Casita unhitching while driving - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-21-2019, 02:14 PM   #1
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Name: Lisle
Trailer: 2018 Casita Spirit Deiuxe
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Casita unhitching while driving

I've been full timing in my 2018 Casita for a couple months. It was hardly used prior to that, so everything should be pretty new. The other day, I hitched it as usual. The latch on the hitch was latched and padlocked closed. About a mile down the road, I hit a pretty good bump and the trailer bounced off the ball. I applied the brakes and was able to get TV and trailer to stop, after the foot of the trailer made a 20' scrape in the blacktop. We didn't end up in the ditch, and the electrical and chains remained connected.

An older gentleman came by in his pick up (this was in the middle of the woods in NC with no cellphone service), and helped me get re-hitched. He advised me never to grease the ball because it fosters this kind of unhitching. He advised me to buy a new ball every 2-3 years because, without grease, the ball will wear down. Cheaper to buy a new ball than to have an accident. He also confirmed that the hitch is a 2" hitch and the ball on my TV is a 2" ball. He didn't comment on why this would have happened, but didn't seem too surprised.

As you can imagine, this freaked me out. I really don't want to have this happen again. We wiped all the grease off the ball and I carefully went down the road at low speed until I was confident it wasn't going to unhitch itself again. Since then I've driven it through a city and on highways and everything has been fine. It does appear that the hitch column is bent because it is very hard to crank up and down now. He said I should be sure to grease that.

I would really like to hear everyone's thoughts on why this happened, anything to do to prevent it happening again, etc. I know there are differences of opinion about greasing the ball but so far have not heard it said that a ball with grease unhitches.

Is it possible I did everything right and this happened anyway? Is it possible to have the hitch drop down on the ball and be able to latch and lock the latch and still have the camper unhitch itself? Or does this indicate I never was properly hitched up?
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Old 11-21-2019, 02:33 PM   #2
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The latch on a standard coupler can catch on the top of the ball when attaching and still close, appearing to be latched.
You must check that the latch clears the ball and drops below it before closing.
The latch on the coupler is also adjustable and should be checked for correct grip. There is a nut which can be accessed from under the coupler.

Grease won't affect the security of a properly adjusted and installed Coupler.
Odds are that your latch just did not grasp the ball but still allowed the lever to close.
Glad everything worked out.


If worn or bent, there is a rebuild kit available which includes the lever, shaft, spring and latch


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Old 11-21-2019, 02:39 PM   #3
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What Floyd's said. I have had a couple of trailers unhitch themselves over the years. I think both were likely caused by the clasp riding on top of the ball instead of under it, but it's hard to say for sure. In both cases, I can say I had "help" hooking up and didn't do a due diligence inspection before departing. Fortunately no damage on one and minimal damage on the other.
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Old 11-21-2019, 02:52 PM   #4
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EVERY time I hitch up, I raise the tongue high enough to lift up the rear of my tow an inch or so to insure the coupler pawl is latched under the ball. If it is not, the trailer will pop loose while you're still parked.


Learned my lesson after I had my trailer pop off on a speed bump while exiting a campground.


Having an electric jack makes this quite simple.
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Old 11-21-2019, 05:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Lisle View Post
... He advised me never to grease the ball because it fosters this kind of unhitching....
Wow.. now I have heard everything. That kinda bull is giving us old guys in NC a bad reputation.

As others mentioned, after hitching use the jack to raise the tongue use enough to make sure its hitched... the rear of the tow vehicle will come up past its natural height. Don't go too far - maybe an inch, so as not to damage anything,

Make sure the coupler is adjusted right:


You might want to swing by a good trailer shop and have them check. If the coupler is too worn then part or all of it might need to be replaced.

Since the guy who said greased balls come unhitched is the same guy who told you that you had the right size ball for the coupler, I would check it myself. Ball and coupler must match.
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Old 11-21-2019, 10:40 PM   #6
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when i had my trailer come unhitched (for an entirely different reason), I used the trailer brakes manually to slow the trailer and only very gently braked the truck. the crossed chains kept the trailer from grinding up the road. dashed to car parts store, got a new towbar for the truck, and we were good to go.
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Old 11-21-2019, 10:47 PM   #7
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When I rebuilt my trailer I used a Bulldog Hitch that is forged steel and is made to automatically tighten up to grip the ball and would be hard to fail to connect correctly.
One side of the hitch is hinged and goes into a tapered sleeve that is pushed by a spring arrangement.
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Old 11-22-2019, 12:18 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by redbarron55 View Post
When I rebuilt my trailer I used a Bulldog Hitch that is forged steel and is made to automatically tighten up to grip the ball and would be hard to fail to connect correctly.
One side of the hitch is hinged and goes into a tapered sleeve that is pushed by a spring arrangement.
The Bulldog is the best there is as far as ball hitches go. They have been around for many years and are standard equipment on Olivers. They are also very good for use with an Anderson WDH. Unlike conventional WDH designs, the Anderson applies a very heavy forward load on the ball. Then the braking load is added to that. Compare these to the sheet metal catch system in the picture floyd attached to see the difference.

BTW, I love the story of how grease will cause the couler to come off. Sheesh.

