Four of a Kind

Photo Credit: Kevin Livingston

The Chain-Up device easily slips over the hitch ball. Chains are threaded through loops that hang below the ball mount — preventing chains from hanging too low.

by Kevin Livingston
March 2, 2015
Filed under Products, Reviews, Trailer Gear

 

A quartet of simple products from Fastway makes trailer hitching more convenient

Typically, when you hear the phrase “four of a kind,” the reference is to a lucky hand of cards during a poker game. Although a friendly game of poker is a fun way to while away an evening in the RV park or when traveling to places like Reno, Las Vegas or Atlantic City, it’s definitely not our focus here. The four-of-a-kind items in this case are four Fastway products — all different in function but similar in that they tether to a ball mount or trailer A-frame for quick access.

    Fastway’s Zip coiled breakaway cable (right) is easier to handle and control than standard braided wire (far right) .

Fastway’s Zip coiled breakaway cable (left) is easier to handle and control than standard braided wire (right) .

Fastway has hit the target dead on for simplicity in design and purpose, offering much more convenience than expected for such inexpensive products. Two of the products, both called Chain-Up, are nearly identical in shape and style but designed for either weight-carrying or weight-distributing ball mounts. Intended to rest in place over an existing ball and hang the safety chains high and tidy, both versions are constructed of high-strength molded rubber.

The Chain-Up provides plenty of clearance for the ball when coupling, and the chains are fed through the appropriate oval loops, which allow them to cross over each other and be adjusted so that no portion of the chain hangs too low. Once the chains are positioned properly in the loops, they remain in that position, so the next time the user hooks up, they are ready to go. When unhooked, the Chain-Up with the chains attached is removed from the ball and draped over the A-frame coupler, again out of the way and kept from dragging in the dirt.

The main difference between the two is that the standard ball-mount style will fit correctly only over what it’s meant for. The Chain-Up for weight-distribution mounts is physically larger and has two ball locations and four convenient holes for hooks (for hanging) when not in use. The Chain-Up for the weight-carrying ball mount retails for $8.95, while the larger model runs $9.95.

The Ball Cover slips over a greasy ball when unhitched from the trailer. When hooked up, the cover remains tethered to the mount.

The Ball Cover slips over a greasy ball when unhitched from the trailer. When hooked up, the cover remains tethered to the mount.

A perfect companion to the Chain-Up is the Ball Cover. The Ball Cover is made using the same strong high-grade rubber as the Chain-Up and is tethered when in or out of service. Finally, a cover for the ball that can’t accidentally be left on the rear bumper of the tow vehicle or on the trailer somewhere while hitching up; it just hangs there until it’s needed again. The Ball Cover will work on any kind of hitch configuration and is available for 2 or 25/16-inch balls. Now you can throw away those old rags or aluminum foil called into service to keep grease from ruining your pants and messing up your hands. The Ball Cover retails for $5.95 in either size.

The fourth item in Fastway’s stable of towing-convenience products is the Zip, a loosely coiled cable that replaces the standard breakaway brake cable. By switching over to the Zip, fraying, dragging, breaking and even corroding are a thing of the past. The coiled Zip is entirely plastic coated, incorporates a key-chain-style ring for attaching to the breakaway switch plunger and utilizes a large, strong carabiner-style spring clip for hooking onto the tow vehicle’s hitch-receiver loops, leaving little doubt that it is secure.

The Coiled Zip breakaway cable hangs neatly when not in use.

The Coiled Zip breakaway cable hangs neatly when not in use.

Of all four products reviewed here, the only one that really requires any kind of installation is the Zip. To get this job done, simply grab a set of side cutters or cable cutters and remove the original cable from the plastic plunger located inside the breakaway switch. Once this is cut off, swap over to the new keylike ring, and it’s done.

A number of combinations are available for the Fastway Zip. If you need only the coiled cable, there are 4- and 6-foot versions. Both size cables can be purchased with a pin that goes into the switch or with a pin and switch.

To connect, the cable is stretched from the switch and attached to the tow vehicle with a carabiner-style spring clip.

To connect, the cable is stretched from the switch and attached to the tow vehicle with a carabiner-style spring clip.

Prices range from $12.49 to $22.95. Anyone who has wrestled with attaching a breakaway cable will find the Fastway Zip refreshing. It can also be used on fifth-wheels and is especially needed to replace those cables that get hooked on the edges of the hitch in the bed and end up becoming pulled when making turns.

The above towing-convenience products by Fastway are all why-didn’t-I-think-of-that items, and they all work as advertised. Sometimes products that are so basic are also effective, and Fastway’s Chain-Up, Ball Cover and Zip all fill that bill.

Fastway Trailer Products  | 877-523-9103 | www.fastwaytrailer.com


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