Hitch popped off -- Replacement - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-22-2014, 08:35 AM   #1
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Scamp 16' Dlx
Illinois
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Hitch popped off -- Replacement

We have about 15,000 miles on our Scamp 16' and never had a problem with the hitch. A couple of weeks ago, on her first voyage of the season, I crossed an intersection about 35 MPH, the trailer jumped and the hitch popped off the ball. The chains enabled me to get it to the curb, with the jack (now bent) dragging on the pavement and throwing sparks. I figured I'd somehow forgotten to lock the hitch. But no, the hitch was closed, with the locking lever down and the safety pin still in place! With the car jack, I managed to get the trailer back on and (very carefully) returned home. I've since learned that this is not at all uncommon. Lots of folks have their hitches pop off and some boat towers even put extra weight on the front fork to prevent it.

We've all experienced those moments when an unexpected bump or pothole causes the trailer to bounce. That's scary enough, but to think that it can actually detach from the tow vehicle is terrifying. I just replaced the ball hitch with a Lock 'n Roll hitch from Chicago Forge, an incredibly heavy-duty affair that is absolutely secure <www.locknroll.com>. It also tows much more smoothly without the "clunk" that you hear when the ball hits the side of its socket. Highly recommended.
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Old 06-22-2014, 09:28 AM   #2
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Name: Charlie Y
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After hooking up I always use the trailer jack to raise the tow vehicle up a bit. If the bottom catch isn't under the ball (you can still get the lock in the hole) I'd rather the ball pop out when not moving...........

Charlie Y
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Old 06-22-2014, 09:58 AM   #3
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Makes a good argument for using a spring bar weight distributing hitch to hold everything together in addition to reducing "porpoising" of the trailer...
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Old 06-22-2014, 10:05 AM   #4
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Name: Darwin
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Hitches have an adjustment nut on the bottom side. Also, The ball and the hitch must be rated at the same ball size.
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Old 06-22-2014, 10:19 AM   #5
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Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
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Originally Posted by karrowr View Post
....... I've since learned that this is not at all uncommon. Lots of folks have their hitches pop off and some boat towers even put extra weight on the front fork to prevent it...............
...............It also tows much more smoothly without the "clunk" that you hear when the ball hits the side of its socket. Highly recommended.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It's only a WAG, but I would bet that the peeps that sold you the new hitch are your source for the above.

In the past three years I think that's the first mention of a properly (?) adjusted hitch coming off the ball. There have been reports of badly worn hitches and rusty ones that couldn't be adjusted, but those are maintenance issues.

IMHO: You shouldn't have any "Clunk" from play in the hitch. The Ball and hitch should be "snug" together. I believe that all hitches have an adjustment for this and, if one didn't, or won't adjust to snug, I would get another hitch installed. The way I do this is to remove the drawbar and adjust the hitch to be snug, but not tight, on the ball.

I keep the ball and the hitch socket well greased and also use a locking device to remove play from the 2" receiver/drawbar connection. If I ever hear a clunk I know something is wrong and pull over to investigate immediately.

I have seen accidents where the TV and trailer stayed hitched after a roll over.

And about boaters that add weight to stay hitched???

Well, they are boaters after all. "Some" boaters often engage in activities during boating that might impair their ability to properly secure a hitch when pulling out after a fun filled day, hence increasing the chances of a unhitching problem.

My ex lives right across the street from a 50 mile long lake in WA and, every Sunday evening, the local sheriff is out there picking off DUI's from the parade of those leaving town with boats in tow, but seldom so with camping trailers.

But enough boat bashing.....
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Old 06-22-2014, 10:32 AM   #6
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Trailer: '88 Scamp 16, layout 4
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Glad you got it taken care of without anyone getting hurt or damage to your Scamp. Forgive me if my distrust is misplaced but your FIRST post here does not quite pass the smell test and reads like a disguised ad for a VERY expensive hitch. I am familiar with this kind of hitch for heavier duty and off-road trailers so see the benefits. However, a properly sized and adjusted ball-and-socket hitch works fine for our uses (pulling a small to medium sized travel trailer down mostly paved roads). If your hitch was worn, damaged, or just improperly adjusted or latched I can see it jumping off and needing attention. But, I see a whole range of options before I would spend $300 on reinventing the wheel. Personally I have pintle rings (lunette eyes) on my heavy duty trailers on the farm anyway and would put one on my Scamp before I invested in a whole new system like this.
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Old 06-22-2014, 10:46 AM   #7
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I hadn't thought about that connection, but the supplier is in the same state as the O.P.

And they do mention the danger of hitches popping off the ball as if it were an everyday occurrence.

I don't know why they needed to reinvent the wheel, there must be an application, it's just not with this crowd.

As everyone knows, they move houses with a 2.5" ball hitch and the Toyota Tundra, that towed the Space Shuttle across an overpass in L.A., did so with a ball hitch and a long towbar, albeit not far.
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Old 06-22-2014, 10:50 AM   #8
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Name: Russ
Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette, Airstream Safari 19'
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Like Bob said no clunking should be heard from a properly adjusted coupler. Wear to the coupler will increase clearance that will cause clunking and need to be adjusted. When I purchased my Scamp the coupler clunked. I discovered the drawbar fit was part of the problem, so I built up the bar with weld beads and ground to slip fit and also threaded the side and top of the receiver for set screws eliminating any play. The coupler was still loose, and I could lift it about 1/8" while coupled and latched. I adjusted it to have just enough play to operate and I thought all was good until I tried to uncouple the trailer. I would not separate with the latch open! I had to loosen the adjustment until it was like it was originally to get it apart. It could lift 1/8" which is unacceptable. The hitch was worn out or manufactured incorrectly. I replaced it with a Curt collar clamshell type which is working very well.
I have heard of cases where persons latched their coupler without the trailer lowered all the way onto the ball. The hitch was clamped above the ball center. This oversight will allow the trailer to pop off on the first bump. Some people jack up the trailer while hitched to test for proper coupling during their safety "walk a round".
Russ
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Old 06-22-2014, 11:00 AM   #9
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...We've all experienced those moments when an unexpected bump or pothole causes the trailer to bounce. That's scary enough, but to think that it can actually detach from the tow vehicle is terrifying...
That sure sound like brochure-speak to me. And first and only post from the original note string author. Yeh...smell test.
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Old 06-22-2014, 11:08 AM   #10
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I missed that one Gary,

Thought I should add that sometimes the clunk one hears is from the bar rattling in the receiver. I bought one of those anti rattle devices and it solved the problem.
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Old 06-22-2014, 11:15 AM   #11
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There are lots of anti-Rattle devices for 2" drawbars out there. I prefer the Roadmaster Quiet Hitch, works great (Scroll Down for image)

https://www.google.com/search?q=draw...l%3B751%3B1000

(My apologies if this is a duplicate post)
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Old 06-22-2014, 11:28 AM   #12
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Yeh...smell test.
Yeah, posted the same thing 15 min earlier on Scampers_Modifications email list.
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Old 06-22-2014, 11:37 AM   #13
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Did the op change the name of the trailer he was towing?????
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Old 06-22-2014, 12:29 PM   #14
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Name: Jack L
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I've only seen one hitch come off the ball and that was because the ball was too small for the coupler. A 2" ball in a 2 1/8 coupler will not work. The hundreds of other towing situations I've witnessed were fine If I wanted something stronger I would go to a Pintle or "donught" hitch. Pintle hitches are rated to about 25000 pounds and while they do "clunk" they are very strong.

These people have discovered a cure for which there is no known disease !
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