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yeoman1

Breakaway cable

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Just changed my car to a BMW X3, it is fitted with a BMW detachable tow bar but there is nowhere to clip the breakaway cable, or indeed anywhere to bolt either a plate or eye. A policeman acquaintance has told me it is illegal to put the breakaway cable around the tow ball. Advise please

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Posted (edited)

Where a clipping point is not provided, I thought it was legal to wrap it around the tow ball, but it must be a carabiner type,

As here :

https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/advice-and-training/technical-advice/breakaway-cables/

or here:

 

Edited by wigandiver
Addition

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, yeoman1 said:

Just changed my car to a BMW X3, it is fitted with a BMW detachable tow bar but there is nowhere to clip the breakaway cable, or indeed anywhere to bolt either a plate or eye. A policeman acquaintance has told me it is illegal to put the breakaway cable around the tow ball. Advise please

 

When was your car built? I believe since 2015 all cars with factory-fitted towbars have a dedicated anchorage point in accordance with the regulation ECE R55. My late 2015 built BMW X4 definitely has an anchorage point.

 

Edited by Lutz

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If its a genuine BMW retro fitted towbar it will be one of the excellent Westfalia detachable units which will have a breakaway point on the receiver possibly tucked up out of sight under the bumper.  What age is the X3?

 

My 5 Series has the electrical swivelling towbar from new.  When I bought it, I was advised by Westfalia (who make the towbar) that in absence of a breakaway point on my swivelling towbar I was to loop the breakaway around the neck of the towbar and clip the carabineer style connection over the breakaway cable.  Perfectly legal.

 

After a careless Peugeot driver tried to shorted my beautiful car, the replacement swivel towbar has a breakaway point on the neck. Issue now resolved for me.  Every cloud has a silver lining.....

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Posted (edited)

Our 2012 5 series has no hook so we loop it round.

Edited by svimes

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On ‎05‎/‎05‎/‎2019 at 15:21, wigandiver said:

Where a clipping point is not provided, I thought it was legal to wrap it around the tow ball, but it must be a carabiner type,

As here :

https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/advice-and-training/technical-advice/breakaway-cables/

or here:

 

+1

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Where the tow ball is attached by two bolts then a breakaway cable is needed

Where the tow ball is in one piece then no breakaway cable needed

 

The breakaway cable is there as a back up for the two bolts which can rust then shear off

 

  • Haha 2
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Strange. I thought the breakaway cable was law for trailers over 750kg and ensured a heavy trailers brakes were activated in the event of  a detachment.

You learn something new everyday.

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I believe our governments wording is you must use a secondary coupling to activate the brake, we call it a breakaway cable.

I can't see the bolts that are commonly used for the towball rusting away before the car did.

 

 

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2 hours ago, R0G said:

Where the tow ball is attached by two bolts then a breakaway cable is needed

Where the tow ball is in one piece then no breakaway cable needed

 

The breakaway cable is there as a back up for the two bolts which can rust then shear off

 

 

Where on Earth did you get that information from? It's a new one on me. My understanding is that you always need a breakaway cable and in the UK you even need a so-called secondary coupling for trailers under 750kg which don't have an overrun brake.

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AFAIK the breakaway cable, as it is known is there to activate the trailer brakes and stop it in the event of it becoming uncoupled from the towing vehicle. 

 

This could undoubtably include the failure of the 2 bolts used to connect the tow-ball.....or a failure of the hitch......or more likely, failure to connect the 2 properly. I can’t see how having a one piece towbar negates the need for a secondary coupling. 

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I was pulled over by the police over Easter for a spot check. My breakaway cable was looped round the towball and was declared fine.

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2 minutes ago, Stevan said:

I was pulled over by the police over Easter for a spot check. My breakaway cable was looped round the towball and was declared fine.

stevan I think its a case of some police know the law and some dont,yours obviously did,mine is a detachable swan neck towbar that has a bit of height to it so the cable sits quite low when attached on the towbar other shorter towbars that are permanently fixed the cable can ride over the top( if your unlucky),that was told to me by the camping and caravan course instructor earlier this year

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3 hours ago, R0G said:

Where the tow ball is attached by two bolts then a breakaway cable is needed

Where the tow ball is in one piece then no breakaway cable needed

 

The breakaway cable is there as a back up for the two bolts which can rust then shear off

 

 

20190509_082800.thumb.png.4ee58655cbf3bab428b40b6489a4bceb.png

 

By the same token, what happens if the coupling bolts rust and shear off?

