Using Hammerlock Shackles

Submitted: Monday, Jun 27, 2016 at 22:30
ThreadID: 132879 Views:9109 Replies:9 FollowUps:19
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Has anyone used a hammerlock shackle to help tow their caravan.

I was considering connecting them to the car to make attaching the van chains (via a D shackle) easier.

If you have what size do you use and where did you get them.

I am looking at a van between 2000-3000kg.

RIch
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Reply By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 00:37

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 00:37
Hi Rich,
Hammer locks are fine 'AS LONG AS THEY ARE RATED' make sure they are connected to rated chain & D shackles.
Don't know where you are, but you could purchase from Bullivents or McPhersons
Google is your best friend. :-)
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Reply By: Member - Roachie - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 05:56

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 05:56
I've just ordered another pair off ebay. I already have one pair on the back of the Chev, but since adding the AirSafe Hitch I need extra length. These are the ones I ordered: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/151946271275?_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

I also have replaced the rated shackles with LARGE rated hooks like I've seen the yanks use in Youtube videos. I'll probably earn the wrath of plod at some stage, so I also carry 3.25t shackles as well. These are the hooks that are attached to my Bushtracker (in lieu of using shackles): http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/CLEVIS-HOOK-3-8-4x4-4WD-RECOVERY-SUIT-WINCH-SNATCH-CHAIN-NEW-MEAN-MOTHER-CHD108-/291792656646?hash=item43f0329906

Roachie
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Reply By: Member - John - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 06:25

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 06:25
To make attaching chains easier, I have used two of these, welded to the tow bar.
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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 15:24

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 15:24
John,

Are they welded directly to the towbar itself or have you welded them to a larger mounting pad which in turn is then welded to the towbar (to spread the surface area)?
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Follow Up By: Member - John - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 16:10

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 16:10
Roachie, welded direct to tow bar. I did discuss a pad with the welder, but he assured me that the size of the mounts and the thickness of the tow bar would be sufficient. John
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Reply By: Gronk - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 06:46

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 06:46
Maybe I'm missiing something, but you already have holes in the towbar, why complicate things with an extra shackle ?
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Reply By: Member - Rich - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 08:27

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 08:27
Do you think a hammerlock would fit on this hitch ok
I have only seen pics of them.




The reason I am thinking of using them is when I connect up other things to the hitch getting at the shackles can be a bid fiddly, so want to use them to make it easier.

Richard
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Follow Up By: TomH - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 08:44

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 08:44
As the shackles are usually the last thing you disconnect or the first thing you reconnect I dont see why you need anything else..
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Reply By: TomH - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 08:55

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 08:55
There is nothing in the regulations that says D shackles and chains have to be rated. Nothing.
They are recommended to be of a certain capacity and comply with a Standard.
A stamped chain or shackle that complies with AU 4177 is all that is required and one with a 10mm pin diameter is heavy enough for a van Two are required for vans over 2500kg as below
Quote
All pig trailers with rigid drawbars (with or without breakaway brakes but excluding converter dollies) and, any other trailer without breakaway brakes, must be fitted with safety chains that are marked in accordance with the
relevant Australian Standard complying with the following:

• trailers that do not exceed 2500 kg ATM must have at least one safety chain complying with Australian Standard AS 4177.4-1994
• trailers that do not exceed 2500 kg ATM must have at least one safety chain complying with Australian Standard AS 4177.4-1994 or Australian Standard AS 4177.4-2004 'Caravan and light trailer towing components Part 4: Safety chains up to 3500kg capacity', or be a safety cable with a certified load capacity of the same
• trailers over 2.5 tonnes and not exceeding 3.5 tonnes ATM must have two safety chains of designation of 3500 kg complying with Australian Standard AS 4177.4-1994 or Australian Standard AS 4177.42004
The safety chains must be properly connected to the tow bar with attachments capable of withstanding the specified breaking load of each chain. Do not use padlocks.
AnswerID: 601912

Follow Up By: Gundarooster - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 09:45

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 09:45
TomH,
Where can I view the document that you have quoted from?
What state or juristriction owns the document?
Patrolster
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 09:48

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 09:48
Tom, when you say "rated", that is somewhat confusing.

Perhaps you meant to write, "load-rated" - where a chain, shackle or hammerlock must meet the specifications for load-lifting, as required under AS2741-2002.

Chains for trailers and caravans are "rated" - under AS4177. This standard does insist on certain specifications being met - but those specifications are different to load-rated chains, shackle and hammerlocks.

