Adding a Trailer Breakaway Kit - Fiberglass RV
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Old 11-05-2017, 05:31 PM   #1
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Name: Jeff T
Trailer: 2017 Scamp 16 Deluxe
Midwest
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Adding a Trailer Breakaway Kit

Has anyone added a breakaway kit onto their Scamp 16?

I purchased a very simple kit which is basically a battery in a box and a breakaway switch. Once I mount the plastic box (and switch) it looks like I can route the wire through the frame. In looking underneath along the axle between both tires I found a single wire which I suspect is the positive wire that activates the brakes. Am I on the right track?

(This kit has no charging circuit so all I have is a ground wire and a blue positive wire if the switch is ever pulled.)

Thoughts, ideas, suggestions are welcome
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Old 11-05-2017, 05:52 PM   #2
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You want to mount it on the tongue of the trailer.
You will find your blue brake wire there going to the brakes.
If you have a 12v battery on board you can run it through it also.
Easy do. Check out Utube, someone has to have posted something about it there.
You’ll do fine.
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Old 11-05-2017, 06:04 PM   #3
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Why not use your on-board battery that is already grounded, already mounted and gets charged regularly? Seems like you could simply run a new blue wire from your on-board battery, to the emergency switch and then a wire from the switch that gets spliced to the existing blue brake wire going to the brakes. Install an in-line fuse near the battery that is large enough to carry the brake load.
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Old 11-05-2017, 06:10 PM   #4
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Old 11-05-2017, 06:33 PM   #5
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You need only a breakaway switch ($4-5) if you have a battery on the trailer.
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Old 11-05-2017, 07:03 PM   #6
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Battery

I thought about the on board battery. I read several on-line debates where the issue of having a dedicated battery just for the purpose of the breakaway emergency was more a legal interpretation of state laws. Some chose having a separate system and others chose the battery already in place.

Sooooooooo taking no position either way I just purchased the kit with the battery and switch. I headed back under the trailer looking for the brake wire because our trailer is new and didn't feel like cutting into the new wiring. I figured I would try to intercept the brake wire on the underside........maybe I answered my own questions here but curious to see what others had done.
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Old 11-05-2017, 08:00 PM   #7
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Do trailers ever breakaway? Isn't that what safety chains are for?

Confused, as per usual. John

Pic near Deception Pass in the San Juans, Washington
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Old 11-05-2017, 08:31 PM   #8
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The breakaway system applies the trailer breaks in the event the trailer becomes disconnected from the tow vehicle, while the chains keep the trailer from going off in it's own direction.
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Old 11-06-2017, 12:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff T View Post
I thought about the on board battery. I read several on-line debates where the issue of having a dedicated battery just for the purpose of the breakaway emergency was more a legal interpretation of state laws. Some chose having a separate system and others chose the battery already in place.

Sooooooooo taking no position either way I just purchased the kit with the battery and switch. I headed back under the trailer looking for the brake wire because our trailer is new and didn't feel like cutting into the new wiring. I figured I would try to intercept the brake wire on the underside........maybe I answered my own questions here but curious to see what others had done.



Using the on board battery is probably best. If you use a smaller dedicated battery about the time it's needed it will be dead and probably won't hold a charge. Since the house battery gets used it generally will be mostly if not fully charged. You'll forget about maintenance of of dedicated battery. Human nature.
What I did. I put a small hole in the cabin near where the rest of wires go inside. Fed one wire from the switch through the hole, sealed the hole around the wire. Connected it to the blue wires going to the brakes. Then I connected the other wire from the switch to the positive terminal on the battery. Total time was about 15 minutes at the most. I also got one with a coiled activation cable kind of like the old coiled phone cables. This keeps the activation cable up so it doesn't catch on things.
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Old 11-06-2017, 12:46 AM   #10
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I installed a breakaway switch on my Scamp 16 by splicing into the break wire in the wire bundle coming from the 7pin trailer connector and power from the existing onboard battery. That involved some cutting of the wire bundle, stripping of the break wire, soldering, taping, and mounting the breakaway switch. Breakaway switch is required in CA even though DMV did not check during registration. It would be nice if they would do it at the factory.
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Old 11-06-2017, 01:15 AM   #11
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Jeff, Byron's post #9 is the way to go. The kit you bought is really only used on trailers that don't have an onboard battery like a cargo or utility trailer. I've known many over the years that had that setup and yup....when they did get around to checking the battery it was dead.
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Old 11-06-2017, 06:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mary and bob View Post
The breakaway system applies the trailer breaks in the event the trailer becomes disconnected from the tow vehicle, while the chains keep the trailer from going off in it's own direction.
For that to work the 'cable' pulling the pin needs to be shorter than the chains.
How many are set up like that?
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Old 11-06-2017, 06:54 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by widgetwizard View Post
For that to work the 'cable' pulling the pin needs to be shorter than the chains.
How many are set up like that?
Good point, and I'll bet very few are set up like that. In fact I'm not sure mine is, I just routinely hook up the cable without thinking about the length.
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Old 11-06-2017, 07:06 AM   #14
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in my job I drove as much as 50k a year sometimes 60k I did this for 35 years in that time I never saw a trailer that broke away from the tug! I once saw a semi trailer catch on fire due to bad brakes on the trailer. I once saw a semi pulling a trailer flip over due to high speed on the drivers part.