Or you can go with something completely different like the one below from McHitch. Very easy to use and fully articulating.
Attached Thumbnails
0-3.jpg   0-4.jpg  

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Old 11-22-2019, 01:08 AM   #9
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Escape uses a Atwood style sliding yoke hitch thats quite reliable. if it locks down in place, then its not coming off. I don't even use a shackle lock or whatever on the lever. I had an incident where the ball came off the ball mount after being loose and hammering up/down for many miles, and it was still firmly held in by the sliding yoke hitch.

IMHO, its far superior to the conventional one Casita and lotsa folks use, but its not as good as the Bulldog.
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Old 11-22-2019, 01:18 AM   #10
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Just lower the coupler onto the ball, latch and jack up enough to be assured you are hitched.
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Old 11-22-2019, 07:21 AM   #11
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A very common event if you were raised on a farm with lots of different trailers. Even has a name. False hitch. You have already been given the best check. Raise the trailer back up after hitching till it starts to raise the
tow. As far as grease on the ball, many do and many don't. I don't, as I prefer dirt on my pants leg rather than dirt and grease.
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Old 11-22-2019, 07:51 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Raspy View Post
The Bulldog is the best there is as far as ball hitches go. They have been around for many years and are standard equipment on Olivers. They are also very good for use with an Anderson WDH. Unlike conventional WDH designs, the Anderson applies a very heavy forward load on the ball. Then the braking load is added to that. Compare these to the sheet metal catch system in the picture floyd attached to see the difference.

BTW, I love the story of how grease will cause the couler to come off. Sheesh.

Or you can go with something completely different like the one below from McHitch. Very easy to use and fully articulating.
Those chains....!


With the Andersen and Bulldog the best way to hitch is to connect the bulldog then raise everything up until the back of the truck starts to go up, then connect the chains and lower. It ensures youíre hitched securely. So Iím with the majority, hitch and raise to ensure itís secure.
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Old 11-22-2019, 08:10 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Wow.. now I have heard everything. That kinda bull is giving us old guys in NC a bad reputation.

As others mentioned, after hitching use the jack to raise the tongue use enough to make sure its hitched... the rear of the tow vehicle will come up past its natural height. Don't go too far - maybe an inch, so as not to damage anything,

Make sure the coupler is adjusted right:


You might want to swing by a good trailer shop and have them check. If the coupler is too worn then part or all of it might need to be replaced.

Since the guy who said greased balls come unhitched is the same guy who told you that you had the right size ball for the coupler, I would check it myself. Ball and coupler must match.
CORRECTION ; WORSE REPUTATION !!

I Ďve had one pop off on me - work trailer - bad hitch - repaired same .
Grease had nothing to do with it !!
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Old 11-22-2019, 09:01 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy J View Post
A very common event if you were raised on a farm with lots of different trailers. Even has a name. False hitch. You have already been given the best check. Raise the trailer back up after hitching till it starts to raise the
tow. As far as grease on the ball, many do and many don't. I don't, as I prefer dirt on my pants leg rather than dirt and grease.
Hi: Jimmy J... Isn't there a recall about this "False hitch" issue?
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 11-22-2019, 10:02 AM   #15
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Car trailers, utility trailers, RV trailers, even car dollies...
In half a century of towing them all, the conventional coupler has worked well.
Sure, it must be adjusted properly and installed properly, but having done so, it is no more likely to come off or fail than a properly installed wheel.
In fact I have seen more wheel bearing failures than coupler failures, none of either on my own trailers.
Fact is... a couple of minutes per year for maintenance and inspection along with care taken when attaching will make the coupler the least of your worries.


One thing I do...
Unless you travel alone, have two people check the connection and the lights before driving off on any trip.
Even if I am sure that all is good, I will pull over and check again if we fail to do that step.
Good drivers can make bad mistakes.
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Old 11-22-2019, 10:07 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Alf S. View Post
Hi: Jimmy J... Isn't there a recall about this "False hitch" issue?
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
Who would recall it? The design has had uncountable decades of reliable use. You can hardly recall for user error.
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Old 11-22-2019, 10:23 AM   #17
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Name: Henry
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We currently have a Casita, a Big Foot travel trailer, and two flatbed trailers. Upon reading the initial post I panicked and ran in and told my wife I will no longer be greasing my...I don't understand her response...I shan't repeat it here...I'm confused...I will continue to grease...
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:31 AM   #18
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Name: George
Trailer: Casita
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Originally Posted by floyd View Post
The latch on a standard coupler can catch on the top of the ball when attaching and still close, appearing to be latched.
You must check that the latch clears the ball and drops below it before closing.
The latch on the coupler is also adjustable and should be checked for correct grip. There is a nut which can be accessed from under the coupler.

Grease won't affect the security of a properly adjusted and installed Coupler.
Odds are that your latch just did not grasp the ball but still allowed the lever to close.
Glad everything worked out.


If worn or bent, there is a rebuild kit available which includes the lever, shaft, spring and latch


Also happened to me. I now always do a hitch check by raising the tongue to see if it will unlatch before traveling.
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:37 AM   #19
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Hey! did anyone else notice that strange ball in the video in post 13?
What's with the threaded collar? Seems like it would prevent the tongue from moving in an a vertical arch, like entering a driveway or going over a speed bump.
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:40 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Rzrbrn View Post
We currently have a Casita, a Big Foot travel trailer, and two flatbed trailers. Upon reading the initial post I panicked and ran in and told my wife I will no longer be greasing my balls...I don't understand her response...I shan't repeat it here...I'm confused...
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