D-Shackles for safety chains - must they be rated?

Submitted: Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 13:45
ThreadID: 109219 Views:5313 Replies:13 FollowUps:24
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I have been searching the web to find an answer and the information is vague. Apparently in SA new trailers must comply to VSB1 which required rated D-shackles, but from when? NT and Qld seem to require shackes of 1.5 times greater than the ATM. NSW and Vic I can find no information. WA seems to require compliance with VSB1. Can anyone supply me with accurate referenced information please. For info I do use rated shackles but looking around I see some rubbish used, the main issue would be crossing state borders.
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Reply By: deserter - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 14:03

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 14:03
This subject has been viral on a number of Forums in recent weeks following reports of fines getting issued in Qld. Here is a pretty good sumnation of it all.

http://www.caravanersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=51323
AnswerID: 537989

Follow Up By: Mikee5 - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 17:42

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 17:42
That forum posting only quotes Qld and NT where according to the post they are not mandated, thank you. There has been no replies to this post yet re WA and the need to comply with VSB1.
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Reply By: The Explorer - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 14:19

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 14:19
..and discussed here on ExplorOz Forum a few weeks ago

Shackle Thread

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: Mikee5 - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 17:47

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 17:47
Thanks Greg, in that posting it seems WA must have rated shackles on all new trailers, and trailers built prior to the intro of VSB1 must have their chains 'securely attached' but does not demand rated shackles.
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Reply By: John and Regina M - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 14:46

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 14:46
I don't understand the issue. With the cost of a rated coupling just the same as a couple of coffees it's a no brainer.

If u have to ask then reassess whether you should be towing at all.
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Follow Up By: Slow one - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 15:02

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 15:02
If you don't understand the issue why reply at all.

Maybe you just like to see your name up in lights.
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Follow Up By: Member - Craig F (WA) - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 15:05

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 15:05
I think it’s a fair question..
The answer is NO you do not need to use rated shackles.
If you choose to use rated or not is up to you
There has been a lot asked about this of late and some even replied with a YES and attached correspondence from QLD dept. of Transport to substantiate with it clearly written "Recommend and Should".
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 15:14

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 15:14
@ J&R

Read the OPs post again ...he's not asking if he should be using them (he is) but if it is actually a legal requirement in each state + specific details as he has noticed others not using rated shackles. What you say maybe true but you are bagging (as is your style) the wrong person/s.

Cheers
Greg
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Follow Up By: Mikee5 - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 17:51

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 17:51
John and Regina M, you did not read my original posting or plainly you would not have responded in the way you did, which I found offensive and not in the spirit of this forum. As I said, I use rated shackles, and consider anyone who doesn't a bit crazy. What I was seeking was definitive rulings for each state so I could, in a helpful way, suggest others change their ways.
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Follow Up By: tim_c - Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 09:39

Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 09:39
So do you think I need to go an buy a bigger shackle for our caravan?!
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Follow Up By: Member - Craig F (WA) - Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 10:15

Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 10:15
Legally NO Tim that will be fine.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 15:57

Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 15:57
Towing an empty 6'x4' box trailer round town, you can 't compromise on safety, so I fitted the biggest rated shackle that would fit.



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Follow Up By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 16:31

Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 16:31
Hey Bob,

That would be a hi-tensile cable tie from Aldi or Supercheap, yes?

Neat job

:-)
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Follow Up By: Slow one - Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 16:33

Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 16:33
Bob Y,

good to see the uv cable tie. Nice touch, you even trimmed the shape edge off it. Top safety marks go to you.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 18:15

Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 18:15
Astute observation, Frank and Slow. Am sure you both would have noticed how I doubled the UV resistant, Hi-tensile Supercheap cable tie, for maximum strength.

One has to do this safety thing right, eh!

Bob

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Follow Up By: Freshstart - Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 at 09:55

Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 at 09:55
I prefer the big fat elasticated red ones that the postie drops near the letterbox when he gets another bunch of letters out of his bag. They can act as snatch straps as well. Dual purpose. Cheaper than Aldi rated ones as well.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 at 12:02

Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 at 12:02
Ha ha, I like your style, Phil!!!

