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You want to avoid this....Broken hitch!!!

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Old 10-16-2007, 11:26 PM
  #41
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Originally Posted by Chris Sunkin View Post
I should preface this that my boat on the trailer weighs about 14K# so what I'm doing could be scaled down for a smaller boat.

If the chain on your trailer is silver plated and unmarked, it's grade 30. If DOT wants 70 just to hold loads down (static), I'd want that or something even tougher to endure the shock loads of a runaway trailer. Gr 43 is usually black and Gr. 70 is usually iridited (gold-colored). Above that, there's typically a certification tag attached and in 70 and up, the links will be marked. I wouldn't trust any chain that I didn't know for sure had the proper load rating.

Those little holes stamped in that 3/16" thick plate aren't going to hold anything. On the other end, if your chain is bolted through to the trailer's tongue, most likely it will tear out from there as well. My chain goes under the hitch and loops around the main center beam of the trailer. It's linked with a hardened d-ring. It goes around the main draw tube on the hitch and is terminated with proof-rated grab hooks.

Wow........where do I start?.......as a former natural gas inspector for 11 years and now a natural gas contractor Ive seen both sides of the fence.......and this I can tell you......any time you choose to go "above and beyond" the manufactures instruction manual (as above) you are putting your azz out for anyone to take a run at.......

if something were to go horribly wrong and someone dies you can bet the lawyers will be all over anything not done EXACTLY to the manufactures reccomendations........"yeah but Its better!'' doesnt wash in court.....the lawyers will twist it around, get their stuctural engineer and metalurgist on the stand and it will be your fault.......

It will go something like this......."Although Mr so and so's intentions were good the undue stress caused by his installation of blah blah blah blah caused this to fail leading to this and therefore caused the accident......this is backed up by research done in our engineering lab blah blah blah........company xyz has sold 500,000 hitches worldwide since the companies inception.......and how many hitches have you sold sir????"

you follow the manual exactly and let them go after the manufacture if all hel breaks loose........better yet have your hitch profesionally installed at a shop and put the bill in a safe place.......doug

Last edited by pullmytrigger; 10-17-2007 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 10-17-2007, 08:46 AM
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Mr. Sunkin eats lawyers and businesses for lunch, now leave him alone.
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Old 10-17-2007, 09:00 AM
  #43
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Here's what our government tells us. Read if there is nothing left in the uncensored to read.

http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/problems/E...wing/index.htm

You can also report these failures (good idea ) on your factory junk.
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by pullmytrigger View Post
Wow........where do I start?.......as a former natural gas inspector for 11 years and now a natural gas contractor Ive seen both sides of the fence.......and this I can tell you......any time you choose to go "above and beyond" the manufactures instruction manual (as above) you are putting your azz out for anyone to take a run at.......

if something were to go horribly wrong and someone dies you can bet the lawyers will be all over anything not done EXACTLY to the manufactures reccomendations........"yeah but Its better!'' doesnt wash in court.....the lawyers will twist it around, get their stuctural engineer and metalurgist on the stand and it will be your fault.......

It will go something like this......."Although Mr so and so's intentions were good the undue stress caused by his installation of blah blah blah blah caused this to fail leading to this and therefore caused the accident......this is backed up by research done in our engineering lab blah blah blah........company xyz has sold 500,000 hitches worldwide since the companies inception.......and how many hitches have you sold sir????"

you follow the manual exactly and let them go after the manufacture if all hel breaks loose........better yet have your hitch profesionally installed at a shop and put the bill in a safe place.......doug
First, the object is to NOT end up in court with expert witnesses and the rest. If you can do that by upgrading your safety chains and their mounting, that logic is tough to fault. Second, if you're in court anyway, the logic behind replacing a chain rated at X and replacing it with another that is equally as functional, yet rated at three times X is fairly unimpeachable. I'd defy anyone to find an expert witness that would testify that a grade 70, DOT transport-rated chain is less-suitable than the grade 30 chain supplied by a trailer manufacturer.

As far as chain mounting, I've seen chain flat-bolted to the side of a trailer's frame rail with a couple of flat washers for reinforcement. That was from the manufacturer. Again, if securing the chain in a more suitable fashion than that causes an issue, I'll take my chances.

Keep in mind, most of what you see hanging on the backs of commercial trucks is locally-made by truck body companies. In addition, I've seen trailer manufacturers operating out of sheds with dirt floors, building trailers with no more engineering than copying what some other, more legitimate builders. Visit South Texas sometime and see for yourself what's being welded and by whom. It's scary. That's not the folks I'm looking to absorb liability if something bad happens.

Lastly, many people believe that "someone" is looking out for them when they purchase things. Some nebulous government agency, I suppose. Unfortunately, that's often not the case. Of course there are ANSI standards that OSHA requires be adhered to. Yet, there's little enforcement and virtually no oversight. Don't believe me? Visit a Harbor Freight store and see the Chinese garbage they pawn off as tools and equipment. There ARE standards for alot of the stuff they sell, yet none of it meets them. Specifically to trailers, I don't believe there's any construction standard promulgated by any entity. Even if there was, there's no enforcement. That means that you're perfectly welcome to set up shop making trailers or any number of other items with zero engineering and zero qualifications. If things go bad, you just close up shop. The funny thing is, the CPSC will be up your a$$ if your toys have little parts for kids to choke on. Check with them about trailers- you'll be surprised.

