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Author Topic: Saftey cables on towed vehicle  (Read 3056 times)
ChuckMC8
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« on: November 16, 2006, 05:18:57 AM »

I'm finishing up my toad...its a 1971 VW Super Beetle Convertible. I have the proper tow bar for the car, but I've never used saftey cables when towing like the ones that I see in the FMCA magazine. Are these required by law (I'm not trying to not have 'em, I just want to know the legal stuff, JIC)
 Where do they attach to the car?To the tow plate or somewhere else? (if the tow plate should part company with the car?)
What about length for these? Are the coiled cable models available? Thanks Chuck
« Last Edit: November 16, 2006, 05:20:52 AM by ChuckMC8 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2006, 05:44:12 AM »

Chuck most attach to the base plate which does not make sense to me.  Like you said if the base plate separates from the car what now.  It is the law that you have safety cables.  I like the coiled ones.
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skihor
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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2006, 05:49:29 AM »

Safety cables should be connected to the bus not the hitch and to the toad not the mount plates. I've seen two instances of towbar/base plate failures. For my money it's just plain cheap insurance regardless of any laws. Imagine a car coming loose at hiway speeds??
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gumpy
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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2006, 05:51:24 AM »

Chuck,

I use the coiled cables. I ordered them through a place here that does custom hitches and trailers. I get some of my hitch parts from them. They had 5000 lb and 8000 lb cables available. I got the 8000 lb cables. They're really nice to work with. When I fold up the towbar, I can just wrap the coils around the tow bar legs and it keeps them out of the way. When they're off the bus, they coil into a compact bundle. Big hooks, easy to install and remove.

Mine connect to the receiver on the bus, and to the base plate on the car. That being said, you are correct in that if the base plate breaks and parts company with the car, there's nothing to keep the car in tow. That's why you're supposed to have a braking system installed that has a break-away braking capability.

I actually had this happen to me last year. On my trip out west, when I pulled into my camping spot in the mountains and went to unhook the toad, I found that the base plate had busted in two places, and the only thing holding it on was two 1/2" bolts through the sides, and these were very loose. Had I gone another 10 miles, those bolts would probably have broken and the base plate would have been pulled through the front grill of the explorer and the car would have been gone.

I think this is a flaw with the way this stuff is installed. I haven't figured out exactly how I'm going to correct it, but I do plan on adding some steel loops to the frame of the vehicle to either attach the cables to, or attach some short permanent cables to the baseplate.

craig
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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2006, 05:53:49 AM »

Chuck,
   We purchased our coiled safety cables at Camping World.    There may other places that are cheaper, but we were getting ready to tow our new to us Grand Cherokee and needed the cables the next day.
   Our cables attach to the baseplate bracket,but we added a short cable from the bracket to the frame of the car. On the bus end, we attached to the hitch frame.  Jack
« Last Edit: November 16, 2006, 05:58:15 AM by JackConrad » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2006, 10:26:10 AM »

I had a tow bar mounted to a substantial looking brush guard on an Isuzu pockup.  Safety to the same place.  Drove 100 miles at highway speeds.  When I turned into my driveway the truck broke loose by pulling off the brush guard and wound up in the ditch on the other side of the road.  Talk about could have been worse!

Now I safety directly from the engine cradle on my 4905 to the frame on the toad with 5/16 chain.

-Rick Brown in Reno, NV
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Jeremy
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« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2006, 10:51:23 AM »

If it's of any help, UK caravans are required to have a safety cable fitted which will pull on the caravan brakes if it goes taut (the cable would only go taut if the tow bar parted company somehow). Obviously caravan emergency brakes are designed to work this way, but if you were really concerned you could probably fabricate a system to pull on your Beetle's cable-operated handbrake in the same way. Pulling the handbrake on at highway speeds will lead to unpredicable consequences, but if the tow bar should fail it's probably better than having the toad running amok completely unchecked.

Just an idea

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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2006, 11:40:15 AM »

Wow, there's an interesting idea.

A thin cable that goes from the bus hitch through the firewall of the toad, and wraps around the emergency brake pedal. If it should brake free, the cable would, in theory, pull the emergency brake pedal down before breaking free.

But, as you said, the consequences of applying full emergency brake at 70 mph might be interesting.

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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2006, 12:17:17 PM »

Wow, there's an interesting idea.

A thin cable that goes from the bus hitch through the firewall of the toad, and wraps around the emergency brake pedal. If it should brake free, the cable would, in theory, pull the emergency brake pedal down before breaking free.

But, as you said, the consequences of applying full emergency brake at 70 mph might be interesting.



But Craig,

The consequences of the toad separating from the towing vehicle at 70+ mph would also be plenty interesting in and of itself.
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gumpy
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2006, 12:23:30 PM »

But Craig,

The consequences of the toad separating from the towing vehicle at 70+ mph would also be plenty interesting in and of itself.

