Jump to content

Failed Andersen tension chain coupler - ideas?


JRK
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Moderators
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, JRK said:

...I have only had an issue with the door step binding when I try to slide it into the chassis. I took a few extra minutes today to figure out how it works, and think that I see the issue. The rod binds in the slot, and does not allow the step to properly seat, then binds in the slots when trying to return. There must be a trick to shoving in the step...

Spray the slot with WD-40, work the step in and out a few times and you will be amazed how smoothly it works. Aluminum has a tendency to "stick" to itself when it is dry.

 

Edited by ScubaRx
  • Thanks 1
  • Like 2

Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Mike and Carol said:

They method I was shown by Oliver, 5 years ago, was to put the trailer on the ball, then raise the ball and truck a few inches which puts slack in the chains, then attach the triangle plate to the hitch, lower and go.  When disconnecting, you first raise the hitch until there is adequate slack in the chains, disconnect the triangle plate, lower a bit, then open the bulldog.  Once I had my chains adjusted I never touched them again.... for years.  Is this not the preferred method anymore?  I did make it a habit to check the extender links and the shackles on the triangle plate to ensure they were tight.  Mike

"WE" were probably advised to do the above at pick-up day, but that among others... did not sink in... so we were struggling to get the "A" plate in position for each setup of towing & camping.  I always used a rubber mallet... but a 2-3 pound mal would have worked better, but we all know that is not the thing to do.  Then about the 4th site breaking camp and struggling  to get the plate on, a wonderful (are there any other type of Ollie Owners...) couple (a shout-out to Laura & Tim) from FL, said they connected ball to hitch and then lifted the front end of the TT up just an inch or so, (it was like someone showed me how to start the motor on a CHAINSAW to cut wood) how easy everything slipped into place "YES"... From then on we have not had any trouble attaching the "A" plate, or lining up the safety pin underneath the plate, the same when we unhitch. 

And to make a short story even longer... It has occurred to me that on your pick-up day, your TV will probably be loaded down with things that would normally go in your TT.  So when the nice OTT person telling you everything you need to know, but cannot possibly remember.  YUP, the one under the OTT adjusting the chain tension for the "A" Hitch, it may be that that adjustment is good for "Right Then" but as soon as you offload from the TV to the TT... it needs to be re-adjusted.

I plan to hookup and re-adjust "our" chain tension with what would be the items we now normally carry in the back of the TV as well as the items we now have in the TT. 

Regards,

Edited by SNY SD UP
forgot something, i never remember all the first time...
  • Like 2

Maggie & Bryan | Arnegard, ND | 2020 LE II (Twin Setup) Hull #665 | 2010 GMC 1500 Ext-Cab Sierra SLE 

 

ALARILKSKYLAMNMSNENDOKSDTNTXWIsm.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Mike and Carol said:

I’m not sure why folks are loosening/tightening chains each time they hook up and unhook.  They method I was shown by Oliver, 5 years ago, was to put the trailer on the ball, then raise the ball and truck a few inches which puts slack in the chains, then attach the triangle plate to the hitch, lower and go.  When disconnecting, you first raise the hitch until there is adequate slack in the chains, disconnect the triangle plate, lower a bit, then open the bulldog.  Once I had my chains adjusted I never touched them again.... for years.  Is this not the preferred method anymore?  I did make it a habit to check the extender links and the shackles on the triangle plate to ensure they were tight.  Mike

I agree with this method of using the hitch, it works well for me, but just this last year I've given it some thought and I did feel that it was putting a lot of pressure on the hitch and ball and have now taken the steps to loosen and tighten the adjusting bolts on each side when hitching and unhitching the trailer. I find this very easily done and I will keep doing it this way most likely in the future. Trailer tongue weight and tow vehicle squat are different between vehicles, so what might work well for one may not work so well for the other. 

trainman

  • Like 1

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We started by connecting the way we were showed during our orientation, just the way Mike described it.  Admittedly, my backing up and straight line positioning skills need some work.  This admittedly took some time and trips in and out of the cab of the truck.  I will admit I now generally use the method described by SNY SD UP.  This seems to work better for me.  When perfectly straight and level the chains are equally tight.  A slight change in elevation of the truck or trailer, or slight angle left or right does manifest in a difference in chain tension.  To me this is an indication we have this set up about right.  I checked but have never needed to adjust the red bushings yet.  I can tell you after this thread I will definitely check that link regularly and may add a little lock-tite.  Thanks for sharing.  One more thing to the exterior check list!!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We left Hohenwald with our LEII n the 21st, by the time we got to Lubbock, TX we noticed one of the quick links was stretched just like this.  Being rookies we headed to the nearby Camping World to see if they could help us, they did not have the same size quick link available, but we found some at Home Depot. Our guess is that the link was not screwed together properly when we picked up.

