Replacement Safety Chain Question

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by Camp JT, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. Camp JT

    Camp JT New Member

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    I bought a 2006 StarCraft 3608 PUP but it desperately needs new safety chains. The GVWR is 3500Lbs. My question is, what size and rating of chain and hardware should be used? I've done a little research and found 1/4", 3/8" and 5/16" chains. I'm also not thrilled with how the current chain is attached as it only utilizes 1 long chain and 1 bolt attached to the receiver behind the trailer jack. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
     
  2. Keith Hawkins

    Keith Hawkins Active Member

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    1 Chain - 1 Bolt is the norm for how the chains are used / attached. it is done this way as the bolt does nothing bit keep the chains in place, by crossing the chains under the tongue all the weight and tension are held by the "X" should the trailer come loose of the vehicle.

    Instead of looking for what size chain to use, I would go to facility that sells trailer (general department type store) parts and accessories and purchase actual tow chains. They will (should) already have the proper hooks on them and should be marked with the tow rating.
     
  3. Customer

    Customer Well-Known Member

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    The 1/4" chain set that Harbor Freight sells are rated for only 1,250 pound trailers.
     
  4. Camp JT

    Camp JT New Member

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    After further research I found the following:

    Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
    (d) Safety devices in case of tow-bar failure or disconnection. Every full trailer and every converter dolly used to convert a semitrailer to a full trailer must be coupled to the frame, or an extension of the frame, of the motor vehicle which tows it with one or more safety devices to prevent the towed vehicle from breaking loose in the event the tow-bar fails or becomes disconnected. The safety device must meet the following requirements:

    (1) The safety device must not be attached to the pintle hook or any other device on the towing vehicle to which the tow-bar is attached. However, if the pintle hook or other device was manufactured prior to July 1, 1973, the safety device may be attached to the towing vehicle at a place on a pintle hook forging or casting if that place is independent of the pintle hook.

    (2) The safety device must have no more slack than is necessary to permit the vehicles to be turned properly.

    (3) The safety device, and the means of attaching it to the vehicles, must have an ultimate strength of not less than the gross weight of the vehicle or vehicles being towed.

    (4) The safety device must be connected to the towed and towing vehicles and to the tow-bar in a manner which prevents the tow-bar from dropping to the ground in the event it fails or becomes disconnected.

    (5) Except as provided in paragraph (d)(6) of this section, if the safety device consists of safety chains or cables, the towed vehicle must be equipped with either two safety chains or cables or with a bridle arrangement of a single chain or cable attached to its frame or axle at two points as far apart as the configuration of the frame or axle permits. The safety chains or cables shall be either two separate pieces, each equipped with a hook or other means for attachment to the towing vehicle, or a single piece leading along each side of the tow-bar from the two points of attachment on the towed vehicle and arranged into a bridle with a single means of attachment to be connected to the towing vehicle. When a single length of cable is used, a thimble and twin-base cable clamps shall be used to form the forward bridle eye. The hook or other means of attachment to the towing vehicle shall be secured to the chains or cables in a fixed position.

    (6) If the towed vehicle is a converter dolly with a solid tongue and without a hinged tow-bar or other swivel between the fifth wheel mounting and the attachment point of the tongue eye or other hitch deviceĀ—

    (i) Safety chains or cables, when used as the safety device for that vehicle, may consist of either two chains or cables or a single chain or cable used alone;

    (ii) A single safety device, including a single chain or cable used alone as the safety device, must be in line with the centerline of the trailer tongue; and

    (iii) The device may be attached to the converter dolly at any point to the rear of the attachment point of the tongue eye or other hitch device.

    (7) Safety devices other than safety chains or cables must provide strength, security of attachment, and directional stability equal to, or greater than, safety chains or cables installed in accordance with paragraphs (d) (5) and (6) of this section.

    (8)(i) When two safety devices, including two safety chains or cables, are used and are attached to the towing vehicle at separate points, the points of attachment on the towing vehicle shall be located equally distant from, and on opposite sides of, the longitudinal centerline of the towing vehicle.

    (ii) Where two chains or cables are attached to the same point on the towing vehicle, and where a bridle or a single chain or cable is used, the point of attachment must be on the longitudinal centerline or within 152 mm (6 inches) to the right of the longitudinal centerline of the towing vehicle.

    (iii) A single safety device, other than a chain or cable, must also be attached to the towing vehicle at a point on the longitudinal centerline or within 152 mm (6 inches) to the right of the longitudinal centerline of the towing vehicle.

    I was able to find a Class IV safety chain and hooks for $20 + $10 shipping from Manufacture Express. I plan on attaching the chains using Grade 8 3/16" bolts which supercede the 7000Lbs the chains are rated for. I realize that this may be excessive for my 3500Lbs trailer but I would much rather overbuild something than suffer a mechanical failure.
     
  5. BIGTOM

    BIGTOM Member

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    3/16" bolt is too small, should be at least 3/8 or 7/16 grade 8
     
  6. steve7-4

    steve7-4 'I'd rather be camping'

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    Camp JT, that was a great write up you added to this subject. It is exactly what I was looking for. The strength of the chains must be rated higher than the gross weight of the trailer and the hardware should be Grade 8. Thanks so much......
     
  7. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    That chain is intended to be cut in half making two chains, which doubles that 1250 to 2500.
     
  8. Camp JT

    Camp JT New Member

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    BIGTOM,
    You are correct about the bolt size. I apologize for any confusion, must of had too many distractions at the time.

    Ralphie,
    Glad I could help. My local Home Depot carries the grade 8 hardware, however please see BIGTOM's comment on bolt size.

    XXXAPACHE,
    Thanks for the clarification on the Harbor Freight chain however it would be insufficient for my application as my rig weighs 3500.
     

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