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Trapezium and Breakaway cable

replies: 26
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07 May 2016 @ 09:05:53 am
Babushka
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Okay we have sorted out the reversing problem with the Trapezium so now how do you fit the breakaway cable.

I don't think you can put it around the towhitch as that moves too much.  I see the is a hook under the hitch bracket but can't attach cable to it as it will just fall off.

LANDY'S RULE!!!
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07 May 2016 @ 11:07:46 am
Relaxed Camper
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Daai hook is vir daai doel daar. Het al op n vorige draad gelees dat hulle dit in plek hou met n cable tie? Dit kan werk met opdraandes...maar met afdraandes?????
WAARSKUWING:

Kampeer is aansteeklik en verslawend 😁
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07 May 2016 @ 11:18:45 am
Relaxed Camper
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Don't put it over your towhitch...I've done that during December and damaged the arm after a sharp turn

WAARSKUWING:

Kampeer is aansteeklik en verslawend 😁
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07 May 2016 @ 11:22:26 am
Relaxed Camper
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Don't put it over your towhitch...I've done that during December and damaged the arm after a sharp turn


This is what happened
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07 May 2016 @ 11:45:37 am
Douglas Green
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The chain must lie loosley in the hook under the tow-hitch, not be hooked into one of the chain links - as per instructions in the manual.
My chain has only come off once after going over an un-marked speed bump and breaking at the same time. Luckily a passing motorist saw it dragging on the ground and informed me - you cannot hear it while driving.

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07 May 2016 @ 12:05:57 pm
Babushka
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It is not a chain - it is a breakaway cable!

LANDY'S RULE!!!
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07 May 2016 @ 14:51:11 pm
Micha El
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The breakaway cable should be attached to the hook under the Trapezium. If the cable is too long, push a loop of cable through the eyelet on the end of the cable - then place the resulting loop onto the hook. 

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07 May 2016 @ 14:56:52 pm
Babushka
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Thanks - That sounds great.smile

LANDY'S RULE!!!
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11 May 2016 @ 14:03:53 pm
Janack1
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Hi, I beg to differ. I hook the chain on the hook under the Trapezium. The break away cable I attach around the towing ball. But be careful that the cable does not hook around one of the two "spring knobs" when you make a tight turn. I have secured the cab to the lights cable with a single masking tape strip. The idea is to keep the cable in place but not to securely to inhibit its operation in case of an emergency.
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12 May 2016 @ 06:32:04 am
Leon
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My 1994 Model Penta also had the Cable. I used a small cable-tie to secure it to the hook under the Trapesium.

When I reached my destination I just need to pull hard on the cable and the small cable-tie broke free. Worked perfectly. it was realy the smallest size of all the available cable-ties.

Sonder Jesus is ek niks! ! ! !
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26 Dec 2018 @ 13:01:03 pm
GrahamB
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Greetings,

I seek advice on caravan towing with a Trapezium using a safety chain OR a brake activated cable.

Last year when towing my Sprite Tourer SP, it came off the Trapezium ball – entirely my own fault as I failed to remove a coin holding the gooseneck open. Fortunately, we were travelling very slowly but over rough ground when it broke loose.

HOWEVER, when it came lose my safety chain FAILED because the hook under the Trapezium was so weak it just bent down and sideways (see picture) causing the safety chain to slip off the hook. The caravan ran backwards down a sloping road for quite a while before coming to rest on a level section (scary it was). In addition, the Trapezium safety chain hook is just a curve which I am sure the safety chain could easily slip off under normal circumstances (my chain has to lie on top of the hook as the chain links are too small to go over the hook)– I would prefer the chain to be over a tow ball or such like.

 

Now what do I do?

I have no faith in the Trapezium hook (even if I could get it straightened) so options appear to be:

  • Try and attach safety chain in some other way. I thought of a drop plate with the Trapezium in top holes and a separate tow ball lower down with the chain over it (see picture)
    1. However, my caravan chain is too short to reach this ball – can I lengthen it and how?
  • Maybe passing the safety chain over separate, long, strong hooks attached to the spare holes in the drop plate? Might restrict free movement of chain?
  • Forgetting the safety chain and having a brake activated cable fitted to rig.

