Tip Advise against using locking hitch pins for RV toads (towed vehicles)

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In reading this thread on anti-sway hitch tighteners I noticed @Tjdave like me was not using locking hitch pins. I used locking hitch pins on the tow bar and the toad when I started out. They became a real pain on the toad side especially as a newbie finding myself disconnecting/reconnecting far too often getting myself into places I couldn't maneuver in. Later stories came about regarding RV fires and fires that actually started from the TOAD (vehicle being pulled behind a motorhome).

I learned from the fire stories that there is a possibility of saving this situation if I did not use locking hitch pins. My rear view camera is always on so I'm always monitoring my toad as well as traffic behind me. If I saw a fire in the toad I could immediately pull over and pull the pin and disconnect the safety cables from the RV side and hopefully drive away from the toad will little to no fire damage. It may or may not work depending on the risk of the toad fire and explosion of course. The counter is some kid pulling the pin out or it coming out, who knows, but this has become a routine part of my inspection that I call out to myself prior to departing.

FYI

P.S. this also came in handy when I had to have engine work done with rear access, they needed the tow bar off. Don't forget about this if you take it in for service.
 
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That makes sense but how do you prevent theft of your towbar wherever you are parked? I would hate to come out one morning at the campground etc and find the tow bar gone. I guarantee I won't hear it necessarily. Maybe its a lock it strategy while not moving and a conventional pin when moving which would be a royal pain as you said dealing with locking pins is cumbersome. I don't use locks on the tow bar connector to the base plate so I figured I could just pull the pins there and drive away. Nevertheless, your point is very valid.
 
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You have to weigh the risk. I used to lock the autoformer. Some lock the progressive surge protect. Heck, maybe the OTG portable water softener. In time I stopped the paranoias and realized the theft was not happening. I couldn’t even get my damn kayak stolen!!
 
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I always trust but verify that the pins on the baseplate haven’t been messed with, whether staying connected on a quick overnight stop or even a rest area. My tow bar has a locking receiver pin however. Seems like the best balance of preventing theft but being able to quickly disconnect is necessary.
 
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With a hitch tightener installed, even if some low life pulled the clip, there is no way they are going to be able to pull the pin and steal the tow bar. The hitch tightener is easily loosened with a wrench, but might add enough time and noise for the would be thief to move on. That also adds more time to get away from the toad in case of fire. I will put an extra wrench in the rear bay.
 
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Let me be the contrarian here. As one who has had a hitch pin pulled as a prank (years ago), I still use a locking pin; and, will continue to do so.

We carry extra, and readily accessible, fire extingushers, so that's my first line of defense as soon as I get stopped. Then, rather than get between the toad and the coach (and partially underneath the coach to boot) to pull the hitch pin, I can just pull the two pins that secure the tow bars to the toad, disconnect the safety cables (you have to do that regardless of what you unhook) and signal my co-pilot to pull away. The pins that secure the arms are out closer to the sides of the toad and are much more accessible to reach and pull.

As a plus, this keeps my tow bar assembly secured to the coach when I am parked and prevents tampering or theft. The individual tow bar pins are only in use when actually towing, so even if they are tampered with or stolen I will know about it the next time I go to connect the toad.

Oh...and, I also lock my PI EMS PT50X to the power pedestal. Locks keep honest people honest and insurance covers the rest.

TJ
 
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That makes sense but how do you prevent theft of your towbar wherever you are parked? I would hate to come out one morning at the campground etc and find the tow bar gone. I guarantee I won't hear it necessarily. Maybe its a lock it strategy while not moving and a conventional pin when moving which would be a royal pain as you said dealing with locking pins is cumbersome. I don't use locks on the tow bar connector to the base plate so I figured I could just pull the pins there and drive away. Nevertheless, your point is very valid.
Simple answer, put a Lock-Pin in your HITCH only; that's what I do. So, that fully protects your Tow Bar from being stolen. (Who the heck would...never mind)

For me, the Pins on the TOAD are NOT locking and this is why...

For the "bump & run" stops, where my Raptor stays connected overnight, that's the ONLY time I'm at risk of having someone disconnect me. However, it's impossible for me to drive off with it disconnected since I do a "cross-check" every single time I depart.

Now, for those of us who are paranoid or have heard other's misfortune, there IS a risk that I don't hear anyone mention. I hope auto-burgs aren't reading this. IF...IF...some crook really wanted to pull a sneaky one, they'd roll up with a flat-bed wrecker, pull the TOAD pins, disconnect the safety cables, and yank that sucker onto the flatbed, and off they go with a $65k Raptor!

Possible?...sure. Realistic?...not a chance. Why? Because the only time the Raptor would be alone and hooked up in "NEUTRAL TOW", would be when we are actually SLEEPING in our coach. In this case, I’d hope we’d be alerted by some noise, and then “deal” with this situation accordingly.

