• Click here to view guides for helpful forum features.

Breakaway cable

Page 2 - Passionate about caravans & motorhome? Join our community to share that passion with a global audience!
Nov 6, 2005
4,837
467
20,935
If the swan neck is detachable where is the logic. Yes there is protection if the hitch comes adrift from the ball but none of the swan neck becomes detached. The eyelet on mine is adjacent to where the swan neck enters and is therefore perminant.

John
Mine isn't detachable - it's an "electrically deployable" type where the towbar replaces the rear chassis member and the swan-neck swings down into position. The swan-neck has the 13-pin socket in an integral casting and no bolts accessible to add an extra eyelet.
 
Mar 17, 2020
208
132
635
That reply suggests the poster is expecting an eyelet on the swan neck? IME they are always part of the bar: on my present and last cars (both had Westfalia detachable) the hole for the clip is/was on the side of the hole into which the swan neck fitted. On our first car (all Passat estates incidently) the towbar was a Thule and there was a stout squared wire loop on the bar itself.
It's not a solution I would use if any alternative but something like this is what i was referring to. (With closed eye)cable.jpg
 
Oct 8, 2006
1,169
181
19,235
Mine isn't detachable - it's an "electrically deployable" type where the towbar replaces the rear chassis member and the swan-neck swings down into position. The swan-neck has the 13-pin socket in an integral casting and no bolts accessible to add an extra eyelet.
It may put itself into position electrically, but have you been on your back and got underneath to have a look? The Westfalia detachable on our Passat has an eye on the side of the swan-neck fitting aperture but until I got underneath and had a look I had no idea it was there.
 
Jun 16, 2020
1,750
560
1,935
Mine isn't detachable - it's an "electrically deployable" type where the towbar replaces the rear chassis member and the swan-neck swings down into position. The swan-neck has the 13-pin socket in an integral casting and no bolts accessible to add an extra eyelet.
Swan neck is what was mentioned, Some are fixed, some are detachable a few are deployable, I thought the discussion was about detachable. However, if I had a deployable one, I would be asking myself how fail safe they are, and if they needed the extra security of a breakaway cable to a fixed chassis point.


John
 
Jun 16, 2020
1,750
560
1,935
This article covers the topic nicely. But only reinforces, not alters, what has been said already. It does mention the ‘new 2018 standard’. But fails to say who’s standard it is and if it is advisory or leglislation.

Nevertheless, it is put well I think.

John
 
Nov 11, 2009
12,005
2,233
40,935
This article covers the topic nicely. But only reinforces, not alters, what has been said already. It does mention the ‘new 2018 standard’. But fails to say who’s standard it is and if it is advisory or leglislation.

Nevertheless, it is put well I think.

John
I gave up on two points. One, how anyone can discuss standards without the faintest reference to them. Secondly this piece of loose text:

“Hence, if the car and caravan become separated by the clip failing, the handbrake on the caravan is not engaged.”
 
Oct 21, 2020
207
101
135
I’ve found all the information confusing tbh.
On our towbar I have a plate with a drilled hole (part of the bar), I have a clip on the brakeaway cable and I’m going to continue to clip it to the car using that.
Job done.

Kev
 
  • Like
Reactions: JezzerB
Nov 6, 2005
4,837
467
20,935
It may put itself into position electrically, but have you been on your back and got underneath to have a look? The Westfalia detachable on our Passat has an eye on the side of the swan-neck fitting aperture but until I got underneath and had a look I had no idea it was there.
Yes I've been on my back to have a look - there's no loop on the moveable swan-neck or the cross beam, the only bolts on the cross beam are at each end and too high up to reach in practice - when the law changed, VW used a modified swan-neck with an eyelet incorporated in the casting for ongoing production.

I don't know what Dutch/German owners of earlier Touaregs (and Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne) do in the absence of an eyelet.
 
Nov 6, 2005
4,837
467
20,935
Swan neck is what was mentioned, Some are fixed, some are detachable a few are deployable, I thought the discussion was about detachable. However, if I had a deployable one, I would be asking myself how fail safe they are, and if they needed the extra security of a breakaway cable to a fixed chassis point.


John
I don't have concerns about the security/reliablity of the moveable part but I can see that just looping the cable round the towball could "bounce" loose if the caravan detached from the ball.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jcloughie
May 29, 2018
280
42
4,685
Cheers for all the replies guys. I'm having bigger issues with my old friend towing weights and limits however. :rolleyes:
 
  • Haha
Reactions: Hutch
Aug 24, 2020
120
62
635
On this subject there's something else I've never got a definitive answer to: Given that a carabiner is just a super-strong spring clip (unless it's a screw gate type of course) - and you can buy things marketed as carabiners that are punier than breakaway cable spring clips and are really only intended as key rings - what should I actually be looking for if I want to replace my breakaway cable spring clip with a carabiner? I could get one intended for rock climbing I suppose, but that seems a bit overkill when all it really needs is to be guaranteed to not break before the breakaway does.

