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Newby Question -- HammerLocks, Towing Hooks, Ford F150


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Figure A shows the hooks used on the safety cables. As the actual terminology is unknown to me, I'll just call the spring-loaded piece of metal the 'flap'.

Figure B shows the flap half open -- the gap available is a scant 3/8".

On the Ford F150 the cables hook onto an opening on a flat steel surface.

Figure C shows the difficulty in unhooking from the flat steel surface (shown in red): the flap can just barely scrape by.

Someone, somewhere, suggested that one permanently install two hammerlocks on the tow vehicle.

I find that the problem is now just aggravated and transferred to the hammerlocks (Figure D), which cannot be used to hook or unhook.

The answer seems obvious: shorten the flap (at the red mark) as shown in Figure E.

 

Is there any problem introduced by doing that?

Can the hooks be purchased with shorter flaps?

ANormalHook.jpg.3039ed36089ee63c5adb11499305b959.jpg

BSmallGap.jpg.c828e55e4e368ffc2d023994f848df35.jpg

CFlatBar.jpg.b43642c8ee6b8c2c48dfe95bb2c94571.jpg

DHammerLock.jpg.ee55323862d55b30e7ff70b65283de72.jpg

ENormalHook.jpg.ea770171f3f893a2d129717af964edf8.jpg

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Cedar,

 

 

 

Another solution is to add a couple of 3/8" stainless Quick Links to the truck safety chain eyes, and then attach your chains to them.  These are rated for a working load of 3,600 lbs and won't rust.  Or you could remove the safety hooks and add the Quick Links to the safety chains.   3/8" shackles can also be used.    Get the biggest links or shackles that will fit the chain.

 

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-3-8-in-Stainless-Steel-Quick-Link-42794/205883033

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John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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I just picked up our new trailer last week, when Phil hooked up the safety cables he hooked then up from the bottom of the receiver, that is he put the hooks in from the bottom side and not the top side into the safety holes on the receiver. I had never done it this way, but they do go in much easier and are much easier to remove. Not saying this will work better for you, but my Ram receiver it works much better and easier to hook and unhook. Personally I would rather have chains and not those curled up cables, they are not user friendly.

 

 

 

trainman

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Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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I've learned to do it the same way as Trainman, and it's much easier.  It's also much easier if you do it two handed - pull the cable tight with one hand so that the hook is loose and more easily maneuvered.

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Another solution is to add a couple of 3/8″ stainless Quick Links to the truck safety chain eyes, and then attach your chains to them. These are rated for a working load of 3,600 lbs and won’t rust.

---------------------------------------------

 

Be aware that two 3,600# will not meet the laws of all 50 states.   Some states require each safety cable or chain to be rated to the Gross Weight of the trailer.

 

RVIA provides THIS table of individual state laws for safety chains/cables.

 

For instance MA and NH.  Besides the US you need to consider requirements of the Canadian Provinces and Mexico if traveling there.

 

I just go with the full rating for each cable/fitting figuring I should be covered.

 

- Randy

 

 

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2018 LE2 STD #365


2018 GMC 2500HD SLT Duramax 4x4

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Another solution is to add a couple of 3/8″ stainless Quick Links to the truck safety chain eyes, and then attach your chains to them. These are rated for a working load of 3,600 lbs and won’t rust.

———————————————

 

I just go with the full rating for each cable/fitting figuring I should be covered.

 

– Randy

 

And you are right to do so.  Nobody should suggest using weak safety chains.  The question was how to make a hook with only a 3/8" opening fit the truck.  The Quick links do that.  Since each of those links is rated at 3,600 lbs working load, 7,200 lbs combined, and since the trailer has a max gross weight of 7,000 lbs, it seems reasonable that they would be sufficient, assuming they carried equal load during a disconnect.

 

My factory installed Oliver safety chains, I'm assuming they are Gr 70 transport chains,  are only rated for a working load of 3,150 lbs.  That is less than half the gross weight of the trailer.  So, the Quick Links are stronger than the factory safety chains.

 

It seems highly unlikely that some authority would demand proof that those links were rated at or above the gross weight of the trailer.  But to be prepared, documentation could be carried.  Remember, the ball and hitch are only rated for 7,000 lbs, IIRC.

 

You can't stop people from blaming you or trying to sue you.  And there is no reason to run your life around trying to achieve that impossible goal.    It might be more practical to worry about the 2" ball snapping off, or the Bulldog coupler mounting bolts shearing off.  Can you prove those bolts will not shear off?  I caught mine in the act of elongating the holes they were in.

 

The other solution to the hook problem would be to get a different shaped hook where the safety catch would not interfere with getting it onto the hitch hole.

 

PS.  In looking through the chart you provided, I see no requirement that each chain handle the gross weight of the trailer, unless only one chain is required, and then it must.  If more than one chain is required, or used, "they" must be that strong.    Oliver has two chains, but in my case, they seem to be only rated for a gross of 6,300 lbs.  At least that is their working load.  Not sure what their breaking strength is.    Either way, the working load of the chain is less than the working load of the Quick Links.  And Oliver supposedly meets all requirement in 50 states and RVIA.