When we called Oliver that morning they said they had never heard of that happening before...hmmmm...

  • Thanks 1
  • Wow 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Lynn and Chuck Reppas said:

we noticed one of the quick links was stretched just like this.

When I was using a Toyota Sequoia as my TV, I needed all seven threads on the Anderson chains to level things out.  During year two, I approached a parts store entrance where there was a significant grade change from the road.  At less than 5 MPH,  when my TV went nose higher, I heard noise from the trailer that caused me to stop.

I saw that the Anderson chains were really really really tight.  I gave them the 245 pound bounce test, they did not move at all.  I backed out of the driveway, and loosened the Anderson chain nuts 4 threads and tried again.  I stopped at the same place and did another bounce test.  This time they could be moved just a bit.  To get into the driveway, I had to loosen them to full slack.    

Point is that a quick grade change will increase or decrease your Anderson chain tension.  If your chains are set tight enough, and you add to their load a grade change, it can be enough to damage your quick link(s).

 

  • Like 4
  • Wow 1

Tug:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Trailer Tow, FX-4, 4X4, Rear Locker

ALAZARCACOIDKSKYLAMSNENVNMNCOKORTNTXUTVA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Bill. I had time today to assess the movement, ability to see if hitch ball can rotate, it can't. I didn't try my whole weight, but i could not get the ball, where the whale tail connects, to move using a breaker bar. 

I still do not fully understand how the Andersen works, but I assume that it should not lock like this. 

On 3/23/2021 at 4:00 PM, topgun2 said:

In reverse order - 

I'm not too surprised with your adjustments on your brake controller.  Now that things in this regard have "settled down" it is likely that little (if any) further adjustment will be necessary.

I'd still keep a strong eye on that Andersen.  I've never experienced ANY "settling in" of the bushings (the red things) and really don't see how these would ever "settle in".

The only times when I've experienced one chain being slack is when the TV and the Ollie are not in a straight line.  However, even a slight deviation from straight can produce a difference in the tension.  When you have the Oliver disconnected, can you move the Andersen hitch ball manually?  You can usually test this by either reconnecting the whale tail without the chains or by taking the lug wrench that Oliver provided and placing the end of it into the "pin hole" at the bottom of the hitch ball and rotate the hitch ball from side to side - it should be reasonably smooth during this movement.

For what its worth - my procedure with my Andersen is exactly as Mike described above.  The only times I mess with the large screws under the trailer is when I'm in a situation where I simply can not back the tow vehicle anywhere near the same angle as it was when I unhitched.  Even then, I normally will use the lug wrench to manually adjust the whale tail to the proper alignment versus messing with the chain adjustments.

Bill 

 

      

2014 Toyota Tacoma 4x4

2021 Elite I #758       

      image.png.d972b5fc86270818b1e0f030bfaa433a.pngMap of Provinces I Visited

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
48 minutes ago, JRK said:

Bill. I had time today to assess the movement, ability to see if hitch ball can rotate, it can't. I didn't try my whole weight, but i could not get the ball, where the whale tail connects, to move using a breaker bar. 

I still do not fully understand how the Andersen works, but I assume that it should not lock like this. 

I tried once to move my ball manually too, with a breaker bar.  Nope, wouldn’t budge.  Did some research and that is the anti-sway at work.  You shouldn’t be able to move it, but a 5-6,000 lb trailer can.

Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpgALAZARCACOCTFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMSMO

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok. I still have not heard back from Andersen. 

Because i don't fully understand how it works, and have had a couple of different ways to adjust and use, not comfortable with it yet  

Thanks

      

2014 Toyota Tacoma 4x4

2021 Elite I #758       

      image.png.d972b5fc86270818b1e0f030bfaa433a.pngMap of Provinces I Visited

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
Posted (edited)

JRK - 

The Andersen has basically two functions: 1.  weight distribution - i.e. moving the weight towards the front of the tow vehicle versus having it on the rear axel(of the tow vehicle), and, 2.  anti-sway.  

The anti-sway part is created from the ball of the hitch being "connected" (actually one solid piece) all the way from the top of the ball to the other end that sticks out of the bottom of the hitch assembly - where you attach your "whale tail".  This solid piece is basically cone shaped and has a plastic type material between it and the housing in which it sits.  When you place the tongue of the Oliver down on the ball, the weight causes that solid piece to "wedge itself" into the plastic material.  As you travel down the highway and the Oliver and tow vehicle move back and forth the increased friction will heat up that plastic material causing it to expand.  The more back and forth movement - the more expansion.  This cycle will become greater and greater in the event any "sway" occurs to the point where this back and forth movement is fairly restricted, thus, eliminating the sway.  However, since Olivers do not sway, this function is really not used when towing your Oliver under "normal" circumstances.

Bill

Edited by topgun2
  • Like 1

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

In my 65 years of Trouble-Shooting why Mechanical things fail, one thing has become very CLEAR! That is there is alway a reason, you may not realize at the time, but it wasn't caused by chance!

From what I understand of the Link Failure, I wouldn't rule out Poor Quality of the Link or Incorrect Chain Adjustment. Today, with parts coming from all over the world, the quality of material is suspect until proven otherwise. I would suggest getting a replacement Link from a reputable company (not the local Hardware Store) and make sure it was made in the USA/Germany!

When I first noticed that Andersen used the added Link to make the Chain long enough, I wonder about that decision! A Chain of the proper length would certainly be a better and stronger. Remember, a chain is only as strong as its weakness Link!

I'll have to ask Andersen if they can provide the correct length for Olivers, it will probably take a Special Order of 100s of Chains.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
3 hours ago, Pat Maundrell said:

 Remember, a chain is only as strong as its weakness Link!

That may have been a typo or auto-correct at work, but I think it is a more accurate statement. Very good...

I really think that the link was never tightened properly OR taken loose and then never re-tightened properly.

Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The disappointment so far is that Andersen has not responded to emails or voicemails. No one has answered the phone. 

I took the link to a friend who is among other things a forensic metallurgist. His lab has an sem. He put the link under the microscope. There did not appear to be a failure of the threads which tells me that it was not properly connected. Someone forgot to screw it together. Basically, no harm, no foul. Nothing significant happened. The threads had not failed  

I am trying to verify with Andersen a source for the proper chain, tensile strength of the 3/8" chain. I've been told 2650#, but want to hear that from Andersen. I'll buy the proper length chain. 

I was also provided a too short brake breakaway cable. Extended the cable for the trip home, but made a proper length cable when I got home. I have to say that this sloppy, haphazard and unprofessional service and supply would not have been tolerated when I was working for my dad doing concrete and reinforcing steel or at McDonald's making hamburgers. Definitely not in the Air Force or in my civil service job. 

  • Thanks 1

      

2014 Toyota Tacoma 4x4

2021 Elite I #758       

      image.png.d972b5fc86270818b1e0f030bfaa433a.pngMap of Provinces I Visited

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/24/2021 at 2:03 PM, Mattnan said:

We started by connecting the way we were showed during our orientation, just the way Mike described it.  Admittedly, my backing up and straight line positioning skills need some work.  This admittedly took some time and trips in and out of the cab of the truck.  I will admit I now generally use the method described by SNY SD UP.  This seems to work better for me.  When perfectly straight and level the chains are equally tight.  A slight change in elevation of the truck or trailer, or slight angle left or right does manifest in a difference in chain tension.  To me this is an indication we have this set up about right.  I checked but have never needed to adjust the red bushings yet.  I can tell you after this thread I will definitely check that link regularly and may add a little lock-tite.  Thanks for sharing.  One more thing to the exterior check list!!

Generally speaking this type of link is not intended to be used as "Quick Disconnect Fittings,"  therefore they should not intended to be taken apart regularly. I have used these Links for years in all sorts of applications and always have considered the possibility of them coming apart. It has alway been my procedure to install Loc-tite on the threads of these Links before assembling them. This accomplishes two things, 1st it makes sure they have been assembled and tighten correctly, 2nd the Loc-Tite makes sure they do not loosen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

It happened to me while attending the Rally in Alabama.

When I started to disconnect my TV, I noticed that one of my Chain Connectors had come apart and was almost completely straighten out, but still connected to the Chain, ref the pic. I remember that this had happened to others on the forum so I was familiar with this problem. However, I was surprised because I had tightened both of my Connectors, having known of the problem and even put a Dap of Blue Loctite on them. I thought I better take the other side Connector off for comparison purposes, to make sure I got the same size replacement Part. I was SHOCKED to find it was finger tight! Note, I probably have 2000 miles since I first tighten and put Loctite on the threads! I got a replacement Connector at Lowes and flooded the threads with Red Loctite to ensure it didn't loosen up again.

I would highly recommend that everyone check their Connectors to avoid this problem frequently!

I showed my bent Connector to Oliver the next week and they said "they install Blue Loctite on them at the Service Center." Note, Blue Loctite can be disassembled easier than Red Loctite.

0.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

These are what the pros use to extend chain lengths.  Do a web search for "tow chain repair links" and you will find them.  They can't come apart unless you take out the cotter pins.  You should use one that has (or exceeds) the rating of your chain.  The quick links typically used to extend the chains on the Anderson system are simply the wrong item for the application.

image.png.2b700cb5b47bf5d7b839922504a754d9.png

  • Like 2

820.png.45d6985802d380947444b4da5835ac4e.pngMike and Yasuko

2021 Legacy Elite Hull #820 "The Owls Nest"

Tow Vehicle: 2020 Toyota Tundra Limited 5.7 V8 TRD Off-Road 4x4 "Tundrasaurus Rex"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, LongStride said:

The quick links typically used to extend the chains on the Anderson system are simply the wrong item for the application.

image.png.2b700cb5b47bf5d7b839922504a754d9.png

Those repair links are great and I would definitely use them on trailer SAFETY chains, but I would be reluctant to put them on the Andersen chains. IMHO each of those chains needs an inexpensive mechanical “fuse” that will fail before the actual chain does. If you drive over a really severe dip, like a 20 degree driveway approach ramp, the chains get super tight. The red bushings are supposed to take care of that situation, but if you already have your tension set tight, which I personally don’t, then the chains can get extremely loaded, especially if your speed is too high. I would rather pop one of those than split the red spring bushings.

IMHO….! It is too bad that Andersen does not talk about this. I think they chose these for a valid reason, but they are not used at all with the standard length kits…. How confusing.

1819D9A4-2186-40AF-9EC6-9DBBC9A37783.thumb.jpeg.9c8a43d8ced3387130ae77df1082cebc.jpeg
 

BTW I think the cost of Andersen spare parts is obscene…. Like ONE red urethane spring for $35. These are no different than the suspension bushings  or bump stops that you can buy for $10 a pair…  https://andersenhitches.com/collections/weight-distribution-hitch-parts-accessories

I don’t use loctite and I do use a wrench to tighten them. So far neither of mine has showed any sign of distress, with very light chain tension.

John Davies

Spokane WA

  • Thanks 1

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, varmintshooter said:

How does something so simple get so much attention?

Maybe because if it fails you will say very bad words and have to fix it by the side of the highway, or in a rainstorm…..? That is assuming you even carry a spare one. If you don’t have one, then you have to limp along and find a hardware store and hope they have one. Like electrical fuses, who cares? Until you need one….

John Davies

Spokane WA

  • Like 1

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
4 hours ago, John E Davies said:

I don’t use loctite and I do use a wrench to tighten them. So far neither of mine has showed any sign of distress, with very light chain tension.

I'll second this with the exception that I'm fairly certain that I maintain something more than "light chain tension".

To date absolutely no issues with these links, my hitch ball nor my frame brackets.

Bill

  • Like 1

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, John E Davies said:

Maybe because if it fails you will say very bad words and have to fix it by the side of the highway, or in a rainstorm…..? That is assuming you even carry a spare one. If you don’t have one, then you have to limp along and find a hardware store and hope they have one. Like electrical fuses, who cares? Until you need one….

John Davies

Spokane WA

I carry a Spare now and would recommend them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, John E Davies said:

Those repair links are great and I would definitely use them on trailer SAFETY chains, but I would be reluctant to put them on the Andersen chains. IMHO each of those chains needs an inexpensive mechanical “fuse” that will fail before the actual chain does. If you drive over a really severe dip, like a 20 degree driveway approach ramp, the chains get super tight. The red bushings are supposed to take care of that situation, but if you already have your tension set tight, which I personally don’t, then the chains can get extremely loaded, especially if your speed is too high. I would rather pop one of those than split the red spring bushings.

IMHO….! It is too bad that Andersen does not talk about this. I think they chose these for a valid reason, but they are not used at all with the standard length kits…. How confusing.

1819D9A4-2186-40AF-9EC6-9DBBC9A37783.thumb.jpeg.9c8a43d8ced3387130ae77df1082cebc.jpeg
 

BTW I think the cost of Andersen spare parts is obscene…. Like ONE red urethane spring for $35. These are no different than the suspension bushings  or bump stops that you can buy for $10 a pair…  https://andersenhitches.com/collections/weight-distribution-hitch-parts-accessories

I don’t use loctite and I do use a wrench to tighten them. So far neither of mine has showed any sign of distress, with very light chain tension.

John Davies

Spokane WA

Oliver uses Blue Loctite!

Note, I personally tightened mine 2500 miles earlier and put a drop of Blue Loctite on both of them, they still loosened! The Blue Loctite I used was old (spoiled?) and I only put a drop on each so maybe that contributed to them loosening. These Connectors are not meant to be taken apart, particularly in this application. I used Red Loctite because it is even more permanent.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, LongStride said:

These are what the pros use to extend chain lengths.  Do a web search for "tow chain repair links" and you will find them.  They can't come apart unless you take out the cotter pins.  You should use one that has (or exceeds) the rating of your chain.  The quick links typically used to extend the chains on the Anderson system are simply the wrong item for the application.

image.png.2b700cb5b47bf5d7b839922504a754d9.png

Normally, I don't like to re-engineer things because of liability reason, but it hard to find fault with your fix. I'll consider using them. Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...