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Thread: Safety chains

  1. #11
    just another Saddle Tramp Dusty Boots's Avatar
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    Re: Safety chains

    Always use the safety chains and attach them properly .... PERIOD!!!!

    The only way a trailer will come off is either you didn't attach the coupler to the ball correctly (always make sure the coupler is locked correctly and use either a padlock, or locking hitch pin so it can't come off), the coupler, or tongue breaks, or the trailer ball breaks/comes unbolted.

    Always check those connections before pulling out of the driveway and at every gas/rest stop
    Ken - 1992 Honda GL1500 Aspencade 2013 Victory Cross Country Tour
    Camping Styles - tent camp off of bike - 2013 HF Cargo trailer - 2011 Aspen Sentry
    "It's never too early to plan and never too late to go!" - Dusty
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  2. #12
    (Threadstarter)

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    Re: Safety chains

    Thanks for all the input. Just for the record, I have always used my chains and without incident. I just wanted to hear some other opinions on the matter.

  3. #13

    Re: Safety chains

    Quote Originally Posted by hparsons View Post
    Not on my motorcycle, but made me a believer. I had hooked my sailboat (about 5,000 lbs on the boat, and probably another 1500 on the trailer) to our truck getting ready to put it back on the lake after a trip. Hooked everything up, including the safety chains. ran across one of the speed bumps down the street from our house, and noticed the trailer was pulling wonky. I asked me wife if she could feel it, but she didn't notice any difference. I did though. Next speed bump (about a block further down), I knew for sure something was weird. Pulled over, and checked the trailer. Either I completely forgot to clamp down the coupler, or I did it and didn't do it right. Either way, the tongue was about 4 inches under the hitch, resting on the chains. Were it not for the chains, I pretty sure I would have taken out one of the neighbors parked cars.

    I hope never to find out first hand, but I suspect a motorcycle trailer would feel much the same were it to disconnect. Still there, still pulling, but feeling wonky.
    I happen to know this one, first hand.

    Trailer behind a bike that uncouples. Yes it does feel very much like you explained. Only difference than a car or truck is the trailers tongue will bump the side of the rear tire and the trailer keeps wanting to go off to the side a little. That tongues weight will not dislodge the tire from the road, that tires grip is much more powerful than the heaviest of trailer tongue, which shouldn't be over 75Lbs. A 500 Lb trailer x 0.15% = 75Lbs tongue weight, under normal conditions. (I'm an advent hauler of WELL OVER 500Lb trailers).

    Trailer tongue bumping the bike tire is not a big problem since the tongue can't jump higher than the mufflers. So in a sense it's contained and rather safe. Only thing I can suggest is, parked, assemble your rig and disconnect the tongue and move it around like it's dislodged. You'll be suprised what little movement it'll have. Bad thing is the trailers latch will ding up the mufflers bottom if it bounces. Still safer than spearing some innocent driver/rider/walker.
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  4. #14
    hparsons's Avatar
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    Re: Safety chains

    Quote Originally Posted by Floyd View Post
    I happen to know this one, first hand.

    Trailer behind a bike that uncouples. Yes it does feel very much like you explained. Only difference than a car or truck is the trailers tongue will bump the side of the rear tire and the trailer keeps wanting to go off to the side a little. That tongues weight will not dislodge the tire from the road, that tires grip is much more powerful than the heaviest of trailer tongue, which shouldn't be over 75Lbs. A 500 Lb trailer x 0.15% = 75Lbs tongue weight, under normal conditions. (I'm an advent hauler of WELL OVER 500Lb trailers).

    Trailer tongue bumping the bike tire is not a big problem since the tongue can't jump higher than the mufflers. So in a sense it's contained and rather safe. Only thing I can suggest is, parked, assemble your rig and disconnect the tongue and move it around like it's dislodged. You'll be suprised what little movement it'll have. Bad thing is the trailers latch will ding up the mufflers bottom if it bounces. Still safer than spearing some innocent driver/rider/walker.
    I thought about trying that in a parking lot, but then decided that knowing my luck, I'd end up dumping the bike and doing a few thousand $$$ worth of damage. I'm rethinking it. I'm a believer in experiencing the bad in practice to get an idea of what it may be like. I know a controlled test like that isn't exactly the same as a "real life emergency", but it would give an idea.

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  5. #15

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    Re: Safety chains

    My 5'x8' Utility trailer was rear-end in March, with my motorcycle attached on it. I'm guessing the trailer weighed approximately 750lbs and the bike weighed 550 lbs. The safety chains supplied with the trailer manufacturer (hefty chains, not wimpy Lowes chains) snapped like twigs when my trailer separated from my truck at 70 mph due to the tongue/hitch joint being bent forward in the impact. I'm not saying chains are not important, just saying the load capacity of the chains are not always going to guarantee they won't break. When you have a 1250lb object going in the opposite direction of the attached vehicle, the forces are huge. I believe in most instances (trailer just comes off the tongue) that the chains do their job as intended.
    I gots a face only my mother could love......and she has suggested plastic surgery!!!