 

 

John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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So is there a good reason why Oliver uses the cable type over the old chain type of safety chains. I only see it as they curl up making them harder to use, true they don't drag on the ground when not in use, but I've always found a place to hook the chains on the trailer tongue somewhere. I will probably change mine out unless someone can tell me the cables are better and give a good reason for them.

 

 

 

trainman

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Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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This thread could easily morph in to a whole new thread about safety chains or cables....

But to answer the OP's original question about clevis hook orientation, I would say it is always better to have the hook enter from the top of the receiver hitch if possible. This is how I was taught by the heavy equipment operators where I volunteer. In the event of a separation, the force of the drop will be directed to a thicker and stronger section of the hook. Also, if there is a malfunction of the safety latch, gravity will be more in your favor if the hook opening is facing down. Of course, if the hook won't fit in that position, then do it the other way! Or, better yet, follow Raspy's advice and get an appropriate hook with a larger throat opening, or get a suitable quick link to make hookup easier.

 

My Oliver came with Grade 70, 1/4" chain and hooks. The laws regarding the connection and strength of the chains vary State to State, as RnA posted above. BUT, the very strange thing about all these laws is that the chain strength requirement is not based on the WLL of the chain directly, but the Minimum Breaking Strength of the chain. Grade 70 chain has a Design Factor of 4. This means its Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS) is 3150 (WLL) x 4= 12,600 lbs. When I was looking in to all of this some time ago, I'm pretty sure I read that it is best practice for each of the two chain assemblies to be sized to independently carry the load in a separation event. With a MBS of 12,600 lbs however, each of the supplied 1/4" Grade 70 chain and hooks easily accomplish this for both Olivers.

 

Trainman, I don't like cables either, for a whole host of reasons worthy of a different thread. The main one being they are not adjustable for length. If you google safety chain length you will understand why.

 

Dave

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2015 Oliver Elite, Hull 107


1998 Ford E-250, 5.4 liter

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Another issue related to this is how to correctly hook up the breakaway switch cord.

 

I think the proper way for this to be setup, and please correct me if I'm wrong, is to have it connected to the frame of the tow vehicle in such a way that if there is a disconnect, the switch is activated before the chains get tight.  Or, shorter than the chains.  But it is a coiled stretch cord and it's unclear how to get that length just right.

 

Mine is not set up properly.  My safety hooks are through links in the chains at about 6" from the end of the chain.  Then that 6" tail is connected to the break-away cable clip.  I think it would activate before the chains got tight, but I haven't tested it to see for sure.  And it is not connected directly to the frame, but to the chain, near the hook.  It would be better to have a hook on the switch cord, that attached to the hitch frame separately from the safety chains

John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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Good Description Trainman!   I struggled with hooking up the safety cables at first until I started rotating the hook 180 degrees so it was upside down and putting it on from the bottom.  Once on.... rotate the hook again 180 degrees again so the meat of the hook would take the force in the event of unhitching.  The F150 has a flat plate with oval holes and the width is such that you need to kind of slip the hook on this way.  To remove, I do the opposite 180 degree rotate but as you do that you have to move the flap to the open position.  A real pain at first but now it's pretty easy.   I suggest new owners with F150's lie down on the ground and play around with it a bit. This way you can see what you are doing and figure it out.  After that you can do it blind.  Good Luck.

Gregg & Donna Scott and Piper the Westie  -    The Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145     Western NC


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Raspy and Dave, you are correct. The safety chains should each be able to carry the full load as there is no way to absolutely guarantee that both  chains/hooks will share the load evenly. Having two chains allows provision for a backup in the event that one fails. I changed from the factory cable setup for several reasons, one being I got tired of cutting myself every time I had to wrestle the cables/hooks into compliance when attaching or un attaching them. Also they were only connected to the trailer tongue with 3/8ths bolts and fender washers. Lastly, the small hooks would not fit my truck hitch. I went with 3/8ths grade 70 chain and hooks and grade 8 bolts/nylon lock nuts. I believe that this chain has a breaking strength of 28,000 pounds. (That could be wrong, I haven’t looked that figure up in a while) anyway, there’re sufficient. Also don’t twist/knot the chains to achieve the correct length. That weakens them! Cut them to the correct length. I haven’t changed the break away switch cable but you are correct. The cable should not be infinite in length as our coiled cable is. It should be solid and just long enough so that if the trailer disconnects the brakes will apply before the chains reach their length limit. We (I) should get rid of the coiled brake safety cable version and get the true cable version that won’t stretch. It should be at the correct length. Also the brake safety cable should be attached to the tow vehicle or hitch directly only not to the safety chains. Sort of defeats the purpose if the chain breaks? I believe that the intent is to have an independent attachment point again for redundancy as with having two safety chains.

image.thumb.jpg.79c964956455f187c1c3f45c3bd7c7db.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Also, would a mesh cradle underneath the coupler (say 12"x12") hooked onto the uncrossed chains at each corner not serve the same purpose as crossed chains? The attachment points on the Oliver's tongue makes for a very narrow crossing anyway and defeats the purpose. No?

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