Caravan safety chains

Submitted: Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 11:36
ThreadID: 68159 Views:6025 Replies:14 FollowUps:14
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G'day all,

we purchased and registered our new Kedron caravan in Queensland last December. We have at last returned to our home state of WA and yesterday had the van inspected as part of the process of having it registered in WA.

Wouldn't you know it, the van 's safety chains apparently don't comply with Australian Standard AS 4177.4 1994 “Safety Chains up to 3500 kg capacity". So we had to buy some high tensile chain and some hammerlocks and replace the original chain. ($77.00 later).

My question is, does anyone out there know Australian Standard AS 4177.4 1994 “Safety Chains up to 3500 kg capacity" well enough to comment on whether the guy doing the inspection was correct? I don't want to have to buy the entire Standard only to find out he was right.

His argument was that even though the chain we had was very substantive, it was not stamped with a rating on the links. He argued that the chains were most likely mild steel as they were welded diectly to the caravan chassis - apparently this is not possible with high tensile steel.

Additionally he said that the standard required the chain to be attached to the caravan with hammerlocks, and not shackles.

The main reason I'm asking all of this is that if he is correct, then I'm going to hit Kedron's with the bill for the chain and hammelocks.

Cheers

Russ.
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Reply By: Member - Tony V (NSW) - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 12:08

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 12:08
Russ "n" Sue

I did a quick Google and it appears that AS 4177.4 1994 has been replaced with AS 4177.4 2004

AS 4177.4 2004

The Preface states
PREFACE

This Standard was prepared by Standards Australia Committee ME-052, Caravans and Light Trailer Components to supersede AS 4177.4—1994,
Caravan and light trailer towingcomponents,

Part 4: Safety chains up to 3500 kg capacity. This Standard incorporates Amendment No. 1 (April 2006). The changes required by the Amendment are indicated in the text by a marginal bar and amendment number against the clause, note, table, figure or part thereof affected.
This Standard is Part 4 of AS 4177, Caravan and light trailer towing components, which ispublished in Parts as follows:
Part 1: Towbars and towing brackets
Part 2: 50 mm towballs
Part 3: Coupling body for ball couplings
Part 4: Safety chains up to 3500 kg capacity (this Standard)
Part 5: Electrical connectors

The objective of this Standard is to provide the manufacturers and users, the designation and design requirements for safety chains for use with trailers and caravans of up to 3.5 t aggregate trailer mass, for use on public roads.
In this revision, two different size characters for marking are included.
The term ‘normative’ has been used in this Standard to define the application of the appendix to which it applies.
A ‘normative’ appendix is an integral part of a Standard.
This is a free 6 page sample. Access the full version online.

Blah blah blah


And
Page 5
. 3.3 ElongationThe elongation at the point of fracture of a chain expressed as a percentage of the gaugelength, and comprising plastic elongation and elastic elongation.3.4 Gauge lengthThe portion of the tensile test sample containing the number of links for the purpose of undertaking a specified destructive test.3.5 Proof load
The load which the chain must be able to withstand, while remaining in service.3.6 ShallIndicates that a statement is mandatory. This is a free 6 page sample. Access the full version online.
Page 7
Click on the logos to search the database online. SAI Global also carries a wide range of publications from a wide variety of Standards Publishers: The remainder of this document is available for purchase online atSaiglobal shop
This is a free 6 page sample. Access the full version online. AS 4177.4-2004 Caravan and light trailer towing components -Safety chains up to 3500 kg capacity

Should help you
AnswerID: 361244

Follow Up By: Russ n Sue - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 12:15

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 12:15
Thanks Tony.

I had found that also but unfortunately the bit I need is not included in the 6 page sample. I was hoping to not have to buy the Standard if possible.

Cheers
Russ
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FollowupID: 628956

Reply By: jdwynn (Adelaide) - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 12:30

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 12:30
Russ

Have a look at this. Has a bit more detail.
Site Link

i've only had a quick read but it says chains can be welded up to 3.5T. Let us know how you get on.

