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Old 04-08-2021, 04:36 PM   #1
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Name: George
Trailer: Scamp 13 '
OH
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Safety chain dependability

I pull a 13' Scamp with my Subaru Outback. No problems, last summer out for over 7500 miles without incident. But as I get ready for this summer, I started thinking about the safety chains. I have only the manufacturer's safety chains, nothing else added. Looking at them today when I was staring the basic maintenance, clean up, I though 'man, if something did happen I don't think those would last long.'

I think it is highly unlikely that somehow the hitch will just pop off and I'll be on the chains. But.....if it did.....

So, has anyone got a suggestion or two on beefing up this safety equipment? Any advice would be appreciated!

Doc
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Old 04-08-2021, 08:02 PM   #2
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If I were to replace safety chains on a trailer, I would replace the chains with coiled cables, sold online by Amazon or places like eTrailer. They are a lot neater and because the cables are vinyl coated, do not clank around like chains.
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Old 04-08-2021, 08:10 PM   #3
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Doc, what makes you think the chains wonít hold? They are old technology that are well understood. Iím sure they are over designed. A single chain can probably keep the trailer attached to the tug in an event. Of course i have nothing to support my statement except to say the chains on my little Scamp look similar to other chains on other trailers that I have seen/used. What does Scamp say about the chains they use? Is there a standard used in the selection of their chains? Also, What are they rated for? What metal are they made from? What is their size? With that info you can figure out what acceleration they can handle when pulling a 2,000 lb trailer.
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Old 04-08-2021, 09:54 PM   #4
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I share your concern Doc. I had a 13 foot stick built come loose many years ago. The factory chains were useless. The hook straightened on one and the other just plain broke. I was in a mountain pass and was lucky that it stopped in the middle of the road and didn't go over the edge into the valley below.

Itís always worth evaluating the holding capacity and checking for damage. If you get new safety chains, or cables, they will come with a rating.
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Old 04-08-2021, 10:06 PM   #5
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The single point, single chain factory set up was not to my liking.
I got better stronger chains with better ends and installed them one on each side of the frame just behind the coupler attached with a bolt through the frame. This also allows for a true crossed chain basket.
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Old 04-09-2021, 04:02 AM   #6
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"The hook straightened on one and the other just plain broke. "

I've often wondered about that so when my Trailer arrived with no hooks on the safety chains, I went for threaded links. While they are no way as convenient as a hook, they certainly will not straighten out.

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Old 04-09-2021, 04:33 AM   #7
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Doc,

i hear your chan concerns. I have a 13' Scamp and it hooks up to a 2"square receiver on my light truck. One morning I had been on the interstate for an hour plus and glanced in my mirror and saw my trailer sway and sparks. I immediately hit my brake controller and flashers and started slowing down. I was able to safely get off the road. I shakily get out of the truck and walk back to the hitch. The cross pin was gone and the hitch assembly was still attached to the trailer and not the truck.

The sparks that I saw were from the jack base grinding on the concrete. The damage was limited to the jack assembly being bent. By using the brake controller I was able to keep tension on the chains and that helped in controlling the trailer. I saw no damage to the chains but, I replaced them with a new quality set.

I really recommend functioning trailer brakes and a good controller, they prevented the trailer's tongue from diving under my truck causing damage as i slowed down in my emergency stop.

My cross pin is checked every time before I start the truck. Now all my high cross pins use an additional spring clip.

The point of my long post is to say inspect everything on the hitch assembly and maybe you won't have that emergency.

BobH.
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Old 04-09-2021, 06:29 AM   #8
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Thanks

I appreciate everyone's response. I have no reason to think the chains won't hold, just a bit of worrying. I do have the trailer brakes, and I know they work well. What I am taking away from this. 1. going to replace the chain hooks with carabiners, my son is a climber and has some pretty nice ones; 2. double inspect the hitch and all parts for wear; 3. keep driving well below the speed limit and enjoy the ride. Thanks to all of you.
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Old 04-09-2021, 06:38 AM   #9
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I agree with relocating the attachment points to the sides for a better cradle when crossed.

As to the S-hooks, I donít hook them to the receiver. Instead I thread the chain through the loops on the receiver and hook the S-hooks to the chain. Itís a snug fit and seems a lot more secure that way, but so far it hasnít been tested. My chains came with too much slack, so it started as a way to take up the excess. Dragging chains is a big no-no out here in the fire-prone West. Thoughts?
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Old 04-09-2021, 09:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Wood View Post
I appreciate everyone's response. I have no reason to think the chains won't hold, just a bit of worrying. I do have the trailer brakes, and I know they work well. What I am taking away from this. 1. going to replace the chain hooks with carabiners, my son is a climber and has some pretty nice ones; 2. double inspect the hitch and all parts for wear; 3. keep driving well below the speed limit and enjoy the ride. Thanks to all of you.
This is better than carabiners ...
simple snap in place, secure and designed for the purpose.

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Old 04-09-2021, 09:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post
This is better than carabiners ...
simple snap in place, secure and designed for the purpose.

Got a link? Or, at least the name of that product?
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Old 04-09-2021, 10:53 AM   #12
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I have a different type of heavy duty snap hooks. Years ago when I had the factory installed open hooks om my Casita, one bounced off on a bumpy road. I replaced them fast.
Heavy carabiners offer a lot of protection, just be sure they are locking 'biners, rated well above your trailer weight.

