Pre-trip checks and what can happen!! - Fiberglass RV



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Old 05-23-2019, 09:30 AM   #1
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Name: Fredrick
Trailer: Casita 2018 Independence Dlx
Tennessee
Posts: 206
Pre-trip checks and what can happen!!

Recently we camped at beautiful Ft De Soto in FL for three weeks including two "overnite" stops each way, coming and returning home. As recommended by Casita factory and in various 'how to' videos on You tube, we always both do a pre-trip "walk-around" check B4 starting out.

ie "stabilizing jacks up" check, chocks away ..check, all vents closed..check, safety cable connected, check.. tongue jack all way up..check, etc etc.. we all do this..right?

Note..for extra security, so that the trailer hitch 'was more difficult to steal', etc, we had replaced the std hitch pin + clip thing with a hefty new commercial "hitch pin with key lock" mechanism last summer..''''bought it from the camping section of Walmart.

Brand is: Reese Tow Power Dual Bent Pin Receiver Lock, Walmart item # 1014908 Price was $9.99, .....[with a 4* rating]


Well the morning last week when we were gonna head out to come home, I was doing my pre-flight check of our "hitch area" ..and gave a shake & pull on our "hitch pin lock"....to my great surprise, it came off in my hand, leaving the hitch PIN {holding the ball mount aparatus} in the receiver, but ZERO holding that pin inside the receiver!!!

I took the "lock part" and looked into the opening where the pin was supposed to go and there were little pieces of PLASTIC inside. I turned it up and pieces of plastic fell out into my hand and then a little bitty spring fell out. Aparently, that plastic thingamajig was all that held the lock part onto the pin, and it had disintegrated in less that one year.

I calmed down and got out my trusty tool box and replaced the "lock pin" with a spare std hitch pin and clip..and showed the failed part to Holly.

Personally I believe the "lock" would possibly have fallen off on the trip home, resulting in a possible pin "slide out" and the whole ball mount falling off the truck!! Maybe the safety chains would have worked..maybe not!!


Whew..and thank God for the pre-flight checks AND spare parts!!! Words to the wise I guess. I HAVE already contacted Reese as of this AM, but no response yet.
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Old 05-23-2019, 03:02 PM   #2
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Recently I was towing my enclosed trailer behind my truck. The draw bar I was using had a bolt that went through the hole in the draw bar and into the ball. After many years on there this day the bolt decided to fall out of the ball and of course the trailer hitch with the ball still locked inside came off the draw bar fell down onto the crossed safety chains and as I stopped the hitch went under my bumper until the draw bar hit against the front of the trailer. I stopped changed to a different draw bar I had put the tongue back on the backup ball and off we went took about 5 minutes on the side of the road. No damage except a small dent in the front of the trailer. The take away from this story is make sure you attach the safety chains correctly.
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Old 05-23-2019, 03:29 PM   #3
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Name: Wayne & Barbara
Trailer: Parkliner
Iowa
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As to terminology. the names of those various parts of a trailer hitch system.

The big part that is permanently mounted to the TV, and has a square hole in the center, is called the receiver.
The smaller, removable part that fits to the receiver is the drawbar or ball mount.

We have a lockable pin for the drawbar. The pin itself is solid steel. The locking cap fits over the end. there is no load on the cap.
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Old 05-23-2019, 04:14 PM   #4
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 3,171
There are 35 reviews of that part on the Walmart site... three of them say that it broke much like you described. Always good to read the reviews.. When almost 9% of the reviews say that a critical part failed like this, it is a big red flag in your face.

So now you got me looking at my drawbar to receiver lock. Its the type where the locking cylinder screws on, then stays in place when you remove the key. I suspect this is a better design but it is worth looking into further.
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:44 PM   #5
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Name: Jann
Trailer: Casita
Colorado
Posts: 608
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred762 View Post
Recently we camped at beautiful Ft De Soto in FL for three weeks including two "overnite" stops each way, coming and returning home. As recommended by Casita factory and in various 'how to' videos on You tube, we always both do a pre-trip "walk-around" check B4 starting out.

ie "stabilizing jacks up" check, chocks away ..check, all vents closed..check, safety cable connected, check.. tongue jack all way up..check, etc etc.. we all do this..right?

Note..for extra security, so that the trailer hitch 'was more difficult to steal', etc, we had replaced the std hitch pin + clip thing with a hefty new commercial "hitch pin with key lock" mechanism last summer..''''bought it from the camping section of Walmart.

Brand is: Reese Tow Power Dual Bent Pin Receiver Lock, Walmart item # 1014908 Price was $9.99, .....[with a 4* rating]


Well the morning last week when we were gonna head out to come home, I was doing my pre-flight check of our "hitch area" ..and gave a shake & pull on our "hitch pin lock"....to my great surprise, it came off in my hand, leaving the hitch PIN {holding the ball mount aparatus} in the receiver, but ZERO holding that pin inside the receiver!!!

I took the "lock part" and looked into the opening where the pin was supposed to go and there were little pieces of PLASTIC inside. I turned it up and pieces of plastic fell out into my hand and then a little bitty spring fell out. Aparently, that plastic thingamajig was all that held the lock part onto the pin, and it had disintegrated in less that one year.

I calmed down and got out my trusty tool box and replaced the "lock pin" with a spare std hitch pin and clip..and showed the failed part to Holly.

Personally I believe the "lock" would possibly have fallen off on the trip home, resulting in a possible pin "slide out" and the whole ball mount falling off the truck!! Maybe the safety chains would have worked..maybe not!!