Sometimes I think we worry too much!!


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Old 11-06-2017, 09:22 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by widgetwizard View Post
For that to work the 'cable' pulling the pin needs to be shorter than the chains.
How many are set up like that?
If the chains are intact and the brakes receive full voltage from the break away switch might the trailer go into a skid and sway like crazy, especially on wet pavement? Why not just make sure your power cord is longer than your chains and use the TV brakes and trailer brake controller to come to a controlled stop?

Still I have to question how often chains fail?

John
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Old 11-06-2017, 09:30 AM   #16
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If the chains are intact and the brakes receive full voltage from the break away switch might the trailer go into a skid and sway like crazy, especially on wet pavement? Why not just make sure your power cord is longer than your chains and use the TV brakes and trailer brake controller to come to a controlled stop?

Still I have to question how often chains fail?

John
Chains don't fail very often, but it does happen. It happened to me.
The better question is are brakes required on YOUR trailer. If brakes are required then a break away switch is required by Federal Law.
Also it's cheap easy thing to add.
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Old 11-06-2017, 09:39 AM   #17
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I've seen two trailers disconnected from trucks in the last year. A couple of weeks ago I saw a pickup alongside the road with a disconnected utility trailer where the tongue was hanging on the safety chains.

If the trailer disconnects and the chains hold, the emergency brake activation is not critical and the umbilical may still be connected which will give the driver control over the brakes. But if the chains don't hold, the brakes become more important. At that point the length of the breakaway switch cord doesn't matter. It will not be too long to work.
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Old 11-06-2017, 10:03 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by John Linck View Post
If the chains are intact and the brakes receive full voltage from the break away switch might the trailer go into a skid and sway like crazy, especially on wet pavement? Why not just make sure your power cord is longer than your chains and use the TV brakes and trailer brake controller to come to a controlled stop?

Still I have to question how often chains fail?

John
Applying trailer brakes is how you stop trailer sway. But if the disconnect happened in a corner and the trailer brakes locked up, it could get interesting. If it happened on a straight section it could be a hazard too, because you might not get pulled off the road before stopping and then there you sit with locked trailer brakes.

Proper chains won't fail. But that is not the point. Not everyone has proper chains. Some are worn nearly through from dragging on the road, some are very small, some are connected with a bolt instead of a proper grab hook. Some just use a weak S hook. Chains can certainly fail.
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Old 11-06-2017, 10:08 AM   #19
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breakaway

well that's amazing but things happen. one time I was below st Louis on i55 we had a slight mist I saw 3 cars spin completely around in all my life I had never seen 1 do this.

really amazing part was no one wrecked or got hurt. all of them were driving way to fast for conditions at that time.

as for the breakaway I used to haul a trailer with my motorcycle I didn't want anything hooked to the motorcycle except the trailer if it fell off I sure wasn't going to stop it with a motorcycle.

the real motorcycle towers would lead their chains even in case of this.

Sometimes we may make things difficult for ourselves. I don't know if uhaul has these things or not I doubt it on their small trailers and you know what we can put in a small trailer. No telling!

bob
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Old 11-06-2017, 10:56 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Raspy View Post

Proper chains won't fail. But that is not the point. Not everyone has proper chains. Some are worn nearly through from dragging on the road, some are very small, some are connected with a bolt instead of a proper grab hook. Some just use a weak S hook. Chains can certainly fail.
I hope everyone inspects their chains on a regular basis. OTOH the folks who let their chains drag on the concrete probably aren't checking their break-away batteries very often or even properly tightening their ball connection. I have no research to prove, but I expect loose connections must cause 99% of decouplings.

John

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