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Old 04-09-2021, 11:01 AM   #13
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One mistake I see from time to time is people connect the chains at their full length. That lets them drag on the ground, which causes wear that weakens the links. As Floyd shows, you want the chains to cross so that the right chain is hooked to the left side of the receiver, and the left chain to the right.
And, their crossing point should be directly below the ball. An equal length of chain ahead of and behind the hitch ball. that way, when you turn, the chains will not tighten of loosen.
Another mistake, is twisting the chain to take up slack. DON'T DO THAT!

The only time I had the hitch come apart, was when we were leaving a campground, and had to drive over a speed bump. At a low speed. Seems I had not properly engaged the hitch to the ball. Must have gotten complacent.
You should also check that the ball and hitch are the same size, and adjusted snug. for no looseness when engaged. And use grease to prevent galling.
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Old 04-09-2021, 12:43 PM   #14
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A little off topic, but... Last summer I was pulling my fishing boat through Greenville, CA, in the Sierra north of Sacramento, when I saw a local police car sitting on a side street about 50 or so feet away. A little further up the road he pulled me over. I had no idea why. When he approached my car, he said that he stopped me because it appeared to him that my safety chains didnít have the required safety clips to keep them attached. My chains have clips like the ones Floyd recommend. After inspecting them, the officer pronounced them okay. He then ran my license through their database. Finally he told me to have a good day and I left.

Thinking about it, I concluded that the officer was bored and just Ďfishingí. Thereís no way he could have inspected my chain hooks from where he was parked as I passed. The whole episode left a bit of a sour taste. Also, Iím not aware of a California law that requires clips on the hooks.
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Old 04-09-2021, 03:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
Got a link? Or, at least the name of that product?
Every farm store or trailer store usually has them in sizes specific to weight class. Just look in the hitch accessories and you will find them.
I use one class above the required chain size.
I have never bought from Amazon but here is an example...


https://www.amazon.com/MarineNow-Tra...05540743&psc=1
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Old 04-09-2021, 04:35 PM   #16
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I don't know about Scamps but the Casitas come with class 2 rated chains so I got some class 3 rated chains and they are much heavier duty.
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Old 04-09-2021, 05:04 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by BobH. View Post
Doc,

i hear your chan concerns. I have a 13' Scamp and it hooks up to a 2"square receiver on my light truck. One morning I had been on the interstate for an hour plus and glanced in my mirror and saw my trailer sway and sparks. I immediately hit my brake controller and flashers and started slowing down. I was able to safely get off the road. I shakily get out of the truck and walk back to the hitch. The cross pin was gone and the hitch assembly was still attached to the trailer and not the truck.

The sparks that I saw were from the jack base grinding on the concrete. The damage was limited to the jack assembly being bent. By using the brake controller I was able to keep tension on the chains and that helped in controlling the trailer. I saw no damage to the chains but, I replaced them with a new quality set.

I really recommend functioning trailer brakes and a good controller, they prevented the trailer's tongue from diving under my truck causing damage as i slowed down in my emergency stop.

My cross pin is checked every time before I start the truck. Now all my high cross pins use an additional spring clip.

The point of my long post is to say inspect everything on the hitch assembly and maybe you won't have that emergency.

BobH.
We have a pin with a sliding clip on it that can be padlocked. Padlock has to be very small but it has no weight on it and just prevents the clip from turning keeping the pin in. It also keeps jerks from pulling your pin out which has happened.
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Old 04-09-2021, 05:11 PM   #18
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I hope the picture of the pin we use comes through.
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Old 04-09-2021, 05:17 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Dave Fish View Post
I share your concern Doc. I had a 13 foot stick built come loose many years ago. The factory chains were useless. The hook straightened on one and the other just plain broke. I was in a mountain pass and was lucky that it stopped in the middle of the road and didn't go over the edge into the valley below.

Itís always worth evaluating the holding capacity and checking for damage. If you get new safety chains, or cables, they will come with a rating.
The chains on our Casita seems to be very heavy duty and the hooks are very large but the chains are to long. We always have twisted them per many saying to do that. Now I read on this thread that you shouldn't do that. How do you get the hooks off of the chains so we can shorten them and put hooks on that have clips or put carbiners on them?
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Old 04-10-2021, 05:16 PM   #20
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There are a considerable number of different attachment hardware possibilities. From heavy duty S hooks, to big quick links, repair clevis connectors etc. if you buy quality hardware you will learn that it comes with ratings that allow you to select the proper “weight” rating for the working and break strength. Buy the best quality you are able to find. Most chain can be cut with either large bolt cutters or a 4 1/2 inch angle grinder. Large S hooks are difficult to close and but there is a large set of “pinchers” that will do the job. They look like bolt cutters but have specialized jaws to secure and close S Hooks. When I had 50 playgrounds as one of my responsibilities my certified playground safety inspectors had a sets of S hook closers, and I kept a serious inventory of chain and other connectors. We only bought replacement OEM parts for playgrounds. Never lost an insurance claim in 24 years. Left behind a 4 drawer file cabinet of inspection forms going back two decades. I relate this to encourage everyone to regularly inspect their trailer hookups for wear, rust and other corrosion, or damage. The best chain I ever used for safety and security on sites other than the playgrounds was Pewag chain. It will curl the cutting edge on a $150 set of bolt cutters.

https://www.e-rigging.com/three-eigh...evis-Slip-Hook

https://www.westechrigging.com/chain-pewag-

square-security-chain.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIoqil3-307wIV0ACtBh0ZxAYyEAAYASAAEgKwvPD_BwE

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