Help installing a brakeaway switch - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-23-2018, 09:20 AM   #21
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Name: Gordon
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Originally Posted by Paul O. View Post
...
As an example, my car was not purchased in California, is not registered in California and I am certain it does not meet many California requirements for emissions or other issues "that are known to the state". Can I travel there without taking a huge legal risk? I am just trying to make sense of this, so I think it is a reasonable question. ...
Of course you can.. for one thing, the emissions requirements and many other requirements are for vehicles registered in the state, not for those who are just visiting.

My decision to spend $20 and a few hours on the addition of a break-away switch is based much more on civil liability (esp. in case of personal injury). Imagine you are sitting in a large room with four or five lawyers, and also clerks, civilians, etc., going over interrogatories in the discovery phase of a civil lawsuit. Some of the questions you have to reply to deal with break-away switch use on your trailer. Would you rather answer that you did have one, or that you didn't think you needed one so never bothered to install one even though its cheap and easy to do so. Even if not required by law, a jury might well think you should have had one and that it would have prevented serious injury or death. They don't need to find that you violated any law, only that there is a preponderance of the evidence that you are more than 50% responsible for the event. But of course if you were not in compliance, the chances that you lose go way up.

I have been sued* and it is something I would not wish on anyone. Maybe that is why I see things they way I do. Call it paranoia is you want, but $20 and a few hours is all it takes to put me in a much more defendable position in a civil case, not to mention reducing the odds of hurting or killing someone in the (admittedly unlikely) event that my trailer goes for ride without me. It just seems like the logical thing to do.

------
* BTW, After more that a year and many meetings with lawyers, etc. I was dismissed from the case and held 100% not-responsible. I still have the six bankers boxs of documents that were generated for my part of the suit.
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Old 04-23-2018, 11:15 AM   #22
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Name: Wayne & Barbara
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A BRAKE is what you get when you trigger the BREAKaway switch.

A breakaway switch is totally redundant, a crutch for a sloppy hitch.
First make sure your ball hitch is properly adjusted to be snug with no play.
Second, adjust your safety chains for just enough droop to allow the maximum turn angle. Cross them under the ball.
The chains will catch the trailer before the breakaway switch does anything.
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Old 04-23-2018, 11:27 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Wayne Collins View Post
A BRAKE is what you get when you trigger the BREAKaway switch.

A breakaway switch is totally redundant, a crutch for a sloppy hitch.
First make sure your ball hitch is properly adjusted to be snug with no play.
Second, adjust your safety chains for just enough droop to allow the maximum turn angle. Cross them under the ball.
The chains will catch the trailer before the breakaway switch does anything.
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Old 04-23-2018, 12:57 PM   #24
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I don't have a breakaway switch... and for only $8 I sure would have one if I thought it was needed. Perhaps on a double axle trailer over 5000 pounds and over 25-30 ft long you might have a slight chance of its being effective.
In most states it is not a question of IF you need a trailer break away system it is a question of IF your state trailer registration laws requires a break away system on your TRAILER BRAKE equipped trailer! Most all states do!

Most state trailer registration laws require a trailer of any size with electric brakes or surge brakes to have a "trailer breakaway" system of some sort installed on the trailer and in WORKING CONDITION. It's that "Working Condition" part that can give most folks a problem.

IF for example you are stopped for a traffic infraction of some sorts and the officer decides to check the operational status of your trailer brake away system (Rare I know) and your electric trailer break away system is not configured with a charger for the break away system battery dollar's to donuts your battery will be dead and the break away system will be none functioning. The same situation exists for surge brakes and a none operating breakaway system. Biggest problem with surge brakes is that NOBODY ever checks the brake fluid level and just like a vehicle those hydraulic brake system can and do leak fluid over time.

Here is where the problem lies for you in that the officer that pulled you over can at their discretion shut you down right where you sit until that battery is either replaced or recharged in your electric brake system or the brake fluid is replaced in your surge brake equipped trailer system. Either way not a fun situation to be in.

Having safety chains on your trailer is also a state trailer registration law most everywhere and the lack of safety chains is something easily seen by State Troopers if they pass your trailer on the road. They do look for the lack of safety chains to give them a reason to pull you over for a safety check so just be aware that you should have chains and they should be properly attached to the tow vehicle along with that WORKING trailer break away system IF your trailer has on board electric or surge trailer brakes.
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Old 04-23-2018, 01:14 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by vintageracer View Post
In most states it is not a question of IF you need a trailer break away system it is a question of IF your state trailer registration laws requires a system on your BRAKE equipped trailer! Most all states do!