Yeah, I know. Fine line there.

I'm still a little gunshy after seeing my broken and shaky base plate after driving up a winding mountain road.

I think there might be a way to get the cable to pull the pedal maybe half way down before breaking. Seems like that might stop it quickly without locking up the rear wheels. I'm going to give this some thought this winter. I like the simplicity of it.

Geeze, could you imagine following someone who's toad came loose and locked up the brakes?  Or worse meeting someone who's toad came loose and didn't?


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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2006, 12:29:32 PM »

I really think that locking up the rear wheels is the lesser of two evils. If a toad breaks free it can go anywhere and a couple of tires that have skidded a few feet would be the least of your worries.
Richard
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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2006, 01:03:26 PM »

I really think that locking up the rear wheels is the lesser of two evils. If a toad breaks free it can go anywhere and a couple of tires that have skidded a few feet would be the least of your worries.
Richard

I was more concerned about the thing going into an uncontrolled skid and rolling as it leaves the roadway. If the rear tires lock up, it's highly unlikely it'll keep traveling in a straight line, and with nobody to steer, all hell's gonna break loose (again, so to speak).  If you could provide maximum breaking without skid, you'd stand the best chance of it coming to a stop on it's wheels in the shortest distance possible.

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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2006, 01:34:55 PM »

I really think that locking up the rear wheels is the lesser of two evils. If a toad breaks free it can go anywhere and a couple of tires that have skidded a few feet would be the least of your worries.
Richard

I was more concerned about the thing going into an uncontrolled skid and rolling as it leaves the roadway. If the rear tires lock up, it's highly unlikely it'll keep traveling in a straight line, and with nobody to steer, all hell's gonna break loose (again, so to speak).  If you could provide maximum breaking without skid, you'd stand the best chance of it coming to a stop on it's wheels in the shortest distance possible.



Sounds good, but probably wishful thinking. Any difference in the amount of braking applied to each wheel, any difference in the road surface under each tire and any difference in tread wear could cause the vehicle to go crooked.

In general, I believe the safety chains/cables it to protect from total disconnect if there is a failure in the hitch itself. Not the mounting brackets that the hitch is attached to.
Richard
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belfert
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« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2006, 01:57:25 PM »

Is a toad going to full braking when disconnected from the tow vehicle any better or worse than a huge fifth wheel coming loose and locking its brakes when the safety cable pull out?
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jaybe_2
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« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2006, 02:31:19 PM »

The last thing you want to do is lock up the rear wheel, they will try to pass the front. Shocked Shocked All of the aftermarket brake systems that have a breakaway will lock up all the wheels on the toad. Also if you read the trailor brake laws you must have a breakaway. As far as safty cables you do need them and they must be hooked to something that is bolted in place, like the hitch and the base plates. Look at how Roadmaser and Blue Ox do it, they have been doing it for a long time and they do it right.
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ChuckMC8
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« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2006, 03:22:53 PM »

Does the towed vehicle have to have brakes that apply when the coach brakes apply? Is there a law regarding weight of the toad that requires auxillary brakes if the toad exceeds a certain weight? If so, what is that weight? Does it vary state to state?
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« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2006, 04:03:50 PM »

N.H. is 3000 lbs but I think most states are between 2500 and 3500 lbs. Yes the brakes must apply when the coach brakes are applied. I dont think canada will even let you in the country unless the toad has brakes. Most states dont enforce the trailor brake laws on toads but the big what if is god forbid you get in an accedent. What was not your fault could become your fault because you did not have the correct safty equipment. That is a law suit waiting to happen!!!
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gumpy
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« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2006, 04:20:36 PM »

Well, when we went through Canada a last year, they did't seem to care. They were just unhappy that I didn't have my birth certificates out BEFORE I got to the window, so they "punished" me by pulling me over and doing a 2 minute inspection of the interior of the coach.

And, is there any documented case anywhere where someone got in an accident without having brakes on the toad and then ended up in a lawsuit because of it?

I think it's true that most states require brakes if the toad is over a certain weight. I'm not aware of any of them enforcing it.

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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2006, 04:29:12 PM »

Look at how Roadmaser and Blue Ox do it, they have been doing it for a long time and they do it right.

Well, maybe... unless it's the Blue Ox base plate that breaks! I think there was a fundamental design flaw in their base plate, though. They've also modified their installation instructions since that happened. And, they took care of it with just a little persuasion.

