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Old 06-30-2010, 09:29 AM   #1
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Safety chain length

HI -

Everything I've read on safety chains is pretty ambiguous, out of necessity, but I've got a concern about the chains that are on my new 26BH. They seem awfully short, to me at least. When hooked up crossed underneath the hitch as is most always recommended, there's only a little slack when the TV and TT are lined up straight. Crossed, there's practically no slack at all. When I brought it home on Friday, I removed the friction bar before backing into my driveway, but every time I got any angle beyond about 10-20* between the TV and TT there was pretty significant 'protestations' coming from the hitch area, so I straightened out and backed in using a series of small turns then straightening out. Not terribly efficient. I'm pretty sure that the noise was from the chains.

So the question is, just how much 'slack' should there be in the chains when properly hooked up?

Secondly... I know I need to remove the friction bar to back up, but NOT the WD bars or unhook the chains... correct?

Thanks,

B
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:51 AM   #2
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Ooops... couldn't edit. Meant to say when hooked up Uncrossed, there's a little slack, and that's how the techs had it. The guy doing the walk through with me changed them to crossed, which took out practically all slack.
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Old 06-30-2010, 10:29 AM   #3
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There should be a little more slack than what you have. I need to add 10" to mine so I will just replace them with grade 8 chains of the right length.
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:41 AM   #4
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http://www.easternmarine.com/Safety-...-Cables-Hooks/

I was somewhat curious what length was standard or required. I have to twist mine once because they are a bit too long. The link I found above shows the weight your towing, hitch class and the chain required. I hope this helps a little.
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Old 06-30-2010, 02:47 PM   #5
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Interesting ... I'd wander back to the dealer who set you up and have them either replace or add a few links to your chain. They should be crossed and you should be able to easily turn without having the chains tighten up.

First, though, hook up as if you were going somewhere and have someone watch the hitch set-up as you back up, turn etc.. take a look at how much tension is on those chains and see if it's your WD bars that are making noise.

You're correct with removing the Sway-bar (you'll break it if you turn too tight with it on). I'm pretty sure the noise you're hearing is more than likely the Weight Distribution bars 'groaning' from the strain of the turn. I get the same thing; the tighter the turn, the more they complain! I can occasionally hear them whimper while driving. All normal, I believe.
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:24 PM   #6
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Merlinspop,

I have the 26BH also and my chains are also shorter than I would like and I cannot cross them. I have heard that in some states the cross is law... but I have not verified this. Bottom line... I believe both of us need new (longer) chains installed.
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Old 06-30-2010, 10:29 PM   #7
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On our 226 the chains were also very tight when crossed, uncrossed and there was barely any slack. I replaced them with longer chain of the same grade.

I am curious where the crossed thing came from, does anyone know why and where that came from? What advantage is it supposed to have?

Mark
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:06 PM   #8
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My understanding is crossing the chains forms a "cradle" of sorts that prevents the tongue from hitting the pavement in the event of connection failure.
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:24 AM   #9
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That's right - the intent is to try and stop the tongue from hitting the road if the ball ever lets go. I have serious doubts that would actually work but who am I to argue conventional thinking, eh?
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:35 PM   #10
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I think the problem is with the design of the hitch that Ford uses in their tow package. The loops that the chains hook to are several inches forward of the (forgive me if I get terms confused) receiver. If the loops were adjacent, there probably would be ok.

I'm taking it in tomorrow for this and also because the propane tanks are installed backward. I read the manual and it clearly says that the tanks "must" be installed with the valves facing away from the trailer. Mine face it. So they'll be fixing it tomorrow. They wanted me to bring it in after next wednesday, but ive got another work trip coming up, so it's showing up tomorrow.

B
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