I'm currently using a spring clip in wrap-around mode, but if I could clip on to my towbar's clippy eye, it would be one less low-grovelling task for the creaky knees and hips...
 
Oct 8, 2006
1,169
181
19,235
Visit a chandlery - we tripped over one called Arthur Beale on Shaftesbury Ave in London but sadly due to high rents etc they finally closed their doors on 24th June after nearly 500 years in business.
THIS might show you the sort of thing but watch out as there is a lot of variance in breaking strain - some of this size are 300Kg, others 900Kg - but they do work!
 
Jun 16, 2020
1,750
560
1,935
On this subject there's something else I've never got a definitive answer to: Given that a carabiner is just a super-strong spring clip (unless it's a screw gate type of course) - and you can buy things marketed as carabiners that are punier than breakaway cable spring clips and are really only intended as key rings - what should I actually be looking for if I want to replace my breakaway cable spring clip with a carabiner? I could get one intended for rock climbing I suppose, but that seems a bit overkill when all it really needs is to be guaranteed to not break before the breakaway does.

I'm currently using a spring clip in wrap-around mode, but if I could clip on to my towbar's clippy eye, it would be one less low-grovelling task for the creaky knees and hips...
If you use your present clip on a fixed point it should be through the point and clipped back on itself. Personally I would get a carabiner type, I agree there are cheap rubbish ones. There are plenty of specified ones or just get a recognised complete cable one like Alko. Be aware, that some are difficult to attach to the handbrake end.

I believe the carabiner simply has to be too strong. It is the breaking strength of the cable which determines the point at which it snaps after applying the brake.


John
 
  • Like
Reactions: Hutch

JTQ

May 7, 2005
2,297
381
19,935
what should I actually be looking for if I want to replace my breakaway cable spring clip with a carabiner?
You must not look for anything other than the specific breakaway cable with its matched carabiner already fixed to it, the whole entity being designed to work as one, giving adequate and not over strong failure loadings.

It is exactly what its name states, a breakway cable, designed to break after doing the brake application task.
 
Aug 24, 2020
120
62
635
Be aware, that some are difficult to attach to the handbrake end.
Yes, I had that experience when I fitted the current one, after the original breakaway cable did its job and needed replacing!

I think you're right, a whole new unit from a reputable supplier is the way to go
 
Nov 11, 2009
12,005
2,233
40,935
On this subject there's something else I've never got a definitive answer to: Given that a carabiner is just a super-strong spring clip (unless it's a screw gate type of course) - and you can buy things marketed as carabiners that are punier than breakaway cable spring clips and are really only intended as key rings - what should I actually be looking for if I want to replace my breakaway cable spring clip with a carabiner? I could get one intended for rock climbing I suppose, but that seems a bit overkill when all it really needs is to be guaranteed to not break before the breakaway does.

I'm currently using a spring clip in wrap-around mode, but if I could clip on to my towbar's clippy eye, it would be one less low-grovelling task for the creaky knees and hips...
I used a screw gate climbing one by Pretzl. It allowed me to fit it through the cars attachment hole and since the breakaway cable was a spring clip i looped it back on itself. But the advise is as so often with caravans confusing and/or contradictory. Had I seen categoric advice that spring clips could be clipped directly to the towbar attachment hole I would have done so. Yes I could have fitted a new brake away cable but I was satisfied with my arrangement.
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
2,297
381
19,935
I believe the carabiner simply has to be too strong. It is the breaking strength of the cable which determines the point at which it snaps after applying the brake.
Interesting aspect, does anyone actually know which "link in the system" is by design the weak point of the Carabiner type?
I suspect that might depend on the type used? Al-Ko use a hook that you have to close onto the handbrake's hole, whereas some non-genuine ones use a "key ring" link.
See PC article on fitting replacement cable

I have only seen two breakaway cables that were used as intended, both had failed at the dog lead clip, but I never knew if the owners ever looped these as intended or not.

I have not seen a "used" carabiner type to note where this had failed, a genuine or non-genuine one.

Intuitively I would suspect it is unfolding the swaged-on hook, at the handbrake bottom end that you close to form an eye, on fitting. LINK to genuine Ak-ko product. Or simple unravel the keyring type.

