Propane Hoses Hold Cylinders All The Way Through Wreck - Fiberglass RV
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Old 12-03-2017, 04:32 PM   #1
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Propane Hoses Hold Cylinders All The Way Through Wreck

This video shows a travel trailer accident last July on the Garden City Parkway in New Jersey. This video is zoomed in a bit from the original, which was captured by Nick Brinson.

What really struck me was the way that the propane cylinders are jerked about by the flexible gas lines once they break free of the metal bracket. You can see this at about 0:07 and 0:32 on the video, as the plastic cover goes skidding off to the right. It's hard to say, but they look a bit tall, like 30# cylinders.

While it's impressive that the gas lines didn't let go of the cylinders, watching this sort of makes me want to add some more belts to my suspenders. Not that I plan to go trailer surfing, but you never know when a stronger connection might turn out to be helpful in keeping things together...

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Old 12-03-2017, 06:55 PM   #2
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Just one more reason for me to not take the major highways when traveling!
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Old 12-03-2017, 10:14 PM   #3
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That is impressive! It is something that the bottles held on. Interesting how the trailer stood back up and went over on the other side. Through it all it never came disconnected form the TV!

Good reminder that whenever there is a sway problem, and it happens quick, reach down and apply the trailer brakes manually first thing and without delay. This should be a trained response. Also, in my case, I set the trailer brakes slightly more aggressive than the TV brakes. This should get me out of trouble with a medium application of the TV brakes.

I would so hate to crash that way.
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Old 12-03-2017, 10:21 PM   #4
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Good reminder that whenever there is a sway problem, and it happens quick, reach down and apply the trailer brakes manually first thing and without delay. This should be a trained response.
Just wondering how and where you practice.
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:05 PM   #5
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My Oliver is stable. But I've had others that were not quite as stable and would wag a bit. I've trained myself to reach for the manual brake button. Not because I was in a situation like in the video, but because I am determined to avoid ever being in that situation. Applying the trailer brakes cures the problem. Steering out of it is not the cure.

Accelerating is also a cure, but a much higher risk solution. I once used that method and held my truck full throttle until the trailer sway stopped. The utility trailer I was towing weighed about 5 tons and had no brakes (big mistake). After taking up several lanes on the freeway, with it trying to roll my truck and having all traffic back off to give me room, it finally straightened out. I tried to steer out of it and couldn't.

Once it settled down at about 70 MPH and was pulling straight, I got all over the brakes to get rid of speed and get it back down to about 30 where it was stable, and do it before it could get unstable again. That incident was seriously scary! You can only brake hard if the trailer is in a direct line with the truck.

Another stability problem can happen while using the engine brake with a diesel truck while towing. The rear tires of the truck are holding back with a lot of braking force, but no trailer brakes are being applied. This can lead to a spin out and jack knife. Especially dangerous in cold weather with possible black ice. Always use the truck's service brakes while towing in cold weather, or on sharp curves and leave the engine brake for better conditions.
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Old 12-04-2017, 02:26 AM   #6
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That's a scary video. Lucky for everyone that there was room enough around him that he was the only victim involved. A bit off topic from the hoses but I wonder if Nick's camera picked up what the driver may have done, if anything, prior to the sway like maybe a quick or evasive move. On a side note, all the videos posted here of TTs crashing, at least that I've seen, all stayed connected to the tug. I'm sure they do but it does say something about the ball/coupler design as with this one, the tug stayed on...basically all 4 wheels and didn't roll over.
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Old 12-04-2017, 07:34 AM   #7
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cause

my opinion excessive speeds will cause this sort of problems leading to an accidnent. I have had this happen on a small trailer with a roll of carpet on it and its soooo scarey.

while we may all kinds and sorts of solutions until it happens then we don't really know.

best advice and my policy slow down just because highway traffic is going 80mph doesn't mean you don't need or have to!

get there a little later and be safe! you might save yours or someones life!

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Old 12-04-2017, 08:16 AM   #8
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Back to the tanks... wondering about the different ways tanks typically attach to the tongue...