So, while there IS a remote chance of a "prank" from some idiot pulling your pins, the WORST thing that could happen, is that you're STUCK WITHOUT SPARE PINS!! Which reminds me...dangit...forgot about ordering a pair!

And, for the ultra paranoid, guess ya better order another set of tow arms, too, because NOTHING LOCKS THOSE TO THE TOAD! The super devious could simple release those with a quarter twist...and there ya go...disconnected TOAD!
 
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Idk about anyone else here but I just figure I pay a lot for good insurance. I don’t have any problem using it. If there’s a small fire, i’ll
attempt to put it out if I think whatever it is that’s on fire has a chance of being saved. Otherwise, whatever man. Let the insurance company deal with it. They gambled and lost, just like I do every month when I pay the house for another go around the roulette wheel. There’s nothing of sentimental value in my RV or car other than my family and pets.
 
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Let me be the contrarian here. As one who has had a hitch pin pulled as a prank (years ago), I still use a locking pin; and, will continue to do so.
I had a prankster do the same. It didn't prompt me to get a locking pin however. I just check before I leave someplace after spending the night, I do a walk around anyhow now it is on my list.
 
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A good discussion point Neal, I'll continue to ponder. For now I like the confidence of the locking pins on the auto side more than I worry about a fire in either vehicle causing a loss of its traveling partner. If nothing else this reminds us to carry proper fire protection as a hedge.
 
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Ok. I keep hearing people talk about “disconnecting their TOAD in case of fire”.


As a fire dude, I’ve already considered a plan for this extremely rare situation.

Let me offer a fact that some of you may not be thinking about...

You haven’t specified WHICH vehicle is on fire, but I can make a case that it’s better to disconnect at the TOAD side arms, rather than pulling just the hitch pin and yanking the whole assembly from the coach!

Here’s why:
When you disconnect your TOAD, you want to be able to DRIVE it away...INCLUDING BACKING AND GOING FORWARD. If you have the entire assembly hanging in front, you’re not gonna be able to do much more than back up.

A coach fire is one I would be very concerned about detaching quickly, and the odds that a fire would be close enough to prohibit me from disconnecting are slim.

I’m not afraid of a vehicle fire at all, in terms of knowing flame spread. But, I will say that, IF there was significant fire under the hood that is impinging the bumper area, the last place you should be in right in front of it messing around with the tow bar. so, in that rare rare case, insurance time.

Just my $.02 of fuel in the fire. 😉
 
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The fires I've observed in this realm are in the TOAD and I'm not sure accessing the pins on the FIRE side is doable or a good idea. Regardless, I don't use locking pins on either side so both are an option for me. The TOAD (for me) takes a procedure to make driveable, that is not happening in a fire situation. My intent and what I've learned is the toad is on fire and I want to disconnect and break away the RV to protect the RV. I don't care if the toad burns to the ground. I do for my RV. I used locking pins initially and will never again. I'll wait for the day that I hear of anything from surge protector, autoformer, tow bar getting stolen at a campground. To date I have not and it's not a concern of mine and I think a fire is potentially a higher probability. It could start from a locked up brake and yes, I've left my emergency brake partially engaged (thankfully not fully) on one 200mi leg that could have caused a fire from that situation. Luckily it did not.

Do as you wish, for me it's quick disconnect as my option and no locking pins anywhere.
 
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I support your thought process Neal.
It’s a matter of pulling one pin, or two.

Heck, I’ll even throw this idea in the mix...
LEAVE YOUR BREAKAWAY CONNECTED when you pull your coach away. Hopefully, that’ll still engage your TOAD BRAKE!! The thing you don’t want to do, is let your Flaming TOAD start rolling downhill or into traffic, and I’ll bet 99% of folks won’t think about throwing a set of chocks under the wheels before disconnecting.
 
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P.S. this also came in handy when I had to have engine work done with rear access, they needed the tow bar off. Don't forget about this if you take it in for service.
Man. I just had a horrible thought...

What “if”, Ya can’t get locking pin unlocked...for any reason?

Yikes...I may have to reconsider. 🤔
 
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If you use a hitch tightener, pulling the pin in the hitch receiver won't work. Pulling the two pins on the tow arms will.

TJ
 
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Good point, TJ!
 
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When we bought our DS and F150 a little over a year ago I ordered a Blue Ox Avail from ETrailer.com (great folks) and did the install myself. Tow bar wasn’t quite level, so I bought a drop bar.

I quickly noticed at speed the truck seemed to float L/R enough it bothered me. When we got to our destination I installed 2 hitch immobilizers and it made a huge difference. I also bought the lock kit and have used them every time w/o issue.


This thread causes me to question using the locks.


Has anyone ever experienced theft or tampering of the unlocked pins causing a dangerous situation?


Has anyone ever experienced failure of a non-locking pin or clip?
 
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