hitch problem - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-09-2003, 11:12 AM   #1
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hitch problem

I've noticed the last couple of times I've pulled the Casita what appears to be sloppiness between the coupler and ball. When I initially pull forward or come to a stop there is a feeling of front or backward movement. I've never felt this in a trailer before. I've tried tightening the coupler and then backing off a quarter to half a turn but it doesn't seem to help. The hookup seems secure. When I lower the tongue jack to unhook the Casita from my truck, I usually have to jump up on the step bumper and give a bounce or two for the coupler to pop off the ball. Any suggestions would be much appreciated...

Rich
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Old 03-09-2003, 12:09 PM   #2
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hitch problem

You may have bent something in the hitch. I would replace the internal parts. A repair kit is available for your Shelby 5101 coupler at www.etrailer.com. $10.25 for safety is a small price to pay.

http://www.etrailer.com/Merchant2/merchant...tegory_Code=crk
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Old 03-09-2003, 12:50 PM   #3
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Hi Rich ... sorry you're having some problems!

Couple of thoughts:

1. Is the ball itself loose? It can look tight, but still be loose enough to wobble when the trailer is attached.

2. I know you've done a lot of trailering ... has the draw bar pin (which holds the draw bar in the vehicle hitch) worn ... and is allowing a little play in the draw bar?

3. Are you sure your trailer brakes are working as well as they did? It could be you are feeling a dragging shoe ... or a worn pad, giving you a different sensation than before.

4. Have you been emptying too many water-insertion-device containers?:)
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Old 03-09-2003, 07:20 PM   #4
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Rich,

Every class III hitch I have ever had has had some play in it. When you take off or slow down you will feel it. If your window is down you will hear it. That is one of the reasons that I use a WDH that applies tension on the joint.

The problem getting the coupler off of the ball is a simple adjustment. When you are hooked up lay down and look up under the coupler. You will see a nut. Loosen it up 1/8 turn and then try to unhitch it. You may have to do it a couple of times. It should be kept as tight as possible and still easily come off.

It is possible that you have a problem as Charles has indicated and I would check them. Also you will see the clamp just above the nut that holds the coupler on the ball when you loosen it. Check it when not connected for unusual wear. If you grease the ball when you tow it should be OK. It could be wore out but I doubt it. I have pulled trailers thousands of miles and have never replaced one because of wear.

Last be sure you have plenty of hitch weight and not loaded to heavy aft.

You no doubt have checked most of these things but we have tried to cover everything. Sometimes we all miss the simplest of them.

Good Luck
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Old 03-10-2003, 11:10 AM   #5
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The forward/backward movement of the coupler on the ball is something I started noticing in the last few months, it wasn't apparent during my first year of towing the Casita. I've ruled out loose ball and worn drawbar pin. I do need to get the Casita down to a scale, but we're not carrying anything more or loaded differently than we did during our first year, so I don't think tongue weight or weight distribution is the problem. When I replaced the Carlisles with Goodyear, the brakes seemed OK, so I don't think that's a problem. I might look into the brake controller though, since I haven't adjusted it since day one. There is some up/down and side to side play in the drawbar but no forward/back, so I don't think the problem lies with
the drawbar or reciever. It's troublesome, but I will get to the bottom of it. At some point I guess I'll have to get down on the ground and look up into the coupler to make sure everything's OK. My bones and joints aren't looking foward to that...

Rich
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Old 03-10-2003, 11:56 AM   #6
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movement

Rich, when we got our 2002 SD last April I had the same problem, since it was delivered to us from Rice it had over 2000 miles on it .
I adjusted the brakes ( did it myself ) and fine tune the Tekonsha Voyager brake controler and that took care of the problem.
I now have over 5,000 miles on the trailer and it still works great.
I traded for a bigger Dakota and it came with a brake controler on it
(don't remember the brand) and it was junk, graby brakes so I had
my old Tekonsha controler and put it on and everything was great
smooth stoping. Try adjusting your brakes and find tune you controler and if that don't help you may need a new brake controler.
I hope this helps and keep us posted on how thing go. Jay
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Old 03-10-2003, 11:05 PM   #7
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the ball

I towed my Scamp for 3600 miles with an annoying slack and slop. When I got home, to my chagrin (that's French for doofis) I had a 1 7/8 ball on! Everybody knows Scamp uses 2" diameter. My excuse is I have other trailers that use 1 7/8. Check the ball.
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Old 03-11-2003, 04:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Orginally posted by e. s. munson

