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Open Roads Forum  >  Beginning RVing

 > New trailer came off hitch!!

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ReneeG

Meridian, Idaho

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Posted: 09/15/19 08:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mobeewan wrote:

It could also be that the coupler latch is not tight enough. You can adjust how tight the coupler jaw engages against the ball. There is a nut that tightens against a spring which pushes the jaw against the ball. If not tight enough when hitting a bump or pot hole, with enough upward force the coupler can be snatched right off the ball even with the coupler pin in place. It might not have been set tight enough at the factory. The dealer should have checked it when setting up the WDH when you bought it. Then you should have checked it before driving off the lot. If you installed it, you should have checked it.

This happened to a friend of mine. He borrowed my utility trailer to take his Harley to Florida when he took his wife to visit her mother and stepfather. He wanted to ride his Harley on the beach down there. He came over a hill in NC with no warning that there was a construction site starting. He hit a big bump and the rear of the trailer went about 30 degrees into the air. When it bounced on the tires it came off the ball. The tongue went under the back of the TV and rested on the safety chains and wiring harness while dragging on the pavement. He ground through the wires and almost through the chains before he finally got it stopped on the shoulder. No damage to the TV or Harley. After he got it rehitched he took it slow and easy to the nearest Walmart for a new chain and some butt connectors for the wiring. The coupler was tight enough for normal towing, but not for 1500 lbs of trailer and Harley going airborne.

When I bought my 28 ft TT new, it was the first time I ever used a WDH, since it was the largest trailer I ever owned.

I got it home and unhitched in the street so I could turn around and use the front hitch to push it in the yard, I found out the guy that set up the WDH forgot to tighten the nut on the ball for the hitch head. The only reason I made it home after 8 miles on the interstate and 4 miles on city streets was that the WDH spring bars kept enough downward force that the ball stayed in place. The nut must have been finger tight when I left the dealer. It was almost to the end of the threaded shank when I uncoupled at home

It was the guys fault for not tightening and torquing the nut, but I'm partly to blame. I should have checked the ball and everything else as he showed me how to hook everything up instead of just watching. I would have found the loose nut.


That's what I said.


2011 Bighorn 3055RL
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1992 Jeep ZJ and 1978 Coleman Concord Pop-Up for remote camping
Dave & Renee plus (Champ, Molly, Paris, Missy, and Maggie in spirit), Mica and Mabel, both Rat Terriers!


ReneeG

Meridian, Idaho

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Posted: 09/15/19 08:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

er78mph wrote:

I was saying that my current hitch ball size is 2 5/16, so maybe a coupler adjustment?


That's what I said.

Old-Biscuit

Verde Valley

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Posted: 09/15/19 08:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

YEP^^^^^^^

that's what HE said----sure is.


Is it time for your medication or mine?


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happy2rv

Huntsville, AL, USA

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Posted: 09/15/19 09:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have the Equalizer weight distribution hitch with anti-sway bars. When we first bought our TT and they were doing the walk through for setup, they showed us using the snap up lever to install the anti-sway bars. Then they said most people just raise the trailer using the electric tongue jack after placing it securely on the hitch ball instead of using the levers. This lifts the weight off of the sway bars and makes it easy to swing them into place, but it also provides a pretty good, granted not fool-proof, test that the coupler is securely fastened to the ball.

Agree with others, check for adjustment. Also agree about sway bars, I never tow without the sway bars firmly in place. The only other thing I can think of is somehow the coupler got closed on top of the ball. I've seen it happen where the coupler was closed or partially closed when it was lowered and the ball pushes the latch into the coupler then it gets closed without actually engaging the ball. The lift test would quickly identify this condition.


2018 Forrest River Salem Hemisphere 282RK - 2017 RAM 1500 TV

Previous RVs and TOADS
2004 Fleetwood Bounder 32W on WH W20
2000 Four Winds 5000 21RB
1986 27' Allegro
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mobeewan

Hampton, Va

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Posted: 09/15/19 10:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

er78mph wrote:

I was saying that my current hitch ball size is 2 5/16, so maybe a coupler adjustment?


I know on 2 inch and smaller you can adjust the coupler by tightening and loosening the nut, but after thinking about it again I'm not so sure the 2-5/16 can be adjusted. I'll have to take a look
during the day.

What you might do is couple the trailer to the TV and raise the trailer tongue using the tongue jack. It it lifts the rear of the truck without the ball pulling out, then it's probably okay. This what you normally do when connecting the spring bars. If it pops loose you might need to see if it can be adjusted or if you can replace the latch assembly.

Another thing is to check and see if the latch assembly is completely engaging. I've had to giggle mine a few times to get it to fully engage. I keep a rubber mallet behind the driver's seat. I use it to bust up bags of ice that are frozen solid and to rap on the side of the couple when the latch is stuck, not fully engaging or the ball won't release from the coupler.

Don't forget to grease the latch lever a little to help it move easier. I am however in the "I never grease my balls" group of trailer owners.

* This post was edited 09/15/19 10:33pm by mobeewan *

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 09/16/19 01:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Either it's a spring latch and really mis adjusted or the hitch was sitting on top of the ball.


"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.

Grit dog

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Posted: 09/16/19 01:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mobeewann, my man!

dodge guy

Bartlett IL

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Posted: 09/16/19 05:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lock the ball in the coupler and see if there is any play!


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ReneeG

Meridian, Idaho

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Posted: 09/16/19 07:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Old-Biscuit wrote:

YEP^^^^^^^

that's what HE said----sure is.


You're right. I suggested the coupler pin needs adjusting.

opnspaces

San Diego Ca

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Posted: 09/16/19 09:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mobeewan wrote:

er78mph wrote:

I was saying that my current hitch ball size is 2 5/16, so maybe a coupler adjustment?


I know on 2 inch and smaller you can adjust the coupler by tightening and loosening the nut, but after thinking about it again I'm not so sure the 2-5/16 can be adjusted. I'll have to take a look
during the day.


I'm with Mobeewan, there is no adjustment on a 2 5/16 inch coupler. Where people are mentioning a nut pressing on a spring they are referring to a 2 inch or 1 7/8 inch coupler.

Op I hate to say it, but either your coupler is damaged or the latch was not fully open when you lowered the coupler over the ball. If the latch is not fully open it's possible that the ball pushed the locking lug up and prevented the coupler from fulling sliding down and latching under the ball. If this happens then the trailer will look coupled, but if you look harder you will notice it's riding higher than normal. About the only way you can check for sure is to use a mirror or get down and look under the coupler when hitched and make sure the latch is under the ball in the back.

Weight distribution bars would have most likely prevented a disconnect, but that's really neither hear nor there at this point. I would hitch it up and use the tongue jack to lift the tongue and back of the truck (use a block of wood if you need a more height) to make sure it stays latched and then just chalk it up to experience.


1996 Suburban 4x4. 350, 4.10 3/4 ton
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