Safety chains for trailers

There is nothing wrong with using a hammerlock if it makes shackle attachment and removal easier. Hammerlocks are load rated.
However the load capacity of the hammerlock used must be equal or exceed the load rating of the trailer/caravan chain.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 09:53

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 09:53
Gundarooster - All the trailer/caravan info you need to know, is contained in the following link -

Vehicle Standards Bulletin - VSB1

The information you are specifically seeking is listed under item 16, under "Technical Requirements".

Vehicle Standards Bulletins are Federal Laws and cover all road-registered vehicles used, or intended to be used, within all Australian territories.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: fisho64 - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 10:20

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 10:20
Tom you have said there is no requirement for rated chains, and simultaneously pasted that there is?
• trailers over 2.5 tonnes and not exceeding 3.5 tonnes ATM must have two safety chains of designation of 3500 kg complying with Australian Standard AS 4177.4-1994 or Australian Standard AS 4177.42004
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Follow Up By: TomH - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 17:12

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 17:12
I copied that out of a Safe Towing Guide.
It has been thrashed endlessly on Caravan Forums and the requirement of "Rated Shackles" has been debunked as an urban myth, even by the Police.

The shackles should comply with the relevant standard but there is nothing to say what size you should use. As I said, one with a pin diameter of 10mm is more than adequate in both single and double configuration.

I would take issue with welding anything to a towbar because when I bought mine it had the holes for the shackles underneath and was awkward to get under and attach them. I asked the shop I bought it off to weld a plate across the top like the Toyota model and was told in no uncetain terms that a Towbar is certified as sold and it is illegal to alter it IN ANY WAY. Either by drilling welding or anything.

Yes I know we all weld little brackets for Anderson plugs etc and drill little hole for screws BUT!!!


I was a little enthusiastic in my original post I meant and should have said there is no requirement for RATED SHACKLES.

Chains should be as stated but as observed arent always even from the factory.

A stamped shackle of suitable size costs about $8 at Supercheap so why not use them.

Have seen van chains attached with a shackle I wouldnt use on my garden trailer.

Would you tie a bulls nose chain to a fence with a bit of string. Same analogy.

I cant find it atm but it is also said you should not use Stainless steel shackles because of their tendency to shatter rather than bend nor should you use Carabiners or padlocks for obvious reasons.
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FollowupID: 871475

Follow Up By: tonysmc - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 20:39

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 20:39
Not quite right there Tom. I haven't gone through the other states however you definitely need rated shackles in the NT. For the $3 extra cost , why wouldn't you have them to cover yourself in any case in regards to insurance or police if traveling interstate.

Requirement
Markings complying with AS 2741-2002 “Shackles” shall be legibly and permanently marked with the following information:
a)The manufacturer's name or trademark;
b)Quality grade of the shackle, e.g. (“M” or “4”, “S” or “6”);
c)Working Load Limit (WLL) or Rating; and
d)Identification marking in order to correlate shackle to test certificate.

https://transport.nt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/165667/light-trailer-safety-chain-shackles.pdf
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Follow Up By: Member - Rich - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 22:07

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 22:07
Even though there may not be any legal requirements there sure is lots of confusion.

For me it just easier to use rated gear and not worry about it.


Another question.
My van has an ATM of 2500kg -chains 10mm.

So what size hammerlock should I use. It may come down to which fits the holes i want to use it on.

But it does sound like a 3.2 WLL would be OK.
From what I have read :-
The hammerlock should have a BLL of at least 1.5 ATM (i.e. 3750 in my case)
The BLL is said to be 5 or 6 or more times the WLL making a 3.2 WLL more than adequate.



Richard
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Follow Up By: TomH - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 22:20

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 22:20
Well that is interesting and havent seen it mentioned on Van forums either. The ADR's dont mention shackles and neither does VSB1 mentioned in that document.

I fully agree with you and what it says but lots still dont use them and other States dont have that requirement.

Similarly with Breakaway cables Hands up those who still hook it onto a D shackle with the chains.

Will that be any good if as in the case of some Nissans where the towbars actually detached and it all goes down the road with the van.

I had a ring on a chassis rail separate from the towbar and anything attached to it.
Pajero owners have devised a bracket on the spare wheel mount with a wiggle cable attached to it. A very good solution.
Saw in a UK manual an instruction to hook it over the towball. How stupid is that.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Thursday, Jun 30, 2016 at 08:28

Thursday, Jun 30, 2016 at 08:28
Earlier editions of VSB-01 did mention shackles. They had to have a braking strength of 1.5 times the vans weight.