In the case illustrated at the beginning of this thread, a very reputable hitch manufacturer is having issues with premature failures of a product. Apparently, so are some of the auto manufacturers. The folks that bought them trusted that these reputable entities would look out for them. When things went wrong, where were they? When I bought the Putnam for my Excursion, nobody bothered to register me as the owner. How does Putnam contact me when there's a problem? Apparently, GM is more interested in denying they have an issue than addressing and remediating it. Sorry, I'm just not that trusting of a guy- I'm going to do what I can to protect myself, rather than depend on others.

I'm not suggesting that others do as I have- I have the benefit of employing an engineer and owning a fab shop with certified welders. I do suggest you visit an appropriate fabricator with similar capabilities who can provide these services for you.
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:09 AM
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Mr. Sunkin eats lawyers and businesses for lunch, now leave him alone.


Nah, just a guy who has made alot of mistakes.
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Old 10-17-2007, 11:28 AM
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Some great info guys. Made me go take a look at my setup and look for stress or corrosion problems because I too live on the water with some salty air. My setup is only a couple of years new and not really stressed to date, but you never know. Just another item to add to the pre/post season checklist. And I have pretty thick cables vice the chains.
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Old 10-17-2007, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by pullmytrigger View Post
Wow........where do I start?.......as a former natural gas inspector for 11 years and now a natural gas contractor Ive seen both sides of the fence.......and this I can tell you......any time you choose to go "above and beyond" the manufactures instruction manual (as above) you are putting your azz out for anyone to take a run at.......

if something were to go horribly wrong and someone dies you can bet the lawyers will be all over anything not done EXACTLY to the manufactures reccomendations........"yeah but Its better!'' doesnt wash in court.....the lawyers will twist it around, get their stuctural engineer and metalurgist on the stand and it will be your fault.......

It will go something like this......."Although Mr so and so's intentions were good the undue stress caused by his installation of blah blah blah blah caused this to fail leading to this and therefore caused the accident......this is backed up by research done in our engineering lab blah blah blah........company xyz has sold 500,000 hitches worldwide since the companies inception.......and how many hitches have you sold sir????"

you follow the manual exactly and let them go after the manufacture if all hel breaks loose........better yet have your hitch profesionally installed at a shop and put the bill in a safe place.......doug

Im not the one who made it stronger, it was that way when I bought the damned thing.
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Old 10-17-2007, 12:57 PM
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Since you're looking at your hitch, a quick look at your safety chains is also a good idea. Chances are they're inadequate. Most of what you see on trailers is Gr. 30. This makes for a nice shiny decoration but not much more. I'd bypass Gr. 43 and at a minimum use Gr. 70, which is DOT-certified transport chain. This is what's required for chaining loads onto flatbed trucks. I use Gr. 80 which is proof tested alloy, certified for overhead lifting. You might cringe at the price but it's cheap insurance. Mounting is crucial as well. If you run it through a cross-bolt and hook it to a hole punched in a 3/16" plate on the hitch, you might as well not bother.
Good advise. Do you have a pic of how you attached the chains?
 
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Old 10-17-2007, 01:01 PM
  #49
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Originally Posted by pullmytrigger View Post
Wow........where do I start?.......as a former natural gas inspector for 11 years and now a natural gas contractor Ive seen both sides of the fence.......and this I can tell you......any time you choose to go "above and beyond" the manufactures instruction manual (as above) you are putting your azz out for anyone to take a run at.......

if something were to go horribly wrong and someone dies you can bet the lawyers will be all over anything not done EXACTLY to the manufactures reccomendations........"yeah but Its better!'' doesnt wash in court.....the lawyers will twist it around, get their stuctural engineer and metalurgist on the stand and it will be your fault.......

It will go something like this......."Although Mr so and so's intentions were good the undue stress caused by his installation of blah blah blah blah caused this to fail leading to this and therefore caused the accident......this is backed up by research done in our engineering lab blah blah blah........company xyz has sold 500,000 hitches worldwide since the companies inception.......and how many hitches have you sold sir????"
See the pic in post #1, I'm sure they've sold millions, doesn't help much here does it?

you follow the manual exactly and let them go after the manufacture if all hel breaks loose........better yet have your hitch profesionally installed at a shop and put the bill in a safe place.......doug
I don't think so, dude. I fail to see the logic here - this isn't natural gas.

I defy any engineer or metallurgist to argue against stronger, proof-load tested chain verse the cheap sht that most mfg's equip their junk with.
It's not going to happen.

Hell, in this case I think even a lawyer would agree, stronger chain is better.
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Old 10-17-2007, 01:10 PM
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Good advise. Do you have a pic of how you attached the chains?
I'll agree. I've never seen the chains attached in a very secure fashion. If the hitch falls off the truck, and the chains are attached to the hitch, well they are not going to do you much good then.
Even how the chains are attached to the trailers could use improvement in most cases.

One thing that I do make sure of is the break-away cable/chain. If my hitch and chains come clean off the truck, my bumper is more than likely going to stay attached to the truck as its bolted to a different part of the frame. I attach my brake break-away chain to the bumper, NOT the hitch. Even if my bumper rips of the truck due to the break-away chain taking it off; and/or if the break-away chain breaks during this action as well, its going to engage the trailer brakes.
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