Cheers
AnswerID: 361247

Follow Up By: jdwynn (Adelaide) - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 12:43

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 12:43
Russ, I meant to ask, how are you expected to connect the hammerlock? Anyone got a photo? And have you contacted Kedron yet - y'know, make you're problem their problem. Supposed to be a good mob aren't they, surely they'll know rules and help argue you're case. cheers
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Follow Up By: Russ n Sue - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 13:14

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 13:14
Hi,

Thanks for the link. The following almost told the story

• "trailers of ATM over 2.5 tonnes and up to 3.5 tonnes must have two safety chains of designation of 3500 kg complying with AS 4177.4-1994;"

but again, referred to the Standard.

Your question about the hammerlocks is a valid one. I was allowed to keep the two links of the SAME, so-called non-compliant chain that are welded to the chassis, and the hammerlocks went through them!!!! Weird. One would expect that if the other links in the original chains did not comply, then the welded links on the chassis wouldn't comply either?

I'm starting to suspect that we are just the victims of an overly-officious, partially informed inspector.

I have emailed Kedron, as yet no reply. You are correct when you state that they are a good mob. They have always fixed any issues without complaint.

Cheers

Russ.
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FollowupID: 628968

Follow Up By: jdwynn (Adelaide) - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 14:28

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 14:28
Russ, I was afraid you were connecting lock via the existing welded links. Utterly pointless. All I can say is that you are showing considerable restraint. Good luck with it all.
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FollowupID: 628976

Reply By: Member - Phantom (WA) - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 12:41

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 12:41
Hey Russ & Sue,
I have had two trailers made in NSW and brought back new to WA. The first one had to be modified considerably...new lights TWO chains etc. The second one, I specifically asked it to be built to WA rules and it passed OK. One change was that only ONE chain was required on the second one.
It doesn't mean a lot other than, as usual, WA has its own Rules.

Steve
AnswerID: 361250

Reply By: Axel [ the real one ] - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 13:23

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 13:23
Cant help with your specific question ,but it truly goes to show how ridiculous the system has become that what is legal in 1 state is illegal in another , bout time the laws and regulations in Australia were made uniform Oz wide , if that means getting did of state Governments so be it .....
AnswerID: 361251

Reply By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 14:56

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 14:56
Just fax Kedron Caravans with a copy of the WA compliance request, and get them to organise the alterations with a company in your area and let them cover the costs directly, it would be part of their warranty.

Cheers
Daza
AnswerID: 361265

Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 15:29

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 15:29
During the last six months there has been considerable publicity given to the uncovering of a few corrupt vehicle inspectors in WA who were being paid off by a panel shop to pass vehicles that did not comply.

I bet a real big boot has been put up all the staff arses and everyone is now over zealous to a ridiculous exreme.

Give it six more months and everything will be back to commonsense.

I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
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AnswerID: 361271

Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 15:30

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 15:30
By the way, can someone tell me what a hammerlock is and possibly post a picture please?

I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
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Follow Up By: austastar - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 15:50

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 15:50
here
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Reply By: Ups and Downs - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 15:53

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 15:53
Had a piddly little fold up aluminium boat trailer, used for a lightweight ali boat, inspected recently for registration purposes.

The chain had to be replaced with one that met Aus Stds and would probably hold the Queen Mary.

Then came the joke. The shackle could be any old 50 cent one.

What's the point of a strong chain if the shackle can be made of licorice?
AnswerID: 361277

Reply By: Member - T N (Qld) - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 16:15

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 16:15
Russ, If this bloke was fair dinkum you would expect an x-ray for your weld on the chassis, also a rated shackle on the towbar.
methinks this bloke is talking about lifting chains.
Its that little bit of knowledge that makes them dangerous!
Tom
AnswerID: 361281

Reply By: hazo - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 16:23

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 16:23
Slightly OT, but several years ago, I bought a brand new Nissan Patrol 4.2 in Melbourne, we had decided to move interstate to WA and I wanted a go anywhere vehicle as we were driving and camping with the kids on the journey to get to WA.
Anyway part of the new car deal was a bullbar and various other goodies.
On arrival in WA I decided to do the right thing and re register my car here.
Well to cut the story short, the little Nazi inspector took great pleasure in failing my brand new (10,000k) car as the bullbar did not meet the Australian standards!
I contacted the Nissan dealer in Melbourne, and he arranged to have the bullbar removed and replaced with a standard bumper, then re inspected and then had the bullbar reinstated!
Absolute madness!
I heard recently that all chain and "U" connectors must be now stamped with the appropriate AS mark, and some insurance companies may wriggle out of paying up if an accident occurred and this was not done.
Yet at a recent trip to our local caravan dealer manufacturers are still welding chains to "A" frames and no sign of any stamping on the links!
AnswerID: 361283

Reply By: Gramps - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 17:22

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 17:22
LOL it was $77 for pity's sake. What percentage was that of the price of a new Kedron? Talk about whinging .......