Not only recycling the posties litter, but doing your bit for the environment by removing said litter.

Bob

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Reply By: Shaker - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 15:51

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 15:51
It's about time that we had standard rules across the whole country.
It is a legal requirement to have rated chains in some States only!

AnswerID: 537998

Follow Up By: Mikee5 - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 17:53

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 17:53
Thanks Shaker, but which states? A more comprehensive reply would have helped me further.
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 21:53

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 21:53
Sorry I didn't give you the ruling for every State, last time I looked my name wasn't Google!
Tasmania requires rated chains for one, I'll let you look up the rest.

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Reply By: lindsay - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 20:31

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 20:31
They are a must in Victoria and VicRoads are checking them right now. They were stopping cars with trailers comming out of our local tip and booking them if they did not have rated shackles.
Lindsay
AnswerID: 538005

Follow Up By: Member - Scrubby (VIC) - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 21:54

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 21:54
Lindsay,
"They are a must in Victoria and VicRoads are checking them right now."

Where did you get this info?
If you go to the thread that Explorer has in thread # 2 you will find a thread that I posted back then.
The local Police Traffic Branch said that it`s B/S re.shackles.
The only thing they sometimes check at our tip is the roadworthy condition of some trailers. ie no chains, defective lights, unsecured load, tyres, etc etc.
They do not check if the shackles are rated or not as there is no law in Victoria saying they must be.
I cannot find any official info for trailer shackles required to be rated in Victoria, so please inform me where you got your information.
Thanks,
Scrubby.
I don`t know where i`m going but i`m enjoying the journey.

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Reply By: Member - mechpete - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 21:55

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 21:55
I asked a couple of stall holders at the Wodonga caravan an camping show
last week about the supposedly new regs on chains an shackles for caravans
an camper trailers an was told that if there was a change in regs they would
be the first to be notified . I also checked a few of the new vans an trailers
an nothing on the chains or the shackles
mechpete
AnswerID: 538008

Reply By: The Bantam - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 21:56

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 21:56
here is the problem and the simple solution.

If you have a look arround, there is all sorts of rediculous things connecting the safety chain on trailers.....serilusly I mean rediculous.....remember this is a device that ist to stop the trailer getting away from the vehicle in a situation where the coupling fails.....this is a situation where YOUR trailer could go head on into oncomming trafic and kill people......remember YOUR caravan has a V pointed A frame and noncrumple zones out front...imagine that comming thru your windscreen.....DO YOU WANT TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT.

The common hardware shackle has no load rating whatsoever most of them are absolute rubbish....serilusly their strength is so utterly unreliable.

While there may be no specific nationwide rule mandating lifting industry load rated shackles on light trailers.....the ADRs and standards require that both the shackles and the chains be of a known strength and be adequate for the weight of the trailer.

Non rated log link chain does come with a specified breaking strain from decent manufacturers so there may be little to argue there.

But without any published load rating of any type on hardware shackles...how can they be of a known strength and adequate for the purpose

The very simple solution is to buy load rated shackles.....they are not expensive if you buy in the right place....that right place is your decent local bolt shop....if you buy a load rated shackle in the right place it will probaly cost you less than buying a similar sized piece of rubbish from a big hardware chain.

There is no down side in using load rated shackles.

cheers
AnswerID: 538009

Reply By: Dion - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 23:05

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 23:05
Odd that RT dollies don't even require chains, yet little box trailers do.
AnswerID: 538010

Follow Up By: Wayne's 60 - Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 01:00

Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 01:00
Dion,

My understanding is that if a dolly breaks away....... the air brakes will engage. Maybe I am wrong.

BTW, a rated shackle from Blackwoods WA cost less than a Supacheap (unrated) "D" shackle.

Why risk it??

Cheers,
Wayne & Sally.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 at 00:25

Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 at 00:25
Heavy vehicle couplings are subject to a hell of a lot more rigour in manufacture and regulation than the 50mm ball on most light trailers.