My (single tank) Scamp has two straps that bolt to the A-frame cross members and clamp onto the ring at the top of the tank. I've seen dual tank setups with a T-clamp between the tanks. It wouldn't take much deformation of the tongue in an accident to allow a clamped attachment to fail.

My real question is this: are there any set-ups with a positive attachment, i.e., the tank(s) are bolted directly to the A-frame or bolted to something that is bolted/welded to the A-frame? Would you even want that? Perhaps it is better for the tanks to move than to deform. Don't know, though... you surely wouldn't want them to detach completely and go rolling across the highway into traffic, bouncing off a bridge, etc.

Would a cable attachment- with some play in it, perhaps- be the belt-and-suspenders solution?

My take-away from the video is that the tanks themselves, as expected, are really strong. They took a beating. The hoses... that is surprising and not something I would depend on.
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Old 12-04-2017, 10:07 AM   #9
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What amazed me was how that camper stood back up and rolled to the opposite side! It appears with it still being tied to the TOW, the hitch forced it to rise a bit which let the tires grab and flip it.

So many unknown factors I'd LOVE to review:

Was it overloaded? Speeding? Too-quick of a lane change?

Finally, I would have NEVER dreamed those propane lines could have taken THAT kind of abuse!!! And I agree, those look like 30-40 lb cylinders!!!
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Old 12-04-2017, 10:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
That's a scary video. Lucky for everyone that there was room enough around him that he was the only victim involved. A bit off topic from the hoses but I wonder if Nick's camera picked up what the driver may have done, if anything, prior to the sway like maybe a quick or evasive move. On a side note, all the videos posted here of TTs crashing, at least that I've seen, all stayed connected to the tug. I'm sure they do but it does say something about the ball/coupler design as with this one, the tug stayed on...basically all 4 wheels and didn't roll over.
Well, here's the original video for context. I didn't see any discrete "event", just the more-or-less gradual development of a sway condition and what appears to be a complete absence of brake lights. I'm sure it can all seem much quicker from inside the cab, especially if you are at all distracted by anything else at the moment it starts, but I don't see any sign of a corrective action, (unless you call crashing corrective).

I also seem to recall that it's rare to see the tow vehicle roll over with the trailer; I may have seen one do so on a sloped median, it's tough to recall. I'm guessing the coupler and other steel parts deformed to accommodate the twisting as steel is very ductile, but it does speak to the strength of the traditional design (assuming this is not a Bulldog coupler).

I agree with John, it should be a foremost thought to trigger the trailer brakes manually; call it trained or instinctive or whatever you like. I would sometimes do it when I was towing with the Audi-Casita combination, partly to experience and evaluate the effect of the brakes, and partly to train myself in braking the trailer wheels first if necessary. I never did it to address an actual sway event as I never had any.

I remember riding with the neighbor towing a little stick and tin trailer with his Chevy pickup in the mid 60's and being fascinated by the little lever he would pull on a column-mounted sheet-metal controller box when slowing or stopping; I don't know if the controller was even integrated into the tow vehicle's braking circuit in those days.

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Old 12-04-2017, 10:16 AM   #11
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Ahh...thanks Civil...that answers that question. It just started to sway but it looks like they did NOTHING to try and avert it....like slowing down? Certainly no brake lights came on. Maybe they did hit the trailer brakes because the lights wont activate but it sure didnt show any "signs" they did.
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Old 12-04-2017, 10:28 AM   #12
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I don't think you would expect to see brake lights if the driver pulled the trailer brake lever but did not apply tow brakes, which is the correct action. Seems like you might expect some smoking from the trailer tires as individual wheels lock up when unloaded fram the swaying and rocking. I didn't see that, either.
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Old 12-04-2017, 11:01 AM   #13
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Trailer accident

How about that tow vehicle? Short wheel base and a bit lite for that size of trailer.

