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Author Topic: Lethal towed  (Read 3182 times)
Jerry Liebler
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« on: September 25, 2007, 08:13:08 PM »

This was posted on the GM board.  Anybody know more?

Police report: Hummer came unhitched, headlined in the Sun News Daily
News (Myrtle Beach, SC).

A Conway man died in a car wreck Sunday when a Hummer came loose from
the bus that was towing it and slammed head-on into another car. The
wreck happened at 2PM on US 378 about 6 miles west of Conway, SC.
According to SC Highway Patrol a 1963 GMC bus was traveling West on
the highway pulling the Hummer. The Hummer came unhitched, it crossed
the centerline and crashed into the East bound 1995 GMC pick-up,
killing the driver who died of internal injuries at 2:30PM according
to the County Coroner. The driver of the GMC bus was uninjured. The
SC Highway Patrol is investigating the incident and will determine
whether to charge him.

Now is there any member of this board who could identify this GMC bus?
Have no idea what part of the hitch "came loose". With the various
posts I have followed on this board regarding fabrication of tow-
hitches the question must be asked, what failed? Seems safety
chains/cables could have prevented this event. Possibly an inadequate
hitch design, or fabrication might come to mind. What is the tow
weight of a Hummer? Comments please.
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Songman
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2007, 09:11:01 PM »

That's a shame.. on many levels.

It didn't really say what kind of Hummer. The gross weight of an H2 is 8600 pounds. The H1 is over 10,000! Even the little H3 is almost 6000. If someone plans to pull something that heavy they really need to make sure they have the right equipment and all in good shape.
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Gary LaBombard
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« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2007, 04:30:10 AM »

Jerry,
This is the reason I refused to pull a toad until I felt I was safely and adequately equipped to do so even if being pulled by a S&S.  I installed a brake buddy on my toad, it was pricey but after reading this post I am so relieved.  It was after last years rally at Arcadia that Christy & Larry posted about losing their toad when something come loose on the towing hitch and their toad just stopped safely when the break away did it's job. Even if the hitch was the failure or what ever the reason the Toad has to stop immediately when the (Brake Away Switch is activated) upon separation from bus.

I have noticed also that the use of the toad brake buddy really helps in slowing down both vehicles as the brakes are applied.  Now pulling a big Ole Hummer, I know I would have something there to assist.  FWIW from a Bus Nut Amateur.

This is a tragic lesson for us to learn but I firmly believe to be traveling with a brake away safety system, (Brake Buddy or such) that will activate the moment your toad separates from your bus would sure help in a tragedy such as this and also give peace of mind when you are in court as the defendant in a law suit because you did have one.  It almost seems obvious this Hummer did not have one if it continued to travel across the road after separation from the towing vehicle.

Yes, I have towed my toad behind my S&S and it wasn't a kid's wagon.

Gary
« Last Edit: September 26, 2007, 04:37:37 AM by Gary LaBombard » Logged

Gary
Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2007, 05:57:31 AM »

It surely sounds like a 4104 or 4106 bus...

This is a shame...

Most likely the hummer is a H2 or a H3 in the 6900lb range.

I think way too heavy for a 04 or 06 to be towing.

Nick-
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2007, 06:08:33 AM »

   If it was a '63 intercity GM bus it would be a 4106.   Certainly a tragedy for all involved. 
   We installed an M&G brake unit on our Grand Cherokee. I made up the break away cable so this it will release just before the safety cables are tight in the event of a hitch failure.  I hope I never find out how well it works. 
   I did test the break away braking effect on the Grand Cherokee by temporarily connecting the break away to a toggle switch. I aired up the break away air tank on the car, drove the car down the road in front of our house at about 45 MPH, put it in neutral, let loose of the steering wheel and flipped the switch.  The brakes applied and the car came to a stop in a straight line.  The stop was not a "tire slider" but faster than a normal "come to a stop".  Jack
« Last Edit: September 26, 2007, 06:16:24 AM by JackConrad » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2007, 06:34:58 AM »

