View Full Version : Breakaway cable

09-26-2008, 05:58 PM
Hello everyone

I am new to fifth wheels and new to this forum. Two Saturdays ago we took delivery of our brand new (2008) 2800RLS. So far we love it. We are taking it on its first shakedown cruise in October. I have a question about the breakaway cable. During my PDI the guy at the dealership said to connect the breakaway cable to the hitch (saddle) arm. That doesn't really seem right to me so I thought I would ask the experts. So, where do you guys hook up your breakaway cable?

09-26-2008, 06:12 PM
Hi GS,

I put mine around my hitch handle.


09-26-2008, 06:50 PM
Hi GS,

Welcome to the Fourm... Welcome to the the new life of Fifth Wheel RV's.

Yes the Break-away cable can attach to the hitch... It is there to activate the brakes... should the Fifth Wheel King Pin fail... or for any reason the Fifth Wheel brakes away from the Truck.

One more note, the Key attached to the Cable.. can come out... and be put back in the Break-away system. So when the time comes... you have forgotten to un-attach that cable from the hitch or where ever you have attached it... don't fret...

Just look quickly about... taking note if anyone has seen what you've done... (Do you detect some experience here) and put that key back inside the break-away device. It's not broken... it's designed to do that ! Yeah... I've been there - done that...

09-26-2008, 06:59 PM
Same here.

09-26-2008, 08:05 PM
Welcome to the forum. As mentioned above the cable is to set the brakes on your trailer if it becomes disconnected from your TV (Tow Vehicle).. Connect it to a place around your hitch but not to a place that it will cause the key to be removed if you make a sharp turn in either direction. I have a B&W Hitch and it has a pin that keeps the handle closed. I put the pin through the loop in the cable and into the hitch handle.

One piece of information. A friend of mine was talking about how he checked to make sure the pin was locked into the hitch. He would pull on the emergency cable and pull the key out. Get into his truck and do the pull test. That was all good. Breaks fully locked and pin did not come out of the hitch. We asked why he did it that way. Just use the manual on the controller. He said that was faster.. He went to insert the plastic Key into the box on the hitch and it melted in his hand.

When the key is pulled it puts a complete circuit on the electric breaks. This puts a high amperage through the box where the key goes and with all the heat build up it was so hot it melted the key and he had to cut the wire to stop the current flow.

Sorry about the long rant but I thought this might be informative.

Chuck Richard
09-26-2008, 08:31 PM
When I picked up my BH the dealer also hooked the cable over the handle. But when I read the hitch literature it clearly states never to hook the cable to the hitch. I suppose this in case the hitch mounting brackets fail the hitch and the trailer would fall off together with no brakes activated. That said I can't imagine the odds for that to happen, just thought I would note what the hitch people say.

09-26-2008, 10:35 PM
GS, as stated above, I just put the loop over the hitch release handle. Never had a problem with it. Bob:D

09-26-2008, 10:55 PM
I have a draw tite hitch. The is a latch that locks the pull release handle, and you can put a padlock on that latch to keep idiots from playing games while you are in the store. (I had a friend who did not lock his hitch and someone pulled the release handle while he was paying for gas. He came out without checking his hitch and when he pulled off he dropped the 5er on the bed of his truck. ouch) I always padlock my latch and put the brake-away cable loop on the padlock. Then when I take the lock off to uphook I don't forget to release the break-away cable. Please note that everyone has their own system, and whatever works is right for you.

09-26-2008, 11:39 PM
My dad and us (about 30 years ago) having supper on the way home. we were in a restraunt in Carstairs alta. We came out from dinner and took off for home. When dad got to stop sign. QUESS what come unhooked. :eek:
Even with tention on the bars there is still play on pin if sitting in right position.

Back then people and trailers were not designed the way they are today with 800 to 1000 lbs hitch weights

Trailer and hitch were on the road and we were scared as we did not know what happened. Some farm kids had taken the pin out of reciever and hitch slid out when brakes were applied.

As of that time on I ALWAYS check my wdh hook up completely when I stop and leave my unit. Even when someone is in it and I just went in to pay for gas.

A quick look is all it takes and I feel safer then.

09-27-2008, 01:52 PM
WOW! Great responses! Thanks everyone. This gives me what I need. Now, one more question. I bought a teflon pad to go over my kingpin so I don't have to grease the saddle. Pulled the rig the other day with it on and worked great. What about the King Pin? Do you grease it? Or leave it alone?

Thanks again for all the great responses.

09-27-2008, 08:17 PM
I was told last week by the owner of the busiest independant rv repair shop in this area that has a really good reputation that you still need to lube the pin. The teflon only takes care of the flat surface. This is not what I wanted to hear. I haven't been lubing it but I guess I will put a light coat on the pin.


09-28-2008, 08:40 AM
I always lube my king pin and all moving parts on the hitch. I will close the hitch and lube all exposed parts of the hitch assembly. There is also a huge pin that goes fore and aft and holds the two parts of the hitch together. This is the pin that the top part rocks on. I heard some squeaking one time when I pulled into a park, started investigating and found that that pin was bone dry. So I pulled it and it was pretty rusted. I cleaned it up with some brake clean spray and put a coat of grease on it. Quieted right down. These things are not maintenance free, and anyplace you have metal to metal contact, should be greased.

09-28-2008, 09:22 AM
I do not lube my king pin as such but I do lube the jaws and all moving parts on my hitch thereby also sufficiently lubing the king pin. The teflon pad is definitely better than having grease all over your fifth wheel and plate on your king pin. Also as has been stated it is not recommended to put your breakaway cable on your hitch, I was informed by a DOT trooper during an inspection, with my gooseneck not my camper, that the cable should not be attached to the hitch but directly to the truck somewhere. That is the official word however I still hook mine to the pin of the handle on my B&W just like was stated above.

09-28-2008, 09:38 AM
I have seen folks hook their breakaway cable to the rails that are attached to the bed. They take a carabeener and hook it through the slots in the rail and attach the cable to that. I think that is a good idea and plan on getting a carabeener to hook mine to.

09-28-2008, 10:29 AM
GS, I always grease the pin and the jaws on the hitch. Just grease the moving parts to prevent wear. Bob:D:D:eek:

09-28-2008, 09:06 PM
Breakaway cable

Fifth wheels

Do not loop over handle, can get a fine for this if caught
If you have a rail kit, the rails are an excellent place to hook it with a carabiner or loop it through itself
Me I use a carabiner in an available height adjustment hole on the hitch but not sure of the legality of where I hook
Ball hitch / pintle hitch

do not hook to safety chains - can get fined
do not hook to hitch stinger - can get fined
must be attached to truck or receiver, loop it through itself or get a carabiner and attach it to the same loops as you hook the safety chains, just don't use the safety chains to attach it

do not hook to safety chains - can get fined
must be attached to truck or receiver, loop it through itself or get a carabiner and attach it to the same loops as you hook the safety chains, just don't use the safety chains to attach it.
IIRC the breakaway cable is supposed to be able to pull out with 3 lbs of force, I've had some I couldn't pull throwing my entire 200 lbs behind it that would probably break the cast iron surrounding the handle on my Curt Q5 20k fifth wheel.