Check Your Hitch Ball ! - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-15-2007, 08:54 PM   #29
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A trailer hitch that is hit on a unibody will push the unibody out of shape; tend to tear one or more attachment points out of the unibody; and generally the damage is sufficient to "total" a unibody car unless it's brand-new and high-value to begin with.
Whoa, how freaky is this! I was rear ended this morning- with hitch ball and sans hitch.

It looks like very minor damage, but now I'm re-thinking it. The truck that hit me had an impression of my hitch ball on the mud guard under it's bumper. I guess I better not drive my car it until I get the frame checked.

Wow...thanks guys!
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Old 09-16-2007, 11:10 AM   #30
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The results of using the hitch as a bumper - the lack of energy absorption, the damage to the other vehicle, the delivery of crash forces into the wrong parts of the vehicle's structure - are all good reasons to pull that ball mount out when not towing. I do, and leave it in the trailer. I would pull it out even without those reasons, just to avoid hitting my shins on it when reaching into the back of the van.
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Old 09-16-2007, 11:16 AM   #31
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Great information, Roger!
The real experience is valuable.

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... if the break-away switch activates (if so equipped), the safety chains almost always snap...
Are the cause and effect clearly the right way around here? This suggests that activation of the break-away switch leads to the safety chains breaking, but it could also be that when the safety chains break, it is only then that there is enough separation to activate the breakaway switch.

The sequence of events should depend on the lengths of the chains, the length of the breakaway switch cable, and how everything moves.

Any way it turns out, keeping the hitch ball secure seems likely to have a better outcome than depending on the safety chains!
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Old 09-16-2007, 11:52 AM   #32
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Talking

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Just returned from a great 7662 km trip to Fairbanks. When getting close to Dawson City and going over some frost heaves heard a clunk in the back. Lots of stuff in the back of the truck so didn't think too much about it. Little further down the road it became a [b]Clunk Clunk which got my full attention. Found the ball had come loose, the lock washer was doing nothing and the nut was now "finger tight loose". It all happened quickly.

A reputable shop had put the ball on and I had greased the ball but I obviously had the clamp too tight. Was a bit of a shock as I've spent most of my life with wrenches in my hand. Temporary repairs were made and now carry a good sized pipe wrench.
Two ways(in my opinion) to make sure this doesn't happen........use a Ball that's factory welded on, or weld the nut yourself after it is tightened....I know, then you lose flexiblilty, but it's your full time setup for your egg, and the things are not that costly.
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Old 09-16-2007, 09:18 PM   #33
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Howdy, don`t think that removing the stinger part of the hitch would have much bearing on the damage to your vehicle if it got rear ended....the hitch would still take the impact ......and if the rear end collision was hard enough there would be plenty of damage to the rear ending vehicle anyway.....now, not bumping your shins on it....that`s a totally different story.....usually after a few skinned shins you`ll avoid having that happen,LOL ....Benny
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Old 09-16-2007, 09:39 PM   #34
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Are the cause and effect clearly the right way around here? This suggests that activation of the break-away switch leads to the safety chains breaking, but it could also be that when the safety chains break, it is only then that there is enough separation to activate the breakaway switch.
When I had a trailer jump the hitch a couple of years ago because of a worn spoon, the chains held the tongue just like they were supposed to, and I was able to stop without too much of an incident. Had the the trailer had a breakaway switch (it didn't), the trailer would have broken away, and there would have been an accident. As it was, I stopped, replaced the tongue on the hitch and drove to an RV dealership for repairs.

Roger
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Old 09-16-2007, 09:42 PM   #35
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Howdy, don`t think that removing the stinger part of the hitch would have much bearing on the damage to your vehicle if it got rear ended....the hitch would still take the impact ......and if the rear end collision was hard enough there would be plenty of damage to the rear ending vehicle anyway.....now, not bumping your shins on it....that`s a totally different story.....usually after a few skinned shins you`ll avoid having that happen,LOL ....Benny
Benny, the amount of damage really depends on the varying heights of the vehicle, the strength of the impact, and what part of yours takes the first impact. In an impact that deforms the rear of the vehicle anyway, it doesn't make much difference. Where it really makes a difference is in parking lot fender benders where the damage would otherwise have been slight, but because the draw bar was sticking out of the hitch, it takes the brunt of the impact, and then transfers that impact to the frame in whatever vector it is driven.

Roger
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Old 09-17-2007, 12:53 AM   #36
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Howdy, don`t think that removing the stinger part of the hitch would have much bearing on the damage to your vehicle if it got rear ended....the hitch would still take the impact ....
It depends on the bumper and hitch. In my case, if the bumpers line up (or we're having a rearward crash against a wall), I think the bumper would take the brunt of the hit and its foam would absorb a lot of energy before the hitch frame was reached. Other receivers may stick out more.

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...and if the rear end collision was hard enough there would be plenty of damage to the rear ending vehicle anyway...
True, but why have the ball platform making what could have been damage-free minor bumps into bumper-cover-destroying insurance claims?

Quote:
...now, not bumping your shins on it....that`s a totally different story.....usually after a few skinned shins you`ll avoid having that happen
You would think so, but if the ball platform is only in during towing trips, it will not be automatic to avoid it. If it is in all of the time, that means 50 weeks per year of dodging around something which is only used in the other two weeks, which makes no sense to me, especially just to save a few seconds of effort.
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Old 09-17-2007, 08:19 PM   #37
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Had the the trailer had a breakaway switch (it didn't), the trailer would have broken away, and there would have been an accident.
I've always adjusted my break-away switch cable so it was long enough that the safety chains had to be gone before it would activate, but not so long that it would catch anything or dangle.
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Old 09-20-2007, 03:15 PM   #38
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Loctite blue. Great stuff. It prevents nuts and bolts from loosening, yet if you need to disassemble it later you can with force.
Adam
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Old 10-03-2007, 12:31 PM   #39
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A few years ago, my wife was stopped for a school bus and got rearended by a kid trying to reach his cell phone on the floor of his Mother's NEW Chrysler (window sticker still in place.). The kid was doing about 60 mph and my wife was stopped. The reciever hitch totally changed the way that the car crumbled. The trunk area was relativley undamaged but the rear axle moved forward about 8". The entire passenger compartment was buckled, three of the doors were crunched shut. The unibody twisted so much that even the front fenders were slightly distorted. Thank God that the bus driver saw that the kid was not paying attention and screamed for the exiting passenger to get back off of the road.
A long time ago, I built my own hitches but I am glad that I didn't build this one. The hitch stinger was NOT in the reciever but it would not have mattered at all in this crash.
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