 

Any recommendations / comments would be most welcome

thuma mina, or “send me”
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26 Dec 2018 @ 13:15:44 pm
Anonymous

Graham, I'm sure you will get a few responses. I, however, even having used a Trapezium for MANY years, am not prepared to give any advice on this one - however - I would suggest you contact the manufacturer directly, and ask THEM (the owner Len Booysen) for advice.

In the past I gave some advice to someone and was "taken down" by a few people here, and contacted Len about my advice given, and he CONFIRMED that the info I have given, was indeed the correct procedure.

Google "Trapezium Developments" (they are in Gauteng) and get advice there. I suppose they are closed now for the Holiday Season. Unfortunately I can't place any link to webpage, a bit clueless coming to this stuff!!

Regards.

Frans

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26 Dec 2018 @ 16:17:16 pm
Chris Steffen
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I use a trepazium.  I must admit I could not see how that little hook could hold a van if it came off the towball.  I agree with Frans contact the manufacturers.

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26 Dec 2018 @ 17:53:13 pm
GrahamB
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Thank you gentlemen,

I will contact them again as  I did phone them when it happened only to be told that mine was the first instance they had EVER heard of where the hook bent !!

   

The only solution they offered was for me to buy a different one from them as they claimed to have changed the way the safety chain fits.

   

Regards

   

Graham

thuma mina, or “send me”
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26 Dec 2018 @ 21:44:33 pm
JohanMarais
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I hook the safety chain over the hook and to prevent if from coming off, I then slide a 100mm long piece of hosepipe over the hook. I just pull the hosepipe off when unhooking the caravan.

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27 Dec 2018 @ 08:13:39 am
Chris Steffen
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...circumstances (my chain has to lie on top of the hook as the chain links are too small to go over the hook)...

That is how it is meant to be installed according to the instruction manual.  The hook must NOT go through the chain links, the chain must lie inside the hook so that it is free to slide from side to side when turning.

EXTRACT FROM THE MODEL SB INSTRUCTIONS

"Do not put the hook through a link of the chain.  Rather allow the chain to slide through the hook.  Note that a fair amount of chain slack must be present otherwise binding may occur when negotiating a sharp turn."

 

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27 Dec 2018 @ 08:22:53 am
Chris Steffen
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I assume the purpose of the chain is that if the caravan came off the towball, at least the chain will keep it "attached" to the car and enable one to come to a hopefully controlled stop without the caravan veering off into the bush or other traffic. With only a breakaway cable it does not remain "attached" to the car thus preventing one from bringing the rig to a relatively controlled stop. Imagine a caravan coming off a car at say 80-90kmh I think it would be catastrophic whether the brakes on the van are applied or not.

However, I would imagine that if a caravan is going to come off a towball it is likely to happen within a few hundred metres of leaving your campsite or home after a bump or sharp turn, so it is likely one will be travelling relatively slowly. I guess by the time one reaches a road or highway where your speeds are higher the deed will have already happened.

In your post above, I would opt for the breakaway cable, taking into account some of the reasoning.
If you did opt for placing a bracket with a hook for the chain between the drop plate and the trapezium and having the chain lengthened I recommend you have it professionally done by a caravan dealer/repair place that are authorized to do so. If not and you have a problem with it and try and claim on insurance you may have problems with the claim. The insurers look for any reason to refute claims.



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27 Dec 2018 @ 09:05:10 am
Leon
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If you have spare holes open under the trapezium when fitted onto a dropplate, I suggest  that you make a strong hook that you bolt to those holes.

That is the easiest way to go.

Other than that you will find a break away cable at any Camp or Leisure World dealer. Fit it and you atleast have a secure system inplace.

I have towed both my Penta Caravans with such a Break away cable using a Trapezium. Worked perfectly.

Sonder Jesus is ek niks! ! ! !
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05 Jan 2019 @ 15:32:17 pm
GrahamB
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Greetings,

Thank you to everyone who offered advice relative to my post on 26 December 2018.

I have now had a hand-brake safety cable installed (by official dealer - see picture), who managed to bend my Trapezium’s chain hook straight (confirms it is not very strong!).

