wow ! hitch came unhitched !! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-10-2006, 02:30 PM   #1
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Oh Momeeeeeeee. On my way to see about the tires having different amt. of clearance and hit a bump, clunk, oh no. There was the tongue on the ground after skidding to a stop. A fellow in a work truck stopped to help me. I had a new roller type hitch which he used to jack the trailer hitch up with. He felt inside where the ball goes and said that it wasn't grabbing the ball properly. After getting it hitched up again I gingerly drove the mile I needed to the mechanic. He is in the process of taking off my old part where the balls goes and welding on a new one. Cha, ching. He will have to move the handle/jack from the front of the hitch further back as it will be in the way.

Thank goodness that I only had to travel a couple of miles and I am glad that it happened so close to home instead of in the middle of no where. The one thing I am pleased about with myself is having had the proper jack for someone to help me. I must write a thankyou for the newspaper saying what a great samaritan.
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Old 08-10-2006, 03:48 PM   #2
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Glad it wasn't a total disaster.

To add to your hitching routine..

After you have everything hitched and locked, drop your tongue jack and raise the trailer. If the car lifts up with the trailer, you are secure.

Do you have a hitch pin? This simple 3 dollar investment could save you $1000s.
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Old 08-10-2006, 05:17 PM   #3
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You are really a lucky person. Usually these stories end with a disaster attached.

Did you have 2 safety chains connected? The chain on the left of the trailer connects to the right of the vehicle and opposite for the chain on the right of the trailer. reason: It may keep the tongue of the trailer from hitting the ground. It may rest where the chains cross.
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Old 08-10-2006, 05:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
You are really a lucky person. Usually these stories end with a disaster attached.

Did you have 2 safety chains connected? The chain on the left of the trailer connects to the right of the vehicle and opposite for the chain on the right of the trailer. reason: It may keep the tongue of the trailer from hitting the ground. It may rest where the chains cross.
I don't know about where you are but having these is a legal requirement in many areas.
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Old 08-10-2006, 06:13 PM   #5
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Woooo girl!!! You must be living right!!! What a scary thing to happen! And so lucky that wasn't a big disaster!!

(and because of your story, I have a couple more things to add to my checklist!)
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Old 08-10-2006, 06:38 PM   #6
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WOWie.!!!
Good thing for you that you didn't PANIC and slam on the brakes in a panic stop. That freewheelin' trailer would slammed right into you at whatever speed you were goin. GLAD to see a happy end to this serious situation. When I leave a site now I take extra time to crank that front jack back down to the ground and WATCH as it lifts the back end of the tow vehicle in the air. This is a good sign that your trailer is fairly well secured. We have had a similar experience when after just leaving camp, we rounded a very SLOW tight right hand corner that climbed up an over a railroad track. Right on top of the track our trailer n hot rod parted ways. Possible right combination of angles an stresses (who knows) put the trailer into the cradle made by our X-d chains. Fortunately I did not panic stop as The Trailer Goddess was YELLING in my ear I just let the natural momentum of the vehicles bring us to a stop
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Old 08-11-2006, 12:38 AM   #7
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I haven't seen the old coupler and what was wrong with it, but they are adjustable (nut on bottom side) and if the components are worn, repair kits are available. OTOH, if the old coupler was badly worn or bent, it needed replacement.

The way my chains are attached to my 91S13's frame (at a single point), crossing the chains doesn't work to catch the tongue (something I need to change).
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Old 08-11-2006, 05:49 PM   #8
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I had a problem with sudden unhitching last summer. Seems I was just leaving a campground at Manning Provencial Park in BC on a gravel road at about 25 mph. All of a sudden, bump! sway and, in the rear view mirrors, a very unsteady Scamp.

The lock on the hitch was in place but, unfortunately the ball hadn't seated.

The problem was that I was getting too much help from friends while hooking up. Van people all, they weren't familiar with a trailer hitch and when they thought I was connected, I believed them.