One thing I have always noticed about safety chains on trailler hitches is that they are attached to to hitch mounting.  this means that the only way they work is if the ball and hitch come undone.  If there is any other structural failure in the hitch, ie., the hitch mount detaches from the towing vehicle, safety chains provide no safety.   A break away brake is a great idea, also perhaps a safety chain from the hitch mount to the towing vehicle.  Just a thought.  Patrick.
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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2007, 09:51:01 AM »

Patrick,
  That is what we did. The break away cable connects to the bus frame. So as to not hijack this thread, see my new post "A few ramblings about brakes".  Jack
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« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2007, 10:47:48 AM »

A 1963, could be a 4106 or any type of fishbowl.
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2007, 01:47:58 PM »

Well,

This post pushed me to finally buy a brakeing system. I have been keeping an eye on prices and the new

models that just came out. For ease of use, and function, I just purchaced the new Brake Buddy Vantage..

I'll let you guy's know how it works for me. I have a N. Carolina trip in a week.

Nick-

« Last Edit: September 26, 2007, 02:42:58 PM by Nick Badame Refrig. Co. » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2007, 05:03:36 AM »

Hey Nick, where to in NC?
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Tom Hamrick
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« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2007, 08:44:34 AM »

Hey Nick, where to in NC?

Hi Tom,

Moorehead N.C. to attend the Converted Coaches Chapter FMCA. I leave next Thursday Thru Monday.
It's a Seafood Festival weekend too
Nick-
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DavidInWilmNC
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« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2007, 10:10:27 AM »

Although it's obviously a good idea to have the correct equipment in the event of a break-away, it's still going to take a long time to stop the toad.  Think how long it takes to stop any vehicle traveling at highway speeds.  There's still plenty of time for the toad to do a lot of damage (to other drivers), especially since there's nobody at the wheel steering it and no ABS.  As good as the brake-away systems are, I'd probably feel even safer knowing that I had mounted my safety chains or cables installed on sturdy brackets of some type.  I don't have a hitch yet, so any thoughts on the best place to locate attachment points for safety cables or chains on an MC-8 would be appreciated.

David
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« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2007, 10:45:58 AM »

David,
   Our safety cable attachment points are on the hitch drawbar, but I am adding cables from that point to the bus frame. And I agree that it takes awahile to stop a toad. If the toad came loose and immediately went into the other lane, it would not be slowed very much when the impact occurred.  Jack
« Last Edit: September 28, 2007, 05:55:36 AM by JackConrad » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2007, 05:39:58 PM »

Safety chains are supposed to go from frame to frame and crossed under the towbar to prevent it hitting the road. Done properly, the tow will follow the bus in a straight line and with a little upgrade can be brought to a stop without the tow running into the bus. Yes, it happened to me with a broken towbar. I put the broken towbar in the trunk of the car and drove to the nearest welding shop to get a temporary repair and continued on my trip. Lost time about three hours and no damage to either vehicle.
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Dreamscape
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« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2007, 04:36:38 PM »

Stan,

This is an interesting concept. I had not heard of this. If I understand correctly the chains would make an X from one side of toad to other side of bus frame, and likewise on the other side. I'm also trying to envision how it works when turning. If not please clarify. It sounds like a great way to secure in the event of tow bar failure.

Paul
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Stan
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« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2007, 05:58:08 AM »

Paul: Turning is one of the reasons for the crossed chains. With the chains in an X configuration, they can be almost tight. When you turn, one chain gets slack at the bus end while the opposite chain gets slack at the car end.  Try drawing it out on paper.

Component parts of the tow hitch (both ends) that are permanently bolted or welded to the vehicle frame are considered to be part of the frame. There is really no excuse for any part of that ever coming loose. Improper installation or lack of maintenance is not an excuse. The legitimate failure points are the coupler ball or mount failing and the pivot points where the tow bar connects to the car.

Note that some tow bar companies cover their butt by putting short cables around the pivot pins between the tow bar and the base plate. Two piece coupler balls have been illegal for many years. Use a 2" ball with a 1" stem machined out of a solid piece of steel and design the bus hitch to be close to the car height so that a big offset is not required on the stinger.
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Dreamscape
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« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2007, 07:27:12 AM »

Stan,

Thanks for clarifying on how it's supposed to be done.

