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Old 06-26-2021, 11:53 PM   #1
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Exclamation How not to test a break away switch

Going over a very rough road to Port Renfrew yesterday a heave in the road put too much pull on the lanyard to the break away switch. It dynamited the trailer brakes as designed so I know the switch is working. Fortunately a pull out was within reach before starting a fire dragging the breaks at full power. I could have lit a smoke on the brake drums.

I have heard horror stories of trailers fires caused by drivers pulling trailers with the breaks applied. And have seen it happen on transport trucks with locked trailer brakes and a driver not paying attention to the trailer braking profile at all times especially going down steep grades. Up north it happens more frequently in winter when locked or partially locked brakes are easier to miss on a trailer especially one that is loaded.

The good part is that the drums did not distort and the sudden application worked to smooth out the application and now they actually sound better with the drums and shoes warn in a little more. Just lucky that we did not cook them too much.

The lesson is that having the lanyard wrapped around the chains is not a good idea. Instead it is much better to have a lanyard which is free from safety chains and cannot be pulled if the chains jump around on a rough road. I think I will create a separate way of having the lanyard attached. Perhaps weld a tube from the brake away switch to the back of the hitch so that only a short section needs to flex as the hitch pivots.
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Old 10-22-2021, 10:35 AM   #2
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Good observation, I always hook up the safety lanyard last to make sure is if free from any interference by the safety cables or the pigtail. I also pull the safety out to make sure my Stay-N-Play braking system engages.


Another note that some are not award of. I uses a short length of small chain that allows me to connect my safety brake lanyard to the frame of the tow vehicle. I see a lot hooked up the hitch. If the hitch were to fail the safety may never be pulled and may never engage.. Just my $0.02
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Old 10-22-2021, 03:46 PM   #3
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Is the lanyard coiled? Makes a big difference.
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Old 10-23-2021, 04:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne M View Post
Is the lanyard coiled? Makes a big difference.
Good idea. I will make a new one from a stock coiled outboard motor break away lanyard. The factory one is a straight one that will drag if not supported.

I have seen them hooked up to a ball hitch instead of the frame on the tow vehicle. Defeats the purpose of the switch and is illegal. The best place to clip them is on the tow hitch chain loops which should be more study than the safety chains. Or to a hook on the tow hitch assembly but never on the inserted ball hitch.
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Old 10-23-2021, 08:21 PM   #5
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I attached a hitch ring to my bumper a bit to the side of the hitch and use a carabiner to connect the brake away cable. The cable is too long and a pita to keep from dragging, so I just ordered a 6' coiled cable from Amazon. I've been meaning to do that for a while now and this thread kind of spurred me.
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Old 10-23-2021, 10:25 PM   #6
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break away coil

They make them in 6 ft lengths also.


Or buy 2 four foot ones and cut one for length. Use fishing crimp to make or extend for length
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Old 10-24-2021, 07:42 PM   #7
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The break-away cable must always be separate from anything else, and not attached to the tow vehicles hitch-by law.
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