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Thread: It's Time to Test the Emergency Breakaway Switch on Your Trailer

  1. Print this Post   #11
    Senior Member CoveredWagon's Avatar
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    Oct 2016
    USA - FL

    Re: It's Time to Test the Emergency Breakaway Switch on Your Trailer

    I checked mine yesterday. Let me tell you, it ain't gonna fall out by it self. I was sure I was going to break it before it came out, but being at the National Rally, I figured I could get parts. Well it finally pulled out and all worked.
    Dave Carleen and Bunny (our ShihTzu)
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  2. Print this Post   #12
    Moderator danemayer's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    USA - CO

    Re: It's Time to Test the Emergency Breakaway Switch on Your Trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by TXBobcat View Post
    ... when he went to insert the plastic wedge back into the device it immediately melted the plastic wedge. The box got so hot and would not turn off that he had to cut the wire to the brakes. He put in a new emergency switch.. So not saying this will happen to anyone but be aware that if you do have a plastic wedge you could have a similar problem...


    From that description, I would say there was a problem that needed to be fixed. It's probably a very good thing that the problem was found during a test, and not on the road.

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  3. Print this Post   #13
    August 29, 2018 porthole's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
    USA - NJ

    Re: It's Time to Test the Emergency Breakaway Switch on Your Trailer

    Iíve typically test mine yearly, usually by snagging a piece of firewood or something else in the bed.

    That said, a spare breakaway switch is one of the very few spare items I carry in the trailer. Ever see one melt?
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  4. Print this Post   #14
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2014
    USA - TX

    Re: It's Time to Test the Emergency Breakaway Switch on Your Trailer

    Had the camper 5 years, guess I should check it before next trip, Thanks!

    2015 Big Country 3950FB
    2016 Ram Longhorn 3500

  5. Print this Post   #15
    Senior Member wdk450's Avatar
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    May 2008
    USA - CA

    Re: It's Time to Test the Emergency Breakaway Switch on Your Trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by danemayer View Post
    When's the last time you checked the Emergency Breakaway Switch? That's the one that energizes your trailer brakes if the trailer were to separate from the tow vehicle. There's a ripcord (wire) from the pinbox that you attach to your tow vehicle when hooking up.

    Mine was last tested almost 3 years ago when disc brakes were installed. Yesterday, I had the bearings packed and brake pads replaced. When the tech went to finish on the brakes, he pulled the rip cord - and nothing happened. So he hit the switch a few times in case it was stuck. Nothing. So he stuck his screwdriver in to short the contacts and the brakes fired up.

    I don't know how long I was towing in an unsafe condition. Possibly thousands of miles.

    So today I got a new switch and installed it. Tested it and it works as it's supposed to.

    From here on, I'll be checking the switch operation more frequently. Just pull the wire and the brakes should immediately activate. If you're hitched, it's like doing a pull test, but you don't manually hold the brake controller.

    Don't leave the brakes energized for more than a minute or so. It's bad for the drum brakes and bad for the disc brake hydraulic pump. And you can run your battery down.

    So, I have to wonder if I'm the only one who hasn't been testing the breakaway switch?
    Thanks so much for the safety reminder. I don't think I have EVER done this, and it should be on my Pre-Departure checklist. It will be now.

    I am in a preparation period of getting my Bighorn back on the road after 2 years in one place helping to care for an elderly sister. She is in a full care home now, so I am not needed here. But my adult daughter in Sand Diego is having her heart wear out after having been born with a life-threatening congenital heart defect. She has no family that lives in the area. So I am moving the Bighorn to the Thousand Trails resorts in the area to help her.

    Anyways, after your posting, I went out to the disconnect switch, pulled on the lanyard, and found the pin stuck in place. It took a couple of sprays of Tri-Flow lubricant an some tugging to get the pin free and hear the disk brakes hydraulic actuator pump come on. I sprayed the pin and the hole with some more Tri-Flow before putting it back together.

    Thanks again!!!
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  6. Print this Post   #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    USA - FL

    Re: It's Time to Test the Emergency Breakaway Switch on Your Trailer

    Most of you reading this post are probably going to laugh at me here, but i've got a recent story to share on my experience with the emergency breakaway switch - here it goes - as I was leaving Mayport Naval Station (Pelican Roost - waterfront site) this weekend. While moving forward and exiting the campsite, I made a fairly tight turn to the right onto the tar road when my trailer tires locked-up and a "brake disconnect" alert flashed on my truck screen. WTF? Never experienced this before. So, i have the entire road blocked while i am in the truck bed and also checking out the rear brakes until i finally figure out the breakaway switch line was disconnected (i had the line a bit too tight - haha). Attempting to maintain my composure (everyone is watching me pulling this beautyfull Landmark) I had to search google to figure out how to re-insert the toogle and reset the switch. About this time, five different came by to ask what was wrong and to offer assistance because a line of ten vehicles were waiting to get by. Nobody had experience on a breakaway switch. Thankfully, the first search was a comment from e-trailer saying to re-install the toogle back into the switch. Once i did that, the loud noise went away, the drivers dashboard alert went and away, and then all was well. What a weird way to test your breakaway switch! In closing, my response to my unhappy bride (who was thinking - OMG whats broke now, this is embarrassing) well dear - you know, i was just testing to see if my breakaway switch works. It past the test, lets move on now. Then I got that look from her - yeah right. Too funny.
    2016 Landmark 365 Newport
    Morryde 8k IS, 8k PSI disc brakes
    2016 RAM 3500 DRW 4.1
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  7. Print this Post   #17
    Moderator cookie's Avatar
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    May 2007
    USA - WI

    Re: It's Time to Test the Emergency Breakaway Switch on Your Trailer

    Your not the first person that this has happened to.
    You might consider adding something like this.

    Dave and Mary
    and C. J.
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  8. Print this Post   #18
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2016
    USA - NY

    Re: It's Time to Test the Emergency Breakaway Switch on Your Trailer

    Had same thing happen like JMP very 1st time we went solo w/ DW's parents 5er back in '03. Unlike him tho, we were pulling out of our campsite. After that, always made sure the cable had plenty of room. Shortly after we got the BC, switched out the stock cable to one that cookie has a link to. Added an eyebolt in place of reg bolt on hitch handle to attach clip to. Coiled cable not in way of anything to catch on. So far, so good.

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