Paul
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superpickle
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« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2007, 09:42:11 AM »

Does make me wonder just How the old fart had it hooked up  Huh

I have seen peeps with Both chains dragging and sparking like hell , made me very un easy to be close to them , for sure...  Roll Eyes

We will ALWAYS be at the mercy of the IDIOTS that think they can use Cruise to go in the back and make a sandwich...  Angry
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« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2007, 07:49:44 PM »

Does make me wonder just How the old fart had it hooked up  Huh

I have seen peeps with Both chains dragging and sparking like hell , made me very un easy to be close to them , for sure...  Roll Eyes

We will ALWAYS be at the mercy of the IDIOTS that think they can use Cruise to go in the back and make a sandwich...  Angry

Paul,
I don't know who started that nasty rumor! It is a bold face LIE!! I do not go to the back to make a sandwich! I don't even have a fridge!




I set the cruise so I can go to the back and pee! LOL!
Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2007, 09:20:37 PM »

Does make me wonder just How the old fart had it hooked up  Huh

I have seen peeps with Both chains dragging and sparking like hell , made me very un easy to be close to them , for sure...  Roll Eyes

We will ALWAYS be at the mercy of the IDIOTS that think they can use Cruise to go in the back and make a sandwich...  Angry

Paul,
I don't know who started that nasty rumor! It is a bold face LIE!! I do not go to the back to make a sandwich! I don't even have a fridge!




I set the cruise so I can go to the back and pee! LOL!
Grin  BK  Grin

Oh... OK, thats Different.. NEVER MIND  Grin
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« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2007, 05:22:11 AM »

     What is everyones feelings about safety CHAINS vs. safety Cables?  We use cables. I think I heard or read somewhere that cables are less apt to snap or break under a hard load than a chain.  Opinions, comments, BTDTs?  Jack
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« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2007, 06:16:57 AM »

Depends on the cable or chain size. Either is fine if they are properly sized for the application.

I saw a s&s with what looked like a dog chain for safety chains - I hope he never needed them!

I was told by a state trooper that the SC law did not require safety chains - only required the towed vehicle must remain attached to the tow vehicle. There is no reduction in responsibility if the towed vehicle separates from the tow vehicle regardless of the safety chain use or lack there of.

Personally, I cross the chains under the hitch to cradle the trailer tongue if there is a separation.
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« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2007, 07:18:09 AM »



Personally, I cross the chains under the hitch to cradle the trailer tongue if there is a separation.

I thought everybody did this. Also the chains should be tight enough to prevent the trailer tongue from touching the ground if it comes unhooked. As long as the chains are crossed, it is impossible to get them too tight.
Richard

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« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2007, 07:32:41 AM »

  We use the coiled 3/8" diameter safety cables (6000# rating). We wrap the coils around the arms of the towbar and cross them under the hitch before attaching them to the bus. I tested this configuration by connecting everything then unhitched the towbar and pushed the car backwards. As the cables tightened up the towbar remained off the ground about 2" below the ball on the hitch.  Jack
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« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2007, 05:37:23 PM »

Quote
I thought everybody did this. Also the chains should be tight enough to prevent the trailer tongue from touching the ground if it comes unhooked. As long as the chains are crossed, it is impossible to get them too tight.

At least one member was not aware of crossing the chains. I think the second part of your sentence is only true if the chains are equally spaced at both ends. If they are wide spaced on the towed vehicle and close to the ball on the towing vehicle you need a little bit of slack.
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Dreamscape
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« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2007, 05:52:39 PM »

Quote
I thought everybody did this. Also the chains should be tight enough to prevent the trailer tongue from touching the ground if it comes unhooked. As long as the chains are crossed, it is impossible to get them too tight.

At least one member was not aware of crossing the chains. I think the second part of your sentence is only true if the chains are equally spaced at both ends. If they are wide spaced on the towed vehicle and close to the ball on the towing vehicle you need a little bit of slack.

That would be me.  Grin I have never towed anything behind our bus, or even towed a car behind anything. So this is all new and good information for me. Someday we might tow a toad, so this will help. Thanks for the information.

Paul
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