AnswerID: 361294

Follow Up By: Russ n Sue - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 18:01

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 18:01
Actually it was the wasted time, the futility, the cr*p red tape and the attitude of the inspector that got to me. So far as Kedron and the $77.00 goes, why shouldn't they cough if the van isn't compliant?

If it ever came to it and in a worse case scenario (assuming that we had kept the van licenced in Qld and didn't know about the chains) then who would have coughed up in the event of an accident? So you see, I have to get to the bottom of it now so that I can cover my own ar*e and maybe Kedron's as well.

I do get your attempt at humour though.

Cheers

Russ.
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FollowupID: 629032

Follow Up By: Russ n Sue - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 18:02

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 18:02
PS $77.00 = two bottles of Scotch. Now do you get it? LOL

Cheers

Russ
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FollowupID: 629033

Reply By: rocco2010 - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 18:14

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 18:14
Gidday

and as for the nazis ... well I have spent my four hours in the queue at the Welshpool (WA) licensing centre waiting to have a car inspected and as as much as it is a PITA, you gotta have rules. If there are no rules there is anarchy.


And I am fairly sure I don't want to meet a detached caravan head-on because somebody didn't do his job. People say it will never happen, but it has.


Cheers


Rocco
AnswerID: 361313

Reply By: Shaker - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 19:14

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 19:14
For definition of the Standard for chains see Clause 8.4.6 HERE

AnswerID: 361328

Reply By: wild dog - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 20:11

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 20:11
Without getting into the redtape side of things it necomes obvious after welding up a lot of chains to A frames and other agricultural equipment that there's chain and then there's chain.

Having worked in small workshops for a lot of years I know that buying chain out of a drum at the local steel shop means you can finish up with anything. My experience with a lot of small businesses is that red tape is something that just gets in the way of making a profit.

As for Hammerlocks they're probably one of the handiest things you can carry, throw a couple in the tool box, they don't take up much space.

AnswerID: 361348

Reply By: Member - Ian W (NSW) - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 20:50

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 20:50
Can I like "Gone Bush" ask the following?

Would someone post a picture of a 'hammerlock".

I don't have the vaguest idea of what it might be other than what I refer to as a D Shackel.

Ian.
AnswerID: 361360

Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 21:00

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 21:00
Ian,

you can like Gone Bush. Not many people do, but I think I like you.... sweety.

kisses

I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
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Follow Up By: RV Powerstream P/L - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 21:08

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 21:08
We recently did a 3.5T plant trailer and the chains and connections were the same as a 14tT Trailer parked with it.
The chains were stamped and the eyes were held by two pins through two x two
12MM plates welded to the rear member of the vehicle.
If it breaks away no one will get hit with the trailer as they will get hit with the back of the tow vehicle as it will break away and go with the trailer.

Ian
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 22:24

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 22:24
Did you try Google? HAMMERLOKS



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Follow Up By: Member - Ian W (NSW) - Saturday, Apr 25, 2009 at 13:02

Saturday, Apr 25, 2009 at 13:02
I'm having thoughts about that "Gone Bush" fella!

Not going anywhere near W.A.

Ian

p.s. Now I got it! Hammerlocks/chain connectors
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FollowupID: 629169

Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Saturday, Apr 25, 2009 at 13:29

Saturday, Apr 25, 2009 at 13:29
Same company sells "D" shackles
LINK:
Image Could Not Be FoundMainey . . .
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Saturday, Apr 25, 2009 at 15:00

Saturday, Apr 25, 2009 at 15:00
"I'm having thoughts about that "Gone Bush" fella!"

...and I bet it's just as you're drifting off to sleep.....
I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
- Augustus McCrae (Lonesome Dove)

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