Weight and balance are other factors, 12 percent of that trailer weight on the hitch would have over whelmed that tow vehicle.
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Old 12-04-2017, 11:02 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
I don't think you would expect to see brake lights if the driver pulled the trailer brake lever but did not apply tow brakes <snip>
Jon, is this correct? While perhaps "correct", it seems "wrong" to not have a braking action actuate the brake lights.

In the seven pin connection, one wire goes to the brake magnets and two wires (left and right turn) go to the brake lights.

It "seems" that the brake controller should be smart enough to power all three wires when the brakes are manually actuated, as it does when the controller is actuated electrically by braking the vehicle.

I am not able to investigate this myself until I get my Prodigy re-installed.
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Old 12-04-2017, 11:09 AM   #15
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Read the instructions for setting up the Prodigy. It tells you that activating the trailer brakes with the lever will not activate trailer brake lights, so you need to be careful that you don't have somebody behind you.
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Old 12-04-2017, 11:26 AM   #16
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Jon, is this correct? While perhaps "correct", it seems "wrong" to not have a braking action actuate the brake lights.

In the seven pin connection, one wire goes to the brake magnets and two wires (left and right turn) go to the brake lights.

It "seems" that the brake controller should be smart enough to power all three wires when the brakes are manually actuated, as it does when the controller is actuated electrically by braking the vehicle.

I am not able to investigate this myself until I get my my Prodigy re-installed.
Hope I didn't misspeak on this one... My understanding, based on reading, not actual experience with wiring, is the trailer brake lights are powered from the vehicle brake light circuit, which is powered by a switch on the brake pedal. No pedal movement equals no brake lights. My information may be outdated, as new vehicles have so many systems tied into a computer now, including trailer brake wiring in many cases. For example, do brake lights come on when the electronic stability system applies brake(s) without pedal input? (That would be hard to check... I have had ESC activate, but I was distracted trying to get tug and trailer up a steep grade on a loose surface to even wonder about brake lights!)

Always open to new information!
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Old 12-04-2017, 11:47 AM   #17
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How about that tow vehicle? Short wheel base and a bit lite for that size of trailer.

Weight and balance are other factors, 12 percent of that trailer weight on the hitch would have over whelmed that tow vehicle.
I have to agree, it looks like he was was way over the safe towing capacity of that suv.

Those were some tough propane lines though. Maybe in an effort to cut down on his trailer weight the tanks were empty?
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:14 PM   #18
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Mike, I still have a couple of those old brake controllers, the ones with the lever. They were made to connect into the hydraulic brake line, using a T fitting at the master cylinder. Or you could just wire it in and manually operate the brakes with the lever, sorta like the trolley brake on tractor trailer rigs.
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:47 PM   #19
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Read the instructions for setting up the Prodigy. It tells you that activating the trailer brakes with the lever will not activate trailer brake lights, so you need to be careful that you don't have somebody behind you.
Bummer!

But, it's certainly something that is good to know and be aware of. Thanks!
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Old 12-04-2017, 02:14 PM   #20
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[QUOTE=Jon in AZ;674735]Back to the tanks... wondering about the different ways tanks typically attach to the tongue...

My (single tank) Scamp has two straps that bolt to the A-frame cross members and clamp onto the ring at the top of the tank. I've seen dual tank setups with a T-clamp between the tanks. It wouldn't take much deformation of the tongue in an accident to allow a clamped attachment to fail.

My real question is this: are there any set-ups with a positive attachment, i.e., the tank(s) are bolted directly to the A-frame or bolted to something that is bolted/welded to the A-frame? Would you even want that? Perhaps it is better for the tanks to move than to deform. Don't know, though... you surely wouldn't want them to detach completely and go rolling across the highway into traffic, bouncing off a bridge, etc.


Would a cable attachment- with some play in it, perhaps- be the belt-and-suspenders solution?

My 2001 Casita has double gas bottles on the tongue. They are on a frame that is welded on and it has a vertical rod with a T at the top, it fits on the bottle tops and screws down snug with a wing nut. It really seems like it holds them on firmly. It seems like a firm hold onto the tongue would be a good thing!
That is an amazing video of the wreck and it was incredible to see tanks swinging around and not coming detached.
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