Hitch Rattle - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-24-2015, 09:45 PM   #1
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Hitch Rattle

Since I started towing my Scamp 13 with my Pilot, which requires about a 5" drop on the drawbar to get the trailer level, I have had a variety of clunks, thunks, and rattles from the hitch area. It was clear there was some play in the drawbar-to-receiver connection, so I just bought and installed a Hitch Vise. I chose it over the Roadmaster Quiet Hitch because (1) the reinforcing ring around the end of the receiver opening is rounded, so I wasn't sure if the U-bolt would catch and hold, and (2) clearances around the receiver opening are pretty tight.

I started off installing it as shown in the instructions; i.e., side-to side. After a test drive, it was better, but not what I'd hoped for. I was pretty sure (based on wear marks on the draw bar) that up-and-down motion was my problem, so I decided to try installing it top-to-bottom:
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Even better. All the thunks and clunks are gone, but…

At highway speeds I still have a high frequency rattle. It starts around 45 mph and gets progressively worse as speed increases. It's kind of hard to describe the noise… think chains rattling in a metal box, or golf balls in a dryer, or metallic microwave popcorn… It goes away completely under 45 mph and the ride is butter smooth, even over rough pavement.

Two questions:
  1. Do you see any reason not to use the Hitch Vise in this orientation?
  2. Any ideas about the high speed rattling noise? It's really annoying, and I don't know what else to check.
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Old 07-24-2015, 09:56 PM   #2
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Is the hitch assy tight against the TV's frame, in both directions?
Is the hitch well lubricated and snug on the ball.
Is the hitch tang in good condition for a snug fit on the bottom of the ball
Did you check the tires for being out of round/not balanced
Did you look for loose goofballs in the front sofa storage area?
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Old 07-24-2015, 10:18 PM   #3
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Hitch Rattle

Thank for the response, Bob.

Hitch platform appears tight. It is an integrated factory hitch and all welds appear good.

The ball is well lubricated. I'm not sure how to check adjustment of the tang (just learned a new word). When I verify hitch attachment by cranking down the jack after locking the coupler, there doesn't appear to be any slack before the bumper starts to rise.

I haven't checked the tires, but the rattling is very arrhythmic, like microwave popcorn toward the end of its cycle.

No golf balls in the forward compartments.
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Old 07-24-2015, 10:30 PM   #4
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There should be a large nut under the tang for adjustment. Hitch it up and have a couple of kids get onto the back of the bed to take weight off the hitch and try to shake the tongue up and down. if it moves, tighten the nut a little, until that is just barely any play. If it is tight, back it off and tighten again as above. You want a tiny amount of play so it doesn't force the grease out of place resulting in metal to metal contact. Might help....
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:40 AM   #5
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I'll check the coupler adjustment. It wouldn't hurt to have the tires rebalanced either, since they're coming up on 3 years old. Thanks for the help!
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Old 07-25-2015, 05:04 PM   #6
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When I adjusted my hitch I removed the stinger from the Nissan. I greased the ball and then clamped the stingers, ball in the trailer coupler. I adjust the nut while moving the stinger about. This way you can feel just how tight you get it. Adjust to get the excess slack out.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:15 PM   #7
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Maybe I'm looking at it wrong Jon, but the way you have it set up it appears to be putting tension in both directions, up and down. My home made anti rattle device is set up to only pull the draw bar down. One vehicle I tow with has some side play. Works out that a thin piece of steel angle can be driven in one side, and my anti rattler keeps it from sliding out. As for the noise, I have a rattle / vibration noise towing, under load like going uphill. Only with our Honda CRV. Sounds like the exhaust tail pipe rattling against something, quite possibly the hitch as clearance is minimal. Only does it when towing. I've tried bending the hanger, but not much room to do anything.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:23 PM   #8
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We had to have an exhaust pipe place move the exhaust pipe on our CRV slightly to stop the rattle against the hitch when going up hills. Cost $20
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:39 PM   #9
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Keep the ideas coming… I'm taking it all in. I did think of exhaust system interference and checked it when I was examining the hitch attachment to the frame. Nothing there I can see.

That's a good point about the Hitch Vise, Bob. I am inclined now to return it to its original orientation.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:42 PM   #10
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Sounds like a common problem with the CRV then Bob. I did have to disconnect the rear hanger when I installed the hitch because it was a tight fit. Ours only does it towing under load, and since we don't tow with that vehicle much anymore I haven't bothered to remedy the problem. Good though to hear I'm not the only one that has had it happen. Our CRV is a 2003
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:45 PM   #11
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[

That's a good point about the Hitch Vise, Bob. I am inclined now to return it to its original orientation.[/QUOTE]

I would set it up so it only pulls the draw bar down, as tongue weight wants to push it in that direction. I made a similar "L" shaped piece, but it's only on the bottom of the hitch
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Old 07-25-2015, 08:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mary and bob View Post
...I would set it up so it only pulls the draw bar down, as tongue weight wants to push it in that direction. I made a similar "L" shaped piece, but it's only on the bottom of the hitch
This particular unit is not designed to pull anything. It pinches, like a vise. It its intended orientation, it would pinch side-to-side. Assuming the drawbar is resting at the bottom of its range of motion when tightened down, it should keep it there, I suppose.
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Old 07-25-2015, 08:44 PM   #13
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Well that explains the design Jon. I've never seen this type, interesting. I still think one that pulls the drawbar down is best, but that's only my opinion
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Old 07-25-2015, 09:06 PM   #14
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If you look carefully at the third picture, you can see the rounded profile of the raised lip of the receiver opening as well as the very limited space between it and the attachment rings for the safety chains. I didn't think the U-bolt type would fit and grab securely there.
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