I have only once needed to ever fit one, a genuine Al-Ko one, closing the hook was challenging but achieved with a genuine Mole grip. [because a wire strand had broken loose in the looped area, and I thought I ought to replace it]
 
Jun 16, 2020
1,750
560
1,935
Interesting aspect, does anyone actually know which "link in the system" is by design the weak point of the Carabiner type?
I suspect that might depend on the type used? Al-Ko use a hook that you have to close onto the handbrake's hole, whereas some non-genuine ones use a "key ring" link.
See PC article on fitting replacement cable

I have only seen two breakaway cables that were used as intended, both had failed at the dog lead clip, but I never knew if the owners ever looped these as intended or not.

I have not seen a "used" carabiner type to note where this had failed, a genuine or non-genuine one.

Intuitively I would suspect it is unfolding the swaged-on hook, at the handbrake bottom end that you close to form an eye, on fitting. LINK to genuine Ak-ko product. Or simple unravel the keyring type.

I have only once needed to ever fit one, a genuine Al-Ko one, closing the hook was challenging but achieved with a genuine Mole grip. [because a wire strand had broken loose in the looped area, and I thought I ought to replace it]
I was careful to say ‘I believe’. This is because I have been informed so in the past. Also. Carabiners are sold with a minimum loading strain. Some (non Alko‘ cables come with ’U’ bolt fittings for the handbrake end and that cable is sold by its breaking strain.

I won’t pretend to know but I would think, that once the load necessary to do the job was determined, that the cable would be the easiest and most reliable strain to use.

Twice I have stupidly driven off without disengaging the cable. On both occasions the cable did is job and snapped. Both ends were intact. (Carabiner type).

Just my opinion. But there are instances like you say of the clip on type clip failing. Like you, I don’t know if they were fitted correctly.

This Caravan Guard video also states it is the cable itself that is designed to snap. (See part way down the page).

John
 
  • Like
Reactions: JTQ
Nov 11, 2009
12,005
2,233
40,935
I was careful to say ‘I believe’. This is because I have been informed so in the past. Also. Carabiners are sold with a minimum loading strain. Some (non Alko‘ cables come with ’U’ bolt fittings for the handbrake end and that cable is sold by its breaking strain.

I won’t pretend to know but I would think, that once the load necessary to do the job was determined, that the cable would be the easiest and most reliable strain to use.

Twice I have stupidly driven off without disengaging the cable. On both occasions the cable did is job and snapped. Both ends were intact. (Carabiner type).

Just my opinion. But there are instances like you say of the clip on type clip failing. Like you, I don’t know if they were fitted correctly.

This Caravan Guard video also states it is the cable itself that is designed to snap. (See part way down the page).

John
Not all carabiners are sold with a specified breaking load. Looking on Amazon there are many that look stronger than key holders and fir marine use but they seem to be sold on dimensions of the stainless steel used. The Pretzl screw gate that I purchased had a 25kn/2500kg specification in the longest axis with the screw gate closed. Would that be sufficient to ensure that the “ weakest” link in the breakaway system would work? I really don’t know.
 
Jun 16, 2020
1,750
560
1,935
Not all carabiners are sold with a specified breaking load. Looking on Amazon there are many that look stronger than key holders and fir marine use but they seem to be sold on dimensions of the stainless steel used. The Pretzl screw gate that I purchased had a 25kn/2500kg specification in the longest axis with the screw gate closed. Would that be sufficient to ensure that the “ weakest” link in the breakaway system would work? I really don’t know.
Yes, I think that is why people are suggesting to go for the recognised make. I said earlier that my 2015 van came with the dog lead clip. I immediately changed it for a recognised carabiner one, can’t remember which but it was an established seller/manufacturer of industrial trailers. Nevertheless. My dealer changed it for an Alko carabiner type telling me it was so my warrentee was not invalidated. Not sure if that would be a fact, but they did it FoC so I was happy.

John
 
  • Like
Reactions: otherclive
Aug 24, 2020
120
62
635
Twice I have stupidly driven off without disengaging the cable. On both occasions the cable did is job and snapped. Both ends were intact. (Carabiner type).
That was my experience on the one occasion I've "triggered" one, that was with a spring clip but the cable snapped halfway along its length. In my case I'd forgotten to do the jockey wheel winding check to ensure the hitch was secure - and it wasn't. Luckily it came loose going over a bump on the storage site, so minimum speed and no other vehicles around.

I looked at a carabiner type online yesterday and it was described as the handbrake end having a "burst" ring, which I assumed meant that the key ring type thing would be the weak point and "burst". But I'm open minded to be corrected.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts