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Tow Ready Trailer Break Away Kit Installation

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Written by:
Lindsey S

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Leah B

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Installation of a Trailer Breakaway Kit with Tester and Built-In Charger


Today we are going to cover the installation of a breakaway kit. The function of a breakaway kit is in case the trailer unfortunately breaks away from the truck or the car. What will happen is the breakaway kit will pull a plunger, basically an electrical switch, that will send power via the battery to the brake axles so the trailer wont be free to run off into the ditch, and it will just slow down the trailer as soon as possible. That is the function of a breakaway switch. And now we will go ahead and install one. What we have here is basically a trailer frame, obviously not a whole trailer. But we are going to cover this as a generic install. No matter what brand you are using, they all install pretty much the same way. In this demonstration we will be using a part from Tow Ready, Part Number 20048.

To begin your install, basically you will want to find a good place to install your battery box. In this case, we are going to install it on the frame here. Just make sure you have room for any weight distribution or sway control materials that are going to be installed on the trailer, too. This box can be mounted basically anywhere on the trailer. You can mount it inside the trailer Ive seen that before. You can mount it on the outside on the body or generally on the bottom. A lot of people do that. But for clarity, we are just going to go ahead and mount it on the frame here. This will give you an idea of what is going on. This one bolts right onto the frame, so we are going to attach a screw here and screw here. It does come with four holes but the frame is not big enough. But this will work out for us just fine.

Next we are going to install the breakaway switch itself. We are going to mount this on the frame here on the side. You can mount it on the bottom or virtually anywhere else it is more convenient, as long as it does not get messed up by dragging on the bottom or getting caught in the safety chain. So anywhere that is safe and out of the way, you can mount it. So we are going to go ahead and mount it on the side here. So that is simply all it takes. This will be connected to your hitch eventually, on the vehicle. Then we will go ahead and run these wires up here to the battery box. Next we are wiring the brake switch itself, and that connects to the blue wire or the brake wire on your trailer. It does not matter which wire, it is just a single line with a switch in the middle. One will go to the blue wire and one will go to the battery itself. What we are going to do is go ahead and splice inside here and make our connections and then we will run the other lead straight to the battery. Honestly, the best way to do this is wire it to a junction box but sometimes you do not have one of those, so you can just add it straight in just like this. Then find the brake wire on your trailer. Typically it is blue, but it may be different, depending on the manufacturer of the trailer.

But in our instance we are going to go ahead and use the blue wire. Take one of the free ends of the brake switch wire and just attach it to the blue. And you can do this any way you want. In our instance we are just going to use a regular quick splice, but you can cut it, wire net it as long as you can secure a live connection it will work. And the other wire we will attach to the positive side of the battery. There is a little slot inside of the box here. And you just hook it up to there. And that is it. For a breakaway switch, that is all that is required. Now for our particular part number here we need to make one more connection to the battery. It comes with a little special device that allows you to hook up two cables to the positive side of the battery. And we will show you that a little later. Next thing we are going to do is go ahead and install the ground wire for the charger itself, which is sitting right here. And you can do this two different ways. The way we are going to do it is run it straight from the frame for ground. However, some trailer wiring does have the ground wire run through the cable up to the lights themselves, kind of bypassing the brake switch wire, and just making a connection that way. I think it is easier, a little bit less connections in the wiring, if you just go ahead and ground it to the frame. We are just going to put a little ring terminal on here, and you just want to screw it right into the frame. If your breakaway kit did not come with a charging circuit then you are pretty much done at this point. You have just got to make that final connection to the battery. However, in this case we do have a charging circuit so we are going to go ahead and install that.

The charging circuit on this particular model is the yellow wire here, and it has to go to a constant 12 volt source. Again, check with the wiring on your trailer because it does vary according to manufacturer. Typically it is a black wire or red wire for a constant 12 volts. In our situation it is going to be a black wire, so we will go ahead and make our connections to that. All right, next we will make our final connections to the battery. As we said before, there are going to be two coming from the positive post in the battery, and this simple device that comes with it will just slide onto it. And then it will slide on the cord that goes to the breakaway switch. According to the manufacturer, the wires will be labeled which one is positive and which one is negative. In this case, it is going to the red wire. The red wire will go back over here and then the black wire goes to our ground post on the battery. And when you have those connections made, you can go ahead and close it up. Plug it up to your vehicle and make sure everything is working. You might need to charge it, you might not. Press the button and find out. In our case the battery is fully charged, so we do not need to worry about that. In our case, we are going to hook up a tester to our brake lead and activate the breakaway switch to make sure it functions as it is supposed to. Next we will pull the plunger out of our breakaway switch somewhere in our brake line here in our case, blue you should see power coming out the other side. So that is working since the switch has been activated. We will double-check ourselves by putting the switch back in and making sure it goes back off. And it is off. So the system is working as it should. That concludes our install of a Breakaway Kit, using Part Number 20048 from Tow Ready

Questions and Comments about this Video

Is it necessary to have a volt indicator or battery monitor inside the car to check the battery charge red green lights etc

comment by: rob f - 11/20/2012

443

It is not necessary to have a monitor or indicator inside the vehicle. It would be a good idea to use a voltmeter, like BTMT15, at the beginning of your towing season to check and to check the battery periodically with the built in tester through the season. These batteries will last several years, but you do want to check it periodically to make sure it is holding a proper charge.

Patrick B - 11/20/2012

212

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I have a Safety Breakaway system on my van. I want to locate the trigger cable to the tow vehicle. Can I use a D link or similar on the safety chain anchor point on the tow bar coupling. I use Haymen Reese hitch and coupling. The other method would be to screw a d coupling into the plastic bumper molding. I have a Pajero. I dont like this idea in case the link on the plastic molding pulls out before the trigger comes away.Your thoughts please.

comment by: Doug - 1/20/2013

879

A lot of folks use a d-ring or a carabiner to clip the break-away trigger to the safety chain loops welded on to the hitch. As long as it is securely anchored to the vehicle so that it would pull the pin in the event of a separation, you are good to go.

Patrick B - 2/1/2013
550

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Trailer Breakaway Kit Videos

This Old Trailer: Installing a Trailer Break-Away Kit

Today on This Old Trailer, we are going to install part number HM20001 from Hopkins. This is their break-away kit with charger. The first thing we need to do is go ahead and find a place to install the actual battery box itself. When we mount the battery box, we want to keep it close to the front of the trailer as best as possible but also in a good spot where we can have easy access to it in case we need to do some maintenance. We will probably just clamp it in place and mount it right here. Double check the length of our wires. We should be good. Our blue wire will go to the break-away switch. So we will just go ahead and run it up towards the front. And these two wires here, the black and the white, will be run to the wire harness on the trailer. Alright, we are going to use the fasteners that come with the kit. We are just going to drill it straight in to the frame. Now this head on here is actually a 10 millimeter, so you want to have something you can attach it to and then run it to your drill. 0:56



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