Thank God for safety chains! - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-27-2012, 10:05 AM   #15
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I was under the impression that if the pin can go through the hitch, it is set correctly. I have had times when the pin would not go through and I started over and rehitched until it did. Maybe this is not the way to do it.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:51 AM   #16
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Mike my apologizes for assuming it was your first tow with this trailer. I wrongly assumed it was based on your previous post that you were heading out to the factor to pick up your new Scamp this month and your use of the term "towing trial-by-fire".

If you discover the answer to your actual question please be sure to post it back here! I have adjusted mine following the same instructions Dave posted the link to - adjusting it until it felt to be correct - not to tight & not so loose that i could get it to pop off when I jacking up the trailer with the ball attached. Whether or not it is at the correct torque or not is a good question.

With time I have noticed a couple of other early indicators on my set up that help to determine if its a solid lock down or not before I do the final test of jacking the tongue back up. If I have troubles getting the locking pin in place - if its not solidly locked the two holes the pin goes through do not line up cleanly or the latch itself feels to wiggly. Another is feeling with my fingers under the latch to feel where the latch is hitting the ball. Neither of these of course bets jacking the trailer back up as I have on occasion believed all is good on hook up only to have it pop off.

As far as Dave's question goes in regards to how many have undone the latch while unhooking only to have it remained latched to the ball? I have! Thats usually the time that I know its time to readjust the latch.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:20 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolMarie View Post
I was under the impression that if the pin can go through the hitch, it is set correctly. I have had times when the pin would not go through and I started over and rehitched until it did. Maybe this is not the way to do it.
The latch must be closed on a good ,properly adjusted hitch for the lever to be down far enough to insert the lock or pin...However, care must be taken to get the ball fully inserted in the hitch, otherwise latch can actually close above the ball.
At a casual glance it can then appear to be latched.
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:15 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by fusedlight View Post
Still a newbie in many ways here...

Exactly HOW should the chains look under the hitch? Pictures, if you can!
Gary how the chains look will be a bit different depending on whether or not you have one attachment point on the trailer end or two.

There are some photos here as to what a single attachment point should look like.

In the case of the chains that are attached at two separate points on the trailer side its easier to see clearly that the chains are crossed - how far down the crossing takes place will depend some what on how far apart the attachment points are on the trailer & the length of the chains.

As you will see some dont have a great deal of faith that with a single attachment point on the trailer side that the chains will in fact catch the tongue but the crossing of chains is required by law in many places regardless. Not to mention that the photos do show that the chains even with a single connection point do seem to catch the tongue at least a little bit.

The other points I was taught in regards to chains was to make sure they were not so long that they hit the ground or would not catch the tongue and not so short that you cant freely turn the tow vehicle. The theory I was taught in regards to the crossing the chains is that if not crossed the tongue will hit the ground causing damage to the tongue which may prevent you from being able to hook it back up. The other reason was that if the tongue is on the ground you may have a more difficulty time controlling the trailer.

A couple of other points I was taught was to always best to put the hooks on the tow vehicle from the underside not from over the top and dont twist the chains to shorten them. Both of the later items are in regards to impacting the strength of the chains - or at least that is what I was told.

Hope that helps.
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:46 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Gary how the chains look will be a bit different depending on whether or not you have one attachment points on the trailer end or two.

There are some photos here as to what a single attachment point should look like. ... <snip>
That indeed does help... I'm just going to have to fiddle until it looks right. Thanks!
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:11 PM   #20
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Correct ball size like Floyd mentioned is always a first check with a new trailer. I have seen a couple instances where the wrong size was used.

When hooking up you can have the ball slightly to one side, or slightly ahead of the hitch, and give the tongue a slight shove once you have weight on the ball to set it in place. You should never have the ball back at all from its final resting spot as you lower the tongue, or you risk it not connecting properly when you drop the weight on the closing mechanism in the coupler.