Whew..and thank God for the pre-flight checks AND spare parts!!! Words to the wise I guess. I HAVE already contacted Reese as of this AM, but no response yet.
We have a hitch pin with a clip that turns and slides to hold the pin in. It's all one piece. We bought a very small padlock to lock the clip part so it can't be turned. Thus no stealing or accidental falling out. So far no complaints other than when you put the pin through the hole make sure to have the clip part very straight and not turned or it will get stuck inside the ball mount.
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Old 05-24-2019, 09:00 AM   #6
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Name: Fredrick
Trailer: Casita 2018 Independence Dlx
Tennessee
Posts: 206
cap load

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Collins View Post
As to terminology. the names of those various parts of a trailer hitch system.

The big part that is permanently mounted to the TV, and has a square hole in the center, is called the receiver.
The smaller, removable part that fits to the receiver is the drawbar or ball mount.

We have a lockable pin for the drawbar. The pin itself is solid steel. The locking cap fits over the end. there is no load on the cap.
.................................................. .................................................. ..........
FWIW there was no "load" on the pin lock..the dang 'locking part' just fell off the end of the pin... into my hand when I shook it. and the innards of the lock cylinder were coming out in pieces..of cheap-looking plastic. I have contacted Reese corp cust service about this. BTW it seems there are lots of complaints about the various locking mechanisms around. You'd think this wd B a no brainer item to make.
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Old 05-26-2019, 10:35 AM   #7
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
Posts: 4,813
This device is what I have been using to prevent the "hair pin" clip from falling out or being pulled. I've had it a long time, don't know what company made it, "SE253-7" is stamped on it, nothing else.
EDIT EDIT Possible failure of the hairpin clip may allow this device to fall off so I recommend that no one use this device as it could result in injury.
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Old 05-26-2019, 10:59 AM   #8
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mary and bob View Post
This device is what I have been using to prevent the "hair pin" clip from falling out or being pulled. I've had it a long time, don't know what company made it, "SE253-7" is stamped on it, nothing else.
I've had hitch pin clips that became "sprung" so that they became loose. In your photos it does appear that if the clip popped off (because is was "sprung"), then the clip, bracket and lock would all fall off the end of the hitch pin, still securely attached to each other. At least it looks that way to me.
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Old 05-26-2019, 12:21 PM   #9
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
I've had hitch pin clips that became "sprung" so that they became loose. In your photos it does appear that if the clip popped off (because is was "sprung"), then the clip, bracket and lock would all fall off the end of the hitch pin, still securely attached to each other. At least it looks that way to me.
Did your pin become "sprung" somehow after you installed it? If you use the hitch pin type that has a groove rather than a hole for the clip then I suppose the whole assembly could fall off, but with the type hitch pin that has a hole for the clip to go through even if the clip becomes sprung it can't come out. But maybe the clip could also break right off and the whole assembly fall off the end of the pin. So to cover those possible events I'll modify my comment to read: "This device is what I have used for the past 50 years but due to the possibility of failure of a hairpin clip it should not be used by anyone"
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Old 05-26-2019, 12:52 PM   #10
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Casita 17 ft DLX SD & 21 ft SOB
NW Wisconsin
Posts: 3,531
I’ve had the spring style hitch clip lose its tension where it takes little effort to remove
I buy a couple of new spring clips each year and throw out the old clips that are questionable . I put the clip through the hole in the hitch pin and put a tyrap around the clip so it cannot fall or be pulled out . A 5 cent tyrap is far cheaper than a dented / smashed up vehicle / trailer . When unhooking my trailer , I cut the tyrap and the clip pulls out . If you try and pull the spring clip out without cutting the tyrap you need a pair of pliers and a lot of force
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Old 05-26-2019, 02:42 PM   #11
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Name: Fredrick
Trailer: Casita 2018 Independence Dlx
Tennessee
Posts: 206
So far a thorough pre flight check looks like my best route..until I find another lock I can TRUST, THAT IS
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Old 06-01-2019, 05:23 PM   #12
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Name: Julian
Trailer: 1998 Casita 16’ Spirit
Nevada
Posts: 23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mary and bob View Post
This device is what I have been using to prevent the "hair pin" clip from falling out or being pulled. I've had it a long time, don't know what company made it, "SE253-7" is stamped on it, nothing else.
EDIT EDIT Possible failure of the hairpin clip may allow this device to fall off so I recommend that no one use this device as it could result in injury.
I’d be concerned that someone could easily cut the retaining pin and steal the trailer. I see 2 issues, first is security and second is reliability. I also wonder if the Reeses lock could be compromised with something as simple as a screwdriver as all the guts are cheap plastic!

Thanks for pointing out this defect. Now I need to check my hitch gear to make sure it is up to snuff!
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Old 06-01-2019, 05:28 PM   #13
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Name: Julian
Trailer: 1998 Casita 16’ Spirit
Nevada
Posts: 23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
I’ve had the spring style hitch clip lose its tension where it takes little effort to remove
I buy a couple of new spring clips each year and throw out the old clips that are questionable . I put the clip through the hole in the hitch pin and put a tyrap around the clip so it cannot fall or be pulled out . A 5 cent tyrap is far cheaper than a dented / smashed up vehicle / trailer . When unhooking my trailer , I cut the tyrap and the clip pulls out . If you try and pull the spring clip out without cutting the tyrap you need a pair of pliers and a lot of force
Be careful with tie-wraps. They break down with UV radiation and will basically decompose. I would recommend you replace them each time you use the trailer; however, this does nothing for security.
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Old 06-02-2019, 04:43 PM   #14
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Name: LYNN
Trailer: Little Guy Mini Max
Texas
Posts: 2
Bolt

For years, I have used a 5/8 NC x 3-1/2” grade 8 bolt, secured by a Nyloc nut. Never a problem, but one must have ready access to a 15/15” socket, ratchet and end wrench. Cheers.
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