When towing home from the dealer my safety chain slipped off the hook, so I have added a ring bolt to the hook – see pictures. Johan mentioned he used a piece of hosepipe to secure the chain – I tried this, and I am sure it will work and then suddenly spotted the ring-bolt hook fitting from a roof rack, put in a longer bolt and ready to roll.

 

I accept that the Trapezium chain hook MIGHT not be adequate under extreme situations (mine has bent once already) but MAYBE it will hold under a gentle coming apart!! But I am more relying on the new hand-brake safety cable if the rig separates.

 

What is a little strange is that it sounds like the hand-brake safety cable is a once-off, as if it is used it pulls up the brake but then parts company as the cable will not support weight of caravan behind vehicle? So, I guess something breaks and a new one must be fitted after that, BUT the idea is NOT to come apart.

thuma mina, or “send me”
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05 Jan 2019 @ 17:04:51 pm
GrahamB
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“If you have spare holes open under the trapezium when fitted onto a drop plate, I suggest that you make a strong hook that you bolt to those holes”. Quote from Alpha Centauri.

I thought about this BUT realised that as one performs a wide turn the Trapezium ball swings quite far away from the vehicle and I don’t think my safety chain is long enough to handle this increase in distance between drop plate hook and A-Frame where chain is attached.

thuma mina, or “send me”
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06 Jan 2019 @ 21:00:28 pm
Leon
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The idea of the handbrake cable is to engage the handbrake should the caravan uncouple from the ball in an emergency. This way you are free to only get control over the vehicle and not worry about a heavy caravan worsening the already bad situation.

The idea is to save your families lives which is more valuable than a caravan.

In the event of using the chain that caravan hanging lose over a towball can worsen an emergency.

This is however a debatable point and here each person can decide which s best for him.

For me the Handbrake Cable is tops 

Sonder Jesus is ek niks! ! ! !
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06 Jan 2019 @ 21:08:39 pm
Leon
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Main reason is because the cable only comes in action during an emergency, engaging the caravan handbrake at the time the caravan detaches from the tow vehicle.  Hopefully it will bring the van safely to a halt in a grass patch or on the tar.

I must also point out that when a caravan detaches from the towball the combination is already in servere direstraights. 

Sonder Jesus is ek niks! ! ! !
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06 Jan 2019 @ 21:28:00 pm
JohanMarais
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Hoe dikwels gebeur dit dat ‘n karavan loskom van die voertuig?

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07 Jan 2019 @ 07:00:21 am
steamer
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Good point Johan.

Does anyone have a record of caravan accidents due to parting of the tow hitch / ball?

Your strongest weapon is your mind!
And then there's, Power Tools!
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11 Jan 2019 @ 08:07:02 am
Leon
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I do nt know of such a instance where it happened.  Thats why I say when the need of the chain or cable comes to light you are already in big trouble.

My question then is

If you are in such peril would you prefer a chain that keeps the van attached to your vehicle or a cable that just apply the handbrake of the van then brake away to leave you trying   to save you and your family.

 

Sonder Jesus is ek niks! ! ! !
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11 Jan 2019 @ 08:28:59 am
JohanMarais
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Certainly your second point Leon.

What does the law say regarding using a chain?

Can a cable be used when using a chain?

Is adding a cable a DIY and can a cable be added to any caravan?

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13 Jan 2019 @ 09:41:06 am
Leon
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Certainly your second point Leon.

What does the law say regarding using a chain?

Can a cable be used when using a chain?

Is adding a cable a DIY and can a cable be added to any caravan?

I have not yet done any research on the subject but Jurgens have started with the cable already during the early Nineties. I had a 1994 model Penta that already had the cable factory fitted then.  I would say that the law would state that you must have either of the two or something that does a similar job of either of them.

To use both will beat the purpose of the chain so its either the one or the other. Or mabe something similar.

If I remember correctly all the handbrake levers on the caravan has a small hole on the underside of it.  You can buy the cable from Camp or Leisure World and attach it to the bottom of that handbrake lever.  It is attached by means of a large strong "key ring" and usually during the emergency it is this "Key ring" that fails/bend open after the cable applied the brake. 

 

Sonder Jesus is ek niks! ! ! !
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