Adjusting is really easy the way I do it. Pull the hitch from the vehicle receiver and close the greased ball into the hitch, and feel for any play. It should move freely, but have no play at all. To adjust, leave the ball closed in the hitch and tighten the nut on the coupler just until the ball tightens up in the coupler, but it is still able to move freely in its full range. If it binds at all, just back off on the nut a bit. Open and close the hitch a few times to confirm adjustment. This is an easy 10 minute adjustment that should be done at a minimum of once a year, dependent upon towing mileage.

Keeping the ball lightly greased will limit the wear, and make the towing easier. I just keep the hitch locked in coupler when not towing.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:22 PM   #21
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Jim, thank you. Good explanation on what to look for and what to do.

In this case this is a new scamp according to another thread here in the towing section. I would hope it left the factory fully adjusted??? Also I bet the brakes played a big factor in minimizing damage. Raz
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:22 PM   #22
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Thanks to all for the input. And Carol, no apology please. Your experience and insights are always helpful. My apology if my post 'sounded' terse, it was not so intended. Rather, I hoped to create laser focus on the basic question I felt urgency to resolve. (I think I just said it was all about me ;-)

What I've learned is there are apparently no hard & fast numbers for adjusting or torquing the clamp. The link Dave provided, a call to Scamp, and other resources indicate it's a matter of what I'll call finessing the adjustment so that it's tight enough to prevent uncoupling, yet loose enough to allow the necessary swivel. The analogy that works best for me, though not exact, is a bicycle wheel quick release adjustment.

I intend to spend a bit of time with my ball mount/ball in hand (not attached to the tow vehicle) and adjusting the clamp by feel. I want the clamp as tight as possible without restricting the ball/socket action. Something I should have done before, but it simply was not on my radar screen.

Again, this incident was extreme. I'm confident the trailer was momentarily airborne. Imagine running over a half-round telephone pole at 60 mph and you'll have a good idea of the jolt. Chances are good it will never happen again ... then again it may happen tomorrow. If/when it does, I intend for the trailer to remain attached by more than tow chains!
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Old 08-27-2012, 05:16 PM   #23
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Having a trailer come is loose is not fun and it should be taken seriously.

Suggest the trailer be taken to a reputable trailer shop and have the tongue checked out by a professional. There may be broken, cracked, worn, or damaged parts. While it is there get them to make the adjustments if necessary.

For such a small investment you will know it is done right and you won't be going down the road continually wondering about it.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:05 PM   #24
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Would I be right to assume that using both safety chains and Equalizing Bars that my risk is not as high.
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:25 PM   #25
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Mike, I would second W's idea of having it checked out. As it is a new trailer? & you feel sure it wasn't a false hook up situation its not outside the possibilities that something is not right with the coupling system. I know I would sure sleep a lot better having a qualified 2nd party take a look at it confirm its all good.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:06 PM   #26
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Floyd said: "Prefire Scamp 13s had 1-7/8" hitches, post fire they have 2" hitches.
Do you have the right ball size?"

However, A friend just came home with a 2012 13' Scamp and he tells me he has a 1 7/8" hitch.

The Scamp manual currently available on the internet also says 13' have the 1 7/8" hitches. (16' have 2" hitch.)

Any other input??
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:01 PM   #27
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I can confirm that my 92 16' only has a 1 7/8" but the newer models (suspect pre fire) I have seen have a 2". Cant comment on the 13'.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:29 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonMayo View Post
Floyd said: "Prefire Scamp 13s had 1-7/8" hitches, post fire they have 2" hitches.
Do you have the right ball size?"

However, A friend just came home with a 2012 13' Scamp and he tells me he has a 1 7/8" hitch.

The Scamp manual currently available on the internet also says 13' have the 1 7/8" hitches. (16' have 2" hitch.)

Any other input??
I suspect that the particular manual may not be updated, Your friend had better check his coupler ASAP!
Unless they have switched back for this year (doubtful) Scamp has been using 2" couplers on the 13s for several years now.
Especially if his trailer has a vertical tongue jack then it's likely a 2". As I said... better confirm the coupler size!
Does anyone here know if there is even a 1-7/8" coupler on the market designed to accept a vertical jack?
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