I used the u-bolt idea with a twist. The u bolts are 2 and a half inches too long. I then used two Nylon castellated nuts on each U-bolt leg. The extra long u-bolts force any one to use a wrench rather than a ratchet. One can't get bolt cutters to two of the u-bolts. We have been using this set up for 3 years of full timing so far so good.

You can see the gen-set sitting over the propane tanks in this picture.

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Old 06-03-2012, 03:14 PM   #10
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Gear Wrench is just as fast as a ratchet

But, the main idea is to make people work for it. If they have to work, they 1) dont like it, and 2) are much more apt to getting caught by the neighbor...
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:39 PM   #11
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If it was me I would use a chain that can't be cut and a really good lock. Here's a starting point for you:

Amazon.com: Trimax THEX50 THEX Super Chain - 5' Length with HEX 11mm Links: Automotive

Here's what I use on some stuff around the house that I don't want to walk off:

Amazon.com: Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboutit 1415 Chain Bicycle Lock with New York Disc 5 Lock Chain Bicycle Lock: Sports & Outdoors

I installed a pad in my concrete patio for a tie down point. The links are square and are allegedly impervious to bolt cutters. Note that it comes with $3750 of anti-theft protection. Besides you gotta love the name, Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboutit.
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midniteoyl View Post
Gear Wrench is just as fast as a ratchet

But, the main idea is to make people work for it. If they have to work, they 1) dont like it, and 2) are much more apt to getting caught by the neighbor...
Ditto. The harder you make it for them to steal, the more likely the (censored) will look for an easier target. I would also suggest engraving your state abbreviation along with your drivers lic number on the genny. If it's stolen that should be a red flag to a pawn shop if the DL doesn't match the person trying to pawn it's DL and with with no bill of sale. In the unlikely event it's recovered by the police it helps them track down the owner too. Make it hard to steal and hard to sell.
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Old 06-04-2012, 03:02 PM   #13
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Just make sure your insurance policy is current and don't worry about it. Take reasonable precautions about securing your stuff and don't park in the worst areas in town. You will probably be fine and if not then you have the insurance coverage.
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Old 06-04-2012, 03:17 PM   #14
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I know this won't help in the OP's case but this is another reason the eu2000 tends to be so popular, one or two fit nicely in a deep toolbox, locked and out of sight. But then again in that case you are protecting one or two grand...

Don't take this the wrong way, but for the cost of a Champion I'd just secure it reasonably well (cable and lock) and beyond that not worry about it. If you are even slightly careful about where you park you probably will never have a problem, and if you ever should the monetary loss isn't that great. You can only worry about this stuff just so much.
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