  6. #16

    Re: Safety chains

    Quote Originally Posted by hparsons View Post
    I thought about trying that in a parking lot, but then decided that knowing my luck, I'd end up dumping the bike and doing a few thousand $$$ worth of damage. I'm rethinking it. I'm a believer in experiencing the bad in practice to get an idea of what it may be like. I know a controlled test like that isn't exactly the same as a "real life emergency", but it would give an idea.
    Is there a rubber tube big enough to go 100% over the trailers tongue?
    Quite right, all accidents will be different due to different conditions. But at least you'll get a base feeling of what's going on so when it does happen (heaven forbid) you'll know.
    If you do find a way to protect the tongue, have someone shake & rattle the trailer while you're stationary. Something is better than nothing.
    . . .
    I made a 2 pin pivot hitch and tested it with water jugs on the trailer. Working fine until a pin sheared. I felt a nudge, looked in my mirrors and all looked OK. I slowed a little, being cautious, and the trailer passed me on the right.
    All I felt was a nudge, one that can't be explained, only felt.

    The chains were original to the trailer yet they snapped like "twigs".
    Moral? Double the chain size.

    HAUL SAFE OUT THERE!

  7. #17

    Re: Safety chains

    I have a variation of the safety chain question. I have a 1 wheel trailer that connects to my rear axle. When I asked the Canadian trailer manufacturer about safety chains he said in Canada trailers just needed 2 connections to the pulling vehicle which I have.

    So, do I need to add safety chains? With 1 wheel, a disconnected trailer presents different problems. It's not going to stay up on one wheel for long so if I install chains, maybe they should allow the trailer to get far enough away from the bike the connecting arms won't hit the wheel and just drag it.

    Any ideas? I guess I should check with the state.
    Bill & Sharon - 2007 Triumph Tiger

  8. #18

    Re: Safety chains

    Quote Originally Posted by wrchael414 View Post
    With 1 wheel, a disconnected trailer presents different problems. It's not going to stay up on one wheel for long so if I install chains, maybe they should allow the trailer to get far enough away from the bike the connecting arms won't hit the wheel and just drag it.
    Any ideas? I guess I should check with the state.
    In preponderance of the situation...
    When the trailer lets go, RUN! . . . . . LOL,
    noooo.

    Options... Brakes, Parachute, Horizontal bar, Cable, hummmm. (===||===)

    MAYBE, under the unobstructed tongue a length (say 3.5 ft.) of tube is center pinned. It's spring loaded and locks so when the trailer breaks loose that tube runs 90 degree to the tongue, thus keeping the trailer upright. Then yes, safety chains will work and have (relatively) normal control like a 2 wheel trailer.

    Does this kick start any other ideas?

  9. #19

    Re: Safety chains

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Boots View Post
    Always use the safety chains and attach them properly .... PERIOD!!!!

    The only way a trailer will come off is either you didn't attach the coupler to the ball correctly (always make sure the coupler is locked correctly and use either a padlock, or locking hitch pin so it can't come off), the coupler, or tongue breaks, or the trailer ball breaks/comes unbolted.

    Always check those connections before pulling out of the driveway and at every gas/rest stop
    I'm with Dusty. Please, for the respect of those around you, ALWAYS use safety chains. I would much rather assume any risk to myself and my bike with safety chains if the trailer came off the hitch rather than risking the trailer becoming a 400 pound uncontrolled vehicle that could potentially kill others. Involuntary manslaughter for not using an intended/required safety device? No thank you!
    KevinL
    Proud Parent of a US Marine
    1986 Aspencade W/Motorvation Formula II and Ozzie the Aussie
    1995 Voyager XII, 2010 Aspen Classic

  10. #20

    Re: Safety chains

    ABSOLUTELY!!

    A few years ago I was going down a rural road “Fat, Dumb, and Happy” pulling my old (New 2 Me) RAH. The bike went over the RR tracks without a problem and immediately the roadbed dropped, such that the bike to trailer relationship changed.

    The bike was slightly lower than the trailer which was still bouncing over the tracks. The handle on the tongue flipped up and the hitch popped off. Fortunately I had safety chains so the trailer didn’t end up in the irrigation ditch.

    Just as important as chains is a lock pin for the hitch.


    Fill
    ’94 GL 1500 SE Extras: SIRUS Satellite Radio, Garmin GPS, SADDLEMAN Road Sofa and Touring Luggage, Touring Floodlights, Multiple Deer Whistles.
    Pulling an ’80 Eagle 1 Trailer or ’12 Roll A Home (wide bed, brakes)
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