View Full Version : Test Your Emergency Break Away Switch

08-01-2014, 01:16 PM
HI folks,

I would like to suggest that everyone test the "Emergency Break Away Switch" that is mounted on the pin box of the 5ers or frame of TT's. I don't mean hook up and tow, just go out and try to pull the pin out. If you can pull it out, chances are everything is OK. But if it has been a long time, like forever, you may not get the pin to release. Don't forget to put the pin back in, as your brakes are energized and will run battery down with the pin out.

I was going to check mine last week... just because I had not checked it before. Guess what... I cannot pull the pin out. Bought a new one at TSC ($15) and just installed it. The new one has an extra wire (ground) for an LED that will tell you it is working if you pull the pin. I may be getting on in years, but I can still lift 100# or better, and I have not been able to get the pin to release from the old switch yet. So guess I will cut it open and take a look inside.

Jim M

UPDATE..I took the old one apart, it was clean inside, contacts looked as thou they had never been used, not even a scratch on them. Pin that pulls out has perfect 90* corners that are mated against almost same on the contact metals. I put it back together and hooked cable to hitch on truck, I had almost my entire body weight, 200#+, on the cable before it let the pin pull out. After pulling it one time it then became easier to remove... aprox 75-100# pull I am guessing. So it might take a lot more weight the first time to knock the corners off the pin.

If you test it, be careful pulling the first time... it might let you fall down when it releases. :)
Jim M

08-01-2014, 02:14 PM
Hey Jim, thanks for the tip. I didn't have that problem because while this dummy was doing backing practice, it hung up, pulled out and locked the brakes. It has worked fairly easy ever since (and I have changed where I hook the cable).

08-01-2014, 02:29 PM
I'm not saying not to check and test, but I guarantee that if it is ever needed the pin will come out or the cable will break. LOL Its a funny visual right now, but i'm sure its not funny if it happens. I intend to look at this during my next rig prep. That would be he# if your trailer was chasing you down the road.

08-01-2014, 04:07 PM
Hey Jim,

What's the date on your RV's inspection sticker. I'm wondering if you got your money's worth.

08-01-2014, 06:03 PM
Hey Jim,

What's the date on your RV's inspection sticker. I'm wondering if you got your money's worth.

Not yet.. not due till April 2015... I keep track of those. I was licensed for about 34 years. It's a good thing.. or it used to be... but now ?? Depends on where you go I guess as to whether you get inspected or just buy a sticker. It will be embedded with license plate renewal starting sometime in 2015 I understand. Get your inspection, get special form to take to get license renewal or it will be put on the records of VIN on line by inspector.

Jim M

08-01-2014, 06:14 PM
I was under the impression that one of the tests for the RV inspection is to pull the break-away switch. I wonder if they pulled yours last time.

08-01-2014, 06:16 PM
The brake control is one of the few spare parts I carry in the trailer. They just go bad as Jim found out, they can go bad if the pin is pulled for any length of time or they can just fall apart from age.

I tested mine last year in a Walmart parking lot, on a very busy morning ....................

08-01-2014, 06:29 PM
I was under the impression that one of the tests for the RV inspection is to pull the break-away switch. I wonder if they pulled yours last time.

I'm not sure if it is part of the inspection or not. I can assure you he did not pull it on mine,, don't know what he does for others. I have known him a long time and he looks at lights and I show him they work.

08-01-2014, 08:03 PM
I tested mine last month at Indian Springs state park . When you pull into the park to register ,there is a sharp turn and then a hill...when I made the turn ,the breakaway must have gotten stuck and pulled out. the truck was having a hard time pulling the rig up the hill. The led on the break control was flashing so I got out and saw the pulled pin.


11-21-2014, 12:15 PM
I tested mine inadvertently. I have it on a backpack loop ring on the cable. I hooked it to the tie down ring in the back of my truck, avoiding the hitch completely, as you should. The problem was I was making a routine right turn and the cable was obviously too short and bam, it pulled and locked her up. Works !!! :)

11-10-2015, 08:35 PM
I was looking back on a closed thread https://www.heartlandowners.org/showthread.php/24412-Safety-Breakaway-Switch-use-when-parked?highlight=Safety+Breakaway+Switch+use+when+ parked and I found a similar situation.

My wife was taking her drivers licensing road test and was required to activate the safety emergency brake to demonstrate it worked. We knew that she would, just that both her instructor and I could not pull out the plug to activate it prior to her test. I asked her tell him I would have it replaced (I already had a scheduled appointment I) the next day. So I found out no test of the safety switch, no drivers exam. Trailer had to be in working order for the test.

I told her that if she had to, (she did) then climb into the box and place a screwdriver inside the wire loop (as to not cut her fingers) so she while pulling she ended on her butt at the front of the box. She had a laugh about that afterwards.

So now she has activated it, she hears a grinding noise (the pump was running), gave it no thought, climbs into the truck, test the brakes, it works. Climbs back into the box to replace the plastic plug, smells something burning, still hears a grinding noise, replaces the plug, still smells smoke and hears the noise. Places her hand beside the controller, it's hot to the touch and is now melting. She pulls the plug again and sees the end is melted.

Between her examiner and herself the decision is made to cut the cut the wiring, just her lousy luck she has to re-do the test and stress for another day as the trailer had to be in working order for the test.

Next day off to the scheduled appointment, the service center finds that the contacts fused together, causing the switch to melt. The load on the switch was found to be 26 amps. So 2 new switches were married together to share the load and a 30 amp circuit breaker was added to ensure no problem with the drivers exam two days later.

This was supposed to be a temporary fix, but I think that now I know that everything is protected I'm just going to leave it alone.

Just wanted to let my fellow Landmark owners to test or measure the amperage of their circuit for your own peace of mind. :)

11-11-2015, 08:21 AM
Jim . . . must not have had your Wheaties for breakfast that day! :cool:

I also tested ours out the first time we took our Prowler out last spring when unhitching at the campground.

Unhitched the kingpin and pulled out . . . ooppsseeyyy!!!

Took me a few tries when we were leaving to get the brakes to disengage even though I had put the plug back in right after it pulled out.

11-11-2015, 09:23 AM
My switch pulls out so easy it has deployed twice in the last year by accident when "stuff" has shifted in the bed of the truck while slowly turning. All I can tell you is it works. Wished mine took a #100 to pull the pin out.