Break-away brakes for trailer...

Submitted: Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 07:30
ThreadID: 33114 Views:5190 Replies:10 FollowUps:5
This Thread has been Archived
Just got off the phone to a mate who had his trailer decide to take a slightly different line to his vehicle while travelling on private property in NSW... Trailer was a second hand off-road camping(not camper) trailer weighing about 700kg. The coupling failed and as he had hooked it up to travel about 2km to the camp site, he failed to attach the safety chains(lesson learnt I'm figuring). Anyhow, the trailer took off and rolled on the shoulder when the draw bar dug in and the rest is history. Was wondering if there is a way to set up a break-away system for a standard leccy brake system? I have total faith in my Treg coupling and I ALWAYS attach the safety chains but I guess there is always a slight risk that something could go wrong.
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 07:59

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 07:59
I have been thinking the same with my trailer. What if?
Havn't done it myself yet, still thinking it through.
For the electric brakes to work, I would guess you need a battery on the trailer to power the brakes. Then a sensor through the coupling that breaks and the lack of voltage turns on the brake. Should be easy enough to do.
Of course doing it reliably so that the brakes don't come on in the middle of a big trip would be a challenge!
That led me back to thinking how fail safe a chain is, and if in doubt, 2 chains, so I havn't gone too far.
I understand this is oppposite to a truck where the air supply keeps the brakes off.

Will be interested in other peoples ideas.
AnswerID: 168239

Reply By: Notso - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 08:19

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 08:19
They have a smallish batttery hooked up via a pullout connection on the draw bay. If the pullout is pulled out the circuit is completed and the electric brakes are applied. A caravan workshop could tell you all about it.
AnswerID: 168242

Reply By: Member - Paul P (Bris) - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 08:32

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 08:32

Go here Camec h Scroll down and you will see the breakaway kits.


AnswerID: 168244

Reply By: Shaker - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 09:54

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 09:54
"he failed to attach the safety chains"

Then most likely he would have failed to attach the breakaway lanyard!
He paid the penalty for laziness, if someone had been standing or camping nearby they could have been injured.
It's a bit like "why put my seatbelt on, I'm only going to the corner shop?"
AnswerID: 168261

Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 10:12

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 10:12
Shaker, as I said, a lesson learnt... The thought of a break-away system is for my trailer. With the best part of 1000kg behind me, I trust the coupling but should it fail, I can't say I have the same faith in the safety chains... You are right about the potential for injury or death through his laziness, thankfully he was the first to arrive. He had uncoupled the trailer and gone for a drive on the property owners request, to check out access and also for a property tour which involved some fairly challenging terrain. Once settled on a spot, he quickly(but obviously irresponsibly) hitched the trailer without the chains and took off. It was a very expensive excercise as the trailer is near a write-off. Understandably his greatest concern was that he completely destroyed the weekends alcohol supply and wasn't looking foreword to letting the boys know.
FollowupID: 423561

Reply By: Mr Fawlty - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 12:46

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 12:46
I have one on my van, came as standard, think new regs require them on any towed vehicle over 1000kg... Fortunatley it's never been used in anger...
AnswerID: 168294

Follow Up By: Penguin (NSW) - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 13:11

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 13:11
Mr Fawlty

I think the limit for breakaway controllers is 2000kg.
FollowupID: 423595

Follow Up By: Mr Fawlty - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 13:32

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 13:32
Penguin, do you mean as in the upper limit of the load or as in all over 2000kgs have to have them fitted?
In any event I would not like to be around when my 1800 kg van came unhooked despite having breakaway fitted....
FollowupID: 423597

Follow Up By: Penguin (NSW) - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 13:36

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 13:36
Sorry, I meant all trailers over 2000kg are required to use them. That's not to say that you can't use them on anything lighter.

FollowupID: 423598

Reply By: V8troopie - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 15:34

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 15:34
The original post mentions a 700kg trailer. We should be able to safely assume it was a SINGLE AXLE trailer.
For these, any breakaway braking device would be a waste of time, IMO, as the draw bar will ALWAYS dig in and flip or spin the trailer out of control the instant it detaches from the towing vehicle and no safety chains restrain it there.
From this it should also be obvious the the safety chains MUST prevent the hitch from digging into the road surface.
Keep the chains crossed over, short enough and with an adequate load rating.

AnswerID: 168331

Reply By: Raymond from Wanderin 4 Wheelers - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 18:24

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 18:24
Hi Blue
I have had a caravan seperate from the tow hitch when the ball snapped, the chains which were crossed under the a-frame held the a-frame off the road and other than the a-frame bumping into the Hayman Reese hitch a few time we pulled up safely. The brakes on the caravan worked as there was enough lead for it not to pull out of the socket
AnswerID: 168361

Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 20:17

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 20:17
Got to agree with Ray, having had the same thing happen to me. It still puts the heeby geebies up you though, knowing the only thing stopping the van from nose diving into the black top is a couple of chains.
Keep the chains crossed under towball at right length and rated to the correct capacity and all should be OK.

Regards Trevor.
FollowupID: 423688

Reply By: wheeleybin - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 20:28

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 20:28
Earlier posts are correct on the size of trailer as they are a legal requirement on all trailers in excess of 2000KG mine is 3000KG.
RV Electrics at Holden Hill South Australia supply the units for electric brakes but they are a waste if the safety chains are not connected as applying the brakes after its flipped does not help.
There is another type unit now available at some Battery World Stores.
If your trailer is only 700kg then it does not necessarily have brakes fitted.
I hope this helps.
AnswerID: 168387

Reply By: Bilbo - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 22:59

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 22:59
I seem to vaguely remember that someone told me not long back, that the law has been changed in W.A. and now you only need ONE safety chain on a trailer!!

What earthly use is ONE chain??

I always use 2 and cross 'em over as Truckster suggests.


AnswerID: 168411

Reply By: Member - Vincent A M (NSW) - Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 at 09:47

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 at 09:47
Yes there are many brands avalible in Electric & Vacum & air I have had them all & my 2004 Nissian 6 wheeler has all 3 types fitted due to what i tow BUT BEWARE
when in the bush the electric one will play up in the Dust or a stick will flick up & apply the brakes when you dont want them Vacum ues a lot of Vac that most deseils dont have & air is proberly the best but is a lot of $$$ & kgs to set up
AnswerID: 168856

Sponsored Links