ANY heavy trailer with air brakes.
Unless it is connected to a supply of air, the brakes will be on hard.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Slow one - Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 at 06:03

Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 at 06:03
Dion,
you can buy a caravan towing dolly that fits between the vehicle and van reduce the ball weight on the tow vehicle.

If the van and dolly are using a ball hitches the vans safety chains attach to the dolly and the dolly safety chains attach to the tow vehicle.
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Reply By: Slow one - Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 08:48

Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 08:48
This is the relevant safety chain stamping and size for the use on trailers which should be Australia wide. The last numbers say 35 donate what the maximum trailer weight should be. 35 means 3500kg and so on.

Here is the nfo Link

Now that trailer safety chains have to be rated and stamped it stands to reason the shackle attaching the chain to the tow vehicle should also be stamped and rated, otherwise how does anyone know it's capability.

Now I will add, and most will know that a stamped shackle has it's WLL shown and that is it's lifting capacity and not it's breaking strength. Now seeing the minimum breaking strength of a lifting shackle is around 6 times it's WLL there will be no problem using a 2 tonne shackle on a 3500kg trailer. Add the fact that over 2 tonne trailer weight 2 chains and shackles must be used I think there is a bit of a safety margin there.




AnswerID: 538016

Reply By: KJW964 - Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 09:51

Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 09:51
Whilst I agree rated shackles are a better idea ,who rates the chains,welds to A frame and tow bar?
AnswerID: 538020

Follow Up By: Slow one - Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 19:09

Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 19:09
Kj,
with the new regs you can't weld to the A frame, the chains must be welded or attached to a plate that is welded to the A frame. The chassis maker stamps his chassis with the relevant compliance. The stamped chain has been tested by an authorised testing and compliance business that is authorised.

Welding mild steel chain is pretty easy and doesn't cause any loss of strength.

It is pretty simple and well thought out.
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Reply By: Member - johntoyo - Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 at 09:32

Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 at 09:32
The statement "you can't weld the chain to the A frame" is not totally true. This only applies if the ATM of the trailer is above 3500kg.

Weld has to cover 50% of the chain link which should not be able to hit the ground if the trailer separates from the tow vehicle.
AnswerID: 538071

Follow Up By: Slow one - Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 at 10:38

Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 at 10:38
Yep you are correct. I stuffed up.
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Reply By: Member - johntoyo - Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 at 14:52

Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 at 14:52
No worries. We all do it and myself more often than I like to admit.

Using rated shackles is a no brainer in my opinion. There are lots of other issues towing a van without that one.
AnswerID: 538084

Reply By: tim_c - Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 at 12:40

Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 at 12:40
I took my recently acquired caravan to a trailer manufacturer/seller earlier today for some unrelated work, and the bloke there was surprised that I'd managed to get the caravan registered with the rated/stamped chain that is fitted. He said that rated chains are high tensile and are rated for lifting, and will likely shatter under a shock load (eg. a trailer/caravan falling off a towball).

He advised that it would be better to use a mild steel chain and mild steel shackle since, while these may deform under the load of a caravan falling off it's hitch, they wouldn't break as a rated shackle and/or chain probably would if shock loaded. I questioned the legality (having in mind this very thread in addition to an earlier one on this site discussing the same issue) and he reminded me that the business is authorised by NSW RTA for registration inspection/testing and defect clearing, etc. for trailers.

I'm just as confused as any of you now!
AnswerID: 538257

Follow Up By: Shaker - Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 at 15:30

Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 at 15:30
Using that theory, we should use mild steel shackles for snatch recovery, not!

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Follow Up By: tim_c - Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 at 16:07

Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 at 16:07
Perhaps you should try using a snatch strap rather than a steel chain! :-)

Snatching with a snatch strap is not 'shock loading' the shackle - thinking about it, if one really did try to snatch a stuck vehicle using a chain (or anything that doesn't stretch like a snatch strap), we would expect that something would almost certainly break when the chain went taut - either the chain, the shackle, or the recovery point.
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