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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2006, 04:32:20 PM »

My belief is that few, if any, states requires brakes on a toad. All require brakes on trailers over a certain weight that varies from state to state.
It has been posted by knowledgeable people that Canada does require brakes on toads.
Richard
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« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2006, 04:55:04 PM »

I NH atleast, the toad falls under trailor laws. I think this is the case in most states. I have also heard that california is starting to push the brake thing. I try to stay up on these things, its what I do for a living.
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« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2006, 04:57:19 PM »

I NH atleast, the toad falls under trailor laws. I think this is the case in most states. I have also heard that california is starting to push the brake thing. I try to stay up on these things, its what I do for a living.
I am sure things are changing all over the country. Several years ago, when I lived in California, brakes were not required on toads, but were very strict on trailers.
Richard
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« Reply #22 on: November 17, 2006, 10:50:23 AM »

I don't think the parking brake will lock up the wheels as easily as you might think at 70 mph (I have been wrong before  Grin ).

Also it has been my experience that when the rear locks up & passes the front, its because the front was doing more stopping & the rear was uncontrolled which allowed the resultant thrust vector to spin the car around. Therefore, if the front brakes are NOT applied, locking up the rear wheels shouldn't cause a spin-out.

No I'm not gonna test this theory with my stuff.

If the toad breaks away, ruined rear tires are the least of my worries.  Shocked

SC doesn't require chains. But it is illegal for the towed velicle to become unattached. It is considered attached if the chains or cables are connected, even if the hitch is broken.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2006, 01:19:30 PM by kyle4501 » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2006, 11:00:48 AM »

I don't think the parking break will lock up the wheels as easily as you might think at 70 mph (I have been wrong before  Grin ).

Also it has been my experience that when the rear locks up & passes the front, its because the front was doing more stopping & the rear was uncontrolled which allowed the resultant thrust vector to spin the car around. Therefore, if the front brakes are NOT applied, locking up the rear wheels shouldn't cause a spin-out.

No I'm not gonna test this theory with my stuff.

If the toad breaks away, ruined rear tires are the least of my worries.  Shocked

SC doesn't require chains. But it is illegal for the towed vehicle to become unattached. It is considered attached if the chains or cables are connected, even if the hitch is broken.
Kyle, I agree with you. Someone must have invented some new physics law that would cause a vehicle with locked up rear wheels to spin around and the locked wheels be in front of the vehicle when it was skidding.
I have locked up the rear wheel on lots of motorcycles and bicycles and they never spun around. Whole different matter if you accidentally locked up the front wheel.
BTW, I did lock up the rear wheels on my Model T a few times and it never spun around. It has no front brakes at all.
Richard
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Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, a good Reisling in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming:  WOO HOO, what a ride
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« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2006, 02:11:11 PM »

I have never tried the locking up the rear tire thing. BUT I have seen it done. This is something they teach in safty driving course I took. If you hold the steering wheel straight and lock up the rear tires the car will come around sideways. I have a hard time getting my head around it also and if I had not seen it I would not believe it either. Try it with a match box car this is how demonstrated it to us first then they did it with a rear car. If you lock up just the front brake on a car it goes in a straight line in the direction it was heading.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2006, 02:15:05 PM by jaybe_2 » Logged
RJ
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« Reply #25 on: November 17, 2006, 04:33:37 PM »


"Ain't nobody ever heard of a bootlegger turn?"   Grin
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« Reply #26 on: November 17, 2006, 05:27:34 PM »

How do you do it Russ? I am confused now. Do you lock up the rears and then turn the front wheels or what?
Richard
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« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2006, 05:56:56 PM »

The back wheels will pass the front when locked up?? 

Try it for yourself.  Hammer the parking brake and see what happens.  If you put it in a turn first then the back wheels will pass the front but if you are straight when you start you'll be straight when you stop
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2006, 03:13:15 PM »

It may be true if someone is holding the steering wheel, but with nobody inside, I doubt you can predict what the front will do when the rear locks and your coefficient of friction drops below that of the fronts.

This is how I learned to handle a car on ice. My first car had a vacuum release on the parking brake so it would release when put into gear, so you couldn't forget to release it. I took advantage of that system to play. Brake on, skid a bit, see how far out of control you could get the car without really losing control. Let up on the brake pedal, and the vacuum release let it go and the rear wheels started turning again. Was great fun till one day when the vacuum release didn't!  Roll Eyes

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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2006, 04:34:36 PM »

Sorry to be argumentative but - unless the steering is seriously out of alignment - its real easy to predict what it will do with any amount of braking only on the rear wheels.  It will go straight. 

The rear wheels act like the tail on a kite in this situation.  In the real world it will probably follow the crown of the road off to one side or the other.  But go into a skid where the back end passes the front?  Not very likely IMHO.  The front end is not braking - rolling resistance is still lower than the coefficient of friction on a sliding wheel.

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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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« Reply #30 on: November 18, 2006, 05:31:49 PM »

Well lets just hope that none of us find out the hard way what would really happen. I think we can all agree that it would be a sinking feeling to see your toad trying to pass you.
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