Most state trailer registration laws require a trailer of any size with electric brakes or surge brakes to have a "trailer breakaway" system of some sort installed on the trailer and in WORKING CONDITION. It's that "Working Condition" part that can give most folks a problem.

IF for example you are stopped for a traffic infraction of some sorts and the officer decides to check the operational status of your trailer brake away system (Rare I know) and your electric trailer break away system is not configured with a charger for the break away system battery dollar's to donuts your battery will be dead and the break away system will be none functioning. The same situation exists for surge brakes and a none operating breakaway system. Biggest problem with surge brakes is that NOBODY ever checks the brake fluid level and just like a vehicle those system can leak. Here is where the problem lies for you in that the officer can at their discretion shut you down right where you are until that battery is either replaced or recharged in your electric brake system or the fluid is replaced and the system bled in your surge brake equipped trailer. Not a fun situation.

Having safety chains on your trailer is also a state law most everywhere and the lack of safety chains is something easily seen by State Troopers if they pass your trailer. They do look for em to give them a reason to pull you over for a safety check so just be aware that you should have chains and they should be properly attached to the tow vehicle along with that trailer break away system IF your trailer has on board electric or surge trailer brakes.
I have explained what the law in Illinois requires.
I also explained that I believe in, and am in, compliance, but consider safety and education even higher priorities.

As you know an RV trailer generally has an onboard house battery which is normally used to power the breakaway switch. This usually eliminates the worry over a dead power source.


Being a teetotaler I have "passed the bar" many times in my life, but I am not a lawyer and I for sure don't often stay at a Holiday Inn Express!
(They do keep the source of all written wisdom in the night stand)

I appreciate your concerns and have considered them all...

Good post!

A breakaway switch may be objectively useful in the event of a coupler hopping off the ball. It might prevent bumper damage to the TV while pulling over, especially since no 7" brake system is likely to lock at highway speed .
Something to consider.
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Old 04-24-2018, 12:37 AM   #26
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Interesting comments from many folks here and a lot of what ifs, some states require and a touch of CYA. It really comes down to the rules of the state your TT is registered in to what and if any kind of brake system you have. Having brakes or B/As is only a good thing but traveling through other states with low brake weight requirements is not illegal. Vintageracer said the same thing but has anybody ever seen a brake check crossing a state line......
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Old 04-24-2018, 06:30 AM   #27
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The op asked how to install a break away switch. What he gets is a philosophy lecture.
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Old 04-24-2018, 06:41 AM   #28
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The op asked how to install a break away switch. What he gets is a philosophy lecture.
Thank you Raz
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Old 04-24-2018, 06:45 AM   #29
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Thank you Raz
Be aware that if the switch is accidentally pulled, the brakes will be activated and eventually drain your battery. I'm sure you can guess how I know.
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Old 04-24-2018, 07:58 AM   #30
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The op asked how to install a break away switch. What he gets is a philosophy lecture.
But only after he was told how to install it, and if he has any further questions they will be answered also. The "lecture" was a bonus and I would prefer to call it a discussion to differentiate it from the type of lecture that a "Judge Judy" might give. That word has a negative connotation.

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Originally Posted by Raz View Post
Be aware that if the switch is accidentally pulled, the brakes will be activated and eventually drain your battery. I'm sure you can guess how I know.
One could wire the switch after the battery master cut off switch to avoid accidental battery discharge, but then you would have to be sure to have the switch ON when traveling. No lecture please

I would be more interested to know what happens if it is accidentally pulled or activated at highway speed, esp on 16 footer with the large brakes. But of course that question is not related to the install.
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Old 04-24-2018, 09:48 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
But only after he was told how to install it, and if he has any further questions they will be answered also. The "lecture" was a bonus and I would prefer to call it a discussion to differentiate it from the type of lecture that a "Judge Judy" might give. That word has a negative connotation.



One could wire the switch after the battery master cut off switch to avoid accidental battery discharge, but then you would have to be sure to have the switch ON when traveling. No lecture please

I would be more interested to know what happens if it is accidentally pulled or activated at highway speed, esp on 16 footer with the large brakes. But of course that question is not related to the install.
So how do you install a battery shut off switch!!??
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