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D-shackle confusion resolved by RVMAP industry recommendation

October 12, 2016
D-shackle confusion resolved by RVMAP industry recommendation

Originally published: 28/10/2014

The Caravan Industry Association of Australia, along with the state associations, has developed an industry recommendation for D-Shackles when they are used in conjunction with Australian Standard (AS) compliant safety chains when towing caravans.

A RV Manufacturing Accreditation Program (RVMAP) technical alert has been released by Caravan Industry Association of Australia to end long-standing confusion about the use of D-shackles in the caravan towing context.

The caravan industry recommendation is that a shackle meeting the requirements of AS 2741-2002 be used to secure rated safety chains up to 3500kg capacity.

Suitable shackles have the following specifications:

  • Meet the requirements of AS 2741-2002

  • Shackle grade is "S" or "6"

  • Working load limit (WLL) is 1000kg

  • Shackle diameter is 10mm

Either "Bow" or "Dee" shackle design is suitable, although it is noted that the "Bow" design provides a greater angular displacement.

A significant detail to understand is that the breaking load of a shackle is generally six times the working load limit.

The Caravan Industry Association of Australia along with the State Associations has recently had an influx of enquiries about the requirements for D-Shackles when connecting a caravan/trailer to a tow vehicle.

Rumors about specific requirements for D-Shackles being enforced by police have been circulating around the country. These rumors claim police were issuing infringement notices for non-load rated D-Shackles used to tow caravan, boats and trailers.

This information has spread throughout caravan parks and camping grounds and is now coming to the attention of dealers, manufacturers and state associations.

Research by the Caravan Industry of Australia Technical Team shows police and state departments have denied these rumors, and advised that there is no specific requirement for D-Shackles.

The current standard applying to shackles is AS 2741-2002, however this standard does not specifically cover the use of rated shackles in an application such as attaching a trailer to a tow bar. This standard covers the use of shackles for lifting purposes.

The Caravan Industry Association of Australia understands there is currently no regulations requiring shackles used on trailer safety chains to comply with the Australian Standard.

However, some state authorities provide guidelines or advice for selecting suitable shackles. For example, the Northern Territory have a Vehicle Inspectors Bulletin with guidance for selecting a suitable shackle. This, and other state authority guidelines, is attached below under ‘State Resources’.

Caravan Industry Association of Australia has conducted research with shackle manufacturers to develop an appropriate specification.

State Resources

Northern Territory: Vehicle Inspectors Bulletin No. 13 (i)

Queensland: Safe Towing Guide (Page 7 & 8)

Tasmania: Light Trailer Requirements VSB1 (Page 5 & 6)

Editor's Note – Ben Aplin of A1 Caravans Adelaide says:

“The shackles we sell will not break before 6 tonnes.

“We prefer to be conservative and safe so the D-shackles are more than adequate.

"People can be confused because they see that the shackles are stamped 1 tonne Working Load Limit (WLL) and assume that 1 tonne is the maximum capacity for the D shackle when it is generally 6 times the Working Load Limit (WLL).

Ben warns that shackles stamped rated 2 tonnes WLL are sometimes too big to be useable with current towing (Light Trailer) equipment.

This is often because the shackle lugs are too big to fit popular towbars and some chains when people tow what the Australian Standard 2741-2002 (AS) defines as Light Trailers up to 3500kg.


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