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30 minutes ago, mitchgs1200 said:

stevan I think its a case of some police know the law and some dont,yours obviously did,mine is a detachable swan neck towbar that has a bit of height to it so the cable sits quite low when attached on the towbar other shorter towbars that are permanently fixed the cable can ride over the top( if your unlucky),that was told to me by the camping and caravan course instructor earlier this year

 

And if you are really unlucky with a detachable.

 

20190129_073953.thumb.png.feb1b73046153afbc0d6536b60772348.png

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suppose it saves taking it off

and detachable in the true sense of the word

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I don't know if  your X3 is the same as an X5 as far as detachable tow bar fitting, but on my X5 I have to remove a plastic plate under the bumper to gain access to fit the tow ball, and as a part of the fitting it has a threaded socket to accept the  towing eye (In case of breakdown) . I fit the towing eye and attach breakaway cable to that. My tow bar is a Westfalia.

 

Gordon

 

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This is a VW fitted tow bar, Westfalia detachable I believe.

The breakaway cable head won't go through the attachment point so it has to be looped round.

1875095299_VW.swivel(2).thumb.JPG.812ed0e75565e10b8a7e27ffaf6eb9c0.JPG

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2 minutes ago, Tradewinds said:

This is a VW fitted tow bar, Westfalia detachable I believe.

The breakaway cable head won't go through the attachment point so it has to be looped round.

1875095299_VW.swivel(2).thumb.JPG.812ed0e75565e10b8a7e27ffaf6eb9c0.JPG

My Shogun has similar attachment points so I removed the original breakaway cable with clip and replaced it with one with a Carabiner.  https://www.amazon.co.uk/BITS4REASONS-MAYPOLE-MP5015B-BREAKAWAY-TRAILER/dp/B07NS8RRFS/ref=pd_sbs_263_7?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B07NS8RRFS&pd_rd_r=645d4d52-7235-11e9-bdb0-97a1e83b9d87&pd_rd_w=EqtIl&pd_rd_wg=SJpLT&pf_rd_p=18edf98b-139a-41ee-bb40-d725dd59d1d3&pf_rd_r=MAR15VBE1FC49R4XQX7V&psc=1&refRID=MAR15VBE1FC49R4XQX7V

 

 

Or fit one of these to the mounting bolt:

 

https://towsure.com/towbar-breakaway-cable-bracket

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11 minutes ago, Tradewinds said:

This is a VW fitted tow bar, Westfalia detachable I believe.

The breakaway cable head won't go through the attachment point so it has to be looped round.

1875095299_VW.swivel(2).thumb.JPG.812ed0e75565e10b8a7e27ffaf6eb9c0.JPG

 

Use a suitable sized shackle, loop the breakaway cable through the shackle first then fit the pin through the casting to secure the shackle, job done.

 

Screenshot_20190509-093901.thumb.png.1888f2f69ca6e6410ae98427cb527e75.png

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Here's my VW foldaway towbar and the clip which I use with it - with no problems.  No rattling shackle to fret about!   :)

IMG_1093.jpg

IMG_0630.jpg

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We changed to an E-Pace this year with the factory fitted towbar. There is an eye for the cable but I can't fit the clip at the end of the cable through the eye...should I be asking for it to be changed when I have my service? Seems odd that it shouldn't just work?

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7 minutes ago, mrchiggles said:

We changed to an E-Pace this year with the factory fitted towbar. There is an eye for the cable but I can't fit the clip at the end of the cable through the eye...should I be asking for it to be changed when I have my service? Seems odd that it shouldn't just work?

 Breakaway cables are very easy to fit.  Just buy one which suits the eye on your towball.

   John.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the helpful comments.

Just had a look at two caribiner's ( spares in my garage)  and neither fit the VW tow bar. However the hook eyes on the cables are different sizes.

I assumed that all cables had the same size  hook eyes so looks like I will need to find one that does fit my tow bar.

Edited by Tradewinds

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