Hitch popped off -- Replacement - Page 5 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-02-2014, 04:44 PM   #57
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Name: Brandi
Trailer: 1985 Uhaul CT
Texas
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I love bulldog hitches. Less chance of user error too


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Old 08-03-2014, 04:50 PM   #58
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Name: Dale
Trailer: 2010 EggCamper; 2002 Highlander 3.0L; 2017 Escape 21'; 2016 F-150 5.0L Fx4
Alabama
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Wendy Lee, It might have been that your other trailer had more of a flat front on the coupler, so the ball and coupler just slid apart smoothly - while the coupler on your new trailer has a pronounced concave shape to the front, so the trailer has to roll forward ever so slightly as the lower part of the coupler gets to the largest circumference of the ball, and then when the coupler finally slides past the bulge of the ball, the trailer pops back again, making a bit of a snap against the top of the ball. Does that make any sense at all?

Interestingly, this relates to the reason I'm not a big fan of using the trailer jack to test if the coupler is correctly connected. One of our trailers has a pronounced form-fitting (to the ball) concave front to the coupler, so much so, that if there is any rollback pressure at all on the trailer, even with the latch wide open, I can still jack the tongue up and actually lift the rear of the tow vehicle 4 to 5" higher than it's normal resting height before the coupler finally slides up over the ball and lets the hitch drop. It's pretty drastic, and some might think the couple and ball are locked together when they're really not. Just a weird situation that makes me very cautions when connecting and disconnecting that particular trailer.

There is so much variation in equipment out there, but once you become more familiar with all the little subtleties of your own, it will all make so much more sense to you. Next thing you know, you'll be sharing your experiences and giving advice to all the rest of us!


One other thing from a previous post - if you still have any concern about the proper distance between the bottom of the coupler and the top of the hitch bar when coupled, rather than endangering your fingers to feel the gap, hardware stores carry dowel rods (very cheap) in varying diameters, so just get one with a diameter that just fills the gap when hitched correctly and then use a 6" piece as a quick little gauge each time you hitch up.
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Old 08-03-2014, 05:38 PM   #59
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Name: Cathy
Trailer: Escape 19' sold, 21' August 2015
POBox 1267, Denison, Texas
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Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
We had our hitch come off the ball while driving. The previous owner had modified the hitch causing the jaws to hang up.

After we hook up and lock the ball in place, I then try to jack the hitch off the ball by turning the jack a few turns as a check for a truly locked in place ball.

A little safety test.


I don't know what others' couplers and latches look like or how they work but we will not go two blocks without a latch lock on. It is not impossible that it could break and that has happened apparently in some case to somebody but I expect it would be very unlikely.

I do not believe that our latch lock will go in if the latch is not latched all of the way and I don't believe that the latch can be all the way down if the ball is not in the correct position, unless it is very obvious that the coupler is not on. You can get a latch lock for a few dollars.
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Old 08-04-2014, 08:18 AM   #60
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Name: Wendy Lee
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Dear War Eagle,

Are you a teacher or do you write for a living? Your explanations to me are always very clear and thorough. I'm not just blowing wind up your tunnel. Yes I understand what you meant now and this would seem to be the exact case.

Cheers!

Wendy


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Old 08-04-2014, 10:14 AM   #61
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Trailer: Casita Spirit Deluxe
Minnesota
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In addition after hooking up, is this finger test to see if the tongue is next to the ball? If I find thus adjuster screw, how snug do ya go?

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Wendy, the easiest way I found to make this adjustment is by taking the appropriate sized ball, 2" in my case, and inserting it into the hitch and latching it closed. Move the ball around by hand. It should move freely but not be loose and clunky. The adjustment nut is up inside the ball socket so you'll have to lay on your back to see it.

Relatively small adjustments make a noticeable difference.
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Old 08-05-2014, 07:51 PM   #62
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Trailer: Bigfoot 13'
Utah
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Cathie the latch lock will go in place, when the latch is not properly positioned. The latch is spring loaded, when the lever is lowered, the latch that surrounds the ball can pinch the ball on the largest circumference and not under the ball as it should. The fact that the lock will go thru the lock hole gives one the impression that the latch is secure and in place correctly. You drive off and the latch pops off the ball. This is what this whole topic is covering. Do not assume the the hitch and ball are in alignment, you have given a fine reason why the trouble will happen, " I do not believe that our latch lock will go in place if the latch is not latched all the way. " But it will, because of the internal clam shell configuration, of the latch, it allows it to set incorrectly if one is not being observant, most times it can be put in place blindfolded, sometimes it just might hang up and the bolt can be put in place. Guess what then happens? One is then inclined to say well it was on correctly because the bolt was locked and in place !