I towed my Scamp for 3600 miles with an annoying slack and slop. When I got home, to my chagrin (that's French for doofis) I had a 1 7/8 ball on! Everybody knows Scamp uses 2" diameter. My excuse is I have other trailers that use 1 7/8. Check the ball.
Oh, one of those, :bh Glad you didn't have a problem, now you have a story to tell your TT buddies.:lol
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Old 03-11-2003, 06:09 PM   #9
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coupler adjustment

One way to check the (Atwood) coupler adjustment is to:

1. Hook up the trailer, latch the coupler (on level ground, wheels chocked).

2. Crank the tongue jack from 'off the ground' to where it begins to contact the ground, while watching the coupler/hitch ball. Need to crank it until the tongue weight is off the tow vehicle, a couple of inches.Then, if the trailer coupler begins to raise the hitch on the car with no slop, it's OK. If the coupler raises without immediately pulling the hitch with it, it needs adjusting.

This takes out the forward and back slop between the coupler and ball.

3. No need to crawl under to look at the coupler parts. A small mirror will show the adjustment nut. Need a 3/4" deep socket, tighten it (counter-clockwise, looking down), retest, unhook, and you're done. The nut is an elastic lock nut so it'll offer a little resistance even if the coupler is out of adjustment. :)
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Old 03-11-2003, 08:54 PM   #10
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I second "check the ball" also; easy to have the wrong one (been there, done that!).

Also, if the tongue weight is too light, a trailer will make a LOT of noise when it is tugged around.

Pete and Rats
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Old 03-11-2003, 09:01 PM   #11
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Don,

I don't think he is going to find the coupler nut too loose. Because he has said that he has to jump on the bumper to get it to release from the ball when unhitching. I think he is going to find the cause of the jerking in another place. But that is a good ideal that you have to use a mirror.

What have you found Rich? You have us all worried!

Have you adjusted the power setting on the right side of your brake control yet?

Have you found a good level spot to park on a paved lot so you can observe movement while trying to rock the trailer forward and backward? You should be able to see where the play is. Remember it probably won't be very much.

Good luck
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Old 03-11-2003, 10:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Orginally posted by Ron and Bernice

What have you found Rich? You have us all worried!
Not to worry, I'm looking into it. I've ruled out the two most obvious possibilities. The Casita factory supplied the 2" ball and I verified long ago it is, indeed, a 2" ball. And, I've fine tuned the coupler/latch adjustments to the point there's slight resistance with both hitch and un-hitch. I've cranked the tongue jack down with the coupler latch locked in place and the back of my pickup raises as I crank without the coupler popping off the ball; so, I'm not TOO worried about the trailer coming un-hitched...though such thoughts are always in the back of the mind once you've seen such a thing happen, and I have. I will figure it out; and, when I do, I'll post my observations and conclusions for all to consider with regard to their own trailers.

Rich
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Old 03-12-2003, 06:45 AM   #13
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Are you sure it's the coupler and ball? The hitch on our old van was terribly noisy, can't remember the make though. The draw bar was a tiny bit sloppy and the clanks and jerks it made were incredible.
The current van has a different make of hitch, possibly U-haul and the draw bar fits very snug. Often has to be hammered out if we forget about it for a few weeks. This one does not make a sound and no jerks.

Maybe the draw bar is your problem.
Nancy
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Old 03-14-2003, 09:53 AM   #14
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Quote:
Orginally posted by Nancy D

* * * * * * Are you sure it's the coupler and ball? *The hitch on our old van was terribly noisy, can't remember the make though. *The draw bar was a tiny bit sloppy and the clanks and jerks it made were incredible. *
That's one possibility I haven't eliminated. There is some up 'n down and side to side sloppiness with the hitch but no forward/back, which is what I feel. The movement I feel is kinda like a "nudge" from the Casita when coming to a stop and, to a lesser extent, a slight jerk when initially starting to pull. However, this is not something I felt at any time during the first year and 7500 miles towing the Casita...well, except for the time at Moraine Park when I forgot to lock down the coupler latch. Fortunately we were just towing over to the dump and didn't get too far down the road with the latch not locked down. I've got another draw bar I could try, but it isn't one I'd want to continue using. I hate the thought of having to suffer the expence of replacing the current class III on the truck since I plan on buying a new truck in the not to far off future.

Rich
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