Help! My hitch and ball are grinding and gouging - Fiberglass RV

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Old 10-04-2009, 10:34 AM   #1
Ron Stewart's Avatar
Trailer: 2009 17 ft Escape
Posts: 95
After about 1,000 or 1,200 km hauling the new Escape, I started hearing groaning when turning. It took a while for me to figure out that the source was the hitch ball. Up until that point, I had been running it dry. For the rest of the trip, I used lithium grease all over the ball. That reduced the noise dramatically, but it seems the damage is done.

You can see that the chrome is scraped off the ball.

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This image is blurry, but you can see how the hitch is worn, too. It is so rough in there that I think I could tear off some skin if I rubbed my finger across it hard.

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I bought a new ball, but with the inside of the hitch so rough, I am sure its surface would not last the 1100 km trip (to the North Oregon Gathering) we have planned for next weekend.

Since the damage is done, I think I will hand-sand the hitch, grease the old ball, and take the weekend trip. It will be the last trip of the year.

Should I have been greasing the hitch? It seems a great way to collect grit on dusty roads.

What would you do now?

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Old 10-04-2009, 10:54 AM   #2
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Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
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Grease it.

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Old 10-04-2009, 11:11 AM   #3
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Trailer: 17' Casita
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I use LOTS of Car wax on mine.
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:14 AM   #4
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Trailer: 1992 Kustom Koach 17 FT
British Columbia
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[quote]I use LOTS of Car wax on mine.
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I like car wax idea.
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:46 AM   #5
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What would I do? I wouldn't worry about it.

I've not seen a chromed hitch ball that doesn't end up with the chrome being worn off after a few uses. If you are fussy, grease the hitch ball. Be prepared to get some grease on your pants leg.

-- Dan Meyer
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:03 PM   #6
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Trailer: Casita
Posts: 129
Yes, grease it and your small sway bar ball and socket. Every few trips I spray brake cleaner or WD-40 with a shop rag to wipe ball and socket clean and apply fresh grease. If you tow enough you can feel the difference over something binding. Some people rub on it with wax paper. Friction = heat= wear. IMHO
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Old 10-04-2009, 02:18 PM   #7
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Trailer: Escape 13 ft 2010 ('Ladybug') / 2003 Subaru Forester/ 2012 Toyota Highlander
British Columbia
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Have a look at

There are many similar posts.

Greasing seems to be the thing to do.

Brian & Maria
2010 Escape 13 "Ladybug"|2003 Subaru Forester|2012 Toyota Highlander
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:23 PM   #8
Trailer: Escape 19 ft
Posts: 34
To not get greasy pants from the hitch ball, I use the old tennis ball trick. I sliced a tennis ball a little over half way through, and cut a 1" hole in the center of the slice area. As soon as the trailer is unhitched, the tennis ball goes on the hitch ball and stays there until time to hitch back up. The 1" hole allows the tennis ball to mostly close down over the hitch ball. No more greasy pants, although the dog seems a bit put out that she had to sacrifice one of her tennis balls.
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:22 PM   #9
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Trailer: 1972 Compact Jr
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On our maiden voyage last year, we drove roughly 10,000 miles with no grease and no shim. The ball banged around and squeaked and made a general racket. This year's trip (a mere 5,000 miles) was SO much more peaceful. After trying the plastic shim idea (fell out, got lost, wiggled, shook, made noise - depending upon the version I tried), I shelled out the 30 bucks for the J-pin. And I used some bearing grease I had sitting around on the ball...just a TOUCH. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! Such a peaceful trip. Between the loss of rattle and squeak and the size of the trailer (light, short, easy to tow), I'dforget it was back there now and again. Grease it.
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:41 PM   #10
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I make sure that the ball and socket are clean, then I use a dab of silicone grease working it all over and wiping of the excess. It's clear and a little goes a long way.
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Old 10-05-2009, 07:59 AM   #11
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Name: Larry H
Trailer: Trillium
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Grease?!? Oops, I forgot to...
Here are some pix of the hitch and ball on my Trill 1300
after my recent 4700 mile trip from AZ to ID, MT, WY, etc.
Ball not too bad but hitch shows pitting and wear.

Thanks for the reminder.. Larry H.

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Old 10-08-2009, 09:38 AM   #12
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Name: Roger
Trailer: 2009 Trillium 1300 "Homelet"/2014 Subaru Outback "Rosie"
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I always put a light coating of grease on the ball when hitching up. Use any grease you have handy. Don't have grease? use vaseline. Just something to prevent one surface from 'picking up' bits from the other surface. They will actually weld at little spots to each other under load and then when the welds break, you get the little burrs.

Just occasionally wipe the whole business clean and apply fresh lubricant. If you are already on the road, just take the dipstick from your TV and drop a few drops of engine oil on the ball. Be sure to not get any contaminant on the dipstick before replacing it in the engine.
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Old 10-08-2009, 10:29 AM   #13
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
Posts: 3,014
I like to carry one of those very small tubs of white lithium grease in the car with me. They're cylindrical, about 2.5" in diameter and maybe 3" tall. They're convenient because you can just unscrew the cap and then invert the tub over the trailer ball and twist a bit to apply the grease with "no hands."

I still wear a disposable glove when I'm applying it; then while I'm holding the re-capped tub with my gloved hand, I simply remove the glove and let it turn wrong-side-out over the cylinder. It's really more for just in case it were to leak in the car (which it never has) than it is for keeping grease off my hand, as the cylinder means you never have to touch the grease.

Even though I have larger containers (spray and a pump for trailer bearings) of it at home, I still like the little tub for ease of carrying and application.

I keep one of those soft plastic covers on the ball for those times it's attached to the car but doesn't have a trailer on it - tho' I still can't say I haven't forgotten and run into it with my shin a few times

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Old 10-08-2009, 06:30 PM   #14
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Name: Frederick
Trailer: Fiber Stream
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Grease it.
Don't let me walk anywhere near it. I have trashed LOTS of pants with Hitch Ball Grease.

Frederick - The Scaleman
1978 Fiber Stream 16 named "Eggstasy" & 1971 Compact Jr. named "Boomerang"
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