Later Kenny
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:33 PM   #63
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Trailer: Escape 19' sold, 21' August 2015
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Kenny, I see what you are saying. We always see that the latch is all the way down and if not, we pull forward a tiny bit to get the plate in place. That is a pretty uncommon situation since most of the time, the latch will fall completely down. It is obvious to us when the coupler is not on the ball properly because our latch will not go all the way down, and as you said, we then know that the plate is apparently up too high.

Thanks for bringing up the point because it is just second nature to us to make sure the plate is where it belongs and it may not be second nature to others. Also, as I mentioned, others may not have our exact set-up as there seems to be variation among couplers.

Ours is not any problem as far as this is concerned but then we always look for the plate placement. I take it that many people do not know that there is a plate in there to get into the right place, so your explanation should help them.
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Old 08-06-2014, 09:25 AM   #64
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Trailer: '04 Scamp 19D, Tacoma 4.0L 4door, SB
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Cathie the latch lock will go in place, when the latch is not properly positioned. The latch is spring loaded, when the lever is lowered, the latch that surrounds the ball can pinch the ball on the largest circumference and not under the ball as it should.
This thread is already long, but the horse is not quite dead yet, so allow me beat on it some more. Here is a picture of the ball coupler that looks like the one on my Scamp 5th:

http://www.rvpartsmarket.com/Atwood-Trailer-Hitch-Coupler-3-Inch-Channel-5000-Lbs_p_342.html

and this link shows images of many ball/coupler types.

https://www.google.com/search?q=trai...=1486&bih=1070

The diagrams elucidate how they work. They are all designed so the latch closes either without the ball, or when the ball is fully seated in the pocket. The cross section views also make it clear why it is sometimes necessary to pull forward 1/2 inch to seat the ball. Yes, there is a spring, but that spring does NOT hold the ball in the pocket. If it all depended on the force of the spring to be locked, no DMV would allow it on the road. So, if it is possible to lock the latch against the largest diameter of the ball, something is broken or deformed and should be replaced.
I hope this clarifies it some.
Paul
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Old 08-06-2014, 09:27 AM   #65
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Trailer: '04 Scamp 19D, Tacoma 4.0L 4door, SB
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hopefully this shows a clickable link:
80060 Atwood Trailer Hitch Coupler 3 Inch Channel, 5000 Lbs.
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Old 08-06-2014, 09:32 AM   #66
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The cross section views also make it clear why it is sometimes necessary to pull forward 1/2 inch to seat the ball.
I forgot to add: and why it is possible to raise the TV some before it pops out of the pocket.
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:38 AM   #67
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Name: John
Trailer: Currently Shopping
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This is why I prefer only collar, bulldog, style hitches. Once you close the jaw and slide the collar forward it's locked. There is no guessing since you cannot close the jaw with the ball part way in. It's either in or out. The only downside to one is that when hitching you may have to pull sideways to get the jaw to close. I always got around that by backing in just off to one side. Now with backup cameras that really easy to do.

The other nice thing is that there are collar lock that will lock it closed both on and off the ball. This allow you to lock the trailer when it's sitting or when it's on you TV. If you can put the lock on it's 100% hitched.

If and when we get a trailer the coupler will be a bulldog type. If the manufacture won't put one on a trailer shop will.
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:56 PM   #68
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Dear War Eagle, Are you a teacher or do you write for a living? Cheers! Wendy
Wendy, Thank you for your kind words. I'm about to wrap up a 30-year career teaching at the college level. Once retired, we plan to spend a LOT more time camping. So I hope we cross paths with you somewhere out there....
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Old 08-07-2014, 09:17 AM   #69
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Hi War Eagle,

Teacher of 5th grade here! Alas,any years to retire. Started at 37 and 50 now.

God Bless You and enjoy that soon to be retirement! Yes indeed, one never knows when paths might cross. Would be a pleasure, that is if I'm still alive after many more years of CC state testing!


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Old 08-08-2014, 07:03 AM   #70
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Texas
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I teach fifth grade and I also started teaching very late. Lol.


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