CHAMP NEWS
Austin Champ, Towing

Towing a trailer is a responsibily, there have been many cases of trailers breaking away and a runaway trailer can kill. If a trailer does breakaway there is usually very little defence in law. In the army I was in the back of a 3 ton lorry and idly watching out behind when I noticed the trailer was about 15 feet behind the lorry, it had broken-away, it hit a garden wall and demolished it.
The following is true, and nearly unbelievable. I was at a show and a Champ and trailer was parked and the owner was asked to move it forward about 25 metres. The Champ went forward but the trailer momentarily didn't, I thought I was dreaming. The Champ then stopped and the trailer didn't stop at the same time. What was happening was the rear end of the Champ was so rusty the towing pintle was moving in and out.
The towing pintle on the Champ was modified over the years to, eventually, the NATO pintle. But, whatever pintle is fitted it is going to be many years old. It is the duty of any driver both to prevent a trailer breakaway for obvious reasons and to comply with the law. But, not many military vehicle owners seem very concerned about even complying with the law.
The law says that any trailer with brakes must have a device that if the trailer breaks away the brakes on the trailer are not only applied but must stay on. The latter is quite easy with a modern trailer but much more difficult with a Champ trailer.
On a modern trailer the handbrake lever is on a central pivot with the lower part of the lever activating the brakes so a breakaway chain can be attached to the lower end so if the trailer breaks-away the handbrake\brakes are applied and locked-on by the handbrake ratchet. See the illustration below.
Modern trailer arrangement
On a Champ trailer the only way to achieve the activation of the handbrake if a trailer breaks away is to extend the handbrake lever down and attach the breakaway chain to the bottom of the extended handbrake lever. So, to comply with the law on a braked trailer a handbrake extension piece (see below) is fitted and a chain between the extension piece and the Champ.

photo 2. Trailer handbrake extension arm

The extension arm must be connected to the handbrake lever, the handbrake lever is drilled with matching holes and the shear pins connect the two together. I used cut up 4" nails as shear pins. The original washer between the Nyloc nut and handbrake lever is left out - the arm acts as the washer. photo 3. Trailer handbrake extension arm
View from underside. A cable is connected from the extension arm (yellow arrow) to the Austin Champ. The red arrow just shows the brake mechanism activated on the overrun. The blue arrow shows the clamp so the length of the cable can be adjusted. Photo 4. Trailer handbrake extension arm

I am not happy with the thought that if my trailer broke away and, even with the brakes locked on, went thrashing about on a motorway. So I have made-up two strong chains to go from the trailer to the Champ, see photo below.
Photo 5. Trailer safety chains

There is another thing to check on any trailer, especially one that is an ex-generator trailer. The 'A' frame at the front of the trailer is welded to the trailer chassis and these welds can fail.