These same friends helped me get the Scamp up and set, but I learned a lesson. "I'D RATHER DO IT MYSELF!
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Old 08-11-2006, 09:25 PM   #9
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Oh Momeeeeeeee. On my way to see about the tires having different amt. of clearance
You were very fortunate...I'm glad nothing serious happened....

Two years ago, about 10:00 PM, 40 miles in either direction from ANY town, and not a car in sight, I was traveling along at 60 mph and I hit a sharp dip in the road, felt a slight lurch, looked in the rear view mirror to sea a HUGE shower of sparks....I slowed immediately and pulled off onto the shoulder of the road....sure enough, the tongue of the trailer was down on the road surface, or so I thought. As it turned out what was actually on the road was the bottom of the front jack. I turned on my most trusted flashlight and, barely enough light to see my hand if I looked REAL hard. I turned on the truck lights and still didn't have enough light to really evaluate what had happened. I started feeling for the coupler, expecting it to be broken or some such thing but it felt OK..I checked the under side of the coupler and lo and behold, there was the ball....what had happened was that that ball mounting nut and washer had worked loose and finally came off completely and when I hit that sharp dip in the road it did me in. Naturally I was in an areea of NO cell phone service....so as not to make this story any longer, it took me several hours to get everything straightened away so I could continue on my way....anyway, once again, I'm glad everything turned out well for you....BUT... look at the great story you've got now......you'll be able to tell that for years........Russell
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Old 08-11-2006, 10:06 PM   #10
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hooray you are o.k.

left patapsco state park in maryland this morning after spending ages backing and straightening and still the ball would not seat properly. finally wound the whole thing up again and found something stuck in the socket. fixed, it WORKED!!!
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Old 08-12-2006, 06:29 PM   #11
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I wanted a good ball (many/most 1 7/8" balls are only rated for 2,000 lbs [stamped on top of ball]), so based on a tip from Joy, I ordered one from UHaul with a higher rating (5,000 lbs).

http://store.uhaul.com/master_produc...il.aspx?id=104

It came with two features that I liked, the first of which was a nylon washer that fit between the ball mount bar and the nut -- As the nut is tightened to the proper torque (quite high, about 150 ft-lbs IIRC), the washer deforms and spreads out (like Plasti-gage) -- When it has spread out to the proper distance per the instructions, the correct torque has been reached, all without needing a torque wrench.

The second feature was a hole drilled across the bottom of the ball shaft and a cotter pin to place thru the hole after the ball was mounted -- The pin keeps the nut/washer from coming off the shaft if it should loosen (unlikely if correctly torqued).
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Old 08-13-2006, 10:31 AM   #12
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Another trick is to use a small mirror and verify that the latch inside the hitch is on the bottom of the ball when latched, and not jambed on top.
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Old 08-13-2006, 10:51 AM   #13
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The Lock washer: They are intended to be used only once. Once it is tightened, if you ever untighten the ball hitch you are to install a "New" lock washer and throw the old one in the trash.

For as long as I can remember, I have always drilled a hole through the bottom of the ball hitch bolt and inserted a cotter pin. The nut can't come off and you will get a wobbly fealing when starting/stoping if the nut gets loose. This gives you a heads up.

This comes from being an Aircraft mechanic back in the Army in the 60s where every nut / bolt is safety wired to insure it can't come undone.

One last thing: Use locktight on everything else. Blue if you want to get it off someday and red if you don't.
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Old 08-13-2006, 11:04 PM   #14
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A huge thank you to everyone who replied to my dilema. I have compiled a list to ask the RV technician when I go to Courtenay on my way down island. Unfortunately, in this town there really isn't anyone that I can take the trailer to. I need to think about a lock for the coupling so that no one can drive off with it. The tire distance is a little more than I had before the change in tire size. Tried the trick of putting my fist between the tire and the wheel well but it won't fit. The axel is behind the wheels by the way, someone had asked me that question probably on my other post of "tires rubbing".

Trying not to be the nervous wreck before leaving on my trip, but I will feel more confident taking it to the experts to check everything out ie: propane/electric fridge, furnace, and electric brakes connected.
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