Regarding the chains. One for those familiar with the standards. They have to meet AS/NZS standards . Do these standards require testing of the chains (ie rating them) or do the chains just have to conform to the dimensions and material class specified in the forum. If it's the latter then the chains are not rated, they just have to meet a standard. There is a subtle difference between the two.
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Reply By: Member - Rich - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 09:53

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 09:53
Hi
I have my reasons for asking if this can be done. I had hoped to not complicate the situation by including the reason.

I just want to know if it is legal and possible.

It sounds like it is.


Thanks to all for comments.

Rich
AnswerID: 601916

Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 10:03

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 10:03
Rich, just ensure the hammerlock you purchase and used is marked with the required load rating and markings as listed under AS2741-2002.

You can rely on Australian lifting equipment suppliers, such as Bullivants, Nobles, Slinglift, etc, to supply properly-marked and load-rated items.

There are dodgy overseas suppliers who sell through sites such as eBay or Aliexpress or Alibaba, who will supply items such as hammerlocks, that are do not meet the proper steel specifications, are not tested, are not properly marked, and which do not meet Australian specifications.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Malcom M - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 11:50

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 11:50
Definitely legal.
All new trailers are now require to have rated safety chains welded onto the draw bar.
Problem with this is that you cannot poke a rated shackle through a rated chain as the links are smaller. Only way you can fit a shackle is to use a hammerlock.
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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 14:58

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 14:58
Malcom,

Not sure about the legality or requirement of how safety chains are attached but I do know that when you start welding a piece of "rated" lifting gear, whether it be chain, shackles or hammer locks you no longer have a "rated" piece of gear.
Most lifting rated chain and it's associated attaching hardware is high tension alloy and you will definitely destroy it's tensile strength.
On the other hand chain of sufficient diameter material but not high tension can be welded without affecting it's strength greatly. As long as the welder knows what he is doing.

Cheers
Pop
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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 15:19

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 15:19
What POP says is true......yet we see it on virtually every new caravan made.....a section of HT chain (great stuff), all but destroyed by the fact that it is welded to the chassis of the trailer/van.

I'm currently looking into getting my Bushtracker's ATM increased to 4,000kg and one of the jobs that MUST be done to achieve this is to have the existing chains cut off and have 2x Bartlett connectors welded to the the chassis with a mounting plate incorporated too. The Bartlett brackets are like the ones (above) that somebody posted a pic of. They sell brackets for the truck and trailer so the chain doesn't require welding at all.

As for the hammerlocks....great bit of kit and no problem using them either to aid with the fitment of a shackle or to join 2 pieces of chain together.
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Follow Up By: TomH - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 17:22

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016 at 17:22
You can also buy a chain extender from Hayman Reece which goes from the towbar to the hitch and out to the trailer.

Can be seen hereChain extender
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Reply By: noggins - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016 at 11:09

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016 at 11:09
I use similar to the HR Chain Extender , except that the hammerlock is attaching a short chain to the tow bar.
I use one rated shackle to join the van chain , which is too short for where it's supposed to attach , to the short chain attached to the tow bar.
That way there is only one "D" shackle as per rulings above

When not in use I simply drape it over the tow hitch and use a D shackle to keep it there

Ron
AnswerID: 601948

Follow Up By: Member - Rich - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016 at 11:30

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016 at 11:30
Ron,
Can you tell me which hammerlok you used and where you go it from (and if you don't mind how much they cost).

I have seen such variance in prices from these things.

$55+ each down to less than $10.

All claimed to be rated and from reputable places.

e.g. Blackwoods want $45+ and Nobles around $9.

Many Thanks

Richard

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Reply By: noggins - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016 at 19:32

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016 at 19:32
Believe it or not I got them from Mitre10 in Pinjarra
From memory about $15 each ( Pinjarra Mitre10 is NEVER Cheap )
Rated to 4.5t each so I think they'll hold if ever needed.
Ron
AnswerID: 601967

Follow Up By: Member - Rich - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016 at 19:40

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016 at 19:40
Ron
Bit far to go from Canberra :)

I am going to Melbourne next week so will get some from Nobles there. About $9 each as compared to $45+ locally from Blackwoods.

When I rang I did tell them the size I wanted (10mm-3.2t) but I suspect the lady from Blackwoods quoted one of the bigger ones. Any way they have none in Canberra so no point chasing them.


Many thanks for the reply.

Richard
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