Unhooked - Fiberglass RV



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Old 06-12-2019, 06:47 AM   #1
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Name: Robert
Trailer: 2018 Parkliner
Utah
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Unhooked

Yesterday, as I pulled out of a campground onto the highway, those horrible sounds came as my Parkliner rode on the safety chains. My wife and I ran a checklist and it sure looked like the cover was locked over the ball. Not a fun experience on the edge of a two lane busy highway. Any similar experiences out there. Maybe the rough campground exit road popped the hitch off.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:03 AM   #2
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Unhooked

Nothing short of an major accident should cause it to come off if it’s properly latched, adjusted, and secured (and often not even then).

Most likely the underjaw got hung up and it did not fully engage inside the coupler. Easiest test is to jack up the tongue after you’ve latched the coupler. The rear of the vehicle should rise.

Less likely is a loose adjustment on the underjaw. There’s a nut under the coupler that needs to be checked periodically. Remove the ball mount from the vehicle, insert the ball into the coupler and latch it. When you move the ball in the latched coupler it should feel snug with some resistance, but no slop and no binding.

The third possibility is the latch somehow popped loose. The hole in the latch should be secured with a pin or a lock.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:10 AM   #3
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Its possible that after hitching, the latch inside your coupler was jammed above the ball. Every time I lower the trailer coupler onto the hitch ball, I look under the coupler to make sure that the coupler latch extends below the ball after lowering the trailer onto the hitch. Sometimes I double check this by jacking the trailer tongue up a couple of inches after hitching up. When performing this check, if the trailer is securely hitched, both the trailer tongue and the tow vehicle hitch will rise together.
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:47 AM   #4
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That or your ball is too small.

I agree, not a fun experience!
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Old 06-12-2019, 10:55 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by John in Michigan View Post
Its possible that after hitching, the latch inside your coupler was jammed above the ball. Every time I lower the trailer coupler onto the hitch ball, I look under the coupler to make sure that the coupler latch extends below the ball after lowering the trailer onto the hitch. Sometimes I double check this by jacking the trailer tongue up a couple of inches after hitching up. When performing this check, if the trailer is securely hitched, both the trailer tongue and the tow vehicle hitch will rise together.
I agree with John....part of our checklist.....we always jack the trailer up a few inches and make sure the truck is going up as well. I do this on our Casita and on my car trailer...always. Glad your problem was not worse. Safe travels down the road.
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:13 AM   #6
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I did experience this once. Shortly after I got my Trillium we took a trip. As we crossed a rural train crossing I heard the sounds that you are describing. In my case the pin holding the "underjaw" snapped loose from it's welds on both ends. It was probably weak for some time and not noticed. Fortunately I had a bolt that I was able to temporarily replace the pin with so that I could safely drive it into town and fix it.
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:25 AM   #7
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test for latched coupler.

Once you connect raise the tongue jack until the back of the tow vehicle raises a bit. If you can lift the rear of the two with tongue jack you're connected.
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:29 AM   #8
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One of the advantages of the Bulldog coupler is that it is obvious, with even the most casual glance, that it is either latched, or it is not. There cannot be any question about it.

You never adjust it, it has a very strong grip and the mechanism is not hidden up inside the coupler.

When setting it on the ball, the side door latch piece is sticking out and the collar is trapped open. I then just kick the latch. It snaps closed and the collar snaps forward to lock it closed. That's it. Then a safety pin can be slipped in if you wish. It won't go in if the coupler is not latched. Then it is totally secure, always.

The main advantages of the conventional couplers we see so many of, is that they are cheap to produce and easy to install when building the tongue of the trailer. But the latch piece can get trapped above the ball, as mentioned, and not noticed.
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Old 06-12-2019, 04:58 PM   #9
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Name: Robert
Trailer: 2018 Parkliner
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Unhooked

Thanks for the replies folks. Seems we are always learning. I'm still trying to graduate from camping first grade. Back to inspecting the hitch.
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:40 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Raspy View Post
One of the advantages of the Bulldog coupler is that it is obvious, with even the most casual glance, that it is either latched, or it is not. There cannot be any question about it.

You never adjust it, it has a very strong grip and the mechanism is not hidden up inside the coupler.

When setting it on the ball, the side door latch piece is sticking out and the collar is trapped open. I then just kick the latch. It snaps closed and the collar snaps forward to lock it closed. That's it. Then a safety pin can be slipped in if you wish. It won't go in if the coupler is not latched. Then it is totally secure, always.

The main advantages of the conventional couplers we see so many of, is that they are cheap to produce and easy to install when building the tongue of the trailer. But the latch piece can get trapped above the ball, as mentioned, and not noticed.
x2 Replace with a bulldog.
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Old 06-13-2019, 09:03 AM   #11
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Name: Gordon
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Bulldog Hitch

I,too, replaced my conventional hitch with a bulldog after hitting a severe hole in the road that separated the coupler from ball. No fun. With help I was able to get it back together. When I got back to flat ground, I tested it by jacking up the trailer and was able to lift the rear of my truck. But with my confidence shattered, I replaced it with the bulldog when I got the opportunity to do so.

So, my belief is that, with enough force, the pressed steel of a conventional hitch will give. The bulldog is cast steel.


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Old 06-13-2019, 10:24 AM   #12
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Name: Jack L
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The Bulldog hitch is definitely stronger than the couplers supplied by most RV trailer manufacturers, and its very safe, but it's not idiot proof. I know someone (rookie) who did not make sure to slide the collar forward to lock the hitch and severely damaged the two vehicle when the trailer came unhooked.
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Old 06-13-2019, 02:51 PM   #13
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Name: Anne
Trailer: 2014 Parkliner 2016 Honda Pilot
North Carolina
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I had the same thing happen. Once was when the coupler failed to latched properly. I now test it by the methods described previously.

The other time was a brake controller malfunction that jerked the camper extremely hard as I went over a bump and it popped loose. In that case, my RV repairman thought that because the safety pin was a bit small, there was enough slack (and force) to cause it to disengage. I changed to a larger pin.

No problems since. Thankfully both occurred in easy-to-recover locations.
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Old 06-13-2019, 03:47 PM   #14
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Name: Joe
Trailer: 1999 Casita 17' SD
Ohio
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Yes the Bull dog is a better idea but replacing what you have is not a simple or easy job.

What you had is commonly called a "FALSE HITCH"

It happened because your tow vehicle was a little far back in relation to the ball and when you lowered the hitch it pushed the fork shaped thing up. Then when you pushed the lever down instead of the fork being under the narrow part of the ball to hold it on it on it was above.

So make sure the hitch is centered on the ball or a tad forward before lowering the tongue
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