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Author Topic: the breakaway cable on your gn trailer  (Read 74 times)

kckc

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the breakaway cable on your gn trailer
« on: January 21, 2018, 07:55:52 am »

saw this interesting post and thought I'd share.. I'll try to figure out how to copy the photographs

Lee Ann-Bob Piggott shared Dwayne Russell's post to the group: Road Apple Gang (Full Timers & Our Horses/Mules).


Today, I would like to cover two of the most important safety features on your horse trailer that are almost always overlooked. Your Emergency Breakaway Cable and your Safety Chains!
When hooking up your living quarters gooseneck you probably don't think twice about the safety chains and the emergency breakaway cable. But these two features are a lifesaver for both you and your horses when they work correctly.
I am sharing this with you because there is so much bad information floating around the towing community about how these parts are supposed to work. I can't tell you how many times someone has said to me "The breakaway cable is only for when the safety chains break and the trailer completely separates away from the tow vehicle". Absolutely nothing could be farther from the truth!
When a gooseneck trailer is connected to the tow vehicle with the correct length safety chains and breakaway cable, the two work in tandem to ensure the trailer comes to a safe and controlled stop. This is done by performing two essential tasks. Signaling the braking system on the trailer and keeping the trailers gooseneck coupler in the bed of the tow vehicle.
Let's look at the anatomy of a gooseneck hitch failure.
There are three components that make up the hitch assembly that can fail. The under-bed hitch, the ball and the coupler on the trailer. Any failure of these components could result in the trailer de-coupling from the tow vehicle. A loose trailer could easily be deadly for those it might crash into and the equine passengers aboard.
To ensure this doesn't happen the trailer manufactures have built in two additional levels of safety. The first and foremost was the creation of the emergency breakaway cable and brake switch. This simple device actuates the trailer brakes and helps bring the trailer to a stop along with the help of the safety chains. The safety chains have ONE and only one purpose and that is to keep the gooseneck coupler from leaving the bed of the tow vehicle.
For this reason, the emergency breakaway cable needs to pull the pin out of the breakaway switch BEFORE the safety chains are fully engaged. This keeps tension on the safety chains and allows the trailer brakes to begin the process of slowing down the tow vehicle in a controlled manner.
Let's go back to the earlier myth of the "emergency breakaway system should engage only if the trailer should separate from the tow vehicle completely" statement.
Here is what would happen. If the safety chains were to snap and the emergency breakaway cable wasn't actuated until leaving the tow vehicle. Once clear of the tow vehicle the trailers jack stands would immediate hit the pavement and the violent deceleration would likely cause the trailer to roll to one side or the other. It's absolutely critical the trailer's coupler remain in the back of the tow vehicle and keep the front of the trailer from hitting the highway!
A few years ago, a good friend of mine had a trailer full of horses decouple with no safety chains or breakaway cable in place. The trailer rolled down the freeway embankment into someone's backyard, killing three of their four horses. It was a life altering event for them and the tears continued on for years afterward.
Having said that, horses have a much better chance of surviving an accident if the trailer stays in the upright position during an accident. Should a standard or reverse slant load trailer roll to the right the horses inside roll over their backs and if they are able to scramble to their feet, will likely be standing on what was the butt side wall and the low side of the dividers. If the trailer rolls to the left the horses roll face first into the feed manger and get tangled in the high side of the dividers.
Either way they risk having their necks or legs broken. Always use a breakaway tie if you tie your horses in. Keep in mind if you have a fixed rear tack / saddle compartment, its now horizontal and blocking the exit out. You can't climb under or over it. Your horses are trapped!
Stay with me for just a bit longer!
I have interviewed a number of people who have been in accidents with big living quarters trailers, including those that have rolled over. Consider the following, if you roll your trailer it doesn't matter if you have an escape door on the side of your trailer, it will either be trapped under the trailer or its now on the ceiling of the trailer. Either way you can't get horses out.
When first responders (Fire, Police) arrive the first thing they are going to do is to remove the propane tanks and foam any gas (Fuel) that may have spilled from your generator tank. The first rule in rescue is not to have to be rescued! So, they will make sure the situation is safe before attempting any kind of rescue.
Dont be surprised if emergency personnel refuse to go inside your horse trailer to rescue your horses. A scared or injured horse can easily kill someone during their flight / fight / panic ordeal. In cases such as these first responders will call in a veterinarian to sedate the horses so that they can begin rescue operations. Strangers in bright yellow suits, loud metal saws, sirens, flashing lights and metal tearing apart are all good reasons for a horse to panic and injure not only the rescuers but themselves.
The point is this . . . . DON'T PUT THE TRAILER IN A POSITION OF LEAVING THE TOW VEHICLE!
Here is how to ensure your setup is working correctly.
1) Hook up the truck and trailer and place it on level ground
2) Block the trailers wheels
3) Unlock the coupler
4) Put the jack stands down until the trailer clears the ball
5) Pull the truck a few inches forward to clear the ball
6) Lower the trailer down to approx. 2" above the truck bed
7) Ensure the safety chains are attached to the mounts
8) Ensure the breakaway cable is attached to a separate mount / location. One that is NOT used for the safety chains
9) Make sure your tailgate is DOWN!
10) Now pull forward slowly until you feel tension from the safety chains. Stop as they become taught. (Don't slam the trailer and damage the jacks) Get a friend to help!
11) If the emergency breakaway cable did not pull from the breakaway switch you will need to look at shortening the cable until it does.
12) Once you have the emergency breakaway cable pulling out just before the safety chains engage you should pull the trailer, make tight turns and back the trailer to ensure the cable is not too short and pulling out or applying the brake inadvertently.
13) If it does you may have to relocate the breakaway mount until it functions correctly in both cases.
14) If you have more than one tow vehicle test them both!
I hope this clears up what these systems are for and I pray that you will take the time to check this on your truck and trailer for your sake and your horses. I hope to see you all on the road this summer!
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Little Freckles

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Re: the breakaway cable on your gn trailer
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2018, 08:39:53 am »

 :-\I have been doing it wrong all this time.  Never thought about clipping the breakaway cable to anything but the safety chain clips.
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kckc

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Re: the breakaway cable on your gn trailer
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2018, 10:24:39 am »

there were some great pictures and a video clip with the post but I haven't gotten them over to ghs yet.   haven't ever used my breakaway so now I'm going to look into it... the battery has to be totally dead  :-(
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